It often seems that supporters and opponents of Hawaiian sovereignty, and/or the Akaka bill, "talk past" each other. That happens partly because supporters of the bill are powerful, wealthy institutions who let their money do the talking (advertising and lobbying) and prefer not to allow the voices of their opponents to be heard. For the first five years the Akaka bill was pending in Congress, there were zero public debates except for very rare small forums at private clubs where both supporters and opponents were members.
Occasionally a supporter or opponent of the bill would publish a major essay responding to a major essay previously published by an opponent or supporter in the same newspaper. These "dialogs" were not usually planned to be dialogs -- they simply happened when one writer responded to another writer a few days or weeks later. These dialogs are valuable because they show conflicting opinions and allegations of fact on specific issues, where later writers directly respond to earlier ones. Occasionally there are rebuttals.
Here are some of those dialogs, in reverse chronological order (the most recent ones at the top). Most of the dialogs are about the Akaka bill; some are about other topics.
Dialog (August 9-11, 2019): Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. vs. Bill Fernandez, retired judge and mayor, regarding a list of Native Hawaiian historical grievances asserted as reasons why a project to construct a 30-meter telescope on Mauna Kea should be cancelled
3 Dialogs (mid-November 2017): Ken Conklin (plus several others) vs. Keokani Kipona Marciel (plus a couple serious supporters plus a troll). The main topic is the Treaty of Annexation between Hawaii and the U.S. (1898), but there is also some discussion about the Hawaiian revolution (1893). And then there's an off-topic debate over a troll's assertion that the Southern Poverty Law Center called Conklin a white racist.
Is there a Treaty of Annexation between Hawaii and the United States? Williamson Chang, Professor of Law at University of Hawaii, vs. Ken Conklin. The first dialog was published in the online newspaper Honolulu Civil Beat on December 17 and 18, 2015. The second dialog was published in The Garden Island [Island of Kaua'i newspaper] in several installments during January 2017. A webpage provides summaries of the dialogs plus full text with links to the published articles.
Dialog -- Ian Lind vs. Mark Umi Perkins regarding whether it is proper to poke fun at pretenders to the non-existent Hawaiian throne, whether Hawaii remains an independent nation, and other arcane topics.
This webpage was published on March 13, 2014, assembling essays by Ian Lind and Umi Perkins, and some comments by others, posted from February 26 to March 6 in Honolulu Civil Beat online newspaper and Hawaii Independent online newspaper.
On August 29, 2011 Ken Conklin published a webpage "So-called executive agreements between Hawaii Queen Liliuokalani and U.S. President Grover Cleveland -- the new Hawaiian history scam by Keanu Sai" at
On September 1, 2011 Conklin published a shortened summary of that webpage in Hawaii Reporter online newspaper, and it is copied in full on a dialog webpage.
On September 12, 2011 Keanu Sai published a response in Hawaii Reporter, which is copied in full on a dialog webpage. Sai's very lengthy essay was merely a self-serving summary of his views and a description of his personal history, along with a character assassination calling Conklin an angry, bitter and self-centered man" and "driven by anger and hate." In his essay, Sai repeatedly raised doubts whether Conklin truly has a Ph.D. However, his essay did not in any way respond to any of the specific points of fact and logic which Conklin had raised regarding Sai's theory about the "executive agreements." Thus, the "dialog" entered into by Sai was focused on personalities and credentials rather than any substantive debate concerning his bogus new scam.
Ken Conklin posted a lengthy comment on Hawaii Reporter which shows up at the bottom of Sai's article, and is copied in full on a dialog webpage. Conklin's comment provides confirmation from an independent investigative news report that Conklin really does have a Ph.D.; links to photocopies of refereed scholarly articles he published which include confirmation of his Ph.D. and his university affiliations; and links to audios and videos displaying that his personality is friendly and mellow, not angry or bitter. Conklin also takes note that Sai's essay was indeed angry and bitter, unlike Conklin's; and that Sai's essay never addressed the facts or logic which were the entire content of Conklin's September 1 article that Sai was allegedly responding to.
There were several other comments as well, by other people; and more comments and analysis on other blogs; and as many as can be found are posted in full on the dialog webpage.
Here's that dialog webpage:
Ken Conklin Ph.D. vs. Keanu Sai Ph.D. -- Dialog regarding a theory that Hawaii Queen Liliuokalani and U.S. President Grover Cleveland had executive agreements, still binding today, which would require the U.S. to disgorge Hawaii and recognize its continuing sovereign independence
Rowena Akana (OHA trustee at large) vs. Jere Krischel (Grassroot Institute of Hawaii) regarding the racism of the Akaka bill and the question whether anyone who criticizes the Akaka bill but lacks Hawaiian native blood is therefore racist.
