Saturday 21 June 2008
Surrounded by royal guards and the occasional tourist, Her Majesty Mahealani Kahau and her government ministers hold court every day under a tent outside the palace of Hawaii’s last monarch, passing laws and discussing how to secure reparations for the Native Hawaiian people.
Kahau and her followers are members of the self-proclaimed Hawaiian Kingdom Government, which is devoted to restoring the Hawaiian monarchy overthrown in 1893. Nearly two months ago, they stormed the gates of the old Iolani Palace, and they have politely occupied the grounds ever since, operating like a government-in-exile.
«We’re here to assume and resume what is already ours and what has always been ours», said Kahau, who is a descendant of Hawaii’s last king and was elected "head of state" by the group.
Hawaii is one of three U.S. States that were independent prior to becoming part of the U.S.: Vermont Republic, 1791; Republic of Texas, 1845; and Hawaii. Of these, Hawaii and Texas were the only ones with formal international diplomatic recognition. The Kingdom of Hawaii existed from 1810 until 1893 when the monarchy was overthrown by native born Hawaiians of American ancestry. It was an independent republic from 1894 until 1898, when it was annexed by the United States, becoming a territory in 1900, and a state in 1959.