11 Things You May Not Know About Hawai'i and Native Hawaiians

Stephanie Launiu is a Native Hawaiian lifestyle and cultural writer. She has a degree in Hawaiian Pacific Studies. She lives in Hilo.

Hawaiian hula troupe, circa 1907

Hawaiian hula troupe, circa 1907

Many merely think of Hawai'i as the 50th state of the United States—a place where the weather is sunny all year long and there are hula dancers, beaches, luaus, surfers, and TV shows featuring women in bikinis, white sand shorelines, and waterfall backdrops. However, there's so much more to this land than what is depicted in pop culture.

This article will go far beyond what you thought you knew about Hawai'i. Read on to discover more about the relationship between the U.S., Hawai’i, and its native people. Even in the 21st century, the relationship is a complicated one that a majority of people have not yet learned about.

11 Things You May Not Know About Hawai'i

  1. Native Hawaiians are a race of people.
  2. Hawaiians almost became extinct.
  3. Hawai'i was an independent and sovereign nation.
  4. Hawaiians quickly became literate after western contact.
  5. Hawai'i's government was illegally overthrown by the United States of America.
  6. Native Hawaiians tried to fight back.
  7. The Hawaiian language was banned.
  8. Queen Lili'uokalani wrote the famous song "Aloha 'Oe" ("Farewell to Thee").
  9. The U.S. officially apologized for the illegal overthrow.
  10. Native Hawaiians are revitalizing their language and culture.
  11. Native Hawaiians are still struggling for self-governance.

Each of the topics above will be explained further in the article. Continue scrolling for more information.

1. Native Hawaiians Are a Race of People

Native Hawaiians, also known as Kanaka Maoli, are the indigenous or aboriginal people (and their descendants) of the Hawaiian islands. Their ancestors were the original Polynesians who sailed to Hawai’i and settled the islands around the 5th century AD.

“Native Hawaiian” is a racial classification used by the United States. In the most recent Census, 690,000 people reported that they were Native Hawaiian or of a mixed race that includes Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. There may now be as few as 5,000 pure-blood Native Hawaiians remaining in the world.

Native Hawaiians, or Kanaka Maoli

Native Hawaiians, or Kanaka Maoli

2. Hawaiians Almost Became Extinct

The first recorded western contact with Hawai'i was in 1778 when Captain James Cook, an English explorer, sailed on the HMS Resolution into Waimea Bay on Kaua'i. The next year he sailed into Kealakekua Bay in Kona on the Big Island of Hawai'i. It is estimated that between 400,000 and as many as one million Native Hawaiians were living on the major Hawaiian islands when Cook landed in Hawai'i.

Because Hawai'i is a group of islands isolated from other land masses and people, diseases that afflicted the rest of the world were not known in Hawai'i. Within a century after Cook first landed, however, the Native Hawaiian population had been decimated, dropping down to about 40,000. Deaths were attributed to a number of "new" diseases including smallpox, measles, influenza, sexually-transmitted diseases, whooping cough, and the common cold.

 A group of Native Hawaiians by a road in the Puna District, Island of Hawai'i,  1895

A group of Native Hawaiians by a road in the Puna District, Island of Hawai'i, 1895

Native Hawaiian Family circa 1890

Native Hawaiian Family circa 1890

3. Hawai'i Was an Independent and Sovereign Nation

The Kingdom of Hawai'i was an internationally recognized monarchy that entered into bilateral treaties of trade and friendship with other countries including:

  • The United States (1826)
  • Great Britain (1836)
  • France (1839)
  • Denmark (1846)
  • Hamburg (1848)
  • Sweden and Norway (1852)
  • Tahiti (1853)
  • Bremen (1854)
  • Belgium and Netherlands (1862)
  • Italy and Spain (1863)
  • Swiss Confederation (1864)
  • Russia (1869)
  • Japan (1871)
  • New South Wales (1874)
  • Portugal (1882)
  • Hong Kong (1884)
  • Samoa (1887)
The Hawaiian Monarchy

The Hawaiian Monarchy

4. Hawaiians Quickly Became Literate After Western Contact

The first Christian missionaries came to Hawai'i in 1820. Soon after, Hawaiian children began attending school and learned to read and write in the Hawaiian language.

In 1869, a newspaper article reported that Hawai’i was the only government from the Pacific area to attend a Paris exposition. At the event, Hawai'i displayed newspapers, Bibles, textbooks, books of law, agricultural products, and other examples of "civilization."

Meanwhile, European visitors to the Islands were reportedly astounded that in Hawai’i, the common man was taught the same sorts of things that only the European elite of the time were entitled to learn.

Missionaries Preaching Under Kukui Groves, 1841

Missionaries Preaching Under Kukui Groves, 1841

Hawaiian language newspapers were published in Hawai'i for over a century beginning in 1834 at Lahainaluna School on Maui. It is believed that the last newspaper in the Hawaiian language was Hoku O Hawai'i, who printed their last issue in 1948.

Hawaiian language newspapers were published in Hawai'i for over a century beginning in 1834 at Lahainaluna School on Maui. It is believed that the last newspaper in the Hawaiian language was Hoku O Hawai'i, who printed their last issue in 1948.

A colorized photo of a Native Hawaiian gentleman reading "Ka Hoku o Hawaii" newspaper, which was a Hawaiian language weekly newspaper published in Hilo, Hawaii. Its founder was Rev. Stephen L. Desha, the kahu at Haili Church in Hilo for 40 years.

A colorized photo of a Native Hawaiian gentleman reading "Ka Hoku o Hawaii" newspaper, which was a Hawaiian language weekly newspaper published in Hilo, Hawaii. Its founder was Rev. Stephen L. Desha, the kahu at Haili Church in Hilo for 40 years.

5. Hawai'i's Government Was Illegally Overthrown by the United States of America

On January 17, 1893, an illegal overthrow of Hawai'i's government took place. U.S. Marines from the USS Boston, two companies of U.S. sailors, and U.S. Government Minister John L. Stevens landed at Honolulu Harbor and, along with U.S. and European businessmen, effectuated an illegal coup against Queen Lili'uokalani.

What were their motives? Greed, control over cheap land, and control over the sugar industry. The businessmen and sugar planters were led by Sanford Dole, who some refer to as a "sugar baron." Sanford's cousin, James Dole, sometimes called the "pineapple king," began the pineapple industry in Hawaiʻi with his Hawaiian Pineapple Company. The Dole brand is undoubtedly familiar to you.

In the following years, Native Hawaiians were colonized and had to learn to live with their homeland being lost to the largest superpower in the world. This loss was accompanied by an endless influx of tourists and immigrants from other states and foreign countries. Additionally, Pearl Harbor was bombed during World War II because America used (and continues to use) Hawai'i for its Pacific fleet.

The USS Boston's landing force on duty at the Arlington Hotel, Honolulu, at the time of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, January 1893.

The USS Boston's landing force on duty at the Arlington Hotel, Honolulu, at the time of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, January 1893.

6. The Hawaiian Language Was Banned

Three years after the Hawaiian government was overthrown, a law was passed that made it illegal for school classes to be taught in anything but the English language. English replaced Hawaiian as the official language of government, business, and education.

So began the colonization of the Native Hawaiian people; children were punished in school for speaking Hawaiian, and those who spoke Hawaiian at home were ridiculed. This systematic suppression of Hawaiian culture and language took place for four generations, and the language was almost lost due to parents and grandparents who were uncomfortable passing the language on to younger generations.

It was not until a constitutional amendment passed in Hawai'i in 1978 (!) that it was once again legal to teach Hawaiian in the school system. Even then, Hawaiian wasn't taught in public schools until 1987, when a Hawaiian Immersion Program began. At the time, it was estimated that fewer than 1% of the population could speak Hawaiian. Today, UNESCO, a United Nations agency, classifies the Hawaiian language as "critically endangered", but according to the most recent American Community Survey, more than 18,000 people claim to speak Hawaiian at home. That's about 1.3% of Hawai'i's population. Slow progress, but progress nonetheless...

The College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani, was the first college in the United States administered and conducted entirely in an indigenous language. In 1999, Ka Haka ‘Ula began offering a Master’s degree that was followed in 2004 with a doctoral program in Hawaiian language.

