Culture on My Mind – The Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
The Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i
March 7, 2022

An educational short from TED-Ed about the dark history of paradise is on my mind this week.

The history is apalling but not unique. This United States has a history of taking lands from native people simply because they want it.

The United States apologized for its role in the affair through United States Public Law 103-150 of 1993 (known as the “Apology Resolution”), which acknowledged two things:

  • First, that “the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii occurred with the active participation of agents and citizens of the United States”, and
  • Second, “that the Native Hawaiian people never directly relinquished to the United States their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people over their national lands, either through the Kingdom of Hawaii or through a plebiscite or referendum.”

This short video provides an overview through the two-year reign of Queen Liliʻuokalani.

In light of the recent spate of book banning and demands for greater oversight in public schools, there is an unattributed quote circulating the internet. The truth about studying history is very simple.

Studying history will sometimes make you uncomfortable. Studying history will sometimes make you feel deeply upset. Studying history will sometimes make you feel extremely angry. If studying history always makes you feel proud and happy, you probably aren’t studying history.

History is never clean and simple because people and nations will always do terrible things, and they will justify those atrocities in any way they can. You can be proud of your heritage and citizenship but knowledge and understanding of what built them to you are key to maintaining the rights and privileges you enjoy.

History is bloody and complicated. If studying history always makes you feel proud and happy, you’re likely studying propaganda.


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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

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