Akaka Bill supporter ignores inherent Kanaka Maoli rights


POSTED: Sunday, September 06, 2009

As supporters of Hawaiian Independence, we wish to acknowledge Gov. Linda Lingle's decision to somberly commemorate rather than callously celebrate what for Kanaka Maoli and other Hawaiian kingdom heirs was the third major crime committed against us by the U.S. when it fraudulently incorporated our country in 1959, its 1893 overthrow of our monarchy and 1898 annexation of our territory having already paved the way.

In contrast to the governor's respectful stance, the piece on the Akaka Bill penned in your paper by Professor Jon Van Dyke (”;Akaka Bill would be 'win-win',”; Star-Bulletin, Aug. 24)—who needs to reveal what fees he has received for his decade-long work on and for the Akaka Bill since he regularly comments on it—exudes condescension and misinformation.

Van Dyke says the bill will “;allow the Hawaiian people”; to “;govern themselves.”; As an international lawyer and settler in our homeland, he should know that self-determination is inherent, not “;allowed,”; and that we call ourselves Kanaka Maoli. He then relates that the Hawaiian kingdom was racially discriminatory and seething with struggles for power but obliterates the fact that it was white plutocrats who launched discrimination, power grabs, the Bayonet Constitution and then went on to engineer, with U.S. agents, the overthrow of Queen Lili'uokalani when she sought to abrogate that infamous document.

We also find it ironic that Van Dyke tells us to emulate the Maori experience with the Waitangi Tribunal when a) Our Maori cousins tell us the opposite, and b) He promotes an Akaka Bill that will shut down all U.S. court doors to Kanaka Maoli claims: “;It is the general effect of section 8 (c)(2)(B) [of the Bill] that any claims that may already have accrued and might be brought against the United States ... be rendered nonjusticiable in suits brought by plaintiffs other than the Federal Government.”;

Finally, Professor Van Dyke artlessly uses possessive articles to advance a false identity of interests between settlers like himself and we who are the heirs of the kingdom: “;our islands”; (ours not his), “;our national government”; (his not ours). Equally gauche is the paragraph that praises our culture when its writer does all to frustrate the political independence that alone could still save us from U.S. ethnocide.

Kihei Soli Niheu, Moku o Keawe, lives in Waimea, Hawaii; and J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Ph.D., lives in Middletown, Conn.