Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 marks the 120th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. UH Maui College will be holding events from noon until 7pm to commemorate and inform the public about this tragic day in Hawaiian history.
Some may think the 17th marks just another notch in the timeline of imperialist conquest of indigenous peoples in the name of progress, but critics of history and those holding the native end of the stick recount the lesser told story of a noble queen deposed of her rightful throne by American capitalist insurgents intent on keeping their business prospects alive and elite.
Under the ironic title “Committee of Safety,” the gang of 13 (backed by the Honolulu Rifles) maneuvered, using American fears for security, Washington connections and US Marines to orchestrate an illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, ultimately resulting in the annexation of the territory into the United States of America.
In 1993, on the 100th anniversary of the Overthrow, President Bill Clinton signed the “Apology Resolution” which among other things “apologiz[ed] to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17th, 1893… and the deprivation of the rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination.”
This year’s event will take place on the UH Maui College Great Lawn and will begin at noon with a display of the 1897 Ku‘e Petitions. The petitions collected 40,000 signatures of Hawaiians opposed to the Annexation. As a result, the initial treaty was defeated in the U.S. Congress.The display will be open until Saturday Jan. 19 at noon.
At 5pm, there will be a symbolic raising of the Hawaiian flag by the Royal Hawaiian Guards, followed by the 5:30pm re-enactment titled “The Queen’s Women,” written by Didi Lee Kwai. The re-enactment recreates the experience of those participating in the 1897 Ku‘e Petitions.
At 7pm, there will be a lecture by Ron Williams, PhD, on hidden and silenced native narratives on the Overthrow as well as the faulty and purposeful reasons behind it.
Whether native or transplanted, local or haole, all are encouraged to attend and gain a greater perspective and appreciation of the history of the Hawaii we call home. For more information, email [email protected]