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United Church of Christ Apology, 1993
Tuck Wah Lee/Paul Sherry
REV. TUCK WAH LEE: My name is Tuck Wah Lee. My Hawaiian name, which I haven't used very much, is Kaleokalani Lee.
Born in 1919. That makes me 80 this year. I've been an ordained minister since 1958. That means I've been a minister up to this point, 41, 42 years.
As I understand it, in the old days, the Kingdom was under the Queen. On the other hand, the sugar plantation became more powerful and they wanted more power, more rights in the government. And so they planned the overthrow.
And the time came when the revolutionists, January 17, 1893, where they went ahead with the cooperation of the U.S. military and they overthrew the government.
The guns were, machine guns were faced at Iolani. And the people couldn't do anything with machine guns, Gatling guns.
I speak with a lot of feeling because it hurts.
And so Hawaii was turned over to the United States.
Now, as far as the church is concerned,
The church leaders, according to the records, wanted to hold the unity of the church. They didn't want the church to split. Because they suspected that the native Hawaiians were for the Queen.
What I'm trying to say is that the tension was very great.
Number one, we have to remember that the HEA, Hawaiian Evangelical Association, was controlled by haoles. I think only one native Hawaiian was on that board. The rest of them were all haoles.
So the church policy-making board was controlled by haoles. We have to remember that.
Many of these haoles on the board of directors were supporting very quietly the revolutionists.
So why does the church have to apologize? Because some of its people were in the power structure of the revolutionists.
REV. TUCK WAH LEE: Why does the church have to apologize? Because during the overthrow, they told the people not to get involved. But they got involved with the revolutionists.
It was the leadership that made the policy. So the voice of the poor Hawaiians, the people, were not listened to.
And we know the consequences. Hawaiians have become the poorest people, or the poorest group on all ethnic groups in Hawaii, for many many years.
And that's why Reverend Paul Sherry came here in 1993. You remember. There were 12,000 people at that rally. And he spoke. And you remember, they gave him a standing ovation.
SEGUE TO IOLANI PALACE GROUNDS
January 17, 1993
REV. PAUL SHERRY: We stand before you, we of the United Church of Christ to repent of wrongs done na Kanaka Maoli by the United Church of Christ.
I will apologize for the involvement of some of those who preceded us in the unprovoked invasion of the Hawaiian nation on this date, 1893, that harm has been done because of assumptions of cultural and racial superiority that some among us brought and continue to bring to these islands. May God help us.
The 18th General Synod of the United Church of Christ supports the inherent right of native Hawaiian people, na Kanaka Maoli.
We pledge our support for self governance.
And we pledge our support and our solidarity with you as you seek justice and peace and mercy for us all.
And we stand before you this day to commit ourselves anew to do with you that which we can to build a society with you of peace and justice, to help right those wrongs that hurt and that harmed.
REV. PAUL SHERRY: And we hope together to build a new society of reconciliation for all people everywhere.
God bless you all. God bless us all. And God grant that we might be the people these times require.
God bless us. God bless you. Amen.