The Arrest of the Queen

On January 16th, 1895, Deputy Marshal Arthur Brown and Captain Robert Waipa Parker–two police officers from the self-proclaimed Republic of Hawai’i–came up to steps of Washington Place. They knocked on the door and one of Queen Lili’uokalani’s attendents, Mrs. Eveline Wilson, answered and directed the police officers to the front parlor. The Queen, who was in the back verandah arrived, was told by Brown that they had a warrant for her arrest but refused to allow the Queen to inspect the warrant. She was then told that she could take one of her ladies-in-waiting with her, Mrs. Mary Clark, with her. (It would turn out that Mary’s husband, Charles, who came from a prominent and wealthy missionary family, was a royalist lieutnant in the uprising against the Republic that started on January 6th.) The Queen, Mrs. Brown, and Mrs. Clark then began pack clothes for the Queen and the Queen entered the carriage of Deputy Marshal Brown. Mrs. Clark and the others would come in a second police carriage. As they drove away from Washington Place to ‘Iolani Palace, she noticed that the Chief Justice of the Republic, Albert Judd, was entering the Queen’s home.  Justice Judd would confiscate diaries, petitions, draft constitutions, letters and other very important political documents that would have justified the Queen’s actions over the course of her two years reign–papers that the Queen would never again see again.
As the carriage approached ‘Iolani Palace, the Republican National Guard had turned the Palace into their barracks. Soldiers, sandbags and tents were everywhere on the Palace lawn and canons were pointed towards all the major gates. When the Queen ascended the throne, the Palace was surrounded by tall concrete gate walls. some of these walls had been destoryed during the First Wilcox Rebellion of 1889. In 1892, the Queen ordered all of the walls around the Palace lowered to 3 feet and a new iron fence to surround the Palace, which we still see today. The Queen wanted to her people to see her and to see their Palace. Now, part of the fences were covered in wooden blanks and the Palace was now a fort. Once her palace, now it would be her prison. As the Queen, dressed in black, dismounted from the carriage, she was told to pose for a photograph. She declined but they took a picutre of her anyways climbing up the steps of the Palace–the one attached to this note. Colonel Joseph Henry Fisher and two other members of the Republican National Guard came down steps from the verandah  of the Palace to meet the Queen and to escort her into the Palace. The entire party climbed the Grand Staircase and as they made their way up, the Cogswell portrait of the Queen that had hung in the Blue Room of the Palace was there on the landing. The Republic was preparing to auction off the Palace furniture and had began to move the “unnecessary” furniture to the second floor of the Palace for cateloguing and storage until the auction. As the guards, Deputy Marshall Brown, and Colonel Fisher saw the portrait, they stopped. They looked at the portrait and then looked the Queen beside them. One of the guards remarked in Portuguese,  “o que fizemos?” (What have we done?). Mrs. Clark began to sob. The Queen looked at her everyone, then looked straight at Colonel Fisher, and said calmly “Gentlemen, shall we?” The party continued until they reached the corner room of the Palace and papers were exchanged between Deputy Marshal Brown and Colonel Fisher regarding the custody of the Queen.
