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Celebration of Queen Liliʻuokalani
Elizabeth McDonnell

Students, faculty, and staff gathered this month outside Sellon Hall to kick off Hawaiian History Month and to pay tribute to Hawai‘i’s last reigning monarch, (Queen) Mō‘ī Wahine Lili‘uokalani. Students honored the Queen in a birthday celebration with mele and chanting with the help of Vicky Holt Takamine, Kumu Hula, Pua Aliʻi ʻIlima and Executive Director, PAʻI Foundation and our own Kumu Hula Kaʻilihiwa Vaughan, Hālau Hula Ka Lehua Tuahine, Kumu Aggy Kusunoki, Chaplain Heather Patton-Graham, and music teacher Keao Costa. 

Liliʻuokalani was the first woman ever to rule Hawaiʻi when her husband King Kalākaua died in early 1891. She was the only queen regnant and the last sovereign monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom, ruling from January 29, 1891, until the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom on January 17, 1893. As queen, she acted to implement a new constitution that would restore the powers lost to the monarchy through the Bayonet Constitution. Liliʻuokalani was eventually overthrown by a group of local businessmen and sugar planters, with the assistance of the United States Marines. Liliʻuokalani was accused of having knowledge of counterrevolutionary activities and is held in house arrest at ʻIolani Palace for over 8 months. To avoid bloodshed of her people, she yielded.

This year marks the 184th birthday of the last reigning monarch or the Ka Mōʻī Wahine o Hawaiʻi. Lili‘uokalani urged the people of Hawai‘i ‘onipaʻa’ or to be steadfast in caring our islands and people.

 To learn more about Hawai’i history month visit https://www.hawaiiponoi.info