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The Legacies of a Hawaiian Generation

The Legacies of a Hawaiian Generation: From Territorial Subject to American Citizen

Judith Schachter
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 238
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  • Book Info
    The Legacies of a Hawaiian Generation
    Book Description:

    Through the voices and perspectives of the members of an extended Hawaiian family, or `ohana, this book tells the story of North American imperialism in Hawai`i from the Great Depression to the new millennium. The family members offer their versions of being "Native Hawaiian" in an American state, detailing the ways in which US laws, policies, and institutions made, and continue to make, an impact on their daily lives. The book traces the ways that Hawaiian values adapted to changing conditions under a Territorial regime and then after statehood. These conditions involved claims for land for Native Hawaiian Homesteads, education in American public schools, military service, and participation in the Hawaiian cultural renaissance. Based on fieldwork observations, kitchen table conversations, and talk-stories, or mo`olelo, this book is a unique blend of biography, history, and anthropological analysis.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-012-2
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. viii-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION. A Perspective on Hawai‘i–US Relations
    (pp. 1-15)

    In 1988, I went to Hawai‘i for the first time. As part of a study of American adoption policy and practices, I intended to include a chapter on Polynesian customs in the fiftieth state.¹ My initial contacts with social workers and lawyers soon led to an expansion of the subject, as did three months of fieldwork a year later.

    Adoption, I realized, was not a bounded subject; or, to put it differently, the boundaries reflected a conception based on a North American legal transaction. Court-approved transactions concerning a child were accompanied by nineteenth-century intrusion into the public and the private...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Living on the Land: Malama ‘āina from Past to Present
    (pp. 16-51)

    On a spring day in June 1996, Auntie Eleanor gave a eulogy for her brother John. She sat at the front of a memorial chapel in downtown Honolulu in her wheelchair, facing a gathering of kin, friends, and neighbors. Eleanor was now the oldest living member of the ‘ohana, and in her role as hānau mua she recited the experiences she and John shared, offering these to the mourners.¹ In her stories, she touched expansively on the childhood the two had spent together in a homestead called Keaukaha, just outside of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii.

    She was...

  6. CHAPTER 2 “Educating the Polynesian American”: Two Worlds of Learning
    (pp. 52-84)

    When I first saw John Simeona, on 17 May 1989, he was standing at the front of a large room pledging allegiance to the American flag. He led a group of women and men in the ritual, the people he would later call theelderlys.All stood together, hands on hearts, and all followed the pledge by singing “Aloha Oe,” to represent the spirit of Hawai‘i. John had learned the pledge over fifty years earlier, in the public schools of Hilo, where he recited the phrases every morning of every day. The elderlys, too, spoke the words easily, apparently as...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Work, War, and Loyalty: The Impact of World War II
    (pp. 85-117)

    As themanthe CCC built from theboywho enrolled, John was ready to leave Keaukaha. In school, along with other children of the homestead, he had experienced the efforts to socialize him into an American citizen, through a heavily ideological American public school curriculum. In the CCC, he discovered another version of Americanization. The emphasis on learning-by-doing, accomplishing concrete tasks, and cooperating rather than competing suited the traditions he had grown up with under the tutelage of kupuna. The CCC promise of “making men” included building bodies, and John came out of camp with increased physical strength and...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Making a Way, Building a Family: Preserving ‘Ohana in an American State
    (pp. 118-157)

    In the spring of 1946, John came back to a homeland in the process of righting itself and returning to stability after four years of severe disruption. The territory was reeling from clashing impacts: the return of thousands of residents who had been displaced by war and the departure of servicemen and civilian workers who populated a home front. Blackouts, curfews, and fingerprinting of residents had ended, and so had the construction of a wartime defense system that employed kānaka maoli alongside haole. The move toward stability linked Hawai‘i more closely to the United States, its economy, its foreign policy,...

  9. CHAPTER 5 “Stand Fast and Continue”: Homestead Generations and the Future
    (pp. 158-198)

    In 1972, John and Rosario acquired a plot in a homestead area. They had waited for a quarter of a century for their land. A decade later, John retired from Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, and he turned his attention to new activities. In clubs, associations, and at meetings, he extended his experiences as kupuna to a wider circle of kindred outside the borders of an ‘ohana. In that decade, too, John fully assumed the role of ranking senior in the ‘ohana, the hānau mua, “accepted source of wisdom … and the custodian of family history.”¹ Stretching his obligations, John joined...

  10. Epilogue
    (pp. 199-210)

    On 3 January 2004, Eleanor and I exchanged New Year’s greetings over the phone. The turning of the year and time passing set her to thinking about death, and she talked about the funerals of various kin. Mostly she talked about her husband Albert and his death in 1995.¹ I had heard accounts of the way he died, sitting peacefully in a chair next to her. I had not heard much about the funeral until that January phone call. “There are stories told at funerals,” Auntie Eleanor said over long distance, “that reveal more than you knew before.” These stories...

  11. Glossary of Selected Terms
    (pp. 211-212)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 213-221)
  13. Index
    (pp. 222-226)