(c) Copyright 2005, Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved
Noenoe Silva, "Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism." Durham (North Carolina) and London: Duke University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8223-3349-X Hawai'i Public Library catalog number H 996.902 Si
In December 2004 I read two books during a period of about ten days, when both became available at my local branch library. What a lucky coincidence! One book was the best-selling novel "The Da Vinci Code." The other was the subject of this review: "Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism" by University of Hawai'i Associate Professor Noenoe Silva. (Some biographical information about Professor Silva can be seen at note #1).
It was quite a jolt reading the two books back-to-back, because that made me realize how similar they are! Both books are biased pieces of revisionist history. Both books provide selected historical facts, together with dubious interpretations, half-truths, and falsehoods; carefully choreographed and narrated to support radical historical conspiracy theories. Upon returning the books I suggested the librarian shelve them both in the "fiction" section.
Dr. Silva reminds us on page 4 that the slogan of the 1998 centennial protest commemoration of annexation was "We are who we were." But considering all the distortions and flat-out lies propagated by sovereignty activists like her, and the current longing to restore some (but not all) of the ancient Hawaiian religious and cultural practices, a more appropriate slogan would be: "We would like to become who we imagine we were once upon a time."
This book contains several blatant falsehoods on topics where Professor Silva is an expert -- most notably, her claim that Hawaiian language was made illegal (at least in the schools) after the overthrow of the monarchy (note #2), and her claim that nearly every native Hawaiian signed a petition against annexation (note #3). Such outright lies are red flags that the book is a propaganda piece rather than a work of serious scholarship. We who are less knowledgeable than she on other topics have good reason to be suspicious that what she says on those other topics is likely also to be false or badly twisted. But we lack her expertise and we lack the time it would take to do the necessary research to disprove her; thus, she gets away with intentional historical malpractice. The two specific falsehoods mentioned above will be documented in footnotes #2&3. But first, let's look at the overall focus of this book. (Readers, please be advised that there are a small number of important, very lengthy footnotes explaining and documenting some of the main points. The basic essay has been kept short for casual reading; the footnotes are twice as long for scholars.)
Was there a substantial amount of native resistance to the overthrow of 1893 and annexation of 1898? Yes, of course. But Silva tries very hard to characterize the overthrow and annexation as primarily a racial struggle rather than as the multiracial political struggle it really was. This book's title clearly says it is about NATIVE resistance; accordingly, Silva showcases only natives. But there were whites and even a few Asians who supported the monarchy and opposed annexation (note #4). This book is about native RESISTANCE; accordingly, Silva showcases only those natives who resisted, and only for so long as they resisted without switching sides.
There were also natives who supported the overthrow, took the loyalty oath to the Provisional Government and Republic, and supported annexation -- Professor Silva never mentions them, probably because she considers them disgraced quisling collaborationist non-persons. Silva portrays one of them as a hero when he supports the monarchy, but later she drops him to non-person when he eventually supports annexation. Silva totally ignores another native who held many high offices under Kalakaua and Lili'uokalani, but who then served as Speaker of the House of the Republic (note #5).
Although Silva ignores native support for the overthrow and annexation, some evidence is available from other sources. For example, the Blount Report shows that among 877 government employees under the Provisional Government, 459 were Hawaiians, representing 52%; while only 205 were Americans (including 77 school teachers), representing 23%; and 110 were British (including 37 school teachers), representing 13% (note 6). All government employees were required to take the oath of allegiance to the Provisional Government. Sovereignty activists like to say that poor, downtrodden natives needed their jobs to survive, so a few of them very reluctantly swallowed the bitter pill and took the oath of allegiance. Still, we must wonder how strong native resistance was when there were so many who collaborated with the government. It might be interesting to compare the rate of native Hawaiian collaboration with the Provisional Government and the Republic, against the rate of French collaboration with the Nazi or Vichy governments.
A letter to editor in the Honolulu Advertiser of February 16, 2005 summarizes the situation quite well. "Hawaiians' views of annexation are diverse. Not all Hawaiians looked at annexation negatively. Some Hawaiians accepted these changes or customs. Hawaiians were divided into three groups: the Native Hawaiians, the bicultural Hawaiians and the "haole-fied" Hawaiians. Many Native Hawaiians did not change for America. They kept their old way of life and wanted to restore the monarchy. Bicultural Hawaiians were part-white and part-Hawaiian. They took the best of both worlds. "Haole-fied" Hawaiians took on the American way of life to fit in with the community. They imitated the Americans and married into white families, diluting the Hawaiian gene pool. Therefore, Hawaiians were quite diverse on their opinion about annexation. Some chose to embrace and accept the American culture while others rejected this new way of life. The bicultural community took both sides and got the most out of each. Even though the Native Hawaiian groups' viewpoint was expressed the most, there was more than one view to the issue. -- Isaiah Peacott-Ricardos, Mililani"
Silva's book claims what was being resisted was American IMPERIALISM; but in fact the United States neither conquered Hawai'i militarily nor took over power from a previous colonial occupier through defeating them militarily or purchasing their colonial possession; as was the case in the Phillipines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, Samoa, Panama, California, Louisiana, Alaska, etc.
This book claims what was being resisted was AMERICAN imperialism; yet Silva herself goes against her own book's subtitle by devoting one of its five chapters to genuine imperialism from European nations, while failing to give credit to the American missionaries who were primarily responsible for rescuing Hawai'i from the clutches of England and France.
Chapter 1 describes armed native resistance to Captain Cook (England) in 1778; and decimation caused by diseases and cultural changes brought by Cook. Silva spends substantial effort showing that Samuel Kamakau resisted the cultural imperialism of haole historiography by portraying Captain Cook's arrival and the effects of his visits only as sub-stories in a broader context of Kamehameha's rise to power, contrary to English and American historians who focused on Cook. She shows that white historians intentionally left out of their English translations of Kamakau some important anti-haole sentiments in Kamakau's original Hawaiian-language essays about Cook. But of course all of this is about English imperialism, in a book whose title says it is about American imperialism. Blame America for everything bad!
Also in Chapter 1 Silva glorifies Hawaiian resistance against threats from France (which included a French gunboat demanding and receiving money from the King), and against the half-year takeover of Hawai'i by England in 1843. But here again, the imperialism was from England and France, not the U.S.
