(c) Copyright May 1, 2016 by
Kenneth R. Conklin
,Ph.D., in honor of Law Day throughout the U.S. and Lei Day in Hawaii.
Communist and socialist leaders have long used May Day for mass marches calling upon workers of the world to unite and throw off the chains of capitalism. Mayday! is also the last word shouted into the radio by a panic-stricken captain of a ship or plane that's going down. In the U.S. it was defused by an official Presidential Proclamation as PL 87-20 on April 7, 1961, naming it "Law Day." Every year Bar Associations around America celebrate Law Day by sponsoring lectures on the importance of the rule of law in providing justice and stability. In Hawaii May 1 has been further depoliticized and mellowed, as we all say "May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii" -- there are celebrations including lei-making competitions and displays. Giving a lei, or wearing one, is a visible display of the Aloha Spirit.
This essay is one of a pair, posted simultaneously as two separate webpages. This is the "good news" essay providing an affirmative statement of fundamental values which can also be used as a response to the bad news essay and an antidote to its poison. To see the bad news essay, go to "Hawaiian religious fascism. A twisted version of a beautiful creation legend provides the theological basis for a claim that ethnic Hawaiians are entitled to racial supremacy in the governance and cultural life of the Hawaiian islands." at
The present essay is a very personal description of the Aloha Spirit as I understand it. Along the way I will occasionally use some metaphors from various religions and philosophies which helped me grow spiritually and which might help readers to understand what I mean.
Part 1 is a description of the Aloha Spirit in broad terms and also in considerable detail. Part 2 identifies five fundamental principles of social justice derived from the Aloha Spirit, with specific applicability to Hawaii. Anyone who believes in the Aloha Spirit and the five principles has no choice but to reject Hawaiian religious fascism, racial separatism, and ethnic nationalism.
The following essay is a ho'okupu -- offering -- to my adopted homeland. In 1982 I first came as a tourist and felt like I was coming home. Additional trips confirmed that feeling. In 1992 I moved to Hawaii permanently because I could not bear to leave again. As I reached out to embrace Hawaii, Hawaii reached back to embrace me. Hanai (adoption) is something mutual -- both sides give and both sides receive. Over the years I have come to understand more clearly and deeply what at first was only an intense but vague feeling. Perhaps others can be helped to clarify their own spiritual journey as I describe mine.
PART 1: THE ALOHA SPIRIT
Everyone knows that "aloha" can mean hello, goodbye, or love; depending on the situation.
Some who speak Hawaiian know that "aloha" derives from "alo" and "ha".
"Alo" means to undergo something; to have an experience. It also means "face." The expression "he alo a he alo" literally means "a face and a face"; i.e., face-to-face.
"Ha" can refer to breath, spirit, or soul. Thus "aloha" refers to the way Hawaiian natives greeted each other hello or goodbye in the "honi": Standing nose to nose, with foreheads touching, they would momentarily share breath with each other, thereby metaphorically sharing souls. In recent years this ancient way of greeting has been revived, especially as a political display when two men who are both Hawaiian cultural or sovereignty activists say hello.
Aloha also refers to an ancient cultural practice when a family patriarch or the kahuna of a school of knowledge was nearing the end of life. He would summon his successor to come near, and would pass his wisdom to his successor with his dying breath, the "ha."
In the Hawaiian creation legend, Haloa [long breath or great soul] is the name of the first child of the gods who was stillborn and from whose burial grew mankind's elder brother, the taro plant. The same name, Haloa, was also given to the next child of the gods -- the primordial ancestor from whom all persons are descended. Haloa is also the name of the tradewinds -- the constant breeze created by the "long breath" (haloa) of the exhaling ancestor who continuously bestows his cleansing spirit and wisdom upon all things here. Hawaii is indeed a magical, sacred place.
The Aloha Spirit was not always extended to commoners in ancient times. Human sacrifice had been practiced for many centuries until the old religion was abolished in 1819. There was a rigid caste system. Chiefs were regarded as direct descendants of the gods and ranked in a hierarchy according to their sacred bloodlines. Commoners could be put to death for failing to bow down, for eating chiefly foods, or for stepping on a chief's shadow. Although the old religion officially ended in 1819, the social caste system remained in place with huge differences in rights and privileges between chiefs and commoners.
In that context was produced one of the most beautiful and powerful written expressions of the Aloha Spirit. It is found in the first sentence of the first systematic law of the Kingdom of Hawaii. King Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III (advised by missionary William Richards) voluntarily gave up his absolute power and officially recognized that chiefs, commoners, and people of all races share fundamental rights. Here was a King whose right to dictatorial authority was earned by the conquests of his father, but whose heart was infused by his love of God and by compassion for his people, enlightened by awareness of democratic principles brought to him by American Christian missionaries.
The Declaration of the Rights of Man was proclaimed by Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III in 1839, and became the preamble of the first Constitution which he proclaimed in 1840. Although some call this "Hawaii's Magna Carta," the political history is very different. The English document was extracted by force from a despotic king under pressure from land barons (a "Bayonet Constitution", one might say), while the Hawaiian document was given freely as an act of benevolence.
The first sentence, which I call the "Kokokahi Sentence", says this in Hawaiian: "Ua hana mai ke Akua i na lahuikanaka a pau i ke koko hookahi, e noho like lakou ma ka honua nei me ke kuikahi, a me ka pomaikai." In English, it can be translated into modern usage as follows: "God has made of one blood all races of people to dwell upon this Earth in unity and blessedness." What a beautiful and eloquently expressed concept! What a shocking, revolutionary proclamation this was in the Hawaii of 1839!
