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Asian Settler Colonialism (Hawaii) -- book review

"Asian Settler Colonialism: From Local Governance to the Habits of Everyday Life in Hawai'i" edited by Candace Fujikane and Jonathan Y. Okamura. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2008.


A new book published by the University of Hawaii Press (subsidized by taxpayers) is deeply insulting to Hawaii's people of Asian ancestry. The first insult comes by telling them that they are guilty of collaborating with Caucasians to oppress ethnic Hawaiians. The next insult comes by telling them that even if their families have lived in Hawaii for several generations, they are merely "settlers" in someone else's homeland and they have a duty to abandon their hard-won equal rights in order to accept a position of subservience to ethnic Hawaiians. Perhaps the deepest insult of all is the book's attempt to undermine the patriotism of Asian Americans by telling them they have a moral duty to help Hawaiian sovereignty activists liberate Hawaii from American colonialism and rip the 50th star off the flag. If anyone thinks this paragraph is an exaggeration, or a case of fear-mongering, then please read the entire book review, including the book's five-page celebratory explanation of the metaphors in a political cartoon showing Hawaii's first Filipino Governor, Ben Cayetano, lynching a Native Hawaiian in order to give pleasure to a Caucasian.

There's a struggle underway for the hearts and minds of Hawaii's people of Asian ancestry regarding the issue of Hawaiian sovereignty. A book recently published by our University of Hawaii Press, entitled "Asian Settler Colonialism", is a piece of strident propaganda by zealous advocates for race-based political sovereignty for ethnic Hawaiians. The book tries to lay a guilt trip on Hawaii's Asian population in hopes of enlisting them to support an ethnic Hawaiian agenda of blood nationalism. The good thing about this book is that it brings brings to public awareness a truly frightening belief-system. People inclined to support Hawaiian sovereignty, but who lack native blood, will discover that they are actually supporting the destruction of their own hard-won freedoms and individual rights.

This book review is offered in the belief that the great majority of people of Asian descent will feel disgust and revulsion at the naked racism and anti-Americanism in this book.

Will Hawaii's people of Asian ancestry remain loyal to the United States, or will they join with ethnic Hawaiian nationalists seeking to kick the U.S. completely out of Hawaii and create a racial supremacist independent Hawaii? Will Hawaii citizens of Asian descent see themselves primarily as victims of historical domination and exploitation by Caucasians, and join the ethnic Hawaiian grievance industry expressing resentment and demanding group reparations for "people of color"? Or will they see themselves as individuals whose forebears freely came to Hawaii to work as sugar plantation laborers, nurses, and hotel maids to make a better life and who succeeded in harvesting a piece of the American dream for themselves, their families, and descendants?

There is no compromise possible. That's because Hawaiian sovereignty activists subscribe to a religious belief justifying racial supremacy in political control of Hawaii, thereby leading to fascism. The sovereignty activists (both those who support the Akaka bill and those demanding independence) call upon all persons lacking a drop of Hawaiian native blood to subordinate themselves to Hawaii's master race.

Every group in Hawaii is composed entirely of "settlers" and their descendants -- including "Native Hawaiians." Today we celebrate the rebirth of voyaging canoes navigating by the stars, which is how Polynesians first came to settle Hawaii. No ethnic group sprang forth from the sands of these islands; all came from somewhere else. Even someone who has 100% Hawaiian native blood has 99% of the bones of his ancestors buried somewhere else in the world, simply because no humans lived in Hawaii until less than 2000 years ago.

Nevertheless, ethnic Hawaiians claim they are distinguished from all other settler groups because they are "indigenous." [1] They claim that being indigenous is not merely about having arrived first. Ethnic Hawaiians have a beautiful creation legend which sovereignty activists misinterpret to mean there is a genealogical family relationship among the gods, the islands of Hawaii, and ethnic Hawaiians exclusively; so that any person lacking a drop of the magic blood is forever an outsider who must accept second-class citizenship as guests in the indigenous homeland of their ethnic Hawaiians hosts. This is a religious belief, which is the activists' only way to distinguish themselves from other settler groups. There's a fundamental and unbridgeable difference between ethnic Hawaiians and all others, which is not based merely on length of residency.

This religious belief is the basis for asserting a genealogical (i.e., racial) claim to an inherent right to political and legal dominance as the master race.[2] It's a belief that the DNA of ethnic Hawaiians is mingled with the DNA of these islands as living beings so that, as Butch Helemano says in his Kau Inoa commercial, "being Hawaiian allows me to look at the world with a different perspective than others that aren't. In other words we can look at the sea and look at it as a place of sacredness and look at the sky as a place that we hear and look for messages." [3]

This religion includes the concept that racial memory is transmitted through the DNA so that someone with native blood can pull up memories of how to navigate by the stars even though that skill was lost many generations ago. [4] Ethnic Hawaiians have different DNA from everyone else, so their brains are hard-wired to see the world differently from everyone else [5] and they require segregated schools to provide race-specific curriculum and instructional methods adapted to their unique needs. [6]

To organize governmental structures and laws (political sovereignty, land ownership, and voting rights) on the basis of a religious belief violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which prohibits any governmental establishment of religion. That's why no compromise is possible.

On one side are Asians, Caucasians, and a probable majority of ethnic Hawaiians who believe in individual rights, unity and equality under the law, and are proud to be Americans in the 50th state. On the other side are some ethnic Hawaiians, and their allies among other ethnic groups, who believe in establishing by law the religious belief that ethnic Hawaiians are an indigenous people genealogically related to these islands and therefore entitled to exercise racial supremacy in a government based on group rights and blood nationalism.

