publisher colophon
A Nation Rising: Hawaiian Movements for Life, Land, and Sovereignty. Edited by Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua, Ikaika Hussey, and Erin Kahunawaika‘ala Wright. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014. 399 pages. $99.95 (cloth). $27.95 (paper).
The Value of Hawai‘i 2: Ancestral Roots, Oceanic Visions. Edited by Aiko Yamashiro and Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua. Honolulu: Biographical Research Center and the University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. 308 pages. $19.99 (paper).

On June 23, 2014, the United States Department of the Interior (DOI) held the first of fifteen meetings in Hawai‘i and across the United States on its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), which raised five threshold questions and fourteen subsequent questions regarding federal and state facilitation of a federal process to recognize a Native Hawaiian government. The first threshold question queried: “Should the Secretary [of the Interior] propose an administrative rule that would facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community?”1 These meetings can be understood as part of a sequence of events dating from 1993, when President Bill Clinton signed the joint resolution that is now Public Law 103-150, thereby acknowledging and apologizing for the role the United States played in the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government, calling for a nation-to-nation relationship between Hawai‘i and the United States. Over time, multiple revisions of what became known as the Akaka Bill left many convinced that federal recognition of Hawai‘i as a domestic dependent nation under the Department of the Interior would only ensure continued US occupation. At the DOI meetings, Kanaka ‘Ōiwi and their allies gave overwhelming public testimony with a resounding, “‘A‘OLE!/NO!” to a federally driven form of recognition, calling instead for the end to US occupation and the restoration of Hawai‘i’s independence. As Movement for Aloha No ka ‘Āina (MANA) summarized in a public statement, “Throughout these packed [End Page 969] hearings we witnessed an outpouring of love and patriotism as testimony after testimony rejected the proposed rule change, rejected federal recognition and reaffirmed over and over that the Kingdom of Hawai‘i still exists as a subject of international law. And it is through international law that we expect to move forward to restore justice to our people, lands and government.”

This refusal articulates with other rejections of recognition politics, including that in Glen Coulthard’s past work and his more recent Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (2014) and Audra Simpson’s Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life across the Borders of Settler States (2014), whose work reflects the ways that recognition, as Coulthard writes, “in its contemporary liberal form promises to reproduce the very configurations of colonialist, racist, patriarchal state power that Indigenous peoples’ demands for recognition have historically sought to transcend.”2 In her essay in A Nation Rising: Hawaiian Movements for Life, Land, and Sovereignty, J. Kēhaulani Kauanui points to one irreducible condition: “What few proponents of federal recognition acknowledge is that this structure differs from the outset, and that the U.S. government prohibits Native governing entities from securing international legal status as independent states” (319).

Yet where the testimony is striking is that Kanaka ‘Ōiwi were also rejecting the US government’s attempt to adjudicate of the terms of a “Native Hawaiian government” that is both ahistorical and exclusionary. As ‘Ōiwi activist and Hawaiian studies professor S. Kaleikoa Ka‘eo argued in his written testimony,

The DOI cannot reestablish a relationship with a government of the Native Hawaiian community. It is impossible to reestablish what has never been established. There has never been a Native Hawaiian Government. This is clearly a false statement. There was a government of the Hawaiian Kingdom with subjects and citizens of all bloods and ethnicities, which included aboriginal Hawaiian subjects. Political status and nationality in the Hawaiian Kingdom was not based upon race.3

Ka‘eo and many others were pointing to the historical materialities of a multiethnic Hawaiian Kingdom where citizens who pledged allegiance to the Kingdom of Hawai‘i became part of the national citizenry as Hawaiian nationals, and their descendants continue to be Hawaiian nationals today. Moreover, as people testified, the critical framework that has come to the fore is the analysis of occupation and the political status of Hawai‘i as a sovereign nation-state under US occupation. Although analyses of occupation and settler colonialism are not mutually exclusive, activists have debated these different sets of discourses outlining contrasting political processes for deoccupation [End Page 970] and decolonization. Add to these discussions another layer of critical analysis of the definition of “nation” and the problems posed by the nation-state as a Western structure of governance as well as the possibilities of nonstatist forms of governance, and we gain some insight into the complexities of contemporary nation-building in Hawai‘i.