Hawaiian schoolchildren, 1900

Hawaiian schoolchildren, 1900

7. Native Hawaiians Tried to Fight Back

After the overthrow, Native Hawaiians tried to fight back through the U.S. legal system in the following ways:

  • Requested an official investigation by the Cleveland administration: Hawai'i became a U.S. protectorate at the same time that an investigation was being done by U.S. President Grover Cleveland at the written request of Queen Lili'uokalani. Cleveland and his administration concluded that the overthrow had been illegal ("a grievous wrong has been done") and turned the issue over to Congress where it languished while the “straw government” in Hawai'i, who now had Sanford Dole as its President, continued to gain a stronger hold over the islands.
  • Launched a petition: Meanwhile, Native Hawaiians launched a massive petition to stop the formal annexation of Hawai'i to the U.S. They thought that if Congress realized that Native Hawaiians did not want to be part of the U.S., they would restore independence to Hawai'i. Public meetings were held on the five major islands, and of the known population of 39,000 Native Hawaiians, 21,269 signed the petition. This is an incredible majority since many of the remaining number were children.
  • Took it all the way to Washington D.C.: Queen Lili'uokalani traveled to Washington D.C. to present her protest and the petition to Congress. At the time, a trip of this distance took months by sea and land. Sadly, Queen Lili'uokalani's voyage proved to be a fruitless one. Congress had not acted on President Cleveland’s request, and a new Congress had come in with the administration of President William McKinley. By that time, the Spanish American War was brewing, and the U.S. didn’t want to give up Hawai'i's prime location in the Pacific.

In spite of the efforts of the Native Hawaiians and their Queen, Hawai'i was illegally annexed as a U.S. territory in 1898, along with 1.2 million acres of Hawaiian crown lands that had belonged to the monarchy and to the nation of Hawai'i.

Drawing: "Meeting of Natives at Hilo, Island of Hawaii, Thursday, September 16, 1897 to Protest Against Annexation."

Drawing: "Meeting of Natives at Hilo, Island of Hawaii, Thursday, September 16, 1897 to Protest Against Annexation."

8. Queen Lili'uokalani Wrote "Aloha 'Oe"

Ironically, the only person who saw any jail time from the overthrow was Queen Lili'uokalani. In 1895, a clandestine group of supporters of the monarchy attempted an unsuccessful counter-rebellion against the government led by Sanford Dole. There was no bloodshed, but weapons were discovered on the grounds of the royal palace, and Lili'uokalani was found guilty of treason against the government that had illegally overthrown her. Although she was sentenced to five years of hard labor, she only served nine months of house arrest.

During this time of incarceration, she wrote several songs, but “Aloha ʻOe” ("Farewell to Thee") is her most famous composition. Lili'uokalani originally wrote "Aloha ʻOe" in 1878 as a love song, but it is now commonly sung as a farewell song.

The territorial government eventually voted to give her an annual pension of $4,000, though the United States never compensated her for personal lands that were taken.

Lili'uokalani died in 1917 at the age of 79. In her will, she ordered that all of her belongings be sold with the proceeds going to the Queen Lili'uokalani Children’s Trust for orphaned and indigent Hawaiian children. Her trust still operates today. A statue of Queen Lili'uokalani was erected on the grounds of the Hawai'i state capitol.

The statue of Queen Liliʻuokalani stands between 'Iolani Palace and the  Hawaiʻi State Capitol.

The statue of Queen Liliʻuokalani stands between 'Iolani Palace and the Hawaiʻi State Capitol.

Lili'uokalani died at the age of 79 in 1917.

Lili'uokalani died at the age of 79 in 1917.

Hawai'i's Story by Lili'uokalani Shows Life Through Her Eyes

Tribute to Queen Lili'uokalani by Adam Manalo-Camp

9. The U.S. Officially Apologized for the Illegal Overthrow

In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed an official apology to Native Hawaiians for the illegal overthrow of their nation. Public Law 103-150 was passed by a joint resolution of Congress in 1993 to acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the overthrow. Stipulations in the law stated that:

  • The overthrow was illegal: Section 1 states: "The Congress...on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893, acknowledges the historical significance of this event which resulted in the suppression of the inherent sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people" (italics added)
  • The U.S. apologizes: "...to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893."
  • Native Hawaiians may have legal claims against the U.S.: "Nothing in this Joint Resolution is intended to serve as a settlement of any claims against the United States."
President Bill Clinton signed the official apology to Native Hawaiians. In background, L to R - VP Al Gore, Sen Daniel Inouye, Rep Patsy Mink, Rep Neil Abercrombie, Sen Daniel Akaka.

President Bill Clinton signed the official apology to Native Hawaiians. In background, L to R - VP Al Gore, Sen Daniel Inouye, Rep Patsy Mink, Rep Neil Abercrombie, Sen Daniel Akaka.

10. Native Hawaiians Are Revitalizing Their Language and Culture

Although they make up about 20% of Hawai'i’s population according to the most recent Native Hawaiian Data Book published by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), Native Hawaiians continue to work towards finding their rightful place in modern-day Hawai'i and regaining self-governance in some form. This includes rightful compensation for the illegal overthrow and a nation lost.

Here are some milestones and examples of their efforts:

  • Governor John Waihe'e was the first elected governor of Hawai'i of Native Hawaiian ancestry. He served from 1986-1994.
  • In 1987, instruction in the Hawaiian language began again in public schools. Today, 19 traditional public schools and six charter schools educate some of the state's public school students using the Hawaiian language to instruct in all subjects. Any student in Hawai'i may choose to participate in a Hawaiian language immersion program.
  • A renaissance of the Hawaiian culture—including language, dance, arts, and traditional customs—began in the 1970’s and continues today. One such example is the weeklong Merrie Monarch Festival that takes place on the Big Island each year and celebrates the art of hula dancing.
  • The HTA or Hawai'i Tourism Authority, a state agency once focused on bringing more tourists to Hawai'i, now works to ensure that Hawaiian cultural practitioners are more visible in the visitor industry. They support programs that spotlight the integrity and uniqueness of the Hawaiian culture to differentiate the Hawaiian Islands among visitor experiences, and to honor cultural authenticity.
Hālau Hula ‘O Nāpunaheleonāpua, Kumu Rich Pedrino, Photo by Cody Yamaguchi

Hālau Hula ‘O Nāpunaheleonāpua, Kumu Rich Pedrino, Photo by Cody Yamaguchi

Hālau Keolakapuokalani, Kumu Drake Keolakapu Dudoit Delaforce, Photo by Bruce Omori

Hālau Keolakapuokalani, Kumu Drake Keolakapu Dudoit Delaforce, Photo by Bruce Omori

11. Native Hawaiians Are Still Struggling for Self-Governance

In today's Hawai'i, the turbulence of a people who love their nation is palpable. Opinion and fact sometimes collide, and the menace of generational colonialism continues to penetrate the hearts and minds of many. This turbulence is a natural reaction to more than a century of frustration with America's apparent disregard for native rights.

There are ongoing efforts to restore Hawai'i to its rightful place in the global community of nations. If you would like to learn more about Native Hawaiians, along with the sovereignty and de-occupy movements in Hawai'i, below are a few links to explore.

You have been forewarned: Everything you thought you knew about Hawai'i will be challenged. It is far more than sun and surf.

NOTE: Relatively new on the political scene in Hawai'i is The Kānaka Party. It is a political grassroots movement by and for the people of Hawaiʻi. All are welcome to stand in Aloha, regardless of race, culture, national origin, creed, or sexual orientation. The Kānaka Party is about caring for the people; the environment and all creatures in it; promoting government accountability and transparency; hoʻoponopono (making right what is wrong) regarding the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi; and recognizing Ke Akua (the Divine). The Kānaka Party is committed to working within the U.S. political system to effectuate needed change that will benefit the people and future generations of Hawaiʻi.

For more information: https://www.kanakaparty.com/

Additional Resources and Reading on Hawai'i

Here are some resources if you would like to learn more about the Native Hawaiian people. Feel free to contact the author with any questions as well.

1993 protest in front of 'Iolani Palace on the 100th anniversary of the overthrow

1993 protest in front of 'Iolani Palace on the 100th anniversary of the overthrow

In 2019, thousands of Native Hawaiians and supporters worldwide gathered to protest the construction of the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea, sacred ground to Native Hawaiians. As of today, the telescope has still not been built

In 2019, thousands of Native Hawaiians and supporters worldwide gathered to protest the construction of the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea, sacred ground to Native Hawaiians. As of today, the telescope has still not been built

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: I just visited Hawaii. Are there any efforts made to STOP the overproduction and overdevelopment of resorts. I was so saddened by the overpopulation and defecation of such sacred lands. Also, are there laws to be set in place to slow down the travels on things like the Road to Hana in an effort to preserve?

Answer: The selling of Hawaii as a commodified vacation destination continues on a daily basis, and this feeds the overproduction and overdevelopment of resorts. The resort pricing is so ridiculous that most locals can't afford to stay even 1 night. But the biggest detriment is to sacred land. In Hawaii, its not only the resorts but other industries that encroach on sacred land. The 30 meter telescope on top of Mauna Kea has been a huge controversy, but it looks as if that monstrosity will be built there nonetheless. There are now observatories on top of Haleakala on Maui. Activists who protest are made to look like anti-science loonies. It is a constant battle, and we need more people like you who care.

Question: What is a sign of greatest respect and honor to give a Hawaiian native?

Answer: Wow, thatʻs a question Iʻve never been asked before. Native Hawaiians are very diverse. A sign of respect and honor would be to value the history and culture of Native Hawaiians. If you are trying to find a physical way to show respect and honor, you might consider a gift from the island of the nativeʻs birth.

