Category Archives: Sovereignty

A Lack of Resolution

Over on Hawaii Reporter (which I swear doesn’t do anything to get all these mentions here except produce a broader and more fearless variety of opinions than the vast majority of other Hawaii news sources), Ken Conklin has an interesting take on the most recent effort of the Hawaii Legislature to rewrite history.  The article is worth reading in its entirety (not least of all for the impassioned discussion of the ultimate effect of these endless muddled legislative exercises in pandering), but here are the highlights:

House Concurrent Resolution 107 (HCR107) in the Hawaii legislature would establish “a joint legislative investigating committee to investigate the status of two executive agreements entered into in 1893 between United States President Grover Cleveland and Queen Liliuokalani of the Hawaiian Kingdom, called the Liliuokalani assignment and the agreement of restoration.”

The investigating committee would be empowered to “Issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of the witnesses and subpoenas duces tecum requiring the production of books, documents, records, papers, or other evidence in any matter pending before the joint investigating committee; … Administer oaths and affirmations to witnesses at hearings of the joint investigating committee; Report or certify instances of contempt as provided in section 21—14, Hawaii Revised Statutes …”


The purpose of such an investigation is not merely to do academic research on an obscure historical question from 118 years ago. The purposes are to claim that the U.S. had an obligation to restore Liliuokalani to the throne; and to claim that the obligation of the President of the United States continues to this day to restore the Kingdom of Hawaii to its former status as an independent nation.

Throughout my nineteen years in Hawaii I have seen the legislature repeatedly pass bills and resolutions encouraging some sort of race-based Hawaiian political entity, or sovereign independence. Year after year: Let’s pay for an election of delegates to a Native Hawaiian convention, and years of their travel expenses for meetings, so they can choose the tribal concept or write a constitution for an independent nation; let’s pass a resolution in 2002 asking the United Nations to investigate the legitimacy of Hawaii’s admission to statehood in 1959; let’s support the Akaka bill in Congress; let’s proclaim April 30 of every year a permanent holiday called “Hawaiian Restoration Day”; let’s create a state-recognized tribe with a state-only version of the Akaka bill; let’s transfer $200 Million in land or money to OHA; etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Why? All these legislative actions have accomplished is to stir up racial animosity, feelings of entitlement, etc. Hopes are raised for some people who want land and money from the rest of us, and then those hopes come crashing down. Over and over again. Remember the Aloha Airlines plane that had a huge hole ripped out of its side in mid-flight, due to metal fatigue caused by too many takeoffs and landings? That’s what resolutions like this are doing to all Hawaii’s people, and to ethnic Hawaiians in particular.

NB: Be sure to read the whole article to see the main points of Mr. Conklin’s testimony against the Resolution.

Stately Spending

If you know your way around this site, you know that there are two ways of perusing the many, many grants we’ve recorded.  Many.  Many, many, many.  It’s overwhelming actually.  And overwhelming is kind of the point.  No matter where you stand on the issue of Native Hawaiian sovereignty or the Akaka Bill, if you’ve checked out the grants here, you cannot fairly say that Native Hawaiians receive no support or help.  There may be any number of cultural or socio-economic issues at play in the question of how Native Hawaiians fare in society.  But if you’re looking for a reason to support the Akaka Bill, the claim that Native Hawaiians get no government resources is laughable in light of the evidence here.

Anyway, for those who just want an overview, there’s the quick list that can be viewed here.  And for those who want to dig a little deeper, there’s the wiki/database of grants that can be viewed here.  (And as a reminder: if you have any information or feedback to share on any grant, be sure to email us at so that we can add that information to the wiki.  Frequent or especially helpful researchers are given their own log-ins to update at will.)

Recently, we added some information to our quick grant list that was previously only available in the wiki–you can now see at a glance which grants come from federal agencies and which from state departments.  It’s no surprise to see that the federal portion of the grants on the list so far is slightly higher–a total of approximately $265,666,125 spent since fiscal year 2007.  As for approximate state spending, it comes to a more modest (but still considerable) $56,201,112 for the same period of time.  That’s more than the annual budget for a few different state departments.  For a state that struggles with budget and deficit problems, that’s almost real money.

For the Future Subjects of the Kingdom of Maui

Right.  So . . . the problem with totally out-there politicians is that no one takes them seriously.  Which means that no one really thinks about the damage they can do or the implications of their more extreme proposals.

Consider Gladys Baisa, currently a councilwoman from Maui.  According to her website, there’s not much that separates Gladys from your average, excruciatingly dull local politician.  She likes old people, hot pink gingham, the environment, and children, and is willing to show up at the groundbreaking of a new tennis court and endure the tedium of a County Council meeting.  (For those who have never been, it’s a lot like a PTA meeting, only less sexy and without the possibility of baked goods.)

Oh, and one other thing: she has proposed a “draft ordinance acknowledging the reinstatement of the Hawaiian Kingdom nation.”

Yep, Gladys feels that the governing body that is primarily responsible for pressing issues like, “What should we name the new park?” is equipped to handle the transfer of political power and land to a newly established sovereign Hawaiian kingdom.  Alrighty then.

I’ll spare you the painful details of how this is going to be accomplished, as not everyone enjoys a trip to Delusionville.  (Why yes, she does name a Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Reinstated Kingdom of Hawaii.  What do you think this is?  Amateur hour?)

Of course, the real problem here is how easy Gladys is to dismiss.  (P.S. She’s running for reelection right now, and as far as I can Google, not in any particular danger of being unseated as yet.)  Of course, Maui isn’t going to vote to reinstate the Kingdom of Hawaii.  But for those who are inclined to dismiss the problems inherent in Akaka, let this be a bit of a warning to you.  The divisions and disagreements over the crown lands and the future of Hawaii aren’t going to go away with the passage of the Akaka Bill.  In fact, it’s more likely to open even bigger divisions and political questions.  And there is the scary possibility that one day, Gladys’ proposal won’t seem so “out-there.”

By the way, if you’re thinking of letting Gladys know what you think about her various political stances, you can email her here.