January 12, 2007

Kalahui Hawaii: Overthrow Remembered

114 Years after the overthrow of the Constitutional Government, commemorations will be held on “Sovereignty Sunday” to tell the story.

Below is an announcement from the Hawaiian Kingdom Government;


On January 16, 1893, United States diplomatic and military personnel conspired with a small group of individuals to overthrow the constitutional government of the Hawaiian Kingdom.  Under the direction of the American Minister, John L. Stevens, U.S. Marines were directed to land at Honolulu Harbor, ostensibly to protect American lives and property.  This action led to the subversion of the constitutional Government of Hawaii in the interests of annexation to the United States.

The following is an excerpt from a paper written by Poka Laenui in 1984 that is timely today:

"The movement began with the awakening of my spirit when I read Queen Liliuokalani's Hawaii's Story.  I read first with curiosity, followed by confusion, then much anger, and finally resolve of what needed to be done.  Here is what I discovered of Hawaii's history.

On January 16, 1893, over 160 American marines landed in peaceful Honolulu armed with Gatling gun, Howitzer cannons, double cartridge belts filled with ammunition, carbines and other instruments of war.  The protest by Hawaii's Queen that such landing was a breach of treaty and international law was simply ignored.  The troops marched along the streets of Honolulu, rifles facing the Queen's palace.

The following day, the resident conspirators numbering 18, mostly Americans, sneaked to a government building a few yards from where the American troops lodged the night before.  There, an American lawyer, who had been a resident of Hawaii less than a year previous, proclaimed they were now the government of Hawaii.  Calling themselves the "provisional government" and selecting Sanford Dole president, they were to exist for the explicit purpose and until terms could be arranged with the U.S. for annexation.

Before the full declaration had been read, the U.S. marines marched into the building to protect and support them.   American Minister Plenipotentiary and commander of all U.S. forces in Hawaii, John L. Stevens, gave them immediate recognition as the government of Hawaii as had been planned.  He than joined in their demand that the Queen surrender under threat of war with the U.S."

This year, the commemoration of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom will take place on Sunday, Jan. 14, beginning at `Iolani Palace and continuing to Queen Lili`uokalani's statue at the State Capitol.

The event will feature music by Pekelo, from Maui, who has written a song about the Queen, speakers, a reading of Grover Cleveland's speech before Congress following the overthrow in 1893, and a re-enactment of the drama "Ka Lei Maile Alii-The Queen's Women", depicting a meeting of the women of Hui Aloha Aina who were responsible for gathering many of the signatures on the Great Petitions (Ku`e Petitions) protesting annexation of Hawaii to the United States.

[More information about the Commemoration]
[Citation from Poka Laenui]