One meaning of "sovereignty" is control over land and natural resources: the land, the water in the land, the ocean (including a 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone) and the air we breathe. We know well that the indigenous approach to "managing" these "resources" is fundamentally different from the Western colonial approach, emphasizing balance, reciprocity and sustainability versus domination, exploitation and exhaustion.
As stated in U.S. Public Law 103-150, the "Apology Resolution" to Native Hawaiians, "prior to the arrival of the first Europeans in 1778, the Native Hawaiian people lived in a highly organized, self-sufficient, subsistent social system based on communal land tenure" which supported a population estimated by some to have been as much as one million people, in the same range as the number who inhabit Hawaii today.
While we cannot and do not seek to return to 1778 and pre-contact Hawai'i, the traditional Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) values are still intact and as relevant as ever, and can still be applied as the basis of national policy today, and in the everyday lives of the people of the Nation, including fundamentally new and innovative approaches to land administration and land tenure.
At the heart of Hawaiian values is the concept of Malama 'Aina, to care for the land. These words are very strong and present with Kanaka Maoli people who practice their values every day. Many non-Hawaiians who have lived close to this precious land for a time have also come to deeply appreciate this way of being.
Independence is more than just a political status. In the same way that one might seek an independent home - off the grid, self-sufficient, and less vulnerable to the economic, political, and environmental turbulence of the surrounding world - Kanaka Maoli seek an independent homeland.
Hawaii now imports more than three-quarters of its food, and over ninety percent of its energy. This is dependence. Being one of the most isolated land masses in the world with thousands of miles of ocean between us and the nearest continent, it is only common sense to move toward real independence.
Hawaii has a major role to play as an international trading port and financial center, and will certainly participate actively in the global economy. At the same time, we also realize the essential need for local self-reliance, local control of resources, and community based planning and economic development as part of the overall vision of a sustainable and bountiful future. Political independence is one necessary step toward real economic and material independence, toward real sustainability and security.
As we ponder the transition to an alternative vision for Hawaii's future, the opportunities for a harmonic blend of the past and the future abound. Hawai`i's traditional agriculture and aquaculture were some of the most advanced in the world, multiplying nature's productivity manifold in truly sustainable reciprocal systems. The knowledge and use of these systems remains, and the movement to clear the fallow taro fields and restore the unused fishponds is growing daily.
At the same time, innovative future technologies that make appropriate use of energy, resources and "waste" have a great potential in Hawaii. The availability of such technologies is increasing, and the independent Nation of Hawai`i will seek to take full advantage of these, both for our own benefit here at home, and also as a model for the rest of the world.
Hawaii is imagined around the globe as paradise, and millions of people from all nations visit here every year to share a bit of Aloha. The closer Hawai`i actually comes to being paradise - sustainable, bountiful, secure - the more that possibility will be shared with its multitude of visitors to be carried back into their visions of their own communities.
There is no place in the world like Hawai`i - no place that more needs to be truly independent, and no place that would more benefit the world by becoming so.
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