Staking Claim: Settler Colonialism and Racialization in Hawai’i

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Oceania, United States on 2016-04-05 02:32Z by Steven

Staking Claim: Settler Colonialism and Racialization in Hawai’i

University of Arizona Press
2016-05-28
232 pages
6.00 x 9.00
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8165-0251-6

Judy Rohrer, Director of the Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility (ICSR); Assistant Professor in Diversity and Community Studies
University of Western Kentucky, Bowling Green, Kentucky

Exploring how racialization is employed to further colonialism

In the heart of the Pacific Ocean, Hawai’i exists at a global crosscurrent of indigeneity and race, homeland and diaspora, nation and globalization, sovereignty and imperialism. In order to better understand how settler colonialism works and thus move decolonization efforts forward, Staking Claim analyzes competing claims of identity, belonging, and political status in Hawai’i.

Author Judy Rohrer brings together an analysis of racial formation and colonization in the islands through a study of legal cases, contemporary public discourse (local media and literature), and Hawai’i scholarship. Her analysis exposes how racialization works to obscure—with the ultimate goal of eliminating—native Hawaiian indigeneity, homeland, nation, and sovereignty.

Staking Claim argues that the dual settler colonial processes of racializing native Hawaiians (erasing their indigeneity), and indigenizing non-Hawaiians, enable the staking of non-Hawaiian claims to Hawai’i. It encourages us to think beyond a settler-native binary by analyzing the ways racializations of Hawaiians and various non-Hawaiian settlers and arrivants bolster settler colonial claims, structures, and white supremacist ideologies.

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“A Hawaiian is a Hawaiian is a Hawaiian. Whether they have a drop or more than 50 percent.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-12-30 22:47Z by Steven

“A Hawaiian is a Hawaiian is a Hawaiian,” said Michelle Kauhane, president and CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. “Whether they have a drop or more than 50 percent.”

Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, “Rulemaking under way for DNA testing for Hawaiian homelands,” The Associated Press, December 28, 2015. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/d5481a15bd164d25ba02fc510473d046/rulemaking-under-way-dna-testing-hawaiian-homelands.

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Rulemaking under way for DNA testing for Hawaiian homelands

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-12-30 22:29Z by Steven

Rulemaking under way for DNA testing for Hawaiian homelands

The Associated Press
2015-12-28

Jennifer Sinco Kelleher


This Dec. 24, 2015 photo provided by Pat Kahawaiolaa shows Kahawaiolaa taking a selfie at Keaukaha Beach Park in Hilo, Hawaii. He is among those with at least 50 percent Native Hawaiian blood who are eligible for low-cost land leases from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The department is proposing a rule that would allow use of DNA evidence as proof of an applicant’s Hawaiian blood quantum. (Pat Kahawaiolaa via AP)

HONOLULU (AP) — When the state deemed Leighton Pang Kee ineligible for one of the most valuable benefits available to Native Hawaiians — land at almost no cost — because he couldn’t show that he was at least 50 percent Hawaiian, he sued.

Pang Kee knew he was, and needed to figure out a way to prove it. According to his lawsuit, his mother was at least 81.25 percent Native Hawaiian, but his birth certificate didn’t list his biological father.

But he knew who his father was. Pang Kee, who was adopted, found his late father’s brother, got a DNA sample that showed there was a 96.35 percent probability that Pang Kee and the man were related, the lawsuit said.

While that initially wasn’t enough for the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the agency eventually settled, and has proposed rules that would allow the use of DNA evidence to prove ancestry.

Hawaiians don’t typically fixate on how much Hawaiian blood they have when it comes to asserting ancestral identity.

“A Hawaiian is a Hawaiian is a Hawaiian,” said Michelle Kauhane, president and CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. “Whether they have a drop or more than 50 percent.”

One of the only times blood quantum is relevant is for applying for a homestead lease. Those with at least 50 percent Hawaiian blood quantum can apply for a 99-year lease for $1 a year…


This Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015 photo shows houses in the the Hawaiian homestead community of Papakolea in Honolulu.The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has proposed rules that would allow people applying for a homestead lease to use DNA evidence to prove ancestry. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

Read the entire article here.

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The link between “tourism” and “settler colonialism” in Hawai’i

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Oceania, United States on 2015-12-10 02:14Z by Steven

The link between “tourism” and “settler colonialism” in Hawai’i

Matador Network
2015-07-29

Bani Amor

Maile Arvin is a Native Hawaiian feminist scholar who writes about Native feminist theories, settler colonialism, decolonization, and race and science in Hawai‘i and the broader Pacific. She is currently a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Ethnic Studies at UCR and will be officially joining the department as an assistant professor in July. She is part of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association working group and a member of Hinemoana of Turtle Island, a Pacific Islander feminist group of activists, poets, and scholars located in California and Oregon. You can find some of her academic writing here.

Bani Amor: Tell us about yourself, the work that you do, and how your identities play into that work.

