How did Native Hawaiian Christians respond to the overthrow of Queen Lili`uokalani?

One of the most vexing and troubling aspects of the history of Christianity is its association with European and American colonialism. When Christians today ignore or endorse the structural inequalities around race, gender, and class, we unwittingly perpetuate Christianity’s historical complicity with the Western colonial project.

However, the good news is that this history is much more nuanced. There is also a smaller, but powerful tradition of Christian anti-colonialism that has connections with the abolitionist, social gospel, and civil rights movements. Can Christians today reconnect with this minority prophetic tradition?

In this local television broadcast, “Issues That Matter,” Kumu Dr. Lynette Cruz interviews historian Dr. Williams who shares a surprising history  of Native Hawaiian Christian anti-colonialism. We discover that many Native Hawaiian churches were sites of activism and resistance during the American occupation of Hawaii after the illegal overthrow of Queen Lili`uokalani in 1893.

Many thanks to Brennan Takayama, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Area Director, Hawai`i for bringing this to my attention!

About Ron Williams

Ronald Williams Jr. holds a PhD in History of Hawaiʻi centered on a historiography that platforms Native voice through Hawaiian-language sources. He also has earned a masterʻs degree in Pacific Island Studies and an undergraduate degree in Hawaiian Studies. He was a faculty member at the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, UH Mānoa, 2010-2017 and has published in both academic and public forums on varied topics with a focus on historiography in Hawai’i and the past elision of Native voice and Native-language resources. Dr. Williams is the current president of the 125-yr old Hawaiian Historical Society.​ For more of Dr. Williams’ research, go to

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