These discussions of independence in Hawai‘i expand on ongoing discussions in Native and Indigenous studies, American studies, critical ethnic studies, and other disciplines over the different dimensions to independence under the conditions of settler colonialism, including inextricable movements for social and political justice, Indigenous resurgence and cultural revitalization, climate change, environmental sustainability, food sovereignty, Indigenous alternatives to a capitalist economy, and demilitarization. Recent publications look to the past in order to envision alternatives to the operations of occupation and settler colonial practices in Hawai‘i, including Kamanamaikalani Beamer’s No Mākou ka Mana: Liberating the Nation (2014), ku‘ualoha ho‘omanawanui’s Voices of Fire: Reweaving the Literary Lei of Pele and Hi‘iaka (2014), and Katrina-Ann R. Kapā‘anaokalāokeola Nākoa Oliveira’s Ancestral Places: Understanding Kanaka Geographies (2014).

Two books in particular, both emerging out of discussions in Hawai‘i of independence in all its forms, have entered into these conversations that engage but also look beyond state-centered models for political independence: A Nation Rising: Hawaiian Movements for Life, Land, and Sovereignty, edited by Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua, Ikaika Hussey, and Erin Kahunawaika‘ala Wright, and The Value of Hawai‘i 2: Ancestral Roots, Oceanic Visions, edited by Aiko Yamashiro and Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua. These two books are beautifully complementary, linked by the editorship of Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua, each in conversation with the other, amplifying different aspects of a broad-based process of nation-building directed by Kanaka ‘Ōiwi and renewed social relationships between Natives, settlers, and those who identify otherwise, such as Pacific Islanders, that transform the conditions of settler colonialism, occupation, militarism, heteropatriarchy, racism, and global capitalism.

Both books are centered on aloha ‘āina, love for the land through which undercurrents of national consciousness flow. Each book foregrounds a different portrait of land: we can think of A Nation Rising as building on the kulāiwi, the native homeland and national land base for independence and a Hawaiian national consciousness, and The Value of Hawai‘i 2 as cultivating ‘āina momona, the abundant land that feeds all people in Hawai‘i.4 The editors of A Nation Rising set the historical stakes by focusing on Hawaiian sovereignty [End Page 971] movements guided by the political ethic of ea as having the capaciousness of meaning—life, breath, and political independence—to bring together diverse Hawaiian movements that are already exercising sovereignty in sustaining their communities. The contributors show us that Kanaka and their allies do not have to wait to achieve sovereignty but enact it and continue to build nation on the kulāiwi on a daily basis. The contributors to The Value of Hawai‘i 2 focus more broadly on our efforts as “islanders” to cultivate ‘āina momona through restructuring economic, educational, social, and political systems, often based on Kanaka ‘Ōiwi land and resource management practices and ethos. The contributors work to articulate waiwai, a composite of the terms “assets, valuables, value, worth, wealth,” denoting value in traditional Kanaka ‘Ōiwi economies premised on people’s commitment to abundance. Many point to the way that waiwai reduplicates the word wai for water, redefining value in terms of the natural world that sustains us. Both books share peoples’ stories of the kulāiwi and ‘āina momona, the land where the different movements for Hawaiian sovereignty and solidarity building have taken root.

A Nation Rising shows us the Hawaiian sovereignty movement as richly textured movements over time, engaging the convergences and divergences of histories, people, and groups who have fought for the conditions of possibility for independence. Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua, Hussey, and Wright reached out to twenty-six contributors who each provide a different angle of vision, illustrating the scope and vibrancy of the movements for life, land, and sovereignty in Hawai‘i over the last fifty years.