Mrs. Clark began to look around at the furniture. What she saw was furniture that was selected by the Republic to humiliate the Queen–an old hospital single bed, an old couch, some wooden shelves, a writing desk, and a dresser. The room the Republic had selected for the Queen was also the hottest room in the Palace because it constantly faced the afternoon sun. The panes of the windows were also painted over–as it is painted over today–so that the Queen could not see the outside world nor could the outside world see the Queen.  This was to be her imprisonment room or as the older generation called it, her “room of tears”. Special instructions were given to Colonel Fisher and any guard in the presence of the Queen not to address her as “Your Majesty” or even as “Ma’am”. Nor were they to bow or courtsie. They were told to address her simply as “the prisoner” and not to look directly at her. Four guards were assigned to the Queen and they were to march around the perimeter of the room of the Queen throughout the day. To make doubly sure, only illiterate Portuguese militia men who had little connections with Hawai’i were placed as guards to the Queen. They were taught to march very loudly on the ouside verandah so that the Queen could hear their boots on the tiled floor throughout the day.  For many Hawaiians, we can still hear their boots marching in our hearts because the arrest of the Queen was an wound that still feels fresh to many of us. After setting up the room, Mrs. Wilson volunteered to stay with the Queen as Mrs. Clark was deeply concerned about her husbands whereabouts.
In her words, “…The substance of my crime was that I knew my people were conspiring to re-establish the constitutional government, to throw off the yoke of the stranger and oppressor; and I had not conveyed this knowledge to the persons I had never recognized except as unlawful usurpers of authority, and had not informed against my own nation and against their friends who were also my long-time friends…It was the intention of the officers of the government to humiliate me by imprisoning me, but my spirit rose above that. I was a martyr to the cause of my people, and was proud of it….” (Hawai’i’s Story by Hawai’i’s Queen, Chapter XLV). The Queen would also later say that the first night of her imprisonment was the longest night in her life. 
As word spread of the Queen’s arrest, those who had continue to fight against the Republic in the January 6 uprising laid down their arms because they feared that the arrest of the Queen was a prelude to executing her. Indeed that was the case. Minister Thurston and other members of the Executive Council of the Republic wanted to behead the Queen. Dole, the president of the self-proclaimed Republic, believed that any violence against the Queen would lead to international condemnation. Indeed, that was also true because as the arrest of the Queen began to be known world wide, Dole recieved word from Washington DC and from London that any attempt to execute the Queen would mean a withdrawal of their diplomatic agents. So the Republic settled on arresting and trialing the Queen. Without the arrest of the Queen, the uprising would have continued. Although the nationalist and royalists forces were outgunned and unprepared (as the uprising was supposed to have started a week later had it not been for a spy),  many of their leaders had been arrested, they wanted to get rid of the Republic at all costs. Kanaka Maoli were fighting for their homeland and the non-Kanaka Maoli were fighting for an adopted country that they loved. They were tired of the harassment, the spies, the corruption, and being alienated from governing themselves.  They wanted their freedom back and they were willing to make the ultimate sacriface. But they were unwilling to risk the life of their Queen. 
In the meantime, the Queen, some 400 nationalist and royalist leaders (including Princes Kuhio and Kawananakoa, Joseph Nawahi, Robert Wilcox, etc), and the entire Hawaiian nation would became their prisoner. Even within my own family, my great grandfather and my great granduncle were both arrested for their participation in the uprising.  But they were not simply prisoners. They were martyrs as the Queen put it. They were our kūpuna. They were every people around the world who longed for freedom. They, the lives they lived, and the nation they fought for, we should always remember. 

