Note: Hale Pai is no longer being published. These archives of passed issues will remain available as long as there is interest. - Courtesy of San Jose Web

 

Hale Pai
Pacific American News Journal

Mei-May 1996 Volume 2 Issue 5

Letters

Dear Native Hawaiian Friends:

I believe there has developed some confusion on the question of where I might stand on the proposed "native Hawaiian vote" that is currently being organized under the auspices of the Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections Council (HSEC). On March 5, 1995 I sent a formal Opinion Letter to the Honorable Pu'uhonua Kanahele for transmission to HSEC on the very narrow and precisely defined question: "... whether or not the elections to be supervised by the Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections Council as described in H.B.976 would constitute a genuine 'plebiscite' in accordance with the generally recognized standards of international law and practice." I answered this question in the negative for the reasons indicated in the Letter. This Letter was never intended to endorse H.B.976 or HSEC to any extent.

It has since come to my attention that on or about February 12, 1996, HSEC has deleted the word "plebiscite" and has substituted instead the words "native Hawaiian vote." Certainly the new language is preferable to the old language. But the substitution of the words "native Hawaiian vote" for "plebiscite" directly raises the question whether or not this "native Hawaiian vote" as currently organized by HSEC will either effectuate, or else abridge, the right of the Native Hawaiian People to self-determination under international law. In Public Law Number 103-150 (the so-called Apology Resolution), Section 1(3) refers expressly to "... the rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination ..." In addition, a preambular clause in the Apology Resolution states quite clearly: "Whereas 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 ..."

It is obvious from this language that the United States Government, Congress, and President have now officially conceded that the Native Hawaiian People are entitled to "a plebiscite or referendum" in order to exercise "the rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination." My March 9, 1995 Letter clearly states the four necessary preconditions for the Native Hawaiian People to exercise their right of self-determination under international law and practice. Quite obviously, H.B.976 as originally drafted and also as currently amended to refer to a "native Hawaiian vote" does not fulfill any one of those four necessary preconditions.

Under these circumstances, you must understand that if you go forward with this "native Hawaiian vote" as currently organized by HSEC, there exists a very high probability that U.S. colonial occupation officials in Hawaii and Washington DC, together with their supporters and sympathizers, will publicly proclaim that the HSEC "native Hawaiian vote" constituted a valid exercise of the right to self-determination by the Native Hawaiian People and therefore that the Native Hawaiian People have no further right to "a plebiscite or referendum" as required by international law and as recognized by the Apology Resolution.

In other words, by going forward with HSEC's "native Hawaiian vote," the odds are quite high that you will be unjustly deprived of your right to "a plebiscite or referendum" and thus ultimately deprived of your "rights to self-determination" as required by international law and as recognized by the Apology Resolution.

Therefore, I must respectfully recommend in the strongest terms possible that you insist upon exercising your right to self-determination only by means of a "plebiscite" as defined by my March 9, 1995 Letter. The United States Government, Congress and President have already conceded that you are entitled to "a plebiscite or referendum" in order to exercise your "rights to self-determination. "You must never agree to or go along with anything less than this. Otherwise, you risk losing your now internationally recognized "inherent sovereignty as a people."

May God always be with you.

Yours very truly,

Francis A. Boyle
Professor of International Law

Send mail to halepai@punawelewele.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 1996 Hale Pai Pacific American-News Journal
Last modified: February 28, 1998

Hale Pai Mei Page

Hale Pai Home Page