HONOLULU The State of Hawaii, Governor Neil Abercrombie and Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz, ventured onto kapu (forbidden) territory on Day One of their office. They were inaugurated in the likeness of Ali`i, (Hawaiian royalty) at a ceremony at `Iolani Palace. The palace property contains sacred heiau sites of kanaka maoli and an iwi burial ground. The palace was the site of the disgraceful overthrow in 1893 and imprisonment of Queen Lili`uokalani (pictured).
Hawaiian independence members protested the event at the palace gates after appeals to relocate the function elsewhere failed last week.
The palace grounds are sensitive politically and culturally. Last year the 50th Anniversary of Statehood celebrations by the State of Hawaii abandoned plans to use `Iolani Palace for any of it’s programme. Originally their were plans to reenact 1959 ceremonies at the palace which were held on the palace front grounds.
But this measure of respect for the Monarch, native Hawaiians and the sacred site of the palace were overturned this week by freshmen Abercrombie and Schatz. The issue implicates the state’s department of Hawaiian affairs ‘Office of Hawaiian Affairs’. Abercrombie (pictured) replaced Governor Linda Lingle and was inaugurated on Monday December 6 at noon in the royal Coronation Stand. This rotunda was build on the palace grounds by King Kalakaua (pictured) who was menaced by white conspirators loyal to the USA, and whose sister and successor to the thrown, Queen Lili`uokalani, was eventually to fall pray to. She was ousted by the rebels which lead to the unlawful occupation of Hawai`i by the US. The inauguration appeared to be a throwback to a racist colonial era when Sanford Dole used the palace for his various investitures after he and Lorrin Thurston removed the Queen.
Abercrombie will also island hop throughout Hawai`i to celebrate his inauguration. It is abrasive that the occupational administration of Hawai`i now uses, for there own ends, the very intellectual format laid out by King Kalakaua, King Kamehameha and Hawaiian ali`i.
This is akin to the new show called ‘Hā’ heavily promoted and presented at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu. The word hā refers to the spiritual breath of the Hawaiian culture. Hā teachings were savagely outlawed by Christian missionaries. PCC is a Mecca tourist attraction in Hawai`i and owned by the Mormon Church. The church has oppressed hā and native cultural ways for a century, for their part, in the profitable control of Hawai`i. Now that the owners feel the native people are nailed, assimilated and submissive, it seems new profit can be assured by having native Polynesians act out in showtime, the religious practices that their fore parents were severed from.
In a way surprising, and then again not, hundreds attended the state inauguration including the Chair of the department of Hawaiian affairs, Ms. Haunani Apoliona. It was this department, so-called ‘Office of Hawaiian Affairs’, together with Hawaiian independence groups that vehemently objected to state functions being held at the palace last year for statehood. (see the letter inserted above) Apoliona chose to side step her official position in the Order of Procession as it approached the crowed aisle of salute.
So what has changed that OHA now officially endorses Abercrombie’s inauguration?
Outside, at the front palace gates supporters of the last Hawaiian monarch, Queen Lili`uokalani, protested Abercrombie’s inauguration, calling the event a desecration. Protest spokesperson and independence leader Leon Sui said “The Ku’e (protest) action was fantastic”. He said guests greeted protesters with encouragement but noted: “OHA trustees, were apparently not amused and kept their gaze strictly forward as they walked past us toward their Kapiolani Blvd. offices. You could feel their utter disdain for us from 20 feet away”.
My experience in approaching the majority of the guests was similar. I handed out an information flyer “Iolani Palace, History of Ceremony” to guests. They were eager to have an account other than the narrative provided by the state. One could not help but notice everyone found the palace programme less than comfortable and had unanswered questions about such inappropriateness and which the media ignored prior to.
It is a sad day when Hawaiians who love their country are split in this way by the European guard who remain deceitful, colonialist and racist to this day in perpetuating their forebear’s crimes.
The state must prove the colour of RECONCILIATION prior to being adored in some royal command. The USA Apology Resolution, Public Law 103-150 stipulates reconciliation but since 1993 when the law was passed no reconciliation facility has been attempted. On the contrary, the Lingle Administration attempted to, once and for all, take the Hawaiian Crown Lands known as ceded lands. The foot pressed on `Iolani Palace and Crown Lands is pre-emptive and yet another international trespass.
The Hawaiian protestors outside the palace are loyal to their political and cultural process and the Hawaiians inside can do all they may to cling to the threads of tradition surrounding the palace and their damaged monarch, even as it is now done quietly in servitude of the very monarch’s enemy.
Long live Queen Lili`uokalani. Act on understanding and International and Hawaiian Law. ——– Link (more photos): www.killstatehood.com EDUCATION | ACTION | NONVIOLENCE