In the late 19th century, Hawai`i was overthrown by American forces and became a territory of the United States. However, the more unknown side of this story is who led the opposition efforts and how far those efforts went.
A reenactment of a meeting between a group that opposed the American overthrow of the Hawaiian Islands will take place on Oct. 17 from 7 to 8:30 pm in the Multipurpose room of the U.C. basement.
Ka Lei Maile Ali`i: The Queen’s Women concerns the women’s branch of the Hawaiian Patriotic League, a group that successfully petitioned Congress in opposition of the annexation of Hawai`i. Although the victory was short-lived, it provided a footnote to the history of Hawai`i’s inclusion in the U.S.
The women’s branch was started because native Hawaiians who founded the League decided to divide their efforts among two gender-designated branches: Hui Aloha `Aina for the men and Hui Aloha `Aina o Nawahine for the women. The performance will focus on a single meeting that occurred in September 1897, the year in which mass petition drives were held and the effort to annex Hawai`i to the U.S. Senate for ratification was blocked.
Following the U.S.’ declaration of war against Spain, it was decided that a joint Resolution of Congress would be instated. This resolution said that the U.S. would be able to use Hawai`i’s resources in order to further their interest in the Spanish-American War. The war was being used as a pretext by President William McKinley’s Administration to annex the Islands. Around this time, American citizens living in Hawai`i started a coup in order to have a separate government not under the reign of Queen Liliuokalani.
Through these inevitable signs of absolute annexation, the League was able to succeed in keeping Hawai`i independent from America, even for just a little longer.
The reenactment will be performed by the local Ka Lei Maile Ali`i group, under the auspices of Ke Kukui Foundation of Vancouver, Wash. Various Ka Lei Maile Ali`i groups have performed in parts of Washington, including Vancouver as a part of the Three Days of Aloha event, and Hawai`i in locations such as `Iolani Palace grounds and Waimea’s Hawaiian Homes Hall. The reenactment has been performed for over 12 years, spreading knowledge of this significant event in Hawai`i and America’s history.
Pacific University’s performance of Ka Lei Maile Ali`i will be free and open to everyone. The performance is sponsored by Na Haumana O Hawai`i and the Center for Peace and Spirituality.