We Are Who We Were

From Resistance to Affirmation

On August 12, 1898, during ceremonies at ‘Iolani Palace, two figures stood on a platform before an international gathering. Sanford B. Dole and U.S. Minister Harold Sewall exchanged treaty ratifications annexing the Hawaiian Islands to the United States. Or so it appeared. But was it really a treaty of annexation?  And did Hawai‘i really become a territory of the United States?

This short program — a must-see for any student of the Hawaiian sovereignty issue — tells the story of the defeat of a treaty of annexation by Queen Lili‘uokalani and loyal subjects of the Hawaiian Kingdom, who sent an anti-annexation petition to Congress in 1897 consisting of over 38,000 signatures representing 95 percent of the native Hawaiian population.
Using archival photos and film, the video presents the legal and historic background to “the annexation that never was.”
Music by Pierre Grill; Royal Hawaiian Band
A co-production of the Hawaiian Patriotic League and Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina, the video was part of a public education campaign to increase awareness of Hawaiian history and sovereignty during the 1998 centennial of the purported annexation.
KHON Television • Honolulu
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network • Canada
Free Speech TV
Hawai‘i International Film Festival
Lund Film Festival • Sweden

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