Question: If you're ethnically Filipino, does that make you a native Hawaiin?

Answer: No. If you're ethnically Filipino, then you're a Filipino that lives in Hawaii. Just like if you were ethnically Filipino living in Japan, you would never be called a Japanese. Native Hawaiians are defined as descendants of the indigenous people who inhabited the Hawaiian Islands at the time that Captain Cook landed in 1778.

Question: Did Japan have aggressive ambitions towards Hawaii prior to the US take over?

Answer: No, there was no indication of their ambition towards Hawaii prior to WWII. In 1871, the Kingdom of Hawaii and Japan signed a bilateral trade agreement. Japan attacked Pearl Harbor simply because the U.S. Pacific Fleet was parked there. By all accounts, the Japanese people are now in love with Hawaii and Native Hawaiian culture. Many Kumu hula have hula halau in Japan, and it is estimated that there are more hula dancers in Japan than there are in Hawaii.

Question: Why is the colonization of the Pacific islands by Polynesians acceptable and not the colonization by others in world history?

Answer: Because Polynesians settled uninhabited islands, they didn't colonize the islands. Colonization is when a greater and stronger country takes over an inhabited area that already has it's own people, language and government, and attempts to bring them under the control of that country, often changing their laws, allegiance, citizenship, language, etc. Colonies are also never seen as "equal" to the country that colonized them.

Question: How did Hawaiians know Maui Nui was once one island? The time the water level was that low was long before voyaging and Polynesian contact and possibly pre-modern Huma's. Yeti is part Hawaiian myth.

Answer: It is always a mystery how the ancient Hawaiians had knowledge that science only found out about later. Another example is the legend about how Pele, Goddess of the Volcano, traveled from Kahiki Nui in the South Pacific to look for a new home. She took her digging stick and dug into the earth on each island beginning with Niihau in the north, where she would light fires in the earth on each island. Until she finally came to the Big Island in the south, where she decided to make her home. Surprisingly, the path that Pele took in the legend is exactly the path of how each island was created with geological accuracy. The islands are older in the north where there are volcanoes that are now extinct. And the Big Island is the youngest island which is still having active lava flows and where legend says that Pele still lives.

Question: If Hawaii becomes independent, what do you think would be the fate of non-natives who currently live in Hawaii?

Answer: If Hawaii were an independent nation, I think it would become like other independent nations. It would be able to define the requirements for Hawaiian citizenship, immigration, and residency. I'm not sure whether "non-native" would be defined in a constitution. U.S. citizens might be able to hold dual citizenship, but it is impossible to tell. Hawaii would become responsible, on the world stage, for the protection of human rights and it would re-join the world as an independent nation just as it was prior to 1893.

Question: I am traveling to Maui, is there a list of Native Hawaiian owned businesses available so I can support them as a tourist?

Answer: Unfortunately, I havenʻt seen a list of Native Hawaiian-owned businesses. Itʻs a great idea though. This is a link to the monthly newsletter, Ka Wai Ola (translation: Living Water) published by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. There are sometimes ads by native businesses, and the latest info on the Native Hawaiian community and politics. You can subscribe for a mailed or digital copy for free. https://www.oha.org/kwo

Question: So where do Filipinos come into all this ? They call themselves Hawaiians but I disagree.

Answer: Filipinos are not Hawaiians, but there are many people in Hawaii who are a mixture of Filipino and Hawaiian because their parents or ancestors are mixed race. But Filipinos are from the Philippine Islands and are considered Asian, not Polynesian as Hawaiians are.

Question: I have been pushing for the Island of Savai'i to be recognized as the cradle of Polynesia. The name "Hawaii" I thought was from the name Savai'i. Do you agree?

Answer: This is an unknown lost to antiquity. Although the name Savai'i sounds similar to Hawai'i, Hawaiian legends tell of an early navigator named Hawaiiloa who landed in the island chain and after whom the islands were named.

Question: Are you sure that the Japanese or Japanese immigrants living here do not want Hawaii for themselves? I heard a Japanese man once tell me that if the Japanese can't own Hawaii thru war, then they will buy Hawaii up. What do you think he meant by that?

Answer: I think he meant that Japanese investors, at one time, wanted to buy as much Hawaii property as possible. This was true especially in the 1980's. But since then, Japanese investment has stabilized and I think that Chinese investors now own more real estate in Hawaii than those from Japan.

Question: Were the original Hawaiians of African descent?

Answer: No they weren't. They are Polynesians, and archaeologists' theorize that the Polynesians originated from the Indonesian area when ancient men sent small canoes to inhabit the Southern Pacific islands. The "original" Hawaiians migrated by outrigger canoes from the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific.

Question: Given that most people, rightfully in Hawaii or not, do not want to give up their status and belongings, what might be some options (geographically and politically) to regain sovereignty?

Answer: I think it would have to be an international effort through the United Nations. After all, Hawaii was an independent sovereign nation on the world stage when it was illegally overthrown with the backing of the U.S. military. Unfortunately, the U.S. is the only major country that has NEVER returned any land/countries they colonialized. You can research the history of other civilized nations (United Kingdom, etc) who have returned and allowed the independence of possessions they once inhabited.

Question: Are you, the writer of this article, Native Hawaiian?

Answer: Yes, I am.

Question: Can you please give me any information about tourist operations, restaurants etc that are owned and run by indigenous Hawaiians or have financial pathways back into indigenous communities? We are coming over in January and want to support indigenous businesses and people where we can.

Answer: Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, there is not a dependable central place to get info on Native Hawaiian-owned businesses. Because Hawaii is a U.S. state, we are held to federal law regarding discrimination and in many instances, it works against native people because it can be seen as discriminatory to promote a business on the basis of the owner's race. This is a link to the "Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce" which you would think is made up of native-owned businesses. NOT. Most are not native-owned but operate in Hawaii and have the "best interests" of the "Hawaiian people and the spirit of aloha". https://business.cochawaii.org/list/member/native-...

Here's a link to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs loan program for Native Hawaiian business owners. This may get you closer to grassroots info. https://loans.oha.org/native-hawaiian-business-own...

Thanks so much for caring about Native Hawaiians. And if you need anything else, either before or during your trip, don't hesitate to email me directly at hawaiianscribe@gmail.com

Question: Can native Hawaiians marry outside their race?

Answer: Of course. There are fewer than 5,000 pure native Hawaiians left on earth. We have been intermarrying for over 200 years.

Question: Hawaii needs to stay with the USA as a state, as Russia or China would invade. Do you agree?

Answer: Statehood continues to be debated here in Hawaii. I doubt Russia or China would invade Hawaii. If Hawaii were not part of the U.S., it's almost a certainty that the USA would continue to have military bases in Hawaii just as they do in over 100 countries around the world.

Question: Were the native Hawaiians all the same "tribe"? When this US apology happened, were any lands returned to the indigenous people of Hawaii or money paid?

Answer: Native Hawaiians were all one people. They didn't have tribes. They knew their genealogy and that they all came from the same ancestral people, even though they settled on different islands in the Hawaiian archipelago. The Native Americans lived in tribes, and often one tribe didn't know about tribes that were living in other areas. Regarding the U.S. apology in 1993. It was an apology on paper only. No lands were returned and no restitution or money paid.

Question: As a person from the mainland, what can I and what can we do to help the people of Hawaii regain the land and increase the economy?

Answer: The best thing you can do is to stay informed on the Hawaiian land and sovereignty struggles taking place. Currently, the issue of the 30 meter telescope proposed to be built on Hawaii's highest mountain, Mauna Kea, is of paramount importance. But there are many other current issues affecting the lives of Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians in Hawaii. There are groups on Facebook you might consider checking out which have the mission of spreading the word on Native Hawaiian topics of interest. There are also links in this hub to Native Hawaiian organizations that can be helpful.

Question: Is it better to sell property in Hawaii in "Leasehold" form to preserve the land for Native Hawaiians? Hawaii should be given their independence. I voiced my opinion before, but I got some negative responses from other groups of Hawaiians, especially when I mentioned 'the Kingdom of Hawaii".

Answer: Whether property is "leasehold" or not in Hawaii won't affect Native Hawaiians, because the land would still be owned by a private property owner. There still remains a difference of opinion on the probability of Hawaii once again being known as the Kingdom of Hawaii. Even Hawaiians are split on this. But your full support for the future sovereignty of Native Hawaiians is very much appreciated.

Question: I'm a kamaaina. I got a degree in Hawaiian Studies when there wasn't such a thing. Anyways I am haole. Can I join the Aloha Aina political party as a haole?

