The path to statehood for Hawai'i
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In 1959 The U.S. Territory of Hawaii became the 50th State of the U.S. In 2009, the 50th state will have it's 50th Anniversary.Hopefully this date will mark a celebration for all of Hawai'i residents and their contribitions of culture and Aloha (love) to our global community.Unfortuantely this occation is marked with mixed feelings among islanders as it may stir up unpleasant memories of the past.
It is important to be repectful to the native Hawaiian people and their history of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monachy but in doing so, also equally important to review the events that led up to this with an open mind.The most important thing to look back and learn from the mistakes of the past while recognizing the chellenges of the world today and appreciating the state of the Islands of Hawai'i.Among many Hawai'i residences including native Hawai'ians and those of mixed ancestory this is a very sensitive topic steming from the times of first European contact and the Kamehameha Dynasty
At the time of european contact the Islands of Hawai'i although sahring culture and language were considered to be un-unified meaning that at the time of European contact 1778, there was no single Ali'i (chief) who was the dominant single ruler of all the Islands at one time. With the motivation to unify the Islands under a single ruler Kamehameha I waged war on other native Hawaiians to establish himself as the sole ruler of Hawai'i.
The Kingdom of Kaua'i was the only kindom to be conquered diplomatically after failed invasion attempts. Kamehameha, used foriegn aids such as cannons, and even the assistance of John Young and Isaac Davis to complete his mission. Although was utilized foriegners and their weapons durin war, as a ruler he was known to be very traditional. After his death, Kamehameha II and Ka'ahumanu were remembered for breaking the "Kapu" a system of protocols which was intertwined with their culture.
Another milestone was the great mehele of 1848 which King Kamehamhea III distributed the lands of Hawaii to native Hawaiian Chief's. Following the mahele, not only were native Hawai'ian chief and commoners entitled to ownership of Hawai'ian land, but it led to later gifts, leases and sales of land to people of non-Hawaiian ancestry.The kindom of Hawai'i was sturggling with de population due to forien diaseas as well as cultural and religous influences.The Hawaiian monarchy was establishing themselves as a modern national entity as seen with royal regalia and the Iolani Palace.
As foriegners established themselves via business and immigration they became more powerful in Hawai'i.It is a painful memory for the Hawai'ians as when Queen Liliuokalani was imprisoned at Iolani Palace.It is important to be noted that this was in interests of the U. S. businessmen who were residents of the islands and not everyone from the U. S. including President Grover Cleveland agreed with their actions against the queen.It was later under William Mckinley that submitted the treaty to the U.S. congress, who voted 42 to 21 for annexation of Hawai'i in 1898. While a U.S. territory it was Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianole who advocated for Hawai'i as a U.S. state in 1919.
Five bills calling for the Statehood of Hawai'i in to the U.S. were all introduced by Hawai'i and rejected until Statehood bill passed.
It's also good to note that in 50 years of statehood since 1959, Hawai'ians have made efforts to revitalize their culture, continue the aloha spirit with visitors and new residents, share their hospitality world wide, never been attacked or terrorized by a foreign nation, and enjoy freedoms and quality of life that most people of the six billion in the world do not have.That's why it's easy to see why no matter what political and historical opinion Hawai'i residents have they can all celebrate 50 years of statehood by the their commonly known saying "lucky we live Hawai'i"
Comment on this blog directly or share your thoughts at the Pasefika Forum about Hawai'i's 50 years as a U.S. State and historical events prior to statehood.