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Photos: 130th anniversary of Hawaiian Kingdom overthrow brings keiki and kūpuna together

Onipaa crowd.jpg
Krista Rados
/
HPR
Kamehameha Schools students gather in front of ʻIolani Palace as they wait to be welcomed into the gates.

On a sunny and balmy Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of Native Hawaiians peacefully marched through the streets of Honolulu to recognize the 130th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

The day marks the moment when Queen Liliʻuokalani was forcibly removed from her throne in 1893, representing the collapse of Hawaiʻi's official monarchy.

The coup d'état was led by the Committee of Safety — a group of sugar plantation owners and businessmen whose ultimate goal was the annexation of the islands to the United States to avoid paying tariffs. The committee had the support of the U.S. military.

Participants of the ʻOnipaʻa marched slowly from Mauna ʻAla Royal Mausoleum to ʻIolani Palace, arriving just before noon. Unlike many other public demonstrations, marchers remained solemn and concentrated.

There, they were joined by hundreds of students from local schools and formally welcomed through the gates of the palace while passing through lines of lei.

Onipaa cover 2.jpg
Krista Rados
/
HPR
The first marchers of ʻOnipaʻa arrive at ʻIolani Palace around 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 17, 2023. Native Hawaiians, like the woman pictured, approach the gates quietly. Following about a dozen Honolulu Police officers on motorcycles, the marchers walked from Mauna ʻAla Royal Mausoleum to ʻIolani Palace, arriving just before noon. One woman carries a painted portrait of Queen Liliʻuokalani, the last reigning sovereign monarch of the Hawaiian monarchy.
Onipaa.jpg
Krista Rados
/
HPR
Some bystanders, such as this woman standing outside the gates of ʻIolani Palace on Jan. 17, 2023, held the state's Hawaiian flag as a symbol of solidarity to the ongoing marchers. Jan. 17 brings with it dense emotion for many Native Hawaiians, as it was the day their queen was asked to step down from the thrown 1893. Today, Native Hawaiians continue to remember the time when their monarchy was abolished, leading to a new type of rule over the state — the Provisional Government of Hawaiʻi.
Onipaa students.jpg
Krista Rados
/
HPR
Hundreds of students and their teachers took a field trip to attend the ʻOnipaʻa peace march on Jan. 17, 2023. This group of elementary-aged keiki sang a practiced ʻoli to the Pua Ali'i Ilima before entering the palace grounds. It is Hawaiian custom and protocol to ask permission before entering meaningful spaces.
Onipaa girl with hand.jpg
Krista Rados
/
HPR
A woman watches as students are let into ʻIolani Palace on Jan. 17, 2023. She wears black paint on her chin and arms, typically a symbolic demonstration of oppression among Indigenous communities. Native Hawaiians continue to face issues of injustice as they protest for petroleum-free water, land ownership through Hawaiian Homelands and the reclamation of Maunakea.
Onipaa welcomers.jpg
Krista Rados
/
HPR
The Pua Ali'i Ilima women, a group organized by the local Paʻi Foundation, practice the ʻoli komo before keiki and kūpuna arrive. The group then stands within the gates of ʻIolani Palace, where they are met with groups wishing to enter. The outsiders sing their ʻoli to enter, and Pua Ali'i Ilima then welcomes them in. It is Hawaiian custom and protocol to ask permission before entering meaningful spaces.
Onipaa 2.JPG
Krista Rados
/
HPR
A Kamehameha Schools student carries a sign that reads "Kūlia i ka nuʻu," or "strive for the highest," in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, or Hawaiian language. The student is draped in the Hawaiʻi flag. The same flag design was used by the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi from 1845 to the overthrow in 1893, and it is currently used as the state flag.

Krista Rados is a Digital News Producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at krados@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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