Answer: Of course, you can. Here is the link to their Facebook page. They will have candidates on the ballot in November 2020. https://www.facebook.com/groups/alohaainaparty/

© 2013 Stephanie Launiu


Jeff on August 26, 2020:

Moved to Hawaii in 1959 .I was 7 years old. Went to school at Jefferson Elementary. Stevenson Jr high. I learned a lot about pregidious. Here we are in 2020 . Do not live in Hawaii any more . But the pregidious lives on. How sad

Mary Williamson on August 04, 2020:

I love Hawaii, the land and the people. I am 74 yrs old and have visited the Islands for 50 years. Seen many changes. I am sorry my country took advantage of a smaller country. Mary

Richard on July 01, 2020:

Nice article

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on June 16, 2020:

Mahalo for reading my hub. Aloha...Stephanie

HaremCinema on June 13, 2020:

There was some interesting stuff here. thanks.

Robb Kvašňák (Lopaka) on June 08, 2020:

the New York Times published my letter to the editor today (8 June 2020)Just read Michenerʻs book "Hawaiʻi" to see how first Christian missionaries destroyed a beautiful culture and then how their grandsonʻs staged a coup to enrich themselves and start an illegal occupation of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. Look at the trepidation on the part of the US government to look for moral excuses to somehow justify this injustice and how this has lead to homelessness mainly among the native people in an on-going disenfranchisement of the native population under the guise of capitalism and landownership as introduced by the missionaries in the 1830ʻs. This injustice is bolstered by a Calvinist creed contrary to Native Hawaiian philosophy of take only what you need instead of "Christian" greed for hoarding and acquiring the "most" of everything.

But we must recognize that the behavior of the US may be one day turned against us, with us as the occupied. History, like the Coronavirus, does not take sides.

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on March 26, 2020:

Your guess is as good as mine. It has been a point of contention for generations. Hawaii is a strategic holding for the U.S. If the U.S. hadn't parked their fleet at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese never would have attacked Hawaii.

Gordon Goodhue on March 26, 2020:

How can we get the military out of Hawaii, their holing a lot of land from the Hawaiians

Mimi S. on January 25, 2020:

Thank you for this article. My great great grandparents and great grandma are indegenous Hawaiians. It is hard for me to find their record. I love and respect my culture even tho sadly, due to racial mixing i probably won't be considered Hawaiian anymore but I know deep inside it runs through my veins. I went to Hawai'i for the 1st time a few monthes ago and wanted to cry to see what my ancestors went through and the ignorance people believing they are Hawaiians when they are ethnically something else. When I tell people Hawai'i is a race of Polynesian people they get so confused. Anyway, thank you again for spreading the word if enlightening people of our real history and culture.

Schmaeve on November 05, 2019:

Enlightening. Thanks! I think almost all these things can be said about the tribal nations on the mainland as well.

Roberto Martin on October 26, 2019:

I believe that the USA should return Hawaii to the native Hawaiians and pay them for the many years of abusing their people. Also the monarchy should be restored. Should there be a referendum about the future of the islands, only the original natve Hawaiians should vote.

Moses Gomez on September 14, 2019:

I am sorry as an American citizen of Mexican descent that the USA did what they did to Hawaii and the Their people.

The USA has a history from their beginnings to take what is not theirs,

it has to stop. Look at the Native Americans, the New Californios from Mexico and lastly the Hawaiians.

Dole and many others should pay the Hawaiians for what they did.

Not by imprisonment, but by financial compensation and by giving up all ownership of their pirated ways. This includes the USA as the biggest offender.

Regardless what happens, God has the final say and vengeance is His.

Sue Doro on September 07, 2019:

thank you!

Kaye on June 29, 2019:

On January 17, 1893, an illegal overthrow of Hawai'i's government took place. Not the only sad story and sad to say from pass examples there iss no proof that it will have a happy ending as far as getting ones land back.

Example also in the 1800s the Indians were moved from lands. 'The Trail of tears' in which Cherokee Indians where taken from their homes and moved several states over, Georgia to Oklahoma. Thousands died in the removal migrations, mostly from starvation, malnutrition, exposure, and heartbreak.

Most of the removal controversy centered around the Cherokees and the other southern nations, the Indian Removal Act also resulted in the relocation of most of the tribes in the North, including the Cayugas, Delawares, Kaskaskias, Kickapoos, Menominees, Miamis, Ojibwas, Oneidas, Ottawas, Peorias, Piankashaws, Potawatomis, Senecas, Shawnees, Tuscaroras, and Winnebagos.

In 1843 the War Department estimated that it had removed almost ninety thousand Native Americans from their homes.

It was not just the United States,Europe's history has always been covered in blood shed of a strong nation taking over a small one.

I think you see were I am going with this. I really do not see you getting your land back. Governor John Waihe'e was the first elected governor of Hawai'i of Native Hawaiian ancestry. He served from 1986-1994.And I am surprised they let you have that much. I bet he had a lot to do with you getting your language and heritage teachings back in schools. The cool thing you did not have to live on a reservation to get that. You have come a long way from when parents were forbidden to speak their own language in their homes. Hopefully your children and grandchildren will keep your language and culture alive. My son's great,great grandmother hid in the Tenn mountains and avoided 'The Trail Of Tears'. Many others fled to the Great Smoky Mountains , where their descendants still live.

Paul on October 27, 2018:

Aloa people of Hawaii. I have great respect for how happy you all are and I would like to encourage you to keep the positive attitute. I have seen many original custodians of land who are a lot unhappier that you lot here. Keep promoting your culture and keep protecting it, you have the best of both worlds right now. Din’t fight to go back in time, work together to make it even better. Aloha and Mahalo

shaeden Ikaika on July 12, 2018:

Free Hawaii

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on June 05, 2018:

@Sanford Graves: Thank you for your comments. I agree that another colonialist country would have probably sought to occupy Hawaii at another point in time. The British are the only country that returned Hawaii to their independence after having one of their representatives declare Hawaii as part of them. Unfortunately for Hawaii, they were overtaken by the U.S. who has returned nothing that they've ever occupied. So 125 years after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, the country that wanted Hawaii so badly has made it legal in all states to abort fetuses, has football players kneeling for the national anthem, and has a congress that is fighting over how tall a wall to build on the southern border. May God bless Hawaii and the U.S.A.

Sanford Graves on June 05, 2018:

I really enjoyed this article. The Hawaiian people seem to be by all accounts a beautiful race their past practices of human sacrifice notwithstanding. All cultures practice human sacrifice in some form or another. But they were blessed and cursed. Blessed by finding paradise and being able to live in it for centuries and cursed because it also is probably the most militarily strategic group of islands in the world. They simply lacked and lack the wherewithal to keep it for themselves. Had it not been the Americans, it would be the Chinese or Japanese or the Russians who would have occupied it. They were taken advantage of for sure but hey, get in line. They should count their blessings and continue to promote the self-determination of their race as a people but barring a global apocalypse the idea of reclaiming Hawaii is a pipe dream.

twilightviolet on May 25, 2018:

Mrs. Launiu,

It is with great honor and respect that I write to you. I have been drawn to Hawaii since I was a very little girl. A Much deeper calling than any vacation could ever fill. When I did get to finally come to Oahu, everyone said it wouldnt be what I thought, that the magic was gone and was merely a tourist destination and that with my long blond hair and blue eyes, I'd be treated cruelly and with disrespect. My experience was anything but. I am nearly crying for I know this place to be my home both in the future and maybe a lifetime ago. I walk with heart, I lead with heart and from the moment I arrived I was welcomed by your Native Hawaiian brothers and sisters. Even in the bustle of Waikiki, I was invited to a ceremony celebrating the passing of a loved one just by coming up to the family and offering my love to them. I rented a small home in Kaawa and everyone thought I was a "local"....it was like being part of a private honor society. I cried, reading about Queen Lili'uokalani, her overthrow and her subsequent house arrest. I am so sorry that the government i was born under did this. My teenage son will be joining the Marine corpse in 3 years and I pray he gets stationed there as he has his mothers heart and a strong desire to be a part of the brotherhood of true honor. I want him to understand what his mother sees and feels in her bones. I hope that Hawaii regains its independence, that with Clintons first step many more will follow. My hope perhaps may be that there is a treaty that our military can still be there to protect and serve both lands of US and Hawaii and that I'll be welcomed again to return to my true home, like returning to the arms of a grandmother to bask again in the serenity I have felt no where else on earth. I love Hawaii as a place, as its people and culture and where my soul feels serenity and belonging. I bow to you for writing this article. I stand with you and your people and I hope in our lifetime we see the flowers of the seeds planted. In gratitude and love, Jeanna

Adriana Castillo on May 23, 2018:

I am trying to learn as much as I can about Hawaii and it's history. And your article was just the beginning. Now I am even more intrigued and will continue to learn more. Especially since I am planning on joining a family member who moved out to Oahu last year. Thank you very much all the way from Chicago!

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on May 11, 2018:

Mahalo for reading the article Klayton!

