(c) Copyright 2004 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved
Around the turn of the century (2000, not 1900!) an analogy became popular among some Hawaiian sovereignty activists. They said Hawaiian history was like the history of a house that got overwhelmed by guests. A few guests were welcomed but then moved in permanently. The guests then invited more guests of their own. All the guests then began making new house rules. Soon the original (and still rightful) homeowners were forced to live in a small rear bedroom, and perhaps even forced to live in a tent in the backyard. The original homeowners finally got angry and are trying to reassert their rights. They might even call the cops to help them take back what is rightfully theirs.
The analogy is deeply flawed. But it continues to circulate. One mutation of the analogy re-tells the story by referring to a stolen car instead of a stolen house.
an anonymous e-mail message asserting the analogy of the stolen house; a published newspaper article asserting the analogy of the stolen house;
a published rebuttal debunking the analogy of the stolen house;
references to webpages describing a Honolulu property-title scam in which a Hawaiian sovereignty activist was found guilty of the felony of actually tried to steal a house by asserting bogus theories of indigenous ownership and claims to his own leadership of a revived Hawaiian Kingdom; and a review of a book seeking sympathy for the poor, downtrodden victims of history whose houseguests stole their home;
a more recent e-mail asserting a mutant analogy of a stolen car; and
a rebuttal e-mail debunking the analogy of the stolen car.
For a thorough explanation of the concept that native Hawaiians and whites were full partners and not merely guests in the Kingdom of Hawai'i and remain full partners today, see:
The following analogy of the stolen house was included in an anonymous e-mail in August, 2001.
How Hawaiians feel about the overthrow
Let's pretend I visit your house: You offer me
food and rest. I decide to stay. I order you and
your family around, use your things and rearrange
the rooms. I take down your photos and religious
symbols, replace them with my own and make you speak
my language. One day, I dig up your garden and
replace it with crops that I can sell. You and your
family must now buy all your food from me.
Later, I invite my father and his buddies over.
They bring guns. We take your keys. I forge a deed
and declare my father to be owner of the house. I
bring more people. Some work for me. Some pay me to
stay in your house. I seize your savings and spend
it on my friends. You and your family sleep on the
Finally, you protest. Being reasonable, I let you
stay in a corner of the house and give you a small
allowance, but only if you behave. I tell you,
"Sorry, I was wrong for taking the house." But when
you demand your house back, I tell you to be
"You are a part of this family now, whether you
like it or not," I say. "Besides, this is for your
own good. For all that I have done for you, why
aren't you grateful?"
Here is an assertion of the stolen house analogy published as a letter to editor in the Kaua'i newspaper "The Garden Island News" of December 31, 2002. Unfortunately that newspaper at that time did not maintain a permanent on-line archive.
Letter to the Editor
Let's take it from the top: The Provisional Government with the illegal aid of U.S. armed forces illegally appropriated Crown and Government lands and political control of the Hawaiian Islands. This illegal government became the Republic of Hawaii, which was formed to facilitate the illegal annexation by the United States.
A Hawaiian mo'olelo: David has some land. He lives on and uses it for business that feeds his family. Fred comes to visit. Fred and his friends tell David: "now you have to live under our rules... or leave all together".
Fred goes to see Sam who is in the business of taking over other people's property and provides muscle for Fred. Fred offers Sam David's property. Sam says "Too hot", so Fred goes back to Sam with phony paperwork for a fictitious owner "Alice" and sells David's home to Sam. Fred disappears ... Alice was never real, and Sam has David's home. Do you call it the home Alice ceded to Sam? You do if you are trying to conceal the fact that it is stolen.
The reality is it's David's home, and it will remain so until David says otherwise. Sam uses the home for business. Is he entitled to the money he makes from David's stolen home? Is Sam entitled to keep David's home? Sam argues his business is superior to David's and serves the community better, that he is a better suited to run David's home. Sam's friends and family all live well while David's family goes hungry.
(Here's where the Akaka Bill comes in) Sam says he will RECOGNIZE David's rights to live in the home if David agrees Sam has the right to live there and make the rules. He even offers to feed David's family if they agree to Sam's terms. David's family divides against itself...some believing it's all over; their home is lost and they must take what they can get. Others in David's family will never give up their birthright. Sam bribes a handful of people in David's family to convince David and his family to give up their claims to the land.
