By Pu`uhonua Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele
Sovereignty is real. Few now doubt that sovereignty will come to Hawaii. Still, many people are confused about what sovereignty really means. Legallythe only true sovereignty is independence.
The history is now well known. Hawaii was once an independent and sovereignnation state, recognized by the United States and around the world. Theoverthrow, the annexation, and statehood were all violations of Kanaka Maoli,American, and international law, and the United States Congress and Presidenthave now acknowledged this in Public Law 103-150, which recognizes our"inherent sovereignty" and "the rights of Native Hawaiians toself-determination." More than just an apology, this resolution opens the doorfor Kanaka Maoli to freely exercise their right of self-determination, whichincludes the right to restore Hawaii as a fully independent country.
Professor Francis A. Boyle, a reknowned expert on international law of humanrights and self-determination, testified last December before the SovereigntyAdvisory Commission on the meaning of the Apology Resolution. Prof. Boylestated that, "...now the United States government, after one hundred years, hasfinally and officially conceded, as a matter of United States law, that NativeHawaiian people have the right to restore the Independent Nation State that youhad in 1893 when the United States government came and destroyed it. ...as amatter of international law, the Native Hawaiian people have the right to goout now and certainly proclaim the restoration of that State..."
On January 16, 1994, at `Iolani Palace, a coalition of Kanaka Maoli andpro-sovereignty groups issued such a Proclamation Restoring the Independence ofthe Sovereign Nation State of Hawaii. This Proclamation empowered the 'AhaKupuna, the Council of Elders, as the Provisional Government, to providemeasures of development for the restoration of our Country, leading to aConstitutional Convention. Since that time, the restoration process hasproceeded in accordance with well recognized principals of international law. Independence is coming, sooner than many may imagine.
Non-Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians)
One of the most common fears that we hear expressed in the media and inconversations about sovereignty is that non-Hawaiians will no longer bewelcome, that they will be kicked off the land and told to go home. However,this fear is truly unfounded. Remember, this is the land of Aloha, even if ithas been abused for many long years.
Ho'oponopono, forgiveness and reconciliation, are at the foundation of ourmovement and our success. There are many innocent people of all nationalitieswho care deeply about Hawaii. It is our responsibility to care for all thesepeople, protect them, and include them as we develop our Country.
The Proclamation of Restoration of January 16, 1994, states that: "TheIndependent and Sovereign Nation of Hawaii will establish procedures foraccording citizenship by means of naturalization to all people who are habitualresidents of Hawaii as of today's date." Those non-Hawaiian residents who wishto become citizens in the nation will share the rights and responsibilities ofcitizenship, like any other country. Dual citizenship could also be an optionfor those who wish to maintain American or other citizenship, and this will bedetermined by treaties negotiated with the respective countries.
It is quite clear that we have the right to restore Hawaii's independence. Thenext question is, Why? How will we all benefit?
It is obvious that the existing political and economic system, aside from beingillegal, is not working well in terms of real meaningful values, such as ourquality of life and the sustainability of our environment. Discontent with thegovernment is at an all time high, and a feeling of being out of control of thedecisions which affect our lives and lands is rampant, both at a state andfederal level. If we keep going in the same direction, we'll certainly end upwhere we're headed, which would be most unfortunate.
Our society, here in Hawaii and globally, is not living in anywhere near asustainable manner, and an evolution of values and visions is essential for thequality of our future. So we are in for a change, and we must be ready tocreate a positive change, before the economic and environmental circumstancesforce us into a more drastic negative one. We must collectively empower a formof self-government that works in a real way, with humanity's laws in deepalignment with the natural and spiritual laws that are the basis for our veryexistence.
"Independence" means more than just political independence. Right now, we area very "dependent" society, depending on outside sources, primarily the UnitedStates, to meet most of our basic needs. For example, we import overthree-quarters of our food, and even more of our energy. Therefore we aresubject to the control of outside forces. We lack self-reliance and sufferfrom great vulnerability. Hawaii must become more independent in many ways toensure the future stability and security of our land and people.
Once one shifts perspectives from US domestic law to international law, therange of options becomes much more broad. The opportunity exists to evolvequickly in a positive direction with independent political status. Life won'tchange drastically overnight, but can change steadily for the better.
Economically, we could to take advantage of our unique global position in thecenter of the Pacific Rim, controlling our 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone,and becoming a center for international trade and the development of globalethical banking, while at the same time investing in the diversification of ourlocal economy with innovative community based projects for meaningfulemployment and self-sufficiency.
Do we have the will to take that opportunity? How we develop, how we movethrough the transition toward sovereignty, and how Hawaii's futureself-governance and real independence unfolds, depends on how educated andinvolved each one of us becomes.
If there is any place in the world capable of evolving politically,economically, culturally, and spiritually in a smooth and peaceful transitiontoward a truly equitable and sustainable future, it is Hawaii. In the process,we will be an example for the entire world.
We must remember, the wisdom of our ancestors is essential for our success. With Aloha, we can do it.
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