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Ma Hope Ho'i Ma Mua


As used in this Joint Resolution, the term "Native Hawaiians" means any individual who is a descendent of the aboriginal people who, prior to 1778, occupied and exercised sovereignty in the area that now constitutes the State of Hawaii.


Nothing in this Joint Resolution is intended to serve as a settlement of any claims against the United States.

Approved November 23, 1993


SENATE REPORTS: No. 103-125 (Select Comm. on Indian Affairs) CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 139 (1993): Oct. 27, considered and passed Senate. Nov. 15, considered and passed House.

Again, affirming that the native people of Hawai'i were and by implication still are the sovereign authority in these lands, not the state, not the federal government, but the Native Hawaiian people themselves.

Well, based then on this public law, and going through it line by line, I would express the opinion that today the Kanaka Maoli have the right exercise self-determination as a people in accordance with the U.N. Charter, and proclaim an independent state, if that is your desire, and, join the world community of states as an independent nation state.

This also means that you have the right to determine your political status, your type of governmental organization to govern yourselves through customary systems. And freely pursue your economic, social, cultural development in accordance with Article I of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The United States government is party to that first treaty. That treaty also recognizes the right of Native Hawaiians to freely dispose of your natural wealth and resources, without prejudice to obligations arising out of international economic cooperation. This is your land. These are your natural resources. Whatever powers are exercised by the state and federal government are those of a colonial occupation military regime. But the sovereignty still resides in the hands of the Native Hawaiian people.

You have the territory necessary for a state. The Hawaiian Archipelago, the lands that you had before the invasion of 1893. You would be entitled to claim a 12 mile territorial sea and a 200 mile exclusive economic zone, in accordance with customary international law and the Law of the Sea Treaty of 1982.

The second requirement of an independent state are the people. And, again Congress has recognized the Kanaka Maoli people are a group of people with sovereignty, sovereign powers. You have lived here forever. You are the original inhabitants and occupants of these islands. You have always been in possession of your land. And so you would be entitled to reestablish an independent sovereign nation state in that land. ... Who would be your citizens? Well certainly the citizens would be those who are descendants of the Kanaka Maoli, who occupied and exercised sovereignty in Hawaii, prior to the Europeans in 1778. You would trace your ancestors back. Again, it would be your right to determine who your citizens are. ... The way this is normally done by most states today, a state is free to determine who its own citizens are. And certainly you would be free to determine that all those who could trace their ancestors back to 1778 would automatically become citizens of the new state.

Now, what about those who are living here who are not able to trace their ancestors back? What about them?

Certainly the Hawaiian state could take the position that you'll set up a procedure to provide citizenship to all people who are habitual residents of the new state of Hawai'i as of a certain date... are also themselves entitled to become citizens of this state on a level of equality with everyone else, but they have to apply for it. It would not be automatic, as would be the case with the Native Hawaiians, who would automatically become citizens. ... There are precedents for the new state of Hawai'i to take a ... position for those non-native Hawaiians who live here, saying: We don't want you to leave. We're setting up an inclusive state. We want you to stay. And you would simply have to apply for citizenship in the new state. It could be done in a way that they would not have to renounce their U.S. citizenship if that's what the Native Hawaiians decide. That could be a big issue for the current generation of non-native Hawaiians living here. It probably would not be a big issue for the next generation. They would be Hawaiian at birth, entitled to citizenship at birth, and probably whether they would claim U.S. citizenship wouldn't be all that important. But for those who are here who are U.S. citizens it would be possible to allow for them to become dual nationals. That is they would apply for Hawaiian citizenship without having to give up U.S. citizenship. And this would be fully consistent with United States law.

Now, I've already discussed that the system of government, again the third requirement that you would need, and I believe you have it, for an independent state. ...

And finally the capacity to enter into international relations. And again here, I think that if you were to declare an independent state you would probably obtain recognition in that capacity from a fairly large number of states. I could not predict the number of states that would recognize you. ... I could not predict how long this would take, what would be the consequences, how many states will recognize you, but I take it that the plight of the Hawaiian people is generally well known in the world, and there's a great deal sympathy. ... It might be that you would be able to obtain recognition quickly. And especially if you pursue this process in accordance with principles of peaceful, non-violent struggle. And I submit that's the most effective technique you have today. ...

The Native Hawaiian people... have the right to self-determination, have the inherent sovereignty, and that fact has now even been recognized by the United States Congress itself. So it's no longer just me up here as a law professor giving you an opinion as a law professor. But rather the opinion I'm giving you tonight is based upon these formal findings of fact and law by the United States Congress.

Prof. Francis A. Boyle
Dec. 28, 1993

Ma Hope Ho'i Ma Mua