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Kanahele group pushes plan for sovereign nation

A convention should address "restoring what we had," the activist says

Honolulu Star-Avertiser
November 1, 2014

A sovereignty group based in Wai­ma­nalo is calling for support in its effort to establish a Hawaiian provisional government independent of the U.S. and state governments.

During a news conference Friday, Nation of Hawaii leader Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele said a proposal for a Hawaiian sovereign government should be moved forward at the "'Aha" convention being planned by the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

"It's not about a model of a government. It's about restoring what we had," Kanahele said.

The convention is scheduled for February-April, but the timetable will be discussed by the new Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees following Tuesday's election, Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chief Executive Officer Kamana'opono Crabbe said.

State legislators passed Act 195 in 2011, which calls for the publication of a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians to work toward the reorganization of a native government. Some 130,000 Native Hawaiians have signed the roll.

Some Native Hawaiian groups have favored the establishment of a Hawaiian nation within the United States, similar to Native American tribes.

But Kanahele has proposed an entity independent of the U.S. government.

Kanahele's legal adviser Francis A. Boyle said other groups have gone through a similar process toward the re-establishment of their sovereignty, including the Palestinians and Lithuanians.

Boyle said one of the steps includes a people asserting their right to self-determination.

During hearings conducted earlier this year in the islands by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Native Hawaiians, for the most part, expressed opposition to the prospect of federal recognition as a native government.

The Nation of Hawaii, which includes some 80 residents living on 45 acres of land in Wai­ma­nalo, sees itself as a sovereign government under international law and therefore not subject to U.S. rule, group leaders maintain.

In 1993 Gov. John Waihee gave the group a 55-year lease for the land after Kanahele's group agreed to peacefully end its occupation of Makapuu Beach.

Also that year, Congress issued a joint resolution apologizing for the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom. The resolution acknowledges that without active support and intervention by U.S. Marines and John L. Stevens, U.S. minister to the kingdom, who was not authorized to support a rebel group, the insurrection against Queen Liliuokalani would have failed.

The resolution urged the president to acknowledge "the ramifications of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii and to support reconciliation efforts between the United States and the Native Hawaiian people."

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