The Greatest Hawaiian Books #11-15 [text]

#176 in the Moʻolelo series, this is the text/script of the video “Greatest Hawaiian Books #11-15”

  • 11. Lilikala Kame’eleihiwa, Native Land and Foreign Desires – While my own research opposes some of her conclusions on the Māhele, her work on Hawaiian metaphors will stand as a lasting contribution to Hawaiian perspective.
  • 12. Keanu Sai, Ua Mau ke Ea: Sovereignty Endures – It’s a bit hard to find, but Sai’s contribution to revising Hawaiian history cannot be denied. This is also a useful primer on occupation and the legal aspects of Hawaiʻi’s history and status today.

In my blurb on the back cover of the book, I wrote:

A concise, yet detailed account of the legal and political history of Hawai‘i for advanced students… Heavily dependent on primary sources and contextualization, this book is a radical departure from “conventional” histories with some truly fresh insights on the Hawaiian Kingdom and Hawai‘i’s current legal status. By focusing on Hawai‘i’s often-neglected legal infrastructure, Sai shows its problematic—and ultimately occupied—nature. 

  • 13. Pi’ilani, Kaluaikoolau – The heartrending story of Piʻilani and Koʻolau has been recognized by W.S. Merwin and many others. Gary Kubota’s play is only the most recent tribute to this moving account of a familyʻs resistance to the “Pu Ki” [PG: Provisional Government].

As I wrote in my article Pono and the Koru in Hūlili journal:

The True Story of Kaluaikoolau (Pi’ilani, 2001) is a moving account of the fight of a Hawaiian family to remain together in the face of the “separating disease” – leprosy or Hansen’s disease, and (an illegal) government’s enforcement of “resettlement” at Kalawao/Kalaupapa. In the story, author Piÿilani illustrates her connection to place:

The pinching of the spreading dawn – I know it.

The cold of the mountain dew that numbs the skin – I know it.

The chill of the rapid flowing waters of Waikoloa – I know it.

The other kind of chill – emotional disturbance – I know it.

Piʻilani, author (and wife) of Kaluaikoʻolau
  • 14. John Dominis Holt, Waimea Summer – Holt seemed often to feel uncomfortable in his own skin, with frequent references (including in The Sharks of Kawela Bay) to his fair skin and blond hair, despite being nearly half Hawaiian. But this may have been what allowed him to write about the hapa-haole and Hawaiian experience with such skill; probably the only book to include pidgin, Hawaiian language and Faust.
  • 15. Tom Coffman – Nation Within – in a later edition of his book , Coffman, a long time reporter for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, changed the subtitle from “the story of America’s annexation of Hawaiʻi” to ” The History of the American Occupation of Hawaii.” He noted in the preface to the new edition, that “a new generation of Hawaiian scholars” had created a revisionist history, which caused him to rethink the annexation because as he put it “might does not make right.”

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