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Asian Settler Colonialism

Asian Settler Colonialism: From Local Governance to the Habits of Everyday Life in Hawai`i

Candace Fujikane
Jonathan Y. Okamura
Copyright Date: 2008
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  • Book Info
    Asian Settler Colonialism
    Book Description:

    Asian Settler Colonialism is a groundbreaking collection that examines the roles of Asians as settlers in Hawai‘i. Contributors from various fields and disciplines investigate aspects of Asian settler colonialism to illustrate its diverse operations and impact on Native Hawaiians. Essays range from analyses of Japanese, Korean, and Filipino settlement to accounts of Asian settler practices in the legislature, the prison industrial complex, and the U.S. military to critiques of Asian settlers’ claims to Hawai‘i in literature and the visual arts.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6151-3
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. “Settlers, Not Immigrants”
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Haunani-Kay Trask
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Introduction Asian Settler Colonialism in the U.S. Colony of Hawai‘i
    (pp. 1-42)

    As indigenous peoples around the world continue to fight for their rights to their ancestral lands and self-determination, Native Hawaiians are engaged in their own struggles for national liberation from U.S. colonialism.¹ It is no coincidence that in their own homeland, Hawaiians suffer from the highest rates of homelessness, unemployment, poverty, health problems, and incarceration for property crimes and substance abuse.² Haunani-Kay Trask, a Native Hawaiian nationalist leader and professor of Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawai‘i, described Hawai‘i as a settler society in essays published in the early 1980s, later reprinted in her 1993 collection of essays,From...


    • Defining the Settler Colonial Problem

      • Settlers of Color and “Immigrant” Hegemony “Locals” in Hawai‘i
        (pp. 45-65)

        As the indigenous people of Hawai‘i, Hawaiians are Native to the Hawaiian Islands. We do not descend from the Americas or from Asia but from the great Pacific Ocean where our ancestors navigated to, and from, every archipelago. Genealogically, we say we are descended of Papahānaumoku (Earth Mother) and Wākea (Sky Father), who created our beautiful islands. From this land came the taro, and from the taro, our Hawaiian people. The lesson of our origins is that we are genealogically related to Hawai‘i, our islands, as family. We are obligated to care for our mother, from whom all bounty flows....

      • “Apologies”
        (pp. 66-66)
      • Hawai‘i and the United Nations
        (pp. 67-70)

        Chapter XI of the Charter of the United Nations deals with Non-Self-Governing Territories and calls for international accountability regarding peoples who have not achieved a full measure of self-government. Article 73 reads in part as follows.

        Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the...

      • Hawaiian Sovereignty
        (pp. 71-75)

        On August 12, 1998, over five thousand Native Hawaiians and non-Hawaiian supporters gathered at ‘Iolani Palace to mark the one-hundredth anniversary of the illegal annexation of Hawai‘i by the United States. The event was not celebratory but was significantly political. The indigenous Hawaiian people had gathered to voice their strong opposition to the overthrow of their Kingdom in 1893 by armed military forces of the United States and to present to the public the historic petition to the U.S. Congress signed by 21,000 Kānaka who, in 1898, successfully opposed the Treaty of Annexation between the United States and the Provisional...

    • Settler-Dominated State Apparatuses: The State Legislature and the Prison Industrial Complex

      • ‘Īlio‘ulaokalani Defending Native Hawaiian Culture
        (pp. 76-98)

        Aloha no kākou. I greet you in the ancestral way of my people. The above mele hula (song/chant that is danced) entreats both the dancer and her people to resist dispossession. It implores Native Hawaiians to maintain a distinctive identity and by so doing legitimate and assert the present condition of Hawaiian resistance.¹ It calls on Native Hawaiians to sustain cultural and political institutions. Holding fast to traditional ways does not mean stagnation; it means cultural survival in the face of colonial oppression.

        I am referring here to the meaning of colonialism to Native Hawaiians and its current impact on...

      • A Nation Incarcerated
        (pp. 99-115)

        Native Hawaiians are being imprisoned in alarming numbers in our own ancestral homeland, making Hawai‘i’s incarceration rate one of the fastest rising in the country.¹ With increasing deportation of Native inmates to U.S. continental private prisons, criminalization is yet another tool of American colonial power to control Native lands and deny Hawaiians sovereignty.

        In 1820 the first Calvinist American missionaries arrived in Hawai‘i to “civilize” Natives by criminalizing their cultural practices.² At first sight, these missionaries proclaimed Hawai‘i’s indigenous peoples to be “savage,” speculating that they had indeed found the missing link between brute and man.³ Imposing their perverse sense...

    • Settler-Dominated Ideological State Apparatuses: Literature and the Visual Arts

      • “This Land Is Your Land, This Land Was My Land” Kanaka Maoli versus Settler Representations of ‘Āina in Contemporary Literature of Hawai‘i
        (pp. 116-154)

        InRepresentation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices(1997), cultural studies critic Stuart Hall argues that the act of representation, which he defines as “the production of meaning of the concepts in our minds through language,” is closely tied to identity and knowledge.¹ In examining the positioning of people of color as “Other” by hegemonic white powers, Hall focuses on the discursive practices of representation identified by Michel Foucault, who was concerned with the effects and consequences—thepolitics—of representation, or who has thepowerto represent whom.² Are there differences in representation by different groups of people based on...

      • “‘Ai Pōhaku” photo series
        (pp. 155-158)

        The Hawaiian landscape is a document of cultural history. The arrival of the haole to Hawai‘i brought a distinct entrepreneurial view of the land. The Hawaiian significance of places was hidden behind haole technology and architecture. Resort, military, industrial, residential, and highway development ravages our ‘āina. Man has replaced the gods. Man has forgotten their names. These images are from a series called “‘Ai Pōhaku,” an attempt to rediscover the significance of destroyed heiau on the island of O‘ahu....


