Sovereignty Sunday is a Spiritual Call for New
Directions in All Forms of Self-Determination
Our lives are very busy in today’s time. However, we should all take time to honor
history. More important, we should take action in the present rooted in the lessons
of liberation, peace and human rights. A future of fear or freedom depends on our
determination on a daily basis.
Sovereignty Sunday is one such situation. It is an afternoon of authentic art and
advocacy. Yet, so many enjoy Sunday as a respite before another week of work.
Others are busy catching up from what wasn’t completed. We must bend the hands
of time for purposeful, bold moments in life.
January 2013 marks the 120th commemoration of the illegal overthrow of the nation
of Hawaii. Queen Lili’uokalani chose nonviolence and cultural resistance. More
important, she coordinated campaigns on behalf of her people to demand dignity in
a world in pursuit of profit and power.
To visit Iolani palace on Sovereignty Sunday is to pray in the cathedral of
compassion and peace.
More and more of us must make it a priority. It isn’t only one Sunday a year. We
must do more daily rooted in small, sincere steps to rebuild the nation of Hawai’i
based on our own beliefs.
By attending the anniversary of nonviolent resistance, one is able to bear witness
to a better world. By pledging to promote peace, one can take small steps toward a
On the 120th anniversary, the program highlight was a musical set by Sudden Rush.
The lyrics of liberation sparked the conscience of the crowd. Sudden Rush combined
traditional chants rooted in resistance with hip-hop lyrics of love for Hawaii. Their
set sparked all in the crowd to ska and shaka. A new release was also revealed
that won’t disappoint fans of their call for music with a message of a strong Hawaii
The speakers also shared their mana’o on important issues regarding important
human rights beginning with the right of self-determination. Sovereignty Sunday
is an opportunity to learn the latest specifics of the struggles taken place across
Another important input is also the conversations among all in the crowd. I spoke
with high school teachers setting curriculum to promote positive change in society.
I listened to educators share their passion for higher education focusing on human
rights approach to empower students to pursue careers focused on meaning more
than money. Another discussion directed people to demand democracy at the
upcoming legislative session with petitions supporting the Kanaka Maoli movement.
One of the most important is the connections with indigenous peoples throughout
Oceania. The exciting engagement of Maohi of Tahiti in the United Nations to
improve their human rights through international instruments. It is at a new
development beyond the decolonization committee but through alliance building
with states in the General Assembly with a resolution recognizing the right to self-
All in all, creating community such as through Sovereignty Sunday is what we must
all do in our causes to positively change our country.
More importantly, there were direct actions of self-determination happening on the
periphery significant to our future paradise. One ohana practiced protocol offering
ho’okupu across the street opening the cultural ceremony. On the way home, two
youths spoke fluently in the language of their ancestors on DaBus.
What will you contribute? What can we all do?
One idea to mark the anniversary is to read the words and wonderful wisdom in
the writing of the ali’i and their allies in activism. Another idea is to commit to
learn language of Olelo Hawai’i and speak together constantly. Any idea that grows
into an initiative can blossom into an institution that fosters indigenous models of
Another one is to take action through nonviolent struggle in the tradition of
Kahoolawe to have land returned to the rightful people to then determine a new
direction for Hawaii in the region and world affairs. There were whispers of testing
the Inouye Influence Factor and the Fiscal Cliff. How about deciding on Makua as a
campaign for it to be phased out as a training site and become a peaceful refuge for
Kanaka Maoli and cultural practicioners? If there are financial challenges and their
must be reduction in costs related to all sectors of society. Why not restore one of
the most beautiful valleys and create a foundation for culture in Hawaii?
I remember the 100th anniversary with a sea of humanity hopeful for a
transformation rising through the streets of Honolulu. At dawn, the faces of a new
generation walked in the footsteps of their ancestors for a future of freedom. I was
honored to march, sign and chose a new direction in my life.
We must all do our part so the 125th anniversary is a transformational undertaking
that shapes our understanding of Hawai’i’s future.