Unsettling Truths about the 1959 U.S. Statehood Vote in Hawai’i


Poka Laenui, Kioni Dudley and Leon Siu– TRANSCEND Media Service

August 16, 2019, marks the 60th Anniversary of U.S. Statehood for Hawai’i.  It will go little noticed.   This article offers new information on illegalities and fraudulence regarding the statehood vote, and why it should not have been accepted by the United Nations.

In 1945, the United States, as a founding member of the United Nations, accepted all U.N. Charter obligations.  As a nation with Territories, under Article 73 of the Charter, it took on, “as a sacred trust, the obligation to… develop self-government” for the descendants of the nations it had occupied.  The U.S. did this for some territories.  But in Hawaii, it did just the opposite.  Our people’s achieving “the full measure of self-governance” was never mentioned.   The statehood vote offered only movement from a U.S. Territory to a U.S. state.  Total absorption rather than required liberation.

The ballot wording was bogus.  U.N. Resolution 742 (VIII), adopted in 1953, required that plebiscites offer “freedom of choosing between several possibilities, including independence.”  The wording of the statehood ballot question was: “Shall Hawaii immediately be admitted into the Union as a State?”  The only possible answers were “Yes” and “No.”  No option for independence was provided.  The vote did not comply with the Charter or Resolution 742.

Ali’iolani Hale, completed in 1874, was the home of the Hawaiian Legislature in the days before annexation.
Judiciary History Center

The UN Charter expects only the citizens of the occupied nation—in our case the descendants of Hawaiian Kingdom subjects–will make decisions regarding their self-governance.   During the 61 years that Hawaii was a Territory, however, there was a huge in-migration of American settlers, as well as transient U.S. military personnel and their dependents.  The 1900 census shows 2,900 Caucasians living in the islands.  In 1959, it had ballooned to 202,230.   Any American citizen 20 years or older who had lived in Hawaii for at least a year was allowed to vote, even U.S. military.  And they did.  Thus, the wrong people voted.

During the Territory era, the United States made tremendous efforts to inculcate belief in a virtuous America.  During those six decades, schools assiduously avoided any mention of the U.S. invasion, overthrow, and takeover of the Hawaiian Kingdom…or the skirting of the Constitution to achieve Annexation.   A valid referendum requires that voters give informed consent.  But decades of US hiding the facts made informed consent impossible.   Had statehood voters known the truth. . . .

Hawaii’s last Queen, Lili’uokalani, deposed and placed under palace arrest by invading US marine forces in a coup d’état engendered by American businessmen. She would die from grief at the palace.

The official report states that 94% of voters supported statehood, but the facts are quite different.   The 94% only counts the Yes and No votes cast.  When blank ballots are included, only 77% of those who voted actually voted for statehood.  But even more shocking is the fact that, in the most important election ever held in Hawai’i, only 35% of those of eligible age actually registered and turned up at the polls.  Sixty-five percent “voted with their feet” against statehood by staying home.  When the blank votes and “votes with their feet” are factored in, only 27% of eligible voters cast a ‘Yes’ vote at the polls, far below the 50% required to win.

America knew that the UN would soon pass its “Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonized Countries and Peoples.”  Great pressure would mount to liberate Hawai’i.  The statehood vote was a sham to quickly secure United Nations approval for US permanent retention of Hawaii–just twelve months and two days before the Declaration was passed.

We three authors recently wrote “A Call for Review of the Historical Facts Surrounding UNGA Resolution 1469 (xiv) of 1959 Which Recognized Attainment of Self-Government for Hawaii.”  It amplifies the facts above and is currently being disseminated at the United Nations and to the public.  Please read it and add your name in endorsement at www.RestoringTheHawaiianNation.com.  Also find information there about the Hawaii National Transitional Authority, and a Resolution for the State of Hawaii to recognize Hawaiian Nationals as a people living in the Hawaiian Islands with all the lawful rights of a free people.

It’s time to show support.


 Dr. Kioni Dudley
Telephone and fax: (808) 672-8888
Cellphone: (808) 469-5713
E-mail: DrKioniDudley@hawaii.rr.com
Website:  www.2050Hawaii.com         


Pōkā Laenui is an attorney, founding member of the TRANSCEND Network, and lives in Hawai’i.  He is regarded as the father of the modern Hawaiian Sovereignty movement having brought the issue in the Hawaii and Federal Courts since 1977 and taken that case to the UN via the Indigenous People’s hearing.  He was the primary spokesperson for the World Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Pacific Asia Council of Indigenous Peoples from 1984 to 1992.  He was noted as one of five pioneers of the development of Indigenous People’s Rights at the UN General Assembly.  He is the latest chairperson of the Native Hawaiian Convention, an elected body of native Hawaiians to develop models of Hawaiian sovereignty to propose to the native Hawaiian constituents.  This convention has been de-funded by the State of Hawaii and its domestic entity, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, while the convention was considering a proposal for a model of independence from the USA.  He has been associated with Professor Emeritus Johan Galtung as a co-instructor at the University of Hawaii and has conducted extensive interviews with him on public radio, commercial radio and community television.  He continues to practice law in Hawaii.  His email is plaenui@hawaiianperspectives.org and website at www.hawaiianperspectives.org which contains much of his writings.


Kioni Dudley, Ph.D., educator, Hawaiian scholar, activist, co-author A Call for Hawaiian Sovereignty.




Leon Kaulahao Siu has served as the U.N. Hawaiian Kingdom Minister of Foreign Affairs for the past 20 years.



This article originally appeared in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on August 15, 2019.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 26 Aug 2019.

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One Response to “Unsettling Truths about the 1959 U.S. Statehood Vote in Hawai’i”

  1. rosemerry says:

    I had no idea about this before-thank you all for the important facts presented. Not a surprise of course, but what a despicable act or series of acts.