Apology Resolution

United States Public Law 103-150, informally known as the Apology Resolution, is a Joint Resolution of the U.S. Congress adopted in 1993 that "acknowledges that the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii occurred with the active participation of agents and citizens of the United States and further acknowledges that the Native Hawaiian people never directly relinquished to the United States their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people over their national lands, either through the Kingdom of Hawaii or through a plebiscite or referendum" (U.S. Public Law 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510)). The resolution has been cited as a major impetus for the Hawaiian sovereignty movement, and has been the subject of intense debate.[1][2][3][4][5]

The resolution was adopted by both houses of the United States Congress on November 23, 1993. A joint resolution, it was signed by President of the United States Bill Clinton on the same day.

The resolution was passed in the Senate by a vote of 65–34. In the House, it was passed by a two-thirds voice vote. It was sponsored on January 21, 1993, as S.J.Res.19 by Daniel Akaka and co-sponsored by Daniel Inouye, both Democratic senators from Hawaii.

Arguments for

Historical evidence

The Apology Resolution derives mainly from the Blount Report, which was compiled shortly after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy (spring 1893). Blount found strongly in the favor of the queen and her supporters, and his report was an official criticism of the U.S. role in the overthrow. President Grover Cleveland was also strongly supportive of the Queen, and made official statements supporting the view held in the Blount Report. These official statements by the U.S. Government are seen as historical evidence for the claims made by the Apology Resolution.

Parallels between Native Hawaiians and Native Americans

Although the histories of Native Hawaiians and Native Americans are significantly different, there is still a widely held perception that Native Hawaiians have received similar kinds of unfair treatment from the U.S. Government as Native Americans. The Apology Bill is thus seen as a means of acknowledging historical grievances that they believe are valid. Some also see it as a step towards identifying Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people to preserve for them specific legal rights based on ancestry; some also see it as the beginning of a process to provide compensation or reparation to native Hawaiians for alleged past injustices.

How this decision on the "nonsubstantive" nature of the Apology Resolution will affect the pursuit of the Akaka Bill, which has based itself on the Apology Resolution, is not yet clear.

In 2009, the U.S. Congress passed a similar resolution, S.J.Res. 14, "To acknowledge a long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies by the Federal Government regarding Indian tribes and offer an apology to all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States."[6]

Arguments against

Disputed historical basis

Although the Blount Report of July 17, 1893, upon which the Apology Resolution was based, was an official report of the U.S. government, it was followed by the Morgan Report on February 26, 1894, which after public hearings and testimony under oath found the Blount Report to be mistaken on many of the facts reported. Some of the criticisms of the Blount Report included the fact that it was done in secrecy, with no opportunity for cross-examination of witnesses and no witnesses placed under oath. Opponents of the Apology Resolution point to this official repudiation of the Blount Report as sufficient reason to dismiss any conclusions based on it. Despite being staunchly in favor of reinstating the monarchy, President Grover Cleveland also reversed himself upon receipt of the Morgan Report, refusing requests from the queen for further aid in her restoration, and acknowledging both the Provisional Government and Republic of Hawaii as the legitimate successors to the Kingdom.

Washington-based constitutional lawyer and Grassroot Institute of Hawaii consultant Bruce Fein has outlined a number of counterarguments challenging the historical accuracy and completeness of the assertions made in the Apology Resolution.[1]

Allegations that the bill was rushed through

There has been criticism of the 1993 Apology Bill for its use in buttressing the Akaka Bill. The Apology Bill of '93 was passed with only one hour of debate on the Senate floor with only five senators participating, three opposed (Slade Gorton, Hank Brown, John C. Danforth) and two in favor (Akaka and Inouye). It passed the house on November 15 in less time with no debate and no objections. Senator Inouye, wrapping up the debate, said:

As to the matter of the status of Native Hawaiians, as my colleague from Washington knows, from the time of statehood we have been in this debate. Are Native Hawaiians Native Americans? This resolution has nothing to do with that.

The reliance upon the text of the Apology Resolution as justification for the Akaka Bill has been seen by some as contradicting Inouye's statements on the matter in 1993.

In 1993, Senators Slade Gorton and Hank Brown did not take issue with the historical accuracy of the bill, although they voted against it. More recently they have described it as being a piece of historical revisionism. They wrote in the Wall Street Journal an article The Opposite Of Progress very critical of the historical veracity of the Apology Bill.

