Monday, January 08, 2018


Open Letter to the Hawaiian Community -

On January 17, 2018, we are embarking on a most ambitious venture - unity.

Unity does not mean that we need to all be of one mind. We will never achieve that, let us recognize that now. Yet, let us say that we believe we agree in our aloha for our culture and our history. Let us agree in the need for a better future for our children. Let us agree that our homeland needs to be protected.

Let us start with all the things we do agree upon; our differences can wait until tomorrow.

On December 20, 2017, I was asked by Uncle Walter Ritte, who I have worked with for many years, to assist in the coordination of the activities taking place in commemoration of the 125th Anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. 

The purpose of coordinating activities was 1) to ensure the safety of all participants, 2) encourage the various groups planning activities for the day were working in concert with each other, and 3) to leverage our events to best honor our Queen. We believed, and still believe, that by working together, in unity, we could stand with our Queen and demonstrate to the government the urgency needed in addressing Hawaiian issues.

We are going to send the message that change is not simply coming – but here.

This committee was formed, because many groups were already, individually, of their own accord, taking the initiative to commemorate the day. No one entity has co-opted the day. Everyone is working together. Everyone is welcome. The day belongs to everyone. The day is for our Queen.

125 years after the day our Queen was forced at gunpoint to stand down, we will stand up.

We will stand up and continue our march into a better, brighter future. One uplifted by truth. One empowered by history. One driven by knowledge. One where Hawaiians are educated, where we speak our native tongue, where practice our culture freely, where have access to our natural resources, and where we are no longer second class citizens in our own home.

This march actually began generations ago by the countless kūpuna who never stopping resisting. Those who never stopped speaking their language, even in the face of violence. Those kūpuna who remained Royalists, even when the penalty was potentially death. The kūpuna who held onto the light in the darkest hours. They protected the light that is now a flame.

We owe them everything.

We want to make it absolutely clear to everyone that safety and security has been our top priority. Aside from HPD, who the Royal Order of Kamehameha has been in regular contact with, I have personally been in contact with the House Sergeant of Arms, the Senate Sergeant of Arms, the Director of Public Safety, the Deputy Director of Transportation Services, the Administrator and Deputy Administrator of DLNR Parks, and the head of Security at `Iolani Palace. DLNR Parks has been coordinating with DLNR DOCARE for us. We have secured all the necessary permits for all the events of the day. We have hired additional security per request of DLNR Parks to ensure that the Hale Ali`i, which is a sacred site, is adequately protected at all times. We have made the safety and security of the event participants and cultural resources our top priority.

Prince Kūhiō was an Ali`i. He was a Royalist who went to prison for trying to overthrow the Republic of Hawai`i to restore his Kingdom. He was a Statesman, an eventually a US Congressman. He reorganized the Royal Order of Kamehameha. He established Hawaiian Homes. He founded the Civic Clubs. He was as diverse as the very people participating in the events on January 17th in honor of his second cousin, Lili`uokalani.

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join the Hawaiian community on January 17th as we honor our Queen, walk with our kūpuna, and inspire a brighter future for all of Hawai`i.

Me ka pono,

Trisha Kehaulani Watson-Sproat
Wife, mother, kanaka, and one of many organizers of ‘Onipa`a Kākou  
Onipaa Kakou