The Rights of My People: Liliuokalani's Enduring Battle with the United States 1893-1917

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9780875867205: The Rights of My People: Liliuokalani's Enduring Battle with the United States 1893-1917

Liliuokalani led two battles for Hawaii’s sovereignty — fighting the 1893 coup d’état and to avoid outright annexation in 1898 and, through 1910, the taking of the Crown lands by the United States, a quarter of Hawaii’s territory. The Rights of My People revisits these battles from a new perspective, against the backdrop of the harsh remnants of the Civil War, the missionary’s disquieting view of race, and the emerging role of Hawaiian women. A lawyer who has represented the interests of Hawaii, Neil Thomas Proto examines court papers and other original documents that disclose new details of this historic confrontation. Woven into the story are threats of execution and assassination and the forces of bigotry, condescension, and deception Liliuokalani confronted. She challenged the United States before Congress repeatedly for complicity in taking the Crown lands.

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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. This is his second book.

Review:

An essential read for all Americans to understand the discomfort, historically and into this century, that still tempers Hawaii s relationship with Washington, D.C. Neil Proto captures accurately and with compelling prose the disquieting religious and financial motivation of the missionary-planters and its coalescence with the institutional and strategic needs of the United States Navy to rectify the failures of the Civil War and to project its presence further across the Pacific. Brace yourself: Proto is a sophisticated thinker and writer, able to integrate history and culture and personalities with a unique literary skill. Savor history written this way. --Rear Admiral Stuart Franklin Platt, United States Navy, Ret.

Must reading for anyone who has an interest in Native American rights [and] how the United States government by using its political and legal opposition defeated the Native Hawaiian rights to their lands.
--Honorable Arthur J. Gajarsa, Judge, United States Federal Circuit Court of Appeals

Neil Proto has captured, eloquently and with an engaging narrative, Liliuokalani s courage, intellect, and political sophistication in the nation s capital... an enduring model to be studied and emulated in law, culture, and in informed perseverance. --Honorable Rosa DeLauro, Member of Congress (CT)

Exhaustively researched, written with grace and empathy... an indelible portrait of a woman consecrated to injustice a Civil Rights heroine if there ever was one. -- --Professor Henry McGee, Seattle University School of Law

Queen Liliuokalani was the last monarch of the Native Hawaiians before a group of US annexationists overthrew her in 1893. But before Hawai'i was annexed in 1898 by the US, she waged a heroic effort to publicize the illegality of the coup d'etat and the wrongful seizure of one million acres of crown land by the annexationists. While scholars such as Sally Engle Merry (Colonizing Hawai'i, 2000) and Jonathan Osorio (Dismembering Lahui, CH, Mar'03, 40-4207) have discussed the cultural consequences of Western law for Hawai'i, Proto (Georgetown) uses a different approach. He describes in painstaking detail the complicated maneuvering in Hawai'i and Washington as the queen sought to win public opinion, influence the media, persuade Congress, and prevail in the US courts. As a seasoned lawyer who has represented Hawai'i in its dealings with the US, Proto is able to emphasize the significance of the media campaign and legal strategies employed by Liliuokalani against her opponents to regain control of the crown lands. Sadly for the queen, her tactics were destined to fail before the Congress and the courts, with devastating consequences for Hawaiian sovereignty and her people. Fascinating narrative account, suitable for a general audience. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. --CHOICE August 2010 Vol. 47 No. 11

Exhaustively researched, written with grace and empathy... an indelible portrait of a woman consecrated to injustice a Civil Rights heroine if there ever was one. --Professor Henry McGee, Seattle University School of Law

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