The Declaration of the Rights of Man then goes on to enumerate some of the fundamental rights given to all humans by God. The first written Constitution of Hawaii was proclaimed in 1840, with the Declaration as its preamble. It sets forth the structure of a government based on laws, including a Legislature whose lower house is elected by the people. The House of Nobles and House of Representatives met and deliberated together -- high-ranking ali'i (chiefs) with great genealogical mana (spiritual power), and elected representatives of the maka'ainana (commoners), sitting and discussing face to face, side by side. In the context of a society emerging from centuries of a rigid caste system with death penalty for commoners who violated what we today would consider trivial protocols, this was an astonishing implementation of the kokokahi concept that chiefs and commoners share fundamental God-given rights as a consequence of being human. As time went by there were increasing numbers of Caucasians among both the Nobles and the Representatives -- again, an astonishing implementation of the kokokahi concept that all races are of one blood, at a time when slavery was still being practiced in the Southern United States and many other nations.
The Aloha Spirit has also found its way into our modern law books. The Aloha Spirit Law is found in §5-7.5 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, which says in part: "Aloha means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. Aloha is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence. Aloha means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable. In exercising their power on behalf of the people and in fulfillment of their responsibilities, obligations and service to the people, the legislature, governor, lieutenant governor, executive officers of each department, the chief justice, associate justices, and judges of the appellate, circuit, and district courts may contemplate and reside with the life force and give consideration to The Aloha Spirit."
Racist attacks against the aloha spirit
The greatest attack on the Aloha Spirit is the ongoing attempt to divide Hawaii's people by creating a racial separatist government. From Summer 2000 through through December 2012 this effort was done through the constant presence in Congress of numerous versions of the Hawaiian Government Reorganization Bill, informally called the Akaka bill. From January 17, 2004 to December 2012 thousands of racist advertisements were printed in newspapers, and beamed into our living rooms on radio and television, paid for with money from the state treasury, urging ethnic Hawaiians to sign up on the "Kau Inoa" racial registry. These commercials were filled with propaganda claiming that people with a drop of Hawaiian native blood have special spiritual and mental powers not possessed by others; that they are entitled to special rights on account of their bloodline; and that they should sign up on a racial registry expected to become the charter membership of a forthcoming racially exclusionary government. For transcripts and analyses of several of these commercials, see
In December 2012 Senator Inouye died and Senator Akaka retired. During the second Obama presidency from January 2013 through January 2017 there was no Akaka bill in Congress. But there were massive efforts in Hawaii, funded by state government money, to have ethnic Hawaiians sign up on a new Kana'iolowalu racial registry and hold elections to create and ratify a constitution for a racially exclusive "Native Hawaiian" wannabe tribe, in tandem with efforts by the U.S. Department of Interior to create a regulation whereby the anticipated Hawaiian tribe could get federal recognition.
This entire concept, from 2000 through 2016, has been poisonous. It is an absolute violation of the Kokokahi Sentence from 1839: "God has made of one blood all races of people to dwell upon this Earth in unity and blessedness."
Trivializing the Aloha Spirit
A bumper sticker often seen in Hawaii says "No Hawaiians, no aloha." That slogan captures an attitude often expressed in newspaper columns, classrooms, and casual conversations -- an attitude that "aloha" is the property of a racial group -- that the only people who can fully exemplify the Aloha Spirit, or who even have a right to discuss it, are those who have a drop of the magic blood. But no. That leads toward racial supremacy and fascism. It violates what the Kokokahi Sentence clearly says. Its pernicious falseness becomes clear when we understand that the Aloha Spirit is a part of the Cosmic Spirit which infuses all people in all times and places. If there were somehow a terrible disease which attacks the Hawaiian genome and kills every person possessing a drop of Hawaiian native blood, the Aloha Spirit would nevertheless remain fully alive. Anyone who says "No Hawaiians, no aloha" is clearly proving that he is out of touch with his own indwelling spirit.
Sometimes we say "Aloha!" as a quick and simple greeting, or a routine way of answering the telephone, not knowing who might be calling. In the same way, people in some Asian cultures greet each other with a perfunctory bow, or a "wai" (pressing the palms of one's hands together in front of the chin while bowing slightly). But such a perfunctory greeting is an echo of a much more profound act of respect in which we acknowledge the presence of God (the Buddha-nature) inside the person we greet, and we solemnly pledge to listen to both what is spoken and what is unspoken.
"Aloha Airlines" went bankrupt, but the Aloha Spirit continues paying huge dividends. A ship called the "Pride of Aloha" left Hawaii and changed its name; but the true Aloha Spirit sails on and is a source of great pride for all Hawaii's people. The word "aloha" can evoke deep meanings and profound reverence, even though it is often overused and trivialized for commercial application. Perhaps it's like sex, which can be used for mere recreational pleasure, pornography, or even prostitution; but which can also be a vehicle for experiencing a sacred beauty and intimacy too profound for words.
Aloha Ke Akua
The Aloha Spirit is another name for God. It is the immanence of a transcendent Cosmic Spirit, infinitely powerful, present at the core of every person, place, and thing. It unifies us, makes us fundamentally equal as beings of infinite value, and calls upon us to treat each other and our environment with reverence, respect, and compassion. The Aloha Spirit is the alpha and omega of creation. It is the origin from which all life force is derived, and the destiny toward which evolution strives. It is the "Pure Land" of Buddhist theology, manifesting itself through the Dharma of scientific fact and intellectual conceptualization, and the Sangha of all creatures.
At the risk of saying too many words, and being overly "intellectualized", let me offer some religious/philosophical metaphors. Everyone has his own way of interpreting things through his particular life experiences. Since I have an academic background, these are some of the metaphors I find useful. But every one of them is incomplete and, of necessity, inaccurate. There is simply no way to describe the indescribable. And yet ... let me give some approximations. Anyone who wants to stop reading now will not miss anything essential. Thank you for bearing with me thus far.