Fact: Crown and Government Lands belong to the Crown and Government of the Kingdom of Hawaii until Hawaiians say otherwise. (Beware of claims extinguishments by a governing entity elected by and representing Hawaiians.) The same goes for political control of the Hawaiian Islands. This is today; tomorrow is closer than you might think. Hawaiians, tell your children.
Here is a rebuttal to the above letter. This rebuttal was published as a letter to editor in the Kaua'i newspaper "The Garden Island News" of January 6, 2003. Unfortunately that newspaper at that time did not maintain a permanent on-line archive.
Letter To The Editor
Michael Locey's "Historical Analogy" (GIN 12/31/02) was wildly inaccurate. Here's a better one, written in his style.
Let's take it from the top: The "Committee of Safety" has 13 members, all of whom have important business interests in Hawai'i and half of whom are subjects of the Hawaiian Kingdom. They make an internal revolution that successfully overthrows the monarchy.
Just 13 guys? All the hard work of the revolution was done by 1500 armed local members of the Honolulu Rifles who took over government buildings and disarmed the royal militia. They get a little moral support from 162 blue-jackets off a U.S. ship in the harbor who are sent ashore to prevent violence and who merely stand in the street as the revolution unfolds (they do not take over any buildings or interfere in any way with the local people). The revolutionists form a Provisional Government, and later the Republic of Hawai'i, whose purpose is to seek annexation to the U.S. Both the PG and the RH are given diplomatic recognition by all the foreign governments that previously recognized the monarchy.
The newly elected U.S. President (Grover Cleveland), a friend of the ex-queen, sends a political hack to Hawai'i to create a one-sided "report," and uses it to demand the PG give up power and put the ex-queen back on the throne. Hawai'i President Sanford B. Dole sends a blistering refusal to Cleveland. For the 4 years of the Cleveland administration, Hawai'i gets zero moral or military support from the U.S.; and the U.S. even helps smuggle rifles to support Robert Wilcox's attempted counter-revolution. The PG and RH hold power for 5 years, in the face of a hostile U.S. government, with sufficient power to defeat an armed counter-revolution and to imprison the ex-queen, all the while continuing to operate as an independent nation with full diplomatic relations with many other nations. No puppet regime here! No U.S. military occupation of Hawai'i here! A vocal minority in both Hawai'i and the U.S. vigorously opposes annexation.
But as soon as Cleveland leaves office the Republic of Hawai'i once again offers a treaty of annexation which it has every right to offer under international law. The new President McKinley helps persuade Congress, worried about the Spanish American War. Congress exercises its power under international law to use whatever internal process it wishes for ratifying an international agreement, and passes a joint resolution accepting Hawai'i's treaty offer by a vote of 42-21 in the Senate (2/3), and 209-91 in the House (well over 2/3). Hawai'i's previous treaties with other nations are now absorbed and administered by the U.S. until Congress makes new arrangements with those nations.
No other nation protests. Indeed, their continued recognition of the U.S. and negotiations with the U.S. over absorbing Hawai'i's treaties condones the annexation under international law. The heir apparent to the Kingdom throne (Kuhio) swears an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and serves as Hawai'i's delegate to Congress for 20 years. Throughout the Republic, Territory, and State periods, the government and crown lands from the former Kingdom continue to be used to benefit all Hawai'i's people, just as before, regardless whether the land is administered by a Queen, a local Hawai'i President, a local Governor appointed by a U.S. President, or a local elected Governor.
Now, here is Mr. Locey's "Hawaiian mo'olelo" as corrected.
David lives on a large tract of land and uses some of it to feed his family. His family lives in a little grass shack. Fred comes to visit. David is amazed by Fred's material and spiritual wealth, and asks Fred and his friends to help him. David gives up his old religion even before meeting Fred's priest. David likes Fred's religion and adopts it as his own. Fred also helps David learn to read and write. As a century goes by, David and his children ask Fred and his friends to help build a new house and learn new methods for using the land to produce great wealth. David's family, and Fred and his friends, all work together to build a huge mansion. They move into the mansion and live together, while also getting wealthy from using new methods and machinery to make the land more productive. Most of Fred's grandchildren and their friends decide they'd like to form a partnership and incorporate with the next valley over. Some of David's grandchildren like that idea too, but most don't like it. The conflict gets pretty bad, but the people favoring the partnership seem stronger than those opposing it, and also get a few friends from that neighboring valley to help a little. The partnership sponsors win, and the corporation is formed. There's no turning back now.