The book "Asian Settler Colonialism" begins with a lengthy editor's essay explicitly setting forth this religious racial fascism, and calling upon Hawaii's people of Asian ancestry to kow-tow to ethnic Hawaiians. All the essays in the book support and expand this concept. It doesn't matter whether an Asian newcomer to Hawaii has just stepped off the plane from Japan, or whether his ancestors came here six generations ago -- everyone lacking a drop of the magic blood is merely a settler. Some Caucasian, Chinese, or Japanese citizens of Hawaii had an ancestor who was a subject (citizen) of the Hawaiian Kingdom by virtue of being born in Hawaii before 1893 or immigrating and taking the loyalty oath. Some such families now have as many as eight generations born and raised in Hawaii. There were thousands of Caucasians and Asians who were full partners in the Hawaiian Kingdom as cabinet ministers, heads of departments, members of the Legislature, and voters. [7] But if they and their descendants living in Hawaii today lack the magic blood, they are classified in this book as merely "settlers" whose true homeland is England, Boston, China, Japan, etc.

Amazingly, there are Asian-Americans living in Hawaii who agree with racial supremacy and blood nationalism for ethnic Hawaiians (including all the Asian authors of essays in this book), and who are now trying to persuade other Asians to set aside their rights as Americans and to subordinate themselves to ethnic Hawaiians. It's a credit to the generosity and desire for "social justice" of the politically liberal, humble, and culturally self-effacing folks who feel that way; but it's a greater credit to their intelligence and American patriotism when they reject blood nationalism and Hawaiian religious fascism. There are psychological explanations for the fact that some people seem willing to adopt a favorite racial group as a sort of icon like a state bird or state flower, tolerating and irrationally supporting claims to racial supremacy that would actually be harmful to themselves. [8] There are also historical reasons why Asians might be persuaded to side with ethnic Hawaiians as "locals" and "people of color" in solidarity against Caucasians. [9]

Multiple-generation Japanese have commented that Hawaii is the only place in the world where they are truly at home. They cannot "go back" to a Japan they have never even visited; tourists from Japan poke fun at Hawaii's Japanese because they speak an archaic form of the language and do not know today's social customs; and Japanese born and raised in Hawaii cannot feel at home on the U.s. mainland because of racism and differences in local culture. [10] Yet Hawaiian activists repeatedly tell those lacking Hawaiian blood that they have some other place in the world that is their true homeland. Vicky Holt Takamine spewed this racist concept into hundreds of thousands of living rooms in her repeatedly televised Kau Inoa commercial: "Every other people that come here to these islands have an ancestral homeland that they can go back to."[11]

The question Hawaii's people of Asian ancestry must answer for themselves is this: Do I embrace my American citizenship and my rights as an individual to be fully equal with everyone else under the Constitution; or do I believe I have an obligation to subordinate myself as a second-class citizen under the communal authority of ethnic Hawaiians? The editors of the book "Asian Settler Colonialism," and the authors of the essays inside it, are trying to get Asians to feel guilty by labeling them as collaborators with Caucasians in oppressing the indigenous natives of Hawaii under an American colonial regime backed by a U.S. military occupation; just as race-mongers on the mainland have been making today's Caucasians feel "white guilt" for slavery in the America of two centuries ago.

Psychotherapy is based on a belief that a person can be cured of mental illness when he is able to see clearly the nature of his illness and the events in his life which brought it about. Thus it can be hoped that understanding the full depth of the spiritual sickness in this book will help to immunize Asians in Hawaii against attitudes fostered by Hawaiian sovereignty activists that would lead to politically disastrous and morally evil consequences.

As one might expect, the order of essays in the book reflects the commitment to racial supremacy. The editors write: "The essays in this volume are organized into two parts; 'Native' and 'Settler.' As we were making editorial decisions about the ordering of essays ... 'Native' comes first; 'Settler' follows it and supports it from behind." [page 31].

The complete book review is found on a webpage at

For each essay in the book, the review provides author's name, title of the essay, and a one-paragraph summary. One of the essays is especially repulsive. It includes five pages of detailed celebration of the metaphors in an artwork called "Benocide" depicting former Governor Ben Cayetano as lynching a Native Hawaiian (and by extension committing genocide). In the background are Honolulu, Diamond Head, and a mushroom cloud; while shadowy images of other suffering natives are being trampled underfoot. The artist is, of course, ethnic Hawaiian. But the author of the essay is a Filipino! Asians who see that artwork and read the explanation of its metaphors will surely feel strong revulsion at the way Hawaii's first Governor of Filipino ancestry is portrayed. That chapter of the book gets considerably more than one paragraph in the review.

For the remainder of this book review, including the cartoon "Benocide" and explanations of its metaphors, please go to


[1] Are kanaka maoli indigenous to Hawai'i? Would the status of being indigenous give them special rights?

[2] Religion and zealotry in the Hawaiian sovereignty movement -- how religious myths are used to support political claims for racial supremacy in Hawaii

[3] See the full text of the Butch Helemano TV ad for the Kau Inoa racial registry, at

[4] "Polynesian" Voyaging -- Political Agenda, Ethnic Dominance, Cultural Authenticity, and Blood Nationalism. An extended book review of Ben Finney, "Sailing in the Wake of the Ancestors: Reviving Polynesian Voyaging"

[5] Hawaiian Epistemology and Education -- A claim that anyone with a drop of Hawaiian native blood has genetically and culturally encoded unique ways of knowing and learning; and therefore ethnic Hawaiian children (and other ethnic minorities to a lesser degree) have special needs for uniquely tailored curriculum and instructional methods

[6] Public Education for Ethnic Nation-Building in Hawaii -- a legislative bill to create a separate statewide school system for Native Hawaiians

[7] Were non-kanaka maoli historically full partners in Hawai'i, or only second-class guests?