Advocates of Hawaiian independence

Some non-ancestry-based nationalist Hawaiian groups have accused Senators Akaka and Inouye of acting as accomplices of the U.S. in a long-term anti-Hawaiian strategy. These groups see the language of the Apology Resolution as deceptively conflating one accepted definition of sovereignty—which the Hawaiian Kingdom possessed as an internationally recognized nation-state—with another notion of the "inherent sovereignty" of an "indigenous" or "Native" people within, and subordinate to, the United States. They reason that citizenship in the Kingdom was not defined by ancestry; that an entire country was the victim of the conspirators' misdeeds, not merely certain individuals or groups; and that all loyal Hawaiian nationals were deprived of their right to self-determination, not just "Native" Hawaiians. They also point out that it was the U.S. Congress that introduced blood quota requirements in the first place, in the Hawaiian Homelands Commission Act of 1921, over the opposition of their ancestors. Accordingly, most of these groups also reject the Akaka Bill, saying that the proper arena for redress is at the international level.

Practical legal effect

In a response to the State of Hawai'i Appeal of the Arakaki Decision, the plaintiffs argued that the "whereas" clauses should not be given legal effect.

Legislative statements in a preamble may help a court interpret the operative clauses of a particular statute by clarifying the legislative intent, but they do not legislate facts or confer rights. Singer, Sutherland on Statutory Construction, §20.03 (5th ed. 1993). The Apology Resolution has no legally operative provisions. Indeed, it expressly settles no claims. 107 Stat. 1510 §3. The committee report says that the Resolution has no regulatory impact and does not change any law. S. Rep. 123-126. Its sponsor assured the Senate that it is only "a simple resolution of apology" and that it "has nothing to do" with "the status of Native Hawaiians." 139 Congressional Record S14477, S14482 (October 27, 1993), SER 14. The Supreme Court in Rice demonstrated how to deal with the Apology Resolution: the Court cited it but decided the case based on the facts in the record.

In testimony before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, April 17, 2002, Professor of Law Mr. Michael Glennon makes clear the fact that whereas clauses in general can have "no binding legal effect":

Under traditional principles of statutory construction, these provisions have no binding legal effect. Only material that comes after the so-called "resolving clause"—"Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled"—can have any operative effect. Material set out in a whereas clause is purely precatory. It may be relevant for the purpose of clarifying ambiguities in a statute’s legally operative terms, but in and of itself such a provision can confer no legal right or obligation.

The legal effect of the Apology Resolution was addressed in the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court of March 31, 2009, which held that the 37 "whereas" clauses of the Apology Resolution have no binding legal effect, nor does it convey any rights or make any legal findings for native Hawaiian claims.[7] The Court concluded that the Resolution does not change or modify the "absolute" title to the public lands of the State of Hawai'i. The decision also affirmed that federal legislation cannot retroactively alter a title given as a part of statehood in general.


  1. ^ a b Fein, Bruce (June 6, 2005). "Hawaii Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand" (PDF). Waltham, MA: Lycos. Archived from the original on February 5, 2007. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  2. ^ The Opposite Of Progress, Slade Gorton and Hank Brown
  3. ^ No Freedom to Celebrate Statehood Archived December 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Andrew Walden, FrontPageMagazine.com 8/29/2006
  4. ^ alohaquest.com, pro-sovereignty website
  5. ^ "The Rape of Paradise: The Second Century". Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  6. ^ McKinnon, John D. (2009-12-22). "U.S. Offers An Official Apology to Native Americans". Blogs.wsj.com. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  7. ^ https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/08pdf/07-1372.pdf

External links

defends Stevens

1887 Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom

The 1887 Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom was a document prepared by anti-monarchists to strip the Hawaiian monarchy of much of its authority, initiating a transfer of power to American, European and native Hawaiian elites. It became known as the Bayonet Constitution for the use of intimidation by the armed militia which forced King Kalākaua to sign it or be deposed.

Akaka Bill

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009 S1011/HR2314 was a bill before the 111th Congress. It is commonly known as the Akaka Bill after Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, who has proposed various forms of this bill since 2000.

The bill proposes to establish a process for US federal recognition of Native Hawaiians similar to an Indian tribe. However, the bill prohibits indigenous Native Hawaiians from gaming and other benefits available to federally recognized Indian tribes. The 2009 House version of the bill prohibited indigenous Native Hawaiians from pursuing their claims in the courts and arguably legitimizes past transfers of Hawaiian land that would not have been legitimate for Indian Tribes. The most updated Senate version however allows Native Hawaiians to pursue claims in court. On December 16, 2009, a Congressional House Committee passed an unamended version of the Akaka Bill. On the following day, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved the amendments in S. 1011, the Senate version of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act. As of January 10, 2009, H.R. 2314 was not completely consistent with S. 1011.