Some of David's descendants who had opposed the partnership even go to work at corporate headquarters in the other valley, and many of David's descendants work in the satellite offices near home. More houses are built, and new friends come to live in them who are not descended from either David or Fred.
David grows old and dies, and Fred and his friends also grow old and die. But their children and grandchildren for several generations continue living and playing together, sometimes intermarrying but always building more houses together on their shared land, while farming and fishing with equipment they buy or build together as full partners. People from outside have a hard time telling which children are descended from David and which are not. Even some of the children and their parents don't know for sure. Then all of a sudden, 200 years after David and Fred became close freinds, a few of David's great great grandchildren get selfish and go a little crazy.
They get jealous of all the people in the 'ohana who are doing so well but are not descended from David. The crazy, selfish ones start talking stink about the "outsiders," and start saying "this land belongs only to us; this house is ours; it's time for all you guests to get out or start paying rent; we're gonna call the cops." Some of David's craziest descendants actually go to see the cops, who tell them there's nothing really wrong going on and they should all just try harder to get along. Some of David's descendants build high walls around a few houses and pieces of land, and try to keep out anyone who can't prove David was an ancestor. But after a while the community elders order the walls to be torn down and say everyone should try to get along together.
(Here's where the Akaka Bill comes in) Some of David's descendants get some friends of theirs at headquarters to try to CREATE a new rule that David's descendants can build those walls and keep out Fred's descendants. Some of Fred's descendants even think that might be a good idea if it's what David's descendants want, while some of David's descendants think the David-only walls should enclose just about everything they all used to share. Some folks not descended from either David or Fred, but who love all their descendants, say "Can't we just all get along?"
A great statesman once looked at the Berlin wall and said "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." And not long after, through the power of many hands working together on both sides of the wall, that's exactly what happened.
For further discussion of the concept that whites and native Hawaiians were equal partners in the Kingdom and at present, see
In recent years some Hawaiian sovereignty activists have tried to use bogus theories of "indigenous" property "rights" and bogus theories of a reconstituted Hawaiian Kingdom to actually try to steal houses. The “PERFECT TITLE” Scam -- Keanu Sai, self-proclaimed Regent pro-tem of the Hawaiian Kingdom, claimed land titles in Hawai'i are junk because the overthrow, annexation, and statehood were all illegal. He collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from hundreds of clients for bogus title searches and warranty deeds; caused grief to property owners; messed up the real estate industry and mortgage banking for more than a year. See:
The very same Keanu Sai tried to go to the "World Court at the Hague" (actually, he went to an arbitral commission for settling commercial contract disputes) in an effort to "call the cops" to restore the Kingdom as the lawful government of Hawai'i. But even that tribunal, where Keanu Sai paid $10,000 to each of the three "judges," threw the case out saying there is no genuine dispute between the two parties to the lawsuit. See
Many Hawaiian sovereignty activists love to portray ethnic Hawaiians as poor, downtrodden victims of history who are desperately in need of money, land, and political power to "reconcile" the "sins" of the past and restore self-determination. This victimhood grievance industry is thriving among both those activists favoring racial separatism through the Akaka bill and those favoring total independence for Hawai'i with racial supremacy for "Native" Hawaiians. A webpage provides an essay-length book review of the most tear-jerking of these victimhood pity-parties: Haole Collective Guilt for Hawaiian Grievances and Pain -- A book review of “Then There Were None” by Martha H. Noyes (based on Elizabeth Lindsey Buyers TV docudrama). See:
On June 6, 2004 a Hawaiian independence activist, Foster Ampong of Aiea, O'ahu, Hawai'i, circulated an e-mail asserting a mutation of the stolen house analogy, describing a stolen car. His opening line refers to either Senator Akaka, who had just published a letter to editor defending the Akaka bill, or to Thurston Twigg-Smith or others who are loyal Americans and oppose Hawaiian independence. The independence activists bitterly complain that some (I would say most) ethnic Hawaiians today are proud to be Americans and proud to enjoy the affluence of the American lifestyle. The independence activists have harsh things to say about these "American Hawaiians" and other local people of Hawai'i who are proud Americans, saying their minds have been colonized and they have sold out their souls for 30 pieces of silver.
Here is the stolen car analogy as asserted by Foster Ampong on June 6, 2004:
As my wife's people would say...Fa`apalangi...One who has been totally Westernize/Euronized.