Klayton on May 10, 2018:

Thanks for the info, it’s nice to know about a little know place in the world

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on May 06, 2018:

@Kasia Mastek: Please keep in touch. Email me at hawaiianscribe@gmail.com if you have any questions when doing your research or planning your trip. Aloha, Stephanie

Kasia Mastek on May 04, 2018:

Thank you for passing along your knowledge Stephanie. I live in Canada. I have an opportunity to travel to Hawai'i next year and I am beginning to do some research about how to take that journey with knowledge and respect for the folks who are the rightful care-takers of that land. You have been a great resource to start this journey of learning.

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on April 25, 2018:

It is hard to surpass the wisdom and empathy that you possess. Aboriginal people have all experienced similar histories. You are right that we must become the change we want to see. Aloha no, friend. Please keep in touch. Stephanie

Jamie Kosalsky on April 25, 2018:

Aloha, Stephanie. Thank you so much for writing this article. It has taught me much and left me to ponder much. I have done grave research regarding my own Aboriginal ancestry- which has ignited a passion in me for restoration and balance for those not just on reservations and/or in poverty anywhere in the U.S., but Aboriginal's and any/everyone who suffers from the hands of corporate industry and government greed. The restoration of culture and sovereignity is of great importance- and that is where my flame ignited. And it is of utmost importance that the awareness continues by individuals like yourself. If not even for the sake of real political change, (which I pray does occur for you), but to never allow the truth to die. It leaves a void in the hearts of people when the history and knowing is buried. A memory that is felt in the heart, but with no teacher or elder to validate. The void is a wound that grows, and unfortunately in some, as a conscience, leaves a culture's people feeling defeated. This collective feeling of defeat, I have learned, connects to poverty, poor health care and education, increase in crime, disease and addictions. People depend on at birth a parent or grandparent, then a teacher and overall a society, or (government), to care, to lead and defend them. What is a group of people to do when that government fails them? How is a young mother in poverty, to care for, keep safe and healthy or encourage her young to grow in the greatness of ones potential when her mother could not do or teach her the same? Or a young boy who becomes a father that was provided no safe or thorough education to learn to protect and provide? So drugs and alcohol are medicine to cope with a defeated life, and crime is a way to eat... I understand it appears I have gone way off topic in my response to your article. And I do not know if that statement reflects Hawaii's people. But it does for so many here in Michigan and others too, on reservations. I am sure you understand where I am going with this. A pride and indepence in a culture is the heart of its society and predicts how future generations will live- or die. As a people, as humans, we must all do our part to work and help those who are broken. I hope that your article helps others to awaken that we as a people are the power of our government and if we all as a whole remain existing in a defeated state of mind, then those in power without prestige will continue to keep us down, sick and too tired to fight back. We cannot rely on our leaders like our ancestors could. We must become them. XO.

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on April 13, 2018:

@Kainoa Bugado: 'Ae pololei. I wrote the original article a few years ago. My purpose was to inform non-Hawaiians (primarily) about the story of our kūpuna. Over 300,000 have read the article, and it has worked its way up to the top of page 1 on Google for a search of "Native Hawaiians". It may be time to go a step further and write another one to clarify the status of the kingdom today. My email is hawaiianscribe@gmail.com. I would appreciate any info or direction you can give me for facts to include in an article. Aloha, Stephanie

Kainoa Bugado on April 12, 2018:

aloha no e Stephanie Launiu! mahalo nui for sharing mana'o about our homeland! i would like to clarify somethings a little further for you and the readers. the first thing is that the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands exists today. although there was an overthrow, the basic result on our Kingdom and government is that our Legislative Assembly is still capable of functioning today in 2018 and in recess. we know it exists because our existence has been brought up in a case in the international court and used as a precedent in the China Seas case and Lance Larson v. Hawaiian Kingdom. the other thing is that some terms are actually defined by our Kingdom government laws and there is confusion because of the invaders using similar words and terms. "Native Hawaiian" and 'indigenous' is the term the State uses to identify the people who lived in these islands b4 the arrival of Capt Cook and the other foreigners who stopped by our islands. these are the terms the State of Hawaii uses to identify us in their laws for programs and benefits like Hawaiian Home Lands, OHA grants or loans, etc. another confusing term is the Kingdom of Hawaii, which only refers to the island of Hawaii, just like there were Kingdoms of Maui, O'ahu and Kaua'i. Our Country is called in our laws, Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands or the Hawaiian Kingdom or Ko Hawaii Pae 'Aina. For those of us who realize the State's situation as having NO jurisdiction yet exercising control over us, I like to use the status terms defined in the Kingdom laws: kanaka maoli = those who have lived here since the government was internationally recognized in 1843 and before. kanaka hawaii=those born on Hawaiian Islands soil but not of the kanaka blood with equal rights to kanaka maoli; and haole=foreigners who get naturalized to our Country and receive the same rights as kanaka maoli. for clarity sake these Hawaiian Kingdom legal terms are very helpful. We are a Neutral fully Sovereign and Independent State in the Family of Nations since 1843 and a fantastic future coming. mahalo again for you article!! aloha no. Kainoa

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on April 10, 2018:

@Leland Johnson: No need to be embarrassed about not knowing much about Hawaii.It took generations getting public schools to teach the truth here in Hawaii. We all do our share. From my little corner of the island, I write. Thanks for reading. Aloha, Stephanie

Leland Johnson from Midland MI on April 09, 2018:

You've given me a lot to think about. I'm embarrassed that I knew next to nothing about Hawaii prior to reading your article. Thank you for such a well written, well documented article.

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on February 25, 2018:

@Mark K Palmer, Mahalo nui Mark. I hope you have a grand time at your brother-in-law's wedding. Thank you for your supportive words and thoughts. I have read about Australia's history, and know that you have kind regards for your country's aboriginal people as well. We need more people like you. Aloha no, Stephanie

Mark K Palmer on February 23, 2018:

I have been reading many articles on Hawaiian history and have learnt the real truth of the US invasion. I am from Australia and will be flying out to Oahu on 27th Feb for my Brother in-law's wedding. I have grown a great respect and love for the indigenous and rightful owners of Hawaii. I hope I get a chance to meet some while I am in your Country. I support your cause for the reinstatement of your culture and sovereignty. Aloha

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on February 14, 2018:

@Counterthink: I agree with you that opinions vary about what should be done now. I don't think Japan plays a role at all today. The issue should be between the U.S. government and representatives of the Hawaiian nation. Main problem is that the U.S. won't recognize the sovereignty of the Hawaiian nation, and therefore no mechanism of self-governance exists today. And the U.S. government is just fine with it that way.

Counterthink on February 13, 2018:

There are opinions that go either way about what should be done now, and that's fine.

But amidst all the fury of the one side, let's say the US gave it back. Japan expands into the South Pacific en route to Australia and then what happens with this island? Is it a Truk? Is it an Okinawa? Is it Wake. Obviously it would have been important for Japan...

Jayde on February 10, 2018:

I knew some of what happened, but this piece was really informative. I got a bit emotional. Even though while I am Polynesian (Samoan) and not Hawaiian this would've been devastating. Just a question, do schools not only teach this history but the language also? I think it's not only important for those who are not of Native Hawaiian heritage but also those who are. Helping those young ones learn about their people. I grew up in New Zealand (Aotearoa).The language of the Maori people is well celebrated as well as the culture in general. Even learning about Polynesian or specifically Maori legends such as Maui. Some schools have a dedicated subject just to the culture itself, or specific times of the day to honor the natives. Even the national anthem is sang in two parts. The first part is in Maori and the second is in English. While New Zealand is still under the British Monarchy with the union Jack on the flag, like Hawaii does. The country is very good at integrating the culture and such into everyday life. Not only the Maori culture but other Polynesian islands such as Samoan, Tongan or Cook Island. Because we're very close in a sense of us being Polynesian. But I don't know much about Hawaii's school system or direct governing other than the U.S government. But I think people know the History could help so they don't make similar mistakes. But again I cannot say anything. I'm just really interested in learning.

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on January 20, 2018:

America hasn't returned anything they've taken over yet.

eILEEN GRIFFIN on January 18, 2018:

unfortunately take overs like this happened in many countries, but also unfortunately there is nothing that can be done unless the new government agrees to return it to the people. I dont imagine that will happen with the U.S.A.

Rob-Lilly on January 13, 2018:

Great article but the poll question is misleading, "Do you think Native Hawaiians should have the right to govern themselves again?" This implies that Hawaiians had this right taken away. Sovereignty has the "perpetual right to existence" and lasts forever— sovereignty cannot be taken away-- but independence can be taken away. So, Hawaiians already have the right to govern themselves (but not currently independent and illegally occupied and governed by a foreign power: the United States). Likewise, the bullet point : "Hawaii was an independent and sovereign nation" — this should be clarified to say: "Hawaii was an independent nation and still is a sovereign nation". This is an important distinction because The United States cannot give back sovereignty, Hawaii already has this and those rights. Hawaii can free itself to be an independent nation again.

