60 years after statehood, activists continue to question legality of the process
Hundreds packed the grounds of Iolani Palace in 1959 to celebrate Statehood. Sixty years later, opponents believe it was illegal and fraudulent.
"One of the problems that resulted from the takeover of the Hawaiian kingdom has been the confiscation of our lands by the state of Hawaii and by foreign interest," Leon Siu, minister of foreign affairs, Hawaiian Kingdom, said.
President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Hawaii Statehood Resolution" into law in March 1959 after it passed Congress. Three months later, Hawaii residents voted on the resolution.
"The wording of the statehood ballot was "Shall Hawaii immediately be admitted into the union as a state?" The only possible answers were yes and no. No option for independence was provided," Kioni Dudley, Hawaiian Sovereignty activist, said.
They also say Hawaiian nationalists should've been able to vote instead of any American citizen or military members living on the islands for at least a year.
"A valid referendum requires that voters give informed consent. But decades of US hiding the facts made informed consent impossible," Poka Laenui, Hawaiian sovereignty activist, said.
They also want the United Nations to get involved and review historical facts about self-government for Hawaii.
"They would have to look into that report and look at the claims made in the report as well as other actions prior meeting annexation and the takeover of the Hawaiian kingdom," Siu said.
Advocates acknowledge benefits of being a part of the U.S. but they say there's more harm than good.
"We can actually be a better country where the United States not to be in charge and not to be pushing their agenda which is mostly tied with commercial interests," Siu added.
They would like the Hawaiian Kingdom reinstated as a sovereign independent country so the kingdom flag stands alone once again. The official day Hawaii became a state was August 21, 1959 but Statehood or Admissions Day is observed on the third Friday of every August.