Hawaiian Sovereignty: Clarifying the Record

Keanu Sai, Ph.D.

Keanu Sai, Ph.D.

This letter is in response to Dr. Ken Conklin’s article  printed in the Hawai`i Reporter online on September 1, 2011, as well as the July 17, 2011 article by Andrew Walden. I have always refrained from responding to these types of articles, but I have since changed my mind in order to qualify and clarify a lot of misinformation being presented. As for Walden’s article, I think Br. Christopher Fishkin did a fine job in his response, which can be read at the bottom of the article. But as for Dr. Conklin this response is all him, since he’s been writing diatribes concerning my research and myself. He also tries to portray himself as an expert, which he definitely is not. In other words, he never warranted a response from me until now because there are some people who actually think Dr. Conklin has valid points. He doesn’t.

First, here’s a little background of myself. After I graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 1982, I attended New Mexico Military Institute, a military college, where I graduated in 1984 with a A.A. degree in pre-business and a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve’s early commissioning program. I then attended the University of Hawai`i at Manoa and graduated in 1987 with a B.A. in Sociology. While attending the university, I joined the 1/487 Field Artillery Battalion in 1984 to begin fulfilling my six-year obligation as a commissioned officer. I completed my obligation after serving ten years and retired as a Captain in 1994, where I served on both active and reserve status. My commands included Fire Direction Officer, Company Fire Support Officer, Battalion Fire Support Officer, and lastly as Battery Commander.

When I was promoted to Captain in 1990, I began to do research in the Hawai`i archives on my family’s genealogy, and through this research I began to realize, through the actual records, a history of Hawai`i that I was not aware of or taught at either Kamehameha Schools or at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. From a military perspective it was intelligence or “intel,” as we would call it, which is historical information I never knew. This resulted in delving deeper into the records and processing this information as if I was the Intel Officer for a battalion. In the military, a battle plan is never developed before the intel is processed. It is through this assessment of intel that battle plans arise. As officers, we were trained to view history as if it’s a film of the past, run through the projector of today, on to the screen of tomorrow. The “film” is the intel, the processing of information is the “projector,” and the battle plan presents itself onto the of “screen of tomorrow.”

It became crystal clear that the Hawaiian Kingdom, being a recognized independent and sovereign state since 1843, continued to exist despite the overthrow of its government in 1893. This was a similar case in 1990 when the U.S. military overthrew the Iraqi government. By overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s government, the overthrow did not equate to an overthrow of Iraq as a sovereign state. Governments and Sovereign States are separate and distinct. Governments exercise the sovereignty of the State, it does not constitute the State itself. In the Army, Field Manual 27-10 regulates occupations of foreign states, which succeeded the 1863 Lieber Code. Section 353 of FM 27-10 provides:

“Belligerent occupation in a foreign war, being based upon the possession of enemy territory, necessarily implies that the sovereignty of the occupied territory is not vested in the occupying power. Occupation is essentially provisional.

On the other hand, subjugation or conquest implies a transfer of sovereignty, which generally takes the form of annexation and is normally effected by a treaty of peace. When sovereignty passes, belligerent occupation, as such, of course ceases, although the territory may and usually does, for a period at least, continue to be governed through military agencies.”

There were two occupations of the Hawaiian Islands by the U.S. military, the first between January 16, 1893 and April 1, 1893, and the second from August 12, 1898 to the present. President Cleveland determined the first landing and occupation as “an act of war” and the second occupation was during the Spanish-American war. There is no treaty transferring Hawai`i’s sovereignty to the United States, only congressional legislation (1898 joint resolution of annexation), which has no effect beyond U.S. territory. In other words, the U.S. Congress could no more pass a joint resolution annexing Canada today, than it could annex Hawai`i by joint resolution in 1898.

What has happened over the past 113 years is clear propaganda coupled with a revisionist history. In 1994, I decided to retire from the Army as a Captain and with this irrefutable evidence; I wanted to test the theory that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist. My driving force was that a great wrong was done to my country and it had to be addressed and remedied. To do this would entail being respectful, responsible and accountable, but in doing this I knew full well that I would also be dealing with people who were disrespectful and irresponsible.

From the intel or historical information gathered came the plan to be executed, and this plan was to expose the prolonged occupation of my country by concentrating on real estate. What we were going to expose was that land titles could not be transferred since January 17, 1893, because in order to convey property in the Hawaiian Kingdom a person granting title was required to go before a notary public of the kingdom and thereafter record the deed in the Bureau of Conveyances. As a result of the illegal overthrow of the government, this act prevented land titles from being transferred because there were no lawful notaries and a lawful registrar for the Bureau of Conveyances after January 17, 1893. There was no lawful government since January 17, 1893. A very logical analysis.

