Ka Lāhui Hawai’i is an organization fighting for the sovereignty and land rights of the Hawaiian people. This organization seeks “nation within a nation” status similar to that of many Native American tribes. Ka Lāhui asserts itself as a “native Hawaiian initiative” stating, “Instead of negotiating behind closed doors, Ka Lāhui ’s approach is to seek inclusion of Hawaiian people in the federal policy which affords all native Americans the right to be self-governing…. The sovereign entity cannot be created of the State, by the State, for the State. The sovereign entity must be created of Hawaiians, by Hawaiians, for Hawaiians.” Ka Lāhui seeks inclusion. After all, they are of Hawaiians, by Hawaiians, and for Hawaiians. Yet, who is Hawaiian? Which Hawaiians are included?
In this paper I explore Hawaiian racial identity formation and show that the accepted definition of “Native Hawaiian” is based on a purity model of race which leads to fragmented Hawaiians and a fragmented Hawaiian nation. I will begin by outlining the pre-contact understanding of Hawaiian identity which was altered through various political agendas to fit it neatly within Western notions of “pure” racial identity. I then suggest that a rejection of fictitious racial purity and a rearticulation of Hawaiian identity that recaptures pre-contact, strategic notions of belonging are required for what Maria Lugones calls “impure resistance”. Finally, I argue that in spite of claims that feminism undermines solidarity, a unique Hawaiian feminism is actually quite conducive to this rearticulation and the Ka Lāhui movement as a whole, especially given Ka Lāhui’s female leadership and its gendered calls to action.
|< Prev||Next >|