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on December 11, 2017:

The U.S. government IS the people of the U.S. "We the people". Traditionally, Native Hawaiians didn't believe that anyone could own land. The monarchy didn't own the land since Akua (God) had provided the land for all people to live on and use. The monarchy (a Western concept) did control what was done with the harvests or what the land produced. I'm not sure where you're living now, but I hope it's not in Hawaii.

Giullianna on December 10, 2017:

Why Billy Clinton apologized to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893." Why not on behalf of USA Government ? Is not like myself or other citizens did it , was their government and close friends (as Dole) . Also , I just saw a movie about Hawaii on Netflix and it shows that zero Native Hawaiians owned land at the time USA took over Hawaii .That is telling me a lot about monarchy of Hawaii ,they didn't care much for their native people either . :(

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on October 30, 2017:

Mahalo for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed reading the article. Many feel as you do. Others feel that Native Hawaiians should be able to have more say over their indigenous homeland. But I don't think anyone disagrees that Hawaii is the most beautiful place on earth. Aloha nui loa...

Eduardo Almeyda on October 25, 2017:

This is a great essay. And what was done to the Queen was terrible and illegal. Said that I do believe that the majority of the people that reside in Hawaii would like to remain within the USA. For nearly 200 years people has been moving to Hawaii from all over the world and many people already in their elderly years were born in Hawaii their kids , Grand Kids were born in Hawaii , they might not be Polynesian descent but I think they call themselves HAWAIIANS and they are proud of what they have learn and this Island , Many speak the language , love the food of the Islands are incredible Hula dancers and story tellers. I think Hawaii is the most beautiful place on this earth . We should NEVER forget the injustices of the past but it is better to move UNITED toward the future. instead of deciding what percentage of your DNA is this or that . Never forget the past and built a better future together .We are already living in a globalized Planet and MANY of all races and ethnic groups that call Hawaii home came here looking for a better life for their love ones , in part because ,YES , Hawaii is part of the biggest industrialized nation in the World ...Much love to all

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on August 17, 2017:

@ Mark Singleton: No, I haven't read "Kanaka" by Tom Koppel, but I have 2 sons living in Washington and know that there is Hawaiian heritage and history in the Northwest, like the Kalama River. Also, Hawaiians intermarried with Native Americans up there. I'm getting myself a copy of "Kanaka". Good luck in your continued good work. Aloha, Stephanie

Mark Singleton on August 15, 2017:

Kanaka by Tom Koppel. Do you have a copy? Apparently the royalty on the Big Island sold 2yr labor contracts to the Hudson's bay Company to work in the northwest. I've lived both places. Once hired a big Hawaiian cook who spoke pigeon but said he had never been to Hawaii. So, now living in Naalehu I'd like to connect the families who still reside in both places but have been out of touch since they chose to remain where they could remain free. Do you have any info?

Best Aloha,


Annemarie Mathews Boyle on August 11, 2017:

I loved this. My 3rd great Uncle was Lt. Samuel Nowlein. He was the one who led the Wilcox Revolution for Queen Lili. My 4th great grandfather was Michael James Nowlein, Sam's brother and my 3rd grandmother was Sam's niece Gini Jane Nowlein born abt 19830 in Molokai. My great grandmother Nancy K. Morse b. in Honolulu in 1894 and her daughter, my grandmother Nellie Sanders-Higgs (who was born in 1912 in Honolulu,) left the Islands w/my great grandfather in about 1916/17 as he was in the US Army and went to WW1. They went stateside after 2 years between the Philippines and Russia with the Army. She never returned. My grandmother taught my dad the ways of Hawaii and he returned as a young USMC in the 1950's to Kanehoe Bay. My siblings and I however grew up in California not knowing MUCH about our Hawaiian heritage. It is only now, in my 40's that I spend a lot of time researching our Native Hawaiian heritage. Of course, my genetics has been very diluted through the generations, but I am proud to be a member of the Daughters of Hawaii. Much of my research I find frustrating to learn about and a lot of it difficult to dig up since many records in Hawaii were not written down, but rather family stories passed through the early generations down. Also not many records are available online yet, (more and more each day.) So great details like these do help put the puzzles together. Thank you.

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on August 03, 2017:

@ Tyson Raxter: Mahalo nui! I'm glad it moved your heart. I hope someday you will be able to return to Hawai'i. Aloha, Stephanie

Tyson Raxter on August 02, 2017:

I'm from Honolulu, but moved away. Reading this was a fantastic experience for me. I would love to move back and this article really reignited my love for the place. I'm heavily into history and the history if Hawai'i is not one I'm too familiar with. I thoroughly enjoyed this.


Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on July 12, 2017:

Mahalo nui Susan! I went to public schools in Hawaii in the 60's, and we weren't taught the truth about the overthrow of Hawaii's monarchy either. And it's hard to imagine that it was only in the 1980's that it became legal to teach the Hawaiian language in public schools!! We do have to watch where our tax dollars are spent after all LOL. I hope you will continue your interest in Hawaii. Aloha, Stephanie

Susan Echelman on July 12, 2017:

I have now gained a much better understanding of the history of Hawaii as well as current sentiments that natives feel about perhaps restoring Hawaii's soverignty. Once again--anothet shameful part of ourcountry's history. I definately never learned any of this in public school or college, and am so grateful to have this information now.

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on June 20, 2017:


Kamehameha I did not "illegally" take control of the Hawaiian archipelago, as the islands were not united under centralized law. He and his armies defeated each island's chief, as was the norm in those days. Any other chief could have done it, but Kamehameha was the first to do it. It is still debated whether he did it fairly, since he used western weapons (guns) in some battles, but I will leave that to others to debate. Kaumualii, the chief of Kaua'i, surrendered to Kamehameha peacefully in 1810 at which time all of the islands came under centralized control. Kamehameha I died in 1819 in Kailua, Kona at the age of 61 from a prolonged illness.

Mike on June 18, 2017:

King Kamehameha also "illegally" took control of the island chain. Kaumualii was the ruler of Kauai before Kamehameha.

Brian Haina on April 27, 2017:

Mahalo nui loa for all that youve done and said about our culture. It still hurts me to know what the U S and other cultures have done to our culture and also the Native and Eskimo Indian culture and also other cultures around the world. It just tells me that they're used to being the way they are and I don't see any changes of them and they will only help those that will help them in what they always do. I just hope that one day "all" cultures will get together and stand up to what they do no matter what it does to our kind! Aloha wau ia'oe

heather on April 25, 2017:

amazing. really helped me with my senior research project!

Willa Sartin on April 25, 2017:

What a sad story. This should at least be talked about in mainland schools.ive visited Hawaii many times and learned a lot in bits and pieces. What to do, what to do.? Native Hawaiians must have at the very least,the same rights as Native Americans.

Uncle Richard on April 10, 2017:

A decade ago I met an aunty. She slowly and meticulously introduced me to Hawaii. Not only from the cultural events

happening throughout the year locally, but through books. She is a higfh school graduate of Kamemeha in Honolulu. I learned a lot

from her and the Ke Kukui Foundation. The last book she gave

me to read was the Queens book. As a pale skinned "shawk bait", I fell in love with this woman, aand pissed at my country.

All this education before ever going to the country of Hawaii.

I grew up with a few American Indians, also got to know their grandmother. She told us something in 1959 that didn't make sense to this 17 year old, who knew everything there was to know about absolutly nothing. It came back to me after reading the Queens book. She told me and her grands sons not to believe what is being put into the history books about what or why it happened this year, the statehood of two robbed nations and peoples. I have met and have as friends several Hawaiians.

They have taught me what Aloha really is. This May I will be attending my eighth May day celebration. Music, dancing, food and friends.

Renee Timas on March 19, 2017:

Very informative. Mahalo for sharing. Will read up on resources provided..

Kenalo Ha'aHeo Bogac on March 06, 2017:

I am one of her descends and Ibelieve there is so much more that was stolen from us.

Sharon Saddleback on March 02, 2017:

Thank you for your historical information on Hawaii. The way your people were treated is sad to see. I do not understand homesteads. Please explain. Please keep sharing about your people's plight.

Kaimana on February 11, 2017:


Iʻm an 18 year old Hawaiian, who attends UH Mānoa and is fueled by this movement to get an education and make Hawaiʻi better. However, the amount of us getting this type of education is little and we need more people to help us. So I ask, how do you think we can get young Kānaka Maoli involved and educated?

Katrina Hansen on January 22, 2017:

Is there still a kingdom within the islands? Hawaii. 5-O episode on Jan 20?

Aldara Noriega on January 21, 2017:

Love this, I would like to read more about your history is there a book that details everything as well as you did ?

Samantha on November 09, 2016:

Hello, I'm a writer and while I was developing a character who decided he wanted to be a Native Hawaiian. I've been doing research but I wanted to ask some experts what they would want to see in a character that represents their home and their culture.

