For a Kinder, Gentler Society
The Rights of My People
Liliuokalani's Enduring Battle with the United States 1893-1917
  • Neil Thomas Proto
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The Rights of My People . Liliuokalani's Enduring Battle with the United States 1893-1917
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Even on the 50th anniversary of Hawaii statehood, sovereignty in Hawaii is still the subject of an active, ongoing legal dispute.

The Rights of My People revisits Liliuokalani's decades-long campaign for the dignity and sovereignty of Hawaii. The book gives the first detailed and documented description of the seizure of a quarter of the Hawaii islands in 1893. This illegal move was contested aggressively by Liliuokalani, and she challenged the United States before Congress repeatedly for complicity in taking the Crown lands.

Woven into the story are threats of execution and assassination and the forces of bigotry, condescension, and deception Liliuokalani confronted.

About the Author

Neil Thomas Proto is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute and is of counsel at the Washington, DC law firm of Schnader Harrison Segal and Lewis.

In 1993 he drafted a unique statutory scheme at the behest of the State of Hawaii that resulted in the conveyance of Kahoolawe Island — a religious site — from the United States to Hawaii to be held in trust for native Hawaiians. The island had been used as a bombing range since 1941. He continued to represent Hawaii as counsel in its dealings with the United States through 2003. He also has lectured on Hawaii history and Kahoolawe in Hawaii (1994) and at the University of Washington Law School (2005).

Mr. Proto is a member of the board of directors of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institution. He also is the author of To A High Court, The Tumult and Choices that Led to United States of America v. SCRAP (2006).

About the Book
The Rights of My People reviews Liliuokalani's decades-long campaign for the dignity and sovereignty of Hawaii, particularly in the wake of the 1893 coup d'état, and the outright annexation in 1898.

The author gives the first...
The Rights of My People reviews Liliuokalani's decades-long campaign for the dignity and sovereignty of Hawaii, particularly in the wake of the 1893 coup d'état, and the outright annexation in 1898.

The author gives the first detailed and documented description of the seizure of the Crown lands, a quarter of the Hawaii islands, in 1893. This illegal move was contested aggressively by Liliuokalani for nearly two decades.

With previously unexamined documents, court records, and correspondence, and with an engaging prose and graphic portrayals, author Neil Thomas Proto weaves into the story Liliuokalani's political, legal, and media maneuvering, and the exercise of her harshly learned wisdom and skill in forming and giving life to her claim that the taking of the Crown lands by the United States was immoral and illegal. The threat of execution and assassination and the continued use of religious and racial condescension and deception by her adversaries, old and new, unfold in Honolulu, Hilo, and on to the continent in San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, D.C.

Over more than a decade, the queen took up residence in the nation's capital, often for months at a time, to challenge the complicity of the United States in the media and before Congress. The story ends with the lawyers' arguments and the final decision in Liliuokalani v. United States of America in 1910. In the grandeur of what is now the Renwick Art Gallery, the United States Court of Claims heard and decided the case and sealed the islands' fate; a fate that neither Liliuokalani nor her people accepted through her death in 1917.  

With an easily accessible but penetrating analysis, Proto demonstrates the deliberate effort by Liliuokalani's own lawyers to denigrate her claim. The epilogue reflects the queen's intent through the end of her life to ensure persistence among her people and discomfort among those who had taken Hawaii. There is no conclusiveness or note of warmth to the ending.

Through Proto's new perspective and exploration, Liliuokalani's cosmopolitan character and her place in a larger history emerge with clarity as do the continued contentiousness within Hawaii and between its native people and the United States.

In 2009, the 50th anniversary of Hawaii statehood was marked.

This book is especially important reading for
  • The Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement and other institutions concerned about pending Native Hawaiian recognition legislation and litigation including those who oppose it; 
  • Hawaii’s congressional delegation and staff in Washington, D.C; 
  • The legal community, including the Washington D.C. Bar; 
  • Universities and institutions offering Pacific region studies and American foreign and diplomatic history studies (late 19th, early 20th century); 
  • Women's organizations and historians throughout the United States; 
  • Civil War and Reconstruction era historians; 
  • The Smithsonian Institution and the Court of Claims Historical Society; 
  • Native American organizations and historians (Alaska, the Pacific, Native Americans); 
  • University of Hawaii law school;
  • Hawaii civic organizations;
  • The Liliuokalani Trust, 
  • The  Washington Place Trust; 
  • Every Hawaiian (every island; high school and above, students and faculty)

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Categories

Pages 252
Year: 2009
LC Classification: DU627.18.P766
Dewey code: 996.9'027--dc22
BISAC: HIS036060 HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
BISAC: HIS036140 HISTORY / United States / State & Local / West
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-720-5
Price: USD 23.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-721-2
Price: USD 33.95
eBook
ISBN: 978-0-87586-722-9
Price: USD 23.95
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