Tuesday, August 11, 1998

U.N. report: Annexation could be invalid

Clinton's 1993 apology
is seen as casting new light
on the 1897 treaty

By Pat Omandam


Hawaii's annexation by the United States could be declared invalid, according to a United Nations report.

The report said the situation of native Hawaiians now takes on a "special complexion" because of, among other reasons, President Clinton's November 1993 Apology Resolution to native Hawaiians.

Logo The study recommends Hawaii be returned to a U.N. List of Non-Self Governing Territories - a list of indigenous peoples colonized by another country. Such action could make Hawaii eligible for decolonization as well as a U.N.-sponsored plebiscite.

The 73-page unedited final report, submitted after nine years of reviewing treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements between nations and indigenous peoples, was filed July 30 in Geneva.

For Hawaiian groups such as Ka Lahui Hawaii and Ka Pakaukau, which have pushed the sovereignty issue at the international level for nearly two decades, the timing couldn't be better. Over the next two days, Hawaiians and others will gather at Iolani Palace to observe Hawaii's centennial annexation anniversary.

An international audience

"Its perfect timing," said Mililani Trask, an attorney and governor of Ka Lahui Hawaii. "I couldn't have asked for anything more."

Trask said this is the first official U.N. document that not only makes reference to Hawaii, but finds against the validity of the treaty of annexation and calls for the United Nations to re-list Hawaii as a colony.

Attorney Hayden Burgess said, "Many of us have been waiting for the report for many years." But it is just the first step in a long process the U.S. government undoubtedly will fight, he said.

"The United States is not going to give up that easily," he said, pointing out that the nation has been trying to abolish the committee that would review the issue.

Burgess has been to the United Nations many times to ask that Hawaii be re-listed as a colony, speaking for local organizations and the World Council for Indigenous Peoples.

Trask said that the report, expected to be posted on the U.N. Web site on Saturday, shows that an international audience is watching with interest how the United States handles its native Hawaiian situation, one which U.S. State Department officials consider a "domestic problem."

"It means that we now have a clear interest being expressed by other states (nations) to support our effort and expressing interest now on receiving the real story about what's happening in Hawaii," she said.

Trask, who received a copy of the report in Geneva, will speak about it tomorrow during the annexation events.

Naysayers, she said, have repeatedly doubted whether Hawaiian activists would be effective in the international arena. But the report goes a long way to show how viable these international claims really are, she said.

Both Ka Lahui and Ka Pakaukau believe there isn't any way to achieve Hawaiian autonomy or independence within the U.S. system. But there is in the international system.

Treaty 'appears unequal'

Miguel Alfonso Martinez of Cuba, the special chairman who prepared the report for the U.N. Working Group on Indigenous Populations, wrote that Clinton's apology resolution recognizes the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy took place unlawfully.

"By the same token, the 1897 treaty of annexation between the United States and Hawaii appears as an unequal treaty that could be declared invalid on those grounds, according to international law of the times," said Martinez, who was appointed to head this project by the U.N. human rights commissioner.

"It follows that the case of Hawaii could be re-entered on the list of nonself-governing territories of the United Nations and resubmitted to the bodies in the organization competent in the field of decolonization," he said.

Hawaii was placed on the U.N. list in 1946 as a colony under the United States, but was removed in 1959 when it became an American state. Others on the list include Guam, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico, which was removed from the list previously, but returned, Trask said.

The General Assembly of the United Nations voted to put New Caledonia back on the list in the late 1980s over protests of the United States, France and Great Britain. But the political atmosphere has changed, Burgess said. "Now there is very little opposition to the U.S."

If Hawaii is returned to the list, he said, the first most important question will be: "Who are the people to be decolonized? Is it only native Hawaiians, or is it all of those who suffered as a result of the overthrow?

"The thing Hawaii needs to address is to see itself in the mirror and ask itself, who are we who have been decolonized? I don't think it's going to work to just limit it to the native Hawaiian race. It was a nation that was overthrown, not just native Hawaiians."