The Queen’s Speech, 1892.

I was going through my notes and I was rereading Speeches from the Throne, which were sort of like how the Americans have their State of the Union address except its done in the first day of the opening of a legislative session. This is an excerpt from Queen Lili’uokalani’s Speech From the Throne, May 28th, 1892, which would be her last:”…The decree of Providence and the Constitution of the Kingdom having called Me to occupy the Throne of Hawaii, it is my earnest prayer that Divine assistance may be vouchsafed to enable Me to discharge the duties of the exalted position to the advantage of My people and the permanent benefit of Hawaii…Fully recognizing that by the Constitution and laws of the Kingdom My station is that of a Constitutional Monarch, accepting the will of My people as pronounced by them through their representatives in the Legislature and My Constitutional Advisers the Ministers of the Crown, I shall firmly endeavour to preserve the autonomy and absolute independence of this Kingdom, and to assist in perpetuating the rights and privileges of all who are subject to Our laws and in promoting their welfare and happiness….”Its is interesting how the Queen used certain terms in the speech including “autonomy and absolute independence”, “rights and privileges”, and “welfare and happiness”. The Queen in choosing these words was sending a clear signal that she did recognize that she was a Constitutional Monarch but that her chief tasks were to “firmly” preserve the cherished independence of our nation and to promote the general happiness and welfare of her people even against opposition. It is not enough for a leader to simply promote rights and to preserve political independence but to continue indefinitely (perpetuate) the rights and privileges that the people, her people, had long fought for and gained under independence. But people on the top must also “assist” in perpetuating these hard won rights or else its simply lip service. Furthermore, what good is independence and rights if the general population is unhappy and living in a demeaning state such as being poverty-stricken, chronic joblessness, or facing discrimination in their own homeland? The Queen answers some of these questions later in her speech with the words “My Ministers will submit for your consideration the Reports of their several Departments and the las necessary for the welfare of the Kingdom and the promotion of the objects I have referred to.” Among the laws the Queen’s Ministers submitted was a bill calling for a Constitutional Convention, a law requiring the American military to leave Pearl Harbor (as they had violated the Reciprocity Treaty and were illegally building military structures), a National Lottery Bill, and a complete reform on the Crown and Government laws which would have created homestead settlements for Native Hawaiians and poor citizens, and the amend the “Primacy of the Pacific” resolution to affirm that the Hawaiian Kingdom was and not part of North America or Europe but of “Asia and Oceania”. These are some of the thoughts the Queen had when she wrote this short speech. She was seriously thinking about what is our identity as a nation and what does it mean to have “independence” and “rights”. It is humbling to think that over a 100 years ago, our leaders were thinking of these ideas. If only more pf us today would think of such relevant questions and develop plans to promote the general happiness and welfare of our people and everyone in Hawai’i who “subject to our laws”, as our leaders a century ago did.

