Hawai’i: Deconstructing
An Intercultural Seminar
Presented by Allison Brown
October 24th, 2012
Hawai’i: What comes to
mind?/Qué te viene la mente?
Other realities
Otras realidades
Where is Hawai’i?
Dónde está Hawai’i?
Where is Hawai’i?
Dónde está Hawai’i?
Where is Hawai’i?
Dónde está Hawai’i?
Population: 1,374,810 (July 2011)
Distance from continental US:
2,390 miles/3,845 km
Distance from Japan: 3,850 miles/
6,194 km
Caption: Guess which one is me
Adivina quien soy yo?
Who are “Hawaiians”?
Quiénes son los “Hawaiianos”?
Note: The first table is drawn from information
gathered by the Department of Health,
whereby ethnicity is determined by parent’s
racial background. In the other table, drawn
from Census data, participants self-select
Identity Categories
Categorías de identidad
Kanaka Maoli: Native Hawaiian
 Biologically and culturally based (“blood
quantum”)Fundado en la biología y la cultura
(“quantum de sangre”)
 Closely related to the history of Hawai’i and
colonization of the islands
Muy relacionado con la historia de Hawai’i y la
colonización de las islas
 The claiming and recuperation of a Kanaka Maoli
identity has also become a political act, which works
against American hegemony
La recuperación de la identidad Kanaka Maoli se ha
convertido en un acto político, que trabaja contra la
hegemonía Americana
A brief history of Hawai’i
Una breve historia de Hawai’i
A brief history of Hawai’i
Una breve historia de Hawai’i
Ahupua’a: system of land
division and management,
based on family units
Sistema de administración y
división de tierra, basado en
las familias (ohana)
A brief history of Hawai’i
Una breve historia de Hawai’i
A brief history of Hawai’i
Una breve historia de Hawai’i
 Captain James Cook “stumbled upon” Hawai’i in 1778
during third Pacific voyage
Capitan James Cook encontró Hawai’i por acidente en
1778, durante su tercer viaje por el Pacífico
 100 years later, 90% of Hawai’i’s indigenous population
would be dead from diseases introduced by Cook and
his men
100 años después, 90% de la población indígena
murió a causa de las enfermedades traídas por Cook y
sus marineros
A brief history of Hawai’i
Una breve historia de Hawai’i
“I yield to the superior force of the
United States of America…Now to
avoid any collision of armed forces
and perhaps the loss of life, I do
under protest, and impelled by said
force, yield my authority until such
time as the Government of the
United States, shall, upon being
given the facts presented to it,
undo the action of its
representatives and reinstate me in
the authority which I claim as the
constitutional sovereign of the
Hawaiian Islands.”
-Queen Liliuokalani,
January 17th, 1893
Queen Liliuokalani, the last queen of Hawai’i
Kanaka Maoli Today/Hoy en dia
 Native Hawaiians continue to disproportionately experience
the effects of structural violence, including:
Los Hawaianos nativos siguen vivendo bajo los efectos de
una violencia estructural desproporcionada, que incluye:
 Higher rates of incarceration/Altos niveles de encarcelamiento
 Higher rates of cancer, asthma and heart disease/Altos niveles
de cáncer, asma y efermedades del corazón
 Higher prevalence of drug, alcohol abuse and suicide/Altos
niveles de consumo del alcohol y drogas, y suicidio
“Socioeconomic data reveal that it is Kanaka Maoli who are
suffering most in the islands. Programs and entitlements
benefiting Kanaka Maoli are small steps toward reconciliation
for colonization, an illegal overthrow, and annexation.” (Rohrer
2010, 100)
Kanaka Maoli Today/Hoy en dia
Indigenous knowledge
Culture and spirituality
Hawaiian practices
Haole: Caucasian
 Haole identity is both biological (ancestry and place of
origin) and performative (acting “haole” even if one is not
necessarily white)
La identidad haole es biológica (ascendencia y lugar de
origen), y performativa (actuar de forma “haole” aunque no
necesariamente seas blanco)
 Specifically makes reference to the history of colonialism in
the islands
Específicamente hace referencia a la historia del
colonialismo en Hawaii
 Some define haole as the anti-identity: Anti-local, antiKanaka Maoli, which reduces complex relationships to mere
Algunos lo definan como una anti-identitdad: Anti-local, antiKanaka Maoli, que reduce relaciones complejas en binarios
A brief history of Hawai’i
Una breve historia de Hawai’i
A brief history of Hawai’i
Una breve historia de Hawai’i
