My recent post concerning nationality versus race in the “ongoing claims and discussions about restoring the Hawaiian Government that was deposed on January 17, 1893” has, unfortunately, produced some nasty remarks (however, I will note, some were very positive.)
As noted in the piece, “The Hawaiian nation was overthrown … not the Hawaiian race (it was a constitutional monarchy, not race-limited).”
I noted, “A lot of non-kanaka maoli were born in the Islands or became naturalized citizens, or are descendants of such. By laws and practice, they, too, are Hawaiian citizens … history and the laws related to Hawaiian citizen status are clear and unambiguous.”
“Yet, to date, apparently, the only people permitted to exercise their rights related to discussions on restoration, reparation, sovereignty, independence, etc related to the Hawaiian nation have been those of one race, the native Hawaiians.”
I raised the question, “Why aren’t all Hawaiian citizens included in the recognition and sovereignty discussions and decisions today?”
No one refuted with facts or explained an answer to the question; several responded with vulgarities and racist insults. Such as (I have edited the vulgar words:)
“… your true White colors are showing. …”
“…you’re a f**king dummy….Former criminal at DLNR …”
“This underlining racist haole is prevalent in Hawai’is dark f**king history.
As a kid growing up in the Islands, we had a name for people who reverted to name calling, vulgarities and intimidation when the facts didn’t support their theories. Today, these folks are universally referred to as ‘bullies.’
What happened to the concept of common decency … and a courteous and intellectual exchange between people?
Unfortunately, laws had to be created because our society standards have been lowered to a level that some, apparently, feel they can do and say anything to anyone, including over the ‘anonymity’ of the internet. Actually, the internet is not anonymous.
There are laws against bullying, including cyberbullying. It is an offense when a person engages “with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, or in reckless disregard of the risk thereof” – including “by means of any form of electronic communication.”
“The legislature found that harassing or insulting electronic communications are a form of harassment that can be just as severe or punishing as other verbal communications or offensive contacts.”
OK, back to the issue at hand – while refusing to face the facts, history and the law, some suggest “It is Hawaii…Hawaiians make the choices …Hawaiians should be resorting and reshaping Hawaii and our culture …we aren’t going to let immigrants reshape our culture.”
So, how did the aliʻi feel about the non-native Hawaiians? (There is a lot to say about this, but since haole was mentioned, I’ll limit this to a summary on some Caucasians (or haole, as some would call them,) for now:)
The historical record is clear – from Kamehameha I to Liliʻuokalani, the aliʻi befriended, sought counsel and even married Caucasians and other foreigners. As examples:
Foreigners supported Kamehameha I, including John Young, Isaac Davis, Don Francisco de Paula Marin, George Beckley and Alexander Adams (and others.)
One can only speculate what might have happened had these foreigners not aligned with Kamehameha. However, it is clear, with their help, he became Kamehameha the Great. Without these and other foreigners, Hawaiʻi’s history may have been significantly different.
Kamehameha III chose American missionaries Amos Starr Cooke and Gerrit Parmele Judd to serve as teacher and physician for the children of the seven families who were eligible under succession laws stated in the 1840 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i.
In a letter requesting Cooke to teach and Judd to care for the children, King Kamehameha III wrote, “Greetings to you all, Teachers – Where are you, all you teachers? We ask Mr. Cooke to be teacher for our royal children. He is the teacher of our royal children and Dr. Judd is the one to take care of the royal children because we two hold Dr Judd as necessary for the children and also in certain difficulties between us and you all.”
Kamehameha III called on seven boys and seven girls to board in the Chief’s Children’s School. No school in Hawai‘i has ever produced so many Hawaiian leaders in one generation.
In this school were educated the Hawai‘i sovereigns who reigned over the Hawaiian people from 1855, namely, Alexander Liholiho (King Kamehameha IV,) Queen Emma, Lot Kamehameha (King Kamehameha V,) King William Lunalilo, King David Kalākaua and Queen Lydia Lili‘uokalani.
In addition, the following royal family members were taught there: Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Princess Elizabeth Kekaaniau Pratt, Prince Moses Kekuaiwa, Princess Jane Loeau Jasper, Princess Victoria Kamāmalu, Prince Peter Young Kaeo, Prince William Pitt Kīnaʻu, Princess Abigail Maheha, Prince James Kaliokalani and Princess Mary Polly Paʻaʻāina.