King Kamehameha IV’s Ascension Speech, 1855

King Kamehameha IV’s Address on the occasion of taking the Oath prescribed by the Constitution. Extr. from Polynesian, published on Jan. 13, 1855:
I solemnly swear, in the presence of Almighty God, to maintain the Constitution of the Kingdom whole and inviolate, and to govern in conformity with that and the laws.
Give ear Hawaii o Keawe! Maui o Kama! Oahu o Kuihewa! Kauai o Mano!
In the providence of God, and by the will of his late Majesty Kamehameha III., this day read in your hearing, I have been called to the high and responsible position of the Chief Ruler of this nation. I am deeply sensible of the importance and sacredness of the great trust committed to my hands, and in the discharge of this trust, I shall abide by the Constitution and laws which I have just sworn to maintain and support. It is not my wish to entertain you on the present occasion with pleasant promises for the future; but I trust that the close of my career will show that I have not been raised to the head of this nation to oppress and curse it, but on the contrary to cheer and bless it, and that when I come to my end, I may, like the beloved Chief whose funeral we yesterday celebrated, pass from earth amid the bitter lamentation of my people.
The good, the generous, the kind hearted Kamehameha is now no more. Our great Chief has fallen! But though dead he still lives. He lives in the hearts of his people! He lives in the liberal, the just, and the beneficent measures which it was always his pleasure to adopt. His monuments rise to greet us on every side. They may be seen in the church, in the school house, and the hall of justice; in the security of our persons and property; in the peace, the law, the order and general prosperity that prevail throughout the islands. He was the friend of the Makaainana, the father of his people, and so long as a Hawaiian lives his memory will be cherished!
By the death of Kamehameha III., the chain that carried us back to the ancient days of Kamehameha I. has been broken. He was the last child of that great Chieftain, but how unlike the father from whom he sprung. Kamehameha I. was born for the age in which he lived, the age of war and of conquest. Nobly did he fulfill the destiny for which he was created, that of reducing the islands from a state of anarchy and constant warfare to one of peace and unity under the rule of one king. With the accession of Kamehameha II. to the throne the tabus were broken, the wild orgies of heathenism abolished, the idols thrown drown, and in their place was set up the worship of the only living and true God. His was the era of the introduction of Christianity and all its peaceful influences. He was born to commence the great moral revolution which began with his reign, and he performed his cycle. The age of Kamehameha III. was that of progress and of liberty—of schools and of civilization. He gave us a Constitution and fixed laws; he secured the people in the title to their lands, and removed the last chain of oppression. He gave them a voice in his councils and in the making of the laws by which they are governed. He was a great national benefactor, and has left the impress of his mild and amiable disposition on the age for which he was born.
To-day we begin a new era. Let it be one of increased civilization—one of decided progress, industry, temperance, morality, and all those virtues which mark a nation’s advance. This is beyond doubt a critical period in the history of our country, but I see no reason to despair. We have seen the tomb close over our Sovereign, but it does not bury our hopes. If we are united as one individual in seeking the peace, the prosperity and independence of our country, we shall not be overthrown. The importance of this unity is what I most wish to impress upon your minds. Let us be one and we shall not fall!
On my part I shall endeavor to give you a mild, and liberal government, but at the same time one sufficiently vigorous to maintain the laws, secure you in all your rights of persons and property, and not too feeble to withstand the assaults of faction. On your part I shall expect you to contribute your best endeavors to aid me in maintaining the Constitution, supporting the laws, and upholding our Independence.
A few remarks addressed on this occasion, to you, the foreign portion of the assembly present, may not be inappropriate.
You have all been witnesses this day to the solemn oath I have taken in the presence of Almighty God and this assembly, to preserve inviolate the Constitution. This is no idle ceremony. The Constitution which I have sworn to maintain has its foundation laid in the deep and immutable principles of Liberty, Justice and Equality, and by these, and none other, I hope to be guided in the administration of my Government. As the ruler of this people, I shall endeavor, with the blessing of God, to seek the welfare of my subjects, and at the same time to consult their wishes. In these endeavors I shall expect the hearty co-operation of all classes—foreigners as well as natives.
His Majesty Kamehameha III., now no more, was preeminently the friend of the foreigner; and I am happy in knowing he enjoyed your confidence and affection. He opened his heart and hand with a royal liberality, and gave till he had little to bestow and you but little to ask. In this respect I cannot hope to equal him, but though I may fall far behind I shall follow in his footsteps.
To be kind and generous to the foreigner, to trust and confide in him, is no new thing in the history of our race. It is an inheritance transmitted to us by our forefathers. The founder of our dynasty was ever glad to receive assistance and advice from foreigners. His successor, not deviating from the policy of his father, listened not only to the voice of a missionary, and turned with his people to the light of Christianity, but against the wishes of the nation left his native land to seek for advice and permanent protection at a foreign Court. Although he never returned alive, his visit shows plainly what were his feelings towards the people of foreign countries. I cannot fail to heed the example of my ancestors. I therefore say to the foreigner that he is welcome. He is welcome to our shores—welcome so long as he comes with the laudable motive of promoting his own interests and at the same time respecting those of his neighbor. But if he comes here with no more exalted motive than that of building up his own interests at the expense of the native—to seek our confidence only to betray it—with no higher ambition than that of overthrowing our Government, and introducing anarchy, confusion and bloodshed—then is he most unwelcome!
The duties we owe to each other are reciprocal. For my part I shall use my best endeavors, in humble reliance on the Great Ruler of all, to give you a just, liberal and satisfactory Government. At the same time I shall expect you in return to assist me in sustaining the Peace, the Law, the Order and the Independence of my Kingdom.
January 6th, 1855.

