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Hawai’i: Deconstructing “Paradise”. An Intercultural Seminar Presented by Allison Brown October 24 th , 2012. Hawai’i : What comes to mind?/ Q ué te viene la mente ?. Other realities Otras realidades. Where is Hawai’i? Dónde está Hawai’i?. Where is Hawai’i? Dónde está Hawai’i?.

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hawai i deconstructing paradise

Hawai’i: Deconstructing “Paradise”

An Intercultural Seminar

Presented by Allison Brown

October 24th, 2012

where is hawai i d nde est hawai i2
Where is Hawai’i?Dóndeestá 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

Adivinaquien soy yo?

who are hawaiians qui nes son los hawaiianos
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 ethnicity.

kanaka maoli native hawaiian
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 islandsMuyrelacionado con la historia de Hawai’i y la colonización de lasislas
  • The claiming and recuperation of a Kanaka Maoli identity has also become a political act, which works against American hegemonyLa recuperación de la identidad Kanaka Maoli se ha convertido en un actopolítico, quetrabaja contra la hegemonía Americana
a brief history of hawai i una breve historia de hawai i1
A brief history of Hawai’iUnabrevehistoria de Hawai’i

Ahupua’a: system of land division and management, based on family units (ohana)

Sistema de administración y división de tierra, basado en lasfamilias (ohana)

a brief history of hawai i una breve historia de hawai i3
A brief history of Hawai’iUnabrevehistoria de Hawai’i
  • Captain James Cook “stumbled upon” Hawai’i in 1778 during third Pacific voyageCapitan James Cook encontró Hawai’i poracidente en 1778, durantesutercerviajepor el Pacífico
  • 100 years later, 90% of Hawai’i’s indigenous population would be dead from diseases introduced by Cook and his men100 añosdespués, 90% de la poblaciónindígenamurió a causa de lasenfermedadestraídaspor Cook y susmarineros
a brief history of hawai i una breve historia de hawai i4
A brief history of Hawai’iUnabrevehistoria 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
Kanaka Maoli Today/Hoy en dia
  • Native Hawaiians continue to disproportionately experience the effects of structural violence, including:Los Hawaianosnativossiguenvivendobajo los efectos de unaviolenciaestructuraldesproporcionada, queincluye:
    • 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 alcoholy 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 dia1
Kanaka Maoli Today/Hoy en dia


Indigenous knowledge

Culture and spirituality

Hawaiian practices


haole caucasian
Haole: Caucasian
  • Haole identity is both biological (ancestry and place of origin) and performative (acting “haole” even if one is not necessarily white)La identidadhaoleesbiológica (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 islandsEspecíficamentehacereferenciaa la historia del colonialismo en Hawaii
  • Some define haole as the anti-identity: Anti-local, anti-Kanaka Maoli, which reduces complex relationships to mere binariesAlgunos lo definancomouna anti-identitdad: Anti-local, anti-Kanaka Maoli, que reduce relacionescomplejas en binarios simples
a brief history of hawai i una breve historia de hawai i6
A brief history of Hawai’iUnabrevehistoria de Hawai’i

Honolulu Rifles Club

Hawaii League for Annexation

haole today hoy en dia
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”Haolepuedeserunacategorizacióndiversa, queincluyegenteblanca con raíces en Hawai’I, turistas, y recienllegados 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 islandsNueva información del censo dice que los haoles pronto van a ser la minoríamásgrande 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 favorMuchasveces, los haolesocupan un lugar de privilegio en la sociedad, sin darsecuenta de lasestructuras y sistemascolonialistasquetrabajan a su favor
local mixing cultures mezclando culturas
Local: Mixing culturesMezclandoculturas
  • Local identity is based on a singular or mixed ethnic ancestry, which could include Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Pacific Islander, Portuguese, among others.Unaidentidad local estábasada en unaetnia ancestral singular o mezclada, quepuedaincluir a los/lasjaponeses, chinos, filipinos, koreanos, isleños del Pacifico, portugueses, entre otros
  • This identity was forged in the last century through the plantation experience in Hawai’IEstaidentidad se formó en el últimosiglodurante la época de lasplantaciones de azúcar en Hawai’i
hawai i creole english pidgin
Hawai’i Creole English (pidgin)
  • http://www.pbshawaii.org/ourproductions/pidgin.htm
local identity today hoy en dia
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 vecessirveparaponerénfasis en el “paraísoétnico” 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 powerEn muchaspartes del estado, los locales con raícesjaponesas y chinasforman la clase media, mientrasque los reciénllegados de lasislas del Pacífico y el sureste de Asia tienenmenosestatus 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 soberan a y justicia1
Looking forward: Sovereignty and justiceHacia el futuro: Soberanía y justicia

Green and pink: Ceded lands held by state and federal government in public trust

Orange: Hawaiian homelands

Purple: Kamehameha Schools and Bishop Estates

Red: Liliuokalani Estate

why por qu
Why? Porqué?
  • Relation to other identity-based conflicts, as well as struggles for nationalism, recognition and self-determinationTienenrelación con otrosconflictosbasados en la identidad, lasluchas de nacionalismo, reconocimiento, y auto-determinación
    • Northern Ireland, Palestine, Quebec, Spanish nationalism, among others
  • Relationship to broader context in the Pacific hemisphereEl contextomásgrande 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)

sources fuentes

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.