Then, if the matter reaches the voting stage, the question will be who votes, Burgess said. "The exercise of self-determination must be done by people who were colonized." And they must be given choices, he said, such as whether they want to maintain state status, or be independent, or have a free association with the United States.

The working group, which recently met, sent the Martinez report to the U.N. Subcommission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, where it will accept testimony from U.N. members and indigenous groups.

A final edited version goes to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, and to the U.N. General Assembly, for adoption.

So far, the United Nations has accepted three progress drafts as official U.N. documents, including one that contained accounts by Queen Liliuokalani on the push by foreigners to limit the monarchy's power and to seek annexation. Liliuokalani's description of Hawaii's political climate during her time changed the complexion of the issue, Trask said.

'Give our people the choice'

Meanwhile, Ka Pakaukau's Kekuni Blaisdell told a U.N. decolonization committee seminar this June in Nadi, Fiji, that 17 colonies remain on the U.N. list, with three in the Pacific pressing for self-determination with an option for independence.

Blaisdell said colonialism in the Pacific, in various forms, has accelerated and intensified rather than declined. The United Nations in 1990 mandated to eradicate colonialism by the year 2000.

"It is imperative," he said, "that we indigenous peoples become more involved in the dominant, western decolonization process, that we generate our own initiatives and that such actions be recognized."

Entitled to vote

A U.N.-supervised plebiscite would entitle Hawaiians to vote for a form of government, such as incorporation as a U.S. state, free association or an independent or autonomous government.

Hawaiian groups will focus lobbying efforts on U.N. member nations that signed treaties with Hawaii before it became a state.

"We're not saying give Hawaii independence, we're just saying re-list Hawaii," Trask said. "Have the U.N. take a look at it, and give our people the opportunity to make a choice, which we never had in 1959."

Tom Coffman, whose book "Nation Within" about America's annexation of Hawaii has generated widespread discussion, said the U.N. report is "really important because what I've found in my research of the period of 1893 to 1898 . . . was that over and over the question of whether Hawaiians would be allowed to vote on annexation came up, and over and over, the Republic government conspired with annexationists in Washington to prevent Hawaiians from voting."

Fallen warriors

An 18-hour vigil at Iolani Palace
will honor those now dead who significantly
helped the Hawaiian movement

By Pat Omandam


The 18-hour "Fallen Warriors" vigil beginning at sunset today at Iolani Palace will honor deceased individuals, both native and non-native, who have made a significant contribution to the contemporary indigenous Hawaiian political movement.

What follows is a list and brief profiles of each person, according to coordinator Mahealani Kamauu.

Bullet Stanford Achi: Kauai leader who led early successful tenant struggle against Niumalu-Nawiliwili evictions.

Bullet Kahu Abraham Akaka: During the last 15 years at Kawaiahao Church, the Rev. Akaka supported and participated in special annual observances of the 1893 overthrow. Akaka wholeheartedly shared the dignity and stature of his office with radical sovereignty politics and early on led an historic protest march that resulted in appointment of Hawaiian trustees to Bishop Estate.

Bullet Martha Billie Beamer: Served as Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee and chairwoman of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. As chairwoman, she ushered in an era of unprecedented new housing for beneficiaries and concentrated her efforts on fiscal accountability at OHA.

Bullet Robert Beaumont: Composed and recorded many songs that poetically describe the beauty of the land and the hard struggles of Hawaiian people. Along with other members of the musical group Olomana, he was a constant and consistent presence at early political struggles.

Bullet Wayne K. Davis: A tireless and unselfish genealogy expert who helped hundreds of Hawaiian families in their efforts to trace complex and essential family histories.

Bullet Apolonia Day: A kupuna (elder), cultural and spiritual counselor who was an early grass-roots member of the sovereignty group Ka Lahui Hawaii.

Bullet Mary Choy: An activist who was arrested in the early 1970s during the Kalama Valley eviction struggles.

Bullet Emma Defries: A kupuna, poet, cultural and spiritual counselor to early movement leaders.