Akaka said on the floor of the U.S. Senate in December 2010 that "misleading attacks" and "unprecedented obstruction" led to the failure of legislation in the 111th Congress.

Blount Report

The Blount Report is the popular name given to the part of the 1893 United States House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee Report regarding the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The report was conducted by U.S. Commissioner James H. Blount, appointed by U.S. President Grover Cleveland to investigate the events surrounding the January 1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

The Blount Report "first provided evidence that officially identified the United States' complicity in the lawless overthrow of the lawful, peaceful government of Hawaii." Blount concluded that U.S. Minister to Hawaii John L. Stevens had carried out unauthorized partisan activities, including the landing of U.S. Marines under a false or exaggerated pretext, to support the anti-royalist conspirators; that these actions were instrumental to the success of the revolution; and that the revolution was carried out against the wishes of a majority of the population of Hawaii.The Blount Report was followed in 1894 by the Morgan Report, which contradicted Blount's report by concluding that all participants except for Queen Liliʻuokalani were "not guilty".

Crown land

Crown land (sometimes spelled crownland), also known as royal domain or demesne, is a territorial area belonging to the monarch, who personifies the Crown. It is the equivalent of an entailed estate and passes with the monarchy, being inseparable from it. Today, in Commonwealth realms such as Canada and Australia, crown land is considered public land and is apart from the monarch's private estate.

In Britain, the hereditary revenues of Crown lands provided income for the monarch until the start of the reign of George III, when the profits from the Crown Estate were surrendered to the Parliament of Great Britain in return for a fixed civil list payment. The monarch retains the income from the Duchy of Lancaster.


Hawaii ( (listen) hə-WY-ee; Hawaiian: Hawaiʻi [həˈvɐjʔi]) is a state of the United States of America. It is the only state located in the Pacific Ocean and the only state composed entirely of islands.

The state encompasses nearly the entire Hawaiian archipelago, 137 islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km). The volcanic archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania. At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight main islands are, in order from northwest to southeast: Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and Hawaiʻi. The last is the largest island in the group; it is often called the "Big Island" or "Hawaiʻi Island" to avoid confusion with the state or archipelago.

Hawaii is the 8th smallest geographically and the 11th least populous, but the 13th most densely populated of the 50 states. It is the only state with an Asian American plurality. Hawaii has over 1.4 million permanent residents, along with many visitors and U.S. military personnel. The state capital and largest city is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu. The state's ocean coastline is about 750 miles (1,210 km) long, the fourth longest in the U.S., after the coastlines of Alaska, Florida, and California. Hawaii is the most recent state to join the union, on August 21, 1959. It was an independent nation until 1898.

Hawaii's diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists. Because of its central location in the Pacific and 19th-century labor migration, Hawaii's culture is strongly influenced by North American and East Asian cultures, in addition to its indigenous Hawaiian culture.

Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs, 556 U.S. 163 (2009), was a United States Supreme Court case about the former crown lands of the Hawaiian monarchy, and whether the state's right to sell them was restricted by the 1993 Apology Resolution. The Court, in an opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, ruled unanimously that the state had the power to sell the lands free of encumbrances.

Hawaiian Kingdom

The Hawaiian Kingdom (a.k.a. Kingdom of Hawaiʻi) originated in 1795 with the unification of the independent islands of Hawaiʻi, Oʻahu, Maui, Molokaʻi, and Lānaʻi under one government. In 1810, the whole Hawaiian Islands became unified when Kauaʻi and Niʻihau joined the Hawaiian Kingdom voluntarily. Two major dynastic families ruled the kingdom: the House of Kamehameha and the House of Kalākaua.

The Kingdom won recognition from major European powers. The United States became its chief trading partner. The U.S. watched over the Kingdom lest some other power (such as Britain or Japan) threaten to seize control. Hawaii was forced to adopt a new constitution in 1887 when King Kalākaua was threatened with violence by the Honolulu Rifles, a white, anti-monarchist militia, to sign it. Queen Liliʻuokalani, who succeeded Kalākaua in 1891, tried to abrogate the 1887 constitution and promulgate a new constitution, but was overthrown in 1893, largely at the hands of the Committee of Safety, a group of residents consisting of Hawaiian subjects and foreign nationals of American, British and German descent, many of whom were educated in the U.S., lived there for a time and identified strongly as American.. Hawaii became a republic until the United States annexed it using The Newlands Resolution which was a joint resolution passed on July 4, 1898, by the United States Congress creating the Territory of Hawaii.

