The Proclamation of Restoration of the Independent Nation of Hawai’i:
A Fantasy Theme Analysis

By Darin J. Arsenault, May 1997

Table of Contents



In order to understand the rhetoric of the Independent Nation of Hawai’i within the Proclamation of the Restoration of the Independence of the Sovereign Nation State of Hawai’i, it is first necessary to describe this artifact. Hence, in this chapter, two issues are addressed. First, documents within the Independent Nation’s electronic mail system are noted and described. Second, the selection of the Proclamation of Restoration as an event worthy of rhetorical analysis is explained and justified.

Documents Within the Independent Nation Automated System

Prior to this author’s discovery of the Independent Nation’s Proclamation of Restoration, personal interviews were conducted with O’ahu residents, State of Hawaii officials, and Independent Nation members in order to understand differing perspectives on Hawai’ian sovereignty. During this process, the automated electronic mail document system discussed in Chapter I was referred to this author by Independent Nation members as a primary means of communication from Independent Nation members to interested parties (see Appendix A for procedure on logging onto this system). It should be noted that Independent Nation members’ usage of electronic mail as a channel for communication is especially significant within the realm of rhetorical studies because it is relatively new and unexplored. Electronic mail has become prevalent in the last few years because it is relatively inexpensive to use, allows great numbers of people to access information almost instantaneously, and provides anonymity to users. For members of the Independent Nation this automated electronic mail system allows interested audiences a way of gaining information about this group and its views of sovereignty issues.

Currently there is a total of thirty-eight documents and one index within this system, although discussions with an Independent Nation member affiliated with system maintenance indicate that new articles may be added occasionally in the future. At the present time, available documents can be systematically categorized into two patterns: 1) longitudinally, where documents have been entered into the system in a chronological fashion, so as to provide an understandable delineation of sovereignty events for the electronic mail accessor, and 2) informationally, where each document is distinguishable as definitive, legal, or narrative in focus. The chronology of the Independent Nation allows rhetoricians to look at the interplay of rhetorical tactics within documents, each distinguishable as one of three types: establishing legitimacy of historical claims and events, (such as the Overthrow of Lili’uokalani, the Declaration of Human Rights, and the Proclamation of Restoration), public protest (building homes and growing taro on local beaches, group involvement in rallies and demonstrations), and defiance of authority, (events such as Nation members’ summons of judges who break Independent Nation laws as well as Kanahele’s ongoing legal battles). By tracing the documented chronology of these rhetorical events, the critic notices how certain events play off other events, creating a momentum that instigates still further events.

Greater detail must be offered about the nature of these documents so that readers can better understand document foci. Three types of documents are currently available within the automated system: definitive, narrative, and legal. Definitive documents address the nature of the Independent Nation and its mission. There are two documents of this type: an essay on self-determinism, sovereignty, and independence, and a very generalized chronology of the Independent Nation from 1993-1995. Thirty narrative documents are reprints of media newspaper reports on the Independent Nation and its activities. These articles predominantly hail from sources such as the Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Legal documents argue the legal basis for the Independent Nation’s claims based upon historical precedents. There are six of these documents, including a copy of U.S. Public Law 103-150 and two versions of Francis Boyle’s (a University of Illinois law professor) public interpretation of this law, a Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted by the United Nations December 10, 1948), a ratified Hawai’ian Constitution (1995), and the Proclamation of the Restoration (1994).

An overview of events reported within these documents will provide deeper understanding of Independent Nation claims. Historical events such as the Overthrow of Lili’uokalani led to demonstrations, rallies, marches, and other events, culminating in the eventual recognition of the sovereignty movement by President Bill Clinton and the United States Congress, via Public Law 103-150, on November 23, 1993. Descriptive documents report Francis Boyle’s interpretation of this law in December 1993, supplemented by narrative documents on Boyle’s interpretation and his audience’s response. Also related to these historical precedents are two narrative articles that describe public reenactment of the Overthrow, describing how the actors depicted people and events during this happening (Matsunaga, 1995a; Wright, 1995). For instance, it is noted that the crowd boos when Sanford Dole, one of the main conspirators in the demise of Hawai’i’s self-rule, appears and is recognized.

