In response to HB1297.

It should not be necessary in 2017 to recite our history, but I will. There simply is no agreement ceding sovereignty or territory of Hawaii the United States of America. US public law recognizes the illegality of the United States’ role in the overthrow of our constitutional government, and the inability for the US Congress to enact a treaty of annexation. Ours is not a situation of domestic dependent law, but rather of international law.

The US constitution recognizes international treaties as domestic law of the United States, yet it has broken treaty after treaty with the nations of North America, for hundreds of years. The US has likewise broken and abrogated treaties of commerce and friendship with Hawaii. And so it is frankly condescending to be told that we should be confined to laws which the US itself does not respect.

Let’s now examine this bill in terms of federal Indians law. Under the Marshall court and three landmark decisions from 1823 to 1832, a system of parallel sovereignty was established in the US in which states and tribes are essential co-equal beneath a federal government with limited powers. In Hawaii’s history we know that the 2.2 million acres of Crown and Government lands are roughly coterminous with the lands utilized by the State of Hawaii. The State of Hawaii thus has an interest in subsuming a Hawaiian entity beneath it, so that it can extinguish native claims to those lands. This bill is a precursor to a massive land grab and settlement. This is unacceptable.

Lastly, Mr. Chair, this bill rests on the assumption that Hawaiians and our peaceful, century-long struggle for justice are the problem. We are not. You have nothing to fear from us. Instead, we should join together, all peoples and ethnicities of Hawaii, to oppose a politics best described by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He said that the United States suffers from the “giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism.” The same is true in our shared Hawaii nei.

We should work together to oppose the vestiges of the plantation era which kept the people of Hawaii divided along ethnic lines in service of global capital. We should build a social democratic system to make sure that everyone receives a world-class public education, health care, and a living wage. And we should work together to curb the military’s negative impact on our community, such as the Red Hill tanks which threaten the drinking water of Oahu’s one million citizens.

So Mr. Chair, please do not limit us, but instead work with us to exceed expectations for what our island home can achieve as a multiethnic, independent, and peaceful hawaii, reunited with the nations of the world. It begins, I believe, with a recognition our shared responsibility to each other and to this land that we all call home.