We are embarking in a significant endeavor aimed at reinstating Lahaina as the capital, marking a critical step in the ongoing journey to reconvene the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands after 130 years of illegal occupation by the 1871 US INC. The path to achieving this milestone has been one of unwavering determination and resilience. It harkens back to the year 1897 when the Hawaiian people fiercely resisted the annexation by the United States. Prominent leaders such as Queen Lili'uokalani, James Kaulia, Joseph Nāwahīokalaniopuʻu, Abigail Kuaihelani Maipinepine Campbell, and many others rallied the nation to stand against the injustices of an illegal overthrow and the silencing of the Hawaiian people. In the years leading up to 1897, the Hawaiian Kingdom and its people faced numerous challenges, including the imposition of the Bayonet Constitution in 1887 and the forceful overthrow of Queen Lili'uokalani in 1893. Despite these hardships, there was a steadfast belief that justice could be achieved through peaceful and democratic means.
The efforts to oppose annexation were formidable, with mass meetings and petition drives organized by groups like the Hui Aloha ʻĀina for Women, the Hui Aloha ʻĀina for Men, and the Hui Kālaiʻāina. These endeavors culminated in the submission of petitions to the U.S. Senate in Washington D.C., representing the resounding voice of the Hawaiian people, totaling 38,000 signatures. While the annexation treaty failed to secure enough votes, the U.S. Congress, spurred by the Spanish-American War, disregarded international law and illegally passed the Newlands Resolution in July 1898, annexing Hawaiʻi into the United States. On August 12, 1898, the American flag was raised over ʻIolani Palace, a moment that still resonates throughout the islands.
Today, we acknowledge the courage and determination of our kūpuna, as evidenced by the Hui Aloha ʻĀina’s petitions, which lay dormant in the U.S. National Archives until their return to Hawaiʻi in 1998. These pages bear witness to the mana of our ancestors and serve as a reminder of the ongoing commitment of Kānaka Maoli to protest the illegal seizure, occupation, and abuse of Hawaiian lands, following in the righteous footsteps of those who signed the petitions in 1897. As we embark on the journey to reinstate Lahaina as the capital and continue the work to reconvene the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands, let us honor the legacy of those who came before us and work together towards a future rooted in justice, aloha, and sovereignty.