On December 10, 1995, myself and Donald Lewis, a retired real estate broker and founder of Locations, Inc. (now Prudential Locations), established Perfect Title Company and the Hawaiian Kingdom Trust Company, both being companies established under the 1880 statute regulating co-partnership firms. Perfect Title exposed that all titles in the islands were defective since January 17, 1893. The effect that this information had was on the local escrow companies, title insurance and the real estate industry. The reason for the profound impact is that before a bank loans money to a borrower, they require the borrower to go to an escrow company to purchase title insurance, called a loan policy, to protect the bank in case there is a defect in the title, which would render the mortgage invalid. The purchase of title insurance is a condition of the loan and if the borrower isn’t able to purchase the title insurance to protect the bank he doesn’t get the loan. The lender’s policy pays off the loan if there is a defect in title.

The escrow companies did not disclose the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian government and the limitation of United States law to within United States territory. Absent a treaty, U.S. law has no effect in the Islands. However, title insurance was issued when there were clear defects. Perfect Title Company created havoc in the real estate industry because the title companies could not refute Perfect Title Company’s reports. Somehow the title industry got the State of Hawai`i government involved, which led to a raid on the company by the Honolulu Police Department’s white collar crime unit. Donald, the company’s secretary, and myself were arrested under outlandish allegations of racketeering, tax evasion and theft. After a couple months, these outrageous charges were dropped and Donald, one of our clients, and myself were indicted on first-degree attempted theft, a so-called class B felony. The fundamental problem with this indictment is that real property, which is immovable, is not the subject of theft—only personal property, which is movable, is the subject of theft. In fact, the general rule of larceny states:

“Common law larceny is the trespassory taking (caption) and carrying away (asportation) of the personal property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the possessor of the property.  Larceny is a specific-intent crime. Real property is not the subject of larceny law. Moreover, only tangible forms of personal property are encompassed in the offense.”

If there were to be any charges filed it should have been conspiracy and fraud, but Perfect Title Reports could not be refuted. This led to my conviction of a manufactured crime, which is the basis of my federal lawsuit in Washington, D.C. against Secretary of State Clinton, former Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Willard of the U.S. Pacific Command for not faithfully executing two executive agreements entered into between President Cleveland and Queen Lili`uokalani. The manufactured conviction also smeared my name and reputation, which is also the basis of the tort injury in the federal lawsuit.

After returning from the Netherlands where I served as lead agent in arbitration proceedings at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in December of 2000, I entered the Political Science department at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa and graduated with a M.A degree specializing in international relations in 2004, and in 2008 I graduated with the Ph.D. degree specializing in international relations and public law. While I was a Ph.D. student in the program, I wrote a law journal article published in the Hawaiian Journal of Law and Politics (University of Hawai`i at Manoa) in 2004, and I was invited by the editor of the Journal of Law and Social Challenges (University of San Francisco School of Law) to write another law journal article on the executive agreement, which was published in 2008. Both law journal articles were law reviewed, which means they were critiqued for accuracy and appropriate application of law, and Heinonline, being a publisher of law materials, published both journals online.

My doctoral dissertation centered on the legal history of the Hawaiian Islands that stemmed from Kamehameha I to the present. There were six professors on my committee that ranged from political scientists, law professors and a Hawaiian historian. Having successfully defended my doctoral dissertation, the committee’s critique was not only welcomed but also greatly assisted me in refining the narrative and legal arguments I made. I also have two pending books that will be published by the University of Hawai`i Press, which includes my dissertation and a book on land titles.

I am assuming that Ken Conklin, has a Ph.D., only because he says so. I can’t qualify my assumption though. At least for myself, anyone can check the authenticity of my Ph.D. in Political Science and my published articles and doctoral dissertation. I’ve also participated in a multitude of academic conferences throughout the world where I presented my research that can also be authenticated (curriculum vitae). On the other hand, I found no literature that has been “law reviewed” or even a doctoral dissertation that was successfully defended that Dr. Conklin could reference as to qualifying his opinion regarding the legal history of the Hawaiian Islands. From what I’ve heard, Dr. Conklin’s Ph.D. was in Philosophy. Philosophy is not Political Science, and there is no specialty in Philosophy that covers international relations or public law as Political Science does. To say Philosophy is equal to Political Science would be to say Chemistry is equal to Business Administration

