Hawai'i's Great Statehood Petition
Hawai’i’s Great Statehood Petition of 1954 -- 120,000 Signatures Gathered in 2 Weeks On a Petition for Statehood for Hawai'i
- 1 SUMMARY
- 2 Honolulu Advertiser coverage of the "Honor Roll"
- 2.1 The Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, February 25, 2004
- 2.2 The Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, February 29, 2004
- 2.3 Guest editorials and letters to the editor
- 2.4 Hateful responses
- 2.5 Native Hawaiian Support
- 3 Comments from archivist Charles E. Schamel
- 4 Copy of one signature-page
- 5 Governor Cayetano's Statehood Day Message to the People of Hawai'i August 16, 2002
- 6 August 15, 2003 Governor Linda Lingle - Statehood Day message
- 7 Milestones on the 110 year path to Statehood
- 8 Challenges to the statehood of Hawai'i
- 9 Hawaiian Independence, Puerto Rican Independence, Guam Independence
On February 24, 1954 a petition containing 120,000 signatures left Hawai'i for Washington D.C. on a UAL Stratocruiser. "We, the undersigned people of Hawaii, hereby petition the Congress of the United States to act favorably on Statehood for Hawaii now."
The first day for signing was February 10 in Honolulu. A huge roll of newsprint was partly unrolled down the middle of Bishop Street the entire long block from Hotel to King. People lined up many rows deep on both sides, all day, waiting to sign what was then called the "Honor Roll." Bricks placed on the paper kept it from blowing and were used as stepping-stones. When fully unrolled the main segment had signatures running more than a mile. Segments of newsprint, and additional legal-size pages with lines for 32 signatures, were circulated throughout the islands. Some additional signatures were obtained as the plane made stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Denver.
The Advertiser published articles and photos every day. One especially memorable photo of an elderly man signing the petition has the caption: "Jack Paoakalani Heleluke, 74, retired member of the Royal Hawaiian Band who was born under the reign of King Kalakaua. Under his name he wrote '100 per cent Hawaiian.' "
On February 24 the 250 pound petition was wrapped and taken to the steps of 'Iolani Palace for a ceremonial sendoff including the Hawaiian civic clubs presenting chants, songs, hula, kahili and torch bearers. A heavenly blessing was also provided (rain).
In Washington the petition was delivered to the Senate office of Vice President Nixon as an official document held on display for members of Congress. Later it went to the National Archives where it now rests on a cradle in stack area 8e2a of the National Archives Building.
The Great Statehood Petition of 1954 was a proud chapter in Hawai'i's 110 year struggle to achieve Statehood. In 1849 King Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III, responding to pressures from Britain and France, prepared a provisional deed to cede the Kingdom of Hawai'i to the United States, and gave it to the United States Commissioner, but it was never implemented because the pressures abated. In 1854 the same King signed an order directing his Minister of Foreign Relations to take steps to ascertain the views of the United States regarding annexation of the Hawaiian islands and the terms and conditions under which such annexation could be obtained, and a treaty was drafted by the Hawaiian government in August, 1854 providing for the admission of Hawai'i into the United States with the status of full statehood, but during informal negotiations the United States did not agree. Over the next 105 years there were dozens of attempts to achieve Statehood, which finally succeeded in 1959.
The following sections are included on this webpage, in this order, and may be found by scrolling down to them.
(1) Honolulu Advertiser coverage of the "Honor Roll" petition process from February 10 through February 25, 1954. Selected quotes from articles and photo captions are provided on this webpage. Complete microfilm copies of the newspaper including full text and photos are available at the Hawai'i Public Library main branch.
(2) Comments describing the petition from archivist Charles E. Schamel, Center for Legislative Archives, The National Archives, Washington, DC
(3) All 32 names and addresses from the one signature-page that Mr. Schamel was able to photocopy and sent through the mail
(4) Governor Cayetano's Statehood Day Message to the People of Hawai'i August 16, 2002 was printed in at least one newspaper. Fortunately he also made the extra effort to publish it on the Governor’s website. The website version included his signature, and the State Seal. The message is very strongly worded, and is greatly treasured by all who support unity, equality, and aloha for all. Governor Cayetano’s message is copied exactly as it appeared on the Governor’s website. The message has also been preserved as a freestanding webpage at: http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/statehdgovmsg081602.html
(5) On August 15, 2003 Governor Linda Lingle issued a Statehood Day message. This was her first Statehood Day since taking office as Governor. Her message relied heavily upon the words of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose recent speech to a joint session of Congress had cited some of the reasons why Americans should feel entitled to proclaim their pride in being Americans. It is interesting that Governor Lingle's rambling message dwells on a foreigner's speech telling Americans why they should be proud to be Americans, rather than directly telling our own people of Hawai'i in her own words why we should celebrate our status as a state. Governor Lingle mentioned "equality" only once, and did not mention "unity" or "aloha" at all. Perhaps that's because she strongly favors and actively lobbies for the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill, and realizes that legislation establishing a race-based government to protect racially exclusionary benefits is not consistent with equality, unity, or aloha for all. Governor Cayetano's message on August 16, 2002 was much stronger, more personal, and considerably shorter and to the point.
(6) Some milestones along the 110 year path to Statehood, from 1849 to 1959, showing how the 1954 Great Statehood Petition fits into that history.
(7) Challenges to the statehood of Hawai'i by today's Hawaiian sovereignty independence activists, including resolutions in the state Legislature both for and against statehood
(8) Hawaiian Independence, Puerto Rican Independence, Guam Independence -- Conceptual Similarities, Political Cooperation, and Puerto Rican Terrorism Against U.S. Congress http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/puertoricoguam.html
Honolulu Advertiser coverage of the "Honor Roll"
(1) Honolulu Advertiser coverage of the "Honor Roll" petition process from February 10 through February 25, 1954. Selected quotes from articles and photo captions are provided on this webpage. Complete microfilm copies of the newspaper including full text and photos are available at the Hawai'i Public Library main branch. Unfortunately those articles and photographs were printed long before there was an internet, and the editor of this website does not have the technical skill, permission, or funds to transfer those documents to this webpage. What follows are some summaries, and excerpts copied from photocopies of microfilm available in the library.
The Honolulu Advertiser petition drive included unrolling a huge roll of newsprint for several blocks down the middle of Bishop Street, where people lined up several rows deep on both sides to sign their names to a petition to Congress to approve a Hawai'i Statehood bill in 1954. Approximately 120,000 signatures were gathered during a two-week period starting February 10, 1954, and continuing through a big sendoff at 'Iolani Palace reported in the February 25 newspaper. It is interesting to note that in the Statehood plebiscite on June 27, 1959, five years later, only140,744 ballots were cast. Thus the 120,000 signatures on the petition five years earlier was probably close to the number of voters at the time.
