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Re-enactment of 1894 'takeover' booed

Replay vital to Hawaiians, Burgess tell palace crowd

Honolulu Advertiser
Wednesday, July 5, 1995, page A5

By Walter Wright
Advertiser Staff Writer

Sovereignty supporters hooted, hissed and booed yesterday as "missionary son Sanford Ballard Dole" proclaimed the Republic of Hawaii in a re-enactment of the July 4 ceremony 101 years ago.

And they cheered - "Hipa Hipa Hulo! Hipa Hipa Hulo!" - when another actor, portraying Hawaiian royalist Joseph Nawahi, read out a rival resolution of the day protesting the takeover.

"Arrest that man," one in the crowd of 300 yelled when the "Dole" character took the oath of office on the steps of Iolani Palace.

History professor Glenn Grant cautioned the crowd that the people behind the costumes were only playing roles.

"If you get angry or upset, please don't throw anything at them," Grant said, bringing laughter from the peaceful, good-natured crowd. "Hurl your anger at the past, not these poor souls in the present."

The pageantry was a lesson in the history of what some consider one of Hawaii's blackest days.

Dole, anxious to see Hawaii annexed to the United States, proclaimed the new republic as a replacement for the provisional government the annexationists had set up after overthrowing Queen Lili`uokalani the year before.

Activist Hayden Burgess, master of ceremonies for the day, said the re-enactment was as important to the Hawaiian nation as Fourth of July celebrations are to Americans.

"The nation is never dead until it dies in the soul of every Hawaiian - and that we must commit ourselves never to allow to happen," Burgess said.

The speeches, taken from the texts of the day, revealed the "manifest destiny" philosophy held by some of the Anglos who believed they - and they alone - were suited to lead Hawaiians to God and freedom.

Dole himself said he was responding to an irresistible "movement for popular government" in Hawaii which had begun when Kauikeaouli, in 1839, surrendered unlimited royal power and guaranteed each of his subjects the rights of "life, liberty, freedom from oppression, the earnings of his hands and the production of his mind."

But the annexationists, for all their talk of democracy, were afraid to risk a popular vote on their new constitution.

Of the 90,000 citizens of Hawaii in 1894, some 40,000 were kanaka maoli, or Hawaiian, and only 2,000 of the remainder were Anglos, Grant said.

President Grover Cleveland, who at first condemned the overthrow of the government of "a feeble but friendly and confiding people," eventually recognized the new Republic, paving the way for annexation in 1898.

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