The Royal Pets

When the Mormon missionary William Root Bliss arrived in Honolulu in 1873, he reported that  “Every family keeps at least one dog; every native family a brace of cats.”  Indeed, for many generations a Hawaiian household consisted of grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, children, cousins and an assortment of animals such as dogs, pigs, chickens, and later cats.  That was also true of aliʻi and kahuna. Aliʻi in particular was fond of pet pigs and pet dogs. Kahuna normally had some kind of animal like a dog or bird at the heiau because there is a belief in old Hawai’i that animals can see things that we, humans, can not. 
Kamehameha the Great had a pet rooster but he also had a favorite dog named Boki or Poki. Poki comes from the English word “Boss” or “Bossy”.  Kamehameha’s dog was a pure white poi dog and would accompany him on his travels.  When Poki died a year or so after unification, he was given his own ka’ai made from some of Kamehameha’s own ‘aha or sennit cordage. The dog allegedly was buried in a cave near Hualālai so that whenever Kamehameha looked at Hualālai from Kamakahonu, he could be reminded of his beloved pet. 
Kamehameha the Great’s son, Kamehameha III also had a favorite pet dog which I posted about some time ago. ‘Evelaina was the English mastiff of Kamehameha III. She originally was a gift to the king. She understood commands in both Hawaiian and English. When Kamehameha III passed away, ‘Evelaina guarded his tomb day and night leaving only only to eat then rushing back to the tomb. The dutiful dog passed away some seven years after Kamehameha III and the then Prince and Interior Minister Lot Kapu’aiwa Kamehameha had the dog put in a coffin and buried in Waikīkī. When Prince Lot ascended the throne as Kamehameha V and began to transfer the bodies of the late sovereigns from Pohukaina to Mauna ‘Ala in 1865, he also ordered the body of Evelaina to be buried at Mauna ʻAla under a tree behind the main chapel so she could continue to guard her beloved master.
Kamehameha IV and his Queen Emma also had a number of dogs. Their two favorite dogs–a small fluffy white Glen of Imaal terrier and a brown French bulldog–can be seen in that famous painting of their son, Prince Albert Leiopapa-a-Kamehameha. Kamehameha IV had other two French bulldogs but his favorite was named Kaupe. Kaupe was the name of a fearsome dog guardian of Nu’uanu Valley.
His brother, Kamehameha V, on the other hand had a more kolohe pet parrot named Pahua. Pahua was also the name of a type of spear dance specific to hula ma’i (procreation hula) for Kamehameha V.  Pahua knew about 20 or so Hawaiian words and one of the words the parrot knew was “Kanapapiki” which he learned to say when certain distingushed gentlemen were around particularly the US Minister to Hawai’i whom Kamehameha V was not too fond of. It also said more polite things like “Nani ‘oe” and “Hele mai ai”.  
In speaking of birds, one can not forget the flock of peacocks Princess Ka’iulani once had.  In the beginning when she first moved to ʻĀina Hau, she only had about 3 or 4 peacocks which she called pikake. When her mother, Princess Likelike, asked Princess Ka’iulani to be more specific on naming each peacock (as is our Hawaiian custom where we name everything that we touch, live with, live in, or love), Princess Ka’iulani pointed to each peacock and responded, “Pikake Ekahi, Pikake Elua, Pikake Eha….” Eventually, the Princess would have more than a dozen peacocks including a few albino peacocks.  The Princess other favorite pet was her pure white horse whom she named “Fairy”. But Princess Ka’iulani was always remembered by Hawaiians of her era as the “Peacock Princess”. 
The Princess’ uncle, King Kalākaua also had his share of pets. After his world tour in 1881, King Kalākaua was gifted with a monkey by the King of Siam (modern Thailand) from his Royal Grand Palace. The monkey did not live too long and not to be outdone by northern neighbor, the Maharaja of Johore (Sultan of Johore) in Malaysia sent the king two Singapura kittens whom Queen Kapi’olani kept as her own.  She named the female cat Malaia or Malaya in Hawaiian. The male was named Nīele because it had a habit of peeking into every room. King Kalākaua would eventually get more cats (including cats with exotic names like “Brownie” and “Pōhaku Hau’oli” after British PM Gladstone) as Queen Kapi’olani had a habit of picking up stray cats and dogs and bringing them to one of her homes or to Hale ʻĀkala (“the Pink Bungalow” behind ‘Iolani Palace which served as the private residence of the King and Queen). One could say that Queen Kapi’olani started Hawai’i’s first stary animal sanctuary. Some of the cats at ‘Iolani Palace by the Banyan Tree may be descendants of cats from the reign of King Kalākaua. 
Our beloved Queen, Lili’uokalani, had a beloved poi dog named “Poni”. Poni in Hawaiian means either purple or to crown or consecrete. Her poi dog was her companion and was trained only in Hawaiian. When the Queen was on her deathbed, Poni was there licking the Queen’s hand. When the Queen passed away, Poni was given to Lahilahi Webb but Poni kept trying to sneak out to go back to Washington Place to the bedroom of the Queen.  Just like  ‘Evelaina of the earlier era, Poni wanted to still keep watch over his sovereign. 

