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Sai lecture: Why birthers are right for the wrong reasons


Could it be that our current understandings of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government are based on an erroneous narrative of historical events?

Dr. Keanu Sai addresses this question in a Puana Ka Ike lecture in Kona and an Eia Hawaii presentation in Hilo.

Keanu Sai

Sai discusses “1893 Executive Agreements and the profound impacts today: Why the birthers are right for all the wrong reasons” at noon-1:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Campus Center Room 301, and 5:30-7 p.m. Friday, March 16, in the convention ballroom of the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa.

His presentation offers a political science perspective that incorporates law on the repercussions of the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government, and the effect of two executive agreements entered into in 1893 between Queen Liliuokalani and President Grover Cleveland that have not only a profound legal and political impact on Hawaii and the international community, but also upon the office of the current president.

“The overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government on January 17, 1893, remains a contentious moment in the history of Hawaii,” Sai said. “On the 100th anniversary, the Congress enacted a joint resolution apologizing for the illegal overthrow and sought reconciliation efforts with the native Hawaiian population similar to its relationship with Native Americans.”

Sai received his doctorate in political science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa specializing in international law, state sovereignty, international laws of occupation, United States constitutional law, and Hawaiian constitutional law.

His research specifically addressed the legal and political history of the Hawaiian Islands since the eighteenth century to the present.

Sai has authored several law journal articles on the topic of the continuity of Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign state, and served as lead agent for the Hawaiian Kingdom in arbitration proceedings before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague, Netherlands, in Lance Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom (1999-2001).

For more information on Sai’s presentations, contact Joy Cunefare at (808) 534-8528 or e-mail

The Puana Ka Ike and Eia Hawaii lecture series are presented in partnership with Keauhou-Kahaluu Education Group of Kamehameha Schools, The Kohala Center, the Kipuka Native Hawaiian Student Center at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and Keauhou Beach Resort.

For lecture schedules and webcasts of previous lectures, visit and

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