The last of the Kamehameha’s, Kamehameha V, had a Caucasian (John Owen Dominis) as a secretary and advisor. “On the accession to the throne of Prince Lot as Kamehameha V., the last of the Hawaiian monarchs to bear that name, my husband (John Owen Dominis) was at once appointed his private secretary and confidential adviser, which position he occupied during the entire reign.” (Liliʻuokalani)
“The king was surrounded by his own people, with whom he was in perfect accord, but showed this mark of royal favor to my husband simply because he preferred to advise with him on matters of public importance.” (Liliʻuokalani)
Hawaiʻi’s last queen, Queen Liliʻuokalani, was married to a Caucasian, John Owen Dominis. This shows her acceptance of being a lifelong partner with a non-kanaka maoli – of the marriage she noted, “My husband was extremely kind and considerate to me”.
Dominis died before the overthrow – related to that, Queen Liliʻuokalani noted, “His death occurred at a time when his long experience in public life, his amiable qualities, and his universal popularity, would have made him an adviser to me for whom no substitute could possibly be found.”
“I have often said that it pleased the Almighty Ruler of nations to take him away from me at precisely the time when I felt that I most needed his counsel and companionship.” (Liliʻuokalani)
Kalākaua and Liliʻuokalani’s sister, Miriam Likelike, was also married to a Caucasian, Archibald Scott Cleghorn. The Cleghorns had one child Kaʻiulani – “the only member of the Royal Family having issue.”
Princess Kaʻiulani was not the only royal who was part-Caucasian – Emma, a future queen, was born to Fanny Kekelaokalani Young, daughter of John Young, King Kamehameha I’s Caucasian counselor, and Kaʻoanaʻeha, Kamehameha’s niece. Her father was high chief George Naea.
As was the custom, Emma was offered to her mother’s sister, Grace Kamaikui Rooke (the second daughter of John Young) and her husband, Dr Thomas Charles Byde Rooke (a Caucasian) as hānai daughter. Unable to have children of their own, the Rookes adopted Emma. Queen Emma was part Caucasian and she was raised by Caucasians.
We can’t forget that Princess Bernice Pauahi was also married to a Caucasian (Charles Reed Bishop.)
Following contact, Caucasians were actively involved with all of the aliʻi – they were befriended and served as personal and significant advisors to the aliʻi. Aliʻi sought their advice and put them in places of importance – many of these were missionaries.
Back then, there was an obvious tolerance by the Hawaiian leadership in engaging and including Caucasians (and other foreigners) in various matters.
I guess some, today, are not willing to accept the history, nor do they appear to have the tolerance of those from the past.
Again, back to the basic point of the prior post that raised these unfortunate and inappropriate comments, “A lot of non-kanaka maoli were born in the Islands or became naturalized citizens, or are descendants of such. By laws and practice, they, too, are Hawaiian citizens … history and the laws related to Hawaiian citizen status are clear and unambiguous.”
The question remains, why aren’t all Hawaiian citizens included in the recognition and sovereignty discussions and decisions today?
(The image shows the letter Kamehameha III sent to the American (Caucasian) missionaries, asking Cooke and Judd to teach and serve the children of the aliʻi (including all of the subsequent Kings and Queens of the Hawaiian kingdom.))
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As someone who was born and raised in Hawaii with generations of part-Hawaiian ancestors, I am appalled, embarrassed, and disgusted at the zenophobic, ethnocentric, and blatant racist diatribes I’m hearing from certain self-described “native Hawaiians.” The term “bullying” does not even begin to described their actions and rhetoric. Actually, the tone and substance of their remarks are more akin to that of the Aryan Brotherhood. It is very disappointing that main stream members and leaders of the Hawaiian community are not speaking out to disavow these radical elements. There is NOTHING about these elements that even begin to resemble the “Aloha Spirit” with which i was raised and taught to pattern my every day life experience.
Kalanikumai Ka Maka'uli'uli 'O Na Ali'i Hanohano says
Disscusions within the remaining institution of the Hawaiian Kingdom over the past few years on this very subject have been in aggreement that as well as na kanaka maoli, descendants of former Citizens of the Kingdom possess the inherent right to seek constitutional inclusion in a restored Kindom.