In fact, the two Kingdom patriots most responsible for protecting Hawai'i against takeover by England and France in 1843 were two former American missionaries who became the King's closest advisors: Gerrit Judd and William Richards. Silva has a long history of minimizing or completely ignoring the whites who were the true heroes of important events in the Kingdom, in order to glorify natives who played minor roles in in those events. For example, throughout a period of at least five years, she has repeatedly glorified Timoteo Ha'alilio at the expense of William Richards regarding the diplomatic achievement of getting a joint British-French statement pledging to each other that they would not take over Hawai'i. That achievement became the basis for the annual national holiday Ka La Ku'oko'a (Independence day). On one occasion Silva went so far as to describe Richards as Ha'alilio's secretary. The truth was that Ha'alilio, a young ali'i, was a secretary to the King, while Richards was the King's longtime advisor who was given blank parchment with the King's signature and Royal Seal and empowered to fill in whatever agreement he could reach with England and France. On a related topic, Silva totally ignored the heroism of former American missionary Gerrit Judd. In 1843 a rogue British naval captain (Paulet) took over the government for several months until a protest brought Admiral Thomas to undo that action and restore sovereignty to the King ("Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘aina i ka pono"). The hero of that event was the King's closest advisor, former American missionary Gerrit Judd, who wrote the protest at the risk of his life in secret by candlelight in the Royal Mausoleum, then persuaded a drunken King to sign it, and then recruited a sailor to take it on a departing ship. But Silva totally ignored Judd in her brief mention of this event. For evidence of Silva's historical malpractice on this point, see note #7. What Silva did by glorifying Ha'alilio while minimizing or completely ignoring Richards; and ignoring Judd; is part of a recent trend among Hawaiian sovereignty activists to eliminate whites from the pantheon of heroes of the Hawaiian kingdom. The idea is to give today's ethnic Hawaiians racial pride by creating historical heroes of their race while excluding non-natives. The ethnic cleansing of revived Hawaiian kingdom holidays is explored at note #8.
Silva ignores the powerful German cultural imperialism in Hawaiian music (Henry Berger and the Royal Hawaiian band) and commercial enterprises (Hackfeld, precursor to Liberty House, now Macys); only praising the band members' courage in refusing to take the loyalty oath to the Provisional Government after the overthrow and thereby forfeiting their jobs with the band. She barely mentions the virtual Russian takeover of Kaua'i and conspiracy with Kaumuali'i to take back control of Kaua'i, O'ahu, and several other islands from Kamehameha.
One inconvenient fact totally ignored by Silva's rant against American imperialism is that people of American origin comprised only 22% of the Annexation Club's 5500 members in 1893. Natives were 18% and Portuguese were the largest contingent, at 41% (note #9). Incidentally, Noenoe Silva herself is more than half Portuguese (plus a smidgen of Dutch, Chinese and Hawaiian), which might explain why she suppresses information about the strong support for annexation from Hawai'i's people of Portuguese origin (note #1).
Professor Silva has spent her short academic career tightly focused on the single topic disclosed by the title of this book. In researching native resistance to cultural change, the overthrow, and annexation, she has one significant skill and one significant accomplishment. Her skill is sufficient fluency in Hawaiian language to be able to read (probably with the help of dictionaries and occasional consultations with language experts) about 75 Hawaiian-language newspapers published during 114 years from 1834 to 1948. Her significant accomplishment was the "discovery" of the anti-annexation petitions of 1897 stored in the U.S. National Archives, and bringing them to public attention in a massive publicity campaign associated with the centennial observance of the annexation in summer 1998.
Dr. Silva claims the Hawaiian language newspapers contained powerful essays, songs, chants, etc. which promoted ethnic Hawaiian cultural identity in opposition to Euro-American cultural hegemony, and strengthened political solidarity in resisting the reciprocity treaty, the (allegedly) American-led overthrow, and annexation. She claims haole historians were either ignorant of or intentionally ignored overwhelming native resistance, and either mis-translated important documents or suppressed particularly damaging portions of them.
There are several problems with Silva's claims.
First, Silva's own background (note #1) makes it clear that she started learning Hawaiian language in exactly the same way I did -- the way anyone learns a foreign language. Her modern non-Hawaiian cultural background and artificially-learned fluency do not allow her to understand the subtle meanings expressed 150 years ago in a far different cultural environment by truly native Hawaiians. Her cultural knowledge and fluency can never match that of the native-born-and-raised haole Sanford B. Dole, who grew up playing with native children and had Hawaiian-speaking native friends all his life. She cannot match the fluency acquired by some of the earlier foreign-born haole who came to Hawai'i as young men and lived permanently in Hawai'i for many years while helping build and preserve the nation as trusted close advisors to the King, such as John Young and the missionaries Gerrit Judd and William Richards. She is clearly mistaken in her view that Hawaiian language functioned as a secret code for the native resistance to American imperialism (psssst -- the haoles knew the code!). For elaboration of this point, see note #10. The notion that Hawaiian-language newspapers provided a wealth of information to Silva about important events that non-Hawaiian-speaking historians could not know about is somewhat contradicted by the fact that in Chapter 4 ("The Antiannexation Struggle") Silva uses a total of 122 footnotes; but only 31 of them refer to Hawaiian-language newspapers. Almost all were to just one newspaper, Ke Aloha 'Aina; 4 were to Ka Leo o ka Lahui.
Second, the information Silva published in her own book shows that many of the Hawaiian-language newspapers during the 1800s were haole-owned and pro-annexation -- including the period of the bayonet constitution, overthrow, and annexation. The pro-government and pro-annexation Hawaiian-language newspapers apparently had larger circulations than the newspapers Silva identifies as "resistance" papers; and the pro-annexation papers often had significantly longer lifespans than the "resistance" papers being published at the same time. That is clear evidence that many natives were supporters of annexation, and that some of the "resistance" newspapers had trouble getting enough support from readers to keep them afloat. There were also English-language "resistance" newspapers, showing either that many natives preferred English language over Hawaiian (a fact Dr. Silva bitterly resents and tries to hide), or that many haoles were resisters, or both. For detailed elaboration of this point, see note #11. Silva's reliance on short-lived, small-circulation radical "resistance" newspapers to portray opinion among the natives of the 1800s would be comparable to someone from California characterizing current opinion in Hawai'i by relying on newspapers such as "Ka Wai Ola O OHA", "Honolulu Weekly", or "Mahogany."
