55 Years of Hawaiʻi Statehood

According to Bell (1984, 38), American statehood for Hawaiʻi was discussed as early as the 1850s. The incorporation of Hawaiʻi into the United States through the 1900 Organic Act, Bell argues, included an tacit, or unspoken “assurance of ultimate statehood” (Bell, 1984, 40). Supreme Court decisions pointed to the idea that territorial status was “an intermediate step to eventual statehood” (1984, 41).

According to AhQuon McElrath: “the issue of communism was a smoke screen … They had to figure out a was of getting rid of the ILWU. So they raised the issue of communism. Of course, the anti-statehood people, most of them were anti-statehood because of the Oriental [Asian] population, jumped onto the anti-Communist issue too … it was popular … during the days of Senator McCarthy to worry about Communism” (PHS, 1986, 109).

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John Burns recognized opposition to statehood. He stated:

The reasons why Hawaii did not achieve statehood, say, ten years ago … [or even] sixty years ago—lie not in the Congress but in Hawaii. The most effective opposition to statehood has always originated in Hawaiʻi itself. For the most part it has remained under cover and has marched under other banners. Such opposition could not afford to disclose itself, since it was so decidedly against the interests and desires of Hawaii’s people generally (Whitehead, 1993, 44).

Governor John A. Burns

Opposition to statehood for Hawaiʻi fell into two camps – those who opposed it because they preferred the Territorial arrangement, and those who held on to the idea of a more independent Hawaiʻi. The first position was represented by a group called IMUA, or the Hawaii Residents’ Association, which the mainstream dismissed as “lunatic fringe conservatives” (Whitehead, 1993, 45).

The most outspoken voice of the second group was Alice Kamokila Campbell, who testified:
I do not feel … we should forfeit the traditional rights and privileges of the natives of our islands for a mere thimbleful of votes in Congress, that we, the lovers of Hawaii from long association with it should sacrifice our birthrights for the greed of alien desires to remain on our shores, that we should satisfy the thirst for power and control of some inflated industrialists and politicians who hide under the guise of friends of Hawaii, yet still keeping an eagle eye on the financial and political pressure button of subjugation over the people in general of these islands (Whitehead, 1993, 50).

The January 17, 1946 headline of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin read “Kamokila Opposes Island Statehood.” Campbell also created an Anti-Statehood Clearinghouse, which received testimony from members of the community, especially Hawaiians, and expressed those opinions that ordinary people could not, under fear of losing jobs or other forms of retribution. Her precise goal for Hawaiʻi is not entirely clear. At times she asked that Hawaiʻi be “left alone,” and at others she said she favored “an independent form of government, but one in which ʻthe Congress of the United States would have a slight hold on us, so that we could not go absolutely haywire.’”

KAMOKILA CAMPBELL

Alice Kamokila Campbell

Kamokila Campbell was the daughter of sugar grower and financier James Campbell and Abigail Maʻipinepine Parker, who was “descended from HawaiʻI’s ruling chiefs” (Whitehead, 1993, 47). Kamokila Campbell’s sister, Abigail Wahiikaʻahuʻula Campbell, married prince David Kawānanakoa. The Campbell children were beneficiaries of the Campbell Estate, worth approximately $20 million in the post-war period (Whitehead, 1993, 47).

George Lehlightner worked for statehood because he perceived inequalities in the Territory:
So we [the United States] were actually saying out of one side of our mouths that we were fighting a war to assure the maintenance of our own freedom and restore it to others and, yet, out of the other side of the mouth we were telling 500,000 Americans [residents of Hawaiʻi], all of whom were good and loyal citizens, that we were going to impose taxation without representation and even worse on them, and we did (Lehleitner, 1986, 12).
Lehleitner (1986, 13) also felt that the charge of anti-American sentiment in HawaiʻI was exaggerated and false:

…there was not a single case on record of any citizen [of Hawaiʻi] having done anything that could be even remotely called treasonable. And then, when you add on top of that, the fact that HawaiʻI’s population was about 40 percent of Japanese descent, 40 percent AJAs, that in itself, it seemed to me, and I so presented it to the members of Congress I spoke with, was a strong case.

The strategy pursued by John Burns and pro-Statehood Democrats was to allow Alaska to gain statehood first, rather than combining the two territories into one bill. This would split the opposition in Congress to statehood for either HawaiʻI or Alaska. This proved a successful strategy, as Hawaiʻi was made a state on August 21st, 1959.

