Aloha Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea e nā hoaloha! Today we celebrate Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea: the day our sovereignty was restored in 1843. Before American colonizers reached the shores of Hawaiʻi, kānaka ʻōiwi were thriving– advancing in technological creations, living sustainably off our ʻāina, crafting beautiful mele and oli, and flourishing in a prosperous and pono sovereign society. Hawaiʻi wasn’t perfect, but our lāhui was strong and brilliant and we were almost destroyed by the powers that invaded us. Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea is a celebration where we remember how our sovereignty was restored and recognized internationally. In 1842, Kauikeaouli worked to have Hawaiʻi secure worldwide acknowledgement as an independent sovereign nation by Britain, France, and the US– the main international powers. On February 10, 1843, British captain Lord Paulet arrived in Honolulu Harbor and demanded control of the Hawaiian government under orders of Richard Charlton, the British Consul. Paulet seized control of Hawaiʻi with threats of cannon deployments, illegally occupying the ʻāina, restricting external trade, and replacing hae Hawaiʻi with the British flag. When British Admiral Richard Thomas learned about Paulet’s actions, he sailed to Hawaii and ordered that the Hawaiian kingdom be restored after meeting with Kauikeaouli. On July 31, 1843, Admiral Thomas formally acknowledged Hawaiʻi as a sovereign independent kingdom and ended the illegal British occupation of the islands. After the announcement, Kauikeaouli proclaimed what is now known as our motto, “Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻĀina i ka pono” or The sovereignty of the land is perpetuated in righteousness. This Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea is especially full of mana as our kiaʻi continue to protect Mauna a Wākea– putting their bodies on the line for our kūpuna and our ʻāina. I have hope that we’ll continue to fight for our home and that one day, we will never suffer under the weight of illegal occupation again.