While I served as an Army officer, it was required to be qualified as you were being promoted from 2nd Lieutenant, to 1st Lieutenant, to Captain. The military schools under my belt included Field Artillery Officer Basic Course for Lieutenants, U.S. Air Force Air Ground Operation School for combined arms tactics, and Field Artillery Officer Advanced Course for Captains. In civilian life, my M.A. degree, and Ph.D. degree qualifies my expertise in international relations and public law, with particular emphasis on the legal and political history of my country—the Hawaiian Kingdom. I am also able to qualify and explain the actions taken at Perfect Title Company, the arbitration case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague, Netherlands, and the complaint filed with the United Nations Security Council.

Independent authors also published articles on the arbitration and complaint filed with the U.N. Security Council in the American Journal of International Law and the Chinese Journal of International Law. These authors are law professors in the United States and Canada. I also have a new history book titled “Ua Mau Ke Ea (Sovereignty Endures): A Political and Legal Overview of the History of the Hawaiian Islands,” which is currently being used in classrooms in High Schools, the Community Colleges, the University of Maui College, and the University of Hawai`i at Manoa.

What can Dr. Conklin claim as qualifying his opinion, a self-published book that was not peer or law reviewed or his thirty commentaries published online?  If I self-published a book and wrote thirty commentaries online, that wouldn’t make me an expert. It merely attests to the fact that I paid for the publication of my own book, and I wrote thirty commentaries giving my opinion. If I were the one to peer review his book, I would rip it to shreds because it is full of assumptions, opinions, misinformation, and misinterpretations. He has no qualified opinion, which is why I never responded to his diatribe in the past.

I was raised in an extended Hawaiian family where my parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties, instilled in me to be respectful and responsible—to be “pono.” Since I chose to walk this path after retiring from the Army, I have seen the ugliness, the disrespect and the irresponsibility of people, but it has not swayed me in my firm conviction and belief in “pono.”

My country, the Hawaiian Kingdom, was and is multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, especially since I am not only aboriginal Hawaiian, but also Caucasian—my great grandfather, being Charles Reeves, is from Tennessee. The Hawaiian Kingdom is also a not so distant past, where my aboriginal Hawaiian great-grandparents were born in the 1880s, which is only two generations ago when Hawai`i was a vibrant country that had a U.S. Legation (embassy) in Honolulu and a Hawaiian Legation (embassy) in Washington, D.C. I also firmly believe in responsible education and that’s why I teach at Windward Community College and also sit as a committee member for Ph.D. candidates at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. Dr. Conklin seems to believe that if you keep repeating yourself over and over, people will eventually believe you and think you have valid points, especially if you have the letters Ph.D. at the end of your name. This is no scholar, but a self-indulging man who believes in conspiracy theories that center on race politics.

Dr. Conklin, if he really does have a Ph.D., is an angry, bitter and self-centered man, whose diatribe that he spews is neither respectful nor responsible. His opinions are unqualified, and whether he knows it or not he has provided an abundance of evidence that can be used in a lawsuit for libel and slander. If I were Dr. Conklin, I would be very careful what I write, but then again, I’m responding to an angry and bitter man and someone who is angry and bitter usually doesn’t think straight. When I was in the Army, officer’s who don’t think straight would be relieved of their command. The basis for relieving the officer would be because it would place their men, which they lead, in harm’s way. I am assuming Dr. Conklin never served as a commissioned officer in the military, nor would I assume he ever served in the military, so he wouldn’t understand the level of responsibility an officer holds.

Tom Coffman, who was a United Press International Reporter, Government Reporter for the Honolulu Advertiser, and Political Reporter & Bureau Chief for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, published a revised edition in 2009 of his seminal book “Nation Within: The History of the American Occupation of Hawai`i.” His original publication in 1998 was titled “Nation Within: The Story of America’s Annexation of Hawai`i.” In his revised edition, he explains why he dropped “annexation” and replaced it with “occupation.” Coffman states:

“I am compelled to add that the continued relevance of this book reflects a far-reaching political moral and intellectual failure of the United States to recognize and deal with its takeover of Hawai’i. In the book’s subtitle, the word Annexation has been replaced by the word Occupation, referring to America’s occupation of Hawai’i. Where annexation connotes legality by mutual agreement, the act was not mutual and therefore not legal. Since by definition of international law there was no annexation, we are left then with the word occupation. In making this change, I have embraced the logical conclusion of my research into the events of 1893 to 1898 in Honolulu and Washington, D.C. I am prompted to take this step by a growing body of historical work by a new generation of Native Hawaiian scholars. Dr. Keanu Sai writes, ‘The challenge for…the fields of political science, history, and law is to distinguish between the rule of law and the politics of power.’ In the history of Hawai’i, the might of the United States does not make it right.”

