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Replacing Democracy and Individual Rights With Indigenous Communal (Group) Rights

Aloha dear readers. The first news story was reported on Tuesday, August 29, 2005. After reading it, I immediately thought about the other items shown after it. Please read the items in the order listed; then re-read the two Fiji items again. The big picture will become clear.


** Full text **


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Aug. 29, 2005) - Fiji’s prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says the Western concept of democracy is still alien to indigenous Fijians.

The Daily Post reports that Mr Qarase made the comment at a workshop for Commonwealth parliamentarians in Nadi.

Mr Qarase has called on the international community to understand how indigenous Fijians view western democracy.

He says the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, vesting every individual with equal rights, is directly opposed to the hierarchical social structure of indigenous Fijians.

He says chiefs are at the very apex by virtue of their birth and rank - the rest have a communal function in this hierarchy.

He says he has been surprised at how many people - mostly from overseas - have had difficulty in understanding this.

Mr Qarase says this is why some very experienced governments were unable to comprehend the nature of Fiji’s problems during the coups and urged solutions which reflected dangerously simplistic Western perspectives.

Radio New Zealand International:


Fiji and Hawai’i Compared -- Racial Supremacy By Law in Fiji Resembles What Hawaiian Sovereignty Activists Are Seeking (both Akaka bill and independence proposals)

Summary of the main points

The history of Fiji has many similarities to the history of Hawai'i; and recent ethnic strife in Fiji raises important questions for Hawai'i's future.

The Akaka bill, and proposals for Hawaiian independence, threaten to take Hawai’i down a path leading to the kind of social and political system that has plagued Fiji for many years, devastating Fiji’s economy and resulting in the violent overthrow of the government on several occasions in the past 20 years. This essay examines the history of Fiji and its recent ethnic strife, paying special attention to similarities to Hawai’i regarding voting rights, property rights, and racial supremacy written into law.

Fiji and Hawai'i are both tropical island archipelagos in the Pacific, separated from their neighbors by long distances across the ocean. In both Fiji and Hawai'i, non-native immigrants and their descendants (some with 8 generations of residence) have come to feel entitled to equal rights with the natives. But in both Fiji and Hawai'i, racial equality has been called into doubt in recent years, as some of the citizens with native ancestry assert with increasing stridency that they have a right to racial supremacy in political power and control of the land.

Indo-Fijians are Asian citizens of Fiji whose ancestors were from India. They desperately want to have the rights that Asians have in Hawai'i (Asians whose ancestors came from China, Japan, and the Phillipines rather than India). But the Native Fijians have always held racial supremacy by law, and in recent years have used their control of the military to overthrow democratically elected governments that threatened to give full equality to Asians and establish race-neutral laws.

In Hawai'i the Constitution of the United States theoretically guarantees that everyone must be treated equally by government, without regard to race. Asian immigrants and their descendants have long-since achieved theoretical equality under the law. They have full voting rights and property rights, and have obtained economic and political power on an equal basis with whites and natives. But some ethnic Hawaiians insist that Hawai’i rightfully belongs to themselves. They are doing everything possible to seize power for themselves and to relegate everyone else (Asians, whites, and African-Americans) to second-class citizenship just like the second-class citizenship Asian Indians now suffer in Fiji.


UNITED STATES PUBLIC LAW 103-150 (Apology Resolution)

103d Congress Joint Resolution 19
Nov. 23, 1993

** Excerpts regarding communal land tenure, aboriginal, indigenous; traditional beliefs, customs, and practices. **

To acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the January 17, 1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, and to offer an apology to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Whereas, prior to the arrival of the first Europeans in 1778, the Native Hawaiian people lived in a highly organized, self-sufficient, subsistent social system based on communal land tenure ...

Whereas, the indigenous Hawaiian people never directly relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national lands to the United States, either through their monarchy or through a plebiscite or referendum;

Whereas, the Native Hawaiian people are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territory, and their cultural identity in accordance with their own spiritual and traditional beliefs, customs, practices, language, and social institutions;

The Congress on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893, acknowledges the historical significance of this event which resulted in the suppression of the inherent sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people; ... recognizes and commends efforts of reconciliation initiated by the State of Hawaii ... apologizes to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893 with the ... deprivation of the rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination; ... expresses its commitment to acknowledge the ramifications of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, in order to provide a proper foundation for reconciliation between the United States and the Native Hawaiian people ... As used in this Joint Resolution, the term "Native Hawaiians" means any individual who is a descendent of the aboriginal people who, prior to 1778, occupied and exercised sovereignty in the area that now constitutes the State of Hawaii.


S.147 (AKAKA BILL) ** Excerpts focusing on "aboriginal, indigenous, native" **


Congress finds that--

(1) the Constitution vests Congress with the authority to address the conditions of the indigenous, native people of the United States;

(2) Native Hawaiians, the native people of the Hawaiian archipelago that is now part of the United States, are indigenous, native people of the United States;

(12) on November 23, 1993, Public Law 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510) (commonly known as the `Apology Resolution') was enacted into law, extending an apology on behalf of the United States to the native people of Hawaii for the United States' role in the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii;

(13) the Apology Resolution acknowledges that the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii occurred with the active participation of agents and citizens of the United States and further acknowledges that the Native Hawaiian people never directly relinquished to the United States their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people over their national lands, either through the Kingdom of Hawaii or through a plebiscite or referendum;

(14) the Apology Resolution expresses the commitment of Congress and the President to acknowledge the ramifications of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii; ...

