with Native Hawaiians"
On Rejecting the Akaka Billby Kekuni Blaisdell
Honolulu, Ka Pae'äina (Hawai'i)
We of the Kanaka Maoli Tribunal Kömike mahalo (thank) you for this opportunity to express our rejection of S 2899 and HR 4904, Policy of the US Regarding the US' Relationship with Native Hawaiians and for Other Purposes, also known as the Akaka Trust Recognition Bill, introduced in the US Congress July 20, 2000.
After summarizing the three main reasons for our rejection of the Akaka legislation, we conclude with our alternative recommendations for peaceful and pono (true, right, just) exercise of our Kanaka Maoli inherent sovereignty, pursuit of our Kanaka Maoli self-determination and US recognition of our restored Kanaka Maoli nation, as provided by your US Constitution, international law and our Kanaka Maoli law.
Our first reason for rejecting the Akaka Bill is that because of the bill's unstated racist purpose, we Känaka Maoli are being rushed into further US colonial subordination, rather than freedom and equality with the US and other nations, as the distinct Kanaka Maoli people and nation of our homeland Ka Pae'äina o Ka Moananui (The Hawaiian Archipelago).
The alleged, but unspecified, purpose of the bill, according to its authors, is to "protect" US Federal programs and other agencies, such as the Ali'i Trusts, now attempting to meet Kanaka Maoli needs from being judged "race-based " violations of the Fifteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. This was the ruling of the US Supreme Court on February 23, 2000., when the court struck down Kanaka Maoli-only voting for State of Hawai'i Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees.
Such hurried protection is sought by calling for US formal recognition of a US trust government-to-government relationship to our Känaka Maoli people, similar to that of "quasi-sovereign" American Indians and Alaska Natives, since such a relationship has been ruled by US courts to be political, but not race-based, and therefore, constitutional.
However, the irony is that this proposed trust relationship is in itself racist, for under Federal Indian Control Law, it will thereby subjugate us Känaka Maoli as a people to permanent Federal wardship, in addition to State of Hawai'i wardship, as a "domestic dependent nation," under the "plenary power of Congress." We Känaka Maoli will be reduced from current second-class status to that of a third-class "quasi-sovereign" with a puppet government under the US Interior and Justice Departments.
Should this bill become US law, the Kanaka Maoli sovereignty movement will be effectively destroyed. The US will be able to announce to the world family of nations that we Kanaka Maoli have freely chosen to become "Native Americans." This will be construed to mean that we Känaka Maoli have thereby directly relinquished our inherent sovereignty and right to self-determination.
A second, unstated purpose of the Akaka Bill is that the US will then be able to exercise undisputed jurisdiction and claim title over our homeland of Ka Pae'äina to assure US domination of the Pacific Basin and Rim.
This US imperialistic policy was formulated as early as 1873 by US spy Gen. John Schofield and US navy strategist Capt. Alfred Mahan. The policy was implemented by US Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt and US Secretary of State James Blaine at the time of the US armed invasion of our homeland in 1893. This policy is now deemed officially essential for US neocolonial global superpower domination under the label of "US military and economic security."
Because we Känaka Maoli have been colonized by the US for more than 200 years, it is only in modern times, such as during the August 1993 Kanaka Maoli Tribunal, that we have learned that our grave Kanaka Maoli health, socio-economic and cultural plight is a result of two centuries of US colonialism, as detailed in the attached Kanaka Maoli Tribunal Mana'o Report .
Current US Federal programs and funds are meager, promote colonial dependency and are now being used to woo Kanaka Maoli support for the Akaka legislation.
Moreover, these Federally-funded programs are negligible compared to the resources rightfully due us colonized Känaka Maoli with the right to political equality, as a separate people and nation, under the UN Charter, Chapter XI, Article 73, pursuing decolonization, as provided by UN General Assembly Resolutions (UNGAR) 742, 1514, 1541 and 2625. (See below under VI. Recommendations.)
As recorded in the attached 1993 Kanaka Maoli Tribunal Mano'o Report, under these UN provisions, the colonizing US owes us Kanaka Maoli people and nation reparations for damages, return of our stolen national lands, payment of back-rent for US use of our lands and return of our jurisdiction over all of our Ka Pae'äina territory, as a start toward full restitution for more than 200 years of US wrongs committed against us, including 102 years of belligerent military occupation.
Accordingly, we are determined to protect these fundamental rights and assets inherited from our ancestors and not exchange them for mere "protection" of token "entitlements" under the deceptive guise of promised "right to self-determination" by the US colonial establishment.
