Defending Paradise: The Apology Bill

Passed on November 23, 1993, by the 103rd U.S. Congress, and signed by President William Clinton.

To acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the January 17, 1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i, and to offer an apology to Native Hawai’ians on behalf of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i.

Whereas, prior to the arrival of the first Europeans in 1778, the Native Hawai’ian people lived in a highly organized, self-sufficient, subsistent social system based on communal land tenure with a sophisticated language, culture, and religion;…

Whereas, from 1826 until 1893, the United States recognized the independence of the Kingdom of Hawai’i, extended full and complete diplomatic recognition to the Hawai’ian Government, and entered into treaties and conventions with the Hawai’ian monarchs to govern commerce and navigation in 1826, 1842, 1849, 1875, and 1887;…

Whereas, on January 14, 1893, John L. Stevens (hereafter referred to in this Resolution as the "United States Minister"), the United States Minister assigned to the sovereign and independent Kingdom of Hawai’i conspired with a small group of non-Hawai’ian residents of the Kingdom of Hawai’i, including citizens of the United States, to overthrow the indigenous and lawful Government of Hawai’i;...

Whereas, soon thereafter, when informed of the risk of bloodshed with resistance, Queen Liliuokalani issued the following statement yielding her authority to the United States Government rather than to the Provisional Government:

"I Liliuokalani, by the Grace of God and under the Constitution of the Hawai’ian Kingdom, Queen, do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the Constitutional Government of the Hawai’ian Kingdom by certain persons claiming to have established a Provisional Government of and for this Kingdom….

"Now to avoid any collision of armed forces, and perhaps the loss of life, I do this under protest and impelled by said force yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representatives and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the Constitutional Sovereign of the Hawai’ian Islands...

Done at Honolulu this 17th day of January, A.D. 1893”…

Whereas, the report of a Presidentially established investigation conducted by former Congressman James Blount into the events surrounding the insurrection and overthrow of January 17, 1893, concluded that the United States diplomatic and military representatives had abused their authority and were responsible for the change in government;…

Whereas, President Cleveland further concluded that a "substantial wrong has thus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair" and called for the restoration of the Hawai’ian monarchy;...

Whereas, the Provisional Government protested President Cleveland's call for the restoration of the monarchy and continued to hold state power and pursue annexation to the United States;…

Whereas, on July 4, 1894, the Provisional Government declared itself to be the Republic of Hawai’i;

Whereas, on January 24, 1895, while imprisoned in Iolani Palace, Queen Liliuokalani was forced by representatives of the Republic of Hawai’i to officially abdicate her throne;

Whereas, on July 7, 1898, as a consequence of the Spanish-American War, President McKinley signed the Newlands Joint Resolution that provided for the annexation of Hawai’i;

Whereas, through the Newlands Resolution, the self-declared Republic of Hawai’i ceded sovereignty over the Hawai’ian Islands to the United States;

Whereas, the indigenous Hawai’ian people never directly relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national lands to the United States, either through their monarchy or through a plebiscite or referendum;

Whereas, on August 21,1959, Hawai’i became the 50th State of the United States;

Whereas, the health and well-being of the Native Hawai’ian people is intrinsically tied to their deep feelings and attachment to the land;

Whereas, the long-range economic and social changes in Hawai’i over the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have been devastating to the population and to the health and well-being of the Hawai’ian people;

Whereas, the Native Hawai’ian people are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territory, and their cultural identity in accordance with their own spiritual and traditional beliefs, customs, practices, language, and social institutions;

Whereas, in order to promote racial harmony and cultural understanding, the Legislature of the State of Hawai’i has determined that the year 1993, should serve Hawai’i as a year of special reflection on the rights and dignities of the Native Hawai’ians in the Hawai’ian and the American societies: Now, therefore, be it:

(2) Recognizes and commends efforts of reconciliation initiated by the State of Hawai’i and the United Church of Christ with Native Hawai’ians;

(3) Apologizes to Native Hawai’ians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i on January 17, 1893 with the participation of agents and citizens of the United States, and the deprivation of the rights of Native Hawai’ians to self-determination;

(4) expresses its commitment to acknowledge the ramifications of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i, in order to provide a proper foundation for reconciliation between the United States and the Native Hawai’ian people; and

(5) Urges the President of the United States to also acknowledge the ramifications of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i and to support reconciliation efforts between the United States and the Native Hawai’ian people.


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