The Christian doctrine of the trinity
Each religion has its own metaphors for the spiritual concepts comprising a universal core of wisdom. My parents forced me to attend a Christian (Lutheran) church, including two years of Saturday morning classes leading to a "confirmation" ceremony. Thereafter I studied theology and philosophy on my own and then in college. I was especially inspired by Plato, Plotinus, Augustine; and the mysticism of the modern Catholic theologians Jacques Maritain and Teilhard de Chardin; and the novels of Hermann Hesse. Although I have long ago "outgrown" the Christianity of my youth, its metaphors still inspire me and help me explain things. Other religions besides Christianity, and other writers or teachers besides Plato, have similar metaphors; but I shall cite only the ones embedded in my own heritage.
The doctrine of the Trinity says there is one God manifested in three persons, which St. Patrick illustrated as being like the clover which has three leaves. God the Father is the Creator, all-powerful and all-knowing, transcendent beyond human knowability. God the Son is Jesus Christ, born in human form but without original sin, who came into our world to teach, and who suffered and died as a sacrificial lamb -- a human sacrifice to expunge our sins. Then there's the Holy Spirit, often portrayed as a white dove with an olive branch in its beak. The Holy Spirit does not usually get much attention, but should. A little white dove does not look very impressive. But the Holy Spirit is God in all His Power and Glory, bestowing the Grace of understanding and wisdom upon all who open their hearts.
The Aloha Spirit is the local Hawaii name for the Holy Spirit of the Christian Trinity.
Plato's doctrines of the Forms and the Two Worlds
The Greek philosopher Plato distinguished between two worlds. The world of the Forms is above and beyond this world of appearances. The Forms are the Absolute Truths, the same for all people in all times and places. The Form of the Good reigns supreme, like the Godhead of the Christian trinity. It is manifested in the three Forms of Goodness (moral), Truth (intellectual), and Beauty (aesthetic); which of course reverberate with each other.
We are born into this material world of appearances, which is like a cave where we are chained (by ignorance) to the floor and able to look only at the shadows dancing on the wall. We mistakenly believe the shadows are real. But a few lucky individuals have weak chains. They are able to break their chains, stand up, and walk toward the light. Eventually they can go outside the cave. They are attracted by the Form of Beauty, which leads them to turn their whole selves around (con-version) to discover the Form of Truth and gaze directly upon the sun (the supreme Form of the Good) and achieve en-lighten-ment. They realize that the sun is the source of light, and is casting the shadows on the wall of the cave. The Form of Goodness is inherent in Truth and Beauty, thereby causing the liberated souls to feel compassion for their fellow humans still chained to the floor of the cave. Thus they return to the cave, where some of their colleagues reject their teachings but others break free and struggle upward toward enlightenment.
Everything in this world of appearances is a shadow, or pale imitation, of the World of the Forms. We are born with a knowledge of the Forms buried in our soul; and the events of daily life can evoke memories of them. For example nobody has ever seen a triangle, because a true triangle is made of line segments which have zero thickness and are perfectly straight. The objects which we call triangular call forth a reminder of the absolute concept of "triangle." The Socratic method of teaching by asking questions can be successful because the questions evoke memories of things we know from before birth, but have forgotten. The title of a poem by William Wordsworth clearly conveys this idea: "Ode to Intimations of Immortality From Recollections of Early Childhood." Plato's dialog "Phaedrus" explains that human love is merely a pale reflection of the absolute form of Love. The rare moments when we feel love most deeply occur when our manipulation of bodies and thoughts transport us "out of body," allowing us to momentarily experience absolute Love which is always present but seldom apprehended.
The Aloha Spirit is the local Hawaii name for Plato's Form of Goodness. It is the source of compassion, morality, and the desire to give freely without expectation of return.
The principle of ineffability
Words and deeds take place in the world of appearances; but Truth belongs to the world of the Forms. Therefore it is impossible to prove what is True by anything we say or do. It is even impossible to completely or accurately express or tell anything that is True. This fact is called the "principle of ineffability." The best we can do is to use metaphors or signs which point the way. Even mathematical or scientific "proof" is merely a bunch of clues laid out heuristically in a sequence that points the way toward a concept which lies beyond them.
If you try to tell a dog where to find a bone, the dog will only look quizzical. If you point, the dog will watch your finger but probably won't look where you're pointing. If you jab your finger repeatedly in the right direction and shout, the dog will merely start barking and might playfully bite your finger. Or, to use a different metaphor, "You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink."
The principle of ineffability says we can know things but we can never tell what we know no matter how hard we try. The best we can do is lay out a trail of bread crumbs or point the way; and then we must rely upon the person seeing those clues to follow them and to assemble their meaning for himself. Although Truth can never be told, the universe is constantly teaching it to us. See Kenneth R. Conklin, "Knowledge, Proof, and Ineffability in Teaching," EDUCATIONAL THEORY, XXIV, 1 (Winter, 1974), pp. 61-67; available at
See also Kenneth R. Conklin, "Wholes and Parts in Teaching," THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL JOURNAL, LXXIV, 3 (December, 1973), pp. 165-171; available at
The Aloha Spirit can never be defined or accurately described. There are ways we can express it and help others learn about it, but in the end it's up to each individual to discover it. There is hope for all of us -- Haloa is constantly whispering in our ear -- God's Grace is freely available to all who open their hearts to receive it.
How to teach Truth: Immanuel Kant, Existentialism, Zen
The philosopher Immanuel Kant used the word "noumena" as an approximate equivalent to Plato's world of the Forms, and "phenomena" as the equivalent of Plato's world of appearances. He said that the noumena are unreachable through the phenomena (God is transcendent) but the phenomena are expressions of the noumena (God is immanent) and can be used as clues to foster discovery. The two best vehicles for using phenomena to point toward noumena are moral choice and artistic expression.
