Sunday, June 1, 2014


Nativity relates to the time, place and circumstances of a person’s birth.

According to the US Census, “Nativity status refers to whether a person is native or foreign born. The native-born population includes anyone who was a citizen or national at birth.”

People “who were born in the United States, Puerto Rico, a US Island Area (US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands,) or abroad of a citizen parent or parents, are defined as native.”

‘Citizenship’ refers to the legal relation between a person and a state, as recognized in international law. This status is often also referred to as ‘nationality’ (‘citizenship’ and ‘nationality’ are generally used as synonyms.)

‘Nationality’ means the legal bond between a person and a State and does not indicate the person's ethnic origin.  Everyone has the right to a nationality.  (European Convention on Nationality)

At one time, jus sanguinis (right of blood) was the sole means of determining nationality in Asia and Europe (where it is still widespread in Central and Eastern Europe.) An individual belonged to a family, a tribe or a people, not to a territory. It was a basic tenet of Roman law.

Jus soli (right of the soil), also known as birthright citizenship, is a right by which nationality or citizenship can be recognized to any individual born in the territory of the related state.

At times, exceptions limit citizenship, typically when a child was born to a parent in the diplomatic or consular service of another state, on a mission to the state in question or a child born to enemy forces engaged in hostile occupation of the country's territory.

At the turn of the nineteenth century, nation-states commonly divided themselves between those granting nationality on the grounds of jus soli and those granting it on the grounds of jus sanguinis.  (princeton-edu)

Countries that have acceded to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness will grant nationality to otherwise stateless persons who were born on their territory, or on a ship or plane flagged by the country.

Citizenship is a multidimensional concept that means membership in a specific nation-state and the formal rights and obligations that this membership entails. Citizenship can also be understood as a status and an identity.

One of the earliest laws in Hawaiʻi dealt with citizenship; it was part of King Kamehameha III’s Statute Laws 1845-1846.  The Chapter for that law was headed: “Of Subjects and Foreigners” and the specific Article was labeled “Aliens, Denizens and Natives.”

Section III. All persons born within the jurisdiction of this kingdom, whether of alien foreigners, of naturalized or of native parents, and all persons born abroad of a parent native of this kingdom, and afterwards coming to reside in this, shall be deemed to owe native allegiance to His Majesty. All such persons shall be amenable to the laws of this kingdom as native subjects.  All persons born abroad of foreign parents, shall, unless duly naturalized, as in this article prescribed, be deemed aliens, and treated as such, pursuant to the laws.  (Ka Huli Ao Digital Archives – Punawaiola-org)

Hawaiʻi followed the Anglo-American common law rule of “jus soli” (without any stated exception;) those born in the country and subject to its jurisdiction are citizens.  Subsequent interpretation of the laws and practices affirmed who were Hawaiian citizens and what rights and obligations they possessed.

In 1850, HW Whitney, born in Hawaiʻi of foreign parents, asked the Minister of the Interior, John Young II, about his status. The question was referred to Asher B Bates, legal adviser to the Government, who replied that, “not only the Hawaiian Statutes but the Law of Nations, grant to an individual born under the Sovereignty of this Kingdom, an inalienable right, to all of the rights and privileges of a subject.”  (Hanifin)

In 1856, the Kingdom’s Supreme Court decided Naone v. Thurston, recognizing that persons born in Hawaiʻi of foreign parents were Hawaiian subjects.

On January 21, 1868, the Minister of the Interior for the Hawaiian Kingdom, His Excellency Ferdinand Hutchison, stated the criteria for Hawaiian nationality:
“In the judgment of His Majesty’s Government, no one acquires citizenship in this Kingdom unless he is born here, or born abroad of Hawaiian parents (either native or naturalized,) during their temporary absence from the kingdom, or unless having been the subject of another power, he becomes a subject of this kingdom by taking the oath of allegiance.”

Subsequent laws through the Republic, Territory and State provide that "All persons born or naturalized in the Hawaiian Islands, and subject to the jurisdiction of the Republic, are citizens thereof."

Why is this discussion important?

There is a movement in the Islands to restore a nation.  That nation was created with the help of a lot of people, Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian.  That nation's laws and actions stated those born in the islands were citizens of the nation - whether from Hawaiian or non-Hawaiian parents.  Others became naturalized citizens.

Why is the discussion for restoration of the nation limited to native Hawaiians, when there were many citizens of other ethnicities who belonged to the nation at the time of the overthrow?

A nation was overthrown - not a race.

However, in the recent nation building exercise, first there was Kau Inoa (registration of Native Hawaiians in Hawaiʻi and abroad who will be a part of the new Hawaiian nation and receive benefits provided by the new government) and later Kanaʻiolowalu (registration on an Official Roll and joining together to rebuild a Hawaiian nation.)

The 1890 Hawaiʻi Census (the latest prior to the overthrow) noted 89,990 people in the Islands (40,622 Native and Half-castes; 7,495 Hawaiian born, Foreign; and 41,873 Foreign Born.)  This only counted citizens present in the Islands at the time; it did not include citizens living elsewhere.

Nationality (and a nation) is not about race or ethnicity - it is about citizenship in a country.  Hawaiʻi citizenship was/is made up of a variety of races.

A lot of non-Hawaiians were born in the Islands, or are descendants of people who were born in the Islands.  By laws and practice, they are Hawaiian citizens.

All Hawaiian citizens lost their nation … Hawaiian citizens with their varying ethnicities. Why aren’t all citizens included in the discussion and process of nation restoration?

The image shows an unnamed Passport, symbolic of nationality (irrespective of a person’s race.)

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