An important point is overlooked by the sovereignty activists who complain about haole oppression. Freedom of the press, freedom of association, freedom to hold mass meetings, freedom to travel, etc. were preserved at almost all times during the extraordinarily turbulent and sometimes violent events surrounding the bayonet constitution of 1887, the Wilcox rebellion of 1889, the overthrow of 1893, the Wilcox attempted counterrevolution of 1895, and the annexation of 1898. Freedom of the press was hardly ever suspended. Professor Silva's book is testimony to the remarkable generosity and forebearance of leaders such as the revolutionary Lorrin A. Thurston and President Sanford B. Dole. In Russia after the revolution of 1917 the Tsar and his family were taken to the basement and shot. In Hawai'i in 1893 the deposed queen simply left the Palace and went to her nearby private home at Washington Place under the protection of her friend President Dole. In 1895 after the Wilcox attempted counterrevolution was defeated (and some people were killed in gun battles), rifles and bombs were found buried in the ex-queen's flower-bed at her home. She was arrested, tried, and convicted; and spent a few months in a genteel imprisonment in the Palace with a live-in maid and lots of sewing and writing supplies. Royalist armed insurgents were imprisoned and a few were sentenced to death; but all were released unharmed within a year. Later Lili'uokalani was pardoned, and allowed to organize the anti-annexation petitions and travel to Washington to lobby against the Dole government's most cherished goal of annexation. A couple years later, the militant Robert Wilcox won election to become Hawai'i's first Territorial representative to Congress (he ran on a platform pledging to seek Statehood). Throughout all these events, except for very brief periods after the Wilcox rebellion of 1889, the overthrow of 1893, and the Wilcox attempted counterrevolution of 1895, there was robust freedom of the press and freedom to hold mass protest meetings, as documented by the bitter Noenoe Silva herself (note #12). By contrast, recall the fate of protesters after revolutions in China, Cuba, Cambodia, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Fiji, etc.
Silva's book is a political propaganda piece intended to arouse the racial passions of today's ethnic Hawaiians to oppose American sovereignty in Hawai'i. She tries to arouse racial passions by making today's ethnic Hawaiians believe their ancestors were united in opposition to the overthrow and annexation, and also to believe that white people (especially missionaries and their descendants) were united in oppressing natives and stealing their land and sovereignty. But there were whites who supported the monarchy and opposed annexation (note #4). And there were natives who had been royalists during Kalakaua's reign, opposed Lili'uokalani, switched sides after the overthrow, and eventually supported annexation (note #5).
Silva is a Hawaiian sovereignty independence activist. As such, she strongly opposes the Akaka bill because it would place ethnic Hawaiians very firmly under the plenary power of the U.S. Congress and the Department of Interior. Yet her focus on ethnic Hawaiians as oppressed victims who resisted annexation while whites were the oppressors who overthrew the monarchy, plays directly into the hands of Akaka bill supporters. The Akaka bill is racially exclusionary, allowing only ethnic Hawaiians to join the tribe or run for or vote for the tribal council. That racial restriction is (allegedly) justified in the preamble to the Akaka bill by referencing the apology resolution of 1993, which apologizes only to ethnic Hawaiians for the overthrow of "their" government and depriving them of "their" sovereignty and taking "their" land; when in fact whites had full voting rights in the Kingdom and held many important appointed and elected offices. Emphasizing the multiracial character of the Kingdom is an important way to discredit the racism of the Akaka bill.
Silva wants to have it both ways. On one hand, claim the overthrow and annexation were illegal violations of the sovereignty of an independent nation which deserves to be restored. On the other hand, claim ethnic Hawaiians are an indigenous people entitled to racial supremacy in their homeland (even though they eagerly traded their ancient religion for Christianity, their Hawaiian language for English, and their political power for a social contract of full equality for all locally-born or naturalized kingdom subjects). Another recent book, by UH Professor Jon Osorio ("Dismembering Lahui"), also describes the history of the Kingdom as a constant racial struggle. Osorio provides a great amount of evidence showing that whites held high offices as cabinet ministers, judges, and legislators; yet he insists that whites were never fully accepted by the natives as members of the "lahui" (nation/race).
Both Silva and Osorio play a very dangerous racist game of historical revisionism pitting ethnic Hawaiians against whites; and disrespecting today's Hawai'i citizens of Asian ancestry by ignoring their sweat-equity in the kingdom and their right to full equality today. They encourage today's Hawaiians of native ancestry to imitate the attitude of the ex-queen who always used the phrase "my people" in a racial way rather than as a reference to all the people for whom she was responsible as head of government. Lili'uokalani got overthrown, in large measure because of that attitude, as she tried to turn back the clock to an earlier time before native power was eroded by newcomer culture, investment and expertise. Fortunately that attitude has been overthrown by most of today's descendants of the natives, except for those who work at the university and at some powerful, wealthy Hawaiians-only institutions.
It seems fitting to conclude this book review by noting that the title of the book, "Aloha Betrayed," is a very appropriate description of what Noenoe Silva and today's other Hawaiian sovereignty activists are doing. They are betraying the Aloha Spirit by trying to rip the 50th star off the flag and establish a government whose laws would enshrine racial supremacy based on a theory of "indigenous rights." Even the subtitle of this book gets it almost right. Instead of "Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Imperialism," the subtitle should read: Native Hawaiian Resistance to Unity and Equality.
NOTES: Some of these notes are quite lengthy. The idea is to provide details and proof of important points for readers who are inclined to pursue such issues, while not interrupting the flow of the basic book review for casual readers.
(note #1) Noenoe Silva's ancestry is 5/8 Portuguese; plus 1/8 each of Chinese, Dutch, and Hawaiian. Her great-grandmother was Hawaiian. She was born in Hawai'i in 1954 but grew up in California, living and working there until coming to Hawai'i in 1985 at age 31. She enrolled in basic Hawaiian language classes at Windward School for Adults, and later at Windward Community College, and then the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. As a UH associate professor of Political Science, she has a brief biographical sketch on her departmental webpage. Despite her primarily Portuguese ancestry, she now mentions only Hawaiian as her ethnicity. Although she grew up in California until age 31, she now stresses that she was born in Hawai'i. Although her institutional affiliation is the Department of Political Science, she spends most of her biographical sketch describing her interest in Hawaiian language, Hawaiian historiography, and Hawaiian epistemology. The first sentence of her UH biographical statement is: "I was born on Oahu [sic: missing 'okina or at least an apostrophe] and am of Kanaka Maoli descent." Despite the fact that her character was formed outside Hawai'i, and she did not begin learning Hawaiian language until at least age 31, she now claims to be fluent in Hawaiian and to be able to understand subtle layers of meaning in the Hawaiian language newspapers of the 1800s (when the culture and its symbolic meanings were very different). She claims that ethnic Hawaiians in the 1800s were constantly using Hawaiian language ancient legends and current musical compositions as a sort of secret communication device to rally native solidarity in resistance against haole domination, using multi-layered symbolic meanings which Silva today claims to understand but which she says the haole of the time could not comprehend even though they were locally born and raised and spoke fluent Hawaiian in the idiom of that period. For Professor Silva's biographical statement and description of her teaching responsibilities, see:
(note #2) Silva claims that Hawaiian language was made illegal after the overthrow of the monarchy. This claim is one of the most frequently heard historical lies, whose sole purpose is to inflame the anger of today's ethnic Hawaiians. It is based on a deliberate distortion and out-of-context quote of a law passed by the Republic of Hawai'i in 1896. A large webpage has been created to prove that it is a lie and to discuss the reasons for the decline of the Hawaiian language during the 150 years prior to its current renaissance. Dr. Silva is an expert on both Hawaiian language and the historical period when the "language ban" was written. She obviously should know that what she says is a lie; yet she has been repeating it for many years. First, let's examine the law and its context. Then let's see how Dr. Silva perpetuates a scurrilous lie.