[8] Native Hawaiians as the state pet or mascot: A Psychological Analysis of Why the People of Hawaii Tolerate and Irrationally Support Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism
See also
Pride and Prejudice -- What It Means To Be Proud of a Person, Group, Nation, or Race; Racial Profiling, Racial Prejudice, and Racial Supremacy

[9] Racism in the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement (with special focus on anti-white racism)

[10] Dennis M. Ogawa, "The World of Hawaii's Japanese Americans" (with a forward by Daniel K. Inouye) Honolulu: Japanese American Research Center, Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce, 1973.

[11] See the full text of Vicky Takamine's TV ad for the Kau Inoa racial registry, at


Additional overview

The overwhelming majority of Hawaii's population are racially Asian, of various national origins: Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Lao, and others. Caucasians are a large minority; and ethnic Hawaiians are a smaller minority. Nearly all ethnic Hawaiians are of mixed race.

But ethnic Hawaiian sovereignty activists often identify themselves solely as Hawaiian, even though Hawaiian native ancestry might be only a small part of their pedigree. They proudly trace the Hawaiian component of their genealogy as many generations back as possible, but seem uninterested in tracing the vast majority of their ancestors who lived in Europe, America, and Asia. One well-known activist who is a professor at the University of Hawaii is 5/8 Portuguese, 1/8 Chinese, 1/8 Dutch, and 1/8 Hawaiian; grew up in California until moving to Hawaii at age 31; and describes her heritage this way: "I was born on Oahu and am of Kanaka Maoli descent." That's it! She could lay claim to being an indigenous Chinese with just as much correctness as claiming to be "Kanaka Maoli"; yet 3/4 of her ancestry is Caucasian, from two nations who sent explorers to discover, colonize, exploit and oppress native populations throughout the world. Yet she claims her primary affiliation to be indigenous Hawaiian.

For the first several decades of the 20th Century, ethnic Hawaiians dominated the Territorial Legislature and the county police departments. But a major change took place when American law allowed Asian immigrants to become citizens and therefore to have voting rights. The result was a sudden rise in the power of Asians, at the expense of ethnic Hawaiians. Civil rights for Asians were perceived by Hawaiians as causing a loss of Hawaiian "rights" to control their ancestral homeland. Some Asians feel guilty about taking control from Hawaiians, and therefore feel inclined to give them concessions of autonomy, or spheres of influence, such the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, ceded land revenues, and the island of Kaho'olawe. For the past 50 years Hawaii citizens of Asian ancestry (especially Japanese) have dominated the Legislature, the state bureaucracy, the public school system, and many important banking institutions. They are the proud fulfillment of the dreams of their immigrant ancestors. If Hawaiian sovereignty activists could succeed in recruiting Hawaii's people of Asian ancestry to their cause, they could easily harness the power of government to serve the sovereignty agenda and also to greatly increase the already massive government subsidies to race-based programs for ethnic Hawaiians.

Now comes a book whose primary purpose is to lay a guilt trip on Hawaii's Asians by telling them that regardless of their families' history of being low-wage plantation or hotel workers, Asians today are part of America's colonial power structure that continues to exploit and oppress Native Hawaiians.

The book's title is "Asian Settler Colonialism: From Local Governance to the Habits of everyday Life in Hawaii." It's a collection of essays by various radical-left authors, mostly published previously, assembled into a book published by the University of Hawaii Press and edited by two Associate Professors at the University of Hawaii: Candace Fujikane (English) and Jonathan Y. Okamura (Ethnic Studies).

The word "settler" is never defined, but is clearly perjorative. Presumably, immigrants go to live in a foreign land for the purpose of assimilating and humbly subordinating themselves to the natives. But settlers go for the purpose of taking over and establishing dominance (as the American colonists who settled into America, or the Israelis who settled into Palestine).

The first thing after the title page is a picture of the infamous racist Haunani-Kay Trask giving a speech in front of a poster which says, ironically, "Stop Racism." On the opposite page facing Trask's picture is her poem entitled "Settlers, not immigrants." The poem blames settlers from Asia and America for coming to steal native land, water, women, and sovereignty; while bringing syphilis, leprosy, Jehova, and democracy (among other horrible things).

The lengthy "Introduction" by Candace Fujikane is entitled "Asian Settler Colonialism in the U.S. Colony of Hawaii." This essay makes it abundantly clear that Hawaii today remains a U.S. colony under a belligerent military occupation by the United States (sort of like China is occupying Tibet or Russia is occupying Chechnya). The main point of the essay is that Caucasians and Asians, even after their family has several generations of being born and raised in Hawaii, are still "settlers" here. The only people who can rightfully claim Hawaii as their homeland are people with at least one drop of Hawaiian native blood. In fact, a one-drop "Native Hawaiian" who is born and raised outside Hawaii is nevertheless an "indigenous" Hawaiian with a profound genealogical connection to the land which nobody lacking a drop of Hawaiian blood can ever have, despite many generations here.

What's that about ethnic Hawaiians having a genealogical relationship with the islands of Hawaii? Yes, it's a matter of biological DNA infused with race-based spiritual power. The concept, briefly described by Ms. Fujikane, comes from a racist interpretation of a beautiful Hawaiian creation legend called "Kumulipo." Here's a slightly more detailed version than Ms. Fujikane provided. In the beginning Wakea (Sky Father) mated with Papa (Earth Mother), who then gave birth to the Hawaiian islands as living beings (the land, and even the rocks, are living souls). Later Wakea and Papa mated again, producing Ho'ohokukalani (She Who Placed the Stars in the Heavens). Later Wakea mated with his daughter Ho'ohokukalani producing a stillborn deformed infant Haloa (it's normal and expected among gods and high-ranking ali'i for parents to mate with children and brothers to mate with sisters to preserve the spiritual power of genealogy). From the buried remains of Haloa sprang forth the first taro plant. Wakea mated again with daughter Ho'ohokukalani, who then gave birth to a perfect child, also named Haloa, who is the primordial ancestor of all ethnic Hawaiians. Thus anyone with even one drop of Hawaiian native blood is a child of the gods, and a younger brother or sister to the Hawaiian islands and to the taro plant; while anyone lacking a drop of the magic blood is forever outside this sacred family and has no inherent relationship to Hawaii.

