Past, Present, and Politics: A Look at the Native Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement
Pacheco, Amanda M.
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Since the overthrow and subsequent annexation of the Kingdom of Hawaii in the late 1800’s, there has been a movement, both subtle and direct, to regain sovereignty for the native Hawaiian people. In the early 1970’s, this movement, as a result of continued political abuse and dispossession suffered by native Hawaiians, groups of both native and non-native Hawaiians began rallying together to protect their lands, waters, and rights. A fight for lands and waters slowly transformed into a fight for independence and self-government, for reparations and for sovereignty. This is where the native Hawaiian sovereignty movement was born. However, the movement and those who participate in it have evolved over the last 30 years into more than 300 factions, with each faction representing a different idea of just what exactly the people of Hawaii want and need. These ideas are many and varied, including complete independence from the United States, federal recognition and indigenous status, more control over native Hawaiian assets such as crown and ceded lands, and many others. Only by exploring the organizations formed by these different factions can one begin to understand the purpose of the native Hawaiian sovereignty movement, and the politics and history that its participants and theories are so embedded in. By critically analyzing and critiquing three specific organizations, whose ideas on sovereignty differ widely, there is the hope of knowing if there is any possibility of a movement for sovereignty succeeding against such a dominant colonial power, like the United States, even when that movement seems unable to unite under a common goal.
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