Sep 9, 2012

Pre-Cook Foreigners in Hawai'i

In King Kalakaua's Legends and Myths of Hawai'i, he devotes a several passages and an entire chapter ("The Iron Knife") about possible foreigners who had visited or lived in Hawai'i before the arrival of Captain Cook.  The late king lists, for example, oral traditions recounting foreigners--Japanese and Spanish--who were shipwrecked in Hawai'i. Although this does not constitute "discovery" in the traditional sense--after all Hawai'i had been populated for more than a thousand years prior to those events and it was only under Captain Cook that the Hawaiian Islands became known to the world--the king had good reasons for believing in the possibility that those traditions might be true.  Japanese junks periodically did get shipwrecked in Hawai'i on their way to the Philippines and the island of Java. The king's childhood friend, Denzo (伝蔵), was among five brothers and survivors of a Japanese fishing junk that was hit by a typhoon somewhere near Okinawa and ended up shipwrecked on Kaua'i in 1841. Denzo eventually moved to Honolulu  where he eventually became friends with a young David La'amea Kalakaua. Denzo's friendship with the young Kalakaua would later influence the king's very favorable views about the Japanese and to which Emperor Meiji would help to cultivate. Denzo would eventually adopt a Hawaiian name, marry a Hawaiian woman, and though never returning to Japan while his oldest brother . 

The Tokugawa shogunate in the early 17th century had for many years issued "red seal" permits allowing Japanese to trade directly with Java, the Philippines, Thailand and Mexico. Japanese traders and diplomats were known to have also traveled on Spanish Galleon ships that crisscrossed the Pacific including the famous Christopher and Cosmas, Tanaka Shosuke, and Hasekura Rokuemon Tsunenaga in that same time period. So the Japanese had experienced trans-Pacific voyages and there were Japanese traders all over the Pacific during that early time period. That began to change slowly as the Tokugawa began to experience problems with Christian converts and Portuguese and Spanish priests until the Tokugawa finally began to issue the Sakoku (鎖国) laws forbading Japanese subjects to have direct contact or trade with the outside world because of those issues. The Tokugawa eventually permitted the Dutch to trade directly with Japan through a special leased port. The Tokugawa also allowed Japanese to trade with the Ryukyu Kingdom (Okinawa) which Japan considered their king a vassal of the feudal lords of Satsuma who in turn were vassals of the Tokugawa though China, Thailand, and other Asian kingdoms consider the Ryukyu Kingdom as independent. Thus, with Japan closing itself to the outside world it created a illicit but profitable black market for foreign goods and spices to which Japanese adventurers and traders were happy to tap into. These traders would use ambiguous political status of Okinawa as a base of such operations. So despite the Tokugawa ban and the possibility of death, there was a lot of trade activity occurring in southern Japan and Okinawa. Okinawa, like Taiwan and the Philippines, lies in the Western Pacific Typhoon Zone making situations where traders might get lost due to a typhoon and be swept by strong trade winds to Micronesia or to Hawai'i--as what happened to Denzo--not so remote.  It is therefore possible that Japanese or other Asian traders could have reached Hawai'i by accident, been shipwrecked, and survived as Denzo and his five siblings had. 

Spanish/Portuguese Morion Helmet of the 16th Century
Hawaiian mahi'ole or feather helmet from the late 18th century

Sep 1, 2012

Queen Lili'uokalani

In honor of Queen Lili'uokalani's birthday this year, I decided to write some thoughts about what Queen Lili'uokalani means to most Hawaiians, including myself.

As a boy, I can remember a portrait of the Queen hanging in the living room of my grandmother's living room. Her portrait always hung above the pictures and photographs of family members because she was the Queen.  Such was the power of Queen Lili'uokalani that even though she had passed away seventy years previously, she was still referred to as "the Queen" by my grandmother as though she were still very much alive. I believe that my household was not unique in that sense. I know many Hawaiians who have at least one picture or portrait of the Queen somewhere in the house and who still speaks of the Queen in the present tense ("the Queen") rather than the more technically correct past tense form (e.g. "the late Queen").  But then  in a sense she never really did pass away in the hearts of most Hawaiians because the tragedy and the struggle of not just her reign but her entire lifetime remains very much in the present tense for us as a people, as her people.  She has come to represent for us as a people the contradictions of our political situation and within our very own souls.

She was a devout Christian yet knew the ancient Hawaiian traditions backwards and forwards in fact she translated the Kumulipo into English while she was imprisoned.

She was a member of an aristocratic family that helped to rule the island of Hawai'i hundreds of years before Captain Cook stumbled upon that island yet the Queen deeply believed in democracy, social justice and popular government.

The Queen was deposed by an American-back coup and fought hard against annexation yet when five Hawaiian sailors lost their lives abroad the USS Aztec (which it was hit by German  u-boats during World War I), she raised the American flag over her own private home Washington Place as a gesture to honor their sacrifice.

Aug 31, 2012

Language and State Elections

I have relatives who speak Hawaiian and who were asking me about voting. I thought that since Hawaiian is supposed to be an official language that I could just download and send materials to them in Hawaiian, 'a'ole pilikia. So I decided to visit the Office of Elections website and I discovered something odd.

While voter information is not available is available in Chinese, Ilocano, and Japanese but its not in Hawaiian--an official language of Hawai'i!

There is another irony with this situation. Voter information is available in Ilocano including ballots. I have no problem with voter information being in Ilocano. My grandfather was born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. I'm proud of my Ilocano roots. But there is a certain irony at work here.
A ballot specimen from Hawai'i
The irony is that Ilocano language is not used in elections in the Philippines--not even in Iloco, the homeland of  the Ilocano language.   English and Filipino (Tagalog) are the languages used in Ilocos when it comes to election information.  Why? The Philippines constitutionally only has two official languages, Filipino (Tagalog) and English. Filipino is considered also the national language while English is thought of as being the international language.  Although there are a lot of issues with some Filipinos regarding Tagalog especially those from the central and southern parts of the Philippines, the Philippine government is only following its own constitution.  Ferdinand E. Marcos, better known to many Ilocanos in Hawai'i as "Apo", "Bong" or "McCoy" and by Hawai'i residents as "the dictator who is married to that shoe lady", the first Ilocano president of the Philippines actually promoted the use of Filipino (then called Pilipino).
A ballot specimen from the Philippines
So on one hand, the State of Hawai'i's Office of Election has voter information in three languages including a regional Philippine language which is relevant to a size-able chunk of Hawai'i's population including former governor and mayoral candidate, Benjamin Cayetano. I applaud inclusion. I think that the Office of Elections should try to ensure that people be properly informed so that they will vote correctly and not waste their ballot because they could not understand it. But on the other hand, while in the Philippines their Commission on Elections produces official information in one or both of its two official languages, shouldn't Hawai'i's Office of Election follow the State's own constitution and ensure that material is likewise produced in its two official and constitutional languages--Hawaiian and English? Shouldn't they also be making sure that the Hawaiian language, one of the constitutional languages (yes, I'm repeating that point) and the indigenous language of the land, have election material be put up for the voters, too? Or is our indigenous language worth less than the other languages?

For those who still vote in Hawai'i State elections, I humbly also submit to you that if you still vote and can understand basic Hawaiian, please start requesting the ballots and election materials in Hawaiian in order to show the State that there is a need for such materials and that the number of Hawaiian speakers and/or those who love the Hawaiian language are growing.

Aug 15, 2012

The Role of Hawaiian Women

One of the side affects of colonialism in most areas in the Pacific had been the introduction of a rigid system of gender roles.  In my own understanding of traditional cultures through Oceania, most indigenous peoples acknowledged not two genders but three. The Bugis in Sulawesi in Indonesia for example have five genders. In other places in Polynesia such as Tahiti, Māhū (homosexual and/or hermaphrodite) were thought of as being a third gender and as a normal part of natural diversity. Different Native American nations (I won't call them tribes) also have the concept of people with "two spirits".  This is mainly because traditional and indigenous cultures saw gender not as being simply physiological, but being spiritual, emotional, and natural in the sense that it is observed in nature. Often, these same cultures also place women in deep and meaningful roles either as priestesses or a keeper of traditions and oral history.  

