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Keanu Sai lectures set for Hilo, Kona

Keanu Sai will discuss the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government in upcoming Hilo and Kona lectures, followed by a Kona workshop on how Hawaiian history is being taught.

Sai discusses “1893 Executive Agreements & Impacts Today: Hawaiian Protest & Demand filed in United Nations” in an Eia Hawai‘i presentation from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, at the University of Hawaii at Hilo in Campus Center Room 301. He also presents this topic in a Puana Ka ‘Ike lecture from 5:30-7 p.m. on March 15 in the Bayview Room at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa. Both lectures are free.

On March 16, Sai will be joined by Donovan Preza, Willy Kauai and Kau‘i Sai-Dudoit as panelists for the workshop, “Riding the Waves of Change: How Hawaiian History is Now Being Taught,” from 9 a.m.-noon in Suite 140 at the Keauhou Shopping Center. The seminar is free, but seating is limited to 50 people; for reservations contact Joy Cunefare at or 322-5340 by March 11.

“Could it be that our current understandings of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government are based on an erroneous narrative of historical events?” Sai said. “The overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government on Jan. 17, 1893, remains a contentious moment in the history of Hawaii. On the 100th anniversary, the Congress enacted a joint resolution apologizing for the illegal overthrow and sought reconciliation efforts with the native Hawaiian population similar to its relationship with Native Americans.”

Sai’s presentations on Thursday and Friday offer a political science perspective that incorporates law on the repercussions of the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government, and the effect of two executive agreements entered into in 1893. These agreements between Queen Lili‘uokalani and President Grover Cleveland have not only profound legal and political impacts on Hawaii and the international community, but also upon the office of the current president.

Sai received his doctorate in political science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, specializing in international law, state sovereignty, international laws of occupation, United States constitutional law and Hawaiian constitutional law. His research specifically addressed the legal and political history of the Hawaiian Islands from the 18th century to the present. Sai has authored several law journal articles on the topic of the continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign state, and served as lead agent for the Hawaiian Kingdom in arbitration proceedings before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, in Lance Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom (1999-2001).

New research has uncovered a history of Hawaii that runs counter to contemporary understandings, and Saturday’s four-member panel will discuss ways in which the history of Hawaii is being taught at UH-Manoa, community colleges, high schools and in the community.

Before the panel begins, there will be a showing of the short film, “Ua Mau Ke Ea, a historical documentary of Hawai‘i,” which highlights the history of the Hawaiian Islands from the perspective of this new research. The panelists will provide brief histories of themselves as educators and their experiences in teaching Hawaiian history.

Panelist Preza is a Ph.D. student and instructor in geography at UH-Manoa. Kauai is a doctoral candidate in political science and an instructor in ethnic studies at UH-Manoa and in Hawaiian studies at Kapiolani Community College.

Sai-Dudoit, a researcher and historian, is also the filmmaker who directed and edited “Ua Mau Ke Ea, A historical documentary of Hawai‘i,” in addition to other mini-documentaries on important historical figures in Hawaii’s history. She has been the director of Ho‘olaupa‘i Hawaiian Newspaper Project for the last decade and has taught Hawaii’s history at the local high school level as well as within the community. She is outreach coordinator and project manager for ‘Ike Manamana, an initiative of Awaiaulu Inc. and Pu‘a Foundation.

For more information on Sai’s presentations and the seminar, contact Cunefare. For lecture schedules, visit Webcasts of previous lectures are available at

The lectures are sponsored by the Keauhou-Kahalu‘u Education Group, Kamehameha Schools, The Kohala Center, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Kipuka Native Hawaiian Student Center and the Keauhou Shopping Center.


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