The essays balance the broad strokes of the land under contestation and a moving mural of detailed portraitures of individual sovereignty activists, Kanaka ‘Ōiwi and settler, who have passionately committed their lives to the concepts embodied in ea. Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua’s extraordinary book, The Seeds We Planted: Portraits of a Native Hawaiian Charter School (2013), offers insights into the value of portraiture both as an art form and as a scholarly methodology, one that is both beautiful and rigorous.5 In A Nation Rising, Ty P. Kāwika Tengan refers to portraiture as ki‘i, a term with multiple kaona, deeper meanings, that go beyond “image, statue, picture, … likeness” (115). It is through ki‘i that contributors carve the fine textures and moments of people’s lives and breathe life into these movements. Fierce, loving portraits of Kanaka ‘Ōiwi and settler elders and leaders root the text throughout, from Anne Keala Kelly’s portraits of Marie Beltran and Annie Pau, Tengan’s portrait of Sam Kaha‘i Ka‘ai, Micky Huihui’s portrait of Puanani Rogers, Mehana Blaich Vaughan’s portrait of Puanani Burgess, Puhipau’s self-portrait, and Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua’s portrait of [End Page 972] Ed Greevy to Greevy’s iconic photographic portraits of Kekuni Akana Blais-dell, George Helm, Haunani-Kay Trask, Terrilee Keko‘olani, Kana Teruya, John Kelly, Kīhei “Soli” Niheu, Gwen Epuni Kim, Leandra Wai, Walter Ritte, and many others. The sacred mountain Mauna a Wākea is also a subject of portraiture as an ancestor now threatened with the contested construction of the massive eighteen-story Thirty Meter Telescope industrial complex near the summit.6 As Leon No‘eau Peralto writes, “Like the islands of Ko Hawai‘i Pae ‘Āina, Mauna a Wākea was born of the union of Papahānaumoku and Wākea. This union, as articulated by ‘Ōiwi scholar Dr. Kekuewa Kikiloi, resulted not only in the birthing of ‘āina, but also in the ‘birthing of a unified Hawaiian consciousness—a common ancestral lineage that forges links between the genealogies of both land and people’” (234).

Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua’s brilliant introduction foregrounds ea as a word that has the breadth to bring these diverse movements and people together. She reflects on its many meanings in differing contexts, amplifying Leilani Basham’s research on the cultural value of ea. Ea refers to “political independence,” but it encompasses more broadly “sovereignty,” “life” and “breath” (3–4). Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua cites Davida Kahalemaile’s 1871 speech that helps people understand the more expansive meaning of ea:

1. Ke ea o na i-a, he wai. 2. Ke ea o ke kanaka, he makani. 3. O ke ea o ka honua, he kanaka. … 4. Ke ea o ka moku, he hoeuli. … 5. Ke ea o ko Hawaii Pae Aina … Oia no ka noho Aupuni ana.

[1. The ea of fish is water. 2. The ea of humans is wind. 3. The ea of the earth is the people. … 4. The ea of a boat is the steering blade. … 5. The ea of the Hawaiian archipelago, it is the government.]


Goodyear Ka‘ōpua explains that ea is “the mutual interdependence of all life forms and forces.” She then contrasts the ways that ea roots Kanaka in land, ke ea o ka ‘āina, in a way that contrasts with the 1648 Westphalian system of states and so articulates sovereignty according to a land-based system rather than a state-centered system:

Unlike Euro-American philosophical notions of sovereignty, ea is based on the experiences of people on the land, relationships forged through the process of remembering and caring for wahi pana, storied places. In that vein, the essays in this book trace a genealogy of the contemporary Hawaiian sovereignty movement through the vigorous efforts of people trying to maintain or restore their relationships with specific lands.

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Ea, then, enables the contributors to show how Kanaka ‘Ōiwi continue to pursue both state-based autonomous governing structures and nonstatist forms of independence and social organization.