Here is the exact text of the entire law: 1896 Laws of the Republic of Hawaii, Act 57, sec. 30: "The English Language shall be the medium and basis of instruction in all public and private schools, provided that where it is desired that another language shall be taught in addition to the English language, such instruction may be authorized by the Department, either by its rules, the curriculum of the school, or by direct order in any particular instance. Any schools that shall not conform to the provisions of this section shall not be recognized by the Department." [signed] June 8 A.D., 1896 Sanford B. Dole, President of the Republic of Hawaii.
The law clearly concerns only schools, not society at large. It does not single out Hawaiian language at all -- it applies equally to all languages other than English, including Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Portuguese, etc. (the majority of the children at that time were children of Japanese and Chinese plantation workers, and there were also numerous immigrants from Portugal working on the plantations, mostly as lunas [overseers of small work gangs]). The law does not prohibit establishing private after-school or weekend academies where the medium of instruction could be Hawaiian (or any other language) -- it merely states that such schools will not be recognized by the government as satisfying the requirement that all children must attend school. The law clearly states that Hawaiian (or any other language) may be taught in a language course. During the Hawaiian kingdom the use of Hawaiian language had steadily declined, as both parents and the government wanted children to speak English. The number of students in Hawaiian-language schools dropped below 50% in 1881 or 1882. By 1892 (the year before the overthrow), only 5.2% of students were in Hawaiian language schools and there were only 28 such schools in the Kingdom; at the same time, 94.8% of students were in the 140 English-language schools. The clear purpose of the law was not to snuff out Hawaiian, but to establish the most widely-spoken language as a standard language so that all children would grow up able to communicate with each other. Any ethnic group was free to perpetuate its own culture and language through after-school or weekend private academies -- almost all the Japanese plantation workers chose to do that; but Hawaiians chose not to do that. Most Hawaiian parents insisted their children speak English at home as well as in school because English was the clear path to a good future. For an analysis of the law and its effects, including a comparison of Japanese and Hawaiian response to the law, and extensive documentation, see:
On page 3 of her book, Noenoe Silva says: "After the political coup of 1893, the U.S.-identified oligarchy outlawed public and private schools taught in the Hawaiian language, and English became the only acceptable language for business and government." But as we have seen, the law specifically allowed schools where the language of instruction was not English, so long as every child also attended a school meeting government stardards where English was the language of instruction. Silva says English became the only acceptable language for business and government. But she knows that is false. Hawaiian (and English) continued to be spoken in the legislature of the Republic and the Territory; businesses continued publishing advertisements in Hawaiian language newspapers.
On page 144, Silva says: "The year 1896 brought a final blow to the Hawaiian language schools. The Republic of Hawai'i passed a law that decreed that ‘the English language shall be the medium and basis of instruction in all public and private schools.'" Note that Silva quotes only the first sentence of the law, never mentioning that the law also allows language courses to be taught. Silva does not mention that the law is explicitly limited only to the schools that parents use to satisfy the requirement that children attend school; but the law does not prohibit after-school and weekend academies where the language of instruction could be Japanese or Hawaiian or Mandarin or whatever the parents might desire.
Still on page 144, Silva continues: "... In truth, the number of Hawaiian-language schools had already been declining for many years, taking the most precipitous falls after the Bayonet Constitution and 1893 coup. In 1886 there were seventy-seven Hawaiian-language schools; in 1894, the number was down to eighteen; and in 1896 there was only a single school." Silva is clearly twisting the data to create a false impression. The number of students in Hawaiian-language schools dropped below 50% in 1881 or 1882 (the Bayonet Constitution did not happen until 1887). By 1892 (the year before the overthrow), only 5.2% of students were in Hawaiian language schools and there were only 28 such schools in the Kingdom; at the same time, 94.8% of students were in the 140 English-language schools. Silva's observation that there was only one Hawaiian-language school in 1896 when the law was passed clearly shows that not very many Hawaiian children or parents were affected by it. The law did not destroy the Hawaiian language.
(note #3) Silva claims that nearly every native Hawaiian signed a petition against annexation. Here is her language in asserting that claim, together with proof that it is false.
The back cover of the book says: "In 1897, as a white oligarchy made plans to allow the United States to annex Hawai'i, native Hawaiians organized a massive petition drive to protest. Ninety-five percent of the native population signed the petition, causing the annexation treaty to fail in the U.S. Senate."
That statement has a minor historical twist, subject to interpretation; but it also has a major lie that needs refuting.
The minor, debatable issue, is whether the petition was the cause of the Senate's failure to pass the annexation treaty in 1897. The more likely reasons for failure to pass the treaty were strong opposition from Southern sugar planters who didn't want the competition of duty-free sugar from Hawai'i, plus the reluctance of America's white people to annex a territory where most of the population were dark-skinned Asians and Hawaiians. Also, that petition was still fresh in the memories of Congress when the annexation bill passed both the Senate and the House overwhelmingly in the second session just a year later (42-21 in the Senate and 209-91 in the House).
The major lie is that "Ninety-five percent of the native population signed the petition". That lie has been repeated many times in all the media, and even by Senators and Representatives who should know better. Silva clearly knows it is false.
Silva herself presents the evidence of its falseness, on page 4: "For people today, the petition represents the political struggle of the maka'ainana, for although the hui were led by ali'i (rulers) and kaukauali'i (ali'i of lesser rank) it was the collective power of the maka'ainana -- 21,269 signatures -- that gave it its force." Wait a minute! Only 21,269 signatures? Not the 40,000 we sometimes hear? Not the more understandable (but still false) 38,000? What's going on?
