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1898 Hui Aloha `Aina petition published
While doing research at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. in 1996, Noenoe Silva discovered petitions signed by Hawaiians protesting the movement to annex the Islands in 1897-1898. Petitions circulated by the Hui Aloha 'Aina and the Hui Kulai'aina gathered nearly 40,000 signatures - essentially the number of Hawaiians alive at the time - attesting to widespread opposition to annexation and support for restoration of the monarchy. The petitions were delivered to deposed Queen Lili'uokalani in Washington where she was lobbying the U.S. Senate against annexation. With the help of the petitions, efforts to annex Hawai'i through a U.S. treaty were successfully defeated. The Islands were, however, annexed as a territory through a Joint Resolution of Congress July 7, 1898, a process now acknowledged as illegal.
The Hui Aloha 'Aina petition contains 21,269 signatures (whereabouts of the 17,000-signature Hui Kulai'aina petition remain unknown). Pages equalling approximately half the petition were displayed in Hawai'i in 1998 at Bishop Museum and other venues around the state. Silva and Nalani Minton published a loose-bound version of the petition the same year. For many, knowledge of the petitions lifted a feeling of victimization over the overthrow of the monarchy and increased respect for earlier generations who had brought their voices together to restore a nation. "Everybody's kupuna signed this paper," Silva said, "and they all stood up for their country."
In January 1999, the petition documents were returned to the U.S. Senate (they are officially Senate property). Descendants of the four men who originally delivered the documents to Queen Lili'uokalani - former Hawai'i Supreme Court Justice William Richardson, Moses Kalauokalani, Edwin Auld, Toni Auld Yardley and Kaoi Kaimikaua - participated in the ceremonies.
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