Washington Law Review


In 1993, Congress apologized to the Native Hawaiians for the political funny business of a century ago when the pineapple and sugar interests overthrew the Kingdom of Hawaii with tactical help from U.S. officials. Another apology will be in order for an unconscionable political trial now underway in the islands to punish one of the sovereignty leaders, Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele, for a variety of imagined offenses that amount to the infliction of embarrassment on the U.S. To put this essay in context, it should be understood, first of all, that the struggle for Native Hawaiian lands and sovereignty is a longstanding one, with more than the usual historical, political, and legal complexities. It is accurate to say that Native Hawaiians today are frequently "landless" in their own ancestral lands although a full account defies a summary restatement. My approach in this Essay is to look at the conflict through a lens suggested by evolutionary theory, sometimes described in the law schools as "Law and Biology." In this world, the sense of justice is a set of expectations about how others should behave, backed by a proclivity towards moralistic aggression against deviators. The sense of justice entails both cognition and emotion, with a match of expectations and then the fit that follows if there is no fit. Compare and despair is the name of the game.

First Page