Low Key Shindig for Hawaii’s 50th Birthday

Cannons blasted and parade bands strutted as blissful spectators waved U.S. flags 50 years ago when Hawaii achieved statehood in 1959. This year, however, the celebration of 50 years of statehood is expected to be far less enthusiastic. The flag-waving spectators of yesteryear will turn into chanting demonstrators as Hawaiian sovereignty advocates march outside the Hawaii Convention Center where panel discussions on native Hawaiian rights and tourism’s future will be taking place inside. Hawaiian Independence Action Alliance organizer Lynette Cruz has said, “We want to show how U.S. imperialism has spread across the Pacific and across the world.”
The root of the contention dates back to 1893 when Caucasian businessmen, many of whom were descendants of supercilious European missionaries, forced the beloved Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate while U.S. imperialist Marines came ashore to take over her palace. Many Hawaiian people of today view statehood as the product of an illegal and callous overthrow.
Although a large portion of Hawaii voters supported statehood in 1959, sovereignty champions believe the vote was bogus because there were only two choices on the ballot: become a state or remain a territory. Missing was the obvious third choice: freedom and independence.

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