Living Into the UCC’s 1993 Apology to the Native Hawaiian People

Photo: Leadership from the Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches
Leadership from the Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches includes (l-r) Kahu Brian Walsh, Kahu Ronald Fujiyoshi, Papa Makua Wendell Davis, Pualani Muraki, and Kalaniakea Wilson. – Photo: Courtesy

By the AHEC Kōmike Hoʻokolokolo

In the August 2021 issue of Ka Wai Ola, the Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches (AHEC) of the Hawaiʻi Conference of the United Church of Christ (HCUCC) submitted an article: “Seeking Redress for War Crimes Committed Against the Hawaiian Kingdom.”

In the article, AHEC detailed the passing of a resolution presented last July to the national United Church of Christ (UCC) General Synod (the main governing body of the UCC which meets biennially). The resolution specifically calls upon the church to “live into the 1993 apology of the UCC delivered to the Native Hawaiian people” by UCC President Paul Sherry. It also reaffirmed the UCC’s commitment to support the efforts of Native Hawaiians to seek redress and restitution for the war crimes perpetrated by the United States against the Hawaiian Kingdom.

The resolution calls for a written and oral update regarding implementation of the resolution to the next General Synod in 2023 reporting on how UCC and leadership in the State of Hawaiʻi will support Native Hawaiians.

Following the July 2021 General Synod, AHEC formed the Kōmike Hoʻokolokolo to implement the resolution. Kōmike members include Kalaniakea Wilson (chair), Papa Makua Wendell Davis, Pualani Muraki, Ronald Fujiyoshi, Joyclynn Costa, Angie Warren and Laʻakea Kamakawiwoʻole.

To date, the Kōmike sent a letter to Gov. David Ige (with copies to the county mayors) requesting that they observe and follow international humanitarian law regarding Native Hawaiian claims. The Kōmike has also sent three letters to the Hawaiʻi Conference of the UCC (HCUCC) requesting to meet and discuss implementation of the resolution but, the HCUCC has failed to respond. Meanwhile, the national UCC has held just one meeting via Zoom with Kōmike members and promised another follow-up meeting that has yet to be scheduled

On Jan. 17, 1893, the U.S. military supported the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom when marines from the USS Boston armed with artillery colluded with U.S. Minister John Stevens and the “Committee of Safety” – the primary actors of this act of treason. This state of war, initiated 129 years ago, continues to negatively affect Hawaiians today.

Last month, on Feb. 23, 2022, AHEC sent a letter to Gov. Ige calling on him to end the 129 years of war against Native Hawaiians and return the Hawaiian Kingdom to a state of peace. The next day, Russia’s military invaded Ukraine, initiating a state of war.

It is grimly ironic that the U.S. is trying to end the war in Ukraine but allows war with the Hawaiian Kingdom to continue for 129 years.

Along with the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the American Association of Jurists/Asociación Americana de Juristas – accredited non-government organizations to the UN Human Rights Council, AHEC fully supports the National Lawyers Guild’s 2019 resolution that calls upon the U.S. to immediately comply with international humanitarian law and condemns the prolonged and illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Islands. AHEC specifically:

  • Condemns the unlawful presence of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command with its 118 military sites throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
  • Calls for the U.S. to comply with international humanitarian law and administer the laws in the Hawaiian Kingdom as an occupied state.
  • Calls on the legal and human rights community to view the U.S. presence in the Hawaiian Islands through the prism of international law and to roundly condemn it as an illegal occupation under international law.
  • Supports the Hawaiian Council of Regency, which represented the Hawaiian Kingdom in its efforts to seek resolution in accordance with international law as well as its strategy to have the State of Hawaiʻi and its counties comply with international humanitarian law for the administration of the occupying state. On May 20, 2021, the Hawaiian Kingdom filed a case in the U.S. federal court: Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden, et al.
  • Calls on all United Nations member and non-member states to ensure that the U.S. complies with international humanitarian law and brings to an end the unlawful occupation of the Hawaiian Islands.

“Seek, first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Righteousness is the cornerstone of justice. That standard is the Word of God, so if people have been mistreated, restitution must be made to the victims. The only way you can have an ordered society is to base it on a moral code and the only one qualified to set such a code is God because he is the ultimate “law-giver.” (James 4:12).

If we don’t experience this restitution, let us remember the prophetic words of our beloved Queen Liliʻuokalani as she cites 1 Kings 21, saying “Oh, honest Americans, as Christians hear me for my downtrodden people! Their form of government is as dear to them as yours is precious to you. Quite as warmly as you love your country, so they love theirs. Do not covet the little vineyards of Naboth’s so far from your shores, lest the punishment of Ahab fall upon you, if not in your day, in that of your children, for ‘be not deceived, God is not mocked.’”

When all is said and done, we are reminded by our queen that God is the righteous judge (Romans 12:19). We must emerge from the darkness of our denial. Ke Akua pū.

Letter to Governor Ige

For more information visit the AHEC website: