125th Anniversary of Overthrow

January 17, 2018, 10:20 AM HST · Updated January 17, 12:03 PM
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Today marks the 125th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom, which happened on January 17th 1893.

During the overthrow, Queen Lili‘uokalani was imprisoned and deposed while a group of businessmen established a provisional government.

On the 100th anniversary of the overthrow, then President, Bill Clinton issued a resolution formally apologizing for the overthrow.

Today, the anniversary is being marked with a series of ʻOnipaʻa Kākou events beginning with a procession from the mausoleum at Maunaʻala to ʻIolani Palace.

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Gov. David Ige offered his thoughts on today’s events saying:

“This is a special day in the history of Hawaiʻi. A few months ago, we remembered Queen Liliʻuokalani, who put her people first, before money or power. She chose the common good for a better collective existence. I believe we must follow her example as we move forward together as one people.”

Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Keli‘i Akina offered a personal reflection, in honor of Queen Lili‘uokalani saying:

“Hawai‘i was once a sovereign Kingdom, and all residents of the islands today can take great pride in that heritage. Native Hawaiians in particular have been resilient and steadfast in keeping Hawaiian culture and language alive.

Still, there are undeniable opportunities afforded by being a part of the United States of America.

Today’s events, called ‘Onipa‘a Kākou, will show the resilience as well as diversity of the Hawaiian people. Some believe that there should be a return to a separate nation or Kingdom status while others, like myself, are proud to be Hawaiian and proud to be American. The main thing is that we all ‘E Hana Kākou,’ that is, work together to build a bright future for Hawaiians and all people.”

University of Hawaiʻi President David Lassner also discussed the overthrow in an open letter to the UH ʻohana saying:

“The overthrow of Queen Liliʻuokalani is not an easy event to comprehend nor a comfortable part of our history. Nonetheless, it is important for all of us to strive to understand and reflect upon, particularly in this time of makahiki when we seek peace and renewal for all. And it’s important to understand and appreciate the deep pain felt by many at the reminder of this 125th anniversary.

There is no institution more important to the future of our state than the University of Hawaiʻi. On a daily basis, we educate current and future generations, we address the challenges and opportunities that face Hawaiʻi and the world, we discover and reveal new knowledge in the search for truth and meaning, and we respectfully bring people together from many backgrounds and perspectives who often disagree about almost everything. It is our job to make sense of many truths and to utilize lessons from what we learn to move ourselves, our families and our communities forward to increased well-being for all.

We have all chosen to do this in Hawaiʻi, the most remarkable and, I believe, most respectful place on earth. So as we advance our university’s unique commitment to be a model indigenous-serving institution, I encourage all of you to learn more about Hawaiʻi’s history and undertake peaceful yet critical and brave conversations that engage all of us for whom Hawaiʻi is home.”

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