A databook on the OHA webpage, containing population figures provided by State of Hawai'i statistician Robert Schmitt, showed that in 1890 the Kingdom Census counted 40,622 pure or part Hawaiians representing 45% of the population; in 1896 the Republic Census counted 39,504 for 36% of the population; and in 1900 the U.S. Census counted 39,656 representing 26% of the population (there was substantial immigration from Japan, China, and the U.S., causing the percentage of Hawaiians to drop dramatically because the number of them remained about the same). Here is the databook:
Straight-line interpolation yields 39,542 as the number of full or part Hawaiians in 1897, the year of the anti-annexation petition. Thus, the 21,269 signatures on the petition represented 54% of their population. But wait! The population included babies and small children, who presumably could not have made a signature even if they had wanted to. But wait! Every signature was accompanied by the signer's age, and some were in their early teens. But wait! A protest document filed by Lorrin A. Thurston says some of the ages were changed afterward to make them look older. And furthermore, Thurston says there were hundreds of forged signatures, and people who signed their own name several times; and entire signature pages were gathered without any petition language for the people to know what they were signing (the language was added after the pages were collected). But wait! Everyone says there were non-natives among the 21,269 people who signed the petition, although we cannot be sure how many. Well, if there were non-natives signing, then shouldn't the percentage of signers be calculated using the whole number of people in the entire population? Apparently non-natives were welcome to sign the petition, but the overwhelming majority refused. The whole population in 1896 was 109,020; in 1900 it was 154,001; so interpolation yields 120,265 as the population in 1897, which means the 21,269 signatures represent only 18% of the population. Furthermore, at that time only men could vote, and there were other important voter eligibility restrictions; so there is no relationship between petition signatures and eligible voters.
But there's more to the story. In addition to the anti-annexation petition with 21,269 signatures, there was allegedly another petition containing over 17,000 signatures collected by a different organization. The trouble is, that second petition had a different purpose -- it called for Lili'uokalani to be restored to the throne! Hawaiian sovereignty activists like to add the numbers on the two petitions, for a total of around 38,000 to 39,000 signatures, which would represent virtually every native and part-native man, woman, and baby. But of course that's silly. The two petitions are on different topics. And probably everyone who signed the smaller petition (restore the queen) would have also signed the larger petition (stop annexation). Indeed, the gap of 4,000 signatures could be interpreted to mean that there were 4,000 natives who opposed annexation but also opposed restoring the monarchy and wanted the Republic of Hawai'i to continue as an independent nation under the coalition of white and Hawaiian oligarchs!
Dr. Silva, the world's foremost expert on the petitions, does not publicly contradict people who say there were nearly 40,000 signatures on a petition opposing annexation. She allows the highly visible back cover of her book to contain the statement "Ninety-five percent of the native population signed the petition." On pages 147-159, for people willing to dig out the details, she provides more accurate information; but still intentionally misleading the readers just as the Hawaiian hui delegates presenting the petitions to Congress tried to create the impression there were 38,000 signatures on the petition that actually had only 21,269.
On page 151 Silva says, "Together, the two groups collected over 38,000 signatures. Even considering the likelihood that some people signed both petitions, the total number of signatures is impressive given that the population of Kanaka Maoli at the time was around 40,000." But Silva deliberately fails to mention at this point that the two petitions had different subject matter!
On page 158 Silva finally mentions the different subject matter, and begins a discussion of an internal debate among the consolidated committee members in Washington from the two groups who were preparing to present the petitions to the Senate. Silva says they "decided to present only the petitions of Hui Aloha 'Aina because the substance of the two sets of petitions was different. Hui Aloha 'Aina's petition protested annexation, but the Hui Kalai'aina's petitions called for the monarchy to be restored. They agreed that they did not want to appear divided or as if they had different goals." Regrettably Silva gives no footnote to document this internal strategy decision.
Page 159 contains an interesting discussion of the attempt to make Congress believe there were 38,000 signatures opposing annexation (just as today's sovereignty activists try to fool the public in the same way!) This would be accomplished by adding onto the anti-annexation petition an endorsement that there were an additional 17,000 signatures. Silva says, "David Kalauokalani of Hui Kalai'aina also submitted an endorsement of those petitions that said that he represented over 17.000 more people. On December 9, with the delegates present, Senator Hoar read the text of the petitions to the Senate and had them formally accepted. On December 10, the delegates met with Secretary of State John Sherman, and Kalauokalani submitted a statement protesting annexation to him. ... On February 23, David Kalauokalani gave an affidavit concerning the petitions of the Hui Kalai'aina to Senator Pettigrew. The senator remarked that it was the first time he had ever received that kind of document, asking for the restoration of a monarchy, but he accepted it nonetheless." At this point Silva has footnote #111, citing the newspaper Ke Aloha Aina for April 2, 1898, and Silva adds: "The whereabouts of the Hui Kalai'aina petitions are still unknown. I have looked for them without success at the U.S. National Archives and at the Pettigrew Museum in South Dakota."
Silva's narrative leaves it unclear whether the smaller petition was ever actually presented to the Senate, or to any individual Senator. She uses the plural to say that the petitions were formally presented to the Senate, but perhaps she uses the plural referring to the many pages of signatures of the larger petition. In any case, we know the larger petition was formally presented to the Senate, because it remains on file in the National Archives. And that's fairly good evidence that the smaller petition was never presented.
It does seem strange that a petition containing over 17,000 signatures somehow got lost. Those signatures had to be collected without modern means of transportation, and under difficult weather conditions and difficult terrain. Surely nobody would simply throw them away. The inability to find them casts doubt on whether they ever existed. It is also strange that Silva presents very few quotes or footnotes to Hawaiian-language newspaper reports about the petitions. If the petitions were so important to the natives, why weren't they covered in the newspapers as frequently and aggressively as other great events?
It is also strange that Dr. Silva does not provide the text of either petition in her book, even though the text of the larger petition is well known and widely available, now even on the internet with all the signatures.