Thus the Existentialist philosophers explore the choices we make, even in the face of ignorance, despair, and inevitable death; and they celebrate the crises that force us to choose.
Zen teaching techniques help the mind leap the chasm between phenomena and noumena. Think hard: what is the sound of one hand clapping? If you think hard enough, the time will come when you are no longer able to think; and then -- VOILA! and you hear it. If you have a coat, I will give you one; but if you have no coat I will take it away from you. The most valuable part of a wheel is the hole at its center. See Kenneth R. Conklin, "Nothing" at
Aloha means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable. Although the Aloha Spirit cannot be seen in its pure form or defined, we can display it and lead others to grasp it by the choices we make and by our creative products.
Final note regarding the Kokokahi Sentence
"Ua hana mai ke Akua i na lahuikanaka a pau i ke koko hookahi, e noho like lakou ma ka honua nei me ke kuikahi, a me ka pomaikai." In modern English: "God has made of one blood all races of people to dwell upon this Earth in unity and blessedness." A popular translation in earlier times used the phrase "all nations of men to dwell upon the face of the Earth ..." instead of "all races of people to dwell on the Earth..." But today we say "people" instead of only "men." And we recognize that the specific word for "nation" or "government" is "aupuni" whereas "lahui" and especially "lahuikanaka" has a broader meaning of "race" or "tribe."
Historically it's unclear whether the Kokokahi Sentence was first written by missionary William Richards and then adopted by the King, or whether the King produced it on his own. It's also unclear whether the sentence was first written in English and then translated into Hawaiian, or written in Hawaiian and then translated into English. Both men were fluent in both languages. Much of the wording comes from the Bible, Acts 17:26: "And [God] hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth ..." In any case, the King gets full credit for proclaiming kokokahi as official policy, thereby voluntarily giving up absolute power through an act manifesting the Aloha Spirit.
There is a neighborhood named "Kokokahi" along Kaneohe Bay Drive, running from the mountain to the sea, and a YWCA named "Kokokahi" on the oceanfront there. This neighborhood was named and developed by Dr. Theodore Richards, a descendant of American missionary William Richards, who had advised King Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III on the Kokokahi Sentence. When the large parcel of land was broken into individual house lots for sale, Dr. Richards imposed a racial quota system and screened the buyers to ensure that people of all races would be living side by side, hopefully in unity and blessedness. And so it remains today. The street name "Likeke" in that neighborhood is the Hawaiianized version of "Richards"; likewise the Likeke dining hall at Kawaiaha'o Church. And of course there's Richards Street with runs alongside 'Iolani Palace.
As the proverb says: "I ka 'olelo no ke ola" -- in language there is life. Words have power. And so the Kokokahi Sentence, resulting from the collaboration between King Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III and Rev. William Richards, has inspired generations of Hawaiians, both those with native blood and those without, and has helped us understand something about this powerful living being known as the Aloha Spirit.
PART 2: FIVE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF SOCIAL JUSTICE APPLYING THE ALOHA SPIRIT TO HAWAII
The choice is either to believe in and adopt these five principles, or to reject them in order to support Hawaiian religious fascism. Each principle is explained below, along with how they are based on the Aloha Spirit and how they are related to each other.
Here are the five fundamental principles.
1. Aloha for all.
2. All persons are equal in the eyes of God regardless of race.
3. All persons should be treated equally under the law by our government regardless of race.
4. Hawaii should remain unified with the United States.
5. The lands and people of Hawaii should remain unified under the single sovereignty of an undivided State of Hawaii.
PRINCIPLE #1: ALOHA FOR ALL
The Aloha Spirit is at the core of human existence. We all share in it equally regardless of race, gender or nationality. It burns brightly providing the fuel for love, respect, compassion and courage. The Hawaiian hello or goodbye "honi" -- nose to nose, forehead to forehead, sharing breath and spirit -- exemplifies the recognition by each person of the presence of the Aloha Spirit in the other. In some Asian cultures people say hello or goodbye by making the "wai" gesture: each person briefly places his own hands together palm-to-palm, fingers pointing up, in front of face or chest, as though praying; and might accompany that gesture by saying the Sanskrit word "namaste." The gesture and word mean "I pray to God [who is] inside you."
Repeating a paragraph from Part 1 of this essay: A bumper sticker often seen in Hawaii says "No Hawaiians, no aloha." That slogan captures an attitude often expressed in newspaper columns, classrooms, and casual conversations -- an attitude that "aloha" is the property of a racial group -- that the only people who can fully exemplify the Aloha Spirit, or who even have a right to discuss it, are those who have a drop of the magic blood. But no. That leads toward racial supremacy and fascism. It violates what the Kokokahi Sentence clearly says. Its pernicious falseness becomes clear when we understand that the Aloha Spirit is a part of the Cosmic Spirit which infuses all people in all times and places. If there were somehow a terrible disease which attacks the Hawaiian genome and kills every person possessing a drop of Hawaiian native blood, the Aloha Spirit would nevertheless remain fully alive. Anyone who says "No Hawaiians, no aloha" thereby shows that he is out of touch with his own indwelling spirit.
PRINCIPLE #2: ALL PERSONS ARE EQUAL IN THE EYES OF GOD REGARDLESS OF RACE.
Part 1 of this essay described the Aloha Spirit. It explained the "Kokokahi Sentence." That first sentence of the first Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii says this in Hawaiian: "Ua hana mai ke Akua i na lahuikanaka a pau i ke koko hookahi, e noho like lakou ma ka honua nei me ke kuikahi, a me ka pomaikai." In English, it can be translated into modern usage as follows: "God has made of one blood all races of people to dwell upon this Earth in unity and blessedness."
