Monday, January 15, 2001
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Posted on: Monday, January 15, 2001

Kingdom's overthrow remembered

By Walter Wright
Advertiser Staff Writer

Leilani Akwai, holding a sign at Hawaiians’ Sovereignty Sunday yesterday, said she grew up with the feeling "I was already a loser because I wasn’t born a haole."

Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell, left, of Ka Pakaukau greeted Joseph Kauwele yesterday as supporters of Hawaiian sovereignty gathered at Iolani Palace. It was the 25th annual Sovereignty Sunday meeting to mark the events of January 1893 that led to the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.

Jeff Widener • The Honolulu Advertiser

(Correction: A caption posted earlier misidentified Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell.)

Today she is proud of what she is, 15/16 Chinese and 1/16th British Jew, and supports sovereignty for Hawaiians even though she is not Hawaiian.

"The Chinese, with a billion people, are not in any danger of dying out, but if the Hawaiians lose this land, there is nothing left for them," she said.

Akwai was one of about 150 people who gathered in front of Iolani Palace yesterday for the 25th annual Sunday meeting marking what backers call the anniversary of U.S. invasion, occupation, forced annexation and "fraudulent statehood" of Hawaii.

"I want to make sure no Hawaiian child — or any child — ever feels they have been born into the wrong ethnic group," Akwai said, glancing at children clambering over the gray, ridgelike roots of a nearby false kamani tree.

In a tent nearby was a display of "prisoners of war," including Queen Liliuokalani and Prince Kuhio in jail garb in 1895.

Leafleters passed out papers on the clash of cultures in Hawaii, a proclamation of a Kingdom of Hawaii as a peaceful and neutral nation, and an invitation to a Feb. 23 band concert by Native American activist John Trudell.

In front of Iolani Bandstand, Keanu Sai and Kaui Goodhue reported on their efforts to win World Court backing for the case of Lance Larsen.

Larsen, a Hilo electrician cited for driving without a license, has sued in federal court, alleging that the United States and the Hawaiian kingdom did not uphold his rights as a subject of the kingdom in the conflicting laws of the United States in its "occupation" of Hawaii.

Sai and Goodhue were among 16 scheduled speakers at the six-hour rally.

Tourists Peter and Beverly Kirk of Calgary, Canada, wandered onto the palace grounds after viewing the King Kamehameha statue across the street.

"This is the first time I have ever heard of this," Kirk said of the sovereignty movement. "I think they have a very good point."

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