By Mark Matsunaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
WAIMANALO - The Nation of Hawaii's claims to legitimacy rest largely on a 1993 congressional resolution and the legal opinions of an Illinois law professor.
The resolution, drafted by Sen. Daniel Akaka, apologizes for the U.S. role in the overthrow of Queen Lili`uokalani a century earlier. The Senate and House approved it and President Clinton signed it in November 1993.
The measure is not simply an apology, says Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele, the Nation of Hawaii's head of state. "It was a confession to a crime."
And that admission, he says, invalidates everything that followed the overthrow, including U.S. annexation of Hawaii in 1898 and statehood in 1959.
Sen. Daniel Inouye, who helped win Senate approval for the measure, says: "It was not intended to suggest that the United States agreed there was a claim (for Hawaiian redress)."
But that idea was presented in a December 1993 speech given by Francis Boyle, University of Illinois law professor. Boyle was invited to speak in Honolulu by the state's Hawaiian Sovereignty Advisory Commission, recommended by sovereignty advocate Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell, who had met him on the Mainland.
Boyle said that's when he met Kanahele, a commission member at the time.
Boyle had been to Hawaii before, to testify as an expert witness for Lance Cpl. Jeff Paterson, the Kaneohe Marine who refused to be sent to the Persian Gulf in 1990.
In the 1993 speech, he suggested Hawaiians could proclaim independence on their own, now that America had acknowledged the illegality of the overthrow.
Boyle said he has been a legal advisor to the Palestinians and represented Bosnia before the World Court, winning two cease-and-desist orders against Serb genocide. "Unfortunately, no one's paying attention," he said.
A month after Boyle's speech, Kanahele's Ohana Council was proclaiming its independence and began the process of building a nation, as prescribed by Boyle.
He advised the Ohana Council on what was needed to be an independent nation: distinct borders and people, a government and international recognition.
And he gave them advice as they drafted a constitution, which was adopted last January, when the council proclaimed itself the Nation of Hawaii.
Kanahele said he's in almost daily telephone [e-mail] contact with Boyle.
Boyle said, "I want to make it clear that I'm not their attorney. I do give them legal advice and counsel." And all without payment.
Return to the Hawaiian Independence Home Page or the News Articles Index