Posted by: kuhiovogeler | January 18, 2010

One Tent

Today, Sovereignty Sunday, the 117th anniversary of the dethronement of Queen Lili’uokalani, fifty people struggled to keep police from confiscating a small 10 ft. x 10 ft. blue canopy tent near the stone ahu (shrine) on the Iolani Palace grounds. On the other side of the palace, near the Coronation Stand, stood fifteen large canopy tents, some 10 ft. x 40 ft., as Hawaiians ate food and listened to music. Near the ahu, Hawaiians and others braced themselves against the blue canopy tent, to prevent the officers from collapsing it and taking it. One Hawaiian wearing traditional Hawaiian clothing (a malo and a kihe) spoke over a loudspeaker, “This is our right as Kanaka Maoli, to practice our cultural rites!” Another woman stood with tears streaming down her face, repeating, “Remember our queen! Remember our queen!” She was perhaps referring to the portrait of Queen Lili‘uokalani that was under the canopy, protected from the sun.

Eventually, the officers seemed to realize that people would rather face arrest than allow the Department of Land and Natural Resources to confiscate this one small tent. A handful of officers, in helmets and holding shields for riot control, stood 40 yards away, near the entrance to the Palace grounds. The officers conferred as we waited.

After twenty minutes, three officers returned and issued a ticket for having a tent without a permit in a state park. As the police wrote the ticket, some protestors gave the officers food that had been on one of the tables under the canopy tent. For this Sovereignty Sunday, the blue canopy tent was the symbol of resistance to US occupation.

Earlier today Niklaus Schweizer, Lorenz Gonschor and I had long discussion with Jere Krischel, regarding the details of international law and the specific circumstances that led to Hawai‘i’s occupation. While Jere Krischel agreed with the rest of us on many points, he still maintains that Hawai‘i is not occupied and that Loren Thurston and Sanford B. Dole committed their acts for the benefit of the Hawaiian people. Jere Krischel conceded that one could make an argument that the 1898 Newlands Resolution was not a valid form of annexation. And by the end of the conversation, he confirmed that he would help establish a Hawaiian constitution, if the process ever came about.

At one point, Jere Krischel asked Uncle Kekuni Blaisdell if the two of them could take a picture together. Uncle Kekuni, responded, “Do you want to take a picture with me? I’m a Hawaiian!” Jere then replied, “And I’m an American!” To which, Uncle Kekuni answered, “I just want to be up front, to make sure that you are okay with taking a picture with a Hawaiian.” Jere retorted, “And I just want to be up front: you are a Hawaiian, and you are also my friend!” They turned toward the camera, put an arm around each other, smiled and took a picture.

In the examples of the blue canopy tent and of the picture with Jere Krischel and Uncle Kekuni, political differences were not as important as the humanity of the moment. There were no arrests, and friends with differing opinions posed for a picture together. While we work toward restoring an independent Hawaiian State, we need to listen to divergent views. The truth is Hawaiian nationals have many opinions, and these viewpoints, with a multitude of concerns, must be addressed as we re-form our Hawaiian government. This government is for all Hawaiian nationals, one country, one people, together, under one large tent.



  1. Mahalo Plenty Kuhio. It was very nice to see you briefly today. I hope that you and i can spend some time together soon??? Let me know!!!

  2. On Feb. 11th, in Damariscotta, Maine I will be making the case at a public meeting of an organization called CONA (not to be confused with Kona, Hawai’i) Citizens Offering New Alternatives about the illegitimacy of US control of Hawai’i, a subject I know well as a 36 year resident and sovereignty supporter from around 1978. I will begin by asking the audience a trick question: “How many of you are under the illusion that Hawai’i is actually the 50th state of the US?” I anticipate some perplexed looks!
    Quite by coincidence, Damariscotta is the home of Sam Low, a prominent member of and documentarian for the Polynesian Voyaging Society, as well as a personal friend. I was astonished to find him here so close to my home town of Jefferson.
    I suspect that the bold position taken by the Lithuanians around 1990 vs the USSR may have been inspired by the successful peaceful revolt by the Filipinos against the Marcos dictatorship in 1985, when a million Filipino citizens occupied Manila for a week to protest the fraudulent presidential election that eventually brought Corazon Aquino to power. That standoff had the world transfixed and split the loyalty of the armed forces, and the people won a huge but not final victory. Thank you Kai for connecting me to Kuhio’s blog, and for the Hawaiian hospitality you showed me at home home in NY at Christmas time. Jon Olsen

  3. I can feel it. It’s in the air. Our time has come and we have the blueprint for Independence and freedom. Our home will once again be ours to have and to share.

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