Some thoughts about Queen Kapiʻolani

n the dining room of my grandmother’s house before in Papakōlea, there used to be two photographs. One was of Queen Lili’uokalani and the other was Queen Kapi’olani (the one depicted here with the dark velvet dress serving as a backdrop for her lei hulu manu). I talked a little bit about my family’s connection with Queen Kapi’olani in the post about “God is in the Flowers”.  I wanted to share something more personal about Queen Kapi’olani that always resonated with me. Queen Kapi’olani knew Hawaiian culture. She knew the language. But she spent most of her life feeling like an outsider. Although by lineage, she outranked the Kamehameha I, she was the niece of Prince Keoki (George) Humehume, the son of King Kaumuali’i that broke his oath to Kamehameha II and tried to regain Kaua’i’s independence. Due to Humehume, the line of Kaumuali’i was excluded from the Chiefs Children School by Kamehameha III and therefore the succession to the Hawaiian throne.  However, excluded from the succession, Kamehameha III awarded their family the lands once promised to them by Ka’ahumanu I and to which they had ancestral claims to. Kamehameha III felt that excluding them from the land of their own ancestors was too much of a punishment and un-Christian. Queen Kapi’olani eventually married The Honorable Noble Benjamin Nāmākēhāokalani, one of the uncles of Queen Emma and a man 35 years her senior with a teenage daughter. Benjamin Nāmākēhāokalani served as a personal envoy of Kamehameha IV to the Micronesian and Polynesian Christian missions. Kamehameha IV envisioned that Hawai’i would one day annex parts of Kiribati and the Marquesas to prepare them for independence in the manner of the Hawaiian Kingdom, but that was not to happen. Queen Kapi’olani suffered two know miscarriages and went through a period where she devoted herself only to church. Eventually, Queen Emma had Prince Albert Leiopapa-a-Kamehameha, the Prince of Hawai’i (Island).  Queen Kapi’olani became the head kahu of the new Crown Prince and devoted herself to the child, as any mother would especially someone who had lost their own children due to miscarriages.  When the young Crown Prince had his temper tantrum, Kamehameha IV ordered her to bath him in cold water to calm him down. Kapi’olani disagreed politely and the king dismissed her and tossed the Crown Prince into  cold water. Some days later, the Crown Prince died. Queen Emma, who had once been close to Queen Kapi’olani, blamed her and refused to allow Queen Kapi’olani to attend the funeral of the Crown Prince because she blamed the Kapi’olani for not being more assertive with King Kamehameha IV and for not being able to control the Crown Prince’s temper.
For the next twenty years, Queen Emma did everything she could to undermine Queen Kapi’olani due to this misunderstanding. When King Kalākaua was campaigning for the throne against Queen Emma, Queen Kapi’olani refused to campaign with her husband out of respect to Queen Emma. When King Kalākaua won the election, she refused to recognize Queen Kapi’olani as Queen-consort and on several times in public, said some very undiplomatic things about Queen Kapi’olani including that Queen Kapi’olani had an affair with the younger David Kalākaua while she was still married to Nāmākēhāokalani. But Queen Kapi’olani never gossiped against Queen Emma even though there were rumors that Queen Emma wanted to organize a coup against her husbands regime. Before Queen Emma died, she reportedly told her Rooke cousin that Queen Kapi’olani was not allowed to attend her funeral. Queen Kapi’olani on a trip to Moloka’i to visit the leper colony once remarked that she could understand some of the pain of the lepers because could understand how it felt to be excluded.  