Of course Hawaiian natives did not spring up from the sands of these islands. The original inhabitants of Hawaii came less than 2000 years ago on voyaging canoes, probably from the Marquesas islands. The people who today call themselves "Native Hawaiians" are descended from Tahitian wettlers who came perhaps 600-700 years ago, killed or enslaved the previous unhabitants, and imposed the culture of war, taboo, and human sacrifice. So-called "Native Hawaiians" are settlers here in exactly the same way as everyone else (although with longer tenure).

The interpretation of Kumulipo described above lays the basis for a very dangerous kind of religious racial fascism. It is a religious belief because it is about the gods and how the land and people were created. It establishes a racial group as having a genealogical entitlement to exercise political power solely on account of race.

Passing the Akaka bill would empower a racially exclusionary government founded on the establishment of this religion, contrary to the U.S. Constitution's prohibition of government establishmentof religion.

All Hawaiian sovereignty activists believe in this religion, regardless whether they are (also) Christians, Buddhists, or atheists; and regardless whether they support the Akaka bill or total independence for Hawaii. The only thing that rescues the true beauty of Kumulipo from being religious racial fascism is to interpret Haloa as being not merely the primordial ethnic Hawaiian, but rather as being like Adam, the primordial ancestor of all mankind. Thus we are all members of the same family of gods, lands, and people. We all share one blood. We are all indigenous people of this Earth. This is, indeed, what Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III said in the first sentence of the first Constitution of Hawaii: "God hath made of one blood all races of people, to dwell upon this Earth in unity and blessedness."


Summary of each essay in the book

Asian Settler Colonialism: From Local Governance to the Habits of Everyday Life in Hawai'i" is edited by Candace Fujikane and Jonathan Y. Okamura, and published in 2008 by the University of Hawaii Press.


Candace Fujikane, "Introduction: Asian Settler Colonialism in the U.S. Colony of Hawai'i"

Candace Fujikane is Associate Professor of English at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. She is apparently following the same career path as at least two other Associate Professors of English there who spend their time doing Hawaiian sovereignty activities rather than doing research or writing about English -- Laura Lyons and Ruth Hsu. With professors like these, it's no wonder so many UH students end up with such poor reading and writing skills and such poor grasp of traditional English literature.

The first sentence on the first page of Ms. Fijikane's "41-page "Introduction" is: "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." And from there it's all downhill. There is no attempt to explain or defend the implied assumption that ethnic Hawaiians are an "indigenous people" nor that Hawaii is an oppressed nation needing liberation from U.S. colonialism. Such allegations are simply assumed to be unquestionably true, and readers are expected to believe them. The first paragraph ends with a quote from Haunani-Kay Trask's book "From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawaii" explaining that in settler societies like Hawaii, civil rights is about how to protect settlers rather than about "injustices done against native people such as genocide, land dispossession, language banning ..." Fujikane then cites radical ethnic Hawaiian professors at UH as authorities; notably Jon Osorio, Lilikala kame'eleihiwa, and Noenoe Silva. No wonder UH students end up brainwashed with anti-American and anti-Caucasian attitudes.

Fujikane explains that even the first Asian laborers who came to work on the sugar plantations were guilty of oppression against the indigenous natives of Hawaii, despite the fact that the laborers were themselves living in poverty and were exploited by the Caucasian plantation owners and supervisors. The Asian laborers were accomplices with the Caucasians in the success of an economic system which deprived natives of land and political power. And now, several generations later, the descendants of those Asian settlers, along with other Asians who newly arrive as first-generation settlers, have substantial wealth and political power of their own which makes them sometimes as powerful as the primary (Caucasian) masters of native oppression. Fujikane's analysis of oppression is comparabe to saying that the Negro slaves in America were guilty of oppressing the Indians because the slaves helped make the cotton plantations successful, thereby dispossessing the Indians of their land; except that in Hawaii the Asians are more to blame because they came by choice rather than in chains.

On page 15 Fujikane explains that "settler lawsuits claim that in an American democracy Hawaiians' indigenous rights to land and resources jeopardize democratic democratic ideals of 'justice for all.' They illustrate precisely what happens when settlers equate themselves with natives. In the most egregious of ironies, settlers proclaim that Native Hawaiians are depriving them of their civil rights, but they do so in order to use the argument of equal rights to take from Natives their rights and resources as indigenous peoples." Thus Fujikane clearly discloses her belief -- the basic concept of the entire book -- that natives (anyone with a drop of native blood) have an inherent right to racial supremacy, and it is racist for anyone to argue that people of all races should be equal. What a splendid piece of topsy-turvey Marxist analysis. To fight against racial supremacy is racist, because people of the native race have a right to exercise control over the land, the economy, and the political system.


Here's a list of the titles and authors of the essays in the book, in the order of their appearance, with a very brief description of what each essay is about.

Part 1: Native [essays by ethnic Hawaiians]

Haunani-Kay Trask, "Settlers of Color and 'Immigrant' Hegemony: 'Locals' in Hawaii" Asians have suffered at the hands of Caucasians, and therefore don't like to be classified as settlers along with the Caucasians; so non-Caucasian settlers have adopted the term "local" to describe themselves. Senator Inouye deserved the label "one-armed bandit" because he consistently used his position of power to bring pork-barrel money to Hawaii which helped his Asian settler buddies but did little to help the natives. Indigenous people always have superior rights to other minorities, under international law. "Asians and haole have been thrown into a cauldron of defensive actions by our nationalist struggle. Either they must justify their continued benefit from Hawaiian subjugation, thus serving as support for that subjugation, or they must repudiate American hegemony and work with the Hawaiian nationalist movement ... must choose to support a form of Hawaiian self-determination created by Hawaiians." (page 61)

Mililani B. Trask, "Hawaii and the United Nations" U.S. obligations to Hawaii as a non-self-governing territory (i.e., colony) under U.N. resolutions. The beginnings of Ka Lahui sovereignty group.

