by Keanu Sai
On January 17th 2007, U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawai`i) re-introduced a bill to grant tribal sovereignty to Native Hawaiians, similar to Native Americans. The difference, however, is that Native Hawaiians are citizens of an internationally recognized sovereign, but occupied State, whereas Native Americans are a dependent nation within the United States. Great Britain and France were the first to recognize Hawai`i's sovereignty on November 28, 1843, and the United States on July 6, 1844. This dissertation re-frames the legal status of Hawai`i by employing legal and political theories that explain Hawaiian modernity since the 19th century to the present. As an alternative view of U.S. sovereignty exercised by virtue of the plenary power of Congress over indigenous peoples, this dissertation challenges the historiography's assumptions about the history of law and politics in the Hawaiian Islands by providing an analysis of Hawaiian sovereignty under international law that clearly explicates Hawai`i's prolonged occupation by the United States since the Spanish American War. In terms of law, this study looks at the origin and development of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a constitutional monarchy, the events that led to the illegal overthrow of its government, the prolonged occupation of its territory, and recent actions taken by Hawaiian subjects in forming an acting government to expose the prolonged occupation in order to impel the United States to comply with the international laws of occupation.