The February 11, 1954 Advertiser has a full page of photos taken February 10, the first day of collecting signatures. There's a spectacular photo showing a block-long segment of unrolled newsprint down the middle of Bishop St. from King to Hotel, with wall-to-wall people on both sides of it standing maybe 15 deep in places, waiting to sign. That file photo, greatly reduced in size, was reprinted in an article by Bob Krauss in the Honolulu Advertiser of February 25, 2004 (article copied below). Here is that reprinted small-size photo: http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/dailypix/2004/Feb/25/lna.jpg
The February 11, 1954 photo page also has a photo of Governor King signing the petition (a Native Hawaiian); and a wonderful photo whose caption is quoted here: "Jack Paoakalani Helekule, 74, retired member of the Royal Hawaiian Band who was born under the reign of King Kalakaua. Under his name he wrote '100 per cent Hawaiian.' " The three photos mentioned here are also right at the beginning of Gavan Daws' coffee-table book entitled "Hawai'i 1959-1989: The First Thirty Years of the Aloha State With Memorable Photographs From the Honolulu Advertiser." Gavan Daws dedicated the book "to the memory of Buck Buchwach" who had been on the staff at the Advertiser and who spearheaded the petition drive. In Daws' book, the photo of the petition going down Bishop St. occupies the place of honor, as a full page (about legal-sized) directly across from page one.
Another newspaper photo caption explains that bricks were placed here and there on the strip of newsprint, both to keep it from blowing and to give people stepping stones where they could stand or kneel while signing, without soiling or ripping the paper.
Additional articles later indicate there were segments of newsprint sent to the neighbor islands for signatures. As discovered when communicating with the national archives in 2002, there were also legal-sized signature pages circulated throughout the islands, each page containing lines for 32 signatures (name and address). One of the newspaper articles also mentions these signature pages. The roll was first described as 3 miles long when unrolled, but later it was said to be one mile long (perhaps there was only enough time to fill the first mile of it with signatures). On Tuesday Feb 23 it had 116,000 signatures; but one of the articles said it was being sent by air to Washington on a UAL Stratocruiser and would be making stops along the way in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Denver where a subsidiary scroll would be made available for mainlanders who wished to sign. The final figure gave 120,000 as the number, indicating that no precise count was made (and apparently no list of signers was kept either).
In Washington, the petition was delivered to Vice President Nixon's office because he was presiding officer of the Senate; and it had to remain available for a while in case any Senator might demand to see any of the signatures. At the end, it was delivered to the National Archives. Every newspaper article refers to the petition as "the Honor Roll" or "Roll of Honor." February 25, page 1 has a big picture with the petition in front of the steps at 'Iolani Palace, getting a huge sendoff including Hawaiian chants, songs, hula, kahili bearers and torch bearers.
Honolulu Advertiser, February 21, 1954, page 1: “... Under the direction of Scoutmaster Fred Cordes, about 25 Boy Scouts from Troops 13 and 15 and Post 13 Saturday counted and pasted the 8,988 names received thus far from the Milkmen’s March. ... Mrs. Corbett said she and approximately 25 women engaged in splicing Neighbor Island and “midget” rolls from throughout Oahu to the main web of newsprint have been “astounded and flabbergasted” at the number of signatures. She said one 35-foot length of newsprint, which is five-feet wide, had more than 3,200 signatures -- with signatures covering more than 120 of foot-long petitions with space for 32 names on them. ... The Boy Scouts used less than 100 feet of the newsprint Saturday to affix 8,988 names ...”
Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday February 25, 1954 page 1: Article accompanying a large photo of a ceremony at the steps of ‘Iolani Palace: “... Father David Bray came down the palace steps behind kahili bearers and torch bearers chanting in Hawaiian to open the ceremony. ... ‘Hawaii Ponoi’ and the Star Spangles Banner opened and closed the ceremony respectively. In between there were ancient and modern hulas and the singing of a number of songs. Members of Hawaiian Civic clubs and entertainment troupes provided the entertainment. ...”
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday February 27, 1954, page 1: "WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (UP) -- Vice President Richard Nixon and Senate majority leaders responded to the Hawaiian people's mile-long statehood petition today with renewed promises to achieve admission of the territory as the 49th state. The 250 pound "honor roll," bearing the signatures of some 120,000 statehood-seeking Hawaiians was formally presented to Nixon in ceremonies at the capitol this afternoon. ... Hawaii Gov. Samuel W. King pointed out that the mass, popular signing of the mammoth petition was "entirely spontaneous" ... Asserting that Hawaiians "want to be paying members of the family," King said: "They do not want to be a commonwealth even if that were to mean no federal taxes.”
The above parahraph yields several interesting observations. Note that the word “Hawaiian” is used on all three occasions in its proper usage, to refer to all the people of Hawai’i, and not as an ethnic name. Hawaiian sovereignty activists have succeeded over the years in capturing the word “Hawaiian” for racial purposes, to refer only to people of native Hawaiian ancestry. The word “Hawaiian” has come to imply that only people of native ancestry are the true Hawaiian hosts, while everyone else is merely a guest in the “Hawaiian” homeland. But as the word was used 50 years ago by all Hawai’i’s people including ethnic Hawaiians, and as the word continues to be used by most residents of the other 49 states today, the word “Hawaiian” means anyone whose permanent residence is in Hawai’i, just as the word “Californian” refers to anyone whose home is in California. It is an unfortunate example of racial and cultural bigotry and oppression that people of European and Asian ancestry, some of whose families have lived in Hawai’i for eight generations, have been made to feel it is inappropriate to call themselves Hawaiians.
A second point to discover in that paragraph is that the issue of commonwealth status for Hawai’i was actively under discussion in 1954 and previously. Some sovereignty activists today like to claim that Hawai’i’s people were never told they might have an option other than statehood or territorial status. What is now called “free association” was then included under the concept of “commonwealth” and the newspaper article makes clear that the possibility of such status was considered and rejected by Hawai’i’s people.
On February 26, 2004 the Honolulu Advertiser columnist Bob Krauss, who was on the Advertiser staff in 1954, published an article as a tribute to the memory of Buck Buchwach who had spearheaded the 1954 petition drive. It is unfortunate that the Krauss article makes Mr. Buchwach the focus of his article instead of the petition itself. But no matter how Krauss might try to portray the petition as merely a publicity stunt to sell more newspapers, the fact remains that 120,000 Hawaiians signed it during a period of two weeks. No other petition in the history of Hawai’i ever attracted so many signatures, and no other cause has had so many enthusiastic supporters as the demand for Statehood. Here is the article by Bob Krauss:
The Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Remembering statehood drive and Buchwach
By Bob Krauss
The historical photo with this story shows some of the 120,000 people who signed a Statehood Honor Roll exactly 50 years ago in a massive outpouring of support for giving people in Hawai'i the full benefits of U.S. citizenship. However, this is also the inside story about a unique journalist named Buck Buchwach who engineered the whole thing.