Tom Coffman restated a sentence of my conclusion in my law journal article published in the Journal of Law and Social Challenges, titled “A Slippery Path Towards Hawaiian Indigeneity,” where I advocate responsible study and research into the ramifications of the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian government. I would like to close with rest of the conclusion of my article that followed the stated sentence made by Coffman that sums up why responsible education is needed.

“Rigorous and diligent study into the Hawaiian-American situation is not only warranted by the current legal and political challenges facing Native Hawaiians that the Akaka Bill seeks to quell, it is a matter of what is right and just. The ramifications of this study cannot be underestimated, and its consequences are, no doubt, far-reaching. They span from the political and legal to the social and economic venues situated in both the national and international levels. Therefore, in light of the severity of this needed research, analytical rigor is at the core and must not fall victim to political affiliations, partisanship or just plain bias.”

What appears to drive Dr. Conklin to do what he does is neither responsible nor respectful, but seems to be driven by anger and hate. I don’t even know who he is except for what he writes, so I don’t know why he’s so angry. If there were anyone who should be angry that would be me after what transpired since 1994 as a result of exposing the truth that I can now qualify as a political scientist. But I’m not angry. I have a “kuleana,” a responsibility to continue where my Queen and former countrymen and women left off. I live by my kingdom’s national motto uttered by King Kamehameha III on July 31, 1843 after the government was restored by British Admiral Thomas.

“Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka `Aina I Ka Pono”
(The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in what is Right and Just).

For more information on my research and expertise please visit: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~anu/index.html

Videos featuring Keanu Sai:




Dr. David "Keanu" Sai is an expert in the legal history of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Visit his website here.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Dahl/100002134907840 Steven Dahl

    Mahalo to you, Dr. Sai, for having the courage of your convictions. Your research seems to reveal a great truth & a great crime. The empire will not back down until it is forced to do so by a critical mass of educated, honest people. You are certainly in the vanguard of this group and it is growing with your help:)

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  • gray

    the kingdom of hawaii was reinstated in 1990 in federal court by andropolis kaawa , by acknowleding us in federal court we were reestablished

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  • http://n/a Alexandra Sulecki

    This appears to be a very emotional debate, and rightly so, as anyone would be emotional who has had their nation stolen. While recently in the beautiful Hawaiian islands for the first time, I read Queen Lili’uokalani’s book. As a 54 year old American with a Master’s Degree, I was appalled to learn this history – never once mentioned to me in all my years of school in the US!

    That Hawai’i should be returned to the native Hawaiians, there is no question in my mind. What can I do to help?

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  • Win 808

    The main issue concerning the Hawaiian Kingdom is whether or not the U.S. has legitimate authority over the Kingdom based upon the historical chain of events that stem from January 17, 1893. The answer is no.
    There would be no reason for the United States of America to offer an apology to the Kingdom of Hawaii in U.S. Public Law 103-150, [1993] if the U.S. had not committed any wrong doing to the Kingdom or if there was a valid transfer of authority.
    Further the 1993 apology was an internal U.S. public policy; not made in good faith to the Hawaiian Kingdom by treaty.
    The Republic of Hawaii was the successor of the Provisional Government of Hawaii which U.S. President Grover Cleveland recognized as being neither de jure nor de facto.
    The U.S. recognized the independence of the Hawaiian Kingdom on July 6, 1844, under international law that is considered a political act with legal consequences.
    The U.S. had assisted insurgents who committed a wrongful act against the Kingdom upon which the U.S. became the ultimate benefactor by taking control over the Hawaiian Islands for over 118 years now.
    History offers no legal life-ring to the U.S., anyone can come to a conclusion of what they want to believe is historically correct, but the correct interpretation settles the issue.

    Time will tell!

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  • Keanu Sai, Ph.D.

    Mike Aiello, publisher of Hawai`i News Daily, emailed me and requested that I respond and debate Conklin’s response to my posting titled “Hawaiian Sovereignty: Clarifying the Record.” No debate from me because, first, Conklin is not qualified in the fields of law or political science, which I pointed out in my only and last response to his diatribe, and, second, he has had no published articles that have been law or peer reviewed or even a dissertation on the subject of the executive agreements themselves. My law journal article titled a “Slippery Path,” which covers the executive agreements, was published by the Journal of Law and Social Challenges (2008), and passed through editors at the San Francisco School of Law. And my doctoral dissertation (2008), which also covers the executive agreements, were critiqued and passed by three Professors of Political Science, two Deans of Law Schools, and a Professor of History. Is Conklin saying that these editors and Professors of Political Science, Law and History are spewing propaganda as well? This man is selling snake oil.

