Date admitted: 3 August 1993
Membership discontinued: 7 July 2012
The Hawaiian archipelago is situated in the north Eastern corner of the Pacific Basin. The state of Hawaii includes the islands of Nihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui and Hawaii. The total population is about 1.2 million people, of which less than 20 percent claim Hawaiian ancestry, while the majority is of Asian or non-Hawaiian Pacific ancestry.
The indigenous Hawaiians are descendants of Polynesians who arrived on the islands in 200 anno Domini. Throughout the years the people of Hawaii maintained a distinct culture shared amongst the islands. Following the arrival of Captain James Cook in 1778, numerous missionaries and whalers settled in the region and eventually influenced the indigenous Hawaiians: the Kanaka Maoli. Beginning in the middle of the 19th century, foreigners acquired most of the land in just one generation and began taking over the government. In 1893, the United States (US) then forcibly overthrew the Kingdom of Hawaii and, in 1900, annexed Hawaii as a territory.
In the century after the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian government, over 1.5 million acres of Hawaiian lands and resources, which were integral to the sustenance of Hawaiian life and culture, were taken by the US. Although most of these lands are held "in trust" for native Hawaiians, the US government controls these lands and continues to breach this trust through desecration and illegal use. As a result of the displacement from their lands and the devastation of their culture, native Hawaiians today are plagued by social, economic and health-related problems. Hawaiians continue to be severely impoverished, unemployed and over-represented in the prisons of the state.