So let's step back 50 years to February 1954 when Hawai'i was still a territory, when "From Here to Eternity" was premiering in Our Honolulu, when Jim Michener lived in Waikiki and was writing "Hawaii" and when Henry J. Kaiser had just arrived for a visit. Television was so new that the TV schedule listed the time of the test patterns. Dan Inouye was running for Legislature.
Our big motherhood issue was statehood. We were victims of taxation without representation. As a territory, we elected a delegate to Congress who couldn't vote. He could only introduce bills and beg congressmen from other states to support them. The president appointed our governor.
Fifty years ago, 120,000 people signed a statehood petition that spanned a block of Bishop Street. It was the brainchild of publicist-journalist Buck Buchwach.
This was also the time when J. Akuhead Pupule was the highest-paid disc jockey in the world. In 1954, TV pioneer Kini Popo and myself sailed down the Ala Wai on a raft to prove that the owners of fancy yachts in Ala Wai Yacht Harbor probably migrated down the canal on rafts from the low-rent district in Kapahulu.
Enter Buck Buchwach, Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Oregon, U.S. Army veteran, star reporter for the Pacific Stars & Stripes during World War II when it was published from the Advertiser Building, Capt. George Chaplin, editor.
Buchwach was immediately hired by Advertiser editor Raymond "Boss" Coll when the war ended. He became our military reporter, the most important beat on the paper. But reporters then were lucky to get $50 a week. You could make more money shining shoes in the Alexander Young Hotel's barbershop .
Meanwhile, glamorous press agents with fat expense accounts operated from tables in the Outrigger Club bar on Waikiki Beach. Dole Pineapple Co. wooed Buchwach from the straight and narrow by dangling a big salary in front of his nose.
He turned out to be an inspired public relations man. He sold pineapples in ways you wouldn't believe. He went on Frank Sinatra's payroll as publicist and worked for Harry Truman on vacation. He became co-producer for J. Akuhead Pupule's television show that flopped. But such commercial ventures did not satisfy Buchwach. He was really a newspaperman at heart, a concerned citizen and defender of the Constitution.
That's why he invented the Statehood Honor Roll. He could be a public relations man and patriotic at the same time. If we had more like him, this country would be better off. Consider what he did. He waited until Congress was going to consider statehood for Hawai'i again. Then talked the governor and important politicians into marching down Bishop Street with a Dixieland band.
He gave The Advertiser exclusive rights to the story. I'm not sure he didn't write it himself. He got the milkmen of Honolulu to attach notes to deliveries to urge people to sign up. On the first day of signing, he unrolled a spool of newsprint a block long on Bishop Street and let people sign the Statehood Honor Roll.
It created a traffic jam downtown. People couldn't wait to sign up. Between Feb. 10 and Feb. 25 (the deadline was extended because so many people wanted to sign), the Honor Roll collected 120,000 names. Buchwach himself, 50 years ago today, carried it to Washington.
Of course, Southern senators killed the statehood bill again. We had to wait until 1959. In the meantime, Buchwach realized that being a press agent isn't all that great. A Statehood Honor Roll is a once-in-a-lifetime promotion.
He took a cut in pay to come back as The Advertiser's city editor. Nobody could mobilize a small staff for a big story like Buchwach. He became managing editor, executive editor and editor, then retired from the newspaper to become a public-relations consultant. Up until his fatal heart attack in 1989, promotion skills never deserted him.
While at the newspaper, he sold Advertiser shirts and mu'umu'us, and Advertiser-print teddy bears, Advertiser baseball caps and Advervisors. People bought Advertiser-print fabric for gifts. Some stuffy critics snickered behind Buchwach's back. They didn't know how many papers he was selling when we needed the circulation.
So here's to the Statehood Honor Roll and to the late Buck Buchwach, a journalist of many parts.
The Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, February 29, 2004
On Sunday, February 29, 2004 Honolulu Advertiser columnist Bob Krauss added a little more information given to him by historian Tom Coffman, who was doing research in the National Archives.
Honor Roll update and other bits
By Bob Krauss
News that you should know about keeps coming in over the back fence. Photo historian Tom Coffman called to say he was at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., recently, working on a video documentary, when the archivist said, "Follow me, I want to show you something." They went back into the stacks, and there was a 4-foot-high roll of newsprint cross-indexed under "Petition to the national government from the citizens of Hawai'i." It is the Statehood Honor Roll you may have read about on its 50th anniversary last Wednesday. It was signed by 120,000 residents of the Territory of Hawai'i in 1954. The late Buck Buchwach, a journalist-publicist who later became editor of The Advertiser, dreamed up the idea to urge Congress to pass the statehood-for-Hawai'i bill.
Guest editorials and letters to the editor
The golden anniversary of Hawai'i's Great Statehood Petition of 1954 generated a fascinating series of guest editorials and letters to editor. A lengthy summary of this webpage was published in the on-line newspaper Hawaii Reporter as a guest editorial on February 24, 2004: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?56413b95-806c-41a5-85da-38adfcebced3
Letters to editor are usually limited to 200 words. That makes it impossible to tell the whole story. Ken Conklin was successful in publishing letters to editor in three Hawai'i newspapers:
The Maui News, February 28, 2004
also The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Sunday, February 29. 2004
and the Honolulu Advertiser Monday, March 1, 2004
The Maui News editors failed to include the URL for this webpage; the Star-Bulletin editors not only failed to include the webpage URL but also created a misleading headline for the letter. The best version of the letter was published by the Honolulu Advertiser.
The Honolulu Advertiser, Monday, March 1, 2004
Golden anniversary of Great Statehood Petition
In February 1954, a petition with 120,000 signatures left Hawai'i for Washington, D.C. "We, the undersigned people of Hawai'i, hereby petition the Congress of the United States to act favorably on Statehood for Hawai'i now."
A roll of newsprint had signatures running more than a mile by people lining both sides of Bishop Street. Pages were circulated throughout the Islands.
One photo of an elderly man signing the petition has the caption: "Jack Paoakalani Heleluke, 74, retired member of the Royal Hawaiian Band who was born under the reign of King Kalakaua. Under his name he wrote '100 percent Hawaiian.' "
The 250-pound petition was taken to the steps of 'Iolani Palace for a ceremonial sendoff, including the Hawaiian civic clubs presenting chants, songs, hula, kahili and torchbearers.
In Washington, the petition was delivered to the Senate, and later to its permanent place in the National Archives.
Fifty years later, does the governor have the political courage to organize any celebration of the Statehood Day (Admission Day) holiday?