Mililani B. Trask, "Hawaiian Sovereignty" Ka Lahui accepted the U.S. apology resolution, and then used it to call for decolonization and native control over all the public lands.

Momiala Kamahele, "'Ilio'ulaokalani: Defending Native Hawaiian Culture" Discussion of the 'Ilio'ulaokalani organization's protests at the state capitol when legislation was introduced to regulate native gathering rights under the PASH decision.

Healani Sonoda, "A Nation Incarcerated" Ethnic Hawaiians are incarcerated in their own homeland at a much higher rate than other ethnicities, because settler-imposed laws have defined as illegal many of their traditional and cultural practices, and because natives are under-represented among lawyers and judges. Natives are deported from their homeland to serve their prison sentences in a foreign land thousands of miles from home.

Ku'ualoha Ho'omanawanui, "This Land Is Your Land, This Land Was My Land: Kanaka Maoli versus Settler Representations of 'Aina in Contemporary Literature of Hawaii" Some multi-generation settlers claim to be rooted in the land. They appropriate native stories and metaphors, and write about aloha; which is actually a form of identity theft. No settler, regardless of how many generations in Hawaii, can ever have the genealogical connection with the land which the natives have.

Kapulani Landgraf, "'Ai Pohaku" Five photographs from a series which seek to rediscover the significance of Oahu heiaus which were destroyed by construction projects and are now underneath buildings.

Part 2: Settler [essays by "settlers"]

David Stannard, "The Hawaiians: Health, Justice, Sovereignty" [Stannard is Caucasian, not Asian; but he earned his place in this book by being the long-time live-in boyfriend of Haunani-Kay Trask and by writing books and essays subservient to Trask's ideology and political agenda. Stannard's essay is the only one in this book that is not written by an Asian and also does not ever mention Asians. The only plausible reasons why the essay is included is to give honorable mention to Haunani-Kay Trask's boyfriend and to solicit sympathy for ethnic Hawaiians by fueling the victimhood grievance industry.] Stannard claims the precontact population of Hawaii was 800,000 before being decimated through introduced diseases (genocide). He claims ethnic Hawaiians do not commit crimes disproportionately, but are disproportionately incarcerated because "the justice system in Hawaii is embarked on a patently transparent campaign to incarcerate and thus create a multigenerational class of Hawaiian criminals." (page 167)

Kyle Kajihiro, "The Militarizing of Hawaii: Occupation, Accommodation, and Resistance" The U.S. asserted military hegemony over Hawaii in the 1850s, now holds about 112,000 acres as military bases, and is guilty of cultural genocide. The sacred islandof Kaho'olawe was used as a practice bombing target for many years and is now being restored. Other demilitarization struggles are described. "The U.S. military in Hawaii is mighty but not invincible. Many scholars now argue that the United States is in an unsustainable state of imperial overreach. People's movements have successfully challenged the military and made significant changes in Hawaii." The U.S. military is in retreat worldwide as the U.S. empire collapses [and perhaps Hawaii will be set free].

Karen K. Kosasa, "Sites of Erasure: The Representation of Settler Culture in Hawaii" Ms. Kosasa says of herself and photographer Stan Tomita that their works have the purpose of asking "uneasy questions about ourselves and other settlers. We are sansei, third-generation Japanese settlers ... our collaborative art projects have represented struggles over land use ..." Kosasa says Asian settlers are complicit in Caucasian hegemony over native Hawaiians because the Asians create and consume the amenities of civilization (homes, shopping malls, geothermal energy) which dispossess the natives from their land and culture. Mainstream literary and artistic productions (including those created by Asians) are "acts of erasure" which produce "blankness and whiteness" by covering up the colonial exploitation of natives and thus making people think everything is congenial and normal.

Eiko Kosasa, "Ideological Images: U.S. Nationalism in Japanese Settler Photographs" [Eiko Kosasa worked closely with Haunani-Kay Trask for many years as her assistant, and completed her Ph.D. dissertation under Trask. She is a leader of a Trask-generated group "Local Japanese Women for Justice" which rushed to defend Mililani Trask's crude remarks that Senator Inouye is a "one-armed bandit" and Trask's attack against the Japanese American Citizens League. Thus, Eiko Kosasa is a living exemplar of political correctness for Hawaii citizens of Asian ancestry, bowing and giving deference to ethnic Hawaiians; standing behind them (but not next to them) and excoriating other Asians who fail to kow-tow to the natives.] Kosasa compares settlers arriving at Ellis Island, and pioneers settling the West, with Asian settlers coming to Hawaii. She says photos, paintings, and other artistic creations showing settler ethnic neighborhoods and architectural styles are one of the ways the U.S. summons settlers to assimilate to a new identity as Americans and adopt American nationalistic patriotism, because such artworks show America welcomes all ethnic groups as equals. "We, as Asian settlers, are not members or citizens of any Native nations occupied by the United States; therefore, we cannot represent Native or 'Neutral' interests. It is colonialist to think that Asian settlers could participate in any process that decides Native self-determination or sovereignty or to think that Asian settlers could accept any positions/posts on any colonial government panel or committee that is discussing Native interests." page 225) [So, presumably, Hawaii citizens of Asian ancestry should not hold public office and should not vote, so long as the state and county governments exercise authority over land and resources that should be under native control]

