Excerpts of the Apology with image of signing
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To acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the January 17, 1893 overthrow ofthe Kingdom of Hawaii, and to offer an apology to Native Hawaiians on behalf ofthe United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Whereas, prior to the arrival of the first Europeans in 1778, the NativeHawaiian people lived in a highly organized, self-sufficient, subsistent socialsystem based on communal land tenure with a sophisticated language, culture,and religion;
Whereas, a unified monarchical government of the Hawaiian Islands wasestablished in 1810 under Kamehameha I, the first King of Hawaii;
Whereas, from 1826 until 1893, the United States recognized the independenceof the Kingdom of Hawaii, extended full and complete diplomatic recognition tothe Hawaiian Government, and entered into treaties and conventions with theHawaiian monarchs to govern commerce and navigation in 1826, 1842, 1849, 1875,and 1887;
Whereas, the Congregational Church (now known as the United Church ofChrist), through its American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions,sponsored and sent more than 100 missionaries to the Kingdom of Hawaii between1820 and 1850;
Whereas, on January 14, 1893, John L. Stevens (hereafter referred to in thisResolution as the "United States Minister"), the United States Ministerassigned to the sovereign and independent Kingdom of Hawaii conspired with asmall group of non-Hawaiian residents of the Kingdom of Hawaii, includingcitizens of the United States, to overthrow the indigenous and lawfulGovernment of Hawaii;
Whereas, in pursuance of the conspiracy to overthrow the Government ofHawaii, the United States Minister and the naval representatives of the UnitedStates caused armed naval forces of the United States to invade the sovereignHawaiian nation on January 16, 1893, and to position themselves near theHawaiian Government buildings and the Iolani Palace to intimidate Queen Liliuokalani and her Government;
Whereas, on the afternoon of January 17,1893, a Committee of Safety thatrepresented the American and European sugar planters, descendants ofmissionaries, and financiers deposed the Hawaiian monarchy and proclaimed theestablishment of a Provisional Government;
Whereas, the United States Minister thereupon extended diplomatic recognitionto the Provisional Government that was formed by the conspirators without theconsent of the Native Hawaiian people or the lawful Government of Hawaii and inviolation of treaties between the two nations and of international law;
Whereas, soon thereafter, when informed of the risk of bloodshed withresistance, Queen Liliuokalani issued the following statement yielding herauthority to the United States Government rather than to the ProvisionalGovernment:
"I Liliuokalani, by the Grace of God and under theConstitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen, do herebysolemnly protest against any and all acts done againstmyself and the Constitutional Government of the HawaiianKingdom by certain persons claiming to have established aProvisional Government of and for this Kingdom.
"That I yield to the superior force of the United States ofAmerica whose Minister Plenipotentiary, His ExcellencyJohn L. Stevens, has caused United States troops to be landeda Honolulu and declared that he would support the ProvisionalGovernment.
"Now to avoid any collision of armed forces, and perhaps theloss of life, I do this under protest and impelled by saidforce yield my authority until such time as the Governmentof the United States shall, upon facts being presented toit, undo the action of its representatives and reinstate mein the authority which I claim as the ConstitutionalSovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.".
Done at Honolulu this 17th day of January, A.D. 1893.;
Whereas, without the active support and intervention by the United Statesdiplomatic and military representatives, the insurrection against theGovernment of Queen Liliuokalani would have failed for lack of popular supportand insufficient arms;
Whereas, on February 1, 1893, the United States Minister raised the Americanflag and proclaimed Hawaii to be a protectorate of the United States;
Whereas, the report of a Presidentially established investigation conductedby former Congressman James Blount into the events surrounding the insurrectionand overthrow of January 17, 1893, concluded that the United States diplomaticand military representatives had abused their authority and were responsiblefor the change in government;
Whereas, as a result of this investigation, the United States Minister toHawaii was recalled from his diplomatic post and the military commander of theUnited States armed forces stationed in Hawaii was disciplined and forced toresign his commission;
Whereas, in a message to Congress on December 18, 1893, President Grover Cleveland reported fully and accurately on the illegal acts of theconspirators, described such acts as an "act of war, committed with theparticipation of a diplomatic representative of the United States and withoutauthority of Congress", and acknowledged that by such acts the government of apeaceful and friendly people was overthrown;
Whereas, President Cleveland further concluded that a "substantial wrong hasthus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as therights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair" and calledfor the restoration of the Hawaiian monarchy;
Whereas, the Provisional Government protested President Cleveland's call forthe restoration of the monarchy and continued to hold state power and pursueannexation to the United States;
Whereas, the Provisional Government successfully lobbied the Committee onForeign Relations of the Senate (hereafter referred to in this Resolution asthe "Committee") to conduct a new investigation into the events surrounding theoverthrow of the monarchy;
