Releasing exclusively in-store and online this Saturday, September 23 at 11am HST.

Aloha kākou!

“Kaohi ka hewa” - Do not allow the offense to boil; don’t let the foreigner tell you who you are. Do not allow the system to hold you back. Continue to contribute to your people by doing the work. Using the system to repatriate Kanaka on ‘Āina, played Konane, and used the system to produce positive means. He had to flip the system by using the system! How you do that is to get educated, learn how to play the game, learn from kupuna!! Listen to kupuna! 

On November 19th, 1892, the men of Oberlin’s Yeomen football team took the field in Ann Arbor, Michigan, against the Wolverines, who were heavily favored to win. That year, a new coach took the reigns; his name was John William Heisman; yep! You may have heard of this name before. The same name that now covets the nation’s most prominent college football player as the “Heisman Trophy” Winner. John Heismanʻs first year at Oberlin, they went undefeated, allowing only 30 points all season and beating Ohio State twice and Michigan, though the Michigan game was not without controversy. What is also special to note is on this team was a little-known player, Half-Hawaiian and Half-German from Kapa’au, Kohala, by the name of John Henry Wise. The Kamehameha School Graduate of 1887 is noted to be the first native Hawaiian collegiate athlete. The newspaper wrote about Wise’s Immense strength as he was “able to run with three men on his back without noticing the extra weight.” 

With less than a minute Left in the game, Oberlin was up 24–22. A ref had announced the game time had expired. Oberlin began to leave the field to catch the last train back to Ohio. Both team captains had agreed to end the game early to accommodate the departure. But something happened, and the Umpire from Michigan ruled that 4 minutes remained on the clock. Michigan then walked the ball over the goal line for an uncontested score, and the game was recorded as 26 - 24 Michigan. Back then, scoring was 5 pts for a field goal, 4 points for a touchdown, and 2 points for PAT and safety! Until today, you will find people on either side claiming victory. 

Although focused on education and learning how the world outside of Hawai’i works, John returned home in 1893. This era was seared in Kanaka’s hearts and minds as Queen Lili’uokalani was overthrown, and a provisional government was formed by the Sons of Missionaries. Wise and prominent Hawaiian patriots started a rebellion called the Revolution of 1895. They planned to take arms against the provisional government, and a series of underground meetings would seal the fate of some 300 men referred to as the royalists. 

Through informants on both sides, the plan, however, was thwarted. A shipment of guns would be landed at Sans Souci in Waikīkī. Reports claimed John Wise had been seen cleaning and hauling the main cargo of guns that arrived aboard a steamer west of Waikīkī in preparation for a counter-revolution. On January 6th, 1895, a Republic patrol discovered a group of men with guns. Gunfire was exchanged, and a Republic of Hawai’i soldier was killed. Wise was arrested along with the other royalist and appeared before the panel of military officers, pleaded guilty to the charges BUT refused to make a statement or reveal their plans. Later, while deposed, he stated that Prince Jonah Kūhiō and himself planned to sail to the west coast and purchase 2000 rifles, 400,000 rounds of ammunition, and two Gatling guns. 

Later in his life, John uses all of his education, experience, and will to apply to leading Kanaka back to ‘Aina. As a Hawai‘i Territorial Senator, he asserted that the United States had a duty to assist Native Hawaiians, and he cited land grants to the Indian tribes as precedent. His work through the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act should be undoubtedly noted in the history books!

He lived as Koa! An athlete, scholar, Kumu, Senator, and revolutionist. John Embodied Aloha ‘Aina and the elevation of the native Hawaiian people! Continue to do for your people because you can!

To honor the legacy of John Henry Wise, we created this capsule which includes a Nihi 59FIFTY, Nihi snapback, and Nihi strapback, along with two new tees called John Knows. The Nihi 59FIFTY features a chrome crown with dark green corduroy visor and top button, along with dark green stitching all around. The Nihi snapback and Nihi strapback both feature dark green corduroy as the base material with white accents throughout. The John Knows tee design features a colorized photo of John Henry Wise during his time on the Oberlin’s Yeomen football team, with the strong phrase “Knowledge is our weapon!!” handwritten around it, printed on both black and white tees.