The second reason we reject the Akaka trust recognition bill is because it results from a top-down, anti-democratic process initiated and now rushed by the US Hawai'i congressional delegation/Native Hawaiian Task Force beginning in March 2000.
Since we Kanaka Maoli people did not initiate this process, we do not have full input in it, and we do not have final consent on the outcome, the process is a blatant violation of our inherent Kanaka Maoli sovereignty and right to self-determination.
We Känaka Maoli are also disappointed that in spite or our direct appeals to Sen. Daniel Akaka with our objections on April 24 and May 31, 2000, the Hawai'i Congressional Native Hawaiian Task Force has persisted in pushing this imposed pre-determined puppet political structure on us Kanaka Maoli people and nation.
We need to be cognizant that a US government official, such as Senator Akaka, even though he be of Kanaka Maoli ancestry, as well as the other non-Kanaka Maoli US Congresspersons not of Kanaka Maoli ancestry, cannot represent us Kanaka Maoli people, because they represent a nation foreign to our colonized Kanaka Maoli people and nation.
Similarly, State of Hawai'i officials, such as the OHA trustees, who testify for the Akaka Bill, although they may be of Kanaka Maoli ancestry, cannot represent us Känaka Maoli, because they, too, represent the foreign colonial establishment.
While Senators Inouye and Akaka claim, in the August 20 , 2000 Sunday Advertiser, that their Native Hawaiian Task Force's Native Hawaiian Community Working Group (NHCWG) "reflects a cross-section of the Native Hawaiian community" and that these senators "made every effort to ensure that information regarding the drafting of legislation has been open, public and available to the people," these statements are refuted by the following evidence:
Most of the 25 members of the NHCWG are linked to colonial government programs and all members present at the first public meeting with the Task Force in April 2000, dutifully agreed to assist in the proposed legislation in advance. Some neighbor island NHCWG members later complained that they were not provided with travel funds to meet weekly in Honolulu, and some NHCWG members openly stated that no travel funds were available to meet with neighbor island Kanaka Maoli community people.
Some NHCWG members have quietly admitted ambivalence and refused to participate fully, such as in these hearings. Non-members were not regularly allowed to speak at NHCWG meetings. NHCWG meetings' records with recommendations were not distributed in Kanaka Maoli communities for input and review.
Some NHCWG members complained that they never had any exchange or communication with the other four working groups, all of whom were government officials or non-Känaka Maoli consultants. No reports of the five working groups have been officially released for public review by our Kanaka Maoli people. Only one of the working groups, the NHCWG, was all-Kanaka Maoli and most of its members were colonial establishment insiders.
The report of the December 1999 "Reconciliation" Hearings, promised by the Department of Interior's John Berry and Department of Justice's Mark Van Norman for review by the Känaka Maoli community by February 2000, was finally released to us Kanaka Maoli people on August 23, on the eve of these August 28 to September 1 Akaka Bill Hearings.
The report's deceptive title, From Mauka to Makai: The River of Justice Must Flow Freely, cannot hide the late, but propitious, timing and content of the Interior/Justice report. The report contains much of the same language and proposed structure as the Akaka Bill. Thus, it is clearly a product of the same colonial, interagency, top-down, unilateral process for an imposed pre-determined puppet government on our Kanaka Maoli people for the US to maintain control of our people and our territory for US global domination.
The third reason for our rejection of the Akaka Bill is the content of the legislation, with a process for development of a unilaterally imposed, subordinate political structure for our Kanaka Maoli people and nation, that is racist and demeaning with numerous distortions, misrepresentations and contradictions.
Following are some specific examples of such unacceptable defects in order of numbered sections and paragraphs.
Title. We reject the title of the bill for it reflects the unilateral action of the US Congress in predetermining and imposing a subordinate relationship of our Kanaka Maoli people and nation to the US, when we are a separate people and nation with a right to equality .
Section 1. Findings. (1) (2). We reject the finding of the US Congress that the US Constitution vests the US Congress with the authority to address the conditions of us Känaka Maoli as "indigenous, native people of the US."
We Känaka Maoli are a separate people and nation with our own cosmology, history, culture, language, laws, institutions and national territory. In 1893, our homeland was unlawfully invaded by US armed forces and since 1898, we have been unlawfully occupied by the US, in violation of treaties, international law, and Kanaka Maoli law, as detailed in the 1993 Kanaka Maoli Tribunal Report and acknowledged in the 1993 US Apology Resolution.
