Statehood Day and Roots of Violence
Today is the official launch of our first mini season! It's also “Admissions Day,” the 61st anniversary of Hawaiʻi becoming a State. We chose today to launch Root Cause Remedies because our first season is all about uncovering the systemic violence that fuels environmental injustice in Hawaiʻi. And to highlight that one foundations of this violence is the suppression of Hawaiian sovereignty and the ongoing occupation of the independent Hawaiian nation.
61 years ago, when the statehood vote took place it was designed to silence Kanaka voices. In 1946 the United Nations listed Hawaiʻi as a non-self-governing territory under the administration of the United States and declared that as the occupying nation, the U.S had a “sacred trust obligation” to foster self determination for the people of Hawaiʻi. The Statehood plebiscite violated this obligation in several ways. First of all, the U.S was obligated to make a genuine effort to educate the people about their political rights. Instead, the Territorial government launched a massive propaganda campaign to promote statehood. Second, the plebiscite allowed non-Hawaiian settlers to vote on the fate of an occupied nation that they didn't have political claim to. After decades of bringing American settlers and Asian plantation laborers to stolen Hawaiian lands, the territorial government was now giving those same settlers the opportunity to make decisions about the political status of Hawaiʻi. Third, the plebiscite offered only two options: remain territory with hardly any representation or become a state.
The Hawaiian people were not given the right to self-determination because they weren't even given the chance to choose independence. We cant know how the Statehood plebiscite would have gone if the U.S had fulfilled its obligation to support the self -determination of the Hawaiian people. But we do know, that since statehood, every environmental issue that affects Hawaiʻi's lands and waters is also a political issue that brings up settler colonialism, occupation, white supremacy, and racism. And that's what were gonna be digging into this season with the help of Kyle Kajihiro, Jamaica Osorio, and Joy Enomoto.
We hope you come along for the ride!