* Return to the Hawaiian Independence Home Page or the News Article Index

Sovereign themes mark Lili`uokalani's arrest

Honolulu Advertiser
January 17, 1995
(p. A3)

By Mark Matsunaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

On the 100th anniversary of Queen Lili`uokalani's arrest, sentiment for Hawaiian sovereignty yesterday surrounded Iolani Palace, which was draped in mourning black.

  • Several Hundred members and supporters of the Independent Nation State of Hawaii gathered in front of the palace for a colorful and at times emotional ceremony to sign a constitution.

    It's a step in the group's march towards nationhood, explained leader Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele; next comes international recognition. The group, formerly known as the 'Ohana Council,' also marked the first anniversary of its declaration of independence.

  • A handful of Hawaiians associated with Hui Na`auao, the Hawaiian sovereignty education consortium, began a round-the-clock vigil at a spot under the second-floor palace suite where the queen was imprisoned for eight months a century ago. The vigil will continue until Sep. 6, the centennial of the queen's release, and groups are still being signed up to participate.

  • Later yesterday, on the mauka side of the palace, members of various Hawaiian societies had a private preview of the imprisonment room exhibit, which opens to the public tomorrow.

    The exhibit includes the quilt that Lili`uokalani began sewing during her days in custody at the palace.

    Members of the societies, many of them women in black or white dresses, with big hats or leis adorning their heads, waited quietly for their turn to see the palace room the way it appeared a century ago.

    One was Theresa Mews, a member of Hale O Na Ali`i O Hawaii and a descendent o Robert Wilcox, who led the unsuccessful rebellion against the Republic of Hawaii in early January 1895.

    "This is very important to me because I haven't forgotten the illegal overthrow of the queen," said Mews. She shares "the hurt and anger" that other, more vocal Hawaiians feel about that.

    While her order's rules forbid political activity, she said, "We're struggling for sovereignty just like everybody else is."

  • Ka Lahui Hawaii, the sovereignty organization that claims 21,000 members but drew less than 200 to the palace in heavy rains on Sunday, held the second of three scheduled evening vigils near the Iolani Barracks.

    * * *

    One of the kupuna (elders) who signed the (Nation of Hawaii) constitution yesterday was Sala Kealoha Camacho, a great-grandmother from Maui.

    Camacho was moved to tears as she addressed the crowd in Hawaiian, and said how humble she felt to be present on such a great occasion. And she urged the crowd to make sure their children learn Hawaiian as well as English.

    In an interview after, Camacho, who teaches fourth- and fifth-graders in the state's school systems kupuna program, recalled how she spent much of her childhood with her hand over her mouth - a response to being pinched and beaten for speaking her native Hawaiian in school.

    She said she was given the English name Sarah by her second-grade teacher, who didn't like Camacho's given name, Sala.

    "Our culture didn't leave us. We left our culture behind," she said.

    Return to the Hawaiian Independence Home Page or the News Article Index