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 And as far as I’m concerned, unless the Admissions Act, and the Annexation Act, has been repealed, or ruled invalid in a U.S. court of law, it is hard for me to be in pursuit of an alternative form other than subtle recognition.”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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