In old Hawai'i, women enjoyed certain prerogatives that even until today is not comparable. Women were allowed to have multiple husbands. Ka'ahumanu had at least five husbands besides Kamehameha the Great. Kamehameha the Great had to moe kapu (kowtow) to Keopuolani, his highest rank wife.  Men cooked and farmed while women produced art work particularly of lauhala (pandanus) and feather works which were used as an inheritance, a high value trade item, an offering and/or as part of taxes (yes they had taxes back then). The upbringing of children was not the sole responsibility of women but was shared often with the kūpuna as grandparents had rights too. Women had their own priesthoods and temples. Inheritance of titles and rank itself was often decided through matriarchal line as French ambassador to the Hawaiian Kingdom Marie Gabriel Dosseront d'Anglade noted in his memoirs A Tree in Bud.  While David Malo would write repeatedly that women were "unclean" in his Hawaiian Antiquities, women and māhū were renowned for being kāula (prophets) and haka (oracles). These haka were attached to mo'o or kihā deities. While ordinarily women were not allowed into luakini class heiau, these haka were escorted by special divination priests (kahuna pu'uone not to be confused with kahuna kāula who could be male, women, or  māhū and served a different function) to the hale puʻuone to advise the male chiefs during a particular day of the month.  Women acting as oracles is of course not unique. Ancient Philippines had babaylans that did similar functions.  The Dalai Lama of Tibet still consults with the Nechung State Oracle who uses male and female oracles who act as kuten or mediums. 

As it was explained to me by 

It is therefore not coincidental that the entire kapu system of the old Hawaiian religion--the social and religious legal system that lasted for over three hundred years--was overturned by a two women, Ka'ahumanu and Keopuolani. If women of old Hawai'i had not been at least equal to that of their male counterparts or did not have an acknowledged and recognized spiritual role in Hawaiian society, Ka'ahumanu and Keopuolani could not have overturned the kapu
With the introduction of Christianity in 1820, the worldview of Hawaiians was made to conform to that of the New Englanders. During the early years, missionaries needed the patronage of the Hawaiian nobility (ali'i) who at that time was being led by Ka'ahumanu, a woman, so the brunt of the changes was at first born by Hawaiian commoners by the slow introduction of Christian-based laws and Western norms through the public school system.  Dr. Jon Kamakawiwo'ole Osorio's Dismembering Lāhui: A History of the Hawaiian Nation to 1887 and Sally Engle Merry's The Cultural Power of Law eloquently testify to that.  With the recognition of Hawaiian independence in 1843, it also signaled the shift of the Hawaiian ali'i to become more like Americans and Europeans. In a way, the recognition of Hawaiian independence was a triumph of diplomacy but it also marked the beginning of intense self-colonization and from that point on, the missionaries became an power within the kingdom. While in the very early years of his reign, King Kamehameha III, still attended state functions dressed in a malo, after 1843, Kamehameha III began to increasingly appear in Prussian and French military uniforms.  Hawaiian ali'i women began to wear English corsets, to curl their hair in the latest American fashion. They were taught in schools how to cook, how to be an obedient housewife, and how to rear children in the manner expected of them. Male primogeniture in property rights, in inheritance, and in the line of succession to the throne replaced the old system.  In the churches, only males were allowed to become seminarians, pastors, priests, and bishops. Slowly, patriarchy was seen as normal civilized behavior and .   

 the roles  of males, far more than females, have lost much  of their 
value since Western contact (Cook & Tarallo-Jensen, 2006; Howard, 1971, 1974). It 
is generally assumed that Hawaiian matriarchs keep traditional Hawaiian culture 
alive both at home (Ito, 1999) and in the social and political realms (Linnekin, 1990; 
Trask,  1993). This  general trend may  be related to  evolutionary  explanations  of 
parental behavior (i.e., reproductive roles) of why mothers tend to invest more in 
their child’s upbringing than fathers (Blum, 1997) and that kinship systems favor 
the maternal side (Rossi & Rossi, 1990). 

Aug 8, 2012


I thought I would post a note here. I am beginning to deeply regret now sharing what I shared on this blog about what happened to my own family. Not because of non-Hawaiians but because of the responses from Hawaiians themselves. For example, on the Lawful Hawaiian Government Facebook group someone directly plagiarized an entire section of that post without citing me and taking credit for my own thoughts.

Some other comments from members of the same group included calling the post whinny or saying things like "what makes me cry is that Hawaiians like this keep voting for the wrong people [and] not for LHG". Yet the same people who made comments like those on my post looked the other way when one member of their own group plagiarized from the same post.  I guess if you're not in their club, your mana'o is not your own.

For those who are unfamiliar with what plagiarism is, here is the definition from


  [pley-juh-riz-uhm, -jee-uh-riz-]  Show IPA
an act or instance of using or closely imitating thelanguage and thoughts of another author withoutauthorization and the representation of that author's work asone's own, as by not crediting the original author: It is saidthat he plagiarized Thoreau's plagiarism of a line written byMontaigne. appropriation, infringement, piracy,counterfeiting; theft, borrowing, cribbing, passing off.
a piece of writing or other work reflecting such unauthorizeduse or imitation: “These two manuscripts are clearlyplagiarisms,” the editor said, tossing them angrily on the floor.

What happened did in 1893 was horrid. I do not even know the proper adjective in English to describe just how scaring that was. That pain will be in my genealogy forever. But what Hawaiians do and say to each other is as emotionally painful as what happened in 1893. Instead of supporting each other, many choose to steal other people's mana'o (which is what plagiarism is) and to suppress unpleasant truths and no'ono'o kūpono (rational thinking).

I am no stranger to controversy and I have received death threats before because of the post I wrote about collaborators. Other Hawaiians of course have accused my posts of being almost anti-ali'i. That of course I find amusing because my great great great grandmother was the daughter of Premier and Princess Elizabeth Kina'u and her first husband, Governor (Moses Kalahai'a) Luanu'u II. I mentioned this only because I want to demonstrate how far back my family's roots are with the last legitimate government of the Hawaiian Islands and that I do know about the ali'i, perhaps a bit too well. Furthermore, I believe that it is the traditional right of every Hawaiian to hold their own leaders accountable. I use the term traditional because we have chants and songs dedicated to figures in our history like Kawelo, 'Umi-a-Liloa, and Kuali'i who became kings not simply because they inherited the position but because the common Hawaiian people on those islands put those people on the throne after overthrowing their incumbent predecessors. It is my right as subject--I will not use national because that's not what my own ancestors would have called themselves--of the Hawaiian nation and as an indigenous Hawaiian to look and question my own history, my own culture, and to speak without being suppressed. It is also my right that my mana'o, my mo'olelo, be given the proper respect and credited. Simply because I'm not a member of a faction of a sovereignty group does not mean I do not have rights.  Ua mau ke 'ea o ka ' āina i ka pono can also be translated as "The life/breath/sovereignty of the land has been and will be preserved in its rights." Yes, pono also means rights as in the song Kaulana Nā  Pua which talks about pono sivila (civil rights) or as in  "'Aha 'Ōlelo o Nā Aupuni Hui Pū 'Ia i Ka Hō'ike No Nā  Pono Kanaka O Ke Ao Nei" (Universal Declaration of Human Rights).  Pono does not begin nor end simply because you're a member of a sovereignty group or because you have a sharp difference of opinion.  

It is clear to me now that the principles that were long cherished by Queen Lili'uokalani that Hawaiians must mature into a self-governing mass--a mass that respected democracy and individual rights while being guided by our indigenous culture--is not being practiced by some Hawaiians of this day including being able to acknowledge someone else's mana'o or how for the sake of "unity" Hawaiians censor other Hawaiians. This is not pono. This is not the pono that our ancestors who lived during the tumultuous times in the 19th century would have wanted us, their mo'opuna, to act. They would have wanted us to behave with pono and recognizing each other's mana'o and pono sivila (civil rights). We need to return to being pono with each other instead of smashing each other in the name of unity or to act hiehie launa ʻole (to be showy, to brag or to be emotionally shallow) towards one another

Its time for us to be warriors instead of being armed with the pololū, we shall be armed with our intellect, our 'imi na'auao (thirst for knowledge), and our desire to always be pono--culturally and politically. 

Jul 16, 2012


Instead of writing my unusual blog posts which is normally sprinkled with Hawaiian laws and other references, I thought I would write a more personal post.  For an indigenous Hawaiian, its sometimes very difficult to maintain an emotional distance in talking about certain events in our past. Among these events is what happened in 1893.

I was fortunate growing up because I had my grandmother around. She spoke fluent Hawaiian and was born  some either in 1900 and 1901.  Her father was born during the reign of Kamehameha V and died sometime in 1910s.  He had served in the Hawaiian government in various capacities and fought in the 1895 uprising. He was also the grandson of Princess Elizabeth Kina'u and Governor Luanu'u through their daughter Rebecca and so had a fairly privileged but very private life. His wife, Liliana Kinimaka, died sometimes in 1906 from leprosy. When he contracted leprosy and died, my grandmother was raised by her aunt, Keahialaka Alapa'i, who chanted at King Kalakaua's Golden Jubilee though for the most part my immediate family stayed far away from King Kalakaua because they were supporters of Queen Dowager Emma and for most of the early part of the King's reign, they worked under Princess Ruth. The irony is that he married a Kinimaka and the Kinimakas were strong supporters of King Kalakaua. I'm guessing their political differences helped make their relationship exciting as I know that my great grandparents were madly in love.

