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The Queen and I

A Story of Dispossessions and Reconnections in Hawai'i

Sydney L. Iaukea

Publication Year: 2011

In this exposé Sydney L. Iaukea ties personal memories to newly procured political information about Hawai`i’s crucial Territorial era. Spurred by questions surrounding intergenerational property disputes in her immediate family, she delves into Hawai`i’s historical archives. There she discovers the central role played by her great-great-grandfather in the politics of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Hawai`i—in particular, Curtis P. Iaukea’s trusted position with the Hawaiian Kingdom’s last ruling monarch, Queen Lili`uokalani. As Iaukea charts her ancestor’s efforts to defend a culture under siege, she reveals astonishing legal and legislative maneuvers that show us how capitalism reshaped cultural relationships. She finds resonant parallels and connections between her own upbringing in Maui’s housing projects, her family’s penchant for hiding property, and the Hawaiian peoples’ loss of their country and lands.

Published by: University of California Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 1-7


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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

This book is dedicated to my mother, Liâne P. C. Iaukea, and to my sister, Lesley Iaukea. We embarked on this journey through our family history together, and we’ve come out of it with a greater appreciation of our own resilience, amidst forces that would see us as smaller than we really are. ...

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pp. 1-13

Insanity runs through my family—insanity driven by the manipulation and control of private property, as family members work against one another. Insidious in its influence, private property shadows and shapes my family’s history and contemporary existence. The hiding of land goes back generations. ...

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1. Family Secrets and Cartographic Silences: Chatty Maps and Memory

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pp. 14-39

Land, body, and memory all inform one another. The land, extending out and into the ocean, holds the practical and epistemological memories of encounters. The body is the agent, the participant in the environment, and the container of memories. For Hawaiians in the past, vital information was relayed through the environment, ...

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2. Land as the Vehicle: The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (1921) and Defining Nativeness

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pp. 40-60

With my genealogy reconfiguring in my mind, and the pull of generations past urging me to bring forth what was put in my path, getting from here to there in understanding is now the voyage. Land legislation was the vehicle for erasing emotional and epistemological ties to the Hawaiian Kingdom, and for rewriting the national fabric of the ali‘i system ...

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3. A Story of Political and Emotional Maneuverings: Queen Lili‘uokalani’s Trust Deed and the Crown Lands

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pp. 61-86

Land’s value exists in its extension of the self from the past into the present and back. When capitalism enters into this relationship, contractual relations to property replace placial connections. Though contractual relations are not without emotional currency, Cole Harris notes: “The spatial energy of capitalism works to deterritoralize people ...

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4. E paa oukou” (You hold it): Charging Queen Lili‘uokalani with Insanity and “Holding” the Trust Intact

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pp. 87-114

In 1915, Prince Kūhiō put forth a bill of complaint that charged Queen Lili‘uokalani with mental incompetence, escalating the fight for the Queen’s private property through what I call the “insanity trials.”1 This attack from within her own inner circle of family and friends was launched through western and American institutional forces ...

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5. The Final Insults: Kāhoaka, Condemnation, the Lele of Hamohamo, Projects of “Reclamation,” and Heartbreak

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pp. 115-142

The international travels of Curtis Piehu Iaukea, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921, the fight for the Crown Lands revenues, the formation of the Queen Lili‘uokalani trust deed, and the 1915 bill of complaint—for me, the Lele of Hamohamo, and the connected properties Hooulu and Lei Hooulu, ...

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pp. 143-146

“They know who you are, they see you coming,” said Uncle Willy Iaukea as we visited places on Hawai‘i Island that are not only special to our lineage— the ‘Ī Clan of Hilo—but are fundamental to an epistemology that reaches back before time. Uncle Willy is happy we have arrived, and very open to sharing the mo‘olelo from our ‘ohana ...

Appendix A. List of Commissions and Appointments Received by Colonel Curtis P. Iaukea

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pp. 147-150

Appendix B. Queen Lili‘uokalani’s Deed of Trust

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pp. 151-162

Appendix C. Queen Lili‘uokalani’s Petition to U.S. President William H. Taft

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pp. 163-170


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pp. 171-192


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pp. 193-202


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pp. 203-210

E-ISBN-13: 9780520950306
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520272040

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2011