Correcting Mauka to Makai

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These corrections are in regards to the August 23, 2000 draft report "From Mauka to Makai: The River of Justice must flow freely"

False premises

The draft report states:

Because the United States has acknowledged the actions enumerated in the Apology Resolution, the Departments believe the Federal Government should take action to address the needs and legitimate interests of Native Hawaiians.

Without at all questioning the validity of the whereas clauses in the Apology Resolution, they have managed to ignore two previous Congressional investigations (Morgan 1894, NHSC 1983), and accept, at face value, a false history.

The Kingdom of Hawaii, not the "Kingdom of Native Hawaiians"

On the very first page of the report, it states:

In 1810, King Kamehameha I established the unified Kingdom of Hawaii to govern the Native Hawaiian people.

In point of fact, the Hawaiian Kingdom was not race based, and included as subjects, from its very inception, who did not have ancestry to pre-1778 immigrants. To characterize the Hawaiian Kingdom as solely for a single race, or even solely comprised of a single race at any time, is an outright lie.

Crown and public lands seized?

Also on page 1, the report states:

The Provisional Republic of Hawaii, formed by the plantation owners, then seized the Crown and public lands of the Kingdom of Hawaii, including one-third of Hawaii that was impressed with a trust for the Native Hawaiian common people.

This statement conflates the Provisional Government of the Kingdom of Hawaii, which deposed Liliuokalani, and the later Republic of Hawaii, an internationally recognized, independent nation which proclaimed the Crown lands as part of public lands, but did not "seize" any lands at all - the public lands of the Republic of Hawaii were held in trust by the Federal Government during the Territorial period, and then returned to the State of Hawaii as public lands upon statehood. To characterize the declaration of Crown lands as "public" as a seizure of any sort is completely misleading and false.

As for the "one-third" that was "impressed with a trust", they seem to be vaguely referring to the Great Mahele, which apportioned one-third of the land of Kamehameha III to be given to homesteaders who made claims, but by 1893, those claims had already been made, and any claimants already had their land - none of those claims was affected by the change in government.

Suppressive laws?

Still on the first page, the report states:

As a result of the overthrow, laws suppressing Hawaiian culture and language, and displacement from the land, the Native Hawaiian people suffered mortality, disease, economic deprivation, social distress, and population decline.

This is so ridiculously false it doesn't even pass the snicker test. A few facts:

  • Native Hawaiian mortality and disease was greatest during the earliest part of the Hawaiian Kingdom period, and was a function of contact and social diseases, not of malice;
  • Any displacement from the land during the Great Mahele cannot be blamed on the overthrow, since it happened nearly 50 years before;
  • The economy of Hawaii, and the economic wealth of Native Hawaiians, increased greatly after the overthrow and annexation, and was in fact in decline during the reign of Kalakaua and Liliuokalani;
  • The laws suppressing ancient Hawaiian culture and language were initiated in the Hawaiian Kingdom period, which encouraged education in English, and suppressed the kahuna and hula. The kahuna were in fact defeated in battle one year before the first missionaries came by Queen Kaahumanu, and the missionary influence in the Kingdom of Hawaii post-1820 was primarily responsible for conservative backlash against ancient practices and dance. Certainly none of this can be blamed on the change in government in 1893;
  • The population of native Hawaiians, steadily decreasing under the monarchy, bloomed after the overthrow and annexation. Counting from 1778, with an estimated 300,000 native Hawaiians, by 1890 there were only 40,622 (both full-blooded and mixed). During the period between 1884 and 1890 (during Kalakaua's reign), the population dropped by 3,610. Between 1900 and 1910, there was an increase of 833, and between 1910 and 1920, the native Hawaiian population increased another 3,304. From 1920 to 1950, nearly doubled, increasing 44,747. Today estimates are that there are over 400,000 native Hawaiians in the United States, including the State of Hawaii and the mainland. Population decline was worst during the Kingdom period, and to blame the overthrow for it is simply a red herring.