So growing up with my grandmother, I heard stories about 'Umi and other ancient chiefs. I heard stories about her aunt and uncles.  Despite my grandmother's Mormonism, she also recounted stories about kupua, about the various akua,  and the old Hawaiian religion. One of the stories I never heard about was what happened in 1893. My grandmother died one year before the 'Onipa'a observance of the "Overthrow" happened in 1993. When the observance happened, it made me wonder why I never heard about what happened in 1893. I asked my mother and she said that perhaps she was too young when her own parents died so she didn't hear the stories. I could recount the stories of 'Umi but had no idea why my grandmother never discussed it.

Throughout the year that were lots of TV programs about the "overthrow". But I could not simply watch it. Anything having to do with the "overthrow" was too emotional to watch and I could not simply explain why. I could not even watch plays about Princess Ka'iulani. Then five years later, Dr. Noenoe Silva found the anti-annexation petitions and I found the signatures of several of my family's members including the great grandfather's. I then began to ask questions from my mother's oldest siblings.  I remember the simple answer my aunt gave me and to which continues to haunt me today. She said that those things could not be discussed because "When something is too painful the only way was not to talk about it. We are Hawaiians. We were expected to always be happy, be entertainers and in my generation not to be smart, not to ask questions, to simply be happy. When we got sad or upset thinking about happened, we hide it inside because that's what we were told we were supposed to do as Hawaiians. The haoles come, steal the land. We were supposed to be happy. Now they sell the land to the kepani and we still are supposed to be happy. The haole lifestyle, the haole laws, they no work for us but they keep saying Hawaiians got to be patient, be humble, try harder and you got to be happy because its the best for you. Well we ain't happy. We haven't been happy for over a hundred years. Maybe longer. That's why so many drink. Me, I eat."

It was then that I realized why for people like my grandmother, it was so difficult to talk about what happened in 1893 just as it is even difficult for me until now to watch any movie or play about what happened or to write this blog post. The pain of what happened in 1893 is just too deep for many of us. Its a pain that is too real for many of us. Those who lived in countries that have been that were occupied or invaded by another country or whose culture was continually either objectified or demonized for generations are really the only ones that can understand this feeling. I recall meeting a Greek some years ago and we were talking about history.  He told me that for many Greeks, 1453 (the year Constantinople fell to the Turks) is still etched in their memories as if it happened last year because of the trauma it caused for generations. For many Americans, a hundred years or five hundred years years seems like very distant ancient time especially given that the United States is not a particular old country.

But for indigenous peoples like indigenous Hawaiians and for those who suffered under the thumb of an alien power, what happened a hundred years or five hundred years still feels like a pulsating wound in our souls especially when that wound has carried from generation to generation.

I would later find out not through spoken words but from diaries, letters, and court papers what happened to my great grandfather.  After 1893, he sank into a deep depression. He was a man who served the Big Island of Hawai'i for most of his life either working under the governor or as a legislature during the Kingdom era. He spoke English, French, and Hawaiian fluent and was firmly a royalist. With what happened in 1893, he lost all of his positions as he refused to take an oath to the Republic. He fought in the 1895 uprising, was jailed, and then retired to Honoka'a. Its claimed that he was among those who were tortured for information because of the scars. During the Dole administration, some of his private ancestral lands were taken by the Territorial Government without compensation to build the highway. His wife, Liliana contracted leprosy while visiting relatives and was sent to Moloka'i. My great grandfather was not informed of this and searched for her for a year only to find out that she died. Officially she died of leprosy but others say it was actually TB. He then exiled himself to Moloka'i to work on the colony so he could be close to the grave of his wife and that's where he himself died of leprosy.  My grandmother and her two sisters would fight for thirty years against territorial and state governments and against certain sugar interests on the Big Island to reclaim some of the ancestral lands that belonged to their father. They went into so many courts hearings that they ended up being invited to retirement parties for some of the judges. When my grandmother died, the land dispute with the State and certain private developers was still going on.  But all of this started with 1893.

These are the types of things that as Hawaiians we have been told to be "happy" about or to "forget it its the past".   But we can't because they've happened so many times to so many other families. These are our stories. This is our history as Hawaiians for the last hundred years. This is what we still are going through. Every time we have to drop our kids off at school and see the flag pole with the American flag over our own flag, we are reminded of 1893. When we are doing genealogy work and looking at court papers, we are reminded of 1893. When people claim that anyone can be Hawaiian when in fact they never had to live through this history, to live through this pain, we are again reminded of 1893. No, we are not crybabies or victims and we can't "get over it" because we constantly have to relive the events through our genealogies, through our history, through our stories, through each other, and through what has become of Hawai'i nei. 

We are Hawaiians. We don't want money. We don't want sympathy. We don't want some kind of quasi nation or special political status within the United States. We want our history back. We want our families back. We want our 'aina back. We want to be free. We want to be happy. 

Despite the centuries. Despite whatever clothes we wear. Despite whatever language we speak. Despite whom we marry. We are still Hawaiians and as Hawaiians, we still carry that wound within us and that we have yet to find words as a people to really express that pain--if that pain can be even be expressed. 

"...Ke maopopo he Hawai`i au"

Jul 15, 2012

Race in Historical Narratives of Hawai'i

For those who believe that historians are "non-partisan" or "neutral", this article may come as a surprise to you. All historians have political, social, religious, and class views which informs them on the way they write historical narratives.

In Hawai'i's case, there are currently five major prevailing historical narratives on how Hawaiian history is basically constructed. Three of these five emphasize the role of non-indigenous Hawaiian actors in Hawaiian nation-building while one emphasizes the role of the ali'i (nobility) and the last the collective Hawaiian people.

The first view is what I call the Ornamental view is one the traditional pro-establishment narrative Hawaiian history emphasizes the role of non-Kanaka Maoli. Its also largely uncritical in writings written by non-Kanaka Maoli. For example, the three volume work of Ralph Kuykendall simply titled The Hawaiian Kingdom relies almost entirely on English language sources and excludes even the writings of Queen Lili'uokalani for the sake of "brevity". William Armstrong's work Around the World With a King had also been accepted by many traditional Western-trained historians as being basically factual despite several glaring errors such as the awards King Kalakaua were given by various heads of states, error in dates, errors in itinerary, creating new titles for himself, falsifying awards the author was given, and possibly making up entire conversations he had with the King.

Due to this emphasis on English language sources and the way Hawaiian history continues to be written and taught, this historical narrative of Hawaiians basically being ornaments in their own history shows up in modern political issues particularly with sovereignty because it imposes a definition of what was and is the Hawaiian nation.

The pro-establishment historical narrative would go something like this:

  1. That the Hawaiian nation was basically established by Kamehameha I with the help of European advisers and European guns; 
  2. Kamehameha III framed a constitution based on American law again with the help of mostly haole (non-indigenous) advisers; 
  3. Hawaiian independence was recognized by major world powers because of the missionaries; 
  4. The standard of living during the Kingdom era was such because of American capital; 
  5. Indigenous Hawaiians were on the verge of being extinct so it was inevitable that other races replace them;
  6. The Hawaiian Kingdom was a multi-ethnic society and Kanaka Maoli had no "special rights"; 
  7. The "overthrow" was inevitable and came about due to "native" misrule including corruption by the Crown specifically King Kalakaua; 
  8. The "Republic of Hawai'i" though largely non-Kanaka Maoli was a legitimate government because non-Kanaka Maoli controlled 80% of the economy of Hawai'i and they were being milked by the failing monarchical institutions; 
  9. The Kanaka Maoli are not indigenous to Hawai'i as their ancestors came from the South Pacific (just as haoles would later come) and they should be referred to as simply "ethnic Hawaiians";
  10. American institutions and American government were the best to happen to indigenous Hawaiians as it gave them political stability;
  11. Certain events in the past were unfortunate but that is simply how it is and the proper venue for any redress is in the democratic process that has been in place since "Statehood"; 
There are several other points but most of these points goes back to the time of Kamehameha III but most were articulated by Lorrin Thurston and Sereno Bishop in the late 1880s and 1890s and have been regurgitated ever since. When the transfer--I prefer to use the term transfer rather than annexation--was made from the Republic of Hawai'i to the United States, the government did not change much. The Home Rule Party dominated Territorial Legislature won a major victory in establishing elected mayors and in having an archives in the first decade of the 20th century, but the US president through the military, the governors and judges maintained ultimate control over the Hawaiian Islands. Public education came under the purview of the US appointed governors who normally came from men who actually instigated the 1893 coup. They like politicians of any era appointed friendly faces to positions of power including the head archivist. The head archivist during most of the 20th century were members of Judd family, were friendly with the appointed governor (who could technically remove him/her at any time), and normally members of the Republican Party so they shared many of the conservative US East Coast viewpoints of their peers. For more than 70 years this viewpoint was basically the only viewpoint anyone had if they took a Hawaiian history class. 

