Ku’e Petition Sign Display on the National Mall
Kūʻē Petition Database – current names on signs
Honoring Our Kūpuna
and “The Kūʻē Petition”
The members and friends of Ka Lei Maile Ali’i Hawaiian Civic Club invite your kokua and participation involving a dramatic visual display on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in October of this year. The purpose? To remember and honor our kupuna (ancestors) who stood in 1897 in solidarity (ku’e) for their beloved nation, Hawai’i.
Here’s what our kūpuna did…
In 1897, faced with the prospect of having their nation illegally annexed by the United States, the people of Hawai’i mounted a grassroots, village-to-village, door-to-door campaign to collect signatures on two petitions, one opposing the annexation and the other supporting the monarchy. More than 38,000 people—90% of all Hawaiian nationals at the time—signed these petitions. This “Kū’e Petition” opposing annexation was hand delivered to Washington, DC and succeeded in stopping cold, US Senate ratification of the pending treaty of annexation. It was a resounding victory for Hawai’i’s people!
But it was short lived, as the next year, 1898, the United States Congress resorted to substituting a “joint resolution” as if it were an actual treaty of annexation, and proceeded to seize Hawai’i to turn it into a US territory.
La Hoihoi Ea @Thomas Square –
Indoctrination and propaganda…
A vigorous, concerted 60-year indoctrination campaign ensued to erase any memory of the illegal actions. Then in 1959, with the people of Hawai’i thinking they were US citizens living in a US territory, and having long forgotten their grandparents’ resistance and having no knowledge about the Kū’e Petition, the US morphed Hawai’i into the 50th state of the union.
But in the early 1970s a Hawaiian cultural renaissance gave birth to a rising awareness and pride in the accomplishments of Hawai’i’s ancestors. Questions arose about how Hawai’i came to be a part of the US. The truth began to surface, sparking the Hawaiian “Sovereignty” movement on one hand and US/State diversionary tactics on the other, offering Native Hawaiian entitlement programs as a way to short-circuit efforts to find and reveal the truth. In 1993 the U S acknowledged and apologized for its role in the illegal usurpation of the Hawaiian Kingdom, but did nothing to undo the wrong. The “sovereignty” movement became the “independence” movement. Even then, very few people knew of the resistance of our kūpuna and fewer still, the existence of the Kūʻē Petition.
The Petition found…
In 1996, a graduate student looking for evidence of Hawaiian resistance to annexation came across the Kū’e Petition that had been consigned to obscurity a hundred years before in the National Archives of the United States. Carefully reproduced pages of the petition were made and returned to Hawai’i, put on display, then compiled into several volumes, bringing to light solid, irrefutable evidence of the extraordinary, heroic resistance efforts that Hawaiian nationals had mounted a century earlier.
Queen Liliu’okalani Birthday @Iolani Palace
In 2009, members and friends of Ka Lei Maile Ali’i Hawaiian Civic Club began to lovingly hand-write each name of the petition signers on individual placards. Then on special occasions, arranged the placards in dramatic displays at various significant historical sites such as `Iolani Palace, Thomas Square and McKinley High School.
The names, displayed row-upon-row, signify that our grandparents and great-grandparents had actively protested and resisted US annexation. Contrary to what we had been led to believe, our kupuna did not stand by idly, apathetically, while their nation was taken from them. And they certainly did not approve of the take-over.
You can see photos of the placards on display here.
The placards represent just a snapshot of the many Hawaiians who signed petitions opposing the forced annexation of Hawai’i to the US.
Standing among the names of thousands of kupuna in the display is an emotional, moving experience. It allows us today to connect with our kupna, unite our voices with theirs and together express our continued love for our homeland, Hawai’i.
If you would like to kokua (help) with this amazing effort in any way, please email Lynette Cruz firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our website www.Kaleimailealii.org. (contact, donate, show up)…
Click here to see how you can help.
Ka Lei Maile Ali’i Media – Photo Video Files
President’s Day @McKinley Statue McKinley High School