One hundred years after Hawaii was forcibly incorporated into the United States, the aboriginal people of Hawaii are fighting back. A coalition of indigenous organizations has formed to press for Hawaiian sovereignty and is demanding redress for the U.S. genocide that eliminated 85 percent of the indigenous population. In the 1700s, the Hawaiian aboriginal population was 1 million. Now it stands at only 150,000.
Hawaii was incorporated into America after a U.S.-backed military coup led by whites that overthrew the reigning indigenous government in 1893. The island archipelago was formally annexed by the Americans in 1898 and was made the 50th state in 1959.
“Our dreams and hopes of a sovereign Hawaiian nation are morally just and not unreasonable,” said one Hawaiian aboriginal activist in an information bulletin about sovereignty. “From the catastrophic decline in population because of imported disease, to the prohibition of speaking our native language and worshiping our gods because of imported prejudice and ignorance, to the overthrow of our monarchy and the theft of our lands because of imported greed and power-mongering, our island people have been systematically, powerfully and almost totally stripped of their ability to make sound, responsible decisions for themselves.”