Earlier, in 1946, the UN also recognized our separate status when the US accepted and acknowledged as "a sacred trust," Hawai'i's inscription on the UN List of Non-Self-Governing Territories, as recorded in UN General Assembly Resolution 66. Therefore, the US Constitution, as an instrument of a nation foreign to us Känaka Maoli people and nation, has no lawful authority over us.
Moreover, the US Constitution makes no reference to "indigenous, native peoples of the US" nor to us Känaka Maoli and our homeland, as alleged in the Akaka Bill. We Känaka Maoli people have previously and repeatedly asserted that we are indigenous to our homeland of Ka Pae'äina, but not to the US.
(3) We reject the Akaka bill's clause referring to the US's "special trust relationship to promote the welfare of...Native Hawaiians." The bill does not state that this "trust" is a unilaterally imposed, ambiguous, and continually abused series of alleged and implied, but not clearly specified, "trusts," since 1898 and 1921, with various "trustees" and varying "beneficiaries," and without initiation, input nor explicitly informed consent by our Kanaka Maoli people and nation.
(4) We reject the clause referring to the five treaties between the US and the Hawaiian Kingdom from 1826 to 1887. - No reference is made to the US's repeated violation of these treaties, international law, Kanaka Maoli law, and the US Constitution as "the supreme law of the land," as specified in the Kanaka Maoli Tribunal Mana'o Report and, in part, in the US Apology Resolution. - No reference is made to proper US redress for these US violations. (See below under IV. Recommendations.)
(5), (6), (7) (8) We reject the four clauses referring to the US Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA), initially enacted in 1921, because of inaccuracies and the following major omissions: - No reference is made to the legislation's imposed racist blood-quantum definition of "native Hawaiian" which has continued to divide our Kanaka Maoli people and nation. - No reference is made to the HHCA's exclusion of desirable Kanaka Maoli crown and government sugar lands for our people because most of these lands were reserved for white settlers; - No reference is made to the allocation of mostly arid lands for our Kanaka Maoli people in our homeland; - No reference is made to the assignment, after 70 years, of less than 30% of the separated HHCÅ lands to less than 7,000 eligible Känaka Maoli, while 20,000 eligible Känaka Maoli remain on the waiting list; and more than 60% of the lands were assigned to non-eligible non-Känaka Maoli, including US, Territorial and State agencies, the military, corporations and other private parties. - No reference is made to the failure, during the first 70 years, of the colonial US, Territorial and State governments to provide adequate funds to administer the Hawaiian Homes Lands rehabilitation program.
(9), (10) (11) We reject the three clauses referring to the US 1993 Apology Resolution (PL 103-150) for the following major omissions:
- No reference is made to the Apology Resolution's 6th and 8th whereas clauses concerning the 1893 US's conspiracy, armed invasion and recognition of the unlawful usurpers' Provisional Government, "in violation of treaties between the two nations and international law." - No reference is made to the 32nd clause that "the health and well-being of the Native Hawaiian people is intrinsically tied to their deep feelings and attachment to the land." - No reference is made to the 34th clause that "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." - No reference is made to the December 1999 "Reconciliation" Hearings, the majority of voices for Kanaka Maoli independence, the calls for the US President and US State Department Officials to meet with our Kanaka Maoli people and nation, the need to invoke international law and Kanaka Maoli law, and oversight by the international community in these negotiations, and the failure of release of the Hearings Report in February 2000 for review by our Kanaka Maoli people well in advance of any proposed "reconciliation" legislation. (See below IV. Recommendations.)
(12) We reject the denigrating clause referring to us Känaka Maoli as only "a distinct native community," and giving expression to our "rights as a native people to self-determination and self-governance...through their participation in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs."
- No reference is made to us Känaka Maoli as a distinct people and nation with our own cosmology, history, culture, language, laws, institutions and national territory. - No reference is made to the US's suppression of our Kanaka Maoli expression of our inherent sovereignty and self-determination, acknowledged in the 1993 Apology Resolution. - No reference is made to the US and State of Hawai'i's attempts to co-opt our Kanaka Maoli movement by creation of the puppet State of Hawai'i Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). - No reference is made to our Kanaka Maoli people's repeated rejections of OHA's attempts, as a state agency, to represent our people as a nation, to be an expression of our political self-determination, or to represent us Kanaka Maoli in control of our national lands.
