‘Iolani Palace on Admissions Day

A quick note to acknowledge new happenings at ‘Iolani Palace, this time on Friday, Admissions Day, the state holiday that marks Hawai’i’s statehood in August 1959– from the AP:

Hawaiian palace occupied anew; 22 arrested

HONOLULU (AP) — A group of Native Hawaiians claiming to be the state’s legitimate rulers occupied the grounds of a historic palace for two hours before being arrested by state officers in the second recent takeover of its kind.

A staff member of the Iolani Palace said she was assaulted and slightly injured during the takeover Friday night, then snubbed by city police who claimed they didn’t have jurisdiction. Gov. Linda Lingle said Saturday that there would be an investigation into the police response to the takeover.

A group of men, wearing red shirts with “security” stenciled in yellow on the back, took over the grounds by chaining the gates of the palace next to the State Capitol and posted signs saying: “Property of the Kingdom of Hawaiian Trust.”

Kippen de Alba Chu, executive director of the Friends of Iolani Palace, said he and other staff members were locked down in the palace and a nearby administration building during the takeover.

“They’ve got a king, and the king wants to sit on the throne,” de Alba Chu said.

State law officers climbed over the fence a couple of hours after the takeover began and made 22 arrests. Fourteen were charged with criminal trespassing and were released after posting $50 bail. Eight were being held on charges of burglary for allegedly forcing their way into the palace.

The palace, normally open to tours, will remain closed during the weekend to assess any damage and to ensure its security, police said. [… more here.]

For now, I’d just like to bemoan that reporting on this, as with the coverage of earlier occupation of ‘Iolani Palace grounds in May 2008, focuses on making these Kanaka Maoli organizations look foolish [see here, and here] and criminal [see above, or any recent coverage]. Ignored completely (and conveniently) is any in-depth consideration of the real motivating factors behind these demonstrations, such as the ongoing, crushing presence of American colonialism in many Native Hawaiian lives. And, of course, embedded in holidays like Admissions Day. Whether one agrees with these specific Hawaiian organizations or not, the media response to them alone becomes a force it feels so important to unite against.


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