The strangest thing of all about the (larger) petition is that its existence was nearly forgotten and Dr. Silva says it was extremely hard to find. She says the existence of the petition was hidden by the haole American imperialists who wrote the history books, to keep ethnic Hawaiians from ever learning about the protest against annexation. For example, Silva says that William Russ never mentioned the petitions in his book "The Hawaiian Republic (1894-98): And Its Struggle to Win Annexation" (Selingsgrove, Pa.: Susquehana University Press, 1961) even though his hundreds of footnotes and extensive bibliography show that he almost certainly would have come across them in the National Archives. On page 124 Silva says "African American historian Merze Tate is the only one who even mentions the 1897 antiannexation petition (which contained over 21,000 names) and that was in a footnote." [Silva footnote #3 directed to Merze Tate, The United States and the Hawaiian Kingdom: A Political History. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1965, p. 284]
But there's a huge problem for Noenoe's claim that the haoles tried to hide the history of resistance from today's descendants of the natives. The problem is -- NONE OF THE NATIVE LEADERS, INCLUDING LILI'UOKALANI, EVER MENTIONED THE PETITIONS IN ANYTHING THEY WROTE. Otherwise, today's activists would have known about them. Apparently Lili'uokalani did not consider the petitions important enough to mention them in her annual diaries that she continued to write for many years during and after annexation! Neither Robert Wilcox nor Prince Kuhio nor David Kawananakoa ever wrote about them. So it would seem the natives were equally complicit with the haoles in hiding the history of native resistance to annexation!
Perhaps the natives of a century ago had an attitude their descendants today would do well to emulate: It's over. Get over it. Move on and do well in today's world. DeSoto Brown, collections manager for Bishop Museum archives, recently confirmed the following entry in ex-queen Lili'uokalani's diary for Sunday, September 2, 1900 (only two years after annexation): "How sad and yet I gave my consent to have the old Royal Hawaiian Band who are now the Government U.S. band come and serenade me on this the occasion of my 62nd birthday. My consent is the healing over of ill will of all great differences caused by the overthrow of my throne and the deprivation of my people of their rights. Tho' for a moment it cost me a pang of pain for my people — it was only momentary, for the present has a hope for the future for my people. 10 a.m. Went out to Kahala with Mr & Mrs Mana [?] and children. Mr & Mrs Auld, Kaipo, Myra Aimoku Kalahiki. Wakeki Paoakalani J. Aea Mahiai Robinson."
The anti-annexation petitions (all 21,269 signatures) can be seen on the internet at:
Lorrin A. Thurston's 11-page protest regarding forgeries, multiple signings, and the alteration of children's ages can be seen one page at a time starting at:
(note #4) There were whites and even a few Asians who supported the monarchy and opposed annexation. Professor Silva leaves non-native royalists out of her story, or identifies them only in passing as, for example, the Queen's cabinet ministers. She does that in a conscious effort to give all the "glory" to ethnic Hawaiians. For example, Clarence Wilder, an attorney general of the Kingdom of Hawai'i appointed by King Kalakaua, and his brother, Volney V. Ashford, were exiled from Hawaii for complicity in the failed Wilcox counter-revolution of 1895; and they did not return to Hawaii until after passage of the Organic Act of 1900, which established the Territorial government and guaranteed civil rights under U.S. law. Silva herself provides evidence of a haole who facilitated native resistance. On page 127, she says Hui Kalai'aina (an organization that organized petitions in 1897 against annexation) was originally formed in resistance to the bayonet constitution of 1887. "Haole newspaper editor Daniel Lyons used his newspaper office of the 'Elele for organizing the Hui Kalai'aina. He emphasized that ‘the executive committee would be made up only of Hawaiians and that his role was only to start up the association." Silva's footnote 17 says "Lyon's desire to control the organization later became problematic." Thus we might say that 118 years ago, just as today, haoles eager to help natives resist haole domination had to be restrained by natives who taught them to know their place.
(note #5) There were also natives who supported the overthrow, took the loyalty oath to the Provisional Government and Republic, and supported annexation -- Professor Silva never mentions them, probably because she considers them disgraced quisling collaborationist non-persons. Silva portrays one of them as a hero when he supports the monarchy, but later she drops him to non-person when he eventually supports annexation. Silva totally ignores another native who held many high offices under Kalakaua and Lili'uokalani, but who then served as Speaker of the House of the Republic. Some natives who had been royalists during Kalakaua's reign opposed Lili'uokalani, switched sides after the overthrow, and eventually supported annexation. For example, John L. Kaulukou was elected to the Legislature from an overwhelmingly native district in Windward O'ahu, and appointed to many government positions by Kalakaua, including Marshal of the Kingdom and Attorney General. Kaulukou is credited by historians with presenting to Lili'uokalani "on behalf of the whole nation" her motto "'onipa'a" (resolute, steadfast) at her 48th birthday party in 1886 (Thurston Twigg-Smith, "Hawaiian Sovereignty: Do the Facts Matter?" pages 216-217. See also note#9, below). But later he had misgivings about Lili'uokalani's leadership. After the overthrow he became Speaker of the House of the Republic of Hawai'i and in that position eagerly assisted the process of annexation. Silva never mentions Kaulukou at all. As another example, consider John Ailuene (Edwin) Bush. He had been head of Kalakaua's delegation to Samoa that first proposed an alliance of "Greater Polynesia" and then tried to subdue Samoa with gunboat diplomacy. He was editor of the Hawaiian language royalist newspaper Ka Leo o ka Lahui. But he increasingly opposed Lili'uokalani and predicted her downfall; and later supported annexation. Professor Silva cites (p. 155) an article by Bush published only a week before the overthrow in which he says preservation of Hawaiian language and publication of traditional stories (Hi'iaka and Pele) help natives to love their land and feel patriotic. Bush, still patriotic toward the Kingdom despite misgivings about Lili'uokalani, participated in the Wilcox attempted counter-revolution of 1895, was sentenced to five years imprisonment but then released after only a few months. Silva never acknowledges Bush's eventual support for annexation, saying only (pp. 193-194) that he was "never again as outspoken as [he] had been prior to being imprisoned." Thus, Silva makes Bush a hero when he resists the overthrow, but then relegates him to the dustbin of history when he later supports annexation. She heaps disrespect on him by claiming that his imprisonment broke his spirit, rather than crediting him with "seeing the light" that history was irreversible, and wanting to help Hawai'i move forward.
(note #6) Page 1075 of the Blount Report shows that among 877 government employees under the Provisional Government, 459 were were Hawaiians, representing 52%; 205 were Americans (including 77 school teachers), representing 23%; 110 were British (including 37 school teachers), representing 13%; and there were also 19 Germans, 27 Portuguese, 13 Scandinavians, 15 Japanese, 7 Chinese, 3 South Sea Islanders, 1 Malay, 1 Russian, and 17 unclassified. The entire Blount report is available on the internet; each page has an individual URL. This particular page 1075 is at:
(note #7) Silva's discussion of Lord Paulet's rogue British gunboat takeover of the Kingdom totally ignores the King's closest advisor, the former American missionary Dr. Gerrit Judd. Silva's discussion of the diplomatic mission to France and England glorifies the young ali'i Timoteo Ha'alilio, who was the King's secretary, at the expense of the King's very close advisor, former American missionary William Richards. Richards had been the head of missionaries in Lahaina when Lahaina was the Kingdom's capital, and served both Kamehameha II and III for 20 years before going to England and France as the King's ambassador plenipotentiary. The King entrusted Richards (not Ha'alilio) with a "blank check" -- literally, blank papers carrying the King's signature and the royal seal, with instructions to formalize whatever agreement he could get. On page 36 of her book Silva glorifies Ha'alilio and diminishes Richards: "The mo'i [king] thus sent ... one of his closest and most trusted advisors, the ali'i Timoteo Ha'alilio, together with William Richards ..."
