Native Hawaiians are deciding their political future this month, as they elect delegates to represent them at a constitutional convention for self-governance. If the community forms their own government, it could get federal recognition similar to that of 566 indigenous tribes elsewhere in the US. Native Hawaiians are currently the only indigenous group in the country without such a political structure.

Native Hawaiians have a different history from those tribes though. Between 1843 and 1893, the Kingdom of Hawaii was an independent nation that had bilateral treaties with numerous countries, including the US. As a result, many Hawaiians argue the subsequent US annexation of Hawaii was unlawful. They feel federal recognition would undermine the historical claim Hawaii has been under illegal occupation for over 100 years. Some are calling for a boycott of the election over this issue, and because of distrust in the organisation running it.

Others, however, see the election and convention as important steps in a path to self-determination and governance. They prefer federal recognition to the status quo.

So, what lies ahead for relations between Native Hawaiians and the US government? We discuss at 19:30 GMT. 

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Joshua Lanakila Mangauil
Community organiser and candidate for Na’i Apuni election

Trisha Kehaulani Watson @hehawaiiau
Owner, Honua Consulting
honuaconsulting.com

Michelle Kauhane @hawaiiancouncil
President, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and candidate for Na’i Apuni election
hawaiiancouncil.org

Dre Kalili
Candidate for Na'i Apuni election


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