Here in Hawaiʻi, Columbus Day has not been observed as a state holiday since 1988. In that year, Act 220 was passed which states: “The second Monday in October shall be known as Discoverers’ Day, in recognition of the Polynesian discoverers of the Hawaiian Islands . . . .” Haw. Rev. Stat. § 8.1-5. The relevant excerpt from Act 220 is below.
Monday, October 8, 2018 is Discoverers’ Day in Hawaiʻi. We stand in solidarity with other indigenous peoples as we recognize Lā Poʻe ʻŌiwi.
An Act to Organize the Military Forces of the Kingdom
On October 1, 1886, King Kalākaua and the Legislative Assembly passed a law entitled, “An Act to Organize the Military Forces of the Kingdom.” This Act established a “Department of War and of the Navy,” otherwise known as the “Military and Navy Department.” Section 1. It set forth the creation of a military and naval force “not to exceed two hundred and fifty men.” Section 4. The law also provided for a chief of staff, who held the rank and title of Lieutenant General. Section 2. The Lieutenant General was “appointed and commissioned by His Majesty the King, to hold office during his Majesty’s pleasure.” Id. This officer, known as the “Commander-in-Chief” of all the armed forces of Kingdom, was “under the supreme command of His Majesty as Generalissimo.” Id.
Below is an excerpt from the Hawaiian language version of the Act with an accompanying transcription.
September 12, 1842: Export Duty on Silver and Gold
The law passed below on September 12, 1842 abolished the duty placed on silver and gold exported from the country. The duty was abolished because of the harmful impact on commerce. The law below also relates to the proper payment of witnesses appearing in jury trials.
August 28, 1838: “Law Respecting Alcoholic Drinks and Duties on Wine”
In 1838, a law was enacted which prohibited the importation of distilled liquors. Importantly, the law imposed a duty of “one half dollar per gallon” on “all wines imported into the Sandwich Islands.” It would appear that this is the first import duty levied by the Hawaiian Kingdom. The law references an “inspector of wines” who served to collect import duties for the port of Honolulu. The introductory paragraph of this law is referenced below. A brief transcription follows.
On August 12, 1898, the Republic of Hawai‘i ceded sovereignty of the islands to the United States under the terms of the Joint Resolution of Annexation. As part of this cession, the republic also conveyed title to Hawai‘i’s public lands to the United States. The public lands, which included Government and Crown Lands, were “estimated to amount to almost 1.8 million acres, with a value of at least $5.5 million.” See Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie, Historical Background, in Native Hawaiian Law: A Treatise at n. 213 (Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie et al. eds., 2015). On this day, the Hawaiian flag was lowered and the United States flag was raised in its place.
August 6, 1850: Granting to the Common People Allodial Titles
The Kuleana Act of August 6, 1850 is a foundational law relating to native tenant rights. It authorized the Land Commission to award fee-simple title to native tenants for their own plots of land or kuleana parcels. A kuleana parcel could originate from lands of the king, government, or chiefs. A portion of this law and a short transcription may be found below:
July 18, 1870: A Law for Carrying “Fowling Pieces” (and other firearms)
The following law was passed on July 18, 1870 for the protection of kolea (and other helpful birds). The indiscriminate use of firearms had resulted in over-hunting. In turn, this was harmful to Hawaiʻi’s agricultural and pastoral industries because these birds consumed pests. Because the previous 1859 law was largely ineffective, this law specified that a license was necessary to use and carry firearms for sporting purposes. The cost of that license was $5.00.
Passed by Congress and signed into law by President Warren Harding on July 9, 1921 (42 Stat. 108), the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act is a government-sponsored homesteading program that provides for the rehabilitation of the native Hawaiian people. The term, “native Hawaiian” is defined as individuals having at least 50 percent Hawaiian blood.
Pursuant to provisions of the HHCA, the Department provides direct benefits to native Hawaiians in the form of 99-year homestead leases at an annual rental of $1. In 1990, the Legislature authorized the Department to extend leases for an aggregate term not to exceed 199 years (Act 305, Session Laws of Hawaii 1990; section 208, HHCA). Homestead leases are for residential, agricultural, or pastoral purposes. Aquacultural leases are also authorized, but none have been awarded to date. The intent of the homesteading program is to provide for economic self-sufficiency of native Hawaiians through the provision of land.
July 7, 1898: Newlands Resolution Annexing Hawaiʻi to the United States
On July 6, 1898, the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution called the Newlands Resolution. On the following day, July 7, 1898, President McKinley signed the resolution and it became law. Below is the first page of the joint resolution:
June 22, 1852: An Act to Abolish the Law of Illicit Cohabitation
This session law, enacted on June 22, 1852, repealed the law of illicit cohabitation. The original law was misunderstood and misapplied by the District Judges, and as a result, greatly oppressed the people. Going forward, any such offense would instead be punished as adultery.