Ea as praxis provides a broad organizing foundation that enables Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua to navigate through often-contested vocabularies of these movements, as the definition of “nation” is held productively open-ended, whether it is being enacted in the present or projected into the future, both in statist and nonstatist terms. Kauanui has meticulously analyzed debates over legal strategies for gaining independence through decolonization and deoccupation in Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity (2008), and Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua describes Kauanui’s insights in her essay into “the complex terrains Kanaka Maoli must face when asserting both a national independence claim and an Indigenous, genealogical rootedness in the national lands of the Hawaiian Kingdom” (19). On one register, under the conditions of settler colonialism, Kanaka ‘Ōiwi are Indigenous peoples who are descendants of Papahānaumoku, “She Who Births Islands,” and are thus genealogically descended from all land in Hawai‘i at the same time that their rights, including customary and traditional practices, were uniquely protected under Kingdom law. They have a claim to the 1.8 million acres of the national lands of the Hawaiian Kingdom, half of all land in Hawai‘i designated as Crown and Government lands that were seized at the time of the overthrow in 1893 and are now largely administered by the state of Hawai‘i. Under the terms of international law that structure the occupation argument, “Indigenous peoples” refers to a colonized peoples in a way that many argue is incommensurable with the understanding of ‘Ōiwi as part of a multiethnic national citizenry of the sovereign nation-state of Hawai‘i under US occupation. Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua illustrates that conditions in Hawai‘i can be understood in terms of the complex interlocking frameworks of occupation and settler colonialism, and she explains that occupation and settler colonialism are actually mutually constitutive. She writes, “a prolonged U.S. occupation of Hawai‘i enables the ongoing hegemony of a settler society—settler colonialism—with varying aspects and effects” (19).

One of the commitments of A Nation Rising is to a more expansive consideration of nonstatist forms of governance and organization, and Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua emphasizes that the “meanings of ea surpass state-based forms of sovereignty.” In her discussion of the rebuilding of ‘Ōiwi structures, she points to essays by Jonathan Kamakawiwo‘ole Osorio and Kalamaoka‘āina Niheu to argue that “organizations such as the PKO [Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana] and [End Page 974] the Mākua Village Council are examples of contemporary, nonstatist, Ōiwi forms of governance” (22). Other examples can include Kekailoa Perry’s account of the 1990 student liberation movement at the University of Hawai‘i, where Make‘e Pono Lāhui Hawai‘i, also known as the Hawaiian Student Liberation Union, became a material force on campus, rallying against institutional racism against Hawaiians, mobilizing occupations of space where students could be self-determining, and supporting language revitalization in the school newspaper.

Although some Hawaiian movements began as anti-eviction or class-based movements and later focused on building a Hawaiian national consciousness, new modes of nonstatist organizing have made possible a return to broad-based organizing that takes into consideration that settlers, too, can cultivate aloha ‘āina and a national consciousness, but it is one that must be informed by an understanding of our positionality and relative access to privileges under the operations of settler colonialism. Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua writes: “Independence advocates realize that a future, functioning independent Hawai‘i would be a multiethnic nation that would have to reckon with the fact that Kanaka ‘Ōiwi have become a numerical minority in our own country” (20). She continues,

As many of the chapters in this volume suggest, the scope and complexity of the issues require ‘Ōiwi and settlers to continuously and constructively engage in conversation and decision-making processes because the problems cannot be solved or swept under the rug even if full sovereignty, pseudo-sovereign government reorganization, or some other state-initiated settlement is achieved.


Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua concludes her introduction by opening up the space of discussion through a detailed portraiture of the life of Ed Greevy, a settler and an ally who dedicated his life to photographing Hawaiian sovereignty movements in connection with other people’s movements and whose photographs featured in A Nation Rising provide a visual testimony to nation-building efforts in Hawai‘i.

Dividing the collection into three sections, “Life,” “Land,” and “Sovereignty,” Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua, Hussey, and Wright begin with a portrait of the organic formations of these movements out of a growing national consciousness. As ea is rooted in the land, the settler state and landowners have “naturalized” evictions as the most visible, everyday acts of occupation and what Patrick Wolfe refers to as the structural “logic of elimination” guiding settler colonial policies and practices.7 Reflecting ea and all its attendant meanings, Keala Kelly’s portraits of Marie Beltran and Annie Pau, two houseless women on the front lines of [End Page 975] the movement for ea, illustrate their refusal to recognize the political authority of the United States. The women are “houseless,” not homeless; they were displaced from the physical structures they lived in by the skyrocketing rental market ignited by the post-9-11 US military expansion in Hawai‘i, but they continued to live on their ancestral homeland and have rights under Kānāwai Māmalahoe, Hawaiian Kingdom law, to live in public areas. Kelly writes that in their “most unambiguous manifestations of ea,” the ‘Ōiwi who live under the direst circumstances resist occupation on a daily basis: “Being personally self-determining, with or without international recognition, was something Annie needed more than a roof or a flag” (45). Annie’s and Marie’s lives have been documented by Kelly in this volume and in her powerful film Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai‘i (2008), now inextricably woven into the collective history of Kanaka ‘Ōiwi movements for sovereignty.

