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Preview — Aloha Betrayed by Noenoe K. Silva
Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism
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. This event was unknown to many contemporary Hawaiians until Noenoe K. Silva rediscovered the petition ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 7th 2004 by Duke University Press Books
(first published August 2004)
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This is an excellent retelling of the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom, annexation to the US, and the efforts of the Hawaiian people to retain their autonomy, from Hawaiian rather than English language sources. US missionaries in the 1820s became businessmen and land owners in the last half of the century, and they wanted annexation to the US to relieve tariffs on their products. They eventually took over the government through both legal and less-than-legal military means. Hawaiians fought bac ...more
Noenoe K. Silva, a professor of political science and Hawaiian language at the University of Hawaii, successfully unearths the veiled history of Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) resistance to colonialism. Within Aloha Betrayed, critical interpretation of native Hawaiian newspapers, petitions, mele (chants), and poetry accurately deconstruct the myth that the Kanaka Maoli “passively accepted the erosion of their culture and the loss of their nation.” These sources, long overlooked or grossly misin ...more
Book Sum: Hawaii is a prime example of how historian source bias (using only English language/the colonizers' language sources) can lead to a faulty picture of that society. Hawaiian language sources were ignored until very recently and this has led to the idea that native Hawaiians never fought annexation/colonization by the US when intact they mounted a very vigorous resistance movement.
I found Silva's work a helpful corrective to Hawaiian historiography which only considers the English language sources. Silva should follow this work up with an anthology of Hawaiian writings, perhaps a parallel English-Hawaiian text, or the sources translated into English in order to open these remote sources to a wider readership.
Another must-read for those interested in Hawai'i. Much of the colonial history of the islands is built around the notion that the "bloodless revolution" was an indication of the passive consent of the Hawaiian people to the takeover of Hawai'i by white business interests. This book uses Hawaiian language resources to demonstrate that Hawaiian did in fact resist, and powerfully. Puts a whole new spin on an often-told story that has served to justify the evil of colonization to Hawaii children fo ...more
An add-on to pro-English/American history of Hawaii perspective about colonialism. No surprise - some natives were for alignment with the US, others were not. Lots of criticism about the author's research being too narrow, ans some criticism about ignoring the importance of the Asians in Hawaii's history - but overall, good information.
I read this book for a history class, and I must say it was extremely eye-opening. There is so much history I have never heard about at all, and this book gave me a beautifully crafted native-sourced history of the colonization and takeover of the Hawaiian islands by the Europeans and then the Americans.