Hawaiian Organic Act

The Hawaiian Organic Act, Pub.L. 56–339, 31 Stat. 141, enacted April 30, 1900, was an organic act enacted by the United States Congress to establish the Territory of Hawaii and to provide a Constitution and government for the territory. The Act was in force until August 21, 1959, when the territory was admitted to the Union as a State.

Hawaiian Renaissance

The First, Second, and Third Hawaiian Renaissance (also often called the Hawaiian Cultural Renaissance) was the Hawaiian resurgence of a distinct cultural identity that draws upon traditional kānaka maoli culture, with a significant divergence from the tourism-based culture which Hawaiʻi was previously known for worldwide (along with the rest of Polynesia).

Hawaiian sovereignty movement

The Hawaiian sovereignty movement (Hawaiian: ke ea Hawaiʻi) is a grassroots political and cultural campaign to gain sovereignty, self-determination and self-governance for Hawaiians of whole or part Native Hawaiian ancestry with an autonomous or independent nation or kingdom. Some groups also advocate some form of redress from the United States for the 1893 overthrow of Queen Liliʻuokalani, and for what is described as a prolonged military occupation beginning with the 1898 annexation. The movement generally views both the overthrow and annexation as illegal. Palmyra Island and the Stewart Islands were annexed by the Kingdom in the 1860s and are regarded by the movement as being under illegal occupation along with the Hawaiian Islands. The Apology Resolution passed by the United States Congress in 1993 acknowledged that the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893 was an illegal act.Sovereignty advocates have attributed problems plaguing native communities including homelessness, poverty, economic marginalization, and the erosion of native traditions to the lack of native governance and political self-determination. They have pursued their agenda through educational initiatives and legislative actions. Along with protests throughout the islands, at the capitol itself as well as the places and locations held as sacred to Hawaiian culture, sovereignty activists have challenged United States forces and law.

Legal status of Hawaii

The legal status of Hawaii—as opposed to its political status—is a settled legal matter as it pertains to United States law, but there has been scholarly and legal debate. While Hawaii is internationally recognized as a state of the United States of America while also being broadly accepted as such in mainstream understanding, there have been essays written denying the legality of this status. The argument is that Hawaii is an independent nation under military occupation. The legality of control of Hawaii by the United States has also been raised in the losing side in cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, and in U.S. District Court.

List of monarchs of Hawaii

Kamehameha I established the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1795 after conquering most of the Hawaiian archipelago. In 1810, Kaumualii became a vassal of Kamehameha I, who therefore emerged as the sole sovereign of the island chain of Hawaiʻi. His dynasty lasted until 1872, and his Kingdom lasted until 1893, when Queen Liliuokalani, of the Kalākaua Dynasty, was deposed by the pro-United States led overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The monarchy was officially ended on January 24, 1895, when Liliuokalani formally abdicated in response to an attempt to restore the royal government. On November 23, 1993, the Congress passed Public Law 103-150, also known as the Apology Resolution, acknowledging the American role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. President Bill Clinton signed the joint resolution the same day.

Nation of Hawaiʻi (organization)

The Nation of Hawaii is an independent and sovereign group of Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians), formed in resistance to the occupation of Hawai’i by the United States. It is the oldest Hawaiian independence organization.[1] The group was formed following the severance of a previous organization, the Ohana Council. It is headed by Dennis Pu‘uhonua "Bumpy" Kanahele,[2] who is the group's spokesperson and Head of State.[3]

Native Hawaiians

Native Hawaiians (Hawaiian: kānaka ʻōiwi, kānaka maoli and Hawaiʻi maoli) are the Aboriginal Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands or their descendants. Native Hawaiians trace their ancestry back to the original Polynesian settlers of Hawaiʻi. In total, 527,000 Americans consider themselves Native Hawaiian.According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there were 371,000 people who identified themselves as being "Native Hawaiian" in combination with one or more other races or Pacific Islander groups. 156,000 people identified themselves as being "Native Hawaiian" alone.

The majority of Native Hawaiians reside in the state of Hawaii (two-thirds) and the rest are scattered among other states, especially in the American Southwest and with a high concentration in California.

The history of Native Hawaiians, like the history of Hawaii, is commonly classified into four major periods:

the pre-unification period (before c. 1800)

the unified monarchy and republic period (c. 1800 to 1898)

the US territorial period (1898 to 1959)

the US statehood period (1959 to present)

Opposition to the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom

Opposition to the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom took several forms. Following the overthrow of the monarchy on January 17, 1893, Hawaii's provisional government—under the leadership of Sanford B. Dole—attempted to annex the land to the United States under Republican Benjamin Harrison's administration. But the treaty of annexation came up for approval under the administration of Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, anti-expansionist, and friend of the deposed Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii. Cleveland retracted the treaty on March 4, 1893, and launched an investigation headed by James Henderson Blount; its report is known as the Blount Report.

Overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom

The overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom began on January 17, 1893, with a coup d'état against Queen Liliʻuokalani on the island of Oahu by subjects of the Hawaiian Kingdom, United States citizens, and foreign residents residing in Honolulu. A majority of the insurgents were foreigners. They prevailed upon American minister John L. Stevens to call in the U.S. Marines to protect United States interests, an action that effectively buttressed the rebellion. The revolutionaries established the Republic of Hawaii, but their ultimate goal was the annexation of the islands to the United States, which occurred in 1898.

Salisbury Sports Club tournament in 1970

Garfield Sobers, captain of the West Indies cricket team and one of the most prominent cricketers in the world, outraged many in the Caribbean in September 1970 when he took part in a friendly double-wicket tournament at Salisbury Sports Club in Rhodesia (renamed Zimbabwe in 1980), a country in southern Africa that was unrecognised internationally because of its mostly white minority government. The resulting furore nearly caused him to lose the captaincy, and threatened the unity of the West Indies team itself.

Sobers was captain of the "Rest of the World" team that toured England between May and August 1970 in place of the South Africa national team, whose proposed tour had been cancelled by English cricketing authorities because of apartheid. He accepted an invitation to the Rhodesian competition from Eddie Barlow, a South African member of the Rest of the World team, and arrived in Salisbury on the day of the event. To ecstatic applause from the mostly white spectators, Sobers partnered South African Test captain Ali Bacher in the tournament, and said afterwards that he had enjoyed himself, though he and Bacher had not won. Having established a personal rapport with the Rhodesian Prime Minister, Ian Smith, Sobers left the next day and returned home to Barbados.

Many in the West Indies were appalled by Sobers' actions, and when he subsequently made positive comments about Smith, Rhodesia and white South African cricketers in press interviews and announced his intention to play more cricket in Rhodesia, the vitriol intensified, with one Antiguan newspaper branding him a "white black man". A number of prominent figures, including entire political parties, called for Sobers to be stripped of the West Indies cricket captaincy. Guyanese Prime Minister Forbes Burnham barred Sobers from Guyana, and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India announced that if Sobers remained in the team, India would pull out of its upcoming tour of the West Indies. Sobers argued that as a "professional cricketer and a sportsman, not a politician", he had done nothing wrong.

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) contemplated whether it would be better to cancel all matches in Guyana or to sack Sobers; neither prospect was attractive. The crisis ended when Eric Williams, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, wrote a letter of apology for Sobers to sign, which was relayed to the WICB and several governmental bodies in late October 1970. This was accepted, and the incident was soon largely forgotten. Sobers regained his overwhelming popularity with West Indian cricket fans, continued as team captain until 1972 and retired from cricket two years later. He thereafter retained his stance that politics should not interfere with sport. His Rhodesian visit has been cited as precursoring the South African rebel tours controversy of the 1980s.

United Church of Christ

The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination based in the United States, with historical confessional roots in the Congregational, Reformed, and Lutheran traditions, and with approximately 4,882 churches and 824,866 members. The United Church of Christ is a historical continuation of the General Council of Congregational Christian churches founded under the influence of New England Pilgrims and Puritans. Moreover, it also subsumed the third largest Reformed group in the country, the German Reformed. The Evangelical and Reformed Church and the General Council of the Congregational Christian Churches united in 1957 to form the UCC. These two denominations, which were themselves the result of earlier unions, had their roots in Congregational, Lutheran, Evangelical, and Reformed denominations. At the end of 2014, the UCC's 5,116 congregations claimed 979,239 members, primarily in the U.S. In 2015, Pew Research estimated that 0.4 percent, or 1 million adult adherents, of the U.S. population self-identify with the United Church of Christ.The UCC maintains full communion with other mainline Protestant denominations. Many of its congregations choose to practice open communion. The denomination places high emphasis on participation in worldwide interfaith and ecumenical efforts. The national settings of the UCC have historically favored liberal views on social issues, such as civil rights, LGBT rights, women's rights, and abortion. However, United Church of Christ congregations are independent in matters of doctrine and ministry and may not necessarily support the national body's theological or moral stances. It self-describes as "an extremely pluralistic and diverse denomination".


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