Native Hawaiian activists still waiting for reconciliation efforts

Published On: Dec 24 2013 12:30:41 PM HST   Updated On: Nov 23 2013 09:44:29 PM HST

20 years ago, Congress apologized for the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. On Saturday, Native Hawaiian activists said they are still waiting to see efforts toward reconciliation and a transition into a free nation.

Click here to watch Nana Ohkawa's report.

"Actions speak louder than words. It's been nothing but words and nothing but lies," said Hawaiian activist Kalani Asam.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the U.S. Public Law, known to Native Hawaiian's as the "Apology Law," for the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. For Hawaiian lawmakers in 1993, the resolution was a landmark.

"This legislation is a forceful and necessary tool in our crusade to seek redress for wrongs committed against Hawaiians by the federal government," U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka said at the time.

But two decades later, Hawaiian activists say not much has changed and steps toward reconciliation between the United States and Native Hawaiians have not been made.

"When you apologize to someone for wrong-doing, what has to come later is the methodology or the process of correcting that wrong-doing," said Hawaiian activist Palani Vaughan.

"A generation later and nothing has happened. It's not only the United States of America. The State of Hawaii has also been complicit of this occupation and colonization," said activist Poka Laenui.

The resolution had little impact on Hawaiian independence. The apology was cited by the Hawaii Supreme Court in its 2008 ruling that banned the sale of ceded lands that were once controlled by the Hawaiian Kingdom, but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the decision a year later saying the 1993 apology did not weaken the state's ownership of the land.

Some activists say there's only one acceptable solution.

"The only proper and just remedy is for the U.S. to end its unlawful occupation," said activist Pilipo Souza.

Organizers hope to hold another gathering next week to continue discussing the next steps toward Hawaiian independence.


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