DECEMBER 28, 1935


Born on September 28, 1854, near Hilo, on the island of Hawaii, Emma ʻAʻima Aʻii Nāwahī’s mother was the daughter of a minor Hilo chief.  In 1881, she married politician Joseph Nāwahī and became a lady-in-waiting and confidante to Queen Liliʻuokalani.  With the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893, they both became involved in the Hawaiian Patriotic Leagues that opposed annexation and supported the deposed queen.  In December 1894, after Joseph was arrested for treason, the couple started Ke Aloha Aina, an anti-annexationist newspaper which ran from 1895 until 1920.  After Joseph’s death in September 1896, Emma organized the signing of Kūʻē Petitions submitted by a Native Hawaiian delegation to Congress evidencing the Hawaiian community’s opposition to annexation.  After Hawaii was annexed, in July 1898, Emma helped organize the Democratic Party of Hawaii.  In the 1910s, she supported the women’s suffrage movement.  Emma died on December 28, 1935.

Source:  “Emma Nawahi: Native Hawaiian Political Activist,” Up/closed.  Retrieved 7/23/2019,
Photo:  Author unknown.  Date: 19th century.  Public Domain.  

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