Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana’ole was the Founder of the Hawaiian Civic Club movement and proponent of the Hawaiian Homestead Act of 1920.
Prince Kūhiō was a prince of the reigning House of Kalākaua when the government of Queen Lili`uokalani was illegally overthrown in 1893. He later went on to become a politician in the Territory of Hawai`i as delegate to the United States Congress. Prince Kūhiō founded the first Hawaiian Civic Club on Dec 7, 1918, and led the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921.
Prince Kuhio, in founding the civic clubs desired to help elevate and promote their social, economic, civic and intellectual status, all while they would promote the principles of good government as they themselves became outstanding citizens, leaders in their communities so that they could and would take an active part and place in the civic progress of Hawaii and its people. He felt it was the responsibility of each Hawaiian to bring to realization of these aims.
In the early 1970s, parades honoring Prince Kūhiō were held in our island communities. Hawaiian Civic Clubs of O‘ahu would gather in the communities of Papakolea, Nanakuli, Kailua and Hawaii Kai to host this annual event, with a pageantry of floats, equestrian units, marching units, and car cades of dignitaries…all in celebration of the life and times of Prince Kūhiō.
In the year 2002, the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, through its non-profit entity, Hawaii Maoli, applied for and received a grant from the Hawaii Tourism Authority/County Product enrichment program to reinstate this auspicious event. It is our humble way of honoring a citizen of royal heritage whose insight and commitment laid the framework for organizations and institutions we have today.
Today, the activities to honor Kūhiō have grown from the humble parades in those early years to month long activities.
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