Hawaiʻi had been on the United Nations list of Non-Self Governing territories since the 1940s. It’s removal from the list required there be three options on the plebiscite ballot: territory (commonwealth), state and independence. Because this third option was left out, the Statehood vote and Statehood itself could be seen as illegal.

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A People Without a Past: Mythology and History

Samuel Manaiakalani Kamakau

In 1841, historian Samuel Kamakau warned against Hawaiians becoming “a race without a history.” This nearly came to pass, and in many circles (including powerful circles in Hawaiʻi) it is as if it did. The lesson of recent findings in Hawaiian history and archaeology (meaning in the last 50 years, but especially that last 20) is that we can trust our kupuna. Scientific findings have moved closer and closer to Hawaiian understandings in topics such as migration and oral history. Even unbelievable stories can be understood to be “true” if seen as metaphors. And what have our kupuna told us? For one thing, they unequivocally stated with the Kuʻe petitions in 1897-98 that they did not want us to be Americans (or only Americans). This is a modern example that is easy understand, but it is the older stories that are more difficult to reconcile.

Joseph Campbell has shown that Hawaiian mythology has correspondences to Eastern and Western mythologies, as if connecting to a “world mind.” The world’s foremost scholar of mythology, Joseph Campbell, is buried in Hawaiʻi at Oʻahu Cemetery. Campbell got the spark for mythology at the Museum of Natural History in New York City when he saw the dioramas of Native Americans. This led to a lifelong study of comparative mythologies – Native American, “Oriental,” Western and even Polynesian. It is this incorporation of Hawaiian myths that particularly attracted me to Campbell’s work; many thinkers have grand meta-narratives that have great explanatory power, but they nearly always fail to apply to my own Hawaiian culture, and are thus incomplete.

Campbell’s work is impossible to summarize here, but he offered much in terms of explanation of the meaning of mythological stories, including biblical ones. One explanation that particularly struck me was that of meaning of the virgin birth, which he explains through chakras. To Campbell, the virgin birth is confusing when it is seen as a physical birth

“When the symbols that a religion is tied to is connected to a history, and then that history is found to be false, the symbols also fall.” Campbell suggests that the symbols emerge not from the outside world, but from the psyche [important note: psyche means soul, not mind - psychology has forgotten its own root (see Ken Wilber's Integral Psychology)].

“Every civilization in the world has been shaped by mythology.” People live out these mythologies. Just as Jung’s work helped Campbell to understand the psychic meaning of myths, Hawaiians can use Campbell’s work to reconcile the mythological and historical dimensions of our oral history. In short, by reconciling the metaphorical nature of or history, we can begin to trust ourselves, our kupuna and our culture.

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My Department of Interior Testimony

The misunderstandings upon which the rule change process is based were seen in Assistant Secretary Esther Kiaʻāina’s recent statement that she “acknowledge[s] illegality, but the remedy must be done within the confines of modern domestic and international law. And as far as I’m concerned, unless the Admissions Act, and the Annexation Act, has been repealed, or ruled invalid in a U.S. court of law, it is hard for me to be in pursuit of an alternative form other than subtle recognition.”

First: there was no “Annexation Act,” as was clear from the hearings, but a mere resolution purporting to annex foreign territory.

Second: the Admissions Act was the result of a plebiscite that was in violation of United Nations standards, which required the third option of independence for removal from its list of Non-Self Governing territories.

Third: a U.S. court of law simply has no jurisdiction over an international affair such as annexation of foreign territory.

Fourth: it is precisely international law that opponents of the rule change are pointing to, and that its proponents are ignoring.

Given that this process is based on a highly flawed understanding of Hawaiian history, it is hard for me as a scholar, teacher and Hawaiian history researcher to give any answer to the several questions other than no.

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Kaulia’s invitation to Morgan, 1897.

Originally posted on nupepa:

KAULIA TO HEAR MORGAN

ANTI-ANNEXATIONIST LEADER SIGNS INVITATION.

Says His People are Anxious to Learn From the Veteran Senator What Annexation Would Mean to Them.

Senator Morgan has accepted the invitation of the native Hawaiians to address them in public meeting upon the political relations between Hawaii and the United States.

