BY JOHN CARROLL – It is quite clear that neither U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) nor former Gov. Linda Lingle have any understanding of the history of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The current version of the Akaka Bill, which they support, runs contrary to the provisions of the three Constitutions of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Recognition of the Native Hawaiians is the primary stated purpose of the Bill. The Hawaiian Kingdom was “recognized” by at least 21 sovereign nations by 1840.
If the Akaka Bill should become law, Hawaii would be divided into two sovereign entities. Citizenship would be based strictly on proving possession of a single drop of Hawaiian blood. Such a sovereign entity, as is the case with the current tribal designations, would therefore, like Islamic law, not be subject to criticism, or accountable to any law other than group interest. Said tribe would be empowered to rule according to whatever laws this separate sovereign government saw fit to enact.
A British man of war captain by the name of Paulette took it upon himself to sail into Honolulu Harbor in 1843 to petition King Kamehameha III for redress of a laundry list of real, but mostly imagined & spurious, claims by British residents. When King Kamehameha III refused, Paulette demanded the Hawaiian monarchy & sovereignty be ceded to him (& England). With a multi gun British man of war in the harbor, a defenseless King Kamehameha III capitulated. On Feb 25, 1843 a Deed of Cession was proclaimed, the Hawaiian flag replaced by the Brit Union Jack, & Paulette not only satisfied all of the British citizen demands but started to govern Hawaii in the name of England (make laws, impose taxes etc). See: Shoal of Time: A History of the Hawaiian Islands (Daws, Univ/Hawaii Press 1968) p. 115.
When Paulette’s boss, Admiral Thomas, heard of Paulette’s unauthorized activities (the British Crown had issued an edict that the sovereignty of all the Pacific Islands was to be recognized by England), he set sail from Chile and arrived in Hawaii on July 26, 1843. Admiral Thomas restored sovereignty and assured King Kamehameha III that Hawaii would henceforth be recognized and protected by England.
By 1850, the Kingdom had a bi-cameral legislature, a tri-level court system and the Hawaii Supreme Court was issuing its decisions in what later became the first volume of the Hawaii Reports. Internationally, Hawaiians were trading vigorously. Conversely, American Indian “tribal” members were still surviving on subsistence hunting and gathering.
The 1840 Constitution of the Kingdom clearly stated that “God hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the earth in unity and blessedness…” a clear statement of equality indicating that any attempt to use race or class to create dissension or advance personal agendas would be not be tolerated.. The language of later written case law reflects this concept of “equality” over and over again, right up to the time of the overthrow in 1893.
Senator Daniel Akaka is one of the finest persons I have ever known. His intentions, as well as those of most proponents of the Bill, are worthy and humane.
Nonetheless, creating a race-based, sovereign nation within the eleven thousand square miles of these islands is illogical and will inevitably be dystopian. It is alarming that these two Republican leaders are not able realistically to assess the damage to individuals and society at large that will result from passage of this bill.