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The Crown Lands of Hawaii -- Book by Professor Jon Van Dyke, book review by attorney Paul M. Sullivan, and links to some related materials available on the internet.

The book is: Jon M. Van Dyke, "Who Owns the Crown lands of Hawai'i?" (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2008).

Attorney Paul M. Sullivan's review of Mr. Van Dyke's book has the following citation:

Paul M. Sullivan, "A Very Durable Myth: A Critical Commentary on Jon Van Dyke's 'Who Owns the Crown Lands of Hawaii?' (University of Hawai'i Law Review, Vol. 31, No. 2, Fall 2008, pp. 341-368).

The book review can be downloaded in pdf format here:



For many years there has been a persistent myth that the public lands of Hawaii, ceded to the U.S. at annexation in 1898 and returned to the new State of Hawaii in 1959, belong to ethnic Hawaiians collectively. Even if such a claim cannot be sustained legally, sovereignty activists believe it is a righteous moral claim that must be acknowledged as part of the "reconciliation" process to give reparations to ethnic Hawaiians for the overthrow of the monarchy and colonization of their ancestral homeland. Even if the government lands of the monarchy belonged to the government and not to ethnic Hawaiians, then at least the crown lands belonged to ethnic Hawaiians. And even if the crown lands were technically owned by the monarch, or were later owned by the government for the support of the monarch, nevertheless the monarch was acting as head of a family (race) on behalf of the collective of ethnic Hawaiians. That's the myth being taught to school children and college students in Hawaii today. That's the myth being indoctrinated into students at the UH law school. That's the myth included in the apology resolution, and in the Akaka bill.

For a general analysis of the ceded lands issue, see: "Ceded Lands Belong to All the People of Hawai'i; There Should Be No Racial Allocation of Ceded Lands or Their Revenues" at:

An initial lawsuit by OHA and four individual ethnic Hawaiians, to prohibit the state from selling any ceded lands, had been dragging on for several years. On November 20, 2001 trial began before Circuit Judge Sabrina McKenna. On December 5, 2002 Judge McKenna ruled against OHA and said the state can sell ceded lands. OHA appealed to the state Supreme Court. By 2006 everyone was wondering when a decision would be handed down from a slow and dysfunctional state Supreme Court.

Meantime lawsuits and negotiations were underway regarding so-called "back rent" allegedly owed to OHA for the state's use of (its own!) ceded lands. The issue of "back rent" was not necessarily related to the question whether ceded lands can be sold, but the overhanging lawsuit made both sides nervous regarding the "back rent" issue. During 2007 the State of Hawaii Office of Hawaiian Affairs was secretly negotiating with the Governor and Attorney General of the State of Hawaii (left hand negotiating with right hand) to reach a "settlement." An agreement was reached, and held secret until the opening day of the 2008 legislative session, at which time it exploded into the public arena in the form of a bill awaiting enactment. The hope was clearly to push the bill through the legislature before there was time to develop public opposition. Meantime, OHA had asked UH Professor Jon Van Dyke to write a book laying out OHA's theory of collective ethnic ownership of the crown lands. The book's publication was timed for maximum publicity just before the settlement agreement was introduced in the legislature.

On January 31, 2008, two weeks after opening day at the Legislature, the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii reversed Judge McKenna's decision, by a 5-0 vote.

Perhaps Van Dyke's book had influenced the Court's decision. Perhaps the settlement bill in the Legislature had prompted the Court to make a ruling without further delay.

The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. apology resolution of 1993 requires the State of Hawaii not to sell any parcels of ceded lands until the state has reached a settlement with ethnic Hawaiians. However, the State of Hawaii appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, with supporting amicus briefs from more than 30 other states and several property-rights and civil rights organizations. The result was a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 31, 2009 overturning the Hawaii Supreme Court decision. A very large webpage includes all major decisions along the way, all briefs by principals and amici in the Supreme Court, and all significant news reports and commentaries:

During a period of about two decades Jon Van Dyke and his wife Sherry Broder, both attorneys, have been paid many millions of dollars in legal fees for representing OHA in lawsuits, for writing legislative bills and testifying on them, for writing essays for the newspapers and appearing on television and radio programs defending OHA, Kamehameha Schools admissions policy, the Akaka bill, and all manner of race-based topics; even though neither of them has any native blood. Their son Jesse Broder Van Dyke now works as public relations spokesman for Senator Dan Akaka. Special rights for ethnic Hawaiians is their family's cottage industry, and has made them very wealthy.