On January 24, 2011 Hawaii Reporter published an analysis and full text of an e-mail dialog between OHA Trustee Rowena Akana and Grassroot Institute member Jere Krischel regarding the Akaka bill.
The dialog began with Akana’s published diatribe in the OHA monthly newspaper (circulation 60,000) in which Akana accused Krischel of being a racist. Akana had no idea that Krischel would write to her. Krischel then engaged in an e-mail dialog with Akana for several rounds, clearly and patiently explaining what’s wrong with the Akaka bill and defending his right to say it without being called a racist. He demanded an apology but never got one.
A writer for Grassroot Institute of Hawaii published an analysis of the e-mail exchange in Hawaii Reporter, which included lengthy excerpts from the e-mail exchange: “Office of Hawaiian Affairs: Rant vs. Reason on Race (A Debate)” at
Full text of OHA trustee Rowena Akana's article in the OHA newspaper, plus all the e-mails back and forth, are compiled in a pdf file at
The entire OHA newspaper for January, 2011 can be downloaded by clicking here. Keep in mind that it has circulation of about 60,000 copies, and is paid for with money belonging to the state government.
Dialog: Would the Akaka bill be a win/win solution to reconcile ethnic Hawaiian grievances in a way that restores harmony among all Hawaii citizens, or would it be a zero sum game where ethnic Hawaiians take money, land, and political power at the expense of everyone else? (1) On August 24, 2009 Professor Jon VanDyke published a commentary in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin claiming that passing the Akaka bill would be "a 'win-win' solution, addressing and resolving long-festering injustices, and encouraging our host people to once again play a major role in our economy and community." (2) On August 31, 2009 two leaders of Aloha For All, Tom Macdonald and attorney H. William Burgess, published a rebuttal in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. They say the Akaka bill is "a classic zero-sum game" because "Every dollar or acre of land transferred to the new governing body would be a dollar less, or an acre less, available for the benefit of everyone in Hawaii." Many related historical, legal, and moral issues are discussed in both essays, which are copied in full at
Dialog: Was there widespread, significant, organized opposition to Hawaii statehood by ethnic Hawaiians during the 1950s?
During August 2009 the Honolulu Advertiser published a series of articles by staff reporter Michael Tsai regarding the 50th anniversary of Hawaii statehood.
One of those articles, on August 9, 2009, described Native Hawaiian opposition to statehood during the 1950s, including the question whether opposition was widespread, significant, or organized. Following the merger of the Honolulu Advertiser and Star-Bulletin, the archives of the Advertiser have become degraded and hard to search. But this particular article reinforced the attitudes of the Hawaiian sovereignty activists who like to call Hawaii a "fake state." They like to say that in the 1950s there was strong opposition to statehood among ethnic Hawaiians, despite oppression which caused all of them except the powerful or affluent (like Alice Campbell) to remain silent. And so the article was saved, and remains available, on the DMZ (antiwar) website hosted by the American Friends Service Committee of Hawaii (Quakers).
In response, blogger Andrew Walden, editor of Hawaii Free Press, published a rebuttal on August 21, 2009 showing that the Advertiser article had misunderstood or actually twisted the facts about the testimony of Alice Campbell and other so-called opposition by Native Hawaiians. Walden has republished his own rebuttal article several times. Walden has numerous valuable footnotes, including many with clickable links.
Both articles are copied here:
Here is a collection of dialogs on the general topic whether ethnic Hawaiians should be entitled to special race-based rights. A prominently featured blog on the Honolulu Advertiser website is written by an ethnic Hawaiian activist with a Ph.D. and J.D., who insists that the world is binary (ethnic Hawaiians and non-ethnic-Hawaiians); and that ethnic Hawaiians should be entitled to government handouts in proportion to their percentage of native blood quantum; and that ethnic Hawaiians are at home in Hawaii in a way nobody else can ever truly be at home here. Defenders of unity and equality engage her in dialogs on her blog. The Akaka bill is not directly discussed, but its underlying assumptions about indigeneity and the apology resolution are debated.