Principle #1 above noted that the Aloha Spirit is at the core of human existence. We all share in it equally regardless of race, gender or nationality. It burns brightly providing the fuel for love, respect, compassion and courage. The Aloha Spirit is not the exclusive property of one race.
Thus we are all equal in the eyes of God, or Allah, Buddha, the Great Spirit, the 400,000 gods in the Hawaiian pantheon, or the Natural Law.
The U.S. Declaration of Independence repeats in different words the concept that we are all equal in the eyes of God: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights ..."
This principle explains why Hawaiian religious fascism is intellectually bankrupt and morally repugnant. Hawaiian religious fascism is a twisted version of a beautiful creation legend. The twisted version provides the theological basis for a claim that ethnic Hawaiians are entitled to racial supremacy in the governance and cultural life of the Hawaiian islands. Read about Hawaiian religious fascism and its evil implementation at
PRINCIPLE #3: ALL PERSONS SHOULD BE TREATED EQUALLY UNDER THE LAW BY OUR GOVERNMENT REGARDLESS OF RACE.
Therefore Hawaii's hundreds of racial entitlement programs must be dismantled including the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, Alu Like, Papa Ola Lokahi (the Native Hawaiian healthcare system), the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine Department of Native Hawaiian Health, the Native Hawaiian Education Act including Title III grants to Native-Hawaiian-serving institutions, Na Pua No'eau, etc. Most of these institutions and racial entitlement programs were established for benevolent purposes based on a charitable impulse to help "poor, downtrodden Native Hawaiians." But they have become large organizations with entrenched bureaucracies gathering political power by giving money to racially exclusionary groups, thereby setting people against one another because of race and violating the principle that all persons should be treated equally under the law regardless of race.
The founding documents of the United States clearly express the principle of equality under the law, but that principle has become realized in practice only through long, hard struggle. It is an aspiration we work hard to achieve, and we celebrate that we approach it ever more closely. It's like a hyperbolic curve, asymptotic to the axis of pono (justice) which it strives to touch.
The U.S. Constitution proposed in 1787 and ratified in 1788 was lacking in civil liberty protections for the citizens. Therefore in 1789 the first ten Amendments were proposed, known as the Bill of Rights; and were ratified in 1791. The Declaration of Independence had said "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights ..."
But what about slavery? It required 7 decades and a devastating Civil War to free the slaves and affirm that they should have equal rights under the law. Finally the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments were ratified in the late 1860s. Slavery was abolished. And "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside ... nor shall any State ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." And "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." Then followed many more decades of "Jim Crow" laws whereby some Southern states legally discriminated against blacks; and even after such laws were abolished there continued to be racial discrimination of diminishing intensity even until today.
But what about women? It took another 50 years before the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." But still we are reminded daily that women continue to face social and economic discrimination.
But what about Indians? Those who were officially enrolled in federally recognized tribes were identified in the Constitution as "Indians not taxed." They were not U.S. Citizens until the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 was passed. Even today Indians officially enrolled in federally recognized tribes are denied some fundamental Constitutional rights because of federal Indian policy upholding the "residual sovereignty" of the tribes including the right of a tribe to adopt laws that would be unconstitutional for any State to apply to its own non-tribal citizens. How long will it be before Congress puts an end to tribal sovereignty and our laws treat an Indian tribe the same as any other private club?
The point of recounting this history is that the United States has a fundamental principle which it asserted as an ideal more than two centuries ago, which it has strived mightily to achieve and which it continues to work toward -- all people should be treated equally under the law regardless of race (or gender or national origin).
The principle that we should all be treated equally under the law by our government has also been an ideal adhered to by the government in Hawaii at all times for 140 years from 1839 to 1978 except for a short period of 11 years from 1887 to 1898 (when the Bayonet Constitution signed by Kalakaua stripped Asians of voting rights).
The Kingdom of Hawaii asserted the equality principle in the Kokokahi Sentence of its first Constitution, in 1840. The Kingdom also recognized in its laws that any person born in Hawaii was a subject of the Kingdom, having equal rights with the natives regardless of race; and that people of any race or national origin could come to Hawaii and, after a period of several years of residency and after taking the oath of loyalty to the King, could become naturalized as Kingdom subjects with full rights equal to the natives. There were very few laws that treated people differently solely on account of race. The few such laws did not give racial supremacy to natives, but instead were laws written by upper-class natives patronizing lower-class natives out of noblesse oblige, denying them the right to do things which the rulers feared would be especially harmful to naive or ignorant natives. For example rum or whiskey are very powerful and new to natives, so liquor stores were forbidden to sell imported liquors to natives (Rex v. Booth, 1863); while 'okolehao and 'awa are relatively mild and were in common usage for centuries.
During the 1880s the Kalakaua regime became increasingly corrupt, financially irresponsible, and politically unstable with frequent turnover of cabinets. In 1887 businessmen led by sugar plantation owners organized a 1500-man militia of the Honolulu Rifles and the Annexation Club which surrounded Iolani Palace and presented the King with a new Constitution stripping Kalakaua of most of his political power. Kalakaua signed under threat that he would otherwise be overthrown.
The so-called "Bayonet Constitution" included a provision stripping Asians of the right to vote, including those who already had that right by being native-born or naturalized. Although Kalakaua was reluctant to sign the Constitution because it took away most of his powers, he was not unhappy about the stripping of voting rights from Asians. The influx of Asian plantation workers, the birth of their babies in Hawaii, and the expectation there would soon be tens of thousands more, had made Caucasian and native Hawaiian political leaders nervous about their ability to hold onto power in future decades. This anti-Asian law of 1887 was the only large-scale racism against an entire racial group done by any government of Hawaii until the creation of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in 1978 which denied everyone lacking Hawaiian native blood the right to vote for or be elected as government officials (OHA trustees). [The detention camps for ethnic Japanese under martial law following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 affected only a relatively small number of "suspicious" ethnic Japanese out of a very large number living in Hawaii; while the stripping of voting rights from Asians under the Kalakaua Constitution applied to all Asians, was based solely on race and not based on allegedly "suspicious" activities.]
