There is a phrase with a double meaning in Hawaiian, “ka wa ma hope,” which means to look to the future is to look at the past. When you invite a Hawaiian to look to the future, they will instinctively turn to the past. This episode is a deep dive into Hawaii’s past to answer this age-old question that has reverberated since the late 1800’s on the eight small islands in the middle of the Pacific. What is our future?
We continue our journey of how Hawaii became America’s so-called 50th state this week with Dr. Keanu Sai, political scientist and professor at the University of Hawaii. Dr. Sai takes us on his personal journey into the past, sitting with his grandmother on her deathbed as she encouraged him to examine his genealogy. What this former U.S. Army veteran discovers changes him forever as he uncovers his family’s part in Hawaii’s story and the unique role he now gets to play in keeping that story and that heritage alive.
Dr. Kai also takes us way behind the curtain of the story of Hawaii’s annexation, which he explains cannot be told without the story of sugar. In the later part of the 19th Century, wealthy sugar plantation owners conspired with the U.S. minister to the Kingdom of Hawaii, who shared the goal of the United State’s annexation of Hawaii. The sugar magnates wanted profits and the U.S. wanted a military base on the island called Pearl Harbor, which gave them a common enemy; the Kingdom itself, and the government upon which the Kingdom rested.
Join us for part two of our series, Strangling Hands Upon a Nation’s Throat, as we learn about the people and events that led us to where we are today. Characters like Lorrin Thurston, John Stevens, King Kalakaua, Queen Lili`uokalani, the Bayonet Constitution, the Honolulu Rifles, and the landing of 160 U.S. Marines which supported the overthrow of a sovereign government to begin the march towards a falsified statehood.