    • Consequences of Settler Colonialism

      • The Hawaiians Health, Justice, and Sovereignty
        (pp. 161-169)

        It has been over thirty years since the psychologist William Ryan introduced the phrase “blaming the victim” into the language of social analysis.¹ Victim blaming, Ryan explained, was an insidious technique newly employed by apparently sympathetic and liberal social scientists and politicians for dealing with the terrible suffering of America’s poor and abused. In contrast to older ideologies that dismissed those living at the margins of society as inherently inferior beings deserving of their fate, the new ideology of the victim blamers happily acknowledged historical injustice as the principal cause of such things as poverty and ill health, and then...

      • The Militarizing of Hawai‘i Occupation, Accommodation, and Resistance
        (pp. 170-194)

        The forces of militarism and imperialism have indelibly shaped modern Hawai‘i. At the crossroads of Asia-Pacific commerce, Hawai‘i has long been a centerpiece of U.S. military strategy. Over a hundred years have elapsed since the United States of America militarily intervened in the sovereign Kingdom of Hawai‘i and forever changed the course of Hawaiian history, and still militarism continues to exert a powerful influence over the social, economic, and cultural affairs of Hawai‘i.

        Militarism in Hawai‘i cannot be reduced to a simple product of military policy. Instead, it must be understood as the result of a complex interaction of forces,...

    • Whose Vision?: Rethinking Japanese, Korean, and Filipino Settlement

      • Sites of Erasure The Representation of Settler Culture in Hawai‘i
        (pp. 195-208)

        In this volume photographer Stan Tomita and I would like our works, “whose vision, 2006” (fig. 1) and “Colonial Crimes: Settlers in Hawai‘i” (figs. 2 and 3), to ask uneasy questions about ourselves and other settlers. We are sansei, third-generation Japanese settlers, educators, and visual artists. Since the early 1990s several of our collaborative art projects have represented struggles over land use in Hawai‘i, including the expropriation of Native land for the development of suburban homes, shopping malls, tourist complexes, and geothermal energy.

        Although many long-time settlers in Hawai‘i are critical of the ways the land has been overbuilt by...

      • Ideological Images U.S. Nationalism in Japanese Settler Photographs
        (pp. 209-232)

        In 1985 the Japanese settler community in Hawai‘i commemorated one hundred years of settlement on the islands with the Kanyaku Imin Centennial. It held numerous festivities, published an array of literature, and mounted photographic exhibitions to celebrate the rise of the Japanese people from poverty to financial success and from plantation laborers to respected professionals, businessmen, scholars, and state and federal legislators. Not only did members of the Japanese settler community improve their own lives, but they also made significant contributions to the larger colonial society. From the turn of the twentieth century the Japanese, in solidarity with other ethnic...

      • Ethnic Boundary Construction in the Japanese American Community in Hawai‘i
        (pp. 233-255)

        In 1996 a former University of Hawai‘i baseball player, who is a haole (white) raised in the islands, requested permission to play in the Japanese-only O‘ahu AJA (Americans of Japanese Ancestry) Senior Baseball League (hereafter AJA League). The player, Bill Blanchette, indicated he wanted to play in the AJA League because it is the most competitive league for former college and professional players like himself.¹ His request was denied by the league’s Board of Directors without any formal explanation given to Blanchette. The league president and others who supported the board’s unanimous decision against changing its rule to admit non-Japanese...

      • Colonial Amnesia Rethinking Filipino “American” Settler Empowerment in the U.S. Colony of Hawai‘i
        (pp. 256-278)

        As a result of the countereducation afforded Hawai‘i residents by the Native Hawaiian sovereignty movement, Hawai‘i’s history of conquest by the United States has resurfaced, exposing numerous contradictions and questions for those who claim Hawai‘i as their home. Previous studies of race relations and popular ways of imagining Native Hawaiians have employed a domestic “civil rights” framework, framing Native Hawaiians as an ethnic “minority group” within Hawai‘i’s multicultural state competing for their fair share of the proverbial American pie.¹ On the other hand, the body of work produced by many Native scholars and Native sovereignty supporters uses a broader discourse...

      • Anatomy of a Dancer Place, Lineage, and Liberation
        (pp. 279-293)

        Long ago when tigers smoked pipes and rabbits had long tails. … This is the way many Korean stories begin—tales of wise actions based on compassion and devotion or of foolish actions based on selfishness and greed. These stories also relate the lesson that justice is within reach for even the humblest when one acts out of generosity on behalf of others. The necessity to act on behalf of others has been a theme of my own family’s stories. I have inherited this legacy—both as a burden and an inspiration—which has in turn guided not only the...

    • Speaking Out against Asian Settler Power

      • Local Japanese Women for Justice (LJWJ) Speak Out against Daniel Inouye and the JACL
        (pp. 294-306)

        The following is a reprint of an op-ed piece we published in theHonolulu Advertiseron February 6, 2000. There, we criticized U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye and the Japanese American Citizens League–Honolulu (JACL–Honolulu) for their roles in obstructing the process for Hawaiian sovereignty. We spoke out after a politically motivated media smear campaign against Native Hawaiian nationalist Mililani Trask, who had objected to Inouye’s act of overriding an agreed-upon process for the U.S. federal reconciliation hearings for Hawaiians. Ignoring the content of Trask’s objections, the media sensationalized a comment she made in a private meeting, referring to Inouye...

  9. List of Contributors
    (pp. 307-308)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 309-319)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 320-321)