(13) We reject the clause concerning US and State health, social, educational and economic Kanaka Maoli programs because:
- No reference is made to the programs' meagerness and inadequacy to meet our grave, persistent, and in some cases, worsening, Kanaka Maoli needs. - No reference is made to the colonial government programs' promoting Kanaka Maoli dependency, rather than self-sufficiency. - No reference is made to the essential role of our Kanaka Maoli sacred environment in our health and, therefore, the necessity for the return of all of our national territory for our healing and recovery as a restored nation.
(15), (16) We reject the clauses that we Känaka Maoli merely "wish" and "desire" to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations our ancestral lands and political and cultural identity....and "to achieve greater self-determination" over our affairs...."within the framework of Federal law...to reorganize a Native Hawaiian Governing Body...."
Rather, we Känaka Maoli are determined to pursue authentic self-determination under international law and Kanaka Maoli law, with full restoration of our sovereign independent nation and return of jurisdiction over our entire Ka Pae'äina as our national territory. (See IV. Recommendations below.)
(17) (18) We Känaka Maoli reject these clauses that refer to us as "native peoples of the US"; and that the US Congress has identified us as "a distinct indigenous group within the scope of its Indian affairs power." We are not American Indians. We reject US Congress plenary power over us as a separate people and nation.
(19) We Känaka Maoli resent being referred to as "once sovereign" and, therefore, "with whom the US has a political and legal relationship; and the special trust relationship of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians to the US arises out of their status as aboriginal, indigenous, native people of the US." We have never relinquished our inherent sovereignty and will not via this bill. We are not indigenous to the US.
Our Kanaka Maoli political status as a separate independent sovereign nation predates 15th century western colonialism and the 1648 Peace of Westphalia creation of modern nation states.
Prior to the US armed invasion of 1893, our Kanaka Maoli nation was a recognized member of the world family of nations with 25 treaties with other nations and 91 consulates abroad. Thus, the historical and lawful basis for our nationhood, inherent sovereignty and right to self-determination predates the US's official colonization of our homeland in 1898 and extends beyond our identification only as an indigenous people in our homeland.
Section 2. Definitions. (5) (6) We reject being termed "indigenous, native people of the US." or being called "Native Hawaiian," defined as "descendants of the aboriginal, indigenous, native people who resided in the islands that now comprise the State of Hawai'i on January 1, 1893...."
We are none of the above. We are Känaka Maoli, also known as Tangata Maori in Aotearoa and Taata Maohi in Tahiti and Rapa Nui, meaning the true, real, genuine people arising from, and being part of, our sacred environment. Since time immemorial, beginning with the mating of sky father Wäkea with earth mother Papa, we have come from, been part of and belong to, Ka Moananui, the Pacific Ocean, its countless islands and its heavens. Since about 100 AD, in the western calendar, we Känaka Maoli in the north central Pacific, have called our homeland Ka Pae'äina, which extends from the ocean floor volcano island Lo'ihi , southeast of the island of Hawai'i, northwest 3,600 miles to Känemiloha'i, known to westerners as Kure atoll.
(7) to (11) We Känaka Maoli also reject the entities, terms and definitions of "Native Hawaiian Governing Body," Native Hawaiian Interim Governing Council," "Roll" and "Task Force," since they are imposed on us, in violation of our inherent sovereignty and right to self-determination, and are not rooted in our cultural traditions embedded in Kanaka Maoli law.
Section 3. United States Policy. (1) to (5) We Känaka Maoli reject these US affirmations of policy since they are unilaterally imposed, and, therefore, violate our Kanaka Maoli inherent sovereignty and right to self-determination as a separate people and nation.
Moreover, we Känaka Maoli cite the contradictions in the US Congress's declaring our Kanaka Maoli "inherent right of self-determination" while simultaneously violating that right by unilaterally imposing a pre-determined process and puppet governing structure, applying anti-self-determination terms, such as "autonomy" and "self-governance," and using undefined terms, such as, "reconciliation," rather than standardly defined terms in international law, such as "justice," "redress" and "restitution," as applied in the 1993 Kanaka Maoli Tribunal Report.
