Anti-American 4th of July Hawaiian Sovereignty Rally at 'Iolani Palace, July 4, 2002

(c) Copyright 2002, Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved

Hawaiian sovereignty activists like to take U.S. holidays and abuse them for their own purposes. The activists know everyone has the day off work or school, so it's a good chance to have a rally everyone can attend. It's also a chance to undermine people's love for America by trashing the military, trashing American values, criticizing American foreign policy, and making propaganda for their agenda of ripping the 50th star off the flag. American holidays can be hijacked for hawaiian sovereignty purposes, and historical Hawaiian Kingdom holidays can also be distorted by ignoring the contributions of non-kanaka-maoli to those holidays in the multiracial Kingdom. See:

July 4, 2002 the activists did their thing: they set up a tent on the grounds of 'Iolani museum, brought chairs for an audience, a podium and lecterns, large Hawaiian flags, and a great collection of 'Olelo TV videorecorders, microphones, music equipment, etc. Perhaps 50 people attended all together, at various times between 9 AM and 4 PM. The news media were invited. A carefully arranged program had been prepared, under the leadership of Hayden Burgess, alias Poka Laenui. Pre-arranged speakers gave their carefully orchestrated speeches. Did they have a permit to use the park for such an organized event? (a difficult question, because to get a permit would be to submit to the authority of the "puppet" State of Hawai'i)

July 4, 1894 was the date when President Sanford B. Dole stood on the steps of 'Iolani Palace and proclaimed the Republic of Hawai'i, replacing the Provisional Government which had overthrown the monarchy on January 17, 1893. This date has been used for many years as an occasion for sovereignty meetings or protest rallies at what is today a museum.

The event on July 4, 2002 was set up in four segments of an hour each: (1) Examine the U.S. Declaration of Independence of 1776 in order to show that it was and still is more a propaganda tool than a sacred document of fundamental principles truly embraced by America (especially in view of American slavery and America's current "illegal military occupation of Hawai'i"). (2) Examine the events of 1893-1898 in Hawai'i, when the U.S. staged "an armed invasion of Hawai'i, took over the government, and established a puppet regime which then got Hawai'i illegally annexed to the U.S." (3) Examine the events of today, when the U.S. "continues its illegal occupation of Hawai'i, and projects its military power to invade other nations and murder thousands of innocent people." (4) Have a panel discussion where the activists (re)state their predetermined conclusions.

These events often include an "open microphone" where audience members can step forward to express their views. Since everyone attending these sovereignty rallies is usually in favor of the sovereignty agenda, the "open microphone" speakers are usually just saying "amen" and "witnessing" their own solidarity, just as religious zealots like to "witness" for Jesus on streetcorners or doorsteps. Under such circumstances, proclaiming an "open microphone" gives an impression of democratic free speech even while powerful social pressure prevents any opposition. In 2001 I, a known opponent of the sovereignty agenda, took the very unusual step of requesting a few minutes to speak against the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill (Akaka bill). The July 4 rallies are controlled by the independence-oriented sovereignty activists, who are also opposed to this bill; so they were willing to hear me, but very nervous and fearful about what I might say. But they did allow me to speak for 2-3 minutes, with a prearranged immediate reply by Hayden Burgess, alias Poka Laenui, who said while he agreed with my opposition to the Akaka bill he regarded me as a "wolf in sheep's clothing" because I was giving the outward appearance of agreeing with them while harboring an evil anti-sovereignty interior.

On July 4, 2002, I once again made use of the open microphone. Knowing ahead of time how the program would be organized (it was announced on a mass e-mail from hawaii-nation), I was able to prepare short 3-minute speeches for each of the first three segments. I was, of course, the only nay-sayer to speak all day long, and was greeted with considerable hostility from some members of the audience. Nevertheless I was able to deliver most of the contents of the first two speeches. The third one was never delivered due to lack of time after a very lengthy rant-and-rave from "A'opohaku Ku" Rodenhurst, leader of the "spiritual nation of Ku," who used the word "fornicator" at least half a dozen times during her speech (was she proclaiming herself an expert, perhaps, or making an offer? Hmmmm ...).

Here is the full content of my three speeches. The third one never got delivered at all, and the first two were slightly different as actually delivered due to the exigencies of time and audience pressure.