    Conklin appears to not only be an angry and bitter man as I pointed out, but he also seems to be delusional, which by definition is “an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder.” I think he actually might need help and should probably see a Psychiatrist.

    Here’s a Hawaiian Proverb that fits this particular situation quite well. [Pukui, ‘Olelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings (Bishop Museum Press, 1983), no. 1247, p. 135.]

    “I ‘ola‘ola no ka huewai i ka piha ‘ole

    The water gourd gurgles when not filled full.

    A person not very well informed talks more than one who is.”

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    • Sam Ha’a

      Conklin doesn’t insult you personally or call you names. Why do you feel you need to do this to him?

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      • John Parker

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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        • Sam Ha’a

          I have read many of Conklin’s articles, and I have never seen him engage in namecalling of any kind. If, as you say, I am wrong about Conklin, please give me a link to a place where he did this. I’ll bet you can’t. Conklin is invariably polite.

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          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003405592957 Zulma

            People are really gtneitg in-depth in their answers here and the breakdowns of the why of this question. I’m Tongan and there are a good number of Tongans here in Seattle as well as other PI’s like Samoans, Hawaiians, Filipinos, etc. Really, Islanders just like to stick together and in the areas that have Islanders, more of their families are likely to move there as well. There are a number of places, mostly on the West Coast where there are a good number of Islanders in, Seattle being one, the bay area around San Fran (more around San Mateo and outside the city of San Fran, but that area), LA, and also Salt Lake City, UT (Utah used to have the most Islanders of all US states a number of years ago, not in small part because of the large number of Islanders who are Mormon). There’s even some small city in Texas, whose name escapes me right now, that has a really high count of Tongans, which kind of seems random, but there it is. Islanders tend to keep very close-knit families, are more likely to live together longer, and just stay around each other taking care of each other a lot and families will have other family members move into the same area, potentially in the same house to immigrate here. There are dedicated Samoan and Tongan (I’m not sure about Hawaiian) churches in West Seattle and South Seattle that are 99% Samoan and Tongan, respectively. On the large number of Islanders dropping out of college according to UW that one person mentioned, it may be happening, but still, it is good to see a larger number of Islanders attending the UW. I went to school there and have seen many more since graduating and they’ve also have now the Pacific Island Student Commission and groups for Islanders.Really, it’s about sticking together. Plus, on the east coast, I’ve actually encountered a lot of people before that had no clue what Samoa or Tonga were or what being Samoan or Tongan meant. Weird.

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  • http://tinyurl.com/2a9fqa Ken Conklin

    Keanu Sai never replied to my criticisms of his “executive agreements” scam. All he did was once again spew his propaganda. Kondo is lying about what I wrote. I never wrote the things he says, and I challenge him to cite the URL where he claims I said those things. For the full “dialog” which Sai’s article is part of, see
    http://tinyurl.com/6hxvtg8

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    • Dwight Kondo

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • John Parker

      Dr. Sai doesn’t need to reply to your criticisms! Why? Because you ARE NOT qualified in fields of law or political science, thus your theory you are teaching is not qualified information.

      It would be like me challenging a brain surgeon to a debate because I believe that by eating a mixture of papaya seeds and awa root for 7 straight days (without my information being qualified of course), I could cure brain tumors. That’s just outright silly.

      Ken if the theory that you are teaching is even at all close to being accurate and true, I would have thought that you would have it published in law journal articles or have had it peer reviewed by now. After all didn’t you say you studied everything Hawaiian for like 20 years and said to be a self proclaimed expert?

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  • Dwight Kondo

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Sam Ha’a

      I don’t understand the reason for the hateful language in your post. You may disagree with Conklin, but why the name calling and personal attacks? If you have a good argument, you don’t need them, and Conklin never uses them.

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      • Kahakii

        Ok lets get off the issue of name calling. If Ken is as intelligent or educated as people say, lets see him do some rebuttals of history that has been represented in this article without putting a spin on the truth and stay within the guidelines of discussion dealing with international law. Lets stick to the meat of it and explain ourselves instead of getting away from the facts and issues that are most important.

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