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Episode 44: The birth of Hui Aloha ‘?ina with Dr. Jon Osorio

The overthrow of the monarchy in 1893 launched another profoundly challenging period in Hawai‘i’s history, says historian Kau‘i Sai-Dudoit.

“It’s a very scary time to be a Hawaiian subject, hearing your queen has been dethroned, then hearing that she’s been imprisoned. Where does your confidence go, and who are these new people and what are they going to do? Times were really unsure.”

Joseph and Emma N?wah?, publishers of the newspaper Ke Aloha ‘?ina, forged a new political party, Hui Aloha ‘?ina, dedicated to defending Hawai‘i’s independence. The leaders of the overthrow, meanwhile, pushed for the U.S. to annex Hawai‘i. But instead President Grover Cleveland withdrew the annexation bill from Congress and sent James Blount to investigate. After receiving Blount’s scathing report Cleveland gave a speech to Congress in which he called the overthrow an “act of war” against the Hawaiian government. As things played out in Washington, Hawaiian patriots came together to defend their nation—and the term aloha ‘?ina took on new resonance. Here is UH M?noa professor Jon Osorio. 

“The word aloha ‘?ina then in the 1890s is no longer referring only to this ancestral love of the land, but N?wah? would also talk about that, about this deep and abiding familial love for the ‘?ina. But aloha ‘?ina at this point comes to be the message that is trying to bind Hawaiians together to oppose the loss of an independent government.”

researcher, writter, and narrator of Aloha Aina. She is currently an editor at Hawai‘i’s largest magazine, Hana Hou!, where she has written and edited numerous award-winning articles about Hawai‘i. She was the founding editor of Honolulu Weekly. She holds a BA in Pacific history and journalism from the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa and a JD from Stanford Law School.
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