Maile Arvin: So I’m Native Hawaiian, and my family is from Waimanalo, a small town on the windward side of O’ahu. I’m an academic – I research and teach about race and indigeneity in Hawai’i, the larger Pacific and elsewhere. Being Native Hawaiian grounds my work, motivates me to write about Native Hawaiian lives and histories in complicated, respectful ways.

One of my current projects is working with Hinemoana of Turtle Island, a group of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander feminist women, many of whom are also academics but also poets, activists, artists. We support each other in the academic world and are accountable to each other. We talk to each other a lot about current issues that affect Pacific Islanders, usually in news that erases the existence of Indigenous Pacific Islanders altogether, and sometimes write up responses on our blog, muliwai. We’re currently working on a response to the movie Aloha. Or maybe more about the criticism of the movie that is entirely focused on Emma Stone’s casting.

Bani Amor: Word. That leads me to my next question: I often find that travel media and tourism are complicit in settler colonialism, in that it still purports an archaic, false image of indigenous peoples as smiling caricatures who are ready, willing and able to serve at the beck and call of the (white) tourist. Any idea why this is especially the case for Hawai’i?

Maile Arvin: For Hawai’i, because it is actually a U.S. state, there is this incredible sense of entitlement that white Americans in particular feel to being at home in Hawai’i. Since World War II in particular, and the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, there was this narrative of Hawai’i as being the place that militarily makes the rest of the U.S. safe. And along with that, there is also a need to justify and naturalize U.S. military occupation of these islands that are over 2000 miles away from the U.S. continent. So Hawai’i becomes this feminine place in need of the masculine U.S. military to safeguard both Hawai’i and the rest of the U.S. And Native Hawaiian women in particular become these symbols of a happy, paradisical place, a place where white military men will have fun, will get their own Native Hawaiian girl…

Read the entire interview here.

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How the Hawaiian word ‘hapa’ came to be used by people of mixed heritage

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Audio, Media Archive, United States on 2015-10-08 01:10Z by Steven

How the Hawaiian word ‘hapa’ came to be used by people of mixed heritage

Public Radio International (PRI)
2015-09-15

Nina Porzucki, Producer

Recently, an old friend of mine, Julie Jimenez had a language question she wanted me to investigate: Where does the word “hapa” come from?

Julie considers herself hapa. Her father is from Chile, her mom is Japanese American. And she calls herself “hapa,” that is, half Asian, half something else. Julie had never questioned this definition before until one day she was at the market and she met a women who she thought was hapa like herself.

“She looked half Chinese and half white and I said, ‘Oh, you’re hapa!’ and she said ‘that’s a Hawaiian word, you’re not supposed to use it.’ And I had never heard anyone say that before. I was kind of shocked because I had never thought it was offensive,” she said…

Listen to the story (00:38:09) here. Download the story here.

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But even the aloha spirit has its limits. We must be mindful that the present multicultural society grew from the collapse of the Native Hawaiian population and the dispossession of their land.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-09-16 18:40Z by Steven

Unlike the continental United States, Hawaii has no group that is the racial majority, and people can identify with multiple races and ethnicities over several generations. This is the norm, rather than an anomaly.

Early social scientists, the tourist industry, and visitors credit this long history of mixing to the “aloha spirit,” or culture of tolerance and inclusivity, that is the hallmark of living in Hawaii. True, Hawaii is a place where a mixed-race person like myself can blend in, and where people of color are not seen as a curiosity. And yes, people generally get along here.

But even the aloha spirit has its limits. We must be mindful that the present multicultural society grew from the collapse of the Native Hawaiian population and the dispossession of their land.

Rudy P. Guevarra, Jr., “Is Hawaii a Racial Paradise?,” Zócalo Public Square, September 15, 2015. http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2015/09/15/is-hawaii-a-racial-paradise/ideas/up-for-discussion/.

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Is Hawaii a Racial Paradise?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Oceania, Social Science, United States on 2015-09-16 18:13Z by Steven

Is Hawaii a Racial Paradise?

Zócalo Public Square
2015-09-15

Rudy P. Guevarra, Jr., Associate Professor of Asian Pacific American Studies
Arizona State University

Nitasha Sharma, Associate Professor of African-American Studies and Asian-American Studies
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

David A. Swanson, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Riverside

Lee A. Tonouchi (“Da Pidgin Guerilla”)
Hawaii

Roderick Labrador, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies
University of Hawaii, Mānoa (also Director of the UCLA Hawaii Travel Study Program)

Maile Arvin, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies
University of California, Riverside

Races, Ethnicities, and Cultures Mix More Freely Than Elsewhere in the U.S., But There Are Limits to the Aloha Spirit

Early in the 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Jason Segal, playing a guy who travels to Hawaii to get over a breakup, drunkenly pours out his feelings to two people in his hotel, a newlywed man and a bartender. The new husband encourages Segal to think there’s still hope for the relationship, but the bartender, Dwayne, has no sympathy for Segal’s sadness.

“You’ve gotta move on,” Dwayne says. “It’s that easy, I promise you it is. I lived in South Central. South Central. And I hated it. So I moved to Oahu. Now I can name you over 200 different kinds of fish!” He starts naming them.