(1) Compare the U.S. Declaration of Independence of 1776 against Hawai'i in 1776.

3 Minutes Please! Aloha Kakou!

I regret that some folks see the United States as their enemy. They trash the U.S. to undermine Hawai'i Statehood. The U.S. Declaration of Independence is indeed a sacred document for America AND FOR HAWAI'I and for all the world. It offers the noblest concepts of human rights, giving us something to strive for.

Of course we fall short of our ideals -- that's what makes ideals worth striving for. We believe in the 10 Commandments even though we break them every day. I resolve to lose weight, and then sit down with a box of ice cream. The authors of the Declaration of Independence were slave owners; but their ideals led America to abolish slavery. Women did not have the vote, but eventually they got it. America has made progress.

The Declaration of Independence established lofty ideals in 1776. What human rights ideals did Hawai'i have in 1776? Two years before Captain Cook came to Hawai'i, remember that Hawai'i had total independence. Total freedom from any outside contact for many centuries. Hawai'i in 1776 was exactly the way Hawaiians wanted it to be. And it would still be that way today if the ideals of human rights had not been introduced from Britain, America, and France. This is not to trash Hawaiian culture, of course; we're only talking here about HUMAN RIGHTS and how we got them.

Hawai'i in 1776 -- Might makes right. Constant warfare and civilian slaughter. Death penalty for stepping on an ali'i's shadow. Outcast slaves, called kauwa. Human sacrifice of totally innocent victims on religious altars. No right to life OR liberty OR the pursuit of happiness. No government deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed. Women forced to move out and live in a different house for 5 days every month because they were "unclean." Women given the death penalty for eating pork, bananas, or coconuts; or for eating with men. And we know that's the way Hawaiians wanted it, because nobody had interfered with them for centuries. Without the concepts brought to Hawai'i from England, France, and America, kanaka maoli today would still be back in the stone age on human rights.

Hawai'i was inspired by the principles of the French revolution, the English common law, and by America's sacred documents, as can easily be seen by looking at the Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1839, and the 4 Kingdom Constitutions of 1840, 1852, 1864, and yes, even 1887. At no time during the Hawaiian Kingdom were women ever allowed to vote -- maybe they were waiting for America to show the way, which didn't happen in time before the Kingdom ended.

The concepts of the rule of law, 3 branches of government (executiuve, legislative, judicial), bicameral legislature, and much of the actual language was adopted by the sovereign monarchs from American sacred documents. You dare not trash these American sacred documents, because in doing so you also trash the fundamental aspirations of the kanaka maoli throughout the Kingdom period and ever since.


(2) 1893-1898 Hawai'i.

The Bayonet Constitution of 1887 was clearly a revolution, forced upon an unwilling King Kalakaua. And it was accomplished entirely by local residents, without any U.S. intervention.

In 1893 the corrupt, powerless, figurehead monarchy was finally overthrown completely. I may be mistaken on the exact number, but approximately 1500 armed local members of the Honolulu Rifles did all the heavy lifting, took over buildings, and disarmed the royal militia; while 162 U.S. soldiers stood by quietly.

The revolutionary Provisional Government was just like any other revolutionary government, using guns to enforce martial law. Very undemocratic, just like in Russia 24 years later, or many African and South American governments today. But unlike Russia, where the Tsar and his whole family were shot in the head, and unlike France where royalty had their heads chopped off, in Hawai'i the ex-queen simply walked to her nearby home (Washington Place). Her human rights were respected.

The new American President Grover Cleveland objected to the overthrow, withdrew a proposed treaty of annexation, and demanded the ex-queen be restored to the throne. Hawai'i President Sanford B. Dole REFUSED. Since President Cleveland was commander-in-chief of the U.S. military, he soon removed all U.S. military from Hawai'i. The Provisional Government decided it should establish a Constitution and a Legislature. 108 years ago, right here on these 'Iolani Palace steps, the Republic of Hawai'i was born -- an independent nation with all the diplomatic relations of the Kingdom. The Republic held power for 4 years, despite a hostile President Cleveland and an armed Wilcox counterrevolution using arms secretly smuggled with the help of the United States. There was NO U.S. occupation of Hawai'i during the 4 years of the Republic. The Republic had the right to negotiate on behalf of Hawai'i, just as the Communist dictatorships of China and Cuba have that right today to negotiate for their nations.

