“On March 13, 1999 the Kanaka Maoili (Hawaiian) people successfully reinstated the former offices of the Lawful Hawaiian Government of the Kingdom of Hawaii …”
So began the presentation of Henry Noa, Prime Minister of the Lawful Hawaiian Government, during his visit to Molokai on Saturday. Noa, a former schoolteacher and an Oahu resident, shared the progress, goals and hopes of the LHG when he spoke to a room of about 30 people at Kulana ‘Oiwi.
Using the Apology Resolution (Public Law 103-150) as the foundation for establishing political authority, the LHG reinstated the Hawaii government in 1999 and has since held four elections and convened its own congress 35 times. Over the past 3-1/2 years, LHG has established districts on all the Hawaiian islands with representatives participating in the House of Nobles and the House of Representatives, a reinstatement of the legislative bodies that existed under the former Kingdom of Hawaii.
The Apology Resolution, adopted by both houses of the U.S. Congress in 1993, acknowledges that the Kingdom of Hawaii was illegally overthrown on Jan. 17, 1893. According to Noa, Hawaii Queen Lili’uokalani executed an action of international law in her protest letter. Written immediately prior to the overthrow, this action maintains the Kingdom’s rights to this day. The LHG, therefore, is simply a continuation of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
LHG hopes to establish its claim using the international law principle of “perfect right,” which states, in effect, that a sovereign nation does not have to ask other sovereign nations what it can or cannot do. Because of Queen Lil’uokalani’s protest letter, the former Hawaiian Nation’s perfect rights were never relinquished.
The principle of “imperfect right” occurs when an occupied people asks the occupying government to return the sovereignty. Noa believes the Akaka Bill is an example of executing imperfect law, which is why he does not support the bill’s effort to seek a federal designation for Hawaii’s people. “Where in the civilized world does the perpetrator and admitted criminal of a crime dictate the terms and conditions to the judgment?” asks Noa.
This pre-existing sovereignty is what separates Hawaii and its people from the political movements and rights acquired by the indigenous people of mainland United States and Alaska. In those cases, the Native Americans were granted “nation within a nation” status, similar to what is now being sought in the Akaka Bill. Noa believes that Hawaii needs to work to “acquire independent sovereign nation status.”
LHG uses its citizens, or “nationals”, to exercise their rights under international law in the hopes that contested court cases will help establish legal precedent. A reclamation action in 2005 on the uninhabited island of Kaho’olawe established a legal claim of land for LHG that has been stuck in an intermediate court of appeals for three years, according to Noa.
LHG has also implemented other “Government Authorized Exercises” intended to test the rights to travel and conduct business. Out of these GAE actions, LHG continues to build a database of human rights violations. “Don’t expect them to give you rights if you don’t exercise them,” said Noa.
The LHG has re-established a Department of the Interior, Department of Health and a Department of Transportation. It now has almost 400 nationals and over 7,000 citizen applications. A citizenship test is required to become a national. The LHG had a turnout of 1,500 at its last general election in 2007 and expects more at its upcoming elections on Nov. 5 of this year.
LHG is now undertaking another project in an effort to establish proper claimant status for its government. Known as Project ID ‘Aina, the goal is to properly identify Hawaiian government and Crown lands “that are currently illegally maintained by the de facto United States, State of Hawaii and the various county governments against the claims of the lawful Hawaiian Nation and Government.” These are lands that, under PL 103-150, “were never relinquished to the United States, by the Hawaiian people, the Monarch and/or the sovereignty of Hawaii.” More commonly, these are known as ceded lands and Hawaiian Homestead lands by the U.S. and State of Hawaii governments.
Noa and LHG hope to unify the Hawaiian people through Project ID ‘Aina’s process of education and organization. It begins by identifying and assessing these public lands and then setting an ahu, or marker, on each property. Lands maintained by the federal government will not be addressed in this project.
The idea, said Noa, is not to be confrontational or divisive in this effort. LHG does not want to create problems by placing an unwanted ahu on kuleana lands. “We agree to those protocols, that’s what has shaped this whole process,” he said.
Already, the County of Maui has recognized LHG and its efforts. County Resolution 10-79 recognizes PL 103-150, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966.
According to Noa, four LHG businesses — complete with government I.D.’s, license plates and registrations — now operate on Maui. “Maui County is doing the right thing to acknowledge our rights,” said Noa.
Noa acknowledged the power of Molokai in taking the LHG movement forward. “I believe this is where it’s going to take off, right here,” he said.
Noa also admits that this process would be easier if Hawaii was just one island. Separating the legitimate from the illegitimate claims of 40 different groups that claim ali’i ancestry across the islands has been “very difficult,” he said. Now, the process has connected the islands so that LHG can move forward.
On Molokai are nine registered nationals of LHG. One of them is Duke Kalipi who is the designated representative for Molokai. He can be reached at 213-5416 with any questions about LHG.
Any other communications for LHG can be sent to Prime Minister Noa via Georgette Hugho at 392-3849 or by email at email@example.com.