Although Van Dyke is a Professor of Law at UH and his book is laced with footnotes giving the impression of scholarliness, it is merely another in a long string of Van Dyke's propaganda pieces for his patron OHA. Van Dyke steamrolls the OHA party line, not attempting to explore or even refer to major arguments from other perspectives, and not providing the fair and balanced analysis one would expect in academic work.

Fortunately we have Paul M. Sullivan, an attorney who has previously written scholarly analyses skeptical of race-based claims by ethnic Hawaiians. Sullivan has an ongoing career of full-time employment working on non-political legal matters for federal agencies. His scholarly writing is done in his spare time, at his own expense, as an act of patriotism for our country, support for fundamental Constitutional principles, and a desire to protect unity and equality for people of all races.



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). In addition to providing links to full text of all the related articles published in the Asian-Pacific Law and Policy Journal, this webpage also reviews the highly politicized, ruthlessly one-sided forum on this topic at the University of Hawaii Law School, where Jon Van Dyke is a professor.

Here is Paul M. Sullivan's article, which he cited in his book review: "'Recognizing' the Fifth Leg: The 'Akaka Bill' Proposal to Create a Native Hawaiian Government in the Wake of Rice v. Cayetano":

Here is Patrick W. Hanifin's article, cited by Paul Sullivan in his book review: "Rice is Right"


Paul M. Sullivan, "Customary Revolutions: The Law of Custom and the Conflict of Traditions in Hawaii" was cited by Mr. Sullivan in his book review.


Attorney Paul M. Sullivan has repeatedly written point-by-point analyses of various versions of the Akaka bill (Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill). His first analysis was written in 2001 for S.81, which had identical content to the bills H.R.404 which passed the House in 2000 and S.2899 which nearly passed the Senate just before Christmas 2000. The current version of the Akaka bill in 2009 has its first 9 sections identical with the first 9 sections of S.81 from 2001. Thus, Mr. Sullivan's point by point analysis remains precisely on target. See

Mr. Sullivan's most recent analysis of the Akaka bill was done for the version S.310/H.R.505 that was in play throughout the 110th Congress, 2007-2008. His monograph, in pdf format, includes cartoons by Darryl Cagle. "Killing Aloha" -- The 'Akaka Bill' is wrong for Native Hawaiians, wrong for the State of Hawai'i and wrong for the United States. Here's why."


Thurston Twigg-Smith, "HAWAIIAN SOVEREIGNTY: DO THE FACTS MATTER?" (Honolulu, HI: Goodale Publishing, 1998). This book focuses on the revolution of 1893 that overthrew the monarchy, and the annexation of Hawai'i to the United States (1898). Paul Sullivan's book review referred to Chapter 10 which provides some refutations of the 1993 apology resolution. The entire Twigg-Smith book can be downloaded in pdf format at


"Hawaii Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand" Major monograph by constitutional law scholar Bruce Fein opposing the Akaka bill, was reprinted in the Congressional Record in three installments. Mr. Sullivan referred to this monograph in his book review because a major portion of the monograph is devoted to a point-by-point refutation of the apology resolution.


Native Hawaiians Study Commission, full text of the report cited repeatedly by Mr. Sullivan in his book review.


Liliuokalani v. United States, 45 Ct. Cl. 418 (1910) cited by Mr. Sullivan: Her complaint and the Court's decision, are available in full at


Rice v. Cayetano, 528 U.S. 495 (2000) cited by Mr. Sullivan; text and analysis available at


See also the book by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D., "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State"


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