The Great Statehood Petition of 1954 was a proud chapter in Hawai'i's 110-year struggle to achieve statehood, from 1849 until 1959. For more information see: http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/statehoodpetition1954.html.
Kenneth Conklin Kane'ohe
Hawaiian sovereignty independence activists claim that the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893 was illegal, the annexation of Hawai'i to the United States in 1898 was illegal, and the statehood vote of 1959 was illegal. As might be expected, they reacted to Ken Conklin's celebration of the statehood petition with outrage. The following hateful letter was published in both the Honolulu Advertiser of March 3.
and The Maui News of March 3
The Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, March 3, 2004
Most Hawaiians were against statehood
Kenneth R. Conklin (Letters, March 1), thank you for starting my day off well. Your repeated attempts at manipulating facts and lack of compassion for the injustices against Hawaiians really give me a good laugh.
Don't mistake me, racism is not a laughing matter. Your choice of how to hide it in bits and pieces arranged to give the impression that most Hawaiians were for statehood is.
For your information, Mr. Conklin, my mother told me herself no more than a week and a half ago she was fully against statehood. Herself a 100 percent Hawaiian, she told me she did not vote in the 1959 plebiscite because she "and most of the Hawaiians" were against it. She further stated that most Hawaiians were told if they didn't vote for statehood, they wouldn't be able to collect any of their pensions or Social Security retirement money.
You insinuate the majority of Hawaiians were in favor of statehood and you now want to celebrate this fallacy by making it a holiday. The majority of people who did vote, be it 1954 or 1959, were non-Hawaiians. You want a holiday, Mr. Conklin, go fish.
Native Hawaiian Support
Most Hawaiians of native ancestry are proud to be Americans, and proud that Hawai'i is the 50th state. Rubellite Kawena Kinney Johnson has for many years been a professor of Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawai'i's flagship campus at Manoa. She is highly respected in the Hawaiian community for many reasons, including her extensive knowledge of Hawaiian history, culture, and language; her teaching of Hawaiian heritage to thousands of people including many leaders in the ethnic Hawaiian community; and her translation of the ancient Hawaiian creation legend Kumulipo. Professor Johnson also has geneological credentials that give her high standing in many ethnic groups: she is a descendant of Kamehameha The Great with 50% native blood quantum, and a descendant of one of the pilgrims who arrived at Plymouth Rock on the Mayflower, and a descendant of one of the leaders of the revolution that overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, and others. Here is her outstanding letter, ending with "Color me American by birth and by choice."
The Honolulu Advertiser, Monday, March 8, 2004
I'm an American by birth, by choice
You published two points of view in recent days, one that recalled the petition for statehood for Hawai'i in 1954 and another reminding the world that some Native Hawaiians didn't sign that petition nor vote for statehood in 1959. I was one who did neither.
In 1954 I was not of voting age (21 years). In August of 1959 I was in California and not registered to vote in that state or from the territory. Instead I went to a lu'au put on by Hawaiians in San Diego to celebrate the admission of Hawai'i into the U.S. as a state. There were so many people there wasn't enough food to go around. What were they celebrating out of state? The Hawaiians there were unhappy when Alaska became the 49th state. Hawai'i was the 50th, so Old Glory would add another star in 1959.
I am Native Hawaiian by 50 percent, but the other 50 percent is blood from Europe and Asia, from France (Jourdaine), Austria (Dierke), England (Mayflower Pilgrims) that came from Huguenot ancestors running away from persecution in England and France since the time the Bible was translated into English by William Tyndale, a relative who gave his life at the stake for reducing Biblical language into the unapproved vernacular at that time. Add Portuguese from a Catholic grandmother who came around the Horn at age 2 on the Vapor Hansa from Sao Miguel, Azores. A Chinese great-grandfather called Ah Chong (Pake) in Puna, originally from Fukien province, one of those with no interest in going home again.
I know his 50 percent Hawaiian daughter, my grandmother, wasn't around to vote for statehood in 1959 because she died in 1954, but everybody else in my family did — father, mother, sisters, brother (who fought in Korea and lies buried in the veterans' cemetery in Kona since April 2001). We were born when Hawai'i was a territory. All our children and grandchildren were born here and in other states in the union as Americans. We are descendants of aboriginal Polynesian navigators, Hawaiian chiefs and commoners (maybe even kauwa from La'auhaelemai) and immigrants. Color me American by birth and by choice.
Rubellite Kawena Kinney Johnson
Comments from archivist Charles E. Schamel
(2) Comments describing the petition from archivist Charles E. Schamel, Center for Legislative Archives, The National Archives, Washington, DC
By e-mail Ken Conklin established contact with archivist Charles E. Schamel at the National Archives who was able to locate the Roll of Honor petition for Statehood, and who sent through ordinary mail photographs of it in its current resting place, together with a photocopy of one sample signature page. There is no list of names of the signers, and the petition (on 50-year-old newsprint!) is too fragile to be unrolled beyond a brief starting portion.
Mr. Schamel sent a photograph of himself alone, holding up the red, white, and blue end of the petition which he apparently unrolled for one revolution; and another photo of himself and his colleague William Davis, both holding up the end of the petition. Mr. Schamel also sent a photocopy of one legal-size page of 32 signatures. Since each signature includes an address, it is possible that anyone who was young enough then might actually be able to be located today, perhaps even at the same address!
Here are portions of some e-mails from Mr. Schamel:
“The petition you seek is among the records at the National Archives. It is located in the National Archives Building at 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20408. It is part of the holdings of the Center for Legislative Archives which has offices on the second floor, room 205. You may contact the Center by telephone at (202)501-5350.
“It is said to contain 116,000 signatures (Journal of the US House of Representatives, 83rd Congress, 2nd session, Feb. 26, 1954, page 159). Most of the signatures are on lined forms printed in local newspapers. The newspaper forms, which are about the size of legal sized typing paper, are glued onto a backing of thin canvas-like material. The cradle upon which the petition is supported is marked with a sign indicating that the petition weighs 259 pounds.
“The petition is quite large and heavy, and has been stored in a secure room in the National Archives Building for many years. The petition is clearly extremely fragile and any attempt to unroll it would be extremely expensive and would require a very large viewing area. In order to view the document it would first be necessary for the National Archives Document Conservation Staff to carefully examine the entire document and carry out preservation treatment procedures on each individual page in the document (news print is one of the most fragile types of paper and deteriorates extremely rapidly). Indeed, it would probably be necessary to destroy the original format of the document to preserve it.
“Sorry it has taken so long to obtain the photographs of the 1954 Hawaiian Statehood Petition. However, I now have them and will put them in the mail today. As I explained, the rolled petition is very large and very fragile. In its completely rolled state, only a single line of text can be seen by the camera. Therefore I and a colleague held the top of the petition up so that the photographer could photograph it. Enclosed are the following:
“1. A photograph of me holding the very top of the petition so that you can see the entire title of the document. The photograph was taken in stack area 8e2a of the National Archives Building in Washington DC.
