[News] Hawaiian groups work to get the kingdom back
news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jun 20 12:03:50 EDT 2008
Hawaiian groups work to get the kingdom back
Islanders seek to reverse overthrow of the monarchy
Mark Niesse, Associated Press
(06-20) 04:00 PDT Honolulu - --
Surrounded by royal guards and the occasional tourist, Her Majesty
Mahealani Kahau and her government ministers hold court every day in
a tent outside the palace of Hawaii's last monarch, passing laws and
discussing how to secure reparations for the Native Hawaiian people.
Kahau and her followers are members of the self-proclaimed Hawaiian
Kingdom Government, which is devoted to restoring the Hawaiian
monarchy overthrown in 1893. Nearly two months ago, they stormed the
gates of the old Iolani Palace, and they have politely occupied the
grounds ever since, operating like a government-in-exile.
"We're here to assume and resume what is already ours and what has
always been ours," said Kahau, who is a descendant of Hawaii's last
king and was elected "head of state" by the group.
The Hawaiian Kingdom Government, which was founded seven years ago
and claims 1,000 followers, uses its own license plates and maintains
its own judicial system. In recent years, members have voted to
dissolve the state of Hawaii, its land titles, welfare programs and
public schools. They also claim the right to confiscate all bank
assets in Hawaii.
The organization's actions do not carry the force of law, and the
state has mostly taken a hands-off approach. It has not confiscated
any of the license plates, for example, or arrested anyone for using them.
Hawaii has about 200,000 Native Hawaiians out of a population of 1.3
million. The Hawaiian Kingdom Government is just one of several
native organizations that claim sovereignty over the islands, tapping
into a strong sense among Native Hawaiians that they were wronged by history.
More than a century ago, a group of sugar planters and other
businessmen, most of them Americans, overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy
with the support of U.S. military forces. Queen Liliuokalani was
imprisoned at the ornate Iolani Palace, built in 1882 by her brother,
King David Kalakaua. Hawaii was annexed by the United States in 1898
and became a state in 1959.
"We are definitely trying to correct a wrong that we feel has been
done to us as a people," said Hawaiian Kingdom Government spokesman
On April 30, members of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government trooped onto
the palace grounds in the heart of Honolulu and shut the gates behind
them, leading to a few tense hours before they finally reopened the entrance.
Every day, Kahau and about a dozen of her government officials meet
in the tent. Every evening, they fold up their tent and go home,
returning in the morning.
State officials have largely ignored them, and police have made no
arrests. The Hawaiian Kingdom Government has said it has no intention
of resorting to violence.
Every week, the Hawaiian Kingdom Government obtains a public-assembly
permit that allows it to occupy the grounds of the palace, a museum
and popular tourist attraction next door to the state Capitol.
As far as the state is concerned, the Hawaiian Kingdom Government is
treated the same as any other group that wants to conduct activities
on public ground, said Deborah Ward, spokeswoman for the Department
of Land and Natural Resources.
"As long as they comply with the permit conditions, they may continue
to request permits to meet," she said.
Those conditions prohibit the Hawaiian Kingdom Government from
interfering with access to the palace, harassing pedestrians,
collecting money, posting banners or entering several government
buildings. State authorities gave Kahau a warning when she went
inside one of the buildings to collect her mail.
It is unclear how the organization's members intend to oust the state
government. They also want reparations in the form of housing,
low-cost health care and cash. The kingdom slapped a $7 trillion fine
on the Hawaii state government in 2007.
This article appeared on page A - 5 of the San Francisco Chronicle
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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