Honolulu Rifles Club
Hawaii League for Annexation
A brief history of Hawai’i
Una breve historia de Hawai’i
Haole Today/Hoy en dia
 Haole can be a diverse categorization, ranging from white
people with deep roots in Hawai’i to newcomers and tourists
fresh from the “mainland”
Haole puede ser una categorización diversa, que incluye
gente blanca con raíces en Hawai’I, turistas, y recien
llegados del “continente”
 New census data finds that haoles are rapidly becoming the
largest ethnic minority in Hawai’i, as more local and Kanaka
Maoli people leave the islands
Nueva información del censo dice que los haoles pronto van
a ser la minoría más grande de Hawai’i
 Haoles can often be unaware of the privileged place they
occupy society, where colonial structures and systems tend
to work in their favor
Muchas veces, los haoles ocupan un lugar de privilegio en
la sociedad, sin darse cuenta de las estructuras y sistemas
colonialistas que trabajan a su favor
Haole and the Military
Local: Mixing cultures
Mezclando culturas
 Local identity is based on a singular or mixed ethnic
ancestry, which could include Japanese, Chinese,
Filipino, Korean, Pacific Islander, Portuguese, among
Una identidad local está basada en una etnia ancestral
singular o mezclada, que pueda incluir a los/las
japoneses, chinos, filipinos, koreanos, isleños del
Pacifico, portugueses, entre otros
 This identity was forged in the last century through the
plantation experience in Hawai’I
Esta identidad se formó en el último siglo durante la
época de las plantaciones de azúcar en Hawai’i
A brief history of Hawai’i
Una breve historia de Hawai’i
Hawai’i Creole English
 http://www.pbshawaii.org/ourproductions/pidgin.htm
Local Identity today/Hoy en dia
 Local identity is used by some to emphasize Hawai’i as a
“racial paradise,” or successful “melting pot”
La identidad local a veces sirve para poner énfasis en el
“paraíso étnico” de Hawai’i
 In many parts of the state, Japanese and Chinese locals are
form a growing middle class, while more recent immigrants
from the Pacific Islands and Southeast Asia tend to have
lower status and power
En muchas partes del estado, los locales con raíces
japonesas y chinas forman la clase media, mientras que los
recién llegados de las islas del Pacífico y el sureste de Asia
tienen menos estatus y poder
 “Local is a cultural identity, but it is also an inherently
political identity that can be used by those who wish to gloss
over and minimize the historical differences between
Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians” (Rosa 2000, 101).
Looking forward: Sovereignty and justice
Hacia el futuro: Soberanía y justicia
Looking forward: Sovereignty and justice
Hacia el futuro: Soberanía y justicia
Green and pink: Ceded
lands held by state and
federal government in
public trust
Orange: Hawaiian
Purple: Kamehameha
Schools and Bishop
Red: Liliuokalani Estate
Why? Por qué?
 Relation to other identity-based conflicts, as well as
struggles for nationalism, recognition and selfdetermination
Tienen relación con otros conflictos basados en la
identidad, las luchas de nacionalismo, reconocimiento,
y auto-determinación
 Northern Ireland, Palestine, Quebec, Spanish
nationalism, among others
 Relationship to broader context in the Pacific
El contexto más grande del hemisferio del Pacífico
 New Caledonia (Kanaky), Fiji, New Zealand (Aotearoa),
Easter Island (Rapa Nui), Tahiti, American Samoa, Guam,
Northern Marianas Islands
“….Recognizing that each of us has multiple identities,
that none of us is simply haole, Hawaiian, or local.
Many of us claim multiple racial affiliations, in addition to
an unending and always shifting host of other identities,
including gender, sexuality, ability, class, age,
nationality, region, and religion…Action founded on
shared political commitment, on coalition across
difference, that does not flatten difference, might be
most effective.” (Rohrer 2010, 103)
Photo by Haruka Komatsu
Mahalo Nui Loa
Thank You
Rohrer, Judy (2010), Haoles in Hawai’i, Honolulu,
University of Hawai’i Press.
Trask, Haunani-Kay (1999), From A Native Daughter:
Colonialism and sovereignty in Hawai’i, Honolulu,
University of Hawai’i Press.
Howes, Craig and Jon Osorio (eds) (2010), The Value
of Hawai’i: Knowing the past, Shaping the
future, Honolulu, University of Hawai’i Press.

Hawai*i: Deconstructing *Paradise*