In the 1980s and 90s, dissenting voices began to articulate a different historical perspective and began to examine English language primary sources more critically as a result of the post colonial struggles in the developing world, Dr. Marshall Sahlins, Dr. Edward Said, Dr. Niklaus Scweitzer and with the direction of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement at that time. Around the same time, a pro-royalist trend began to emerge with works of Helen Chapman and the re-publication of Hawai'i's Story by Hawai'i's Queen in what I call the Nostalgia historical narrative.  While indigenous Hawaiians are actors in Hawaiian history, the actors are mainly only the ali'i. As such, primary sources from royalists including the writings by the ali'i are viewed uncritically and the Hawaiian Kingdom era is seen as a Golden Age. Most of Nostalgia histories are written by or for ali'i and civil societies as well as Kamehameha Schools.

The Nostalgia points of view would be basically as follows:

  1. The Hawaiian nation existed for hundreds of years prior to Kamehameha I; 
  2. The indigenous Hawaiian people have a special spiritual, historical, and social relationship with the 'aina (land); 
  3. Hawai'i was in a Golden Age prior to Captain Cook; 
  4. That the Hawaiian nation was basically established by Kamehameha I with the help of European advisers and European guns;
  5. Haole advisers to Kamehameha I spoke Hawaiian, married Hawaiian, and for all intensive purposes adopted Hawaiian culture. They did not impose their culture on Hawaiians and respected Hawaiian culture. 
  6. Queen Ka'ahumanu decision to destroy the Hawaiian religion was one of the great achievements of the Hawaiian monarchy;
  7. The devout Christian Kamehameha III framed a constitution based on American law again with the help of mostly haole (non-indigenous) advisers; 
  8. Hawaiian independence was recognized by major world powers because of the missionaries; 
  9. Hawai'i was a melting pot with the aloha spirit
  10. This aloha spirit was abused by haoles
  11. The naive but loving indigenous Hawaiian commoners were dispossessed of their lands because foreigners;
  12.  The Hawaiian royals did everything they could to protect indigenous Hawaiians and were not capable of corruption;
  13. Indigenous Hawaiians were a "civilized" Christian people who trusted their missionary pastors and obeyed their chiefs in all things; 
  14. The ali'i were and continue to be guardians of Hawaiian culture;
  15. The era of King Kalakaua was a Golden Age of Hawaiian institutions;
  16. Indigenous Hawaiians have been treated as second class citizen by both Asian and haole settlers to Hawai'i;
  17. That the way to any redress is through a legal process;

Later, Hawaiian nationalist Political Scientists like Dr. Noenoe Silva began articulating a more historical narrative using Hawaiian language newspapers and indigenous Hawaiian writers. In reading something written by Dr. Silva and reading something written by Kuykendall is like reading two books with the same names but different stories. In Dr. Silva's accounts Hawaiians are the nation-builders. They are actors in their own history with the non-Kanaka Maoli assisting and/or at times usurping their appointed role. Though similar in some ways, the Nostalgia historical narrative, this view is critical of both the ali'i and their haole advisers as well the English Common law legal system put into place by Kamehameha III.

Some of the major points for the nationalist point of view would be like this:

  1. The Hawaiian nation existed for hundreds of years prior to Kamehameha I; 
  2. The indigenous Hawaiian people have a special spiritual, historical, and social relationship with the 'aina (land); 
  3. At the time of Captain Cook, unification was almost completed and would have been completed with or without foreign advisers; 
  4. Haole advisers to Kamehameha I spoke Hawaiian, married Hawaiian, and for all intensive purposes adopted Hawaiian culture. They did not impose their culture on Hawaiians and respected Hawaiian culture. 
  5. Unification of the Hawaiian Islands was largely due to the sacrifice of the warriors of Kamehameha who fought to unify the islands under one flag and the ingenuity of Kamehameha in both war and diplomacy; 
  6. The independence missions to the US, France, and the UK was headed not by a haole but by an indigenous Hawaiian and it was actually the missionaries who created problems for Hawaiian independence; 
  7. Kamehameha III made decisions that he felt were in the best interests of his own people but perhaps the implementation by his haole advisers and their supporters mostly from the ali'i class resulted in serious social inequalities; 
  8. The collapse of the Hawaiian population--80-90% of the Hawaiian population died in the one hundred years after Captain Cook--as a result of introduced diseases opened up political and social weaknesses and threatened the very existence of the Hawaiian nation;
  9. That the population collapse was exploited by foreigners either as a tool to propagate Christianity or as an excuse to import foreign labor as well as to push for the foreign ownership of Hawaiian lands;
  10. Some would argue that Kamehameha III's reign was marked by penetrating "self-colonizing" policies including the state promotion of a Protestant Christian lifestyle through the public school system, the enforcement of Western laws over Hawaiian customary laws, private land ownership (which allowed non-citizens to buy Hawaiian land), and the Westernization of institutions. These policies were mostly done in order to safeguard Hawaiian independence and to make Hawai'i seem "civilized" but it also resulted in tremendous confusion over Hawaiian identity and culture. (The Japanese and Thais for example maintained their traditional religions and identity while maintaining their national independence); 
  11. The debt of the chiefs and the King himself owed to foreigners played a part in political policy making;
  12. Indigenous Hawaiians were always politically active and far from passive; 
  13. One of the major problems indigenous Hawaiians faced was the population collapse of their society and this is a motivation for some of the immigration and naturalization policies enacted during the Kingdom era; 
  14. National rights and indigenous rights of Hawaiians to exercise self-government over their own nation had always been intertwined; 
  15. Indigenous Hawaiian were systemically excluded from the Hawaiian government for years beginning at the end of the reign of Kamehameha III until the reign of King Kalakaua when he began to assert more indigenous control over the government and the economy and this resulted in the 1887 Bayonet Constitution; 
  16. That the coup of 1893 was not "inevitable" but was pushed towards that direction by mainly wealthy American residents--Hawai'i's 1%--with the support of the Harrison administration; 
  17. Non-indigenous Hawaiians introduced racialism into politics as early as the reign of Kamehameha II. Members of the Honolulu Rifles for example made an oath to protect the "white residents of these islands". 
  18. This racialism is actually what separated the earlier relationship Kamehameha I had with his advisers compared to the relationship of Kamehameha III with his advisers. The foreign advisers of Kamehameha I treated him as their king and Hawaiians as their equals whereas the foreign advisers of Kamehameha III treated him as a relic and Hawaiians as a soon to be extinct race to be replaced by Anglo-Saxon progress. This power relationship and mentality continues to this day in the way history books still are written and the way settler privilege still manifests itself in anything dealing with indigenous Hawaiians. 
  19. Indigenous Hawaiian have been for the last century treated as second class citizens as Victorian-era institutional racism and historical amnesia still permeates and this is one of the many reasons why indigenous Hawaiians have difficulty in any "reconciliation" process particularly any process created by the State of Hawai'i. 
  20. The Territorial and State Governments has always played the race card not just towards indigenous Hawaiians but towards all other races in Hawai'i. For example, territorial immigration policies were directed to ensure that all races remained minorities in Hawai'i; 
  21. Political mobilization and continuing re-education on the part of indigenous Hawaiians are always necessary as history as shown that indigenous Hawaiians have always been politically active and indigenous rights have always been given and then taken away. 

In between the pro-establishment narrative and the Hawaiian nationalist narrative there are two other narratives that slowly evolved taking points from each distinctive historical narrative. One is what I like to call the Victimization narrative and the Libertarian Conservatism point of view:

The Victimization narrative is something like this:

  1. The Hawaiian nation existed for hundreds of years prior to Kamehameha I 
  2. The indigenous Hawaiian people have a special spiritual, historical, and social relationship with the 'aina (land); 
  3. Hawai'i was in a Golden Age prior to Captain Cook; 
  4. That the Hawaiian nation was basically established by Kamehameha I with the help of European advisers and European guns; 
  5. Kamehameha III framed a constitution based on American law again with the help of mostly haole (non-indigenous) advisers; 
  6. Hawaiian independence was recognized by major world powers because of the missionaries; 
  7. Hawai'i was a melting pot with the aloha spirit; 
  8. This aloha spirit was abused by haoles
  9. The child-like naive but loving indigenous Hawaiians were dispossessed of their lands because they could not cope with the traumatic changes brought by the missionaries; 
  10. Indigenous Hawaiians were a "civilized" Christian people who trusted their missionary pastors and obeyed their chiefs in all things; 
  11. The missionaries ultimately betrayed their indigenous Hawaiian flock; 
  12. The "overthrow" was inevitable as the US, France, and the UK had their eyes on Hawai'i; 
  13. The "Republic of Hawai'i" was a largely non-Kanaka Maoli government that oppressed indigenous Hawaiians; 
  14. Indigenous Hawaiians continue to be victims of their own history; 
  15. Indigenous Hawaiians still have not been able to cope with the changes brought about by the Great Mahele and the "overthrow". 
This narrative is normally put forward by state agencies.

