Native Hawaiians lost more than their Kingdom and Royalties, forced upon them by a “de facto” government, and U.S. Statehood: Their identity was stolen.
Due to some mistaken identity, Native Hawaiians killed 18th Century British Navigator Captain James Cook, in 1779. The resemblance between Cook’s ships’ white sails to the tapa cloth color reserved for one of Hawaii’s deities named Lono, made Cook a god.
Cook was called Lono upon his arrival in 1778, and Hawaiians adorned him with admiration fit for a god. On his return voyage a year later, however, Hawaiians had figured out Cook was only human. Insulted Hawaiians instigated an attack on Cook’s crew in which the famous natural scientist was killed.
U.S. Assisted De Facto Government in Immoral Coup D’état Actions
A century later, in 1893, another round of conflicts with foreigners ended drastically for the indigenous Hawaiians. The Hawaiian monarchy (Queen Lili’uokalani) was overthrown, with American Marines’ fire power delivering the coup de grâce blow.
Hawaiians became a people without identity, and without a country, in their own land. The immoral responsibilities for these acts, as evidenced by historical facts, are borne by the United States of America. U.S. Marines landed illegally and provided support to a de facto government. It consisted of foreign businessmen and missionary families opposed to the legitimate Kingdom of Hawai’i.
First, American missionaries arrived to establish a “moral order,” in 1820, to Christianize the islands of savages. Their first tool of exorcism was displacing the traditional gods of the Polynesian “heathens” with “Jehovah” as they were doing successfully in other Polynesian islands.
Hawaiians Stripped Naked of Their Identity
Secondly, American businessmen arrived to establish an “economic order,” joined forces with missionaries, and set the stage for a “political order.” It was this economic order (capitalism), and political order (democracy) that Hawaiians were deemed unfit to live as free men and women on their land.
These men of the de facto Republic of Hawai’i were agents of the market demand in the United States for sugar. The economic attractions brought large sugar-cane plantations that required thousands of laborers. Hawaiian Royal lands, ali’i (chiefs) parcels, and individual family lands were needed for the sugar industry. Unaccustomed, and refused to work long hours of labor in the sun on commercial agricultural plantations, Hawaiians were dispensable in favor of cheap imported Asian laborers.
In due course, imported foreign laborers’ children who did not speak Hawaiian, soon outnumbered indigenous Hawaiian students in schools. Consequently, Hawaiian became inferior to English which became the official “moral” and “business” language. Hawaiian children grew up illiterates of their own language. With a decreasing population (see stats below), Hawaiians became a minority.
Innocent Indigenous Hawaiian Race Decimated
The decimation of the Hawaiian race can be said is one of the immoral acts done to a group of innocent people in modern civilization. As a peaceful Kingdom, they welcomed foreigners, missionaries, beachcombers, and professionals to their beautiful islands. How did Hawaii’s indigenous people deserve such inhumane treatment?
As a natural historian, Capt. Cook estimated the Hawaiian population numbering up to 800,000. But the decimation of the Hawaiian race raged on without impediment:
- 50 years after Cook’s arrival, 40-60% of native Hawaiians were wiped out by diseases brought by foreigners.
- 1832 Missionaries’ census found only 130,000 indigenous Hawaiian survivors.
- 1853 Kingdom of Hawai’i census recorded only 73,000 indigenous Hawaiians living.
- 1878 King Kalakaua Kingdom recorded less than 58,000 native Hawaiians left.
- 1900 Territory of Hawai’i census recorded just 40,000 indigenous Hawaiians surviving.
Conclusion: Hawaiians Barely Surviving Endangered Race List
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) 2000 census recorded 239,655 Hawaiians. That is positive sign, which shows the Hawaiian race is surviving the Endangered Race list. From losing their land; their language; their traditional religion; their legitimate form of government; and their identity, how can Hawaiians’ plight and pride be restored?
It has been 117 years since that dreadful day when American marines landed in Honolulu illegally to help the de facto government of American businessmen overthrew the Monarchy de jure Kingdom of Hawai’i.
“Hawaiians are still struggling over issues of land, sovereignty, and their identity,” writes Elizabeth Buck.
- David Malo, Hawaiian Antiquities, 1898. Honolulu, Hawai’i: Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
- Elizabeth Buck, Paradise Remade: The Politics of Culture and History of Hawai’i, 1993. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
- Sir Peter H. Buck (Te Rangi Hiroa), Anthropology and Religion, 1939. London, England: Oxford University Press.