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News :: International
Native Hawaiians resist US occupation, federal Indian policy
02 Aug 2005
Modified: 08:08:05 AM
Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) and supporters celebrate La Ho'iho'i Ea, a national holiday, while resisting US federal Indian policy and the continued occupation and militarization of Hawaii.

Kanaka Maoli and non-Kanaka Hawaiian nationals and supporters gathered July 31, Sunday, to celebrate the 162nd anniversary and 20th annual revival of La Ho'iho'i Ea (Sovereignty Restoration Day).

The event remembers the 1843 'Paulet Affair,' in which Hawaii was occupied for five months by British military forces under the command of Lord George Paulet. The occupation ended on July 31, 1843, when British Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Richard Thomas arrived with London's new policy that "native governments be treated with forbearance and courtesy and their laws and customs be respected." At a gathering at Kaulaokahua, Admiral Thomas ordered the removal of the British Union Jack, the hoisting of the Hawaiian flag, and saluted Kamehameha III as "independent sovereign," while cannons roared and the crowd cheered.

This year, Kanaka Maoli and supporters focused on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (the "Akaka Bill"), now pending in the U.S. Senate, which attempts to extend US federal Indian policy over Kanaka Maoli. A coalition of Kanaka Maoli sovereignty groups have united in opposition to the bill. Criticisms include the bill's attempts to legitimize the U.S. occupation and militarization of Hawaii, its silencing of legitimate land claims against the US, the welfare model of federal programs that it creates, and its circumvention of a true reconciliation process as required under US Public Law 103-150. Moreover, federal Indian policy has historically dispossessed American Indians of culture and sovereignty, with vast mismanagement of tribal resources by the Department of Interior.

Hawaii has been occupied by the US since 1893, when it's constitutional government was overthrown by sugar planters and US Marines. Since 1893, the military has expanded dramatically in Hawaii, now controlling more than 1/4 of Oahu, the metropolitan island, and 1/5 of the entire archipelago. Hawaii is the most militarized place in the US. Since 9/11, Hawaii has faced a dramatic expansion of militarism, including an increase in Star Wars (militarization of space) activities, a new aircraft carrier, a University-affiliated military research center, and a Stryker brigade.

"We are concerned about the ways in which our land, which in our culture is life-giving, is being perverted for wars of global capital and domination," said an attendee at the La Ho'iho'i Ea event.

Currently, more than 1/2 of the land (mis)used by the military is the national lands of the Kanaka Maoli people and government. These lands would come under federal jurisdiction with the passage of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, and existing militarized lands would likely be blocked from native claims.

Recently, the Pacific Caucus of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations signed a declaration opposing the extension of US federal Indian policy over Kanaka Maoli.

Signatures are being collected in opposition to the bill, and opposition continues to grow.

Sponsors include: Kanaka Maoli Tribunal Komike, Ka Pakaukau, Pro-Kanaka Maoli Independence Working Group, 'Ohana Koa Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Hawai'i Chapter, Hui Pu, Kipuka, Kosmos Indigina, DMZ Hawai'i/Aloha 'Aina, Ho'okipa Network, Na 'Oiwi oHawai'i, Reinstated Government, American Friends Service Committee Sovereignty Education Sub-Committee, Nation of Hawaii, NOA - Not Of America, and Aloha 'Aina Gang.
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