See "Dialogs with a racist -- Bringing to public awareness the explicit, enthusiastic, and unapologetic racism of Trisha Kehaulani Watson, a featured blogger on the public website of the largest circulation newspaper in Hawaii" at:
The Indian tribes and organizations representing them have been very vigorous in supporting the Akaka bill. They claim that anyone who attacks the Akaka bill is also attacking the fundamental principles that justify tribal sovereignty. The tribes place a high priority on passing the Akaka bill as a way to protect their own right to exist as sovereign governments. But is that merely a diversionary tactic? Perhaps the genuine tribes hope a phony tribe will be established as a decoy so that current attacks on tribal sovereignty will instead be shifted to the new Akaka tribe. Ethnic Hawaiians are nothing like a real tribe; therefore there are unique reasons for defeating the Akaka bill in Congress, or ruling it unconstitutional in the courts, that will not have any impact on the sovereignty rights of genuine tribes. However, if the genuine tribes insist that the phony Akaka tribe is justified on the same basis and for the same reasons that justify the genuine tribes, then the genuine tribes will be hurt when Congress rejects those reasons and defeats the Akaka bill, or when the courts rule the Akaka tribe is unconstitutional.
Here is a dialog containing three essays on this topic, in chronological order: the first two are from the tribal perspective, while the last one is by Ken Conklin, an opponent of the Akaka bill.
(1) Article from Indian Country Today, February 16, 2007 entitled "Overcoming neocon campaign against Akaka Bill key for tribal rights"
(2) Article from Indian Country Today, June 16, 2009 entitled "Got Indigenous?" This article assumes that every group of "indigenous" people should have sovereign rights, so attacks on the Akaka bill are attacks against the principles that make Indian tribes sovereign.
(3) Article in Hawaii Reporter on July 8, 2009 entitled "The Akaka Bill Can be Rejected for Reasons that Do Not Attack the Legitimacy of the Genuine Indian Tribes"
Here's a dialog that is not directly about the Akaka bill, but discusses the apology resolution and the ceded lands, which are two of the most important aspects of the Akaka bill.
Dialog: Leon Siu vs. Ken Conklin regarding the U.S. Supreme Court ceded lands lawsuit
The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the State cannot sell ceded lands without permission from ethnic Hawaiians; but the State appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. On Wednesday October 1, 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari (i.e., it agrees to hear the case). This lawsuit is very important to Hawaii. It also has nationwide significance, as evidenced by the fact that the attorneys general of 29 other states submitted an amicus brief supporting the State of Hawaii's petition.
On October 13, 2008 Leon Siu published an article in Hawaii Reporter online newspaper describing the significance of the ceded lands lawsuit. On October 14 Ken Conklin published a response with a very different analysis and conclusion.
Leon Siu describes himself this way: "Leon Siu is the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Ke Aupuni O Hawaii, the Hawaiian Kingdom, and has served in that capacity since 2000. Prior to that, he served as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for four years.
Ken Conklin is a retired professor with a Ph.D. in Philosophy, maintains a large website on the subject of Hawaiian sovereignty, and has published a book entitled "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State." His webpage describing himself is at:
Leon Siu and Ken Conklin disagree with the State of Hawaii regarding the significance of the U.S. apology resolution of 1959, in which the U.S. apologized to "Native Hawaiians" for overthrowing the Kingdom of Hawaii, and the U.S. says that "Native Hawaiians" never relinquished their claims to their native lands. Siu and Conklin agree with each other that the apology resolution was badly mistaken in singling out the racial group "Native Hawaiians" as the only people to whom the apology is directed. Siu and Conklin agree that the Kingdom of Hawaii was multiracial. However, Siu claims that the apology resolution is a confession of a crime by the U.S. against the Kingdom of Hawaii, and that the remedy would be the return of sovereignty to an independent nation of Hawaii. Siu claims that the ceded lands belong to that nation of Hawaii. Conklin claims that the revolution of 1893 was legitimate, and that the successor government, the Republic of Hawaii, was internationally recognized as legitimate. Conklin claims that the Republic was the rightful owner of the ceded lands, and had the authority to cede them to the U.S.. Conklin concludes that today the ceded lands are owned by all the people of Hawaii without racial distinction, under the sovereignty of the United States and State of Hawaii. Thus the State has the right to sell the ceded lands.
Akaka Bill and Ethnic Hawaiian Entitlements -- Dialog -- Jere Krischel vs. OHA Chair Haunani Apoliona and others, January 2007
The Honolulu Advertiser printed a commentary by Jere Krischel. The commentary pointed out that U.S. Census data show that ethnic Hawaiians in other states, notably California, have higher income than the average for the population there. Furthermore, ethnic Hawaiians in California are doing far better than ethnic Hawaiians in Hawaii despite the fact that those in California do not receive the benefits provided in Hawaii by OHA, DHHL, etc. This raises the possibility that Hawaii's large number of racial entitlements are doing more harm than good.
The Advertiser has limited space. Therefore Jere Krischel published a longer version of his article in Hawaii Reporter, with more details.
