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  • Writer's pictureAntonio Gonzales

Ke Aupuni Update

"Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea 2022

YESTERDAY, July 31, 2022 was the 179th Anniversary of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s first national holiday, Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea – Sovereignty Restoration Day. That’s when British Admiral Richard Thomas of the Royal Navy came to Honolulu to restore the Hawaiian Kingdom after one of his over-zealous captains, Lord George Paulet, had forcibly hijacked the Hawaiian Kingdom six months before.


On that day of restoration, July 31, 1843, King Kamehameha III and the entire Kingdom began a celebration that lasted 10 days. The King proclaimed that henceforth, Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea (Sovereignty Restoration Day) would be a holiday celebrated throughout the Realm.


Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea was celebrated for 50 years until, in 1893, another surprise hijacking took place. This time it was a coup by 13 traitors backed by the U.S. foreign minister and the warship Boston. Like the one in 1843, this hijacking was also an unprovoked and unjustified rogue action. But this time, instead of returning the Kingdom to the rightful ruler, Queen Liliʻuokalani, the United States gradually took full control and never left! Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea and other Kingdom holidays were neglected.


Compare how the two countries handled the situation when they found that their officials and armed forces had illegally hijacked the Hawaiian Islands. 


1843 – The United Kingdom – The biggest colonial power in the world – Immediately after London learned of the wrongful taking of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Admiral Thomas was dispatched to Honolulu, to reign in its rogue captain, acknowledge the wrong, restore the Hawaiian Kingdom to King Kamehameha III, and resume friendly relations between the two kingdoms.


1893 – The United States – The champion for freedom and democracy – Knowing it violated and overthrew a peaceful, friendly, recognized sovereign nation with whom it had multiple treaties, the U.S. admitted it had committed a wrongful act, but did nothing to repair the wrong. Instead, five years later, the U.S. staged a fake annexation of the Hawaiian Islands, took full control, and has been holding Hawaii captive for the past 125 years!


The Issue of Sovereignty

When Hawaii was wrongfully seized by the rogue captain Paulet, the United Kingdom had not yet recognized the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign nation. (That took place four months later, on November 28, 1843.) Thus, Admiral Thomas’ act of restoration was defacto recognition and a sign of respect of the sovereignty the Hawaiian Kingdom.


On the other hand, when Hawaii was wrongfully seized by the U.S. armed forces, the Hawaiian Kingdom was already a fully recognized sovereign nation and had been for 50 years! The Kingdom had treaties with dozens of bi-lateral and multi-lateral treaties — including five treaties with the USA. The Hawaiian Kingdom had over 130 diplomatic posts around the world conducting trade and involved in active discourse in international matters. The Hawaiian Kingdom had the best literacy rate in the world, and an enviable public education system.


There was absolutely no way the United States could justify the invasion of Hawaii, and U.S. President Cleveland said so in his December 18, 1893 address to a joint session of Congress.


Yet, even after knowing it was a rogue hijacking, U.S. officials played the racist/white supremacist card, portraying Queen Lili’uokalani and her Kingdom as some vague, backward, dark-skinned, savage nation that needed the U.S. to save and civilize them. This was still the false narrative in place 50 years ago when the sovereignty movement began with kūʻe actions to resist the foreign encroachment.


In 1985 Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell and other Hawaiian patriots, restarted the celebration of Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea. It gained momentum each year, and today is the biggest Kingdom celebration throughout the islands. Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea, Lā Kuʻokoʻa and other kingdom holidays eclipse the State of Hawaiiʻs key holidays.


We know we are making progress when the State’s Admissions Day (Statehood Day) has been completely abandoned and instead, starting this year the "State of Hawaii" is celebrating our Hawaiian Kingdom holiday, Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea – Sovereignty Restoration Day, as an official State holiday.


We have traversed the path from complete ignorance and denial to celebrating Sovereignty Restoration Day! The Hawaiian Kingdom is definitely alive and on the rise!


Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono. The sovereignty (life) of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.

-Leon Siu"


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