“2. A photograph of a colleague, William Davis and myself, holding the petition extended further so that the first row of petition pages shows. The body of the petition consists of a very large number of the petition pages attached to the canvas roll by scotch tape. Between the red, white, blue and black title at the head of the document and the petition pages is a short area where numerous people signed the canvas petition with crayons, pencils and pens as you can see.
“3. One of the scotch taped petition pages had become detached from the canvas backer, allowing me to make an electrostatic copy which I have also enclosed.”
Copy of one signature-page
(3) Following is a copy of one signature-page from the petition, typed into the computer from looking at a photocopy of a then-48-year-old document. All the contents of the page are provided, including 32 names and addresses. Everything above the first name was printed by machine, and then the signatures and addresses were handwritten on a page with 32 printed lines and a line down the middle. It is possible that some names and addresses might have small inaccuracies or misspellings due to the difficulty of reading some of the handwriting (everyone wrote in script, not printing). Website editor Ken Conklin has tried to copy what appears to be written, even if that causes spelling errors from how he knows a word should be spelled. The signers probably did not make spelling errors, but the combination of penmanship and fading causes Ken Conklin to copy what he sees rather than what may have been intended or what would be correct. But most of the penmanship was clear. Abbreviations, with or without periods, are copied as seen. Since each signature includes an address, it is possible that anyone who was young enough then might actually be able to be located today, perhaps even at the same address!
THE CITIZENS OF HAWAII, USA
PETITION FOR STATEHOOD NOW
We, the undersigned people of Hawaii, hereby petition the Congress of the United States to act favorably on Statehood for Hawaii now.
Francis I. Fujita 1059-C Kinau St
Harold H. Higaki 3907 Pili Place
Masami Iwamura 1055 Kupau Street, Lanikai
Margaret H. Yarnadd 2153 Booth Road
Helen H. Matsuda 1923 Date Street
Lily M. Kawaoka 2012 Linohau Way
Victor Nakamura 1347-B Ekaha Ave
Raymond Yamamoto 2909-A Oahu Ave.
Harry H. Kim 728-B Twin View Dr.
E. Tsui Yonokawa 1040-D Kinau St.
Clement S. Hong 2306 Armstrong St.
Hiroto Mukai 1145-B Davenport St
Edwin M. Hironaga 2326 Pio Place
E S Matsui 2460 B S. King St.
Albert Dumic 2952 Robert Place
Sally C. Oyama 1608 Leilehua Lne.
Paul Keaka 2250 Kaululaau St.
Florence H. Tanaka 5286 Halapepe St.
Ruth H. Tokumoto 3055 A Puhala Rise
Thomas T. Yamane 632-A Sheridan Street
Kimi Nakauchi 785 Kinau Street
Akira Yonamine 2021 Houghtailing St
Richard Masonume 2428 St Louis Dr.
Edmund C. Y Young 2607 Stream Dr. [might be Sturm]
Karen Suganto [??] 2457 Hardesty St. [both name and address are faded]
Waldorf R. Wilson 642 Makini St.
Margaret Y. Sacchi 2618 Maunawai Pl.
Lily C.H. Po 54 New Era Lane
Jessamine S. Char 614 Holokahana Lane
Elsie Lau 1317-A Emma St
Emma L. Kapohakinohewa 1004 Maunaihi Pl.
Governor Cayetano's Statehood Day Message to the People of Hawai'i August 16, 2002
(4) Governor Cayetano's Statehood Day Message to the People of Hawai'i August 16, 2002 was printed in at least one newspaper. Fortunately he also made the extra effort to publish it on the Governor’s website. The website version included his signature, and the State Seal. The message is very strongly worded, and is greatly treasured by all who support unity, equality, and aloha for all. Governor Cayetano’s message is copied in full below, exactly as it appeared on the Governor’s website. The message has also been preserved as a freestanding webpage at: Cayetano's Statehood Day Message August 16, 2002
MESSAGE FROM GOVERNOR BENJAMIN J. CAYETANO
August 16, 2002
Vicky and I wish Hawaii’s people a very happy Statehood Day. On this 43rd observance of Hawaii’s admission to the union, we invite you to join us in celebrating Hawaii’s unique status as America’s fiftieth state.
Since August 21, 1959, when President Dwight Eisenhower signed the proclamation that made statehood official, we have been proud members of a nation which has defended the principles of justice and equality over several generations. We have remained strong in allegiance to our country and—especially during this time of global tension and external threats—we are grateful to play a role in keeping peace and maintaining the democratic values established by our forefathers.
The people of Hawaii enjoy a diversity unlike any state in the nation. We are committed to ensuring unity and equality for all of our residents. While we celebrate the differences that define and enrich our island culture, we also treasure our identity as Americans and affirm our shared commitment to a happier and more prosperous future for all.
Have a wonderful Statehood Day, and thank you for making Hawaii an example of aloha and goodwill in which all Americans can share.
BENJAMIN J. CAYETANO
August 15, 2003 Governor Linda Lingle - Statehood Day message
(5) On August 15, 2003 Governor Linda Lingle issued a Statehood Day message. This was her first Statehood Day since taking office as Governor. Her message relied heavily upon the words of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose recent speech to a joint session of Congress had cited some of the reasons why Americans should feel entitled to proclaim their pride in being Americans. It is interesting that Governor Lingle's rambling message dwells on a foreigner's speech telling Americans why they should be proud to be Americans, rather than directly telling our own people of Hawai'i in her own words why we should celebrate our status as a state. Governor Lingle mentioned "equality" only once, and did not mention "unity" or "aloha" at all. Perhaps that's because she strongly favors and actively lobbies for the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill, and realizes that legislation establishing a race-based government to protect racially exclusionary benefits is not consistent with equality, unity, or aloha for all. Governor Cayetano's message on August 16, 2002 was much stronger, more personal, and considerably shorter and to the point. Here is Governor Lingle's Statehood Day message of August 15, 2003, which was published only in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in the form of a letter to editor, and not published on the state website.
Honolulu Star Bulletin August 15, 2003
Admission Day message
Gov. Linda Lingle
Lt. Gov. James R. "Duke" Aiona
Friday, August 15, 2003
It’s a day to reflect on Statehood’s gifts
When Hawaii became the 50th state of the union on Aug. 21, 1959, the vast majority of people in the islands greeted the news with joy and jubilation. As we mark the anniversary of that momentous occasion, it is a good time to remind ourselves of what it means to be an American.
The United States of America is a great nation not because of moral superiority or by accident, but because of the principles on which it is built and because so many men and women have sacrificed so much to defend those principles.
