With interest I follow the struggle of some native Hawaiians to have the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi restored. Every so often members are arrested for locking themselves onto the Iolani Palace grounds or for making protests near the Palace. I recall some photos from an event a few years ago on the Palace grounds which identified some of the attendees as “Prince so-and-so” and “Princess so-and-so”. If anyone today would have a legitimate claim to a Royal title it seems to me that it would be these descendants of the old Monarchy. When I looked up the Royal Lineage in Wikipedia I was shocked to see how many Princes and Princesses of Hawaiʻi there actually are today! (click any photos)
Those who are agitating for the restoration I think have good intentions for restoring Hawaiʻi’s dignity, to right the wrong done earlier to Hawaiians and to ensure that Hawaiʻi’s traditions do not die out. But sometimes good intentions aren’t enough! We need to know what we are actually doing which may not be the same as what we think or hope that we are doing. Life rarely goes backwards and I suspect there’s not much chance of a restoration of the Monarchy in Hawaiʻi, although the Monarchy was restored to Spain after Franco… so who knows? But even if it were restored there is the new reality that Hawaiʻi today is composed of more than only Native Hawaiians! Of the million-plus people who live real lives there and those who have a real love for Hawaiʻi’s values and culture, where would they fit into a Native Monarchy’s conception of Hawaiʻi? Would the wrong of an overthrown Hawaiian Monarchy be righted by disenfranchising many of today’s Hawaiian residents? Do Native Hawaiians have a right to tell all malihini they cannot love Hawaiʻi?
It’s clearly a complicated issue! And precisely because it is so complicated I think the Hawaiian people should beware of reaching for easy answers to difficult questions. One of the characteristics that I have picked up about Queen Liliʻuokalani was her love for all of her subjects, whether native or foreigners, who had made Hawaiʻi the home of their heart. Her desire was that life in the Islands proceed in a way which benefits all, and THAT is a Royal Mindset definitely worthy of emulation!