The fight for Hawaiian sovereignty is a long-standing issue that has been at the forefront of Native Hawaiian activism for centuries. From the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in the late 19th century to the protests against statehood in the 1950s, Native Hawaiians have been striving for their right to self-determination. This article will provide an overview of the history of Hawaiian sovereignty and its implications for modern-day activism. The struggle for Hawaiian sovereignty began in the late 19th century, when King David Kalākaua stirred up nationalism and promoted Hawaii internationally as an independent sovereign kingdom. This period, known as the first Hawaiian Renaissance, saw a revival of traditional cultural practices such as hula dancing, which had been prohibited since 1830 due to missionaries' misunderstanding of its cultural importance.
The second Hawaiian revival flourished in the 1960s and 1970s. At the same time, Hawaiians were protesting commercial development and organizing to recover a land base that had been taken from them at the time of the overthrow. This land, along with land granted in compensation for military or other expropriations, became the focus of intense organization. In 1959, Hawaiian voters approved the Hawaii statehood bill by an overwhelming majority and Hawaii became the 50th state in the United States on August 21. However, many Native Hawaiian activists protested and continue to do so today. The sovereignty of Native Hawaiians remains a fundamental issue, motivating contemporary protests against militarism, imperialism, and occupation. As Native Hawaiians continue to fight for their right to self-determination, it is essential to understand their history and recognize their struggle.