Thursday, July 29, 1999

Hawaii sovereignty supporters
to lower U.S. flag

By Pat Omandam


Hawaiians this Saturday will observe the restoration of the Hawaiian kingdom after it was forced under British rule for five months in 1843 -- some 50 years before the 1893 overthrow of the kingdom by American interests.

The 15th observance of Sovereignty Restoration Day will be from noon to 2 p.m. at Thomas Square.

According to Kekuni Blaisdell of the Kanaka Maoli Tribunal Komike, in the early 1840s, during the reign of King Kamehameha III, English consul Richard Charlton made outrageous land claims against the Hawaiian people to provoke a British takeover.

At his request, a British war cruiser arrived on Feb. 10, 1843, under the command of Lord George Paulet, who demanded special lands and rights from the king for British subjects, as well as a $117,300 indemnity.

Unable to pay, Kamehameha III ceded his kingdom to Paulet under protest and appealed to Queen Victoria for redress.

Meanwhile, British fleet commander Adm. Richard Thomas, enforcing his country's policy that the laws and customs of native governments be treated with courtesy and respect, sailed from Mexico to Hawaii to remedy the trouble in Hawaii.

On July 31, 1843, Thomas ordered the Hawaiian flag raised and the kingdom restored at a ceremony at Kulaokahu'a -- which today is known as Thomas Square, which is named after him.

Kamehameha III proclaimed a 10-day holiday, and throughout his reign, July 31 was celebrated as Ka La Ho'iho'i Ea or Sovereignty Restoration Day.

"We do what Admiral Thomas did in the sense that instead of pulling down the British flag, we pull down the American flag and call upon the United States to withdraw from over a century of illegal occupation of our homeland, and to respect our inherent sovereignty, just like Admiral Thomas did," said Blaisdell, a physician and a native activist.

Blaisdell added that the king also proclaimed what was to become the Hawaii state motto: "Ua mau ke ea o ka 'aina i ka pono."

The state officially translates this as, "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness." Others believe that it means, "The sovereignty of the land is maintained by pono/right behavior."

Hawaii was annexed to the United States in 1898 and became a state in 1959. The observance was revived in 1985.

The gathering will include an "awa ceremony, potluck picnic, hula and the flag-raising ceremony. For more information, Call Ka Pakaukau or the Kanaka Maoli Tribunal Komike at 595-6691 or the Ahupuaa Action Alliance at 738-0084.

United States Public Law 103-150

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