The Constitution of 1864, proclaimed unilaterally by King Lot Kamehameha V after he dismissed the legislature for refusing to approve it, included provisions requiring that candidates for election to the legislature, and also voters, must have either a minimum value of annual income or a minimum value of land ownership. The obvious purpose was to ensure that only thoughtful people of "substance" could vote and not "riff-raff" who might push for laws to tax the rich and give the money to themselves. But those provisions had the effect of greatly reducing the number of native Hawaiians who could vote or hold a position in the legislature, on account of their low level of income or wealth; and also had the same effect on Asians. The wealth and income requirements had what civil rights activists today would call a "disparate impact" on the political power of native Hawaiians and Asians, not because of race but because of low wealth or income; while most Caucasians, and those natives who were landowners, had plenty of land or income to remain unaffected. The 1887 Constitution was explicitly racist against Asians by singling out the entire racial group to be stripped of political power solely on account of race, which never happened to native Hawaiians or Caucasians. The disparate impact of wealth and income requirements in the 1864 Constitution was greatly magnified in the 1887 Constitution by the fact that it removed the King's power to appoint members to the House of Nobles and made the Nobles elected; thus a King who might have tried to balance the disparate racial impact by appointing more native Hawaiians as Nobles could no longer do so.
This short discussion of Hawaii's history has shown that the equality principle, that our government should treat us all equally under the law regardless of race, has been adhered to for 140 years from 1839 to 1978 except for a short period of 11 years from 1887 to 1898 (when the Bayonet Constitution signed by Kalakaua stripped Asians of voting rights). See a splendid essay by attorney Patrick W. Hanifin in the Hawaii Bar Journal, Vol. V, No. 13 (Spring 2002), pp. 15-44. Its title is "To Dwell on the Earth in Unity: Rice, Arakaki, and the Growth of Citizenship and Voting Rights in Hawai'i" The article describes the history of citizenship and voting rights in the Kingdom of Hawaii, Republic of Hawaii, Territory of Hawaíi, and State of Hawaii. One reason for writing the article was to argue against the Akaka bill on the grounds that it is racially exclusionary, and would be contrary to Hawaii's history of inclusiveness. Another reason was to prove that jus soli was the law of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Hawaiian sovereignty activists had knowingly lied to people by saying that being born in the Kingdom of Hawaiíi was not sufficient to make someone a subject of the Kingdom with full voting and property rights. Because of Patrick Hanifin's research we now know that if the overthrow of the monarchy had not happened and the laws of the Kingdom had remained in place until now, then the vast majority of Hawaiian subjects with voting rights today would have no native blood. Everyone born in Hawaii would have the same rights as native Hawaiians, as well as everyone who comes to Hawaii and wishes to have Hawaiian citizenship. The Hanifin article can be downloaded from:
But the equality principle has come under attack with increasing stridency for nearly 4 decades from 1978 to now: hundreds of racial entitlement programs have been established; racial separatists demand creation of a racially exclusionary government to be given federal recognition as an Indian tribe; and ethnic nationalists demand the re-establishment of an independent nation of Hawaii under "international law" including a previously unknown concept of racial supremacy for "indigenous people." See book "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State" at
A recent example of the twisting of history regarding the equality principle in the Kingdom of Hawaii is an essay by Derek Kauanoe in the Honolulu Civil Beat online newspaper on September 18, 2015, entitled "Law Recognizes Native Hawaiians as Indigenous People With Special Rights --Legal rulings dating back to 1863 and ongoing global recognition today confirm the appropriateness of laws that apply only to indigenous Native Hawaiians."
Derek Kauanoe is a graduate of the University of Hawaii program in Hawaiian Studies, and the law school there, and is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science there. His article in Honolulu Civil Beat carries the usual disclaimer that "He contributed this editorial to Civil Beat in his personal capacity; it is not representative of any organizations he is affiliated with." However, according to his "Linkedin" biographical statement, he admits he is "Governance Manager at Office of Hawaiian Affairs" and he describes his duties as follows: "As the Governance Manager, I coordinate the Office of Hawaiian Affairs' ("OHA") activities related to the facilitation of a process for the self-determination of Native Hawaiians, pursue OHA’s Strategic Goal on self-governance, and the transfer of OHA’s assets to a Native Hawaiian Governing Entity." In other words, he is leading OHA's efforts inside its bureaucracy to create a federally recognized Hawaiian tribe in order to provide a legal basis for defending hundreds of Hawaiian racial entitlement programs.
Dr. Keli'i Akina, President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, had written a short article on September 8, 2015 entitled “Silent Majority of Hawaiians Gain Voice.”
Akina wrote to remind readers about the Kokokahi Sentence and the equality principle. He had said “We seek to live by the words of the 1840 Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom that welcomes all, stating: ‘God hath made of one blood (koko) all nations of men to dwell on this earth in unity and blessedness.’”
Derek Kauanoe simply could not allow Akina to get away with such heresy. Kauanoe felt it essential to mislead readers by telling them that the effort to create a racially exclusionary Hawaiian tribe in order to defend racial entitlement programs did not violate any principles of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Kauanoe wanted to show that not only do so-called "indigenous people" have special rights under modern "international law" (the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples), but that the 19th Century laws of the Kingdom of Hawaii also provided special rights for native Hawaiians. In other words, Kauanoe wanted to show that the Kingdom did not adhere to the equality principle and therefore today's ethnic Hawaiians don't need to adhere to that principle either.