Bullet Healani Doane: A respected kupuna, she worked to reform the Hawaiian Homes program and the appointment process for Bishop Estate trustees.

Bullet Anita Gouveia: Core support of Ka Lahui Hawaii. She struggled for years for her family's right to engage in subsistence farming on family kuleana in her ahupua'a of 'Loleka'a.

Bullet George Helm: Key leader of the Protect Kahoolawe Ohana. He was lost at sea while attempting to reach Kahoolawe on a surfboard.

Bullet Betty and Walter Johnson: Husband and wife who were avid supporters, especially monetarily, of Kokua Kalama, considered by many to be the first major contemporary political struggle.

Bullet Manu Kahaiali'i: A musician who overcame personal hardship in his early years to become a source of inspiration to the troubled youth he worked with. He was also a former OHA trustee and a nurturer of Hawaiian language.

Bullet Randolph H. Kalahiki: An early activist who founded Hui Malama 'Aina o Koolau to protect Windward Oahu resources against overdevelopment and urban encroachment. He was a founder and later executive director of the Hawaiian Coalition of Native Claims, which later became the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp.

Bullet Israel Kamakawiwo'ole: "Bruddah Iz," an inspirational musician who had an impact on local youth with his beautiful voice, songs of political struggle, his personal courage and his aloha.

Bullet Parley Kanaka'ole: Along with other members of his family, he guided people on cultural protocol and provided spiritual counsel and leadership, especially to the Protect Kahoolawe Ohana.

Bullet Ah Num Kealakamahele: A staunch supporter and activist with the Protect Kahoolawe Ohana and the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific organization.

Bullet David Ke'alanahele: A kahu and practitioner of native religion who undertook tremendous research to understand the ancestral significance of pohaku (stones) and heiau (temples).

Bullet Clara Ku: A kupuna, cultural and spiritual counselor to movement leaders, especially on Molokai.

Bullet Henry Lindsey: A meticulous researcher and professional archivist who spent his last years of life painstakingly combing documents in Washington, D.C., to prove the U.S. conspiracy against Hawaii that led to the overthrow.

Bullet Sam Lono: Kahuna and practitioner, teacher, mentor and advocate of native religion and the right to carry out religious practices and rituals at sacred places.

Bullet Moose and "Mama" Louie: Husband and wife who were early resistance leaders in Kalama Valley eviction.

Bullet Lydia N.T. Maioho: Curator and caretaker of Mauna'ala, the Royal Mausoleum, a job passed within the family for many generations.

Bullet Harry Mitchell: A kupuna, cultural and spiritual counselor to movement leaders, especially members of Protect Kahoolawe Ohana. Strong mentor and inspiration to generations of Hawaiian language students.

Bullet Kimo Mitchell: Son of Harry Mitchell and Protect Kahoolawe member who lost his life with George Helm while attempting to reach Kahoolawe on a surfboard.

Bullet Gregory Nali'ielua: Known affectionately as "Papa Kala" or "Papa Kalahiki'ola," he provided spiritual counsel and guidance, especially in his later years, to Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees.

Bullet Judy Napolean: Molokai activist who spearheaded many projects to move the island into an era of culturally based economic self-sufficiency.

Bullet Harriet Ne: Molokai kupuna, cultural expert and author, and spiritual counselor to movement leaders.

Bullet Georgiana Padeken: Queen Liliuokalani Trust social worker and early member of several movements to reform the Hawaiian Home Lands program. Padeken later served as chairwoman of the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. She was responsible for accelerated awards, which intensified pressure for increased funding for administration and infrastructure.

Bullet Gail Kawaipuna Prejean: An activist as well as founder and first executive director of the Hawaiian Coalition of Native Claims. She was involved in every major early political struggle, including Makua Valley, Kahoolawe, Waiahole-Waikane and Makapuu.

Bullet Helena K. Salazar: A descendant of Robert Wilcox, she served as the first head of the Alii Nui branch of Ka Lahui Hawaii.