We Känaka Maoli reject the following Sections 4 to 7 which unilaterally impose a puppet Native Hawaiian "self-governance" structure under and within the US Federal Government, as violations of our Kanaka Maoli inherent sovereignty and right to self-determination:
Sec. 4. Establishment of the Office of Special Trustee for Native Hawaiian Affairs. Sec. 5. Designation of Department of Justice Representative. Sec. 6. Native Hawaiian Interagency Task Force. Sec. 7. Process for the Development of a Roll for the Organization of a Native Hawaiian Interim Governing Council, for the Organization of a Native Hawaiian Interim Governing Council and a Native Hawaiian Governing Body and for the Recognition of the Native Hawaiian Governing Body.
Sec. 9. Reaffirmation of Delegation of Federal Authority; Negotiations. We Känaka Maoli reject the US authorization to negotiate and enter into an agreement with the State of Hawai'i and the Native Hawaiian Governing Body regarding the transfer of lands, resources and assets dedicated to Native Hawaiian use under existing law, as another violation of our Kanaka Maoli inherent sovereignty and right to self-determination.
It is evident that under existing US and State of Hawai'i law, the unlawful State of Hawai'i government, the puppet State Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the puppet State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands will remain. Therefore, nothing will change except the addition of a newly created puppet, the proposed Native Hawaiian Governing Body. Its relationship to the other Native Hawaiian entities would presumably need to await new colonial laws.
Sec. 10. Disclaimer. We Känaka Maoli reject this disclaimer as another evidence of colonial contradictory double talk, as in the 1993 US Apology Resolution.
Sec. 11. Regulations. We Känaka Maoli reject the US Secretary of the Interior's being authorized to make such rules and regulations and delegations of authority as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act, as violations of our Kanaka Maoli inherent sovereignty and right to self-determination.
As a consequence of the above, we, of the Kanaka Maoli Tribunal Kömike submit this alternative pono proposal for the US's recognition of our Kanaka Maoli inherent sovereignty and right to self-determination as a separate and distinct people and nation, since time immemorial, now in the process or restoring a suitable government, based on our cultural traditions, since the US's unlawful colonization, beginning in 1790, and unlawful belligerent occupation of our homeland since 1893-1898. Since US Congress members have a duty to uphold the US Constitution, we call upon you to uphold your US Constitution especially with respect to: Article I: "To define and punish...offenses against the law of nations," that is, violations of international law; and Article VI : "This Constitution...and all treaties....shall be the supreme law of the land." In accordance with the foregoing account and principles, we Kanaka Maoli people and nation call upon the US Congress to replace the Akaka Bill with legislation for the US President and the US Secretary and Department of State, on behalf of the US people, to:
1. Comply with the UN Charter, Chapter XI, Article 73, when the US, in 1946, in UN General Assembly Resolution 66, as the colonial administering authority of our homeland Ka Pae'äina Hawai'i, a non-self-governing territory (colony), agreed to: - "...recognize the principle that the interests of the (colonized) inhabitants (not the US) are paramount and - "accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security..., the well-being of the (colonized) inhabitants... - "to ensure with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abuses; - "to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions; - "to further international peace and security; - " to promote constructive measures of development, to encourage research, and to cooperate with one another and...with specialized international bodies with a view to the practical achievement of the social, economic and scientific purposes set forth in this Article..."
2. Acknowledge the 1998 UN Human Rights Commission's Study on Treaties, Agreements and Other Constructive Arrangements Between States and Indigenous Populations, by Prof. Miguel Alfonso Martinez, which states that "the case of Hawai'i could be re-entered on the list of non-self-governing territories of the UN and resubmitted to the bodies of the Organization competent in the field of decolonization."
3. Abide by UNGAR 742 (1953), UNGAR 1514 (1960), UNGAR 1541 (1960) and UNGAR 2625 (1970) which provide a process for true and full self-determination of our Kanaka Maoli people through peaceful decolonization with absolute equality of political power (UNGAR 742), cessation of all repression (UNGAR 1514), international technical and financial assistance and international oversight (UNGAR 2625) with three main self-determination options (UNGAR 1514) : independence, free association or integration.
4. Begin negotiations with our Kanaka Maoli people and nation on the basis of absolute political equality and mutual consent, as provided by UNGAR 742 (1953). Use the following recommendations of the 1993 Kanaka Maoli Tribunal as an initial guide:
5. Begin negotiations with the Kanaka Maoli people and nation on US Federal programs meeting Kanaka Maoli immediate health, social, educational and housing needs, to be considered as beginning reparations for US colonial domination, exploitation and subjugation.
Mahalo for the opportunity to present this testimony with recommendations for pono (just) alternative legislation.
Kekuni Blaisdell, Convenor
Published in In Motion Magazine November 4, 2000
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