Long-Ago Collapse of Hawaiian Monarchy Described As U.S.-Assisted Regime Change

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A Senate bill establishing a Native Hawaiian government is necessary to reverse the United States’ role in the "regime change" that led to Hawaii becoming a state, the bill’s supporters said at a Senate hearing last week.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a hearing on Aug. 6 on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009 (S. 1011), sponsored by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Alaska).

The bill would allow Hawaii's indigenous people to establish a "government-to-government relationship with the United States," similar to the relationship that Alaskan natives and American Indian tribes have, Akaka says. But critics say the bill would establish a “race-based” government for native Hawaiians...

...“The U.S. Congress is now considering legislation establishing a process by which Native Hawaiians would reconstitute the indigenous government they lost to foreign intervention,” the report’s executive summary says. “Foreign intervention” refers to the United States. In 1893, the U.S. Navy, acting on information that Americans who lived in Hawaii were in danger because of political unrest, intervened on behalf of the group that toppled Hawaii’s queen.

On Thursday, one of the report's authors testified that the bill would make good on a 1993 congressional resolution that condemned the “overthrow” of the Hawaiian monarchy and “formally apologized to the Hawaiian people for the U.S. involvement in this regime change.” Then-President Bill Clinton signed that resolution...

...According to the late author Pat Pitzer, who wrote for more than 20 years for Honolulu Publishing, President Grover Cleveland also apologized just weeks after Hawaii’s Queen Liliuokalani surrendered her power to a group that sought her overthrow and then formed a provisional government...

...When Hawaii was annexed on Aug. 12, 1898 Cleveland wrote: “I am ashamed of the whole affair.”

The Native American Government Reorganization Act of 2009, and a companion bill in the House, House Resolution 2314, will be taken up some time after Congress returns from its summer break, according to committee staff.

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