Haunani Apoliona, Chair of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, wrote a reply co-authored by OHA's chief Administrator Clyde Namu'o. The reply was based on the original Advertiser article. Therefore both versions of the Krischel article are provided. The OHA reply defends the Hawaiian entitlements on the grounds that they are required by state law and that they are part of the birthright of Hawaii's "indigenous people."
Later, Mr. Krischel wrote a rebuttal in Hawaii Reporter, taking issue with the description of ethnic Hawaiians as "indigenous" and the concept that one racial group should have a birthright superior to others who were also born and raised in Hawaii (even for many generations).
Along the way there were short letters to editor from other writers.
At the end there are links to some webpages dealing with ethnic Hawaiian victimhood claims (including income and health statistics), the Akaka bill, and other Hawaiian sovereignty issues.
Three articles in Hawaii Reporter (on-line) regarding the "social justice" aspects of the Akaka bill.
Robert K. Fukuda was Deputy Attorney General of the Territory Of Hawaii from 1953 to 1959, and the attorney for the Hawaiian Homes Commission, an agency that managed and supervised the use of lands allocated to native Hawaiians for residential and agricultural uses. He was elected to the first Hawaii State Legislature, serving as a Representative from 1959 to 1962, served as the United States Attorney for the State of Hawaii from 1969 to 1973, and was in the United States Army in World War II working as a Japanese Language interpreter and translator.
Oswald K. Stender is currently (February 2006) Trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, an agency of the government of the State of Hawai'i that provides benefits on a racially exclusionary basis and is the primary source of funding for advertisements and lobbying in support of the Akaka bill. Mr. Stender was formerly Trustee of Kamehameha Schools.
Fukuda, January 27, 2006: "The Akaka Bill Would Legalize Racial Segregation"
Stender, February 1, 2006: "Akaka Bill Corrects Injustices of Past and Accounts for Present"
Fukuda, February 16, 2006: "Taking Issue With the Race-Based Direction of the Akaka Bill"
Four articles in Hawaii Reporter (on-line) in December 2005 and January 2005 regarding whether the Akaka bill is permissible under the U.S. Constitution. Attorney H. William Burgess and his wife Sandra Puanani Burgess are the founders of Aloha For All, a group of civil rights activists supporting the concepts of unity and equality. Mark J. Bennett is Attorney General of the State of Hawai'i. Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D., is an independent scholar living in Kane'ohe who is a member of Aloha For All. Bruce Fein is a constitutional attorney and international consultant at Bruce Fein & Associates and The Lichfield Group.
Burgess, December 17, 2004: "Don't Count on the Akaka Bill"
Bennett, December 20, 2004: "The Akaka Bill Would Be Constitutional"
Conklin, December 21, 2004: "Akaka Bill Is Unconstitutional and Bad Public Policy"
Fein, January 19, 2005: "E Pluribus Unum: Debating the Legality of the Akaka Bill"
Three articles in the Washington Times newspaper in October and November, 2004. Bruce Fein is a constitutional attorney and international consultant at Bruce Fein & Associates and The Lichfield Group. Sherry P. Broder is an attorney in private practice who has litigated many lawsuits for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for about twenty years. Her husband, Jon M. Van Dyke, is a professor of Constitutional and International Law at the University of Hawai'i law school; he has written numerous essays and legal documents for OHA and serves as occasional public spokesman for OHA in the media and the Legislature. Melody McKenzie is an attorney who wrote a handbook on Native Hawaiian rights many years ago, and has served as spokesman for OHA in various public forums. Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D., is an independent scholar living in Kane'ohe who is a member of Aloha For All.
Fein, October 5, 2004: "A Race-Based Drift?"
Broder, Van Dyke, and McKenzie: November 28, 2004: "Hawaii bill in line with U.S. political tradition"
Conklin, November 30, 2004: "Playing Racial Politics in Hawaii"
Three Choices For Hawai'i's Future: Akaka Bill vs. Independence vs. Unity and Equality
Three articles in April 2004 debated whether the best course for Hawai'i's future should be independence, the Akaka bill, or unity and equality.
Two articles were published side by side in the Honolulu Advertiser of April 25, 2004. One favored independence while the other favored the Akaka bill. As usual, the Advertiser ignored the third possibility of unity and equality. So that third position was put forward on April 26, 2004 in Hawaii Reporter (on-line).