There are several documents that refer to different aspects of the Independent Nation. One descriptive article contains self-reports about Independent Nation history. Five narrative media reports refer directly to what members are doing within the community, such as building the Village and their utilization of electronic mail and the Internet as means of communication. Two reports comment on Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele and the Independent Nation’s relationship with Professor Boyle and his interpretation of Public Law 103-150. Another refers to Kanahele and his group’s action of handing out leaflets in Waikiki during February of 1994 (Lynch, 1994). Tourists were urged to be aware that tourism hurts Native Hawai’ians because it is oppressive. Two narrative articles report how Kanahele and other Independent Nation members handed out summons to judges and police personnel, demanding that they plead to the Nation’s charges of illegal occupation of Hawai’ian lands and illegal use of power.

Bumpy Kanahele is the direct focus of many of the narrative articles. One narrative article is an interview of Kanahele by Wolfgang Kovacek in June 1995, where Kanahele airs his views on the future of Hawai’i. The remaining group of articles (nine in all) are news articles describing his acts of civil disobedience and defiance of certain state and federal laws. A condensed version of the focus of these stories follows. On July 11, 1995, Gordon Kaaihue, a lieutenant colonel in his Nation’s peace force is arrested at a police station on a warrant for failure to appear on a traffic citation. The underlying charges were for driving without a driver’s license and failing to provide proof of insurance in 1993 (Matsunaga, 1995b). Kanahele’s son, Westin Kanahele, is arrested for obstructing officers in this arrest. Bumpy Kanahele went to the police station to bail out the two, calling in advance, and was arrested when he got there for an unrelated warrant with the same charges. After being released by District Judge Colette Garibaldi on his own recognizance, Bumpy Kanahele was later arrested at Honolulu airport by federal agents for harboring a tax fugitive named Nathan Brown and obstructing officers who tried to arrest Brown in 1994 (Matsunaga, 1995c, 1995d). U.S. Attorney Les Osborne had a deputy marshal swear under oath that there were reports of weapons being stockpiled at Waimanalo, arguing that Kanahele was a danger to the community (Matsunaga, 1995d, 1995e) . Magistrate Barry Kurren apparently agreed, denying bail for Kanahele and scheduling a trial sometime in October 1995. Kanahele’s lawyer, Haden Aluli, appealed several times but the decision was not overturned. Kanahele was being held during this time at Halawa Correctional Center in O’ahu, where he reported to a newspaper that he was a political prisoner (Matsunaga, 1995f).

Relationships with other communities as well as the state government are addressed in the remaining documents. In three narrative documents, Independent Nation members met with other communities in Mau’i to ratify the Hawai’ian Constitution and determine a future form of government. Although the meetings took place between March and October 7, 1994 results were unsuccessful because members could not agree upon the form of the new government and its stratification of citizens. Two narrative articles specifically reported on the State government. In one, a plebiscite vote was offered to the public to find out what form of government it wanted (Aschenbach, 1994). Another noted how an Independent Nation member was allowed to pay traffic fines by performing two hundred hours of community service (Honolulu Star-Bulletin staff, 1995).

It appears that Independent Nation members have placed these documents within their electronic mail system because they are offering an image to the public about the Nation’s mission and its key members. Although these documents do not cover all rhetorical events of the Independent Nation, they do contain key events that members wanted represented in order to show the world their vision of an alternative reality. Three primary themes can be identified as dominating these messages: the right to self-determination, a release of lands, and the responsible use of the environment. These issues cluster around three subjects: historical events, the Independent Nation as a legitimate entity for self-determination in the sovereignty movement, and Kanahele’s activities as he draws attention to his bid for independence from American legal jurisdiction. Yet of all these documents, none provide the insight into Independent Nation perspectives as does the Proclamation of Restoration.

The Proclamation of Restoration as a Rhetorical Artifact

Although all documents within the electronic mail retrieval system were initially examined as to how each provided insight into the Independent Nation stance on Hawai’ian self-determination, control of lands, and environmental protection, the selection of the Proclamation of Restoration for the current study can be defended as more worthy of analysis than other document for several reasons. First, the Proclamation provides an important starting point for rhetorical investigation because later Independent Nation events are based upon its public significance. For example, the ratified Hawai’ian Constitution was enacted in 1995 in order to show the people what laws would be enacted and enforced in the new nation. If one investigates events preceding this Constitution, it can be noted that the success of the Proclamation functioned as impetus for future Independent Nation incidents such as the Constitution. In other words, the Proclamation became a symbolic event that enabled people to gather together to understand and act upon Independent Nation messages.

Second, the Proclamation is especially distinguishable from other documents by its symbolic richness of language. It is less formal than other documents in its wording and this informality provides fantasy themes for rhetorical analysis. This document is, therefore, addressed to ascertain what themes have been created for its audiences because it provides a starting point for advancing significant knowledge about the Independent Nation’s stance on sovereignty issues.

Third, this is not the first time a proclamation has been used to provide a new beginning. Proclamations have been made through history. A definition of proclamation appears to be in order here so that the importance of the Proclamation of Restoration may be more clearly shown. The Oxford English Dictionary (1989) defines a proclamation as

1. The action of proclaiming; the official giving of public notice. 2. That which is proclaimed, either as to its substance or its form; a formal order or intimation issued by the sovereign or other legal authority, and made public either by being announced by a herald, or by being posted up in public places. (p. 552)

Definitions by other sources are very similar. Guralnik (1968, p. 1133) refers to a

proclamation as "something that is...announced officially." Gilmer (1986) defines a

proclamation as

1) a public announcement made by authority of a chief executive, e.g., President, Governor, or Mayor. 2) The declaration of a bailiff (q.v.), made by authority of the court, of what is about to be done. (p. 267)

In these three definitions a proclamation functions as a form of discourse that is serious in tone, verbally communicated, presented within a forum or public event to inform participants about a change in some kind of policy, and supported by a person or persons with political power.

Some examples of proclamations may help make more sense out of how a proclamation functions. The 1912 Proclamation of Albanian Independence at Vlora urged autonomy from Turkish invaders and new economic development of Albania to catch it up to the rest of the world (Jacques, 1995; Pollo & Puto, 1981). Eighty-three regional delegates from all parts of Albania were present for the reading of this proclamation, and convened at its finish to elect the formation of a new government and geographical boundaries. This proclamation was well accepted by the people, who rose up and queued in a spirit of nationalism.

The 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic was read publicly by rebels so that the people would know what kind of stance these republicans were taking against the British Army and why public participation was necessary (Ward, 1980). Calling themselves members of the new Provisional government, the writers declared the right of the Irish people to own and control the economy of Ireland without any interference from other nations. This document stated that the Irish Republic would guarantee religious and civil liberty as well as social equality to all citizens. What was needed from the people was a commitment to support this nation by soldierly valor and commitment.

The Proclamation of Restoration fulfills similar functions to the above proclamations. It is a speech that was publicly given to Independent Nation members and spectators at ‘Iolani Palace in Honolulu on January 16, 1994 in a public rally. This speech was written by Independent Nation members who demand drastic social and economic change in regard to Native Hawai’ians. The text of this speech is publicly available in the Independent Nation automated electronic retrieval system for anybody with a computer to access. It becomes a rhetorical artifact worthy of analysis.

In summary, the Independent Nation offers an automated electronic mail retrieval system that allows computer users to access Nation information. Of special importance among these documents is the Proclamation of Restoration, which reflects its writers’ stance on Native Hawai’ian issues. Fantasy theme analysis will be conducted in later chapters upon the Proclamation to determine what fantasy themes arise and what these themes indicate about Nation perspectives. Chapter III will first elaborate upon fantasy theme analysis.