Testimony to the DOI on ANPRM

August 18, 2014
By
DOIonANPRM

DoI hearings on Government-to-Government recognition

It is appropriate for August 18th to be the closing of the comments section to the Department of the Interior’s public response to their “advanced notice of proposed rulemaking” (ANPRM). Since August 21st is Admissions Day or Statehood Day in Hawaii, it is timely that coming from the DOI, this testimony could be accounted for as a referendum for the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community.  In 1959, the Statehood plebiscite was used as a mandate for Hawaii’s surreptitious removal from the UN list of Non-Self-Governing Territories and transferred into the US to be administered as a state, rather than as a territory applicable for full-independence.

Regulation Identifier Number 1090-AB05

I am opposed to any procedure for “Reestablishing a Government-to-Government Relationship with the Native Hawaiian Community”

Unfortunately, I cannot address all five threshold questions since the four that follow the first are conditional upon accepting the first proposal for an administrative rule.

Should the Secretary propose an administrative rule that would facilitate the
reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native
Hawaiian community?

Presently, there are already two ongoing debates that challenge the legal authority of US administration that needs to be resolved before the US Department of the Interior can assert any kind of rule, referendum, questionnaire or consultative process with Native Hawaiians.

Negotiating with Native Hawaiian state agencies or other government representatives in regard to a government-to-government relationship within the US federal system cannot objectively settle historical controversies and discrepancies of US administration over the native peoples of Hawaii. Arguments for both decolonization and de-occupation have been presented in international venues and have gone unanswered by agencies authorized to speak on behalf of the US government. As these controversies have not been addressed by the US State Department in its proper forum, it is both disingenuous and inappropriate for the Department of the Interior to attempt to negotiate administrative relationships.

From one perspective, until the Office of Legal Counsel or a representative of the US State Department participates in an international forum like the International Court of Justice proving that the transfer of power from the Kingdom of Hawaii to the United States is clear, only then will we have settled the controversy over the continued occupation of the Kingdom of Hawaii by the United States government. During the DOI hearing, hundreds of testifiers have essentially called for the US government to issue some burden of proof that annexation was legitimate and legal, we should not move forward with any rule, referendum, questionnaire of consultative process whereby a state agency speaks as an Native Hawaiian government facility until the controversy is settled through its proper international venue.

Arguing for decolonization, until a time when the Office of Legal Counsel or a representative of the US State Department participates in an international forum like the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization proving that the process towards Hawaii Statehood conformed to the international standard for decolonization as articulated in UN Resolution 648 (VII), “Factors which should be taken into account in deciding whether a Territory is or is not a Territory whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government,” no attempts at negotiating a government-to-government relationship within the administration of the US federal system should be considered.

The Department of the Interior, in a feeble attempt to conform to the international standards required by the UN Secretary General and the UN Specialized Agencies, produced a series of forms, questionnaires and a statehood plebiscite that was given to a Territorial Governor who was ultimately appointed by a US President. The government’s lack of proper oversight and administration failed to serve the interests of the people, or meet the criteria called for by UN Resolution 648. The lack of any public knowledge or education of Hawaii’s options for self-determination, by itself, should necessitate readmission to the list of non-self-governing territories to be considered for decolonization as enshrined by the United Nations’ “Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples.” (UNGAR 1514) (XV).

As evidence, it was not even understood by the Governor of the Territory, that the United Nations Questionnaire on the Progress in Land Reform (July 1953 ECA 170/3/02) was a technical condition to satisfy requirements needed for Hawaii’s removal from the UN list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. The Department of the Interior’s response was to send and re-send forms to the Governor of the Territory, misrepresenting its purpose. The Governor understood this to be a requirement only for admission to Statehood (and not semi-autonomy or full-independence).

For this kind of ongoing misrepresentation of purpose, the Department of the Interior is not the proper US agency to be negotiating with over these rules and it is the US State Department that we should be engaged in this discussion with, along with the relevant international agencies.

Certainly these questionnaires may have appeared as standard forms, however in 1953 when the Land Reform question was requested, it was agreed by the Executive, Dept. of State, Navy, DOI and the US ambassador to the UN that a general paragraph taken from the Trusteeship Council’s Committee on Rural Economic Development was adequate to cover the land reform question. The DOI completely sidestepped the issue by misinforming the UN Secretariat of any complications regarding the transfer of Kingdom lands as claimed in the 1898 Hawaiian Commission which sought to bundle lease or sell all newly acquired “public lands,”  or the Organic Act (1900) which at least recognized the royal patents on those lands. Although the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (1920) was referenced, it was done so as a means to “rehabilitate the Hawaiian race.” Further, upon the question of cadastral survey of lands, the DOI misled the Secretary General by ignoring royal title, altogether.

The information of land reform in Hawaii was generally main-framed by the Department of the Interior to meet federal standards of the time, and misconstrued any obligation the United States had with adhering to the rules and principles enshrined in the UN Charter Article 73(e) with regard to the transmission of information .

Additionally, in regard to the Hawaii Statehood plebiscite that continues to assert that 94% of the people voted for statehood. This mandate is fabricated when one considers that the 133,000 yes votes to the 8000 no-to-statehood votes is evidence of an overwhelming mandate for Hawaii Statehood, the eligible voting population (not counting military) was about 382,000, which really means that only about 35% of those eligible to vote on the plebiscite even participated. It is a long held view in the world of plebiscites and referendums that not voting does not equal consent. 35% is not a mandate, particularly when the plebiscite was attached to a general election for Territorial Governor of which the outcome was going to ultimately have been decided by US President Eisenhower.

If the UN secretariat had the appropriate information and done the right thing, they would have applied the same rules regarding Hawaii as they did with Swaziland in South Africa and rejected the bid to remove Hawaii from the list of non-self-governing territories.

Because the purpose of the Interior provides referendums and questionnaires to facilitate the security and management of land and resources for the federal government, it is important to reject the questions that seek to collect information that has been too often misused, misconstrued, and misappropriated for the US government’s own benefit.

Arnie Saiki
StatehoodHawaii.org

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