The Libertarian Conservatism narrative goes something like this:

  1. Indigenous Hawaiians and Hawaiian nationals have a special relationship to Ke Akua (God), the 'aina, and all things in nature;
  2. The God-fearing Kamehameha III established laws to govern people of all races; 
  3. Indigenous Hawaiian rights are lesser than as national rights; 
  4. Rights are God given; 
  5. Hawai'i was a melting pot with the aloha spirit
  6. This aloha spirit was abused by haoles
  7. Indigenous Hawaiians were dispossessed of their lands because they could not cope with the traumatic changes brought by the missionaries; 
  8. Indigenous Hawaiians were a "civilized" Christian people who trusted their missionary pastors and obeyed their chiefs in all things; 
  9. Anyone can be Hawaiian; 
  10. Indigenous Hawaiians do not have more rights than Hawaiian nationals; 
  11. Race does not matter and when it comes to history of the Hawaiian Kingdom era everything is colorblind and everyone was affected by the 1893 coup equally; 
  12. That responsibility for the coup of 1893 was due to the US government; 
  13. Hawai'i was not colonized but simply continues to be "occupied"; 
  14. Any sort of redress must be through 19th century law;
  15. Political mobilization on the part of the Hawaiians is not necessary because the laws are already in place;

An example of this can be seen in a conversation on Facebook recently. The writer with a blue icon is a Californian who believes that s/he is a Hawaiian national.

Despite what may seem like a sort of similar view between the narratives of the Nationalist, Nostalgia, and Conservative Liberatarian, there are huge fundamental differences. Among Conservative Libertarians involved in the Hawaiian sovereignty/independence movement, particularly Kingdom groups, there is an emphasis on Kamehameha III. On the other hand, the Hawaiian nationalist historians, the reigns of Kamehameha V and Kalakaua are seen as being pivotal to Hawaiian nationalist history because that was the era that political parties, activism, and public protests began and when Hawai'i ceased to be simply an appendage of Europe and America. For Nostalgia historians, like nationalist historians, the reign of Kalakaua is seen as a Renaissance of Hawaiian culture and that era along with the premiership of Queen Ka'ahumanu are both emphasized. 

With Conservative Libertarian involved in the movement, many claim to be paralegals or know about the "law" but in my conversations, I have yet to meet any who have read the Hawaiian Civil Code. If they did, they would realize that the Hawaiian constitutions do not speak about citizenship but speak about the qualifications of electors. It is already assumed that anyone who is entitled to vote under the constitution would have either undergone naturalization (which is defined in the Civil Code very clearly) or is a native-born Hawaiian subject. Also the last constitution in force prior to the Bayonet Constitution was one proclaimed by Kamehameha V. Kamehameha III--I dislike the name "Kam III"--had actually proclaimed not one but two constitution and was not happy with either of them. Just as a side culture note, in Hawaiian and other Polynesian cultures, to compare someone, even a friend, to any sort of dog was seen as unflattering and insulting. 

Like the Ornamentalist and Victimization historical perspective, the Conservative Libertarian narrative also basically calls for a paternalistic relationship with indigenous Hawaiians. With those who follow the Conservative Libertarian historical narrative, indigenous Hawaiians are to be protected by law--though anyone can have the same relationship to the 'aina as indigenous Hawaiians since anyone can be "Hawaiian" and everyone is covered by the same God given laws. Those who follow the Ornamentalist and Victimization perspectives, indigenous Hawaiians are to be "protected" by constant government intervention and monitoring. Nostalgia narratives ultimately call for the Hawaiian ali'i to re-assert their role as the primary actors in Hawaiian history while nationalist would call all indigenous Hawaiians to assert their collective role as primary actors in their own history.

In addition, for Conservative Libertarians in the movement, the responsibility for the events in the past (or currently) no longer lies with settlers but simply with the US government while at the same time, the role of non-indigenous Hawaiians are again emphasized but solely in a positive light while indigenous Hawaiians mainly as a peaceful spiritual people somewhere in the background. Nationalists would counter those arguments by stating that an overly simplistic view of Hawaiian history results in an overly simplistic Orientalist view of Hawaiian culture and Hawaiians themselves. In that sense the Conservative Libertarian view shares arguments much in common with Ornamentalist and Victimization narratives because again the emphasis lies with non-indigenous actors in history. Furthermore, a nationalist could argue that settlers do bare a responsibility as they have directly benefited from what happened in the past (i.e. for example, a Caucasian moving from California can move to Hawai'i without a visa, claim to be Hawaiian without undergoing legal naturalization, then claim benefits as a "Hawaiian national" and join a Kingdom group--all because of what happened in 1893) and that racialism--as well as sexism--has played and continues to play a huge role in the social development of Hawai'i--not just for indigenous Hawaiians but all those whose ancestors endured the plantation system. This is no way suggests that those who share a nationalist narrative blame the haoles for everything--though some may do--as Conservative Libertarians or someone with the Ornamentalist point of view might counter. Nationalists simply suggest that indigenous Hawaiians would have adopted Western or Eastern technology--many in fact embraced Western technology like print--if they saw it was of benefit to them on their own but that choice, that free agency, was deprived from them as a group because of racialist policies and that as a group, historically, Anglo-Saxons benefited the most from these policies.

And this is why history is never a boring subject.

Jul 4, 2012

July 4

Sanford Dole Swearing Himself as President of the Republic of Hawai'i
Today, July 4th, marks a bleak day in Hawaiian history. Today marks the anniversary of the birth of the Republic of Hawai'i. To many, the word "republic" does not carry strong negative overtones like it does for many Hawaiians. That isn't to say that most Hawaiians dislike the idea of democracy or a State where the head of state is elected. But the Republic of Hawai'i was neither democratic nor was the head of state, in this case American business magnate Stanford Dole, elected. The Republic of Hawai'i was in many ways a precursor to Manchukuo, a state created to hide a foreign occupation and to enable a foreign army to utilize native collaborators to control the local population. Like Manchukuo and contrary to what some in academe and Hawaiian sovereignty movement have said, there were indigenous collaborators.

Constitution Convention of the Republic of Hawai'i, 1894

With Hawai'i, the indigenous Hawaiians collaborated with the Republic for four main reasons: economic benefits (contracts, buying Crown Lands, etc); dislike of the Kalakaua dynasty (a residue from 1874 election); to maintain Hawaiian national independence; and finally, personal status. Albert Kunuiakea, for example collaborated with the Republic because he believed that as "royal"--he was the illegitimate son of King Kamehameha III--he deserved to be king or president. So by joining the Republic, he thought he could succeed Dole when Dole's term was up in 1900.

In fact, many Native Hawaiians with the Republic's Legislature believed the same thing. They believed in that they were ali'i or royals and they all deserved status and to be honored. That is a mentality that continues today within the State of Hawai'i and within the sovereignty movement particularly the kingdom groups.

Others like Colonel Curtis 'Iaukea benefited financially from having worked under the Republic. Although he was hesitant to work for the Provisional and Republican Governments (he took the oath against the Queen just 9 months after he dethronement), he would later not only buy Crown Land but he was also a jailer and special assistant for Dole at O'ahu Prison during the 1895 uprising. He served as Special Envoy of the Republic to the US and the UK in order to basically act as a prop. He was also the protege of Sanford Dole hence why when Dole became governor, 'Iaukea became Territorial Secretary sort of like vice-governor. Understandably, the 'Iaukea Family, Wikipedia, and the whoever does the writing on the Friends of 'Iolani Palace Facebook page, it seems they would like to leave this chunk out of their histories and instead focus on the warmer and more politically correct ties 'Iaukea had with King Kalakaua and skip some 11 years to where 'Iaukea would later become the gracious trustee of Queen Lili'uokalani's Estate. Thought in 'Iaukea's case, I believe he deeply lamented his involvement in the aftermath of the 1893 coup later in his life--unlike say Lorrin Thurston or for that matter Albert Kunuiakea.

For Hawaiians outside of the Republic and who refused to collaborate, the Republic of Hawai'i was a time of economic hardship. Many refused to work under the government and some feared for their lives. But there were also many examples of men and women who stood up to the Republic.

Emma Nawahi, wife of Joseph Nawahi, published strong editorials against the Republic in their paper, Ke Aloha 'Aina, while at the same time fighting for worker's rights, unions, women's rights, and self-determination away from the Anglo-American form that the Hawaiian Kingdom had taken.

