By Kaleikoa Kaʻeo
On Aug. 21, 1959, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared that “the procedural requirements imposed by the Congress on the State of Hawaiʻi to entitle that state to admission to the Union have been complied with in all respects and that the admission of the State of Hawaiʻi into the Union on an equal footing with other states of the Union is now accomplished.”
The above declaration purports to provide a legal rendering of how Hawaiʻi was made into the 50th State. However, does the evidence and actual political history substantiate Eisenhower’s words?
This declaration births the State of Hawaiʻi, granting them the self-recognized power to exercise military and governmental rule over our homeland. Yet, every day, the legality of this power is being questioned.
More and more, Hawaiians and others are examining and analyzing the historical record and legal precedents.
The research is overwhelming, and we should all recognize:
- That the Hawaiian Kingdom was internationally recognized as a neutral independent nation-state.
- That the Hawaiian Islands were never incorporated as a U.S. territory because the U.S. Senate failed to ratify the Treaty of Annexation of Hawaiʻi of 1897.
- That the Newlands Resolution of 1898 was a simple joint resolution passed by the U.S. Congress whose legislative powers were limited to U.S. territory and so it did not have the extraterritorial force to unilaterally annex and incorporate the sovereign territory of another recognized nation-state.
When we know this history, it is obvious that the Hawaiʻi Admission Act lacked a juridical foundation and is the by-product of legal fiction.
Notably, there is no evidence that the U.S. Congress possessed supreme extraterritorial powers over the territory of other recognized nation-states. In comparison, could China simply pass its own legislative act with extraterritorial force whereby China could unilaterally annex, say, Tonga, and make it Chinese territory? That would be nonsense.
Our people are awakening and will eventually know that Admission Day represents the same nonsense. What should we do?
We should repurpose Admission Day as a holiday for our lāhui kanaka. Since Admission Day is already an “official” day off, why not commandeer this holiday and transform it into a day of celebration for Hawaiian nationals?
Let’s establish Lā Aloha ʻĀina as a holiday to honor our people’s patriotism towards our own nation. Lā Aloha ʻĀina should become a day of conscious resistance to the U.S. military occupation and miseducation programs of deculturation and denationalization. A day to celebrate and recognize all who are engaged in struggles to protect our homeland, to restore our cultural integrity, and reinstate the re-recognition of our true national consciousness.
Let’s take our power and create an alternative. Let’s boycott all Hawaiʻi Admission Day festivities and organize our own activities dedicated to the re-education and re-culturation of our people.
Lā Aloha ʻĀina will disempower and counter the false narrative of Hawaiʻi’s Admission Day. Wouldn’t this day be worthy of support from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs whereby they can set aside resources and commit to providing Lā Aloha ʻĀina celebrations across Hawaiʻi?
Let’s make it a day to honor the highest expressions of aloha ʻāina.
Kaleikoa Kaʻeo was born and raised on the island of Maui where he lives with his wife and three keiki in Waiohuli Hawaiian Homestead. Kaʻeo is a graduate of Baldwin High School and UH Mānoa, and is an associate professor at UH Maui College.