Whereas, the Committee and its chairman, Senator John Morgan, conductedhearings in Washington, D.C., from December 27,1893, through February 26, 1894,in which members of the Provisional Government justified and condoned theactions of the United States Minister and recommended annexation of Hawaii;
Whereas, although the Provisional Government was able to obscure the role ofthe United States in the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, it wasunable to rally the support from two-thirds of the Senate needed to ratify atreaty of annexation;
Whereas, on July 4, 1894, the Provisional Government declared itself to bethe Republic of Hawaii;
Whereas, on January 24, 1895, while imprisoned in Iolani Palace, QueenLiliuokalani was forced by representatives of the Republic of Hawaii toofficially abdicate her throne;
Whereas, in the 1896 United States Presidential election, William McKinleyreplaced Grover Cleveland;
Whereas, on July 7, 1898, as a consequence of the Spanish-American War,President McKinley signed the Newlands Joint Resolution that provided for theannexation of Hawaii;
Whereas, through the Newlands Resolution, the self-declared Republic ofHawaii ceded sovereignty over the Hawaiian Islands to the United States;
Whereas, the Republic of Hawaii also ceded 1,800,000 acres of crown,government and public lands of the Kingdom of Hawaii, without the consent of orcompensation to the Native Hawaiian people of Hawaii or their sovereigngovernment;
Whereas, the Congress, through the Newlands Resolution, ratified the cession,annexed Hawaii as part of the United States, and vested title to the lands inHawaii in the United States;
Whereas, the Newlands Resolution also specified that treaties existingbetween Hawaii and foreign nations were to immediately cease and be replaced byUnited States treaties with such nations;
Whereas, the Newlands Resolution effected the transaction between theRepublic of Hawaii and the United States Government;
Whereas, the indigenous Hawaiian people never directly relinquished theirclaims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national landsto the United States, either through their monarchy or through a plebiscite orreferendum;
Whereas, on April 30, 1900, President McKinley signed the Organic Act thatprovided a government for the territory of Hawaii and defined the politicalstructure and powers of the newly established Territorial Government and itsrelationship to the United States;
Whereas, on August 21,1959, Hawaii became the 50th State of the UnitedStates;
Whereas, the health and well-being of the Native Hawaiian people isintrinsically tied to their deep feelings and attachment to the land;
Whereas, the long-range economic and social changes in Hawaii over thenineteenth and early twentieth centuries have been devastating to thepopulation and to the health and well-being of the Hawaiian people;
Whereas, the Native Hawaiian people are determined to preserve, develop andtransmit to future generations their ancestral territory, and their culturalidentity 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, theLegislature of the State of Hawaii has determined that the year 1993, shouldserve Hawaii as a year of special reflection on the rights and dignities of theNative Hawaiians in the Hawaiian and the American societies;
Whereas, the Eighteenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ inrecognition of the denomination's historical complicity in the illegaloverthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893 directed the Office of the Presidentof the United Church of Christ to offer a public apology to the Native Hawaiianpeople and to initiate the process of reconciliation between the United Churchof Christ and the Native Hawaiians; and
Whereas, it is proper and timely for the Congress on the occasion of theimpending one hundredth anniversary of the event, to acknowledge the historicsignificance of the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, to express itsdeep regret to the Native Hawaiian people, and to support the reconciliationefforts of the State of Hawaii and the United Church of Christ with NativeHawaiians;
Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States ofAmerica in Congress assembled,
The Congress -
(1) on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the illegal overthrow of theKingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893, acknowledges the historical significanceof this event which resulted in the suppression of the inherent sovereignty ofthe Native Hawaiian people;
(2) recognizes and commends efforts of reconciliation initiated by the Stateof Hawaii and the United Church of Christ with Native Hawaiians;
(3) apologizes to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the UnitedStates for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893 with theparticipation of agents and citizens of the United States, and the deprivationof the rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination;
(4) expresses its commitment to acknowledge the ramifications of theoverthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, in order to provide a proper foundation forreconciliation between the United States and the Native Hawaiian people; and
(5) urges the President of the United States to also acknowledge theramifications of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii and to supportreconciliation efforts between the United States and the Native Hawaiianpeople.
As used in this Joint Resolution, the term "Native Hawaiians" means anyindividual who is a descendent of the aboriginal people who, prior to 1778,occupied and exercised sovereignty in the area that now constitutes the Stateof Hawaii.
Nothing in this Joint Resolution is intended to serve as a settlement of anyclaims against the United States.
Approved November 23, 1993
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY - S.J. Res. 19:
SENATE REPORTS: No. 103-125 (Select Comm. on Indian Affairs)
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 139 (1993):
"...the logical consequences of this resolution would be independence."
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