We Are Who We Were

We Are Who We Were

Co-Produced by Nā Maka o ka ʻĀina & the Hawaiian Patriotic League

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 Leo Anderson Akana & Pierre Grill; Royal Hawaiian Band


A co-production of the Hawaiian Patriotic League and Na Maka o ka ‘Aina, 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.


Produced and directed by Puhipau and Joan Lander of Nā Maka o ka ʻĀina

To purchase this DVD and to support Nā Maka o ka ʻĀina’s digital archiving project, please visit their website.

ʻŌiwi TV reaches across generations, socio-economic statuses, and geographic locations as the sole media venue where the Hawaiian language, culture and perspective thrive. Through Digital Channel 326, ʻŌiwi TV reaches over 220,000 households across the entire State via Oceanic Time Warner Cable’s network. Through its website, mobile, and social media venues, ʻŌiwi TV is reaching Hawaiians everywhere and engaging a generation of Hawaiians that expect to access anything and everything from anywhere at anytime.


  1. Henry Kahula Jr 10 years ago

    Since its clear to see with all the available evidence available, which is without doubt to be true, there is no reason for the Hawaiian Nation to have to negotiate to become independent of them because they really have no jurisdiction over the people of Hawaii, so we don’t have to be looking for recognition familiar to the Indian Nations. They are in fact what could be regarded as visitors. or guests of the Hawaiian Nation without the power of creating laws to govern our people, such as the limiting of our gathering rights and cultural practices, but rather have respect for the laws enacted by the Hawaiian Nation. In reality there is no ‘State’ of Hawaii but rather a Kingdom of Hawaii and all laws made under the State as representative of the Government of the United States should all be rescinded and enacted, if so decided, by the people of the Kingdom of Hawaii. As it stands now more and more laws are being made which restricts us from gathering as we used to and it seems more laws are being stepped up to be kept in place should we the people decide to remove our connection with the United States government and they can give back all the Social Security money that belongs to the people of Hawaii for the people of Hawaii rather than the for the use of the United States congress for their use. We don’t have to ask for Independence or Sovereignty. We are our own people. Take a look at the evidence, thanks to Keanu Sai and everyone else before him that fought for the truth about our Nation. Mahalo Ke Akua, Aloha Nui Ke Akua e Po’e Kanaka oukou me keia aina o Hawaii Nei. May the Lord Bless all of our Hawaiian People with abundance all
    across our islands.

  2. Jennie L. 10 years ago

    Video won’t play. 🙁

    • kaipo 10 years ago

      Aloha, I’ve down a quick fix of the link for the video. E kala mai, we are still going through our back log of posts and looking for any issues since moving to our new website. Mahalo for your patience!

  3. Josh 10 years ago

    Video not popping up. Fix please?

    • kaipo 10 years ago

      Aloha, I’ve down a quick fix of the link for the video. E kala mai, we are still going through our back log of posts and looking for any issues since moving to our new website. Mahalo for your patience!

  4. Simon 9 years ago

    Unfortunately the video is still not available. Kaipo, you mentioned a “quick fix”. Is there another link we can use?

  5. Simon 9 years ago

    Mahalo for fixing the link Kaipo.

  6. Mary 5 years ago

    Is there a video with captions? I want to use this with my students because I want this to be told by Hawaiians. But since my students are learning English, they need closed captions.


  1. […] If you are interested in studying the Hawaiian anti-annexation struggle further, I recommend watching this brief film We are Who We Were: http://oiwi.tv/oiwitv/we-are-who-we-were/ […]

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