As we ring in the New Year, I would like to touch on some of the significant milestones for the Native Hawaiian community that will be celebrated and/or remembered this year.
Of the utmost significance is the 125th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. While this is a somber milestone for our people, it is important that we recognize the significant impact this event has had on Hawai‘i and its people. The overthrow, carried out by American businessmen, missionary descendants, and U.S. Marine forces, resulted in very disparate outcomes for various groups in Hawai‘i. While some groups, such as western business men, gained immense wealth and resources as a result of the overthrow, the Native Hawaiian population suffered immense loss, both spiritually and economically. It is critical that we highlight this turning point in our history as we navigate a path forward.
2018 is also the 100th anniversary of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole’s establishment of the first Hawaiian Civic Club to promote good government, advance the education of the Lāhui, and elevate the social, economic, and civic status of Native Hawaiians. Today there are dozens of civic clubs and thousands of members.
Other significant milestones are the 40th anniversary of the 1978 constitutional convention that led to significant protections for traditional and customary Native Hawaiian rights, designation of the Hawaiian language as an official language of the state, established the Hawaiian education program in public schools, and the creation of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. These achievements have resulted in a growing Hawaiian education movement that ranges from pre-school to college graduate level programs throughout Hawai‘i.
2018 is also the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Apology Resolution, through which the United States apologized for its role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
We should utilize 2018 as an opportunity to reflect upon each of these milestones and the significant impacts each has had on our community. In doing so, we will elevate the message of an empowered Lāhui that will build upon each of these achievements in the ongoing pursuit for justice for Native Hawaiians and Hawai‘i.