The scene is hilarious, but it also hints at one of America’s fundamental Gordian knots—race—and the various ways we’ve tried to untie it. The story uses Los Angeles’ “South Central” neighborhood as a code word for a place where gangs are divided along color lines, racial tensions can erupt in violence, and residents feel stuck in the cycle. The implication is that Dwayne, who’s black, escaped all that by coming to Hawaii. He puts forth Hawaii as a paradise—a place where the only thing he has to worry about is learning how to pronounce Humuhumunukunukuapua`a.

Hawaii is one of America’s most diverse and happiest states. Some would contend people get along better here than almost anywhere else. But tossing different groups together also means there are frictions—ones that perhaps are too often are obscured by the sunshine and ukuleles in tourist guides.

So what’s the actual nature of racial relations in Hawaii? And what can the rest of us learn from it? In advance of the “What It Means to Be American” event “What Can Hawaii Teach America About Race?,” we asked a variety of experts on and off the islands that same question…

Read the entire article here.

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Race in the United States – Mississippi and Hawaii at Two Ends of the Spectrum

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Mississippi, Social Science, United States on 2015-09-08 20:51Z by Steven

Race in the United States – Mississippi and Hawaii at Two Ends of the Spectrum

UCR Today
University of California, Riverdale
2015-09-04

Mojgan Sherkat (mojgan.sherkat@ucr.edu)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) – There’s a lot to learn about race in the United States through statistical figures alone, especially when comparisons are made between Hawaii and Mississippi, according to David Swanson, professor of sociology at the University of California, Riverside.

“Hawaii and Mississippi stand out from each other and the U.S. as a whole in terms of health, education, and income,” said Swanson.

Swanson will release an essay on the topic on Zócalo Public Square on Sept. 16, 2015. The not-for-profit ideas exchange board will have a discussion on “What can Hawaii Teach America About Race?” It is co-sponsored by the Smithsonian and the Inouye Institute. The essay will be available on Zocalo‘s website.

Swanson used data from the U.S. Census Bureau (except life expectancy data, which comes from Wikipedia) to demonstrate race in America…

Read the entire article here.

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From Okinawa to Hawaii and Back Again

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, History, Media Archive, United States on 2015-08-31 17:42Z by Steven

From Okinawa to Hawaii and Back Again

What It Means to Be American: Hosted by The Smithsonian and Zócalo Public Square
2015-08-31

Laua Kina, Vincent de Paul Professor of Art, Media, & Design
DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois


Kibei Nisei, 30 x 45 inches Oil on canvas (2012)

A Painter Follows the Currents of Her Family History

I am a hapa, yonsei Uchinanchu (a mixed-race, 4th-generation Okinawan-American) who was born in Riverside, California, in 1973 and raised in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains in Washington state. My mom’s roots stem from Spanish-Basque migrants in California and white southerners in Tennessee. My father is Okinawan from Hawaii. Because I don’t look quite white, people frequently ask, “What are you?” From an early age, even though Hawaii and Japan were enigmas to me, I have had to explain my relationship to these “exotic” places.

Growing up, we lived by my mother’s family and visited her parents weekly at their road-side motel near a Puget Sound ferry landing, but I knew little about my father’s childhood, an ocean away, on a Piihonua sugarcane plantation near Hilo. I got a glimpse on occasional vacations to visit family on the Big Island of Hawaii or my aunties in Los Angeles. The only other traces were evident in the Spam in our sushi, the fact that we called instant ramen noodles saimin, and in the echoes of Pidgin English in Dad’s accent that refused to be erased.

I am a painter, and at the heart of my paintings is the journey I’ve been on to understand how these different currents have formed my American experience. I’ve followed their flow back in time to the canefields of Territorial Hawaii and early 20th-century Okinawa, Japan…

Read the entire article here.

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Hawaii is home to the nation’s largest share of multiracial Americans

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2015-07-01 19:32Z by Steven

Hawaii is home to the nation’s largest share of multiracial Americans

Pew Research Center
2015-06-17

Jens Manuel Krogstad, Writer/Editor, Hispanic Trends Project

The number of multiracial Americans is growing nationwide, but in Hawaii, it’s nothing new. The Rainbow State – with its history of attracting immigrants from Asia and other parts of the world to work as farm laborers – stands far above the rest, with nearly one-in-four residents (24%) identifying as multiracial, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. The next most-multiracial states are far behind: Alaska (8%) and Oklahoma (7%).

Here’s another way to look at how much Hawaii stands out: In terms of total population, Hawaii is one of the smallest (1.4 million people), ranking 40th out of 50 states. But when ranking states with the highest total multiracial population, the state ranks sixth, with more than 330,000.

A new Pew Research survey found that the number of multiracial Americans may be higher than the estimates from Census, which has estimated that 3% of the overall U.S. population – and 2.1% of the adult population – is multiracial. But taking into account how adults describe their own race as well as the racial backgrounds of their parents and grandparents – which the census does not do – Pew Research estimates that 6.9% of the U.S. adult population could be considered multiracial…

Read the entire article here.

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