Ka Lei Maile Ali`i Hawaiian Civic Club is dedicated to educating our community about Hawaiian history. Many of us growing up in Hawai`i learned that Queen Lili`uokalani was a weak monarch and that Hawai`i was overthrown in 1893 and annexed to the United States in 1898. After a century of (mis)education within a system that taught an incorrect history of Hawai`i’s relationship with the U.S., all of us in Hawai`i now have new information about what really happened in our past.
In 1993, the United States Congress passed Public Law 103-150 apologizing for the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. However, no attempt was made to undo the wrong. In the last 15 years, young scholars from the University of Hawai`i, researching in Hawaiian language newspapers and documents, have revealed a truth of our history, that in addition to the illegal overthrow, there was no treaty of annexation. How Hawai`i came to be part of the United States is in question.
Our club is engaged in two primary activities: a reenactment of a meeting between the Hui Aloha `Aina o Nawahine (Hawaiian Patriotic League, Women’s Branch) and the maka`ainana (people) that took place in the Hilo Salvation Army Hall on Hawai`i Island; and the Ku`e Petition Project that honors our kupuna, our ancestors. It is our way to make history real to the ordinary person.
Queen Lili`uokalani was a very wise and courageous woman who forgave those who conspired against her and against the Hawaiian Kingdom. She endured imprisonment in her room at `Iolani Palace for eight months, following the illegal overthrow. She believed that the United states would do the right thing and return her to her rightful place as Queen of the Hawaiian Kingdom. After more than a century, she continues to wait and we continue to carry her message forward. We are steadfast and immovable.