HAWAII SUPREME COURT MAKING NEW LAW?
NOT EXACTLY HOW THEY PLANNED
MORE LIKE OLD LAW, REAFFIRMED
"States' Rights" May Trump Native Hawaiian Rights In Federal Court
Ever since President Clinton signed the Congressional Resolution apologizing for the United States' involvement in the Overthrow of the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom, people here have been expecting some sort of resolution to the questions left unanswered by the historical process from Kingdom to Republic to Territory to State to Whatever?. This ain't it.
Whatever the truth may be about this process, the process is unfinished. Issues of rights and responsibilities, land and money, democracy and sovereignty, law and justice still hang over everybody's head in Hawaii. Until they are settled, we will never be able to move forward.
The Akaka Bill, still stalled in Congress after eight long years, may or may not pass in its' present form in the next, presumably Democratic Congress. Many here hope that it does not, including some Hawaiian sovereignty activists. It has been marketed, but not quite sold, as the last best deal the kanaka maoli, or native people, will ever get. Judging by the time and trouble this bill is taking, that may be true.
Meanwhile, the conservative-dominated US Supreme Court may just slap down the Hawaii State Supreme Court, telling our Justices that they have been too liberal with the law, or too free-handed with the former Crown Lands now controlled by the State. As much as ten per cent of all the land in Hawaii is owned or managed by the State: 1,200,000 acres. Some of it is unusable for any purpose. Some of it is critical to the functioning of the State. Some of it produces taro and mangoes, some of it produces millions of dollars in revenue each year. Much of it belongs to the Hawaiian people, or it did; and it may again, some day.
The division and use of land is the essence of State power. It is the foundation of monarchies and republics. Who gets what, and who gets to decide who gets what, are what everything is all about. It's the life-blood of politics. If all politics is local, then it should be up to the local people to decide how Hawaii's land and its' produce are used and apportioned. That is a political process, not a judicial one. To have so vast an amount of land and treasure given or taken away by a judge or judges is a violation of our political process. By attempting to violate this, our State Supreme Court has simply thrown our fate to a higher Court on the Mainland. They overstepped their bounds in trying to short-circuit the political process. They were wrong on the law, and wrong on the politics. By trying to rush the process, they have stalled it. But why?
There is no terrible urgency to this. The issues are over a hundred years old. No one is dying, no one is starving, no one is rotting away in prison over ceded Crown Lands. If they ever are reapportioned, it is highly unlikely that the neediest people will get much of anything. The lands currently managed by the State Office of Hawaiian Homelands are not now given or sold, but leased out, usually for 99 years. The lessees are held in thrall to the State, owning nothing, having few rights other than mere occupancy, subject to various conditions. They are tenants, like sharecroppers, and have not much higher status than medieval peasants. There are native Hawaiian families that have been on the waiting list for land for generations.
The State Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which controls much of the money accruing to the Hawaiian people, spends most of its' time in squabbling and self-aggrandisement. They spend millions every year on all sorts of things: Court cases, for one. Yet Hawaiians have some of the worst social and medical problems of any group in the country. Obesity, diabetes, asthma, drug addiction, mental illness, family violence, depression, unemployment and homelessness are all worse for Hawaiians than any other group in Hawaii. The sovereignty movement, the State agencies, and the incredibly wealthy old Hawaiian ali'i families, trusts and estates don't seem to be in any hurry to help the real problems of the real Hawaiian people. They're too busy fighting for personal power and wealth, only posturing and making meaningless points on behalf of the kanaka.
The question arises, who do these people represent? Whose interests? Who are the real representatives of the kanaka maoli? Who will fight for their interests? At this point, in our political system, there is no one fighting for those interests, no one of any consequence, no one with the will or the power to actually do anything. The Hawaiians, in effect, have no power, and very little voice in how Hawaii is run. This is why our Justices tried to short circuit the political process. But it didn't work.
There is no mono-ethnic, racialist or racist solution to this problem. Hawaiians are now a minority in Hawaii: Less than 250,000 out of over a million claim even partial Hawaiian ancestry. There are fewer and fewer people in the Islands with even 50% Hawaiian blood. Still, most people of all bloodlines here believe in an Hawaiian ethos, however mythical. Most people would like to see these issues resolved, and justice done by all. If a State-wide referendum were held, the majority would vote for return of some portion of the old royal properties or their revenues to the Hawaiians, in some fashion. The problem is, there is no one to organize and promote such a referendum. There is no one trusted by all to speak for the Hawaiian people, who could legitimately receive anything in their name.
There is talk of a new State Constitutional Convention. There is a great resurgence within the majority Democratic Party, as people are caught up in the campaign of local-boy Barack Obama. The ingredients are there for a solution to many of these problems. Entrenched interests on all sides will fight, or stall, to hang on to their wealth and power and position. But if a great majority of all of the people of Hawaii stand up together, and actively work together for a solution, we might not have to rely on lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats and special interests to solve it for us. That might be pono.
The Apology Resolution: 17 JAN 1993
"UNITED STATES PUBLIC LAW 103-150"
Honolulu Advertiser: Local news: 11 JUN 2008
"Bennett receives support on ceded land"
Honolulu Star-Bulletin: Editorial: 12 JUN 2008
"Hawaii Supreme Court ruling tampers with federalism"
TO POST A COMMENT: CLICK ON "COMMENTS," "Post a Comment" or "# of COMMENTS" just below the SOCIAL BOOKMARKING LINKS (Digg, Delicious, etc), about three inches down from here. Please do comment. Thank you.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM YOUR BLOGGERS:
Suggestion Box & Tip Jar We would like to make over this blog to make it easier to access, to read and to comment on. We would also like to serve our readers better by providing more of what you need and want to see. All serious suggestions will be considered. We hope to move to our own domain in the near future, and we would like to ask for your financial assistance in doing that, and in upgrading our hardware & software. Small one-time donations and larger long-term subscriptions are welcome. Exclusive advertising is also available. If you think we are wasting our time in doing all this, please let us know. If you wish to help us, now is the time. As always, negative bullsh*t from right-wing trolls will be sh*tcanned. Thank you to everyone else. Please send feedback & PayPal contributions to cosanostradamusATexciteDOTcom. Thanks.
SUPPORT OUR TROOPS: BRING THEM ALL HOME ALIVE, NOW!