Jonathan Y. Okamura, "Ethnic Boundary Construction in the Japanese American Community in Hawaii" Mr. Okamura does an excellent job describing several examples of racial exclusion or blood quantum rules for Asian institutions in Hawaii, and comparing them against similar rules for ethnic Hawaiian institutions. He describes the stubborn insistence on keeping the Japanese-only rule for the AJA baseball leagues even though they use public parks; the modification of the Japanese-only rule for the Cherry Blossom Queen contest to reduce the required blood quantum to 50%; the fact that the Narcissus Queen rule had required only 50% Chinese ancestry for a long time and that the Miss Hawaii Filipina Queen rule required only one drop of Filipina ancestry. He notes that Japanese have a history of very low rates of intermarriage compared with other Asian groups, so Japanese institutions are more inclined to be ethnically "defensive." Okamura then discusses in detail the attacks on Hawaiians-only institutions, including Rice v. Cayetano, Arakaki I, Arakaki II, Barrett, Carroll, and the several Kamehameha admissions cases. Okamura compares the Hawaiian cases against the Asian cases, and concludes that ethnic Hawaiians are different from Asian settlers because ethnic Hawaiians are indigenous to Hawaii and therefore should be entitled to maintain exclusionary institutions because the issue for Hawaiians is indigeneity and not race. Okamura barely hints at but does not discuss the fact that the alleged indigeneity of ethnic Hawaiians is founded on a religious belief [and therefore governmental recognition of it in the laws of Hawaii would constitute government establishment of a religion contrary to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution].

Dean Itsuji Saranillio, "Colonial Amnesia: Rethinking Filipino 'American' Settler Empowerment in the U.S. Colony of Hawai'i" This essay is especially repugnant, and therefore requires a lengthy discussion which will be provided as the last item in this book review so as not to crowd out the remaining two items in the book.

Peggy Myo-Young Choy, "Anatomy of a Dancer: Place, Lineage, and Liberation" Ms. Choy describes her great-grandfather's emigration from Korea, the lives of her grandparents and parents in Hawaii, and their efforts to maintain a Korean cultural identity. She proudly describes her parents' UH Ethnic Studies Department activism including study of Mao, the Black Panthers, the war resistance, and native land and water rights in Wai'ahole. She praises her mother for shifting her primary focus of activism from supporting Korean liberation from Japanese imperialism to supporting ethnic Hawaiian liberation from American imperialism. She concludes that the legacy of her family "was tainted with unavoidable complicity ... This millenium's challenge will be for Koreans and other Asian groups living in the islands to begin to listen to Hawaiian stories ... in order to see history for what it is, and then we can better see what transformations need to occur for future generations." So Ms. Choy celebrates her parents and herself as examples of how good Asian settlers (3rd and 4th generation) should behave, by humbly supporting ethnic Hawaiian blood nationalism.

Ida Yoshinaga and Eiko Kosasa, "Local Japanese Women for Justice (LJWJ) Speak Out against Daniel Inouye and the JACL" It's unclear how many women are members of LJWJ -- it might be a mere handful. Readers can put it through Google and see their very small footprint which seems always focused on criticizing Inouye and JACL. This essay poses the rhetorical question "Why are non-Hawaiians -- that is, Inouye, the JACL, and the media -- compelled to control the direction and process of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement?" [Could it be because everyone in Hawaii has a right to self-determination and an interest in the outcome?] There is then a re-fighting of the dispute over whether Mililani Trask should have called Inouye a one-armed bandit, whether Inouye sexually exploited Lenore Kwock and nine other women, whether Inouye should have pushed the H-3 highway through Congress, etc. LJWJ opposes Inouye's trivialization of the apology resolution as merely a symbolic apology and nothing more, and opposes JACL's support for what LJWJ calls a paper nation (the Akaka bill) which would be nothing more than the further oppression of ethnic Hawaiians under the wardship of the federal government.

** This book review now ends with an exposee of an essay by a Filipino which includes five pages praising the symbolism in a single piece of art whose purpose is to portray Ben Cayetano, Hawaii's first Filipino Governor, as a perpetrator of genocide against ethnic Hawaiians.


Dean Itsuji Saranillio, "Colonial Amnesia: Rethinking Filipino 'American' Settler Empowerment in the U.S. Colony of Hawai'i", pp. 256-278 in the book. "For Filipinos in the United States, marginalization and subordination seem to be requisite for U.S. citizenship." (page 257) Therefore even when Filipinos gain a high-status position in the political system, they remain subservient to their oppressive Caucasian masters. The concept of Asian settler colonialism shows that the Filipino desire to work hard and achieve economic and social equality with Caucasians actually enlists Filipinos as collaborators in the colonialist system which oppresses the natives in their indigenous homeland. U.S. colonialism in the Philippines has caused a century of Filipinos moving to Hawaii to seek a better life, where they succeed only at the expense of natives. A work of art entitled "Benocide" by ethnic Hawaiian artist Kewaikaliko is described and explained for 5 pages. Essay author Saranillo celebrates it because it shows Ben Cayetano, the first Filipino Governor of Hawaii, lynching a native while looking away from the native toward the Caucasian to seek the Caucasian's approval. Thus even the most powerful Filipino man in Hawaii subordinates himself to an ordinary Caucasian (whose aloha shirt has swastikas on it).

The section of the essay where the artwork is presented and celebrated has the title "Whose side are we on?" In the perspective of Dean Saranillo, Asians in Hawaii must choose whether to ally themselves with the natives or with the Colonial exploiters. Ben Cayetano made the wrong choice, and is held up to scorn and ridicule in a gruesome political cartoon.

The cartoon is shown below in a size that will likely fit onto a single page, or the screen of a computer. Then follows the five page celebratory explanation of its symbolism. At the bottom of this webpage is a greatly enlarged version of the cartoon (use both horizontal and vertical scroll bars to navigate), allowing readers to explore details.