Among the signers of the invitation is James K. Kaulia, president of the Hawaiian Patriotic League and president of the Aloha Aina Society. Mr. Kaulia is bitterly opposed to annexation and he is at the head of the opposition among his own countrymen. It was Mr. Kaulia who was largely instrumental in getting a few Hawaiians to gather in an abortive mass meeting at the Union Square last month, and adopt the resolutions protesting against annexation which Mr. Kaulia afterwards at the head of a committee of fifteen presented to President Dole and his Cabinet.

Mr. Kaulia states that…

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Indigenous Knowledge and Complex Systems Theory

umi:

The intersection of two topics of intense interest for me…

Originally posted on Incites for the week:

“In order to make sustainable change in complex social systems, it is necessary for people to work together as teams, organizations, and networks of organizations. However, many of the traditional ways organizations (especially in the West) are structured and run are founded on more linear approaches that make it very difficult for these organizations to support non-linear, complex, and systemic efforts. This creates a dual challenge to a systems practitioner – both how to grapple with the complexity “out there” (in the social contexts in which they work) and to grapple with the complexity “in here” (in the complex organizations they work within).”[1]

This quote comes from a paper on institutionalizing systems thinking. This briefing paper is a part of the Dynamic Systems Theory Summer Innovation Lab. (http://conflictinnovationlab.org/) I am grateful for the exposure to complex systems thinking and various techniques to map these complex relationships. The…

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The Pacific Problems of Cloud Atlas

umi:

Maile Arvin gives a nuanced and Pacific-focused read of Cloud Atlas, which I also reviewed: http://wp.me/p241P1-aP

Originally posted on the maile vine:

Cloud_Atlas_Poster

Cloud Atlas theatrical poster, via Wikipedia

This post is a preview of sorts for a talk I will be giving for the Ethnic Studies colloquium at the University of Hawaiʻi on Tues. Jan. 21, at 3 pm. More info here

Since I first saw Cloud Atlas last year, I have been haunted by many of its images. Much has already been said about the 2012 movie, directed by Tom Tykwer (of Run, Lola, Run), Andy Wachowski, and Lana Wachowski (of The Matrix). In sum: the movie was too long and too clever for its own good, and tanked at the box offices. The book on which the movie is based, by Irish writer David Mitchell, is flush with musical metaphors and modeled around a sextet: there are 6 different narratives that make up the whole. The book’s structure is a rising and falling glissando, or as many…

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Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea: Restoration Day

July 31st is a Hawaiian national holiday – Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea. In this post I trace some of the historical background of this event, and report on its observance on Saturday, July 26th at Thomas Square, Honolulu. The date is also being observed at National Parks on Hawaiʻi Island.

Lord George Paulet arrived from Great Britain in the year 1843. Paulet investigated British Consul Charlton’s complaints, which were that British citizens were treated unfairly by the Kingdom, and that Kalanimoku (a previous kālaimoku) had given him land and Kauikeaouli later denied Charlton’s purported land ownership “rights” Paulet’s demands were that Charlton receive lands claimed, that British citizens were only to be judged by British law, and a $100,000 indemnity payment.

Paulet stated that “If my demands are not met, I will be obliged to take coercive steps to obtain [the] measures for my countrymen.” The Hawaiian Kingdom response was to cede the Kingdom to the British military under protest on February 25th, 1843. They wrote a protest and appeal to Queen Victoria. They also wrote to reps. who were on a diplomatic trip to England, and sent a representative to the British Consul in Mexico.

The August 8th, 1843 issue of Ka Nonanona newspaper read:

AUGATE 8, 1843. Pepa 6.

MOKU MANUWA.
I ka la 26 o Iulai, ku mai la ka moku Manuwa Beritania, Dublin kona inoa. O Rear Adimarala. Thomas ke Alii. He alii oia maluna o na moku Manuwa Beritania a pau ma ka moana Pakifika nei.
I ka loaa ana ia ia ka palapala no Capt. Haku Geoge Paulet, ma ka moku Vitoria, a lohe pono oia, ua kau ka hae o Beritania ma keia pae aina, holo koke mai no ia e hoihoi mai ke aupuni ia Kamehameha III. Nani kona aloha mai i ke alii, ea! a me na kanaka no hoi.

Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III

KA HOIHOI ANA O KE AUPUNI.
Nani ka pomaikai o Kamehameha III, a me kona poe kanaka i keia wa, no ka mea, ua hemo ka popilikia, ua hoihoiia mai ka ea o ka aina. Ua pau ka noho pio ana malalo o ko Vitoria poe kanaka.
O Kamehameha III. oia ke alii nui o Hawaii nei i keia manawa. Ua kuuia ko Beritania hae ilalo i keia la, Iulai 31. 1843, a ua kau hou ia ko Hawaii nei hae. Nolaila, eia ka la o ka makahiki e hoomanao ia’e, me ka hauoli, ma keia hope aku.

My rough translation:

BATTLESHIP

Rear Admiral Richard Thomas

On the 26th day of July, a British battleship anchored here, Dublin was its name. The captain (Alii) was Rear Admiral Thomas. He is the head [alii] of the British Pacific fleet.

Lord George Paulet

In the taking of the documents of Capt. Lord George Paulet of the ship Victoria, he listened fairly [to how Paulet] raised the flag of Britain in this archipelago, [and] decided quickly to return the government to Kamehameha III. Amazing is the love of the alii for [the] sovereignty [ea]! And the people also.

THE RETURN OF THE GOVERNMENT

Splendid was the gratitude of Kamehameha III and his people at this time because the trouble [crisis, popilikia] was removed, and the sovereignty of the land was returned. Finished is the captive occupation under Victoria’s people.

Kamehameha III is the King [Ruling Chief, alii nui] at this time. The British flag is lowered [put down, kuuia] on this day, July 31st, and Hawaiʻi’s flag flies anew. Therefore, It is a day of the year to remember joyfully from this day forward.

It was at this time that Kauikeaouli made the statement that became the Kingdom’s and later the State’s motto: “Ua may ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono” [The sovereignty of the land is perpetuated in righteousness].  Seen in this context, it is obvious that his statement is about the return, or perpetuation, of sovereignty, and not merely a poetic statement about the “life of the land.” As I mentioned in my TED Talk, the motto of the State of Hawaiʻi is a sovereignty slogan for the Hawaiian Kingdom, which denies the existence of the State of Hawaiʻi.

Peter Young describes the feast that took place at Kaniakapupu in Nuʻuanu to celebrate the restoration of sovereignty:

271 hogs, 482 large calabashes of poi, 602 chickens, 3 whole oxen, 2 barrels salt pork, 2 barrels biscuit, 3,125 salt fish, 1,820 fresh fish, 12 barrels luau and cabbages, 4 barrels onions, 80 bunches bananas, 55 pineapples, 10 barrels potatoes, 55 ducks, 82 turkeys, 2,245 coconuts, 4,000 heads of taro, 180 squid, oranges, limes, grapes and various fruits. (source: Peter T. Young, Hoʻokuleana, LLC, 2014)

Poster for 2014 Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea, honoring Terri Kekoʻolani Raymond and Peggy Haʻo Ross.

Poster for 2014 Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea, honoring Terri Kekoʻolani Raymond and Peggy Haʻo Ross.

It wasn’t until 1987 that Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea began to be observed again. In 1988, at age 16, I attended a very early sovereignty rally with my mother, a professor of Hawaiian literature. The rally was organized by Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell, who is now considered the father of the sovereignty movement. Neither I nor my mother had considered the prospect of Hawaiian sovereignty, as Hawaiʻi was still at the tail end of a process of Americanization, with “local” people trying constantly to prove they were “American enough.” Yet here was a Hawaiian, very successful in the newly-Westernized Hawaiʻi, advocating the idea of not being American at all. It was a difficult idea to grasp, but within five years the notion that some model of sovereignty would be implemented was considered inevitable.

Last year, the movement began to become nostalgic of itself, recognizing that its early leaders seemed to be reaching the end of their lives. Two men, Blaisdell and activist extraordinaire Soli Niheu were the honorees. This year, two women, Terri Kekoʻolani Raymond and Peggy Haʻo Ross were honored. Kekoʻolani spoke of others who were instrumental in the early movement, and Haʻo Ross was represented by her daughter Liliʻuokalani Ross, who gave an overview of her life and activism.

Music and commentary by Skippy Ioane, Imaikalani Kalāhele (who is a kind of Hawaiian beat poet), Liko Martin (with Laulani Teale) and others was consistent in its themes of Hawaiian steadfastness and solidarity to the concept of pono. It was preaching to the choir of course, but KITV news covered the event, spreading its reach.

2013 poster recognized Kekuni Blaisdell and Soli Niheu

2013 poster recognized Kekuni Blaisdell and Soli Niheu

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