Image via Wikipedia
This is an old piece from my Holo Holo Hawaii Blog for those of you who might have read it already. But this is a piece that can explain a misconception a lot of people have about Hawaii becoming part of the United States.
Hawaiian Protest Quilt that hangs in Bishop Museum
On 9/11 our Nation was in distress. We had been attacked without even being aware that we were under siege. A total surprise. But our flag was still standing.
Hawaii awoke in the early morning to the news and like the rest of the world we watched as the events played out live on our televisions. As the week wore on Flags began to appear on the back windows of trucks, waving from antennas and pinned to clothing. Though the United States flag was not upside down our nation was, indeed, in distress.
I am reminded during Hawaii’s 50th statehood celebration of a time when Hawaiians too started to display their flag as a nation under siege. Store bought flags and little pins created to take advantage of ones patriotism during 9/11 were easy enough to attain. But I am not sure how many quilts were created in display of one’s love for their country.
The quilt that is shown above is one of the treasures of “The Bishop Museum.” It once belonged to Hawaii’s last Queen, Liliuokalani, who was dethroned by US big business. In the late 1800’s Hawaiians realized that their islands were slipping out of their hands. Quilts, such as the one above started to appear.
People started hanging quilts on four posters above beds so that they could say they slept and awoke under their flag.
If you notice on the quilt, the four outer flags display an intact canton. But the inside flags show the canton upside down. This particular quilt was sewn during a time when the queen had been imprisoned and the Hawaiian flag was forbidden to fly by the Provisional Government that had taken over the islands.
Now if you were one of the flag waving Americans that appeared as the Towers went down you well know the feeling of someone trying to take away your country. This is exactly what the Hawaiian people felt as they stood powerless against a crafty, cunning and scheming group of men who had successfully managed to overthrow their Queen.
The Hawaiian people never wanted to be annexed but for the wishes of their Queen they did not rebel. They remained peaceful and ever hopeful that the islands would be returned back to their Queen. But President McKinley signed the Annexation Treaty and although ordered to revert to her married name of Lydia Dominis, she was still the Queen to her people and together they protested the Annexation.
In this day of sound bites, and spinning the news, when you see people of Hawaii talking about the privilege of becoming part of the United States, ask yourself just who are these people and would the Hawaiians rather be pledging their allegiance to their own flag as their quilts indicated or did they truly want to become Americans as the spin doctors of the provisional government contested?