(20) Congress--

(A) has declared that the United States has a special responsibility for the welfare of the native peoples of the United States, including Native Hawaiians;

(B) has identified Native Hawaiians as a distinct group of indigenous, native people of the United States within the scope of its authority under the Constitution, and has enacted scores of statutes on their behalf...


In this Act:

(1) ABORIGINAL, INDIGENOUS, NATIVE PEOPLE- The term `aboriginal, indigenous, native people' means people whom Congress has recognized as the original inhabitants of the lands that later became part of the United States and who exercised sovereignty in the areas that later became part of the United States.

(8) INDIGENOUS, NATIVE PEOPLE- The term `indigenous, native people' means the lineal descendants of the aboriginal, indigenous, native people of the United States.


(a) POLICY- The United States reaffirms that--

(1) Native Hawaiians are a unique and distinct, indigenous, native people with whom the United States has a special political and legal relationship;


Sunday, August 14, 2005

The U.S. Constitution provides for recognition of native rights

By Patricia Zell

** Excerpts **

The U.S. Constitution addresses the status of the indigenous, native people of America by stating that Congress has the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes."

That status is founded not upon considerations of race or ethnicity, but upon the reality that the indigenous, native people occupied and exercised sovereignty over the lands and territories that were later to become part of the United States.

Their sovereignty existed before the formation of the United States, and the Constitution recognizes their status as sovereigns, in the same clause of the Constitution that recognizes the sovereignty of the several states and the foreign nations.

The indigenous people of America are not all "Indians," nor are they all organized as "tribes," but they do share the same status under the U.S. Constitution and federal law -- a status that arises out of their  inherent sovereignty and the fact that their sovereignty pre-existed the formation of  the United States.

S.147 provides a process for the reorganization of a native Hawaiian government so that the indigenous, native people of Hawaii might give expression to their rights as one group of America's native people to self-determination and self-governance, consistent with U.S. policy of the past 35 years.

They did so not to establish racial or ethnic divisions but to strengthen the fabric of the multi-cultural society that is Hawaii, by honoring the legacy of the aboriginal, indigenous, native people of Hawaii whose culture, history, language and traditions ... serve as the foundation upon which governance in Hawaii is built.


Keala Kelly's opening & closing statements for Akaka Bill Forum, Aug 23, 2005. Held at Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Honolulu, Hawaii.

** Excerpts focusing on portraying ethnic Hawaiians as fundamentally different from the "foreigners" [who comprise 80% of Hawai'i's people], and having special rights to political power and control of the land. **

Keala Kelly's Opening statement

This legislation is primarily about money--- it’s about using American laws to control the land and resources of Hawai’i ...

I agreed to participate on this panel because I believe there needs to be a perspective here that represents Hawaiian voices that are outside of the American agenda. ... I want to remind all the Kanaka Maoli in this room that law was created to serve the needs of human beings, not the other way around. I believe that from the beginning of American imposition of laws in Hawai’i to the present, our experience with the US has been dehumanizing. ... believe it is an insult to the legacy of our ali’i, and that it undermines our spiritual and cultural kuleana as Hawaiians. Despite the assertion by others who insist that Hawaiians are no different than any average US citizen--- Hawaiians who know their history often see themselves as Hawaiian citizens, not Americans. ... The Kanaka Maoli never acquiesced to either the Fake Republic of Hawai’i or to the United States. Hawaiians are called citizens of the US but that has been done without consent. ... If we look at America through the eyes of our kupuna, what we see is the same country that helped overthrow the Kingdom. We see the same country whose political, economic and legal system has displaced the Kanaka Maoli ... We see a system that does not respect our ways as Hawaiians and therefore cannot provide us any real justice, only a poor imitation of justice that first and foremost satisfies the US.

Keala's closing remarks:

We know who we are. As Kanaka Maoli we know that we have sacred kuleana to each other and to this place. We know that surpasses any ideas or notions foreigners have about us no matter how many Akaka Bills are thrown our way. ... Hawaiians oppose this bill because they know it’s an attempt to make us acquiesce to the overthrow.

Joseph Nawahi, a fellow Kanaka Maoli journalist, gave a speech to a crowd of 7000 Hawaiians on July 2, 1894, two days before the fake Republic of Hawai’i announced their constitution. In it, Nawahi said: “The house of government belongs to us, as the Kamehameha’s built it. We have been ousted by trespassers who entered our house and who are telling us to go and live in a lei stand that they plan to build and force us all into. I am telling you, my fellow maka’ainana, we should not agree in the least.” ... your kuleana remains the same as the kuleana all our ancestors had. That is our inheritance, that is our entitlement, that is our true legacy.


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