University of Hawaii Professor Davianna McGregor was the author of the 1993 apology resolution in which Congress apologized to ethnic Hawaiians for the 1893 overthrow of the monarchy. In her article, she supports the Akaka bill as a way to save racially exclusionary government programs and institutions that benefit ethnic Hawaiians. She argues against the position of the Hawaiian sovereignty independence activists, who oppose the Akaka bill because it would make independence from the United States more difficult to achieve. "AKAKA BILL YES: Independence does not offer same guaranteed protection of Native rights"
The second article is opposed to the Akaka bill, by Wesleyan University Professor J. Kehaulani Kauanui. She opposes the Akaka bill on the grounds that it would place ethnic Hawaiians more firmly under the plenary power of Congress by treating them as though they are an Indian tribe, thereby making it even more difficult than at present for ethnic Hawaiians to demand independence from the United States. Kauanui's article is: "AKAKA BILL NO: Unnecessary bargain extinguishes all claims in exchange for recognition"
The third article is opposed to both independence and the Akaka bill, and supports the Aloha alternative of unity and equality. It concludes that the "debate" in The Honolulu Advertiser between Professor McGregor and Professor Kauanui is merely a debate over whether independence or tribal status would be the more effective way to guarantee racial supremacy to ethnic Hawaiians. It most definitely is not a debate over what would be the best future for all Hawaii's people.
The Progeny of Rice v. Cayetano: A Panel Discussion at University of Hawai'i Law School, And The Journal Articles It Spawned (Discussing The Lawsuits Following After and Based Upon Rice v. Cayetano)
On April 18, 2002 a panel discussion on "Rice and Its Progeny" was held at the University of Hawai'i, William S. Richardson School of Law. The Asian-Pacific Law and Policy Journal, published by the University of Hawai'i Press, subsequently included a collection of six articles on Rice and Its Progeny, in Volume 3, Issue 2, Summer, 2002. That issue of the journal, and its articles, are made available through the journal's website at
This forum, like all others at the University of Hawai'i on "Hawaiian" topics, was entirely one-sided: all panelists were supporters of ethnic Hawaiian racial supremacy through either independence or the Akaka bill. All three panelists were outspokenly hostile to the Supreme Court's decision in Rice v. Cayetano. All three panelists viciously attacked the four Rice progeny cases as being part of a racist conspiracy to undermine the civil rights or "indigenous rights" of Native Hawaiians. Although the panel was held at the UH Law School, its three members included only one junior member of the Law School faculty, one Hawaiian attorney who is a rabid political activist and recent OHA trustee, and one attorney from Idaho who is active in litigation on behalf of Indian tribes. The panel presentation, like so many other sovereignty rallies disguised as panel discussions at UH, was videotaped for future use in UH courses and perhaps for cable television broadcast.
Conspicuously missing from the panel, but sitting uninvited in the audience, was Mr. Patrick W. Hanifin. He was specifically not invited to serve on the panel, even though he is a graduate of Harvard, lives in Honolulu, is a partner in his law firm, has published scholarly articles in legal journals over a period of 20 years, and served as an attorney of record in three of the four Rice progeny cases (Arakaki #1, Barrett, and Arakaki #2). Someone at the Law School had informed him about the panel discussion, asked him to attend, and asked him to contribute a paper responding to the panelists in order to provide just a bit of balance to the published collection of articles. Another distinguished Honolulu attorney, Paul M. Sullivan, who opposes the Native Hawaiian recognition bill (also known as the Akaka bill), was also invited to write an article for balance.
Then, perhaps fearful of too much balance, an Associate Professor at the UH Law School was asked to write an article to balance the balancers. Professor Chris Ijima's published articles include such balanced titles as "Race over Rice ... Twenty-First Century Endorsement of Nineteenth Century Imperialism in Rice v. Cayetano", and "The Colonizer's Story: The Supreme Court Violates Native Hawaiian Sovereignty -- Again" published in the distinguished "Colorlines" magazine.
Here are the six articles: First the three panelists; then the balancers Patrick Hanifin and Paul Sullivan; then the balancer of the balancers, Chris Ijima. Anyone who reads all six articles will easily recognize the superior quality of the articles by Hanifin and Sullivan. An analysis of why the panel was so strongly biased is provided at
"Reaffirming the Racism of Hawaii's Colonial Past" by Mililani B. Trask
"Rice v. Cayetano: The Supreme Court Declines to Extend Federal Indian Law Principles to Native Hawaiins Sovereign Rights" by Jeanette Wolfley
"The Perpetuation of Privilege and Anti-Affirmative Action Sentiment in Rice v. Cayetano" by
"Rice is Right" by Patrick W. Hanifin
"'Recognizing' the Fifth Leg: The 'Akaka Bill' Proposal to Create a Native Hawaiian Government in the Wake of Rice v. Cayetano" by Paul M. Sullivan
"New Rice Recipes: The Legitimization of Continued Overthrow" by Chris K. Iijima
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