Her marriage with David Kalākaua was overall a happy one because they shared many of the same ideas. As Queen, she preferred to spoil her niece, Princess Ka’iulani, with jewelry. But she used fashion to showcase her ideas. During the daytime, she preferred Hawaiian holokū and Ni’ihau shell leis. In the evenings, she mixed Japanese silks, Chinese silks, English velvet, and Italian satin with something Hawaiian–normally fine feather work, beautiful pearls from Maui, or translucent Ni’ihau shells. This was the new era, the Hawai’i that her husband was trying to achieve–a nation that was seamlessly multicultural and cosmopolitan yet distinctively and proudly Hawaiian. This was the Hawai’i that had no laws for mixed race couples, unlike in the US at the time and no Crow laws. This was the Hawai’i that a Hawaiian Queen could give out sake prizes to Sumo wrestlers and then attend an Italian opera. But Queen Kapi’olani was also a person who quietly tried to make those who felt excluded, included in her quiet way.  I could not imagine the strength it most have taken to be constantly humiliated by someone whom you considered to be your niece for something that really was not your fault and to never once say a bad comment in reply especially when her husband went at length to extend every dignity and courtesy to Queen Emma including allowing her draw a salary yet Queen Emma seemed unmoved.  Instead of feeling bitter or upset, Queen Kapi’olani focused on devoting her time, her energy, and her tears to serving the country that she so dearly loved. She also always kept a portrait of Queen Emma in ‘Iolani Palace because though they did not get along, for the sake of the nation and for history, Queen Kapi’olani recognized the contributions that Queen Emma made to the Hawaiian people. She separated her personal feelings for someone because history demanded it and the Hawaiian people, who were being decimated by the thousands by introduced diseases and vices, needed heros and role models to rebuild the nation and themselves. They needed people to love and to feel loved. Queen Emma was still someone, despite her personal flaws, that loved her people and loved her nation–as Queen Kapi’olani also did. Queen Kapi’olani was one of those who also loved Queen Emma and had hoped until the passing of Queen Emma, they could find peace with each other. But that sadly did not happen. After Queen Emma’s passing, Queen Kapi’olani ordered pink roses to be sent to Queen Emma’s tomb on the death anniversary of Queen Emma–a very Hawaiian custom–as a sign of her respect and forgiveness. Forgiveness and respect that unfortunately these two very strong Hawaiians did not find in their lifetimes. It must have been heartbreaking, especially for Queen Kapi’olani. 
When the US had their annexation ceremony, members of the Royal Court held a gathering at Washington Place. Missing from that famous photograph is Queen Kapi’olani. Officially she was ill. But unofficially, though frail, she went to Kaua’i to quietly mourn in her ancestral kingdom and then she made a one last trip to Maui to visit the tomb of her grandfather, King Kaumuali’i.  Seven months later, Queen Kapi’olani passed away and in  accordance to her wishes, no state services were to be held and donations to one of the Queen’s charities in lieu of flowers was to be made. Though Hawaiians loved her, many did not realize until much later how much Queen Kapi’olani had done and secretly donated to various causes and individuals. That was the way of the older generation of chiefs–to never boast your own genealogy, to give liberally without fanfare, and to love especially those who need to be loved. Whenever I think of Queen Kapi’olani, the Bible verse 1 Corintians 13:4-8 always springs to my mind:

4. O ke aloha, ua hoomanawanui, a ua lokomaikai; aole paonioni aku ke aloha, aole haanui, aole haakei; 5. Aole hoi e hoohiehie, aole imi i kona mea iho, aole hiki wawe ka huhu, aole haohao hewa; 6. Aole i lealea i ka hewa, ua lealea i ka pono. 7. Ua ahonui i na mea a pau, ua manao oiaio i na mea a pau, ua manao makemake i na mea a pau, ua hoomanawanui i na eha a pau. 8. He mea pau ole ke aloha….
 (4. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8. Love never fails…)

Princess Ka’iulani and Evangelina Cisneros

Princess Ka’iulani and Evangelina Cisneros: The Hawai’i-Cuba Connection

Evangelina Cisneros
Princess Ka’iulani, the Heir Apparent to the Hawaiian Throne

Many people in Hawai’i are aware of the Puerto Rican connection in Hawai’i due to the immigration that occurred in the 20th century. But there is also another untold story.