Henry Bertlemen was a Hawaiian subject of American descendant and a journalist. He was jailed and fined for violating censorship laws so many times that the Provisional and Republican Governments that they stopped keeping records.

The Hawaiian Reformed Catholic (Anglican/Episcopal) Church Bishop Alfred Willis condemned the actions against the Queen publicly. He was also the only official of any church to visit the Queen while she was imprisoned. Some forget that Bishop Willis was also the confessor for Sanford Dole as Dole was an Anglican so Willis' actions in simply visiting the Queen could also be interpreted as a repudiation of Dole by his own confessor. With the purported annexation of Hawai'i in 1898, the Hawaiian Reformed Catholic Church was transferred to the jurisdiction of the American Episcopal Church and Bishop Willis, being under the jurisdiction of the Church of England, was sent to Tonga so that an American bishop could preside.

A few Roman Catholic priests on the Big Island included prayers to the Queen during Masses though the Queen was not Roman Catholic.

So rather than lamenting over the Republic of Hawai'i on this anniversary, let's remember the men and women who fought for justice and continue the struggle.

Apr 7, 2012

Kalakaua: An International Perspective

Reposting this important article from the Journal of the Hawai'i Historical Society

King Kalakaua in Japan, 1881

King Kalakaua: An International Perspective

NIKLAUS R. SCHWEIZER, former Swiss Consul to Hawai'i 

This year marks the 100th year of the death in San Francisco, on January 20, 1891, of David Kalakaua, Hawaii's last king.

T H E KING KALAKAUA JUBILEE Centennial Celebration, organized by the Friends of 'Iolani Palace in November of 1986, presented an opportunity to reassess the achievements of this seventh monarch of the Hawaiian Islands. For an entire week, from November 9 until November 16, the most impressive events staged 100 years earlier were reenacted, such as the firemen's torchlight parade, the first public illumination of the Palace with electric lights, the royal ball, the military drill, the grand lu'au. Nothing of importance was omitted, and when on the last day the traditional 21-gun salute reserved for a head of state thundered across the palace grounds, those who had the good fortune to be present witnessed a scene they would not easily forget.

Kalakaua, of course, did not always enjoy such popularity.

Most historians present this sovereign, who was born in 1836 and who reigned from 1874 until his death in 1891 as a fairly controversial figure. They generally leave us with the impression of an unpredictable leader and lighthearted spendthrift who, above all, liked parties, drank inordinate amounts of champagne, and most certainly deserved the epithet of "the Merry Monarch." A good part of this criticism is the legacy of Kalakaua's enemies, who in 1887 imposed the "Bayonet Constitution" upon him and in early 1893 proceeded to detrone his sister Lili'uokalani.

In recent years, attempts have been made to evaluate Kalakaua and other leading Hawaiian figures in a more sympathetic vein. In addition, the long-neglected Native point of view is now reinterpreting the colonial experience in the strongly accentuated theses, articles, and speeches delivered by young Hawaiians like Haunani-Kay Trask, Mililani Trask, and Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa

While not everyone applauds this trend, it nevertheless constitutes an important part of a process which is as necessary as it is inevitable and which ultimately will enrich our understanding of these Islands and their fascinating history. A central aspect of Kalakaua's reign has so far not been given the attention it deserves, however, and that is his foreign policy. It is precisely from a closer examination of his respective efforts that we gain important insights into the character and the goals of a king who shaped the future of his realm to a greater extent than is generally recognized.

When High Chief David La ' amea Kamanakapu'u Mahinulani Naloia'ehuokalani Lumialani Kalakaua ascended the throne on February 12, 1874, the outlook for his small kingdom located in the central Pacific was not particularly propitious. The second age of colonialism, dominated by England and France and influenced towards the end of the 19th century by the German Empire and the United States, cast a growing shadow onto the world's largest ocean. To the southwest of Hawa i ' i, Fiji had shortly before
yielded her sovereignty to Great Britain, while Samoa barely held her own. In 1880, the king of Samoa would have to submit to the collective wisdom of a council formed by the consuls of England, Germany, and the United States; and in 1900, his archipelago would be carved up by the latter two, while London would be given carte blanche in the Solomons and Tonga. The Tongan sovereign, Tupou I, would manage to cling to his throne but would also have to consider foreign "advice," in his case the guidance of a British agent and consul with headquarters conveniently located next to the royal palace. As to Australia and New Zealand, they had been British colonies from the beginning of British exploration.

To the south, Kalakaua and his advisors were confronted with the tragedy of the valiant Queen Pomare IV of Tahiti, who in 1843 had been obliged to submit to a French protectorate, nothwithstanding strong Native opposition against the intruders. In 1874, she was still the sovereign, nominally at least, but, just as in Tonga, a foreign governor, French in this case, resided next door. In 1880, her son Pomare V would ignominously sign his kingdom over to Paris as a co-called "gift."

To the northwest, the ancient Empire of Japan had been "opened" in 1853 by Commodore Matthew Perry and his "black ships," and the even older Empire of China was under great pressure to grant trading concessions to an assortment of Western nations including Germany and the United States. To the north, the icy wastes of Alaska, known also as Russian America, had been purchased in 1867 by Washington from Tsar Alexander II.

To the northeast, the United States, having overcome the ravages of the Civil War, oscillated between a policy of expansionism advocated by the Republican Party and one of self-restraint championed by the Democrats.

Far-reaching minds were discussing the feasibility of digging a canal through the isthmus of Nicaragua. They reasoned that such a waterway, built in a similar manner to Ferdinand de Lesseps' Suez Canal, which had opened in 1869, would enable Washington to guard the Pacific as well as the Atlantic coasts with only one fleet instead of two. In such a case, control of the Hawaiian Islands would help to defend the western approaches to the envisioned canal. The international situation was, therefore, not promising. To make matters worse, the dubious notion that might makes right had of late received a strong if unintended impulse from Charles Darwin's Origin of Species (1859). This work, which at first glance appeared to be limited to the fields of biology and geology, was swifty applied by social scientists to politics as the doctrine of "the survival of the fittest."

At home in Hawai'i there was not much cause for optimism, either. It was true that the Hawaiians still represented the majority of the population, and it was equally true that they were deeply loyal to the throne, regardless of the fact that many would have preferred the unhesitatingly pro-British attitude displayed by Emma, the dowager queen, to Kalakaua's friendly overtures towards Washington. The mortality rate of the Native people exceeded the birth rate with depressing regularity, however, and the small but vigorous Caucasian population kept growing just as steadily as the Native ranks were thinning. Prominent among the Caucasians were the children of the missionaries. Their parents had undertaken the dangerous voyage to the Islands, inspired by noble dreams of doing God's work in a remote land. They had displayed much courage and resolve, but they had also been driven by convictions which elsewhere were considered rather excessive. They cherished their Calvinist faith and thus occupied a position not far removed from the radical fringes of Protestantism. As the lineal descendants of those Puritans, who in 17th century England had executed the unfortunate Charles I and had established a short-lived republic, they were by nature opposed to pomp and circumstance in general and monarchy in particular, unless it served their own purposes. They had a tendency to be self-righteous, and, in accordance with their Calvinist creed, money played a considerable role, because in a curiously roundabout way the possession of wealth was supposed to prove that a man was reckoned by God among the saved and would thus be spared everlasting damnation. As a matter of course, they did not much value the cultural achievements of indigenous peoples.

It was difficult for Hawaiians to forget various threats to their autonomy. In 1854, for example, missionary advisors had suggested to a hard-pressed Kamehameha III, who had seen his country's independence challenged first by Great Britain, then by France, and finally by the possible arrivals of filibusters from California, that as a last resort he could cede his realm to the United States. It was still harder to ignore the fact that many missionary families had kept American flags at the ready to be hoisted immediately over their houses, should the King have followed this advice. There resided more moderate Caucasians in Hawai'i, notably leading British and German citizens, as well as a number of Americans, but the Hawaiian patriots could hardly be blamed if they remained skeptical. Even earlier, in 1815, Georg Anton Schaffer of the Russian America Company had tried to first take over O' ahu, and a year later Kaua 'i and Ni'ihau. In 1843, Lord George Paulet had hoisted the Union Jack over the Islands, and it had flown for half a year. There followed several threatening appearances of French men-of-war, culminating in the so-called "War of the Calabashes" of 1847 when Admiral Legoarant de Tromelin fired the guns of the Poursuivante at the fort of Honolulu.

