Here’s the State Department’s modern explanation: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/gp/17661.htm
A timeline of events regarding the annexation of Hawai’i: http://www.opihi.com/sovereignty/timeline.htm
UNITED STATES PUBLIC LAW 103-150
103d Congress Joint Resolution 19
Nov. 23, 1993
Here is the actual (excerpt) apology from the US House of Representatives:
….Whereas, it is proper and timely for the Congress on the occasion of the impending one hundredth anniversary of the event, to acknowledge the historic significance of the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, to express its deep regret to the Native Hawaiian people, and to support the reconciliation efforts of the State of Hawaii and the United Church of Christ with Native Hawaiians;
Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND APOLOGY.
The Congress -
(1) on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893, acknowledges the historical significance of this event which resulted in the suppression of the inherent sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people;
(2) recognizes and commends efforts of reconciliation initiated by the State of Hawaii and the United Church of Christ with Native Hawaiians;
(3) apologizes to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893 with the participation of agents and citizens of the United States, and the deprivation of the rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination;
(4) expresses its commitment to acknowledge the ramifications of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, in order to provide a proper foundation for reconciliation between the United States and the Native Hawaiian people; and
(5) urges the President of the United States to also acknowledge the ramifications of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii and to support reconciliation efforts between the United States and the Native Hawaiian people.
SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.
As used in this Joint Resolution, the term “Native Hawaiians” means any individual who is a descendent of the aboriginal people who, prior to 1778, occupied and exercised sovereignty in the area that now constitutes the State of Hawaii.
SEC. 3. DISCLAIMER.
Nothing in this Joint Resolution is intended to serve as a settlement of any claims against the United States.
Approved November 23, 1993
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY – S.J. Res. 19:
SENATE REPORTS: No. 103-125 (Select Comm. on Indian Affairs)
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 139 (1993):