Pacific American-News Journal
Kepakemapa (September) 1996 Volume 2 Issue 9
A HISTORIC VOTE: The Native Hawaiian
by Lulani McKenzie, Executive Director,
Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections Council
HONOLULU, HAWAI'I ---In the afternoon of January 17, 1893,
conspirators calling themselves the Committee for Public Safety,
mostly Americans, sneaked back to the back steps of this
building, Ali'i O Lani Hale, the government building for the
Hawaiian Nation, intentionally avoiding the general Hawaiian
public. There, an American lawyer and recent resident of Hawai'i,
proclaimed the abolition of the Hawaiian Monarchy, and declared
that he and a handful of others were now the legitimate
government of Hawai'i, the "provisional government", to
exist for the explicit purpose of annexing Hawai'i to the United
The United States Minister and naval representatives had the
day before invaded the sovereign Hawaiian nation and positioned
themselves across the street from this building. The U.S.
Minister thereupon extended diplomatic recognition to the
Provisional Government, in violation of treaties between the
United States of America and Hawai'i and of international law.
The protest of Hawai'i's Queen Lili'uokalani, and of the
Hawaiian nation, went unheeded. That "provisional
government" transformed itself into the Republic of Hawai'i
and subsequently ceded Hawai'i into the willing hands of the
United States of America.
One hundred years later, in January 1993, thousands of
Hawai'i's people observed the centennial year of this overthrow.
In that year, the Hawai'i State legislature passed Act 359 which
formed the Hawaiian Sovereignty Advisory Commission seeking
counsel from the Native Hawaiian people on a process to address
this historical injustice and to begin the formation or
reformation of government of their own choosing. The United
States Congress, by joint resolution acknowledged the January 17
1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai'i and offered an apology
to Native Hawaiians. (Public Law 103-150)
The Hawaiian Sovereignty Advisory Commission went throughout
these Hawaiian islands, seeking the advise and consensus of the
Native Hawaiians on a process toward the formation of a
governmental form adequate to begin addressing this historic
injury of over a century. That commission concluded that the
Native Hawaiian people had called for the election of delegates
from throughout the islands to gather at a convention to propose
a form of Hawaiian governance. To begin such a process, the
advisory commission was granted autonomy from the State and
changed to an elections council to confirm the will of the Native
Hawaiians to elect delegates to a convention.
It is with honor that I now announce the results of the Native
Hawaiian Vote to the question: "Shall the Hawaiian people
elect delegates to propose a Native Hawaiian government?"
Approximately 33,000 ballots were returned to the post office
Of those 33,000 ballots returned, 30,423 were eligible to be
Those returned ballots unable to be counted were due primarily
to voters not signing the affirmation statement on the return
Of the 30,423 eligible to be counted:
26.72% of voters or 8,129 votes 'a'ole or no
73.28% of voters or 22,294 voted 'ae or yes
This is a victory for Hawaiians. 73.28% of those who voted
want to move forward and elect delegates to a convention.
Today, 103 years, 7 months, and 24 days after the overthrow of
the Hawaiian monarchy, we are at the Dawn of a New Age. It is
time for our people to stand together, join hands, and put our
As we move toward the year 2000, Hawaiians have the
opportunity to make significant changes. This is our time in
history. The path to rebuilding a sovereign Hawaiian Nation is
before us; the opportunity to uplift our people and improve all
of their lives appears clearer.
The Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections Council has completed its
primary mandate to hold a fair, free and democratic vote on this
question. We will prepare a final report and recommendations to
the State legislature's 1997 session, the Office of Hawaiian
Affairs, and the Hawaiian people.
The current legislation under which the Hawaiian Sovereignty
Elections Council exists has called for the Council's demise in
December 1996. Individuals on the Council and members of the
staff have created an independent, not for profit,
non-governmental entity known as Ha Hawai'i. We anticipate that
this organization will now assist in giving direction toward the
raising of resources and the eventual election of delegates to a
We humbly and proudly ask all Hawaiians, especially those who
have not supported this process, to join with us on this journey
of Hawaiian awakening.
Thank you for attending this afternoon's press conference.
Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections Council
P.O. Box 3290, Honolulu, HI 96801-3290
World Wide Web: http://planet-hawaii.com/hsec
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Last modified: February 28, 1998
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