Hawai’ian Sovereignty Movement

Culture Facts

Where: The US state of Hawai’i
What’s it about: Devolution of Hawaii from its conquestor, America, and re-instating a Native Hawaiian monarchy

Gathering momentum back in the 1970’s, the Hawai’ian Sovereignty Movement has several different fronts all calling for different solutions to the present situation concerning lands, autonomy and other political matters in Hawai’i.

The options for Hawai’ian sovereignty

Some advocates want full secession from the USA to return the archipelago to an independent nation. This would start with a revival of the Hawai’ian monarchy and pave the way for eventual admission to the United Nations. Many advocates for this path say the revenue from the tourist industry would float the islands economically, while others say its mainland US interests that are profiting from Hawai’i and not local companies leaving the island high and dry revenue wise.

Others want just an amendment in Washington that would grant limited autonomy to the islands in matters of education and social programs. This solution is favoured by many business leaders as it would protect the $3 billion US military budget that is pumped into the economy each year. Opponents say this does not go far enough and leaves plenty of room for interference from bureaucrats in Washington, more than 5,000 miles away.

The politics

With so many factions pulling in different directions little has been achieved in the political front however an apology was signed in 1993 by then President Clinton admitting wrong doing in the overthrow of Queen Liliokolani in 1893. This was lauded by native Hawai’ians but little has been achieved to setle the biggest issue concerning native lands.

The solutions

The Hawai’ian Homelands Program has aimed to return land to native Hawai’ians who lost it due to US military interests and other land grants that occurred as the islands were annexed by the USA. So far the lack of evidence for ownership has denied thousands of families the right to live on land that is rightfully theirs. Travelling through the outer islands visitors will doublessly hear locals opinions on the matter.



Department of Hawaiian Homelands
An organisation which aims to manage the Hawaiian Home Lands trust effectively and develop and deliver land to native Hawaiians developing self-sufficient and healthy communities.


By Dave Lowe