Reading of the Day…

Kauanui, J. Kēhaulani. 1998. Off-Island Hawaiians “Making” ourselves at “Home”: A [gendered] contradiction in terms?. Women’s Studies International Forum 21(6): 681-693.

Annotation: The article centers around the issue of Hawaiian sovereignty but discusses it in terms of gender and the diasporic Hawaiian community.  In terms of gender issues, the author claims that women play a large role in maintaining ʻohana (quoting Trask) and inherently are the leaders of the sovereignty movement, as evidenced by the leaders of groups such as Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi.  Briefly, the author delves into gender stereotypes surrounding hula, which might “deter them from engaging in these cultural forms” (691).  In terms of Hawaiians away from home, the author focuses on the controversy and conflicts between mainland Hawaiians and on-island Hawaiians in terms of the definition of what a Hawaiian is.  The author gives several definitions of Hawaiian and native Hawaiian, addressing the fact that since so many people consider it different things, it is difficult to determine membership for mainland Hawaiians.  Particularly when mainland Hawaiians cannot vote and have little voice in organizations like OHA and Ka Lāhui, although according to the author, as of 1998, Ka Lāhui was becoming more open to mainland Hawaiian participation.  The author also goes through the ways mainland Hawaiians maintain and preserve their culture, giving examples of organizations and na halau, such as Hui Hawaiʻi o San Diego and canoe clubs as well as hoʻolauleʻa, ʻukulele festivals, hula festivals, classes and workshops.  The author also evaluates Akaka’s article in the OHA newsletter, “Hawaiians Come Home, Your Nation Needs You” in terms of how mainland Hawaiians came to be and calls into question the attack on mainland Hawaiians concerning their “Hawaiianess”.  Ultimately, the author implies that mainland Hawaiians are just as capable of maintaining and supporting the Sovereignty movement as on-island Hawaiians and that it is important to understand how the Hawaiian diasporic community came to be and is being maintained.

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