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U.S. acknowledges wrong in 1893 Hawaii overthrow

Clinton issues a formal apology 100 years after the fact

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
November 23, 1993

By Pete Pichoske
Phillips News Service

WASHINGTON - The nation ended more than a century of official silence on the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy as President Bill Clinton today signed a resolution acknowledging, and apologizing for, the U.S. role in that overthrow.

Although the formal apology has been dismissed as useless symbolism by some native Hawaiian leaders, a solemn Clinton and an ecstatic Hawaii congressional delegation hailed the signing in glowing terms.

"This is a spectacular moment for Hawaiian history," said Rep. Patsy Mink, D-2nd.

"This is a great time for Hawaii," added Sen. Daniel Akaka. "One hundred years ago a powerful country helped overthrow a legal government. We've finally come to the point where this has been acknowledged by the United States."

During a brief ceremony in the Oval Office, attended by Vice President Al Gore and the entire Hawaii delegation, Clinton said he was happy to fulfill the promise he had made to the people of Hawaii when he visited the state in July. Clinton had been urged to support an official apology during his visit.

Queen Liliuokalani was toppled Jan. 17, 1893 by a rebellion led by the American minister to Hawaii and supported by U.S. military forces.

The formal apology acknowledging the nation's part in that coup was aproved this fall by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Supporters, led by Akaka, a native Hawaiian, had been pushing for an apology during the centennial observance of the kingdom's overthrow.

"I'm elated at what happened today," said Akaka.

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