The caption under the picture is: Kewaikaliko, "Benocide", 2000. Pastel and fluorescent marker on paper. (Courtesy of the artist)

[pp. 268-272 of the book]

... One example of a Filipino settler leader who has not advocated protest but rather accommodation to the political system that colonizes Hawaiians is former governor Benjamin Cayetano.

Whose Side Are We On?

The Honolulu Academy of Arts held an art exhibition titled Na Maka Hou: New Visions from May 13 until June 17, 2001, featuring more than one hundred works of art by fifty-eight Native Hawaiian artists, an overview of the artistic expressions of Native Hawaiians in a variety of media. A piece by artist Kewaikaliko, "Benocide", explicitly addresses the violent effects of colonialism, specifically the collaboration of Filipino settler and former governor Benjamin Cayetano (1994-2002) with legal assaults on Native Hawaiian entitlements.

Kewaikaliko uses art as a weapon to depict a Hawai'i that often goes unseen. Central to Benocide is a loaded illustration of a lynched Native Hawaiian man and his executioner, Cayetano. The powerfully built Native man is being lynched on a tree with leaves made of money; Death, smoking crystal methamphetamine, is figured as its trunk. A haole man stands wearing a swastika-covered aloha shirt and waving the State of Hawai'i flag, formerly the flag of the Hawwaiian Kingdom. I read this figure as a representation of neoconservative haole settlers who have been seeking to dismantle Native entitlements. Next to him is a pua'a (pig) in Western-style clothing -- possibly a colluding Native -- who appears to be fondling the haole man's rear. Depicted in black and gray and making up the ground beneath this mob are Natives who appear in all manner of suffering. The black and gray envelop the green mountain that overlooks the urban sprawl of Waikiki. On the horizon is a nuclear mushroom cloud rising into the sky, a direct reference to nuclear testing in the Pacific and more generally to the U.S. military's devastating impact in Hawai'i and the Pacific. A note from the artist accompanied this aptly named piece: "This artwork was created in October 2000. It was completed in a week and has been getting both positive and negative feedback. Grandma hates it."

There are numerous issues interwoven in Kewaikaliko's artwork, but I wish to focus on Cayetano's collaboration in the lawsuits that have sought to dismantle Native entitlements. At the 1978 State of Hawai'i Constitutional Convention, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) was formed to oversee the trust assets of Native Hawaiians designated in the Admissions Act of 1959. The Admissions Act transferred an estimated 1.8 million acres of ceded lands -- lands stolen by the United States at the time of annexation -- from the U.S. federal government to the State to be administered in a trust-ward relationship, with "the betterment of the conditions of Native Hawaiians" listed as one of the five responsibilities of the "ceded lands public trust." In 1980 a Native Hawaiian-only vote was established to elect nine trustees who would administer OHA assets.

On February 23, 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court in Rice v. Cayetano opened all Native Hawaiian entitlements to legal assault. The court struck down the 1980 voting scheme, ruling that the elections were "race based" and consequently discriminatory on the grounds of the Fifteenth Amendment. In spite of the more than 150 federal laws passed by Congress acknowledging Native Hawaiians alongside American Indians as beneficiaries of federal programs for indigenous peoples, the court ruled that Native Hawaiians are not a federally recognized Indian tribe. On October 3, 2000, a settler resident of Hawai'i, Patrick Barrett, filed a complaint in the Hawai'i federal district court alleging that Article XII of the Hawai'i State Constitution violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution insofar as it created the Hawaiian Homes Commission and OHA and protected Native Hawaiian gathering rights. Barrett's lawsuit followed John Carroll's similar lawsuit, which also alleged that the creation of OHA was illegal on equal protection grounds. These lawsuits were eventually thrown out of court because the pIaintiffs had never applied for any Native Hawaiian entitlement program. Kewaikaliko's Benocide, completed in October 2000, is a response to these lawsuits; the caricature represents other settlers who use the court system to legally terminate an indigenous category.

While Cayetano is physically hanging the Native, he does not gaze at the hanging Hawaiian, but rather looks to the haole for recognition of his act. This is a subtle but apt illustration of the performative role that Cayetano as a "Filipino American" must play in order to maintain his political position. Ida Yoshinaga and Eiko Kosasa, founders of the community action group Local Japanese Women for Justice (LJWJ), exposed the chain of command in the state where soon after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff in the Rice v. Cayetano case, Hawai'i's U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye issued a statement to both OHA and Cayetano requesting the removal of all OHA trustees. Inouye wrote in his letter: "I believe that the Governor has authority under a separate State of Hawaii statute to appoint interim trustees so that the important work of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs need not be interrupted." Cayetano, under Senator Inouye's instructions, called for the nine trustees to step down voluntarily or risk OHA's termination and then appointed his own trustees to office. As Yoshinaga and Kosasa point out, "The intended result of Inouye's statement was to facilitate the control of OHA by the state and away from the electoral process. Later, Cayetano released a statement repeating Inouye's analysis as his own." In Benocide the pua'a and Cayetano choose not to look at the lynching but instead both look to the haole as they work within the constraints of the system struggling for subordinate supremacy. In other words, Cayetano, as a member of a subordinated group in a political position of power, affirms the colonial order that makes his position possible.

Providing historical depth to the scene, Kewaikaliko places at Governor Cayetano's feet the bearded and bloodied skull of Sanford B. Dole, the first territorial governor of Hawai'i and a colonial official intimately involved in the 1893 overthrow and 1898 annexation of Hawai'i to the United States. Cayetano is positioned over Dole's remains and appears to have Dole's blood on his hands. The settler contest between representative figures Dole and Cayetano frame the art piece. In what Haunani-Kay Trask describes as an "intra-settler struggle for hegemony," the victor holds the noose. Cayetano stands where Dole once stood, exercising political power that is made possible only by maintaining a U.S. colonial order.