Liberty, equality and justice for all are more than just words in America -- they are the foundation on which our lives are built. Americans are free to chart and achieve their own destinies, no matter how great the dream or humble the origins.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, addressing Congress recently, extolled the virtues of democracy and suggested that our preference for liberty is not unique.
"There is a myth that though we love freedom, others don't; that our attachment to freedom is a product of our culture; that freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law are American values, or Western values; that Afghan women were content under the lash of the Taliban; that Saddam was somehow beloved by his people; that Milosevic was Serbia's savior. Members of Congress, ours are not Western values, they are the universal values of the human spirit. And anywhere, any time ordinary people are given the chance to choose, the choice is the same: freedom, not tyranny; democracy, not dictatorship; the rule of law, not the rule of the secret police."
Of course, he is right. Freedom, democracy and the rule of law should be considered basic to human dignity. Billions of people around the world yearn for what we Americans enjoy each day.
Americans don't always agree on the issues, but that's OK. We know we can speak freely and openly and even criticize our leaders, all without fear of retribution. Relatively few people around the world can say this.
Because many Americans don't like to boast, the basis of our pride is sometimes most easily expressed by others. Again, we quote Prime Minister Blair's remarks to Congress:
"Tell the world why you're proud of America. Tell them when "The Star-Spangled Banner" starts, Americans get to their feet, Hispanics, Irish, Italians, Central Europeans, East Europeans, Jews, Muslims, white, Asian, black, those who go back to the early settlers and those whose English is the same as some New York cab drivers I've dealt with, but whose sons and daughters could run for this Congress. Tell them why Americans, one and all, stand upright and respectful -- not because some state official told them to, but because whatever race, color, class or creed they are, being American means being free. That's why they're proud."
As you observe Statehood Day, we encourage you to read Blair's words to your children, or to your neighbor's children. Express from your heart and personal experience what these words mean. Help the youth of our community understand not just the legacy that they have inherited, but also the responsibility to keep it alive. Help them to appreciate what it means to be an American.
Milestones on the 110 year path to Statehood
(6) Some milestones along the 110 year path to Statehood, from 1849 to 1959, showing how the 1954 Great Statehood Petition fits into that history.
Here is a timeline of some important events in the struggle for Statehood. These items were written by website editor Ken Conklin using information assembled from easily available published sources. In a few cases information was obtained from the State of Hawai'i Legislative Reference Library. Of course this is not a complete history of Hawai'i, it is merely a list of important events that demonstrate a long and steady movement toward Statehood from 1849 to 1959.
In 1849 King Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III, responding to pressures from Britain and France, prepared a provisional deed to cede the Kingdom of Hawai'i to the United States, and gave it to the United States Commissioner, but it was never implemented because the pressures abated.
In 1854 King Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III signed an order directing his Minister of Foreign Relations to take steps to ascertain the views of the United States regarding annexation of the Hawaiian islands and the terms and conditions under which such annexation could be obtained, and a treaty was drafted by the Hawaiian government in August, 1854 providing for the admission of Hawai'i into the United States with the status of full statehood, but during informal negotiations the United States did not agree.
As the years went by many of Hawai'i's people, especially businessmen and sugar planters, grew increasingly disgusted with government corruption and profligate spending, especially by King Kalakaua on a round-the-world trip and the construction and furnishing of his Palace. His frequent drunkenness and moral laxity contributed to the loss of confidence in him. His frequent firing and hiring of cabinet members and government officials led to worsening political instability. Many Hawai'i residents of all ethnic groups, including ethnic Hawaiians, recognized that Hawai'i's close ties to the United States would make it logical to seek annexation of Hawai'i to the United States. In 1887 a group of perhaps 3,000 residents of Honolulu, most of whom were favorable to annexation and many of whom were armed, surrounded 'Iolani Palace and demanded that King Kalakaua sign a new Constitution stripping him of most of his official powers; threatening that otherwise they would overthrow the monarchy. This revolution produced the Reform Constitution of 1887 which thus became known as the "Bayonet Constitution." King Kalakaua remained head of state but mostly as a figurehead.
In 1891 King Kalakaua went to California for rest and recuperation. He died there. His sister, Mrs. Dominis, took an oath of allegiance to the Kalakaua (Bayonet) Constitution as a condition of being sworn in to become Queen Lili'uokalani. She immediately began "stirring up the natives." She repeatedly used the words "my people" to refer to native Hawaiians exclusively rather than to include the majority of Hawai'i's people (who had no native ancestry). She encouraged "her people" to send petitions demanding a new Constitution which would restore the strong powers the monarch had enjoyed prior to the Kalakaua Constitution of 1887. She finally was ready to dictatorially proclaim the new Constitution in January of 1893, and called a mass meeting at 'Iolani Palace to do so. It would have been a one-person coup by the Queen against the Constitution she had sworn to uphold. But she failed to get the support of the cabinet members whom she herself had appointed. At the last moment she spoke to the crowd awaiting her proclamation of a new Constitution, telling them she could not yet proclaim it because there were "some obstacles." She told them to go home and be patient. The supporters of democracy and of annexation to the United States, fearing what the Queen and some radicals among "her people" might do next, then staged the final revolution which overthrew the monarchy on January 17, 1893. During the period of greatest tension the day before and during the overthrow, 162 blue-jackets from a U.S. Navy ship came ashore to preserve order. The new revolutionary Provisional Government immediately drafted a treaty of annexation and sent it to Washington D.C. But a change of power, from Republican President Harrison to Democrat President Cleveland (a friend of the Queen) resulted in the treaty being withdrawn from the Senate. On July 4, 1894 the Republic of Hawai'i came into power with a newly ratified Constitution, determined to seek annexation again as soon as President Cleveland's term ended. For more about the overthrow of the monarchy, and the debates about it which continue even today, see: http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/overthrow.html
In 1897 the newly elected Republican U.S. President McKinley took power. The Republic of Hawai'i ratified on September 8, 1897 a Treaty of Annexation and offered it to the United States. A petition signed by 21,000 native Hawaiians opposing annexation was delivered to the Senate. Southern sugar planters opposed annexation because they feared competition from Hawai'i. Some racist Southern politicians opposed annexation because the majority of Hawai'i's people were of Japanese and Chinese ancestry, and most of the rest were dark-skinned ethnic Hawaiians. At first the treaty of annexation failed to get the 2/3 vote needed in the Senate. But soon, under threat of war with Spain and a need to use Hawai'i as a staging area for the war in the Philippines, and the Republic's Treaty of Annexation was accepted by a joint resolution of Congress known as the Newlands resolution and signed by President McKinley: 30 Stat. 750, July 7, 1898 (the vote was 42-21 in the Senate and 209-91 in the House). For more about the annexation, and the debates about it which continue even today, see: http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/annexation.html
On April 30, 1900 President McKinley signed the Organic Act (C. 339, 31 Stat. 141) establishing the government of the Territory of Hawai'i, including a provision that all persons who were citizens of the Republic of Hawaii on August 12, 1898 were now citizens of the Territory of Hawai'i and citizens of the United States. Most Indians were not yet citizens of the United States, until the Indian Citizenship Act of June 2, 1924: U.S. Statutes at Large 43-253. But all native Hawaiians were now citizens of the United States, and there were no longer any property restrictions on voting. U.S. policies prevented Asians from becoming U.S. citizens unless they were born in America. Thus, ethnic Hawaiians immediately became the great majority of the voting population, and elected Legislatures which were majority Hawaiian for several decades.
