ANAHOLA – About 60 sovereignty advocates and their supporters gathered on Kuhio
Highway outside Anahola to educate visitors and residents about what they
contend was the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy by the United
Many also challenged pending federal legislation to recognize a
relationship between the United States and Native Hawaiians.
At the same
time, members and supporters of the Lawful Hawaiian Government Nation gathered
at Po’ipu Beach Park in their call for independence.
The demonstration in
Anahola was held on the same day Queen Lili’uokalani was buried Nov. 11, 1917,
according to Butch Kekahu, the organizer of the event.
Kaua’i police were
concerned the scheduled three-hour morning slowdown of traffic on the highway
by the southern entrance to Anahola would create traffic conflicts, but none
developed and the event went off without a hitch.
“We have had no problems,
as you can see,” said Kaua’i police Inspector Paul Hurley, who was at the scene
with five other officers, including Lt. Martin Curnan, who heads the Kaua’i
substation in Hanalei.
Although the demonstration was held on the same day
as Veterans Day, demonstrators said it was not for lack of respect for
“I have earned the right to speak,” said Army veteran David
Kawika Cutcher. “There is no disrespect for veterans who served. Most Hawaiian
veterans love the U.S., but we don’t like the people running our government. We
are here for justice for our people.”
While in the Army in the late 1970s,
Cutcher said he was involved in intelligence and anti-terrorism
He said he comes from a long line of family members who served in
the U.S. military.
His mother and father are Korea War veterans, his
brother is a Navy seal, and his grandfather, Kalei Miller, fought in World War
I. His other grandfather, Andrew William Kakalia, was a koa warrior — or
bodyguard — for Queen Lili’uokalani.
Marj Dent of the Waipouli Ahupua’a
(the area from the mountain to the sea) said her protest actions were not
intended to take anything away from veterans on their special day.
they would be very proud of me because I am a descendent of a family member who
was part of the Daughters of American Revolution,” she said. “My kin fought in
the American Revolutionary War. I come from a long line of protesters.”
The event was held to encourage non-Hawaiians and Hawaiians to come out in
force to support the drive for independence, said organizer Nani Rogers. “There
is no racial line here,” she said. “If we want to reach independence, we have
to work together.”
But the demonstration didn’t have the support of other
Hawaiians on Kaua’i, who say the federal legislation offers them a more clear
and easier route to independence.
The measure was introduced by Sens.
Daniel Akaka (D-Hawai’i) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawai’i), and is now before the
Senate for a vote.
Don Cataluna, the newly elected Kaua’i representative
on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees, joined the demonstration
line, but said he was not entirely convinced the Akaka bill, if it passes,
would prevent those striving for independence from reaching some form of
Lining both sides of the highway, demonstrators urged
motorists to slow down to receive literature that made these points:
Hawai’i is a sovereign nation.
l It maintained embassies and consulates
throughout the world, including the United States.
l The overthrow of the
Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 was an unsuccessful revolution and the 1895
annexation of Hawaii to the U.S. was illegal.
“This illegal situation
continues to exist, and American citizens have unknowingly migrated to an
illegally occupied foreign nation,” the literature stated.
were initially reluctant to pull over on the side of the road to pick up the
literature. That changed when Dent flagged them down and began passing out
literature, encouraging other protesters to follow her example.
of the sovereignty movement voiced opposition to the pending federal
Sovereignty advocates said the bill, if passed, will “lure the
population of Hawai’i into a future that has no history.”
But the bill
emanated from the United States and has no authority over a foreign nation such
as Hawai’i, demonstrators said.
“Through the bill, they are trying to keep
Hawaiians under their thumb.” said protester Ilona Moritsugu.
The bill came
from a governmental system “that doesn’t work,” said Anahola resident Michael
“The queen knew that system didn’t work, and that is why she fought
against it,” Grace said. “The system that belongs here is the one with the laws
of the kingdom of Hawai’i.”
David Fletcher, a visitor from New York who
joined the protest, said he felt history has shown the takeover of Hawaii by
the United States was illegal.
“I am highly supportive of their actions,”
he said of the protesters. “It is long overdue.”
The event brought out
leaders in the Hawaiian community, including Michael and Sondra Grace, who
fought unsuccessfully to occupy lands in Anahola in the name of sovereignty
more than 10 years ago, and Cheryl Lovell Obtake, who recently retired as a
member of the Kaua’i-Ni’ihau Burial Council.
Protesters carried placards
bearing such messages as “U.S. Illegal Occupation,” “Exploitation of Hawai’i,”
“Justice for all Hawaiians under Kingdom Law” and “This is Not the
A party was held at the Anahola Clubhouse following the
Staff writer Lester Chang can be reached at 245-3681
(ext. 225) and firstname.lastname@example.org