The following essays broaden the collection with the narratives of the multiethnic, class-based peoples’ movements that have been foundational to struggles against the eviction of farmers and working classes in Hawai‘i. Jacqueline Lasky shows how the movement to protect lands in Waiāhole and Waikāne Valleys began as an anti-eviction movement representing the fight of farmers against development of suburban housing. Similarly, Davianna Pōmaika‘i McGregor and Ibrahim Aoudé illustrate the multiethnic roots to struggles to establish ethnic studies at the University of Hawai‘i in local struggles that emerged over land and housing across O‘ahu, while Joan Conrow illustrates the work of local communities on Kaua‘i who fought to protect country lifestyles rooted in Hawaiian traditions on lands slated for resort and urban development.

The essays also document the critical moments that mark a shift to a national consciousness that characterized other movements. In 1964 Queen Lili‘uokalani’s book Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen (1898) was reprinted, and her account of the gross act of war committed by armed troops from the U.S.S. Boston who were instrumental in the overthrow of the queen mobilized ‘Ōiwi through a growing Hawaiian national consciousness. In a powerful moment in A Nation Rising, Puhipau describes the experience of reading Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen in the midst of a court battle against the settler state’s effort to evict houseless people who had made a home at Sand Island, a dredged landfill. After the State of Hawai‘i set fire to their homes in 1980, Puhipau read the queen’s story and learned that Sand Island is part of the national land base of the Hawaiian Kingdom government. The anti-eviction effort was rearticulated as one of deoccupation, the eviction of the US occupying power from Hawai‘i, and the attorney Pōkā Laenui advised Puhipau and others arrested with him [End Page 976] to take the position that the United States has “no jurisdiction.” This battle became one of what Puhipau describes as building a base of consciousness: “My calling was to educate the masses, to puhi pau, blow away the dust and reveal the secrets” (126). Similarly, as Osorio points out, the Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana movement also shifted from being a reparations-based movement to a movement for sovereignty. And over time, the Waiāhole-Waikāne movement redirected its focus from the evictions to the return of the water to the windward valleys as a resurgence of Kanaka Maoli cultivation of kalo, an elder sibling in ‘Ōiwi genealogical lines.

Kūhiō Vogeler’s essay traces the history of the occupation argument to demonstrate that contrary to popular perception, it is not a recent development. He tracks its origins to the 1975 hearings for the Hawaiian Native Claims Settlement Act when Kekoa Ka‘apu argued that Hawai‘i is an “autonomous sovereign nation,” and in 1978 Laenui filed a motion to dismiss in the Hawai‘i v. Wilford “Nappy” Pulawa case because of “continued Foreign Occupation.” The occupation argument was developed more fully in the research of Jennifer M. L. Chock, Kanalu Young, and Keanu Sai. Their work continues to raise questions about the ways that prolonged occupation “causes confusion by hiding occupation under the guise of colonization” (256). The annexation of Hawai‘i to the United States was conducted illegally through a joint resolution that, as Vogeler points out, “is not a treaty and therefore is not a legal means of acquiring territory under international law or U.S. domestic law.” Noenoe Silva’s personal essay details her work in exposing the truth: that there is no treaty of annexation. Silva located the 1897 anti-annexation petitions, also known as the Kū‘ē petitions, in the National Archives in Washington, DC. Because of the Kū‘ē petitions, annexationists could not accumulate the required votes in Congress to approve the treaty of annexation. When the petitions were exhibited in Hawai‘i in 1998, ‘Ōiwi were enraged by the lies but also ran their fingers along the names of their kūpuna on the petitions, “touching the hands that were reaching out to them across the century” (309).