Hawai'i's first Territorial Delegate to Congress, Robert Wilcox, representing the Home Rule Party, was elected on a pledge that "The first bill I shall introduce will be one to admit Hawai'i to Statehood" (The Evening Bulletin, July 12, 1901).
The elected Territorial Legislature in 1903, with more than 70% of its members being Native Hawaiian, unanimously passed a joint resolution to ask Congress for an enabling act to convene a Constitutional Convention to create a Constitution for a proposed State of Hawai'i (Session Laws of Hawai'i, 1903, p.377 has the text of the resolution).
In 1919, Hawai'i's elected Territorial Delegate Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana'ole, heir to the throne if the Kingdom of Hawai'i had continued, introduced into Congress the first bill for Hawai'i Statehood.
On November 5, 1940 the Hawai'i general election ballot included the question "Do you favor Statehood for Hawai'i?" and the vote was 46,174 "yes" and 22,438 "No" (67% in the affirmative).
In 1949 a special election was held to elect delegates to a Constitutional Convention to draft a Constitution for a proposed State of Hawai'i, which draft Constitution was then approved by a special session of the Territorial Legislature on July 15, 1950 and was approved in the general election of November 7, 1950 by a vote of 82,788 "Yes" and 27,109 "No" (75% in the affirmative).
U.S. Senate Report 886 of January 27, 1954, associated with a bill for Statehood, indicated that 33 bills for Statehood had been introduced by Hawai'i's Territorial delegates between 1919 and 1954.
In February, 1954 a petition seeking Statehood was signed by approximately 120,000 citizens of Hawai'i, and was given a celebratory sendoff including hula, chants, music, kahili and torch bearers from the Hawaiian civic clubs, at the front entrance to the Territorial capitol building also known as 'Iolani Palace, and was sent by air and delivered to Congress and remains permanently secured in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
During the 1950s, Republican Territorial Delegates Joseph Farrington and Elizabeth Farrington, and Democrat Territorial Delegate John Burns, and the Republican Governors Samuel Wilder King (a Native Hawaiian) and William F. Quinn, and a large majority of Hawai'i citizens all strongly supported Statehood, but encountered persistent opposition in Congress
In 1958, Democrat Territorial Delegate John Burns, working closely with Democrat Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrat Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, and Republican Governor Quinn, successfully negotiated the two-step political compromise under which Alaska was admitted as the 49th State in 1958 and Hawaii became the 50th State in 1959.
On March 11, 1959 the U.S. Senate passed a Hawai'i statehood bill by vote of 76-15, the U.S. House passed the same bill on March 12, 1959 by vote of 323-89 , and President Eisenhower signed it into law on March 18, 1959, offering Statehood to Hawai'i pending ratification by Hawai'i's people.
In the Statehood plebiscite on June 27, 1959, 140,744 ballots were cast on Proposition 1, which asked: "Shall Hawai'i immediately be admitted to the Union as a state?" and the vote was 132,773 "yes" to 7,971 "no," thereby confirming an overwhelming majority of 94% in favor of Statehood.
On August 21, 1959, President Eisenhower proclaimed that "the procedural requirements imposed by the Congress on the state of Hawai'i to entitle that state to admission to the Union have been complied with in all respects and that the admission of the state of Hawai'i into the Union on an equal footing with other states of the Union is now accomplished."
On August 24, 1959, Republican Senator Hiram L. Fong, Democrat Senator Oren E. Long and Democrat Representative Daniel K. Inouye, elected after the plebiscite of June 27, took their oaths of office in Washington D.C. to represent the State of Hawai'i in Congress, while appointed Republican Territorial Governor Quinn was now the new State's first elected Governor.
Hawai'i's Admission Day holiday, now also known as Statehood Day, annually celebrates the political joining of America and Hawai'i, giving the world a model of people celebrating great cultural diversity while unified in the Aloha Spirit, democracy, and equality under law.
Challenges to the statehood of Hawai'i
(7) Challenges to the statehood of Hawai'i by today's Hawaiian sovereignty independence activists, including resolutions in the state Legislature both for and against statehood
Hawai'i's struggle to achieve Statehood spanned 110 years, from a proposal by King Kamehameha III in 1849 until the achievement of Statehood in 1959. The vote in the 1959 plebiscite was 94% in favor of Statehood.
But now some Hawaiian sovereignty activists seek to rip the 50th star off the flag, claiming it never should have been put there. They question the legality of the revolution of 1893 that overthrew the monarchy, the annexation of 1898 that made Hawai'i a U.S. territory, and the Statehood vote of 1959. The activists have captured ‘Iolani Palace, making it the capitol of what they regard as the still-living independent nation of Hawai’i. The activists control the board of directors of the Palace, and refuse to allow the U.S. flag to fly there. Since the new state capitol building was completed in 1968, no governor has dared to violate “political correctness” by ordering the U.S. flag to fly over the public government-owned ‘Iolani Palace.
The activists’ arguments about the statehood vote include the following points: The U.S. staged an armed invasion of Hawai’i in 1893 during the overthrow of the monarchy Ever since then Hawai’i has been under a continuing belligerent military occupation by the U.S. Therefore, under international law (oxymoron) the U.S. must withdraw from Hawai’i before any plebiscite can be taken on Hawai’i’s political status. And under international law, it is illegal for foreign occupiers to vote in that plebiscite. So it was illegal for U.S. soldiers stationed in Hawai’i to vote in the statehood plebiscite. Indeed, the only people with a right to vote on political status are the descendants of those whose nation was “stolen” -- mostly ethnic Hawaiians, plus a few non-natives who had taken the loyalty oath to become naturalized subjects of the Kingdom.
