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President's Message
Transportation Planning Survey (Jackie Parnell)
Play about Kū'ē Petition is very timely today (Sharon Ku'uipo Kana'e-Paulo)
Planning and Transportation (Pearl Johnson)
Meeting on Health Care for All October 15 (Jean Aoki)
Serious Subject for Free Musical
October 31 Deadline for Charter Proposals (Evangeline Funk & Piilani Kaopuiki)

Play about Kū'ē Petition is very timely today

The following article appeared in the September issue of Ka Wai Ola, the newspaper of the Office of Hawaiian Affair. Sharon Ku'uipo Kana'e-Paulo is from Nānākuli, O'ahu, and has lived in California since 1970. She is very active in the Hawaiian community in Los Angeles.

by Sharon Ku'uipo Kana'e-Paulo

On Aug. 6, when I attended a historical play about the petition opposing the annexation of the Hawaiian kingdom by the United States, I was transported back in time to September 1897 and placed smack in the middle of a meeting in the Hilo Salvation Army Hall, where, along with Mrs. Emma 'A'ima Nāwahī and Mrs. Kū'aihelani Campbell, many supporters of Queen Lili'uokalani gathered to enter their names in protest of the annexation.

Their emotionally charged speeches and testimonies expressed a range of feelings from anger to distress, pain, sadness and resolve. My heart felt so heavy, so pained, as I was overwhelmed by the despair, alarm and fear that my own kūpuna must have suffered through during those days and future years.

Fortunately for Hawaiians today, this petition, known as the Kū'ē Petition, was miraculously exposed in 1997, a hundred years later, after tenacious research by Dr. Noenoe Silva at the U.S. National Archives in Washington, D.C. The Kū'ē Petition contains 21,000 signatures gathered by the men and women of the Hui Aloha Āina (Hawaiian Patriotic League) back in 1897, the expressions of our own relatives and kūpuna, protesting the annexation. I am still reeling from the mental, spiritual and emotional "rush" experienced at this one-act play, written by Edith "Didi" Lincoln Lee Kwai and based on an article written by Miriam Michelson for the San Francisco Call in 1897.

I am so grateful to the Ka Lei Maile Ali'i Hawaiian Civic Club cast of performers, under the direction of Annelle Amaral, for bringing this production to our Hawaiians living in California. This gift – a dramatic reminder of the courage our own kūpuna displayed in this protest against the taking of Hawaiian rights – is so timely against the background to the contemporary struggles threatening Hawaiians today.

I left the performance that day with a renewed sense of resolve and commitment to never stop working for unity among Hawaiians. It was significant to me that while I was participating from the audience during this play in Los Angeles, the unity rally at 'Iolani Palace and the march to Mauna'ala was happening in Hawai'i. I knew that the spirit of our kūpuna was there with us, and I prayed that our spirits would cross the ocean and, together with the spirits of our 'ohana in Hawai'i, join together in unity, solidarity and camaraderie. God bless the Kamehameha Schools and protect all that is Hawaiian.

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