There were very few laws in the Kingdom that treated people differently solely on account of race. The prime example cited by Kauanoe was a law under challenge in the lawsuit Rex v. Booth (1863). But that law did not give racial supremacy to natives. Instead it was a law written by upper-class natives patronizing lower-class natives out of noblesse oblige, denying them the right to do things which the rulers feared would be especially harmful to naive or ignorant natives. For example rum or whiskey are very powerful and new to natives, so under the Kingdom law in Kauanoe's example liquor stores were forbidden to sell imported liquors to natives; while 'okolehao and 'awa are relatively mild and were in common usage by natives for centuries. So the prime example cited by Kauanoe was not a law giving special rights to natives -- it was, instead, a law denying to natives a right enjoyed by foreigners, and the purpose of the law was to protect natives from harming themselves. Contrary to Kauanoe's wishful thinking and history twisting, the Kokokahi Sentence meant exactly what it said, and the laws of the Kingdom (prior to 1787) upheld the principle that government should treat everyone equally under the law regardless of race.
See Kauanoe's article online, and Conklin's online comments in rebuttal, at
One example of Congressional legislation that keeps coming up for reauthorization every few years is the Native Hawaiian Healthcare Improvement bill which provides funding for Papa Ola Lokahi. A detailed analysis of it was done in 2011 debunking 35 historical and political "findings" in the bill's preamble which are repeated every time the bill comes around for reauthorization. See "S.66, the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement bill in the 112th Congress -- Reauthorizing an ineffective but socially dangerous pork-barrel waste of taxpayer dollars" at
One example of racially discriminatory laws at the state and county levels was attacked in a lawsuit. See "Corboy: Hawaii lawsuit against racial discrimination in property tax rates. Does the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment prohibit county governments from granting automatic zero or very low property taxes to all homeowners on lands where leases are restricted by federal and state law to people who have a minimum native Hawaiian blood quantum?" at
In case anyone doubts whether there are hundreds of racial entitlement programs in Hawaii, a 217-page list of the most important ones available 2015-2016 was published by the U.S. Department of Interior Office of Native Hawaiian Relations and distributed to grant-writers looking for money to support racially exclusionary programs, and to politicians wanting to get votes by helping constituents who are of the favored race. See "Federal Guide of Grants and Programs for the Native Hawaiian Community, Washington, D.C., 2015." at
The "Introduction" on page 3 says "According to the 2005 American Community Survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Native Hawaiian families in Hawai‘i are twice as likely to live below the poverty line than the rest of the State’s population. It was noted that approximately one in seven Native Hawaiian families are living below the poverty line. Unfortunately, these numbers have not been getting better. From 2007 to 2011, the number of Native Hawaiians in poverty has increased by 60%." So apparently the hundreds of millions of dollars in racial entitlements during those 4 years did no good, and might actually have done harm. There is simply no accountability for how the money was spent. Wasteful federal programs seem to measure success according to how much money is handed out rather than how much good the programs actually do.
PRINCIPLE #4: HAWAII SHOULD REMAIN UNIFIED WITH THE UNITED STATES. Therefore the secessionist independence movement must be rejected.
Of course Hawaii should remain unified with the United States. The discussion of principles 1,2, and 3 clearly show that the founding documents of Hawaii and the United States are alike in their most fundamental principles: We are all equal in the eyes of God, according to both the U.S. Declaration of Independence, and the first Hawaiian Kingdom Constitution proclaimed in 1840. We should all be treated equally by our government regardless of race, according to the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Hawaiian Kingdom laws regarding birthright citizenship, naturalization, and prohibition of slavery. Every person has the Aloha Spirit as the core of his being. We all share in it equally regardless of race, gender or nationality. It burns brightly providing the fuel for love, respect, compassion and courage.
Since about 1890 Hawaii has been what America is becoming: a multiracial, multicultural society where every race is a minority, and where we are held together by fundamental principles long held and deeply felt.
When contemplating Hawaiian independence, do a thought experiment. Suppose we cut the cord that binds Hawaii to America, and re-establish Hawaii as an independent nation with our current population that is 20% ethnic Hawaiian and 80% non-ethnic-Hawaiian. Would ethnic Hawaiian activists then be happy? Or would they demand special rights so that they could exercise "self-determination" despite being outvoted four-to-one? Would they demand race-based veto power over immigration policy and foreign affairs? Would they demand race-based control over access to "sacred places" which would, of course, comprise an ever-growing inventory of public lands and also private lands of cultural significance? It's clear that independence would not mean simply expelling the U.S. government while keeping the State of Hawaii as we have it today. It would mean the abandonment of the fundamental principles that all persons are equal in the eyes of God and should be treated equally under the law by the government.
PRINCIPLE #5: THE PEOPLE AND LANDS OF HAWAII SHOULD REMAIN UNIFIED UNDER THE SINGLE SOVEREIGNTY OF AN UNDIVIDED STATE OF HAWAII.
Therefore we must reject any attempt to create a race-based government for ethnic Hawaiians, whether done internally by the State legislature, or by passing legislation in Congress like the Akaka bill, or by creating a Presidential executive order or a regulation in the U.S. Department of Interior to grant federal recognition to a State-created Hawaiian tribe. Here are some examples illustrating the jurisdictional conflict leading to racial strife that would happen if a Hawaiian tribe were to be given sovereignty over parts of Hawaii.
Here is a map of the 8 major Hawaiian Islands showing the Hawaiian Homelands colored in yellow, lands owned by the federal government colored in green, and lands owned by the State of Hawaii colored in blue. All these lands are likely to be demanded by a Hawaiian tribal government.