Bullet Helena Santos: Avid supporter and activist with Anahola Beach Park struggle, an effort to challenge the state's homestead leasing practices.

Bullet George Santos: Kalama Valley farmer who took a stand against eviction and whose dilemma developed into the central focus of that land eviction struggle.

Bullet Piiahi Paki Silva: Kupuna and spiritual counselor to early movement leaders. She is responsible for translation of music written by composer Liko Martin, from which this year's annexation observation takes it theme.

Bullet Hilbert Kahale Smith: Lost his life in a fire while being evicted by state officials from his Anahola homestead on Kauai. He had protested expensive, substandard homestead housing for more than a decade.

Bullet Lambert Ulaleo: Practitioner of native religion who fought developers and filed the first major lawsuit against geothermal development at Kahauale'a on the Big Island.

Bullet Mits Uyehara: An attorney whose research, analytical skills and strong convictions served as a catalyst for community education and action on ceded lands claims. Founding member of Ho'ala Kanawai and the Native Hawaiian Task Force.

Bullet Dallas Vogeler: Staunch proponent of independence and member of Hui Na'auau. She used her talent to produce a national award-winning re-enactment of the events of the overthrow during the 1993 centennial observance.

Centennial events

The Hawai'i Loa Ku Like Kakou Planning Committee is advising those wishing to participate in the Centennial March tomorrow morning on the following:


Bullet Ceremony to honor the Sash of Liloa and our ali'i, beginning with Kamehameha I and ending with Lili'uokalani, will begin at 6 a.m.

Bullet Those not marching with the ali'i units will gather just mauka of Mauna'ala (Royal Mausoleum) in the 10th unit honoring the 1897 Petition and those who resisted annexation by signing, including non-Kanaka Maoli supporters.

Bullet March begins at 7 a.m. from Mauna'ala on Nuuanu Avenue, makai to Beretania St., Diamond Head to Washington Place, crossing the street to the state Capitol, Diamond Head to Punchbowl, makai to King Street, Ewa to Kamehameha Statue, into the palace grounds.

Bullet Marchers should arrive at Washington Place at 8 a.m.; those wishing to offer ho'okupu may do so at Washington Place.

Bullet Marchers are scheduled to enter Iolani Palace grounds through the front gate about 10 a.m.; Iolani Palace chanters will provide a welcoming chant, followed by the 'Ilioulaokalani Coalition.

Bullet After ceremonies for the Sash of Liloa and to honor the ali'i, Friends of Iolani Palace will present their portion of the program, followed by the raising of the Hawaiian flag at noon.

Bullet Hawai'i Loa Ku Like Kakou's program will begin after the flag raising; programs listing the day's events will be distributed at the information tent on the state Capitol side.

Park and shuttle:

Parking will be available at:

Bullet Downtown at the Diamond Parking Lot at Halekauwila and Pohukaina streets; enter from Keawe Street. There will be no fee. The lot can accommodate about 150 cars. The lot will open at 4:45 a.m. A shuttle (Polynesian Hospitality), will visit the lot from 5-6:30 a.m., every 15 minutes.

Bullet Blaisdell arena lot will open for parking at 5 a.m. Cost is $5 for all day. The bus (Polynesian Adventures) will pick up from 5-6:30 a.m., every 15 minutes. Pickup point is at the arena ticket office.

For those car-pooling, parking elsewhere in town, already at the Iolani Palace grounds or coming by bus to the palace, pickup points are:

Bullet Kamehameha Statue on King Street from 5:15-7 a.m., every 15 minutes (Trans-Hawaiian) to Mauna'ala.

Bullet In front of the Capitol at Damien Statue, 5-6:30 a.m., every 15 minutes (Polynesian Adventures).

Bullet There will be no parking at Mauna'ala.

General information

Bullet Iolani Palace Barracks restrooms will be open tonight and all day tomorrow, and portable toilets near the State Archives building will also be available.

Bullet The barracks also will be showing the video "We Are Who We Were: From Resistance to Affirmation" all day tomorrow. Palace tours will be closed for the day.

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