With unity as a common bond, thousands of people from keiki to kupuna marched to and reflected at ‘Iolani Palace on Wednesday, Jan. 17 – the 125th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and Queen Lili‘uokalani.
Many participants in the ‘Onipa‘a Kākou observance wore black as a sign of unity amongst the Lāhui – including Native and non-Hawaiians alike. More than 600 haumāna and kumu from Kamehameha Schools Kapālama took part in the event, including a host of students like freshmen Isaia Kanehailua-Jennings and Ekela Mahuiki who prepared fresh pa‘i ‘ai (pounded kalo) and taught observers about key elements of the Hawaiian culture in the Hawaii State Capitol rotunda. Additionally, thousands of students from public and private charter schools across O‘ahu also attended the event.
“My hope is that each haumāna will understand the depth of sacrifice our kūpuna have made and they will stand tall on the shoulders of those before us by trusting in Ke Akua and embracing our Hawaiian culture as the edge to become globally competitive and successful Hawaiian Leaders of tomorrow,” said Kula Gaughen-Haili, vice principal of KSK Elementary School.
In an impactful moment, the Hawaiian flag was raised at 10:45 a.m. – the same time it was taken down during the overthrow 125 years prior. The peaceful gathering also coincided with the opening day festivities of the state Legislature, and attendees honored Queen Lili‘uokalani at the statue adjacent to the State Capitol.
“It is through Kamehameha Schools’ strategic plan, Kūhanauna, that the next generation of kanaka stand with Liliʻu,” said KSK Elementary School Specialist Bruce Ka‘imi Watson. “It is important for our students to know the relationship between Ke Aliʻi Pauahi and Liliʻuokalani who were raised as sisters, both dedicated to the survival of their people. Today, KS steps forward to increase the rigor for ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi as a requirement to graduate. It is through the language and culture that we will survive, that our haumāna will rise, their voices are heard, our culture lives and our history is honored.”