Paul- Kapolei on October 14, 2016:

What a fantastic article along with wonderful dialogue! I'm a transplanted mainlander of European descent, but I think I have a Hawaiian soul. I'm proud to live here, feel a bit guilty about "owning" a piece of this sacred land, and hope that there's a place for my family when sovereignty comes!

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on September 07, 2016:

Mahalo for your kind comments Sheri Wahinekapu. When people read a concise presentation of the facts, the great majority will see a clear picture of a nation wronged. I have also planted "the seed" in my mo'opuna. You and I may not be here to see the full-grown tree, but the tree will grow and fruit. About that I am sure...aloha no, Stephanie

Sheri Wahinekapu on September 06, 2016:

Mahalo nui loa for a precise presentation of our culture, our people and our history. This information allows everyone, kanaka maoli and haole to read and understand FACTS. I ask that this be shared around the world in order to gain more support for our home. My na mo'opuna will read this and the seed will be planted if it hasn't yet and they will have a foundation of where they came from, who they are and figure out how they can contribute to the perpetuation of our culture. Mahalo, mahalo, mahalo ame Mahalo ke Akua

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on August 26, 2016:

Thank you Maryann. I'm glad you finally had a chance to visit Hawaii, and that you learned about Eddie Aikau, the Hokule'a, the Hawaiian people and on and on. Aloha...

Maryann on August 25, 2016:

Thank you for this information. I took my first trip to Hawaii this summer and learned about Eddie Aukai. I became fascinated with his legacy. Which led to the learning about Hokulea, which led to the history of the Hawaiian people. I am looking forward to learning more. Thanks for the links and sources.

HaoleTom on August 24, 2016:

This is an interesting and detailed article, but sadly, it's one-sided and ignores some mistakes on the part of the Hawaiian royalty themselves. David Kalakaua was quite ambitious and wasn't opposed to stacking the deck in his government to get his way. He was also angling for a niece of his to marry Japanese roaylty with the apparent hope that Japan would annex the islands, which may have been a horrible mistake. Likewise, Liliokalani was given an offer by the US to return Hawaii to a kingdom status, I believe by President Grover Cleveland, but she delayed in an over-emotional reaction. By the time she agreed, the US assumed she was not going to reply to their offer and went ahead with annexation. Yes, much of what the US did was wrong, but the leaders that the Hawaiian peoploe trusted were not blameless.

Judith Strauch Diess on August 20, 2016:

Correction on Hawaii State History taught in Hawaii Public Schools. There were several types of public schools in the Islands. Local, Rural, and English Speaking or as we called them Haole. Roosevelt was considered Haole as well as Kalani. There were also ones near military bases Like Redford High, Called a Haole School. Kaimuki, McKinley, Farrington, for example were local. Lots of pigin spoken there by teachers as well as students. We did have Hawaiian classes available compliments of Mr. Baker. We also had watered down Hawaii State History that was mandatory to pass if you wanted to graduate High School. It was taught senior year. Most of my childhood education was in the islands including pre-school located in 1947 at Lanikai Beach house on the beach. I was at Kaimuki High from 1960-1964. I was then sent to the mainland to college to hopefully, quit speaking pigin. I flunked English comp. in college many times before passing. In 5th grade Hawaiian culture was also taught including ukulele. Hula was taught in PE class as a part of dance. Something else in High School you had to pass to graduate High School. I still have a deep love for my Hawaii roots.

Kika Wai'Alae on August 19, 2016:

Hawaii still is a sovereign nation in continuity today. We are currently working on forcing the US to comply to the law of occupation. We have been in international courts system proving our status of a nation. A joint resolution is all the US has to claim Hawaii. A treaty is needed and does not exist due to the Ku'e patition that was written about earlier. To find current events go to www.hawaiiankingdom.org mahalo for writing this article but it goes much deeper at least this is a start. The Lance Larcen v the Hawaiian Kindom faced arbitration in the Netherland. That case was used as an example in the South China Sea v the Philippines recently. All can be found on www.hawaiiankingdom.org.

susan Cane on July 24, 2016:

Hi, just came back from Kauai and was wondering where did all the Hawaiian people go? I see a lot of Filipino people dancing as Hawaiians but no Hawaiians!

Oscar Pedro Larghi on July 18, 2016:

Kamehamenha I also signed a Peace ance Commerce treaty with Argentina in 1817, Being the first king to recongnize the young new nation, My respect to him!

Twizz on May 29, 2016:

Thank you for enlightening, and for the Ukulele.

Happy Days, Twizz.

Kalauokalani on May 02, 2016:

There is NO TREATY OF ANNEXATION! HAWAII IS OCCUPIED BY THE UNITED STATES! HAWAII IS NOT PART OF THE US! This is international law... no different from how the Baltic States were not part of the Soviet Union. Just like how Crimea is not part of Russia. Hawaii never became or conceded to become part of the US. That can only happen by treaty. There is no treaty. There is only a Joint Resolution. A Newlands resolution drafted by the racist Francis Newlands. A Joint Resolution lacks the power to take another country. The U.S. uses paradise propaganda to mask their involvement in stealing an entire nation. It's Genocide. What happened in Iraq happened in Hawai'i in 1893, puppet governments, illegal intervention,

ʻŌnikiniki on April 29, 2016:

MAHALO NUI LOA e Stephanie Launiu no kēia! He mea NUI no ka a'o 'ana o nā po'e a'ole maopopo i ka 'oiai'o. Aloha au ia 'oe no ka wehewehe 'ana o nā pilikia no na kanaka hawai'i ♡♡♡♡

Val Karas from Canada on January 22, 2016:

Born and raised in a European country and now living in Canada, I spent my childhood admiring Hawaiian music and what Hawai'i stood for, with their culture and the pristine beauty of its islands. I am 71 now, and only 3 years ago I finally had my first opportunity to visit that land of my dreams. I asked a Hawaiian young woman in her hula clothing to take a picture with me, and that photo is now enlarged and framed in my living room.

Sorry this is not a direct comment to your hub, but I hope it serves as an indication of how I sympathize with your people, while hoping to see Hawaii again as soon as possible. Mahalo for the great and informative hub.

Min Soo on October 25, 2015:

I am commenting to ask that you please remove my last comment. I have spoken up and I need to do more research because I am unable to find the documentary which I referred to. Without that as reference, I do not wish to create any issue which I cannot provide a reference source which my comment is based on. Mahalo..

Min Soo on October 25, 2015:

This is very well done. All the time and effort which you put in has produced an amazing piece of work. There is one comment I wish to make about the overthrow, I am not a history expert and I have not done as much research as you have so I may not be factually correct. The overthrow was led by citizens of the Kingdom also because at the time, anyone born in the Kingdom was a citizen and considered to be Hawaiian. Lorrin A. Thurston was actually the leader of the overthrow and with help from family/friends/business relationships on the East Coast of the U.S., he was able to have the U.S. gun boat in Honolulu Harbor but the military personnel did not actually come ashore. Sanford Dole was brought in after the overthrow and asked to be the first leader of the Territory/Republic because of his relationship with the Hawaiian people. He did not actually participate in the overthrow as a major factor until the Territory/Republic was established. He was asked to do so because, at the time, he had many Hawaiians working for him on his plantation and he had good relationships with many families on both sides during these turbulent times. Thurston's letters reveal much of this unknown history and there was once a documentary based on these letters from PBS Hawaii. It was narrated by Leslie Wilcox but I cannot remember what the name of the piece was called. Thank you for sharing your work and creating a place for others to come to learn about the wonderful history of the Islands and the Native/native Hawaiian people.

AustinKalani on October 22, 2015:

Cook didn't land at Kealakakua in 1778. He landed near Waimea, Kaua'i. Left to find a non-existent Northwest Passage for a year, then returned to Hawai'i. He landed at Kealakakua in 1779.

Aukai on July 29, 2015:

Thank you for Sharing, Great article

Rami Sabeer from Egypt on July 28, 2015:

Great article , i love this nice and value information thank you for sharing this post

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on July 28, 2015:

@aku: Thanks for your comment and for reading this article. Please note that my article does not advocate for a separate kingdom, but does give links to other groups in favor of solutions that may not popular with a majority of people. After all, this is American democracy, no? Free speech? I would like to note that the 93% favorable vote in 1959 for statehood included a small minority of Hawaiian/part Hawaiians. By then, the cultural genocide, native population decrease, and immigrant in-migration had already left its mark on the islands. At the time of the annexation in 1898, the remaining 40,000 Native Hawaiians voted overwhelmingly NOT to be annexed by the U.S., but Congress and the U.S. President disregarded them. Sixty years later at the statehood vote, colonialism had taken its toll.