In a Hawaiian-language essay in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin on November 24, 2002, Silva made her insult to Richards stronger. She described him this way: "Na Ke Ali'i Timoteo Ha'alilio, me Uiliama Likeke i hele pü me ia ma ke 'ano i mau ukali nona..." [The ali'i Timoteo Ha'alilio, together with William Richards accompanying him as an attendant to him ...] The Star-Bulletin article is at:
In a 1998 English-language announcement, Silva wrote: "In our current process of decolonizing, reject the colonizer's holiday, and resurrect La Ku'oko'a instead." She was asking today's ethnic Hawaiians to set aside Thanksgiving and replace it with the Kingdom holiday of November 28, Ka La Ku'oko'a (Independence Day) in honor of Ha'alilio's accomplishments. That English-language announcement was the basis from which Silva 4 years later wrote her Hawaiian-language article (many portions of the two documents are identical in translation). Silva's 1998 description of the Kingdom holiday says: "Ha'alilio, with the missionary William Richards along as his secretary ..."
(note #8) Today's Hawaiian sovereignty independence activists are systematically ignoring heroes of the Hawaiian Kingdom who had no native blood. By removing non-natives from the pantheon of Hawaiian national historical heroes, today's Hawaiian activists show their intentions for the future. They say their movement is about a nation, not a race. They say people of all races will be welcome as citizens in the newly re-established nation. But their clear intention is to make second-class citizens of everyone lacking native blood, giving them only voting rights restricted to certain topics and property rights restricted to certain areas. This webpage explores several Hawaiian holidays (both historical and modern) to show how the ethnic cleansing is being implemented. Holidays include Ka La Ho'iho'i Ea (Sovereignty Restoration Day), Ka La Ku'oko'a (Independence Day), Martin Luther King's birthday, the 4th of July, and a newly created Hawaiian memorial day to supplant Christmas. See:
(note #9) Thurston Twigg-Smith, "Hawaiian Sovereignty: Do the Facts Matter?" page 86. Twigg-Smith's excellent book, including historical photos and footnotes, can be downloaded free of charge as a pdf file from:
(note #10) Noenoe Silva's own background (note #1) makes it clear that she started learning Hawaiian language in exactly the same way I did. She and I came to Hawai'i as well-formed adults (she 31, I 49), not speaking Hawaiian and also not familiar with local customs or even Pidgin. She and I began, shortly after arrival, to study Hawaiian language at Windward School for Adults (Kalaheo High School night program) in the beginners' class taught by Alison Ledward (but Noenoe was there seven years before me, so we never met). The same courses are now still taught there by the same excellent teacher (and others), although the fee has now increased from zero back then to $5 today. Thereafter, our paths diverged as Silva continued on to formal language classes at Windward Community College and then UH Manoa, while I remained with Ms. Ledward for three years through her highest class levels and then took only occasional informal courses in the local community after that, and watched Hawaiian-language TV programs like "Kulaiwi" and "Manaleo." Dr. Silva has gone far beyond my level of fluency.
But the fact remains that she learned Hawaiian the way anyone learns a foreign language, with the added disadvantage of needing to learn that language as it was spoken 150 years ago in order to read the newspapers from back then. There is no way that her modern non-Hawaiian cultural background or artificially-learned fluency would allow her to understand the subtle meanings expressed 150 years ago in a far different cultural environment by truly native Hawaiians. But more to the point, Dr. Silva's cultural knowledge and fluency can never match that of the native-born-and-raised haole Sanford B. Dole, who grew up playing with native children and had close friendships with natives throughout his life. She cannot match the fluency acquired by some of the earlier foreign-born haole who came to Hawai'i as young men and lived permanently in Hawai'i for many years while helping build and preserve the nation as trusted close advisors to the King -- men such as John Young and the missionaries Gerrit Judd and William Richards. Many haole in the kingdom spoke fluent Hawaiian and would have understood the surface meanings and multilayered kaona (subtle or symbolic meanings) better than Dr. Silva can. She is clearly mistaken in her view that Hawaiian language functioned as a secret code for the native resistance to American imperialism (psssst -- the haoles knew the code!).
(note #11) The information Silva published in her own book shows that many of the Hawaiian-language newspapers during the 1800s were haole-owned and pro-annexation -- including the period of the bayonet constitution, overthrow, and annexation. The pro-government and pro-annexation Hawaiian-language newspapers apparently had larger circulations than the newspapers Silva identifies as "resistance" papers; and the pro-annexation papers often had significantly longer lifespans than the "resistance" papers being published at the same time. That is clear evidence that many natives were supporters of annexation, and that some of the "resistance" newspapers had trouble getting enough support from readers to keep them afloat. There were also English-language "resistance" newspapers, showing either that many natives preferred English language over Hawaiian (a fact Dr. Silva bitterly resents and tries to hide), or that many haoles were resisters, or both.