The “armed invasion” consisted of 162 U.S. blue-jackets sent ashore to ptotect lives and property during the revolution. They stood in the street and did nothing, while the revolution was accomplished by 1500 members of the Honolulu Rifles who took over buildings and disarmed the Royal Guard. Yes, of course U.S. troops are stationed in Hawai’i, as in all the other states. American military were allowed to vote in the statehood plebiscite on the same basis as other citizens of Hawai’i -- only if they had lived in Hawai’i for at least a year and declared Hawai’i to be their permanent residence. Most military personnel stationed in Hawai’i vote in the elections of their “home state.” Even if all votes cast by military personnel were eliminated from the plebiscite results, the 94% “yes” vote would not be seriously affected. The 94% favorable vote indicates that even if all the “no” votes were cast by ethnic Hawaiians, there would still be more than a 2-to-1 majority of ethnic Hawaiians voting “yes” to statehood -- that’s because 20% of Hawai’i’s people are ethnic Hawaiian, so 6% ‘No” votes would still be only 6 out of 20, leaving 14 out of 20 (or 70% of ethnic Hawaiians) voting “yes.”
Further arguments against the statehood vote claim that under “international law” there must be a 3-way choice of statehood vs. compact of free association vs. independence. But the United Nations never established such a 3-way requirement until 1960, more than a year after the statehood vote. And clearly if such a choice had been offered, the results would have been virtually the same. In recent years a similar 3-way vote was taken in Puerto Rico, where there is a vocal independence movement The results were almost equally divided between those favoring statehood and those favoring a continuation of commonwealth status, with only 2 or 3 percent voting for independence.
Another claim is that under “international law” the only people with a right to vote on political status are the descendants of those whose nation was “stolen” in 1893 -- mostly ethnic Hawaiians, plus some non-natives who had taken the loyalty oath to become naturalized subjects of the Kingdom. But such a process would exclude about 75% of all Hawai’i’s people from voting whether Hawai’i should remain part of the United States -- people who were born and raised in Hawai’i, and whose parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents may have been born and raised in Hawai’i. Indeed, there’s part of the answer. Under Kingdom law, anyone born in Hawai’i is automatically a subject of the Kingdom with full voting and property rights equal to those of the natives. Thus, if the Kingdom was never truly overthrowm and its laws are still de jure, then all persons born in Hawai’i would be entitled to vote in an independence plebiscite. Of course the independence activists argue that the belligerant U.S. occupation continuing from 1893 to now nullifies the rule that born in Hawai’i confers the status of subject, at least insofar as people descended only from Americans or from the Asians who came to Hawai’i under the illegal authority of this 111 year belligerant occupation. But that argument assumes there has been a continuing belligerant military occupation. Etc. Etc. The arguments fly back and forth with everyone being very stubborn.
A webpage provides newspaper articles documenting the refusal by government authorities to fly the U.S. flag over the former capitol building of the Territory and State of Hawai'i where it flew for 70 years, because Hawaiian activists now regard 'Iolani Palace as their capitol of a still-living Kingdom of Hawai'i. This webpage provides text and commentary on a resolution that passed the Hawai'i State Senate in 2001 calling upon the United Nations to hold an internationally supervised plebiscite offering independence to Hawai'i, and an opposing resolution offered in 2002 and 2003 to affirm Hawai'i's pride in being the 50th state. It died in committee without a hearing in 2002. It had 14 cosponsors in the Senate (out of 25 Senators) in 2003 and got a committee hearing, but was then postponed indefinitely and thereby killed without a vote because it was too controversial. It is hoped the Statehood Celebration resolution will be introduced again in 2004 and will pass; and it is unknown whether the anti-statehood resolution will also be introduced. For details about these competing resolutions, and the ‘Iolani Palace flag flap, see: http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/statehoodhistandcurr.html
Hawaiian Independence, Puerto Rican Independence, Guam Independence
(8) Hawaiian Independence, Puerto Rican Independence, Guam Independence -- Conceptual Similarities, Political Cooperation, and Puerto Rican Terrorism Against U.S. Congress.
While Hawai'i celebrates February 24, 2004 as the golden anniversary of the Great Statehood Petition of 1954, the Hawaiian sovereignty activists and Puerto Rican nationalists celebrate a date less than a week later as the golden anniversary of a terrorist attack on Congress.
On March 1, 1954 four Puerto Rican independence terrorists seated in the visitors' gallery shot and almost killed 5 members of Congress on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. An essay praising and justifying this "brave and noble revolutionary effort" is provided later on this webpage. The independence movement in Puerto Rico has a long and violent history, continuing until today. The independence movement in Guam is also active.
Hawaiian sovereignty independence activists like to compare the political status of Hawai'i to the political status of Puerto Rico and Guam. Those two entities were acquired by the United States at roughly the same time as Hawai'i, during the Spanish-American war. Since Puerto Rico and Guam are not (yet) states, it is possible they could eventually become independent instead of becoming states. Hawaiian activists cheer whenever the subject of United Nations action or a political status plebiscite is raised regarding Guam or Puerto Rico, because they hope similar action might be possible in the case of Hawai'i. Some activists for Hawaiian sovereignty are also active in the movement for independence in Puerto Rico and Guam, and there is considerable exchanging of information and inspiration among the three independence movements.
But of course the historical situations are very different. Hawai'i became a state in 1959 as a result of a political status plebiscite in which 94% of all the votes were in favor of Statehood. To read about the history of Hawai'i Statehood, see: http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/statehoodhistandcurr.html
Puerto Rico and Guam are not (yet) states. They were traded directly from Spanish colonial control to American colonial control as a result of treaties with Spain. By contrast, Hawai'i was never a colony of Spain and was annexed to the United States as a result of the Republic of Hawai'i offering a treaty of annexation which was then accepted by a joint resolution of Congress. The debts of the Republic of Hawai'i (most of which were inherited debts from the Kingdom) were paid by the United States as what some might consider a purchase price, since the money paid by the U.S. was more than the value of the government and former crown lands which were ceded to the United States to be held in trust for all Hawai'i's people, until those lands were then returned to Hawai'i's people at Statehood.
For more about the annexation of Hawai'i, see: http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/annexation.html
For more about Hawai'i's "ceded lands," see: http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/cededlands.html
Since the Hawaiian independence activists take inspiration from the independence movements in Puerto Rico and Guam, some materials are provided below regarding the mood and activities in those two independence movements.
Here are three topics. These three topics are covered in depth on a separate webpage, where the contents of item (8) above are also copied. http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/puertoricoguam.html
STATUS VOTE TO BE TAKEN FOR THE DECOLONIZATION OF GUAM
WHY PUERTO RICAN TERRORISTS SHOT UP THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON MARCH 1, 1954. ANNOUNCEMENT OF CELEBRATION OF THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY IN NEW YORK CITY ON LEAP DAY, FEBRUARY 29, 2004
TWO POLITICAL RADICALS AND AN ORGANIZATION (there are probably more) WHO ARE ACTIVE ON PUERTO RICAN INDEPENDENCE, HAWAIIAN INDEPENDENCE, AND ANTI-MILITARY ACTIVISM -- TONY CASTANHA, KYLE KAJIHIRO, AND THE AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE (Quakers)
To read about those three topics, see: http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/puertoricoguam.html