By holding the noose and looking to the haole, Cayetano represents the collusion of the State of Hawai'i with the legal assaults. Since the appearance of the legal challenges, the State of Hawai'i has been in the peculiar position of having to defend Native entitlements from lawsuit while being negligent in administering these same entitlements. In Benocide Cayetano lynches the Native on a tree with leaves made of money. In 1991 the Hawai'i Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights published a report titled A Broken Trust stating that both the Territory and State of Hawai'i had been negligent for seventy-three years in fulfilling their fiduciary duties as trustees of the Ceded Lands Trust. As a result of the report the State of Hawai'i and OHA throughout much of the 1990s were tied up in court attempting to resolve back payments the State of Hawai'i owed OHA. In 1990 the Hawai'i State Legislature passed Act 304 to provide a mechanism for determining the amount of ceded land revenues owed to OHA. [34] The law specified that OHA was entitled to 20 percent of revenue from the ceded lands. Three years later the State paid OHA $19 million and agreed to make annual revenue payments. OHA filed a lawsuit in 1994 to resolve all remaining back-payment issues. On September 12, 2001, the Hawai'i Supreme Court ruled that Act 304 conflicted with the 1998 Forgiveness Act passed by Congress, which prohibted further payment of airport revenues for claims related to ceded lands, and was therefore invalid. Based on the ruling, Cayetano ordered state departments to stop payments to OHA. He instead offered to settle the issue of repayment in 1999 with a global settlement of $251 million and 360,000 acres of ceded lands, but OHA declined.

One article in the Fil-Am Courier describes Cayetano as "the son of immigrants from Kalihi to Washington Place .... The American Dream come true." This master narrative of a working-class boy from Kalihi who after hard work and sacrifice becomes governor is very much a part of a dominant Asian settler ideology in Hawai'i that functions to justify the positions of power held by settlers, where the descendants of hardworking laborers on the plantation now control the state. This model minority narrative consequently implies that Native Hawaiians and unsuccessful Filipino settlers just need to work harder. On the contrary, as a commentary on the oversimplified dominant ideologies that cast Hawai'i as the American Dream, a "multicultural paradise;" and a "land of aloha," the Native Hawaiian man hung in Benocide is scaled realistically compared to Cayetano, the haole, and the pua'a, who are drawn as cartoons with short, round, and stubby features. Benocide reveals what these ideologies are designed to conceal: the State of Hawai'i is neither democratic nor utopic but instead is a colony whose existence depends on the violent subjugation of Native people. In the face of Native suffering and colonization, romanticized representations of Hawai'i have as much relevance as a cartoon. Hidden in plain sight, the Native Hawaiian man is being lynched by these three while they themselves bask in the ideologies of American democracy and equality and the political and economic power attached to them.

Kewaikaliko's Benocide forces the viewer to see the often uncomfortable and harsh realities of colonialism in Hawai'i while asking one to bear witness to the contemporary situation of Hawaiians. I would lastly like to point out that the artwork frames the viewer as a spectator to the lynching. In much the same way that lynchings in the United States were viewed publicly and necessitated general public support or at least silent complicity, we view the lynching as it happens, from the same perspective as the other spectators, which implicates the viewer in the symbolic lynching of Hawaiians. Framing the viewed in this way, the artwork poses a difficult question: What are you going to do about this? As Hawaii-scholar Manulani AIuli Meyer asserts in an essay that accompanied this exhibition, "We speak to you in shapes, colors, and metaphors. We view angles distinctly; we prioritize contours differently; we have different politics based on our experience of rape, pillage and transformation. We are speaking in the language of imagery and you are learning more about the passion and priorities of a people. The time demands it of all of us. And I believe we are ready to listen:"

Benocide offers a vision of Hawai'i that reveals the current consequences of the blinding ideologies underpinning the current legal assaults against Native Hawaiian trusts and assets. Hawaiian artwork such as Kewaikaliko's demystifies the illusions of settler colonialism, revealing the current violent effects of the Iegal challenges and the continued U.S. settler colonization of Hawai'i.

** Note by Ken Conklin:

The haole man in the picture is clearly Ken Conklin -- viewed from the back, short and pudgy, beard, fringe of hair on back of otherwise bald head. This same essay, printed elsewhere a couple of years ago, specifically named Ken Conklin as the haole man, but that was changed to "a haole man" in this later reprinted version of the essay for reasons known only to the author.

Putting the artist's name Kewaikaliko and/or Benocide into Google, a book is found which turns out to be available on

Antonio Tiongson (Editor), Ricardo Gutierrez (Editor), Edgardo Gutierrez (Editor). "Positively No Filipinos Allowed: Building Communities and Discourse (Asian American History & Culture)"

This book contains an essay with nearly identical wording to the same essay in "Asian Settler Colonialism" but uses the name "Conklin" whereas the "Asian Settler Colonialism" book replaces "Conklin" with "the haole." has a "look inside" feature which allows a search for specific text. Using that function to search for "Conklin" located two occasions:

On Page 136:
"... a pua'a or pig in Western-style clothing. A pua'a with tricksterlike qualities, perhaps a colluding Native, appears to be fondling Conklin's rear. Depicted in black and gray, and comprising the ground beneath this mob, are Natives who appear in all manner ..."

On Page 137:
"... process °'27 In Benocide, the pua'a and Cayetano choose not to look at the lynching but instead both look to Conklin as they work within the constraints of the system struggling for subordinate supremacy. ..."

Here is a greatly enlarged version of the cartoon making it possible to explore details (although the resolution is less clear than in the smaller-size cartoon). Use both horizontal and vertical scroll bars to navigate, guided by the smaller version above.


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(c) Copyright 2009 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved