Abstract

This essay examines the construction of the “Part-Hawaiian” in early twentieth-century eugenic science and law, as well as the legal legacies of that construction for Native Hawaiians today. The article focuses on the Day v. Apoliona case (2005–10), in which five Native Hawaiian men sued the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for failing to enforce a strict blood quantum policy that defines “native Hawaiians” as being “of not less than one-half part blood.” Drawing on Native feminist and critical ethnic studies frameworks, the essay advances a critical reading of the Day plaintiffs’ actions that positions the case within the histories of race and settler colonialism in the Pacific. It questions both why these men “called the law” on their own community as they sought to enforce a divisive legal definition and what it means that the law denied the plaintiffs’ claims but also stopping short of ending the 50 percent blood quantum definition.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 681-703
Launched on MUSE
2015-09-21
Open Access
No
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