Hawai‘i’s political status under international law is occupation, yet an analysis of settler colonialism continues to account for state practices and social relations under US occupation, and indigeneity continues to be a material positionality from which alternatives to the logics of occupation and settler colonialism can be articulated. In documenting the 2005 formation of Hui Pū and their statement against the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act, Kauanui writes, “The statement asserts guiding indigenous principles of ea—those of kuleana (right and responsibility), pono (right, just), and the [End Page 977] tradition of resistance bequeathed by kūpuna (grandparents, elders, ancestors)” (323). In this way, as Kauanui points out, an analysis of occupation need not preclude a discussion of indigeneity or the ways that deoccupation will be directed by practices rooted in an ‘Ōiwi knowledge base, particularly ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i. Katrina-Ann R. Kapā‘anaokalāokeola Nākoa Oliveira emphasizes that it is in Hawaiian-language revitalization that worldviews and multiple layers of meaning can be retrieved, particularly in envisioning alternatives to “kolonaio,” colonialism.

If independence activists refuse to recognize the authority of the United States, many other independence activists face the necessity of but also the limits to urgent action within state structures to fight against the immediate devastation of land and the diversion of water. Kapu‘ala Sproat, for example, describes how grassroots efforts have enabled the recognition of water as a public trust in the Hawai‘i State Constitution and rulings in favor of the return of water. The legal courts have been key in this battle, but the sticking point has often been the enforcement of court rulings. By contrast, Pauahi Ho‘okano also illuminates the importance of heroic acts of asserting Kanaka Maoli rights. When the state failed to release the waters ordered by the court to be returned to Wailuanui Stream and East Maui taro farmers, Bush Martin, a Kanaka farmer, exercised his inherent right to the water by lifting the gates diverting water into the Ko‘olau ditch, and we imagine the sudden rush, the free flow of the waters home to the lo‘i and out to the estuaries.

What becomes clear in A Nation Rising is that working with the State of Hawai‘i legal system is not an end in itself, and while that helps stave off the ongoing structural invasion of the settler state and developers on sacred and agricultural lands, the essays evidence the urgent necessity of alternative governing structures as well as restoration projects—of kalo farming, of waterways, of fishponds—that teach Kanaka Maoli and their allies about restoring Hawaiian foodways, a discussion taken up in Le‘a Malia Kanehe’s essay on biocolonialism and ea ‘āina, food sovereignty.

Through many of its essays, The Value of Hawai‘i 2 extends the concerns raised in A Nation Rising by mapping what is being done to restore ‘āina mo-mona. Yamashiro and Ka‘ōpua’s collection expands on the first volume of The Value of Hawai‘i: Knowing the Past, Shaping the Future (2010), edited by Craig Howes and Jonathan Kay Kamakawiwo‘ole Osorio, who asked well-known community leaders to write about Hawai‘is future, grappling with such topics as the economy, public education, health and health care, and sovereign ground. The book was designed to have a material impact on state politics, and a copy [End Page 978] was sent to every state legislator in 2010. Yamashiro and Ka‘ōpua extend the second volume by inviting work from forty-two contributors largely from an emerging generation of leaders, community activists, artists, and scholars, but also those who share innovative ideas about the value of Hawai‘i based on years of lived experience.

The title of Yamashiro and Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua’s introduction, “We Are Islanders,” positions those in Hawai‘i as people who live on islands and therefore need to protect limited resources to be self-sustaining. This use of the term islander works against the ways that people from the continent who move to Hawai‘i often exoticize their lives as “islanders” through evoking this term and the postcard image that it suggests. It also differs from the way the term has long been used in reference to what Alice Te Punga Somerville calls as an “(Indigenously imagined) Oceania.”8 Instead, the introduction reframes the term islander as a positionality that names people in Hawai‘i with the responsibilities and sustainable practices derived from customary and traditional practices that have sustained Kanaka ‘Ōiwi for thousands of years, adapted to contemporary conditions. Yamashiro and Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua write,

We are ‘Ōiwi and settlers who have benefitted from the Hawaiian renaissance and still we see so many unfulfilled promises and obligations to the Hawaiian people and nation. … Whether Kanaka ‘Ōiwi or recent immigrant, whether from Honolulu or Hanalei, one thing that binds all of us who live in Hawai‘i is that we are islanders. The islands mark us, just as we mark them. Our island world makes the ecological and social challenges that are facing most people in the world today more immediate and apparent.


In this way, the introduction frames the collection in terms of settler colonial politics, but it leaves open a space for those who do not identify as settlers. What this book establishes is that the settler state itself is premised on social and political inequalities that affect both Kanaka ‘Ōiwi and settlers.