By the year of Kalakaua's accession, these dangers of dominance had been overcome, however, and the new king was not willing to give in to the demands of some other power now. Thus, he set about to fashion his policies which essentially rested on three pillars: one, in order to placate the restless Caucasians who at that time were mostly interested in securing their struggling sugar plantations and related ventures, the King supported long-standing efforts to conclude a reciprocity treaty with the United States, the nearest market for the Kingdom's exports; two, since close economic cooperation with a great state inherently carried the risk of political domination, Kalakaua at the same time set out to pursue a foreign policy designed to emphasize the status of Hawai'i as a fully independent nation; three, the King took measures to strengthen the viability of his own people and to support their rich heritage. He established the policy of ho'oulu i ka lahui, to make the nation grow, and initiated a revival of the hula, "the life-blood of his people," as he called it.

Ultimately, Kalakaua's actions can be understood in the light of these three principles. Although they were never officially formulated in any one particular government document or master plan, they were apparent in the strategies pursued, and little time was lost in implementing them.

In 1874, Kalakaua personally went to Washington, D . C ., and became the first head of state of any foreign nation to address a joint session of Congress. He successfully concluded the negotiations for the reciprocity treaty which eventually was ratified by both Hawai'i and the U. S. When the treaty became effective, it brought huge profits to the planters and to business in general. Kalakaua also stepped up the diplomatic and consular presence of his nation. By 1892, the monarchy maintained no fewer than 93 legations, consulates general, and consulates, a network which spanned the globe. In Great Britain alone, there were a legation and 13 consulates from Liverpool to Edinburgh. In the United States, there was the legation in Washington, D . C ., and there were eight consulates reaching from coast to coast. In the German empire, the Hawaiian colors were displayed in five cities. There was a consul in Vienna and one in Rome, and a Hawaiian consul even resided in Pape'ete, the capital of Tahiti. Most of these positions were honorary, but that was the general custom in those days, and the extent of Hawai'i's presence abroad in any case was noteworthy.

In close conjunction with these diplomatic measures, the requirements of protocol and international etiquette were strictly observed in Honolulu. The King, the Queen, and the national flag were accorded a 21-gun salute, an ambassador extraordinary and plentipotentiary rated 19 guns, a governor or high commissioner 17, an admiral of the fleet 15, a minister resident 13, a charge d'affaires 11, a consul general nine, and a consul seven.

On the educational plane, a "studies abroad program," as it would be called today, was designed to ensure a pool of gifted and highly schooled Hawaiians who would enable the government to fill important positions in the foreign ministry and other governmental branches. As Agnes Quigg states in "Kalakaua's Hawaiian Studies Abroad Program," a group of 17 promising young men and one young woman were sent on government funds to the four corners of the world: five to Italy, four to the U . S ., three to England, three to Scotland, two to J a p a n, and one to China. Several other students went abroad on funds of their own.

Royalty was not spared the pangs of homesickness and the challenges that had to be faced in foreign lands. Princess Ka'iulani, expected to become the next heir to the crown after Lili'uokalani, left the Islands for Great Britain to receive the education deemed necessary for a sovereign destined to reign in the 20th century. The three princes, David Kawananakoa, Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana'ole, and Edward Keli'iahonui, who ranked directly after Ka'iulani in the line of succession, attended a private school in San Mateo, California.

Kalakaua himself decided to see the world firsthand and circumnavigated the globe in 1881, a feat never before achieved by any ruling monarch in history. This unique royal progress added greatly to the prestige of the small mid-Pacific nation, notwithstanding the fact that it was carried out with a minimum of means. The King was accompanied by two officials and one valet. Kalakaua's erudition, his excellent command of English, and his charm left a lasting impression in many places. He is still remembered in Vienna and in Berlin, and it was while he was traveling in the German empire that he was presented with a resplendent Schellenbaum, an ornamental instrument characterized by a boom.

Other missions on the highest level followed. In the spring of 1883, Kalakaua was invited by Tsar Alexander III of Russia to send an envoy to his coronation. This interesting invitation came about as a direct consequence of Kalakaua's own coronation on February 12 of the same year, which had attracted international attention. The Hawaiian sovereign dispatched Colonel Curtis Pi'ehu I'aukea as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Moscow and St. Petersburg. I'aukea, who was not yet 28 years old, had at his disposal the services of a single secretary, part-Hawaiian Henry Poor. The United States, on the other hand, dispatched a warship to accomodate the large American delegation headed by Minister William Henry Hunt.

Notwithstanding the miniscule size of his party, I'aukea made a most favorable impression with the potentates of Europe and the brilliant society gathered at the Kremlin. He was received by the tsar and tsarina, met with a great number of dignitaries, and conversed no fewer than five times with Count Nikholai Karlovich von Giers, Russia's foreign minister. Deeply moved by the importance of the mission entrusted to him, I'aukea later wrote of his first evening in Moscow that "the sight of my country's flag floating over the entrance to the Hotel Duseaux besides those of the United States and Japan, gave me an added incentive to meet the responsibilities that lay ahead and discharge them with honor."

From Russia, I'aukea traveled to Berlin, Vienna, Belgrade, London, Rome, and then by way of the Suez Canal to India and Japan. There he was received by Emperor Meiji and proved instrumental in the plans that established full scale immigration from Japan to Hawai'i after an initial attempt in 1868 had ended in failure.

In 1887, Queen Kapi'olani and Crown Princess Lili'uokalani attended Queen Victoria's golden jubilee in London, the capital of what then was the most powerful nation in the world.

In the meantime, on January, 1882, Hawai'i had joined the World Postal Union, one of the first truly international organizations. The Union had been established in Berne, Switzerland, in 1874, the year of the King's accession. Kalakaua, who once had served as Hawai'i's postmaster general, understood the importance of worldwide cooperation, and thus Hawai'i became an early member of this global institution. In addition to the increased prestige which membership conferred upon the Kingdom, the practical benefits were lower postal rates and unimpeded service to Europe.

No effort was spared to place the independence of Hawai'i on a solid basis. All governments occasionally make mistakes and commit blunders, and Kalakaua's administration was no exception. Walter Murray Gibson, premier from 1882 until 1887, came under particularly heavy attack by his opponents, the sugar planters, lawyers, and businessmen led by the sons and grandsons of the Calvinist missionaries. A complex personality, he was a dreamer and a visionary pursuing goals which were not entirely free from self-interest. He was eminently practical as well, contributing in substantial ways to the welfare of the Kingdom and in particular the indigenous Hawaiians. Recent reassessments of this controversial figure, to whom we owe 'Iolani Palace and the statue of Kamehameha I, have rebalanced his legacy which was erased by his opponents.

Gibson's greatest mistake, which led to his downfall in 1887, was the attempt to forge an alliance of the Polynesian archipelagos which had eluded outright colonization, an effort culminating in the deployment of the Kaimiloa, the only vessel of the short-lived navy of Kalakaua. In 1887, Gibson's grand scheme ended in a hasty retreat. The debacle embarrassed the King and triggered the rebellion on the part of the Caucasian opposition who imposed a new constitution at gunpoint, which quickly came to be known as the "Bayonet Constitution." The mercurial premier and foreign minister was unceremoniously dismissed and banished from Hawai'i. He was lucky to escape alive.

One hundred years later, the political climate presents itself in a very different light, however. Regional cooperation has become the order of the day, and what was once considered an act of extreme recklessness suggests now statesmanship and foresight. It is interesting to note that King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV of Tonga has recently revived Gibson's idea in a modified form on a strictly economic and cultural plane. The last Polynesian sovereign envisions a Polynesian Economic and Cultural Community which would embrace not only independent states, but would also recognize those islanders whose territories belong to metropolitan Western nations, such as the inhabitants of French Polynesia, the Maori of New Zealand, and the Hawaiians. It shall be interesting to see whether anything concrete will emerge from the plan advanced by the King of Tonga.

In any case, it was symptomatic of the state of affairs in the second half of the 19th century  th at Kalakaua's achievements were more readily noticed by temporary residents and visitors from Europe than by the local Caucasian establishment. For example, Marie Gabriel Bosseront d 'Anglade, first secretary in the French legation from 1889 to 1892, described the severely restricted role to which Kalakaua had been reduced by the " Bayonet Constitution ":

Despite his precarious mandate and legacy, Kalakaua remains a most outstanding example of the kind of devotion a sovereign can present to his people. He was sincere, he realized the impossibility of restraining the revolutionary process, he comprehended the larger interests at work, and then he submitted with good grace. Identifying immediately with the new political situation, however painful to him, he became the most proficient of constitutional kings. He presided at the opening of the legislature and read his speeches from the throne. In solemn audience he received foreign diplomats and representatives. He officiated at endless ceremonies etc.

