Tuesday, May 31, 2016


IC Magazine - December 7, 2015

In 2001, the late Russell Means of the Oglala Sioux nation visited Hawaiʻi where he shared his grandfather’s words regarding the impact federal recognition has had on indigenous peoples.
“Grandson, all of this land someday will not be yours. That’s the reality of federal recognition. Someday, none of this will be yours. Welcome to America.”
His prophetic words particularly ring true today.

In the summer of 2014, the U.S. Department of the Interior or DOI held a series of 15 public hearings throughout the Hawaiian islands to discuss the reestablishment of a “formal government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian community.” By and large, the U.S. government is persuading the Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) to accept a process by which they will be federally recognized as Indigenous Peoples in the U.S.

Throughout the hearings, thousands of Native Hawaiian’s lamented the same cry; that they oppose the U.S. government being involved in Native Hawaiian nationhood.

“No, the DOI should not involve itself whatsoever in a reorganization of any sort of Hawaiian people's government”, declared Mana Movement organizer ʻIlima Long in her testimony to the DOI.

Each hearing saw a larger crowd than the previous, nearly all-sending a unified message that Hawaiʻi remains an independent nation under international law and federal recognition would undermine their sovereignty.

“The law of nations tells me that we are the Kanakas, the only people that have a legal right to conduct our affairs. No other entity, whether state or federal government has that authority”, explained Isaac Kaiu when addressing the department.

Mothers, fathers, grandparents and grandchildren expressed the pain that their families and ancestors have experienced since the U.S. overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom 122 years ago. This moment reignited a collective conversation around nationhood and independence....