Hui Pu: Hawaiians Unifying for Independence?

This is a good article. Most is about Hui Pu coalition, but the lede is Bumpy's proposal to "recapture" 'Iolani Palace.

From: SPASIFIK Magazine, September/October 2005
(A publication for Aotearoa's Pacific Islander and Maori communities)

Hui Pu
Hawaiians Unifying for Independence?

by Gretchen Kelly

For some Kanaka Maoli independence activists, one key to the rebuilding of the Hawaiian nation lies in the recapture of a building.

Not just any building, of course, but the former seat of government of the Hawaiian kingdom: `Iolani Palace.

"We're going back to the scene of the crime," says Bumpy Kanahele, head of the sovereignty group Nation of Hawaii, referring to the audacious and illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom by a group of disgruntled U.S. businessmen in January of 1893.

Read the rest in the extended entry...

The events surrounding the 1893 overthrow took place, as U.S. radio personality Paul Harvey expressed it in a 1993 centennial broadcast, "down in the shadowy realms where U.S. foreign policy shakes hands with the devil."  In those appalling days of early 1893,  `Iolani Palace, the residence of Queen Lili`uokalani and the center of Hawaii's political activity, was seized by American troops, along with various other government buildings. The palace was later to become Lili`oukalani's prison after an abortive attempt to restore the lawful Hawaiian government.

A century of shameful sile nce on the part of the United States, and most of the rest of the world, went by. Then, in 1993, the U.S. Congress passed what has come to be known as the "apology resolution," which succinctly acknowledges that the U.S. conspirators had overthrown a well-organized, lawful, peaceful and friendly country and formally apologizes to Native Hawaiians for the overthrow. Furthermore, it recognizes that "the indigenous Hawaiian people never directly relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national lands to the United States, either through their monarchy or through a plebiscite or referendum."

As U.S. Senator Slade Gorton said at the time of the passing of the resolution, "the logical consequences of this resolution would be independence."

Although some question the logic of relying on this resolution -- essentially an admission by an aggressor nation that it was wrong to have ruthlessly squashed the national identity o an peaceful country -- to provide a framework for the restoration of the nation of Hawaii, there is no doubt that the decades of efforts of Kanaka Maoli independence activists have been revitalized by the apology. In the twelve years since that resolution was signed, the dozens of Hawaiian sovereignty groups have made efforts to come together into a unified organization that can represent the interests of nation of Hawaii.

Although these efforts have stumbled over differences in the groups' outlooks regarding independence and how to achieve it, a kahea (call) in June of this year by Big Island Maoli leader Skippy Ioane has resulted in the formation of a new independence coalition, Hui Pu.

Hui Pu, comprised of a broad-based alliance of Maoli leaders in the areas of Hawaiian-rights activism, cultural practice and protocol, farming, academics and other fields, as well as sovereignty groups, is embracing a new level of determination to find a way to unify Hawaiian independence efforts.

The issue around which Hui Pu coalesced is the impending U.S. Congress decision regarding the so-called "Akaka Bill," which supporters say will stave off court challenges to Hawaiian programs and entitlements by providing for the formation of a Hawaiian "nation within a nation" similar to the status of Native American tribes.

The members of Hui Pu are adamantly opposed to the Akaka Bill and its provisions, primarily on the basis of the fact that it "purports to legislate the political status of a people who have never yielded their sovereignty over their National lands to the United States."

Hui Pu recently held a press conference on the steps of the `Iolani Palace to publicize their strong stance in opposition.

Hui Pu spokesperson Andre Perez, who explained that the statement represents a unified position among Maoli groups that have differing views on the specifics of achieving independence, said, "The Akaka Bill is being crammed down our throats with power and money. But they forget, there is a gag reflex."

This one point of unity and solidarity, some Hui Pu members hope, will provide a foundation for further discussions toward creating a provisional government for national unity.

Kanahele is one of the members of Hui Pu; however, his call for a recapture of the palace has not yet been endorsed by the entire coalition.

Whether a re-taking of `Iolani Palace for the nation of Hawaii will have the same kind of profound effect as the Maori seizing of Bastion Point in the 1970s remains to be seen. But it seems clear that Maoli, like their Maori brothers and sisters of that time, are ready to take the case for their rights to a new level.

"It is time," says Kanahele, "for us to take our seat of government back. Then we can gather there, in the footsteps of our ancestors, to decide on our pathway back to independence."

Posted: Thu - September 22, 2005 at 12:38 PM    
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Published On: Dec 27, 2005 10:13 PM
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