The pieces in the collection are grouped into sections that reflect terms vital to a Kanaka ‘Ōiwi worldview: “Mo‘olelo,” storytelling that takes place within the continuities of the writers’ genealogies; “Kuleana,” a rethinking of “development” in terms of community wealth or waiwai with kuleana, “right, privilege, concern, responsibility,” as a guiding ethical framework; “Huaka‘i,” voyaging traditions that enable the writers to think about migration, militarism, globalization, and connecting Hawai‘i’s movements to other movements for cultural revitalization and health around the world; “Pu‘uhonua,” honoring sacred places and creating safe spaces, connecting the health of the land with the health of our bodies; and “Aloha,” a deep and committed love for land and each other that demands action and creativity, a “revolutionary aloha.” [End Page 979]

All of these terms that organize the book are premised on the concept of the waiwai of Hawai‘i: the ‘āina momona. Kamana Beamer speaks of the “abundance of the ‘āina” (11), Hi‘ilei Kawelo of what is “plentiful,” Dawn Mahi of the “abundant community” (61, 67), and Connelly of “our abundant lives” (90). In other currents in critical ethnic studies, David Lloyd has argued that it is precisely the fear of abundance that is inscribed in colonial capital. Abundance raises the possibility of just distribution, and capitalist production depends on reducing that abundance to manufactured conditions of scarcity. Lloyd writes,

Perhaps, then, we need to recognize that precisely what neoliberal capital fears is abundance and what it implies. Abundance is the end of capital: it is at once what it must aim to produce in order to dominate and control the commodity market and what designates the limits that it produces out of its own process. Where abundance does not culminate in a crisis of overproduction, it raises the spectre of the redistribution of resources in the place of enclosure and accumulation by dispossession. The alibi of capital is scarcity; its myth is that of a primordial scarcity overcome only by labor regulated by the private ownership of the means of production.9

If capital’s fear of abundance then narrates the conditions of people competing for scarce resources, an economy of abundance is what creates a space for people to see not their dependence on scarce resources but their interdependence on others for the cultivation of abundance. Thinking in terms of abundance involves a radically different kind of economy, one of sharing, trading, conservation, adaptation. The processes of restoring abundance will still contend with attempts of militarized capitalism to force open the harbors and to seize the agricultural lands that people work to protect. The people will continue to fight back against the global currents that affect Hawai‘i through biotech corporations and forms of biocolonialism. Like a dual economy that is part cash and part subsistence, the practitioners of this economy of abundance balance critical analyses of globalization circuits with the mo‘olelo about the winds and the rains and the ocean currents that teach us to better care for and manage resources. It is in this commitment to restoring abundance, to restoring the taro terraces, the fishponds, and the waterways, that we can see vital alternatives to the scarcity of colonial and global capital.

The contributors to The Value of Hawai‘i 2 show us our capacity to restore abundance, opening up a welcoming space for ‘Ōiwi, settlers, and those who identify otherwise to share their stories and ideas, their commitments to abundance through building social relationships. As Kawelo writes about the restoration of the He‘eia fishponds, “You cannot be a sovereign people if you cannot feed yourself” (164). Mahi’s piece explores mapping as a form of [End Page 980] storytelling that is part of the collective work done at Kōkua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services to foster health and well-being in both clinical and community terms through sharing stories in diverse immigrant and Kanaka communities. These stories are shared in the work that people do at Ho‘oulu ‘Āina, the nature preserve where volunteers and staff work with the community to restore the land to health and abundance and are in return healed. Dean Saranillio’s essay puts the stories of Asian groups and Hawaiians in conversation through a historical consideration of the seizure of water and foodways by the plantations and the settler state to reduce Asians and Hawaiians to states of dependency, to “work or be hungry” (198). As Saranillio argues, a land-based economy, one premised on what the kalo farmer activist Danny Bishop calls “taro patch economics,” has the possibility to create alternative futures where Indigenous and settlers regain the capacity to feed all of us. And this future of abundance must also happen in the urban areas where we live. Through rearticulating urban planning, Connelly redefines urbanism in relation to traditional Hawaiian land management. As he explains, what Captain Cook perceived to be houses scattered without order was a Hawaiian society organized not around markets in centralized settlement patterns but around food and material resources. For present-day crises, Connelly suggests several starting points that reclaim Hawaiian urbanism to localize our economy and “reestablish a government, land-use system, education system, water and energy system, and food and resource system whose core processes are aligned with the ecology of the watershed” (98). Other contributors offer insights into an economy of abundance, including Hunter Heaivilin’s piece on waste management and Makena Coffman’s discussion of renewable energy.

