Statehood Showdown At Iolani Palace - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Statehood Showdown At Iolani Palace

Kealii Collier Kealii Collier
State Sen. Sam Slom State Sen. Sam Slom

Aug 18, 2006 08:41 PM

By Stephen Florino

HONOLULU (KHNL)- A day of celebration turned into one of confrontation.

As dozens tried to honor Hawaii's statehood, many more showed up to put an end to the party. The protesters were Native Hawaiian groups, fighting against what they say was the illegal overthrow of the monarchy.

The statehood celebration was on the grounds of Iolani Palace.

"We found that it was extremely disrespectful, and ignorant and arrogant all at the same time," said Kealii Collier, one of the protestors.

State Senator Sam Slom organized the event. He said recently, that historic day 47-years ago hasn't been celebrated the way it should've been.

"People have been afraid to come out and express their pride in America," said Slom. "Even today, there were threats against the high school band here, people that were here."

Slom says he wanted the celebration on the grounds of Iolani Palace because that's where Hawaii was proclaimed a state.

Native Hawaiians felt it was disrespectful because the palace served as home to the Hawaiian monarchy, and prison to Queen Liliuokalani.

"The people who imprisoned her were the Americans of that time," said Collier. "And Americans of this time are continuing the same imprisonment."

There were numerous confrontations between both groups. But no one was hurt or arrested.

"That's what it's all about -- America and free speech, " said Slom. "That's why we're proud to be American. Proud to be in Hawaii, and why people fought for more than three decades for statehood."

Slom says he was not surprised or disappointed, but felt some of the protestors were not courteous. He says the celebration was not meant to be disrespectful, but to mark an historic event.

Statehood day is celebrated on the third Friday in August.

The official day Hawaii became a part of the union was August 21, 1959.

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