Saturday, April 27, 2024








The Queen Never Surrendered!

Words bind and words set free…
If there is anything we have learned in studying the situation of Hawaii it is that words matter. Terms that have been used by the occupier to convey our history not only skew our story, but they color and influence how the matter is perceived over time.  

It is disconcerting how many otherwise accurate accounts of the events of the past 132 years, become suddenly skewed by the use of misleading words.

For instance, in telling of the events of January 16 and 17, 1893 — the so-called “overthrow” — it is often stated by even those on our side, that Queen Liliʻuokalani “surrendered”. She did not.

Surrender means: to submit to the domination of another, abandonment, resignation. It denotes finality, that it’s over. What the Queen filed with the US Embassy in Honolulu on January 17, 1893, was the opposite of a surrender. By her protest the Queen continued the dispute, but, in a brilliant kōnane move, shifted the matter to be resolved through international diplomatic channels, rather than the clash of arms.

It was a diplomatic protest calling for an investigation, with the expectation that when the facts became known, the Queen would be reinstated as the lawful ruler of the Hawaiian Kingdom. She never used the word, “surrender”, because it was clearly not a surrender. In fact, the Queen’s valiant efforts to resolve the matter in the years that followed, proves she never surrendered.

President Grover Cleveland initiated an investigation as requested by the Queen’s diplomatic protest and reported the results to Congress. He repudiated the US minister’s and armed forces’ unlawful involvement in the affairs of a foreign country, calling it an act of war against the Hawaiian Kingdom, a friendly nation, and Liliʻuokalani, a friendly ruler.

Cleveland obviously did not believe the allegation that the Queen had surrendered, otherwise why would he denounce the United States’ participation in the disruption of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and why would he negotiate with the Queen for a settlement of the breach of her sovereignty and the treaties of friendship, commerce and navigation with the United States?

Other words that need to be used more carefully to tell our story are: Overthrow, Abdication, Annexation, Occupation, Colonization, Hawaiian National, Hawaiian Subject, Crown Lands, Ceded Lands, and so forth.

Mahalo to the many scholars, kūpuna, activists, kiaʻi, and aloha ʻāina who have diligently uncovered how words have been used to distort, embed and promote the false narratives in the telling of our story.  

Words bind, and words set free…

“Love of country is deep-seated in the breast of every Hawaiian, whatever his station.” — Queen Liliʻuokalani
Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono. The sovereignty of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.

For the latest news and developments about our progress at the United Nations in both New York and Geneva, tune in to Free Hawaii News at 
6 PM the first Friday of each month on ʻŌlelo Television, Channel 53.

"And remember, for the latest updates and information about the Hawaiian Kingdom check out the twice-a-month Ke Aupuni Updates published online on Facebook and other social media."

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Malama Pono,

Leon Siu

Hawaiian National