Yet, akin to the Cherokee Nation, Citizenry does not confer entitlements, it is a participatory citizenry, meaning that apportionate social service merits one’s stake. Every vested citizen contributes according to their ability to the public good. Inter-dependance [Laulima] is valued over Independance. Paepae, Kako’o, Ho’oulu.
Lucia Tarallo says
Well Peter, this is a brilliant article! What you say is the absolute truth! However, the young Native Hawaiians who do not have a clue as to history, and the old as well, will believe what they want to believe…the present movement is based on pure emotion…not realizing that there is not a pure Hawaiian among them…well, I should alter that to say that MOST are part this and part that. That is the reason that I lecture the difference between Maoli and Hawaiian…Chiefdom and Kingdom…but none get this as well!
I love your site. Knowledge is always better than the alternative. On this topic, I disagree with your premise. While you are technically correct regarding Hawaiian citizenship in in the late 1800s, I don’t think you can impose that world or the view of the Alii at that time 100 years forward. As others have said, that was a time when Hawaiians actually still had ultimate power. It was a constitutional monarchy with a Hawaiian King or Queen. Accepting a few non-Hawaiians into the nation was not a threat. Fast forward to today and there are so many factors that have changed. As true as it is that non-Hawaiians were citizens of the Hawaiian Nation, it is equally true that the Hawaiian nation was illegally overthrown, with the help (some action and lots of inaction) of the United States. While people always try to make this a “Haole” issue, it is far more than that. The Haole that overthrew the government were a minority of individuals who had plenty to gain in business. It wasn’t an ethnic event. It was an economic and political event. Then there was the decimation due to disease which had been going on for 100 years already. I’m sure you have seen articles in the Hawaii papers in the late 1800s and 1990s referring to Hawaiians as a “dying race”. I have. Making comparisons between citizenship of the 1800s and now gets even more complex when you look at the absolute invasion of Hawaii by immigrants to work the fields owned by the same individuals who overthrew the Hawaiian Nation. Native blood Hawaiians were disenfranchised by the overthrow but then soon became a minority in their own country. Today Asians outnumber even just part Hawaiians by about 5 to 1. Over the past 50 years or so, the foreigner majority has slowly attempted to redefine what it means to be a Hawaiian (via “localism”). Native Hawaiians are now not just politically disenfranchised but their identity has truly been extinguished (up until recently with the various aspects of the “Hawaiian Renascence”). Add to that the horrific statistics regarding Native Hawaiians and poverty, prison, education, alcohol, drugs, etc etc. and you simply cannot establish “citizenship” based upon a the Hawaii of over 100 years ago. Humans are funny. We worry about the Nene Goose becoming extinct. We worry about every Hawaiian bird and frog and flower that is being threatened by invasive species. But there is little concern for the unique and as far as I am concerned special Native Hawaiians that have been decimated by a similar invasion. Now, purists may say 100% blood quantum defines a Hawaiian, DHHL might say 50%, OHA might say 1 drop. Whatever the definition, a line must be drawn and that line will have detractors. Given all of these factors, I think the current definition of ancestors prior to James Cook makes sense. It will give a large enough populations to reasonably establish a new nation while ensuring that, despite the blood quantum, are actually Hawaiian. The fact is Peter, we are not just trying to save a Nation, we are also trying to save a specific race of people who have been nearly destroyed.
I do not know Hawaii’s history as well as you. BUT after seeing all the racist comments made by the various groups of Native Hawaiians, I am so turned off and have also turned against them. Their “kill haole” posts and the anti-haole attitude makes me sick. What I don’t get is, that most of them DO contain white blood. Even I knew that the Ali’i married haoles and they were part of the growth of these islands. I don’t get how these groups can ignore the facts and history and just turn or twist them into their own ideology. I have for me decided that they are racist and hate groups. No better than the Aryan Nation, the KKK and even these extreme Muslim groups. They all hate. Yet these Native Hawaiian (NH) groups and their racist sayings, postings and rants go unnoticed by the media. If a group right now, said Kill Japanese, Kill Koreans, Kill Micronesians or kick them all out, the media would splash it all on the front pages. The news stations would be clamoring over themselves. But becuz it’s aimed at white people, it’s okay. I just do not get it at all. Now whenever I see a NH speak of aloha and love, I no longer believe them.I am, btw Japanese American and have lived here all my life. Due to their ignorance and their hatred I am now turned off by the NH’s culture and rhetoric.