And the Republic of Hawai’i was so respectful of human and political rights that it allowed opposition newspapers to be published in English and Hawaiian languages, and allowed royalists to circulate a petition against annexation which gathered over 21,000 signatures. The same ex-queen who had allowed Wilcox to hide rifles in her flower garden to overthrow the Republic, was then pardoned and allowed to travel to Washington to oppose the Republic’s most cherished objective -- annexation. Not only human rights, but the rights of political opponents (who in some countries even today would be shot for treason) were respected.

Let those who so bitterly resent the proclaiming of the Republic of Hawai'i in 1894 answer this question: Would it have been better to keep the revolutionary Provisional Government in power for 4 more years, ruling by decree under martial law? Or was it better to have the Republic, including a House of Representatives whose Speaker of the House was kanaka maoli, and a Constitution guaranteeing basic human rights, that was adopted by a vote of thousands of citizens (although not a majority.


(3) Right Now, 2002 U.S. and Hawai'i.

Hawai'i as the 50th State has both the State and Federal Constitutions, guaranteeing equal rights under law. Soon we will have another free election where everyone gets one vote, equally. We all get to vote on everything, equally, regardless of race (even OHA!!). We all get to own property everywhere equally (except DHHL!!) Shall we replace that by a Hawai'i where some people have special voting rights and special property rights because of their race? Where there are two classes of citizenship -- full citizens who are "indigenous," and second-class citizens who lack the so-called indigenous blood? 'A'OLE !!

I love my country and its sacred documents. Sometimes I hear Hawaiian activists saying non-Hawaiians cannot possibly understand Hawaiian "deeeeep" culture: ola, lokahi, aloha. But actually, that "deeeeep culture" of Hawai'i includes many centuries of warfare, civilian slaughter, human sacrifice, slavery, and repression of women, until Western contact brought Hawaiians new cultural values. If it's OK to suppose newcomers cannot understand Hawaiian deeeep culture, then obviously that would mean Hawaiians cannot understand American deeeeep culture and its aspiration to achieve its sacred principles of equality, unity, and brotherhood. What a shame. Kaumaha no au i ko lakou na'au po. (I am indeed saddened by their ignorance). I guess that explains why Hawaiian activists keep trying to promote racial supremacy (not equality) and racial separatism (not unity).

To those like Kyle Kajihiro and Poka Laenui who trash America for its current military activity abroad and emergency anti-terrorism restrictions at home, I have something to say. Even if your worst fears of American injustice were true, that would pale by comparison to the way Hawai’i was in 1776 and the way Kamehameha ran his campaign of slaughter in 1787.

For those who trash the United States for its current exercise of restrained military might as the most powerful nation on earth, I have a Hawaiian analogy. For those who trash America every time our military accidentally kills a civilian, I have an analogy. For those self-proclaimed non-Americans who object to my country's wartime emergency powers temporarily infringing on certain legal rights, I have a Hawaiian analogy. If your worst fears about America come true, then Kamehameha was to a chaotic Hawai'i in 1787 as America is to the chaotic world in 2002. In a world where international law is still more a dream than a reality, strong leadership is needed. For a while, some rights will be trampled, and some innocent people will accidentally get killed. But in the end, the conqueror will impose peace and the rule of law. And in the meantime we will exercise our power with far more restraint and respect for civil rights than Kamehameha Ka Na’i Aupuni did in unifying these islands. That’s because at least WE HAVE sacred principles of human and political rights, and courts to uphold them, unlike Kamehameha.

** Note added July 4, 2005: Secessionist sentiment in Hawai'i remains active in 2005. On our nation's most patriotic holiday, July 4, the grouping of several newspaper letters, and an editorial, lead readers to compare the American desire for independence from a tyrannical British colonial occupation, with the (alleged) desire of ethnic Hawaiians for independence from a tyrannical ongoing American occupation of Hawai'i. See: "4th of July in Hawai'i 2005 -- Patriotism or What? (secessionist thrust of newspaper letters and editorials)" at

(c) Copyright 2002 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved