I’m working on it: Stuck in yesterday

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Photo by Kiana Kamalu

By Amanda Lee, Web columnist

On January 17, 1893, the Hawaiian government was overthrown by a group of conspirators known as the Committee of 13, the Committee of Safety, and the Provisional Government. They were led by an American businessman, John Stevens, who was given unauthorized support to overthrow Queen Lili’uokalani.

January 17, 2012,  is the 119th anniversary of the overthrow of Hawaiʻi’s kingdom, and everywhere I look I see people talking and remembering that dark day in our Hawaiian history. I’m glad that so many of our students are tuned into our Hawaiian culture, but I can’t help but wonder if maybe some things are better left behind in the past.

I worry that by dwelling on the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, we will be consumed by the feelings of hatred and anger that were once harbored against the United States.

Today, Hawaiʻi is not a monarchy. Hawaiʻi is a state. We are the 50th star on the American flag. We are a part of the United States of America.

The days of the Hawaiian Kingdom have passed, to fade into the pages of our history textbooks. We can’t change what happened 119 years ago, but we can make the most of what we have today.

Life isn’t about living and wishing for yesterday, it’s about making today and tomorrow the best it can be.

We should not be angry at Stevens for overthrowing our queen. The time for those feelings have passed. Instead of being sad we were overthrown, we should be glad that we had a monarchy and a kingdom that we can remember.

We should look back on our history and be proud of the things that our ancestors accomplished, not angry at the people who changed it.

I cannot deny that the overthrow was an important part of our history, but it is just that- history.

I don’t think that our queen would want us to be overwhelmed by the past so much so that we forget to look forward to the future. It’s okay to remember the past, our ancestors, and our history, but we should not live our lives ruled by it.

Besides, our ancestors didn’t overcome the obstacles they faced so you could mourn what used to be. They did it so you could make a “what will be” for the future.

Our generation has the potential to change the face of the Hawaiian nation. We have the power to create a new history for Hawaiians across the globe.

We can educate the public about our culture. By sharing our passion for our heritage we can not only destroy the stereotypes that surround us, but we can also keep our culture alive and thriving.

Our culture will spread and become something bigger than Hawai ‘i, something widely known and respected.

We can practice the traditions and arts that have been passed down to us and teach them to others to ensure that they are never forgotten.

We can play our native sports, sing our traditional mele, and dance our ancient hula.

We can keep the voices of our kupuna and the beats of our mele strong by teaching them to others.

We can nurture ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i and other educational pursuits in keeping with a vibrant tradition of intellectualism and discovery.

We are surrounded by possibility to give the Hawaiian nation something new to remember. But, we can’t achieve anything  if we live our lives in the shadows of the past. We must look to the horizon and search for a new history to remember.