Komang Setiabudi from Jakarta Selatan on July 27, 2015:

This article is very touching and important, because many of the events that made the original inhabitants of a country or the area around us, even in developed countries like the United States or other countries such as China that have made the natives or indigenous people as second class citizens, even changing their original cultural identity. Whether the United Nations or non-governmental organizations can save a case like this anywhere else?

aku on July 23, 2015:

Hawaii voted to become a state in 1959. The vote was 93 percent in favor, thus ending the issue of weather Hawaiians wanted to be part of the United States or not. This talk of a separate Kingdom is a red herring. No different than me wanting to not pay taxes to a Federal Government that I didn't vote for.

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on July 22, 2015:

@Hstephens: Thank you for your comment. I could find no historical evidence that President Grover Cleveland "offered the thrown (sic) back to the queen and she refused." Cleveland was definitely of the opinion that America had wrongly overthrown the Hawaiian government, but he left it up to Congress to decide the matter. And the rest is history...

Hstephens on July 22, 2015:

I love Hawaii and I have been there over 30 times. Great story, but you do not mention that president Cleveland offered the thrown back to the queen and she refused. There were stipulations , but the fact still remains. God bless Hawaii and I hope there is a solution where it remains a state

Canita Prough from Texas on July 21, 2015:

Really enjoyed the tribute to the queen video.

Lori Downey from Utah on July 20, 2015:

Thank You so much, Stephanie!! I really hope we can come visit soon. As I said, it has been a life long dream.

My friend from Hawaii has sort of adopted me into her family since we were in the same High School. Her children think of me as "Aunty Lori", even though I haven't seen them for 25 years, or, even met some of them. It is a wonderful feeling for me. I have always admired her sense of community and love.

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on July 20, 2015:

Thank you ʻLori downʻ for your kind comments. I do hope that you and your daughter will visit Hawaiʻi someday. Keep in touch and let me know if you get to the islands; I will make myself available to show you around. Aloha, Stephanie

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on July 20, 2015:

@T: Thank you for your comment. I have found that most people who say "I donʻt want to live in the past" are usually of the same nationality as those being accused of some wrongdoing. In your case, Iʻm assuming that you are white. But it makes no difference, because the Native Hawaiian argument has nothing to do with "skin color", as you put it. Itʻs not a race issue. It is an issue of Americaʻs illegal overthrow of a foreign government and the effect that has had on the native people of Hawaiʻi. You might want to read "Overthrow - Americaʻs Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq" by Stephen Kinzer. Since the U.S. has now reopened diplomatic relations with a communist country (Cuba), and negotiated a nuclear treaty with the worldʻs biggest supporter of terrorism (Iran), perhaps there is hope for the U.S. to reopen diplomatic relations with a peaceful nation that it had no business overthrowing and occupying (Hawaiʻi).

jcrunch on July 19, 2015:

One very small correction to your article: Lili'uokalani's statue does indeed face the Hawai'i state capitol building. I just visited Iolani Palace earlier this month, and took pictures of the statue. I was struck by the fact that the statue is on (it appears) capitol grounds, land owned and operated by the state that is a part of the country that illegally annexed her sovereign country. Ironic. I've taken to believing that her statue's proud countenance is merely a statement of determination, an artful rendering of her belief in her people and the righteousness of her cause--as Hawaiians today might say of her look, she appears to be showing some "stink eye" in the general direction of the government which helped end her reign, and to the whole concept of anyone taking Hawaiians' sovereignty away. (I know, probably not her style....)

t on July 18, 2015:

I teach my children to respect all people based on the content of thier character and to let go of identity based on skin or ethnicity and not to live in the past. I challenge all people to do the same.

Kamaka on July 18, 2015:

To the author of the last comment.... "T".... May I quote you? What have you done to start this movement?

T on July 18, 2015:

Americans settlers were not simply European, they came from many lands before Europe, they were and are as all people, native earth. We are all of the same origin and all the dialogue about race ethnicity etc... Is racist and self serving protectionism. We are all native earth. Native Hawaiians, have some great wonderful people in their history, but there have been abuses and people of poor character originating from the culture just as there have been from Europeans, Africans, American Indians, etc... We need to shed race and ethnicity centric dialogue and become one homoginous people and quit living in the past waiting for reimbursement for historic wrongs. The American Indians were not one unified peaceful people- they had many disputed with each other, war with each other, stole, raped each others women, and disagreed over territory. The law of the land was who could defend the territory could own it. A significant number found a way to have peace, but a significant number chose a violent path to take what they wanted. All people of all cultures have demonstrated historic similarities to what the "white" Europeans brought. All of are good and bad. What destroys us all most today is the deplorable focus on how special, unique and entitled we are due to a particular ethnicity or skim color. We are creating silos, special clubs of exclusivity based on all the wrong things. I cant change what an evil king and a tax enforcing family clan perpetuated on some of my ancestors hundreds of years ago, but the good news is that I don't live in that past world anymore..i live today, free to define my future and the current and treat people right and be responsible for what I do today and not look to distinguish myself by my ethnic or cultural roots as an identity of who I am and what I deserve. Our kids are all paying attention to all these infantile discussions of what race or ethnicity we are and why those things should bring us special benefits...this is the wrong message to send them and as a result, they will continue to perpetuate those damaging attitudes and lean on ideals focused on getting things due to skin color and heritage vs being an all loving healthy, productive person. Start this movement ...we are all native earth!

Lori Downey from Utah on July 18, 2015:


Thank you for this well written Hub. I knew next to nothing about the islands. I have never been fortunate enough to visit. It has always been a dream to go there some day.

I have a very good friend who was born in Hawaii. Perhaps some day, my daughter and I will be lucky enough to visit.

You have taught me a lot about the history of your beautiful home. I hope you will get justice some day.

Thank you, once again for educating me. I will continue to read, and, educate myself. You are a beautiful writer.

Thank you


Miz Priya on July 17, 2015:

Thank you for writing this. The only thing I would say differently is that you don't have to be Kanaka Maoli to support and advocate for the native Hawaiian people. I identify as Kama'aina American. I belong to the land of my birth, it does not belong to me. ❤ Mahalo.

Kim on June 27, 2015:

hi there,

I'm writing a vampire novella set on a small unnamed Hawaiian island. prior to this I knew virtually nothing about Hawaii. part of the fun of writing what you don't know is learning about it! and I've learned quite a bit during my searches. of course there will always be more to learn, which is why I'm here. if you don't ask, you'll never find out.

next let me say, if I could make a blanket apology on behalf of the U.S., I would. unfortunately it's so much larger than me. my novella is not an apology per se, in fact it's mostly from the perspective of continental Americans (one of whom was born on the island), but I'm hoping it will at least wake some people up to the issue who might never have thought about it.

what I would know and understand is this: what exactly would you have happen here? the past can't be erased. decimation can't be undone (as much as I wish it could). colonization has taken place. economics and structures are in place. bloodlines are crossed dozens of times over.

so what exactly would you have happen? I've heard people talk about sovereignty, but what exactly do you mean by that? who exactly would you have in charge, and how would that be decided? do you go back to a monarchy, where family DNA decides who is a ruler and who is untouchable, or would you formally adopt democracy? what happens to people born on the islands who have European or Asian DNA and have never known any other home? are they Hawaiians, or not? do they have Hawaiian rights, or not? do you completely banish the U.S. from your shores, or would you consider a bona fide treaty done the legal way? are there groups dedicated to actually bringing these things about? grassroots or official? what exactly are they doing to bring it about? aside from education, as you are doing here.

I don't expect you to speak on behalf of all Hawaiians, of course, any more than I can speak on behalf of the entire U.S. but as much as I've learned while writing this novella, there are some things that a book or website just won't tell you. I've read a lot of flowery rhetoric over the course of my writing. I would like to go beyond that.

jj on April 20, 2015:

Please please never ever ever agree to be reconginzed as like the american indians..even they do not relate to the term anerican indians.. have you ever seen an indian reservation.. its soo poor and sad.. the worst neglected conditions..you are better off the way you are now.. don't ever agree to it..

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on April 07, 2015:

@kustom: Aloha aina kāua. Mahalo nui for your obvious love for Hawai’i. We need more people on our islands like you, not fewer. My problem is with the U.S. government and state of Hawai’i who continue to perpetuate the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian nation, and refuse to recognize the inherent rights of the kanaka maoli. Mahalo for reading this hub (twice). Malama pono. Stephanie

kustom on March 31, 2015:

I just read this article for the 2nd. time. My Grandfather purchased property in the late 60's early 70's on Maui. We lived on the mainland and would go to visit Maui. When we went to visit their house in CA. I remember flipping through the Hawaii language books that they had on the coffee table and trying to pronounce words. We listened to Hawaii music and attended "wanna be" Luahs. Through the years it seems that every family member (including me) has moved to Hawaii or has at least spent a significant amount of time there. We have embraced this sacred culture and it has become part of my identity. The problem is that, no matter how much I love and respect Hawaii, I have no Hawaiian blood. My presence and our ownership of land violate the Hawaiian Sovereign Nation and it's indigenous people. It seems the greatest respect I could show is to not ever return. But it's my "home", my loved ones are buried in it's ocean.

Thanks for the great article.

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