LETTERS for December 11 issue
The history of Hawaiian Independence Day
In the Kingdom of Hawaii, Nov. 28 was an official holiday called Ka La Ku’oko’a, or Independence Day. This was the day in 1843 when England and France formally recognized Hawaii’s independence.
Faced with the problem of foreign encroachment of Hawaiian territory, His Hawaiian Majesty King Kamehameha III deemed it prudent and necessary to dispatch a Hawaiian delegation to the U.S. and then to Europe with the power to settle alleged difficulties with nations, negotiate treaties and to ultimately secure the recognition of Hawaiian independence by the major powers of the world. In accordance with this view, Timoteo Ha’alilio, William Richards and Sir George Simpson were commissioned as joint ministers plenipotentiary on April 8, 1842. Simpson shortly thereafter left for England via Alaska and Siberia, while Ha’alilio and Richards departed for the U.S. via Mexico on July 8, 1842.
The Hawaiian delegation, while in the USA, secured the assurance of President Tyler on Dec. 19, 1842, of its recognition of Hawaiian independence, and then proceeded to meet Simpson in Europe and secure formal recognition by Great Britain and France. On March 17, 1843, King Louis-Phillipe of France recognized Hawaiian independence at the urging of King Leopald of Belgium, and on April 1, 1843, Lord Aberdeen, on behalf of Her Britannic Majesty Queen Victoria, assured the Hawaiian delegation that, “Her Majesty’s Government was willing and had determined to recognize the independence of the Sandwich Islands under the present sovereign.”
On Nov. 28, 1843, at the Court of London, the British and French governments entered into a formal agreement of the recognition of Hawaiian independence with what is called the Anglo-Franco Proclamation.
Nov. 28 was thereafter established as an official national holiday to celebrate the recognition of Hawaii’s independence.
As a result of this recognition, the Hawaiian Kingdom entered into treaties with the major nations of the world and had established over 90 legations and consulates in multiple seaports and cities.
But in 1893, an illegal intervention into Hawaii’s affairs by the U.S. resulted in a “fake revolution” against the legitimate Hawaiian government, and a puppet oligarchy set itself up with its main purpose being Hawaii’s annexation to the U.S.
After an attempted counter-revolution in 1895, the oligarchy announced that November 28, 1895 – a Thursday – would not be celebrated as Ka La Ku’oko’a.
The American holiday Thanksgiving would become the official national holiday instead. Holidays are, of course, important aspects of a collective national identity – particularly a holiday like Independence Day.
This was essentially a way to cover up and try to destroy the history and identity of the Hawaiian national population.
At first, Hawaiians protested and celebrated Ka La Ku’oko’a anyway, telling the story of the national heroes who had traveled to Europe to secure Hawaii’s recognition.
But over time, this history – knowledge of the holiday and how it was replaced – was almost lost, until Hawaiian language scholars in the last few years started translating Hawaiian language newspapers and uncovered the history.
Recently, there has been a renewed effort to revive the celebration of Nov. 28 as Ka La Ku’oko’a – Hawaiian Independence Day – to remember that Hawaii was a fully recognized member of the world family of nations, and that its independence is still intact under prolonged illegal occupation.
PATTY NISHIYAMA, Na Kupuna O Maui
Criticism of Maui Bus incorrect
I don’t know if this person has ever ridden the bus before, but I have been riding the bus for two-and-a-half years and have NEVER feared for my life.
I take offense to the derogatory statements regarding the drivers. The drivers are very good individuals and excellent drivers.
Most of them are very kind and remember the riders by name. The Maui Bus is a great way to travel around the island and quite economical as well.
Regarding Lower Honoapiilani Road, it’s very easy to cross the line on occasion because of pedestrians or bicycle riders.
The lower road is in poor condition, and often they have to avoid holes in the road. I think the drivers are excellent.
The comment that they should not be on the road is ludicrous. I’ve always felt very safe. The busses are a great way to travel and not have to worry about parking.
One fault I have found has nothing to do with the drivers. Please consider benches and covering from the rain and sun.
Most stops on the other side of the island have this provision. I ride the bus daily, and this would be appreciated by many riders.
LINDA PERRIN BIANCO
Mahinahina Train should be updated
Much mahalo to John Blahuta, one who dares to speak up and delivers facts!
The Lahaina Sugar Cane Train might be a tourist attraction, and it ought to refer to Maui’s past. But in 2014, the 21st century, matters have to be updated to standards of such.
By the way, I am a lover of Maui and resident of a decade. I doubt that I’m returning, even though I love Maui so much. It has become an island for the wealthy most regretfully. Once my last house is sold, I am contemplating the Big Island.