Archivist Picks – Hawaiian Sovereignty

With the topic of sovereignty being raised quite a bit in the news recently and with Lā Ho‘iho‘i Ea (Restoration Day) being celebrated this weekend (July 26), we decided to highlight some of the footage we have in our collections that are related to Hawaiian sovereignty.

First Friday : The Unauthorized News : Hawaiian Sovereignty (February 1993), HKG Pilot Program Collection

First Friday : The Unauthorized News : Hawaiian Sovereignty (February 1993), Pilot Program Collection

Topics discussed and events observed in the selected footage include the 1893 overthrow of Queen Lili‘uokalani and the 1898 (purported) annexation of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. It should be pointed out that the footage we have covers an array of issues related to sovereignty for Hawai‘i, including efforts to stop the bombing of Kaho‘olawe and a number of First Friday episodes which detail the state-run Native Hawaiian plebiscite.

We also have a good amount of footage on Ka Lāhui Hawai‘i, mainly because members of that group, like Haunani-Kay Trask and Mililani Trask, hosted the First Friday program (which we acquired as part of our Pilot Program) and detail much of Ka Lāhui’s actions and viewpoints during the show. But, we also have digitized video of Kekuni Blaisdell, who was active in the Ka Pākaukau group, and of George Helm, Emmett Aluli and others from the Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana (PKO).

Her Majesty: Liliʻuokalani, Hawai'i Public Broadcast Collection

Her Majesty: Liliʻuokalani, Hawaiʻi Public Broadcast Collection

For those less familiar with the ongoing struggle for Hawaiian sovereignty… Many, if not all, in the sovereignty movement agree that the overthrow was illegal; however, there have been various actions proposed to address the issue and the debate continues as to a solution to the injustice. It could be argued that the sovereignty movement was started by the Queen and her supporters immediately after the 1893 overthrow. But, the modern sovereignty movement coincides with the Hawaiian Renaissance of the 1970s and was especially strong in the 1990s with the anniversaries of the overthrow and the annexation in 1993* and 1998 respectively.

* We’re currently digitizing footage of the 1993 ‘Onipa‘a event held at ‘Iolani Palace on the 100th anniversary of the overthrow of the Queen. We’re hoping to be able to add these videos to our website later this year. Email us (uluulu at hawaii.edu) for more info.

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