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Despite the fact that Hawaii was seized illegally by the American proponents of manifest destiny, I agree with Mr. Casey that Hawaii is now a state and it's pretty clear there is no mechanism for secession from the union.

I was born and raised among native Hawaiians, and the pain of disenfranchisement has had a devasting effect upon its people to this day. Yet there is no going back, neither for the native Manhattans of New York or for native Hawaiians.

What is possible, however, is specific programs, lands and areas where some type of native sovereignty can exist within the larger framework of a democratic state. This will not be an easy task.

But to do less is a grave injustice not worthy of great tenets upons which this great country was founded.

Bill Hambaro

Makaha, Hawaii

Apr 12 2008 - 5:33am

Web Letter

The basic problem you face is that you are now a state. We fought a Civil War over whether a state has a right to secede from the Union. My ancestors were on the losing side of that war, so I can say with some certainty that succession is highly unlikely.

As a territory, you had a choice of either becoming a state or an independent nation. However, once you are in the Union as state there is no mechanism for granting you independence. I do think you would have broad support for your environmental efforts.

Everybody has to make their own decisions about their own identity. Some of my direct ancestors suffered serious injuries during the Civil War, and some ancient relatives died in that conflict, but while I regret any suffering and dying in any war, I am glad that they lost that war.

I would rather be an American with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, even though it is a constant struggle to secure those rights and make sure every American has them regardless of their origins. The American Dream is about an inclusive society.

Not many other countries have that dream.

Pervis J. Casey

Riverside, CA

Apr 11 2008 - 4:30pm