Frederich Richter, the first pastor (1833-1887) of the German Lutheran Church at L i h u ' e, on Kaua 'i, happened to be in Honolulu on October 29, 1881, when Kalakaua returned from his voyage around the world. In his rare diary entitled In feme Welt, Richter described vividly and with admiration the jubilation and the pomp and circumstance with which the home coming of the King on October 29, 1881 was greet ed by his people:

Um 2 Urh ertonte plotzlich Kanonendonner von Punchbowl und ein endloses Pfeifen vom Hafen her. Eine Fahne nach der andern flog hoch, und im Nuwufite man uberall, dafi der erst morgen oder ubermorgen erwartete Steamer von San Francisco schonjetzt ankam, und dafi der Konig an Bord war. Ichging hinunter, um den Einzug anzusehen. Auf den Strafien jagten in wilder Hast Wagen und Reiter in Uniform und Zivil hin und her und erregten einen entsetzlichen Staub. Alles drangte dem Landungsplatze und den von dort nach dem Palaste fuhrenden Strafien zu, die in wirklich uberraschendem Schmucke prangten. Ein gru'ner Ehrenbogen reihte sich an den andern, Fahnen und Guirlanden in den Landesfarben und mit hawaiischen, englischen and chinesischen Bewillkommnungsschriften zogen sich in reicher Fu'lle an den Hausern entlang und uber die Strafiven weg. Besonders phantastisch und schon waren die chinesischen Baldachine, die sich an zwei Kreuzungspunkten der Strafien im Quadrat iiber den ganzen Strafienknoten spannten, iiber und iiber beladen mit wortbedecktem chinesischen Flitter, Lampions etc. in gluhenden Farben. . . . Endlich war der Zug geordnet und setzte sich in Bewegung. Der Musik-Kapelle folgte das Militar, zwei Kompagnien Infanterie in ihren neuen preu ischen Uniformen, die eine mit roten, die andere mit blauen Federbuschen, und eine Schwadron blauer Dragoner, alles Eingeborne, von denen sich besonder die Dragoner auf ihren prdchtigen Gaulen recht stattlich ausnahmen, wenn auch die Haltung viel zu wunschen ubrig liefi. Dann kem der Konig selbst in einem prdchtigen Wagen, begleitet von den Hofchargen in godbetrefiter Uniform zu Pferde und uberall mitfreudigem Zuruf empfangen. Er trug einen dunklen Anzug und schwarzen Zylinder und sieht in seinem schwarzen Vollbart sehr gut aus. Es folgte wieder Musik, und dann die verschiedenen Schulen und Korporationen, Feuerwehr, etc. in Uniform oder reich bekranzt und mit zahlreichen Fagnen und sonstigen Emblemen. 
At 2 o'clock there suddenly resounded the thunder of cannons from Punchbowl and an endless whistling emerged from the harbor. One flag after the other shot up and in no time it was known everywhere that the steamer from San Francisco, expected only tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, was arriving already now, and that the King was abroad. I went down there to observe the entry. In the streets carriages and horsemen in uniform and civilian dress were rushing to and fro and created an awful dust.
Everyone pushed towards the landing place and towards the streets leading from there to the Palace, which were decorated in a truly magnificent way. One green triumphal arch after the other had been erected; flags and garlands in the national colors and with messages of welcome in Hawaiian, English, and Chinese were strung in rich profusion along the houses and across the streets.
Particularly fantastic and beautiful were the Chinese canopies extending above two intersections in a quadrangle across the entire square, covered completely with Chinese tinsel bearing inscriptions, lanterns etc. in glowing colors. . . . At long last the procession was organized and began to move. The band was followed by the military, two companies of infantry in their new Prussian uniforms, the one with red, the other with blue feather bushes, and a squadron of blue dragoons, all natives, among whom particularly the dragoons on their superb mounts looked rather imposing, even though their posture left much to be desired. Then came the King himself in a magnificent carriage, accompanied by courtiers on horseback in gold-embroidered uniforms, and everywhere received with joyous shouts. He wore a dark suit and a black top-hat and he looked very well with his black beard. There followed again a band, and then the various schools, associations and societies, the fire brigade, etc. in uniforms or richly bedecked with wreaths and carrying innumerable flags and other emblems.

If one takes a wider view of Kalakaua's endeavors and achievements, it becomes increasingly clear that this Hawaiian monarch was more far-sighted than is usually granted. Hawai'i under his leaderhsip brought about a measure of good will around the globe that was without precedent. Kalakaua and his people enjoyed the friendship of Queen Victoria, Tsar Alexander I I I, the emperor of Germany, and even the sympathy of Japan, that mysterious Asian nation which in consequence of Perry's "black ships" created modern industry and built a formidable army and navy.

With a time lag of some 30 years, the wave of decolonization, which had engulfed first Asia in the late 1940s and 1950s, and then Africa in the late 1950s and the 1960s, finally reached the Pacific. Ripples of this epochal pnemonenon are now being felt even in Ko Hawai'i Pae 'Aina, " The Hawaiian Archipelago," a poetic way of referring to the Islands frequently used in the indigenous language. As Hawaiians are reasserting their right to autonomy after having gone the colonization route for a hundred years, Kalakaua's attempts to maintain his political and cultural sovereignty in the face of the highwater mark of the colonial tide serves them as a powerful inspiration.


1 Historians have frequently drawn from:
William D. Alexander, History of the Later Years of the Hawaiian Monarchy and Revolution of 1893 (Honolulu: Hawaiian Gazette, 1896);  Lucien Young, The Boston at Hawaii, or The Observations and Impressions of a Naval Officer . . . (Washington, D. C .: Gibson Brothers, 1898), a work expanded into The Real Hawaii: Its History and Present Condition (1899. New York: Arno Press & The New York Times, 1970);  John Leavitt Stevens and W. B. Olson, Riches and Marvels of Hawaii: A Charming Description of Her Unique History . . . (Philadelphia: Edgewood Publishing, 1900); Sanford Ballard Dole, Memories of the Hawaiian Revolution (Honolulu: Advertiser Publishing, 1936); and Lorrin Thurston, Memories of the Hawaiian Revolution (Honolulu: Advertiser Publishing, 1936).
But there are other works:
See Albertine Loomis, For Whom Are the Stars? Revolution and Counterrevolution in Hawaii, 1893-1895 (Honolulu: U P of Hawaii and Friends of the Library of Hawaii, 1976); Helena G. Allen, The Betrayal of Liliuokalani, Last Queen of Hawaii 1838-1917 (Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark, 1982); John Dominis Holt, On Being Hawaiian (Honolulu: Topgallant, 1974); George Hu ' eu Kanahele, Pauahi: The Kamehameha Legacy (Honolulu: Kamehameha Schools, 1986); Pauline Nawahineokalai King, The Legacy of Prince Kuhio: Aloha, Aloha Kamaaina (Honolulu: Alu Like, 1979).

See Haunani-Kay Trask, "Colonization and De-Colonization in Hawa i ' i ," in Class and Culture in the South Pacific, ed. Antony Hooper (Fiji: Institute of Pacific Studies, U South Pacific, 1987) 154-74; Haunani-Kay Trask, " The Birth of the Modern Hawaiian Movement: Kalama Valley, O' a h u, HJH 21 (1987): 126-53; Haunani-Kay Trask, "Hawaiians, American Colonization, and the Quest for Independence," Social Process in Hawaii 31 (1984-85): 101-37; Lilikala Dorton [Kame'eleihiwa], "He Mo'olelo Ka'au 0 Kamapua'a: A Legendary Tradition of Kama p u a ' a, the Hawaiian Pig God," master's thesis, U of Hawaii Manoa, 1982; Lilikala Dorton [Kame'eleihiwa], "Land and the Promise of Capitalism: A Dilemma for the Hawaiian Chiefs of the 1848 Mahele," diss., U Hawaii Manoa, 1986. Carl Schurz, "Manifest Destiny," Harper's New Monthly Magazine (European Edition), October 1893.

2. Winston Churchill wrote of the original pilgrims on the Mayflower: "as one of their number records, 'The place they had thoughts on was some of the vast and unpeopled countries of America, which are fruitful and fit for habitation; being devoid of all civil inhabitants; where there are only savage and brutish men, which range up and down little otherwise than the wild beasts of the same' ": A History of the English Speaking Peoples, 4 vols. (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1956) 2:167.

3. Ethel Mosely Damon, for example, wrote: " It was during the middle years of 1850 that the little Malumalu colony kept a silk flag of stars and stripes ready in case the news of annexation to the United States should be suddenly announced by word from abroad. The patriotic ladies of Lihue had made the flag themselves, Mr s. Reynolds, Mrs. Marshall and Mr s. Rice, and held it ever in readiness against such a happy emergency. To those who lived through the thrills of actual annexation at the end of the century, 1853 and 1854 seem remote dates indeed for such excitement to have been at white heat. But so it was." Damon, Koamalu, A Story of Pioneers on Kauai and of What They Built in That Island Garden, 2 vols. (Honolulu: privately printed, 1931) 1:441.