The entire Chapter 2 (there are only 5 chapters) is devoted to the Hawaiian language "resistance" newspaper "Ka Hoku o ka Pakipika," one of whose editors was David Kalakaua (future King). Table 1 on page 56 provides interesting information comparing some popular newspapers for the period 1840 to 1865. "Ka Hoku o ka Pakipika" was the only "resistance" newspaper listed by Silva in that table. On page 55 Silva says "Then, in 1861, to the shock and outrage of the missionary establishment, a group of Kanaka Maoli, maka'ainana and ali'i together, transformed themselves into speaking subjects proud of their Kanaka way of life and traditions and unafraid to rebel. Their medium was a Hawaiian-language newspaper called Ka Hoku o ka Pakipika (The Star of the Pacific). This paper began a long tradition of nationalist, anticolonial resistance through the print media." But it is interesting to note that even with the backing of the wealthy and opinionated Kalakaua, this newspaper was published for less than two years, September 1861 to May1863. At the same time, Nupepa Kuokoa, also in Hawaiian language but described as "establishment" and owned by haole Henry Whitney, began publishing just a month later, in October 1861 and continued successfully all the way to December 1927. Also entirely overlapping the publication dates of "Ka Hoku o ka Pakipika" was the "Polynesian", an English-language newspaper edited by Abraham Fornander, publishing 1840 to 1841 and 1844 to 1864. Dr Silva says during this period all the Hawaiian language newspapers except "Ka Hoku o ka Pakipika" were related to or controlled by U.S. missionaries. KHOKP published lengthy stories and songs from or about the traditional culture and the old religion and hula. "Ka Hoku o ka Pakipika was a rebellious voice claiming to represent all the Kanaka Maoli, even those of the despised religions of Catholicism and Mormonism. It fought the Calvinists both overtly and covertly and in both plain and veiled language. For the first time in print its authors and editors dared to profess pride in their traditions and culture. ... " (page 83) and KHOKP "... reflected and communicated a specificaly Kanaka national identity ... based in the ancient cosmology and the realm of the sacred that the haole did not share." (page 85). Yet this newspaper lasted only 20 months, losing the competition for readership to other Hawaiian and English newspapers that had a government or establishment orientation. That's rather strong evidence that the "resistance" was extremely feeble.
Unfortunately, the table on page 56 is the only time Silva provides comparative newspaper data organized systematically. It is inexcusable that she provides no similar data for the periods of greatest interest to the "American imperialism" theme, when Kalakaua, Lili'uokalani, and Dole were heads of state and extroardinarily controversial events were taking place including the reciprocity treaty, bayonet constitution, overthrow, and annexation.
Today's residents of Hawai'i have a clear and simple analogy to what Silva claims was a newspaper-based Hawaiian native "resistance" movement from 1860-1900. Today in Honolulu we have two major daily newspapers, the Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin, which Silva would probably call "establishment." There is also the government-paid monthly English-language newspaper of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (rare articles in Hawaiian language), available by mail subscription free of charge and having a circulation of 64,000 (readers of this essay should call OHA and get a free subscription!) -- "Ka Wai Ola O OHA" publishes a lot of establishment propaganda supporting the Akaka bill, some "resistance" articles opposing the Akaka bill, personal diatribes by the elected OHA trustees, and some cultural information. There is also the weekly anti-establishment newspaper "Honolulu Weekly" distributed free of charge through widely scattered newspaper boxes on the streets; the weekly "Midweek" establishment newspaper containing supermarket ads and robust political commentary by various columnists, mailed free of charge to every address on O'ahu; the weekly "Hawaii Hochi" Japanese-language newspaper; the monthly "resistance" newspaper Mahogany (catering to Latino and African-American cultural and political concerns from a leftist perspective); Angulos (Latino interests, mostly in Spanish language); Filipino Chronicle (mostly English but occasional articles and advertisements in Tagalog); neighborhood "establishment" newspapers like the weekly "Downtown Planet", and many others. Professor Silva gives great credence to what was written in the Hawaiian-language "resistance" newspapers like "Ka Hoku o ka Pakipika" even though they lasted only for brief periods and probably had smaller circulation than other establishment, government, and pro-annexation papers written in Hawaiian language, and others in English. Professor Silva thus grossly misrepresents the sentiment of the general public and of the native Hawaiians during the period 1860 to 1900. Her technique for judging public opinion among the general public would be comparable to someone from California characterizing current opinion in Hawai'i by relying on newspapers such as "Ka Wai Ola O OHA" or "Honolulu Weekly." And her technique for judging public opinion among native Hawaiians would be comparable to someone from California characterizing the opinions of all Hawai'i's people of Hispanic ancestry by relying on the radical views presented in "Mahogany."
(note #12) Throughout the turbulent and sometimes violent events of 1887 (bayonet constitiution) to 1898 (annexation), freedom of the press and freedom of association were maintained almost continuously. Here are a few illustrations from Silva's book.
page 127: Hui Kalai'aina was created as a resistance organization immediately following the Bayonet Constitution. "Haole newspaper editor Daniel Lyons used his newspaper office of the 'Elele for organizing the Hui Kalai'aina."
page 128: Early morning of July 30 1889 Wilcox and his men gained control of the Palace grounds .. cabinet quickly assembled armed forces to retake the Palace, shooting broke out between the government troops and Wilcox's men. Several of Wilcox's men were killed or seriously wounded ... forced to surrender ... and 100 armed soldiers of the U.S.S. Adams were landed to patrol the streets. Now Silva says "For neither the first time nor the last, U.S. troops were the deciding force in an internal conflict in Hawai'i." But of course that's false. The U.S. did not impose a winner or loser. The skirmish was between two local groups -- native Wilcox against native Kalakaua -- and after the King's forces won, the U.S. then patrolled the streets to preserve order. A similar landing of U.S. peacekeepers had happened 15 years previously, when a riot broke out following Kalakaua's defeat of Queen Emma in a parliamentary election of a new King following the death of Lunalilo. The election took place inside the legislature; when it was finished and the results were announced then the riot broke out; and then the U.S. troops were urgently requested to restore order. Silva wants us to believe the U.S. military was dictating the course of events; but that is ludicrous. And through it all, the Hawaiian-language establishment, government, and protest newspapers, along with the English-language establishment, government, and protest newspapers, kept right on publishing.
page 130: After the Queen was overthrown, "Her people also immediately organized in protest. They formed the Hui Hawai'i Aloha 'Aina and a sister organization, the Hui Hawai'i Aloha 'Aina o Na Wahine." [Hawaiian Patriotic League]
page 139: Shortly after the Wilcox attempted counterrevolution, "In May 1895, Joseph Nawahi and his wife, Emma 'A'ima Nawahi, started a new weekly newspaper called Ke Aloha 'Aina."
page 181: Silva mentions there were both Hawaiian-language and English-language newspapers supporting Lili'uokalani after the overthrow and throughout the Republic period; and also newspapers in each language that were pro-Republic. Nupepa Kuokoa is cited as "the only source of news in Hawaiian" after all the royalist papers were briefly suspended during the Wilcox rebellion of January 1895. Then, pp. 181-191, Silva describes numerous mele [songs] published in the Hawaiian language Royalist newspapers while Lili'uokalani was under house arrest in the Palace for 8 months, then in Washington Place for 5 months, and then confined to O'ahu for 8 months. These mele were clearly royalist and called for restoration of the monarchy at a time when the ex-queen was under arrest for trying to help in her restoration. Some might call that inciting a race riot; but the "oppressive haole government" allowed it.
(c) Copyright 2005, Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved
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