M.N. Muench says
Thank you, Peter, for having the courage to publish this article.
As you have said, in today’s society standards of discussion have degraded and bullies and racists are being allowed and encouraged to thwart honest open discussion among intelligent people. It is time to stop the racist diatribes. It is time for us all to stand up and say enough. There are no talking points that can justify racism or other forms of discrimination. There are no reactions to racism and discrimination, actual or perceived, that can justify a racist or discriminatory response.
Vulgarity has become a part of modern society. But that does mean using vulgar threatening speech toward others is acceptable or even lawful–no matter what the media of communication. We can not let the orks, morons, and bullies ruin our freedoms one by one.
Again thank you for making this clear.
I have the privilege of not being local, haole or native Hawaiian so I have no skin in the game. But I am an outside observer, an historian of Hawai’i with a stake in how history is represented in non-academic settings. I enjoy your posts and have had fun following the bits of the past you’ve been presenting so publically. But on this, I’m going to have to agree with Thomas: facts are the basis of any historical inquiry, but the recitation of facts doesn’t necessarily add up to truth, especially when people are seeking truth in support of justice. In history, we can amass any number of facts to support a specific argument, perspective or point of view. But historians are also obliged to consider facts that do not support their position and live with some uncomfortable contradictions. What you’re presenting is absolutely true – the ali’i were often on intimate terms with haole foreigners for personal and political reasons. Kamehameha I made strategic use of foreigners like John Young and Isaac Davis to support his military campaigns. Ali’i who came after him looked to his example to shape their behavior and also made strategic alliances with missionaries and other immigrants who had skills and abilities they needed to support and protect Hawai’i as a new nation in an increasingly complicated geo-political atmosphere. The ali’i nui looked to the past to determine what was pono – correct or auspicious behavior. Kamehameha I’s alliances with foreigners was one aspect of pono behavior and so his descendants followed his lead.
There are many examples of the ali’i you site resisting close ties and too much dependency on haole foreigners. We don’t always see it in the historical record because so much of the historical record is in English. Native Hawaiian and other scholars who are fluent in Hawaiian are now recovering resources in Hawaiian language sources that will, eventually, add subtlety and nuance to this question: why di the ali’i create and maintain close personal and political alliances with haole foreigners? It’s a good question that we can’t answer yet. We might also ask how the maka’aina were responding to this issue. Were they also compliant, following the lead of their political leaders? Or were they resistant? If so, what form did that resistance take? What does the anti-annexation petition drive tell us about their behavior, attitudes or perspectives?
Good historians avoid playing the “what if” game. Of course things would have been different had haole foreigners who were citizens (and many retained their American citizenship which suggests that their loyalties were divided, at best) had not been a part of the Kingdom.
Choosing facts to support a political position (or defend yourself against accusations of bias) is dangerous when justice depends on an accurate assessment of the past in order to understand what to do in the present.
One last comment: we might try to understand the reaction of Native Hawaiians to public criticism of ali’i by reminding ourselves that the history of Hawai’i has been told primarily from the point of view of non-Hawaiians like ourselves. With the exception of Davida Malo and John Papa I’i, nearly everything that was written about Hawai’i in the 19th and most of the 20th century was written by foreigners, most of whom were not fluent in Hawaiian. Hawaiians were caricatured and stereotyped and the history was written in a way that justified foreign control and American colonialism. I’ve read my way through a great deal of Hawai’i historiography and I’m comfortable saying that until scholars like Jon Osorio and Lilikala Kame’eleihiwa (and many, many others) began to produce counter-narratives, what we knew about Hawai’i was what non-Hawaiians said.
I grew up in Hilo with my family background from Tahiti, China, Hawaii, and England. Whether we agreed or disagreed with various points of view, my heritage was one of civility in expressing our views and all part of the warmth and aloha of the Hawaiian culture. I would have hoped to have seen it in reaction to the writings that Peter Young produced. His detailed research and observation at this juncture is better than undocumented observations and innuendos.
Freddy rice says
The haoles are taking the blame today for what the Ali’i did to their common people. The missionaries saved the common people from extinction.