It has been nearly a month since the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) CEO Dr. Kamana’opono Crabbe posed four questions to Secretary of State Kerry in a letter dated May 5, 2014. First, does the Hawaiian Kingdom, as a …
Questions posed by OHA CEO Kamana’opono Crabbe to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the current international status of the Hawaiian Monarchy have gone unanswered. The question of the continued existence of the Hawaiian Monarchy, which was overthrown in 1893 by a group of business leaders and their sympathizers, could complicate the formation of a "Native Hawaiian Governing Entity." In a legal opinion rendered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel in 1988, there were serious questions raised about the method the U.S. Congress used to annex Hawaii. In its decision, the Office of Legal Counsel said, "It’s unclear which constitutional power Congress exercised when it acquired Hawaii by joint resolution. Accordingly, it’s doubtful that the acquisition of Hawaii can serve as an appropriate precedent for a congressional assertation of sovereignty extended over a territorial sea." According to OHA, the significance of Crabbe’s letter and the 1988 Justice Department’s opinion "is that it was a formal notification of a state of Hawaii official to the Secretary of State that OHA is aware that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist and that it will have to deal with issues of criminal liability under international law." Straightening out this mess will prove to be a real challenge for the United States and Native Hawaiians. Aloha, Russ.
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