Editor’s note: The author submitted the following piece in response to the announcement Friday by the U.S. Department of the Interior of the finalization of a rule that articulates how the United States would enter into a government-to-government relationship with a unified Native Hawaiian government. 

Today, the truth regarding the United States and its role in the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom can no longer be denied. Thanks to Hawaiian scholars of the 21st century, the truth has been thoroughly scrutinized and confirmed by international institutions of justice.

The United States has been in violation of both U.S. and international law since the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893, through the entirety of the 20th century and to this day. Violations of this nature are subject to international law, for which there is no statute of limitations.

From the beginning of the Kingdom of Hawaii, under Kamehameha I through the rule of Hawaii’s last monarch, Lili’uokalani, citizenship in the kingdom was never confined to one race.

Rather than enter into a government-to-government relationship with a unified Native Hawaiian government, the United States should admit to its illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Via Flickr

In total disregard of the fact that the Hawaiian Kingdom was the only non-European state accepted into the international family of nations under Kamehameha III, with multiple treaties of neutrality and commerce throughout the world including with the United States, the U.S. military nonetheless in 1893 held Queen Liliuokalani captive in isolation for six months, forcefully took control of her seat of government at Iolani Palace and then swiftly proceeded to activate all means necessary to consolidate total control of the Hawaiian Islands.

As the United States attained control of all segments of the kingdom, an attempted treaty of cession failed, so it simply passed a joint resolution of Congress, ceding the Hawaii Islands to itself. 

Two international courts of justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the Swiss Federal Criminal Court in 2001 and 2016 respectively and indisputably confirmed the continuity of the Kingdom and the necessity of the acting government to represent the interests of the kingdom.

In addition, the SFCC confirmed that Switzerland’s 1864 treaty with the Hawaiin Kingdom remains in effect, recognized the acting government pursuant to the doctrine of necessity in keeping with the PCA and accepted the filing of complaints of alleged war crimes against specified Swiss citizens and U.S. citizens, subject to preliminary investigations.

The decisions of both the PCA and the SFCC could have been summarily dismissed had the United States simply provided evidence of an executed treaty of cession with the Hawaiian Kingdom. Failure to do so absolutely confirmed that the United States has illegally occupied the Hawaiian Kingdom since the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani in 1893.

We are at an intersection of history, guided by the laws and judicial institutions of the world that have placed our people face to face with a criminal entity, the United States of America, which refuses to follow its own laws and the laws of the international family of nations. It is an indisputable fact that the Hawaiian Kingdom is illegally occupied by the most powerful nation in the world.

As citizens of the Hawaiian Kingdom, we face a fundamental awakening of our inherent obligation to restore, care for and protect our sacred lands, our civilization, and our government.

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