Who Was Liliʻuokalani?

A turn in Hawaii’s history took place at ʻIolani Palace on January 17, 1893. Hawaii had been overthrown. During this time Liliʻuokalani was the ruling Queen of Hawaii; not only did this overthrow impact her, it impacted the kanaka and their kuleana. From that day forward Hawaii would never be the same. Liliʻuokalani’s as our ali’i wahine fulfilled her kuleana to improve the lives of Hawaiians.

During the time of Liliʻuokalani’s ruling she was illegally overthrown. She was imprisoned for 8 months at the ʻIolani Palace. Thinking that she wouldn’t come out alive, she translated the Kumulipo (Hawaiian creation chant/oli) into English. The Kumulipo consisted of over 2000 lines talking of all things being created. As time went on our people almost forgot about our culture because of the shame it had made them feel. This chant brought back Hawaiians who wanted to know more about our culture and learn about it. It allows us Hawaiians to know how everything was created from a Hawaiian point of view. Knowing how everything was created gives us a small hint of how close everything is in the world and how we should take care of it.

In Liliʻuokalani’s will, she entrusted all her property to provide for orphans in Hawaii with Hawaiian blood. Later it was changed to be for all children of Hawaii. What she left behind is perpetuated today through the Liliʻuokalani Trust and the Liliʻuokalani Children’s Center. These things were made because the Queen believed strongly in the advantages of education hoping that it will transform her people. By having us Hawaiians educated it proves stereotypes, such as “Hawaiians aren’t smart,” or “Hawaiians are stupid and sit down all day.” Showing that we are educated not only makes us look good, but it also makes our culture look good.

Liliʻuokalani’s as our ali’i wahine fulfilled her kuleana to improve the lives of Hawaiians. Her kuleana as a Queen was to care for all people of Hawaii. She founded the Liliʻuokalani Children’s Center and the Liliʻuokalani Trust, this gave Hawaiians education. She also translated the Kumulipo which gave us more knowledge of our Kupuna and the creation of life. Till this very day she is still providing us with education from the past and still fulfilling her kuleana as the last ruling monarch of Hawaii.

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