At the turn of the century, Cubans mounted a sustained national revolution against Spain beginning in 1895. The Cuban as well as the Philippine national revolution the following year in 1896 received wide support from many Hawaiian Nationalists. Robert Wilcox for example spoke out in support of Cuban and Filipino nationalists several times in this period and urged Hawaiians to follow their example by throwing out the oligarchs. Wilcox was a great admirer of  José Martí and Emilio Aguinaldo. Emma Nawahi, the widow of Joseph Nawahi, also endorsed the revolutions in Cuba and in the Philippines in the Ke Aloha ‘Aina newspaper and mele (songs) were written commemorating the bravery of the revolutionaries.

In the summer of 1897 there was also a series of incidents that brought the struggle of Cuba directly with the Hawaiian struggle for regain independence from the ruling junta (the self proclaimed Republic of Hawai’i). In 1897, Princess Ka’iulani was again in the United States on her way back to Hawai’i. What was supposed to have been a short trip to New York ended up lasting several weeks as Princess Ka’iulani decided to wait to meet Prince David Kawananakoa, who was representing the Hawaiian government in exile, and the members of the Hui Kala’aina and the Hui Aloha ‘Aina (the Hawaiian Political Association and the Hawaiian Patriotic League in English) who were carrying the petitions against annexation. Princess Ka’iulani had been accused of being disloyal to her aunt and to the government-in-exile due to the actions of her father and her guardian, Theo Davies. She wanted to dispel such rumors before she landed in Hawai’i and to prove her loyalty, rumors are said that the Princess was also ready to offer her aunt her renunciation of her line in succession to the throne. She never did of course since in the end her aunt, the Queen understood that pro-annexation elements were trying to discredit the Royal Family by trying to make them fight among each other. It has always been a colonial tactic to have indigenous people fight each other while the colonizer or colonial settlers move in to “restore” law and order.  Divide et impera.

While the Princess was in New York, a major newspaper, the New York  Journal, helped a 19 year old political prisoner escape from Cuba and brought her to the United States to help put a human face to the Cuban revolution for Americans–and to sell more papers. The political prisoner, Evangelina Cosio y Cisneros, was from a landed Cuban criollos family. Her father was actively supporting the Cuban revolutionary cause and as such the Spanish authorities arrested every member of her family including her mother, sisters, and brothers. According Amy Ephron, the author of  The White Rose, which is a historical fiction based on the life of Evangelina Cisneros, Princess Ka’iulani and Evangelina Cisneros were constantly being mistaken for each other in public events and Princess Ka’iulani would sometimes jokingly play along with the confused reporters. It had gotten to the point that Princess Ka’iulani decided to meet her and so they met at Princess Ka’iulani’s hotel. A normal audience with Princess Ka’iulani would last about fifteen minutes. Cisneros and the Princess discussed issues for more than three hours.  A week later, the Princess and Cisneros would meet again in a Cuban independence club for women. The Princess would later be reported as saying in the New York Journal that Cisnero was a “real princess” due to the nobility of her character. The Princess while in New York would grace Cuban independence groups two more times and make a donation. The friendship between the two women would continue for the next two years and it was not co-incidental that the Princess would start a chapter of the Red Cross in Hawai’i to help with the Spanish-American War. 

The Princess, like Robert Wilcox and Emma Nawahi, spoke in favor of not just independence for their own people but for all people including those who were fighting in the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Their passion for freedom and injustice brings in mind a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”