The Misuse of the term Self-determination Regarding Hawai‘i

Strictly speaking, in our republican forms of government, the absolute sovereignty of the nation is in the people of the nation, (q. v.); and the residuary sovereignty of each state, not granted to any of it’s public functionaries, is in the people of the state, (q. v.) 2 Dall. 471; and vide, generally, 2 Dall. 433, 455; 3 Dall. 93; 1 Story, Const. § 208; 1 Toull. N. 20; Merl. Réper. h.t. – 1843 Bouvier’s Law dictionary vol 2.

STATE, government. This word is used in various senses. In its most enlarged sense, it signifies a self-sufficient body of persons united together in one community for the defense of their rights and to do right and justice to foreigners. In this sense, the state means the whole people united into one body politic, (q. v.); and the state, and the people of the state, are equivalent expressions. 1 Pet. Cond. Rep. 37 to 39; 3 Dall. 93; 2 Dall. 425; 2 Wilson’s Lect. 120; Dane’s Appx. § 50, p. 63; 1 Story, Const. § 361.

n. A people permanently occupying a fixed territory bound together by common-law habits and custom into one body politic exercising, through the medium of an organized government, independent sovereignty and control over all persons and things within its boundaries, capable of making war and peace and of entering into international relations with other communities of the globe. United States v. Kusche, D.C.Cal., 56 F. Supp. 201, 207, 208.

The organization of social life which exercises sovereign power in behalf of the people. Delany v. Moraitis, C.C.A.Md., 136 F. 2d 129, 130.

The people of a state, in their collective capacity, considered as the party wronged by a criminal deed; the public; as in the title of a cause, “The State vs. A. B.”

The section of territory occupied by one of the United States.
The circumstances or condition of a being or thing at a given time.
State v. Inich, 55 Mont. 1, 173 P. 230, 234.

2012 The Awakening

Whether by chance or design, the term “self-determination” is used to confuse an already confusing situation regarding Hawai‘i. The term is constantly applied as a sound bite employed by individuals who don’t have an understanding of its application. In news coverage of the so-called nation building process of Native Hawaiians, the term is so constantly used that it lost its meaning or that its true meaning was never known in the first place.

In her 1991 law article titled, Historical and Contemporary Hawaiian Self-Determination: A Native Hawaiian Perspective (8 Ariz. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 77), Mililani Trask wrote, “Since [Native] Hawaiians never surrendered their political rights through treaties nor voted on annexation, they fall under the United Nations category of a ‘non-self-governing people.’” Is Mililani correct? This begs the question, what is the United Nations definition of “non-self-governing”? And based on this definition, does…

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