Break-in went too far, say sovereignty activists
» Palace clash sparks inquiry
» Purported monarch couldn’t find throne
Many Native Hawaiian sovereignty leaders support the idea of groups protesting at Iolani Palace, especially on Statehood Day.
But entering the palace and trying to sit on the throne is more controversial.
"That's atrocious, for him trying to sit on the throne at Iolani Palace," said Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr., a Hawaiian priest and a Hawaiian activist for about 40 years. "James Akahi is not the king of Hawaii."
Iolani Palace, the former home of Hawaiian royalty, has been the scene of many protests over the years, some peaceful and others leading to arrests.
Friday's attempt by a group calling itself the Kingdom of Hawaii, Nation to seal off the palace to the public and attempt to chain the group's king, James Akahi, to the throne are the latest actions by various sovereignty groups on palace grounds.
Maxwell, former president of the Hawaiian-rights group ALOHA Association, said, "The problem is we as Hawaiians cannot get together as one.
"You have all these factions or groups that profess to represent the Hawaiian people and they don't.
"We're in modern times. There's got to be a different approach."
Lilikala Kameeleihiwa, a historian and University of Hawaii professor at the Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, said many people could claim to be of royal lineage. It's more important whether the people support that person, she said.
In ancient Hawaii, people would kill political leaders they didn't support, she said.
"He's not my king," she said.
"Just as a Hawaiian, I'm really glad that somebody marked the day by saying that I don't agree with admissions day," she said. "I'm glad he did it. We want this country back."
She said Hawaii became a state illegally in 1959.
However, she doesn't support physical violence for Hawaiian sovereignty.
"Until we have another constitutional convention, all of these political actions are good because politics are still continuing. The discussion is still ongoing. Not all Hawaiians are happy (with statehood)," Kameeleihiwa said.
Henry Noa, the prime minister of a group that calls itself the Reinstated Hawaiian Government, said his government is "able to fulfill obligations under international law to represent our former nation."
Noa rebuked Akahi's claim to the throne as a descendant to Kamehameha.
"Kamehameha I had 21 known wives," Noa said. "He had a lot of children."
He said the action taken by Akahi's group was a "costly exercise," given the number of arrests.
"He's got kanaka blood so he has a right to walk into palace grounds," he said. But when asked if he could enter the palace, he said, "That's a touchy issue."
Jon Osorio, a native Hawaiian and professor at the Hawaiian Studies Center at UH Manoa, said he believes Akahi's group is a mimicking the actions of the group that locked the palace gates in late April.
The lockdown on Friday shows a growing impatience by some Hawaiian groups toward correcting injustices, he said.
It's "partly the result of real frustration with the fact that the state is still operating, there hasn't been a real reconciliation between the U.S. and the state and the Hawaiian people," he said. "We're seeing the beginning of this and I suspect that it will probably continue to grow."
"There may be some frustration that older sovereignty groups and activists haven't been able to get the U.S. to the bargaining table," he said.
He hopes that if the groups are taken to court, they will raise the issue of the state's legitimacy.
Osorio also worried that the recent protests could cause the state to close off the palace to Hawaiians.
"That would be a terrible thing," he said.