It is like my grandfather steals your grandfather's car 111 years ago....in
this solen car, he drives pass your grandfather
numerous times throughout
their respective lives...my grandfather eventually
dies, his son/my father
inherents it knowig how the car came into his family's
passes your father numerous times throughout their
father now dies and I inherent this car knowing all
facts///drive pass you numerous times, while your
family is still walking
with no car....however, you are more cognitive and
educated....you make an
issue of this crime and stolen property my family
still has, and rightfully
so. I eventually write and offer you an aopolgy and
admit to the culpability
and crime....give you this apology and say oops, I am
sorry for my
grandfathers action....THEN DRIVE OFF WITH YOUR
CAR!!!!!!!!........OK, Now my brother wants to just
say lets just forget all
this stuff and accept what my Family is offereing to
heal wounds and
such....and by the way, my family is going to keep the
stolen car because it
is part of what YOUR FAMILY IS NOW AGREEING TO!!!!!!
** Rebuttal by Ken Conklin, sent by e-mail the same day, June 6, 2004 **
Foster Ampong started out his message by trying to "put down" someone. He wrote: "As my wife's people would say...Fa`apalangi...One who has been totally Westernize/Euronized."
Sadsong then proceeds to prove that his own mind has been colonized -- he creates a historical analogy to 111 years ago by talking about -- a car!! And not just any car, but one which is 111 years old!! I don't think there were cars in the Kingdom. I doubt there were cars anywhere 111 years ago. Westernized indeed!
Anyway, let's go ahead and use Ampong's analogy. Ampong says that car was stolen 111 years ago and passed down to children and grandchildren. That's quite some car! Mine is only 7 years old, but it's already showing signs of wear and needs some repairs.
Now, as Paul Harvey might say, here's the rest of the story.
That so-called car that was stolen 111 years ago had no engine, no roof, and no doors. It was actually a flatbed horse cart made of wood (One of the ways Ampong twisted history was when he left the "t" off the end of the word "cart"). Furthermore, it wasn't stolen. All that nonsense Ampong said was twisted history. Here's what actually happened.
The family that owned the cart saw that the wood was rotting and the wheels were getting ready to fall off. So one day, when their tired old horse (brought to Hawai'i by foreigners and given to them by a stranger) was pulling the cart down the dirt road, they were really glad when a wealthy and knowledgeable stranger came by, saw their poverty and their broken-down cart, and offered to help.
The stranger had just moved to town and his family lived nearby. He offered to replace the rotten wood and to put on brand new wheels in return for becoming a co-owner of the cart. Both the original family and the stranger's family liked the idea, and agreed that both families would own the cart, use it when they needed it, and share the money and labor to keep the cart in good repair in the future.
As time went by the original family didn't have the money or skills needed to do well in the rapidly changing society, so the newcomers helped them. Both families used the cart. The newcomers contributed money and expertise to improve the size and shape of the cart, and to get new horses when the old ones couldn't pull the load anymore. Both families contributed labor to scrape the moss off the wood and the rust off the wheels and to feed the horse.
As time went by the newcomers saw larger, fancier carts on their journeys. They supplied the money and expertise to put on a roof and doors. After more time went by, the newcomer's family saw a cart with no "t" on the back end -- and no horse on the front end. It was made entirely of metal, glass, and rubber, and had an engine inside that eliminated the need for any horse. The families junked the old wooden cart, put the horse out to pasture, and pooled their resources to buy a new car and the gasoline needed to make it run.
Things went on that way for many decades. The original family's grandchildren liked staying close to their pili-grass hale, doing plenny huki-kalo, and weren't very prosperous by outside standards. They didn't use the car very much. The newcomer family's grandchildren made lots of trips in the car, setting up businesses in town and investing the profits both at home and abroad.
Then one day the original family's grandkids saw the fancy car whizzing by, and felt jealous. They made up a story about the car, saying it had been stolen from their grandparents 111 years ago and now they wanted it back. They worked themselves up into quite a fever-pitch of excitement and accused the newcomer family of all sorts of terrible things. They demanded restitution and reconciliation. "Geev um back!" they shouted angrily.
The newcomer family persuaded the mayor to write an apology saying "we're not sure exactly what happened way back when, but we're sorry you're feeling bad. Now, can't we all just get along?" Meanwhile some really bad guys from far away might be thinking of doing terrible things to both families.
Stay tuned for the next episode of this continuing drama.
(c) Copyright 2004 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved
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