But those are only government-owned lands. In addition, about nine percent of all the lands in Hawaii are owned by Bishop Estate (Kamehameha Schools), including large commercial properties like the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center in Waikiki and Windward Mall in Kane'ohe. Why are Bishop Estate lands of concern here? Because tribal lands, and tribally-owned businesses operating on reservation lands, are exempt from state and local taxes, zoning regulations, campaign contribution limits, and laws against racial discrimination. Bishop Estate would most likely choose to reincorporate itself under the jurisdiction of a Hawaiian tribe. They already gave serious consideration to such a move even before there was a Hawaiian tribe. According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin of October 12, 1999 Bishop Estate paid $200,000 to Verner Lipfert lobbying firm in 1995, whose Honolulu office was headed by former Governor John Waihe'e, to do research to choose a mainland Indian tribe where it might relocate its corporate headquarters. Werner Lipfert recommended the Cheyenne Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota. If a Hawaiian tribe gets federal recognition there's little doubt that Bishop Estate would join the tribe.
A lengthy table shows the number of "Native Hawaiians" in each and every Census tract in the State of Hawaii. It clearly shows that ethnic Hawaiians are widely dispersed and thoroughly assimilated throughout all neighborhoods of the state. There are a few tracts where ethnic Hawaiians are more than 50% of the population -- that happens on the Hawaiian Homelands created by Congress in 1921, which have artificially rounded up native Hawaiians and herded them into racial ghettoes. Why is the percentage of Native Hawaiians not 100% in these ghettoes? Because only the leaseholder is required to have at least 50% Hawaiian blood; but spouses, children, and other family members might have much less native ancestry or even no native ancestry at all. For purposes of measuring the dispersion of ethnic Hawaiians throughout all Census tracts, it's important to use the columns at the right, which identify "Native Hawaiian" as anyone having at least one drop of Hawaiian blood -- the same definition used in all versions of the Akaka bill from 2000 through 2012 and the same definition contemplated for the tribe being created by the State of Hawaii Kana'iolowalu process and Department of Interior rule-making. The table was retrieved on April 28, 2016 from the Native Hawaiian Databook for Census 2010 results at
With ethnic Hawaiians being so widely dispersed and thoroughly assimilated throughout every Census tract in Hawaii, it would be absurd to attempt some sort of population reshuffle to relocate the Hawaiians into tribal reservation lands -- something similar was done when millions of Muslims and Hindus traded places to separate the new nation of Pakistan from India, and it was disastrous.
But leaving ethnic Hawaiians so widely scattered would make it impossible for a Hawaiian tribe to be effective in exercising sovereignty, and would result in jurisdictional chaos where small neighborhoods of ethnic Hawaiians would have different laws and different enforcement agencies from non-ethnic-Hawaiian neighborhoods right across the street.
Numerous horror stories about civil and criminal jurisdictional disputes are the reasons why the Western States' Sheriffs' Association passed a resolution supporting legislation to study sovereign immunity of Indian tribes in relation to local and state governments.
For numerous examples and analysis of conflict between tribes and their non-Indian neighbors, see:
In 2005 there was an interesting court decision in Minnesota about jurisdictional conflict which raised questions whether something similar could happen if a Hawaiian tribe gets federal recognition. The Grand Forks Herald newspaper reported the following on July 27, 2005:
"The Minnesota Court of Appeals dealt a blow to efforts by law enforcement agencies to track murderers, sex offenders and kidnappers by ruling that the state can't require American Indians living on reservations to register as predatory offenders. ... State courts are increasingly recognizing Indian tribes as separate nations, with sovereign jurisdiction over the regulation of their citizens ... The case involved Peter Jones, 31, of Cass Lake, who was convicted in 1996 ... a predatory offender, and thus required to register his addresses after being released from prison. Jones twice registered his addresses after moving back to northern Minnesota's Leech Lake Indian Reservation, but he then he moved to another Leech Lake address and failed to register, according to court records. He also failed to respond to mailed requests from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to verify his address. ... Jones argued that because he was an Indian living on his tribe's reservation, the state lacked jurisdiction to punish him for failing to register .... District Judge John Smith agreed and dismissed the case earlier this year. ... On Tuesday, a three-judge appeals panel affirmed that in a seven-page opinion. ... It was not immediately clear how many offenders might be affected by the ruling. The state has 16,594 offenders registered by address, according to the BCA, but no quick way of telling how many are tribal members living on their reservations. Out of the 105 registered offenders in Cass County, about a dozen besides Jones appear from their addresses to live on the Leech Lake Reservation ... Maus also said he's concerned that some Indian offenders could purposefully thwart the state's registration radar by moving first to their home reservation, then moving off the reservation again without informing the BCA."
Ken Conklin, familiar with the small Waimanalo Hawaiian Homestead, did research comparing names on the Hawaii sex offender registry with names of leaseholders in the Waimanalo homestead found in the Honolulu property tax database, and easily discovered seven names on both lists. So if there were a federally recognized Hawaiian tribe which included the Waimanalo homestead, those seven sex offenders could easily have avoided having their names on the sex offender registry by following the procedure allowed by the Minnesota courts. For details, including names and addresses in Waimanalo from 2005, see webpage "Neighbors Living Under Different Laws -- Example of State Sex Offender Registry" at
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The essay above is one of a pair, posted simultaneously as two separate webpages. This is the "good news" essay providing an affirmative statement of fundamental values which can also be used as a response to the bad news essay and an antidote to its poison. To see the bad news essay, go to "Hawaiian religious fascism. A twisted version of a beautiful creation legend provides the theological basis for a claim that ethnic Hawaiians are entitled to racial supremacy in the governance and cultural life of the Hawaiian islands." at
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