One of the striking contributions of The Value of Hawai‘i 2 is that of understanding the ways that as islanders, people in Hawai‘i must reach out to all of Oceania, much of which has faced the brunt of global climate change and the devastating consequences of militarization and nuclear testing. Micronesians are targeted for the worst forms of discrimination in Hawai‘i despite the fact that it has been US nuclear testing in the Pacific that has forced Micronesians and other Pacific Islanders to leave their islands. Innocenta Sound-Kikku recounts her daughter’s experience of a teacher in Hawai‘i telling her that “it’s because of you people—it makes me frustrated to come and teach.” Her daughter was upset and confused: “Did she mean me as a Chuukese? As Micronesian? Or me as someone from the Kalihi area?” (144). Sound-Kikku wrote a poem for her daughter that roots her back to her origins with words of affirmation: “I am of Oceanea, / I am of the Islands / I am of my Ancestors.” While Emelihter [End Page 981] Kihleng writes of the Micronesian diaspora(s), islanders bought as indentured servants and held in debt bondage, Sania Fa‘amaile Betty P. Ickes writes about the forced migration of Tokelauans from Olohega, who then journeyed to Hawai‘i seeking pu‘uhonua, refuge. As Ickes writes, given that the presence of Tokelauans and other settler communities was made possible through the illegal seizure of Hawaiian lands, she honors her tupuna, her ancestors, by “pursuing a relationship of trust and reciprocity” with Native Hawaiians (247).

Pacific Islanders who share knowledge of navigation have played a critical role in the restoration of Kanaka ‘Ōiwi knowledges and in building new knowledges about the impact of sea-level rise on Pacific peoples. Bonnie Kahape‘a-Tanner writes about the revitalization of Kanaka ‘Ōiwi voyaging traditions under the teaching of Mau Piailug, a Micronesian master navigator from Satawal who made tremendous personal sacrifices to teach ‘Ōiwi how to sail again. Kahape‘a-Tanner tells the powerful story of the criticism Mau faced for sharing the sacred knowledge of voyaging with Hawaiians and how this criticism was etched into the shaming name borne by his son. She writes, “We don’t consider the sacrifices that others have lived with so that we in Hawai‘i could have the opportunity to revitalize our voyaging traditions. But now that we know more of the story, it is our kuleana to ask ourselves how we are going to live differently because of it” (177). And these stories of shared struggle continue to bind peoples across the Pacific who face together the effects of global climate change on sea-level rise; Pacific poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner is known around the world for words so powerful that her poem “Dear Matafele Peinam” drew a standing ovation at the opening ceremony of the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City on September 23, 2014, where just two days before four hundred thousand people had marched for action against climate crisis. Her poem in this collection urges, “tell them about the water / how we have seen it rising / flooding across our cemeteries / gushing over our sea walls / and crashing against our homes … / tell them … / that we / are nothing / without our islands” (72).

As the contributors reach out to each other, “revolutionary aloha” is the foundation for what James Koshiba describes in the final essay as “build[ing] a heart for island style activism.” To reach across the currents of our differences that make it difficult for us to hear one another, Lyz Soto shows us the capacity of spoken word and slam poetry to infuse conversations about love and activism in Hawai‘i with passion and power, and the poets Faith Pascua, Donovan Kūhiō Colleps, Jill Yamasawa, U‘ilani Arasato, Darlene Rodrigues, Brandy Nālani McDougall, and No‘u Revilla intensify the collection’s reflections on [End Page 982] love as a material force that binds communities together and mobilizes people into action. Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio recounts the revolutionary aloha in the mo‘olelo of Hi‘ikaikapoliopele and Hōpoe, two women who loved each other so fiercely that they transform the land itself: “But the hua we shared / those parts of us were held in kino / in leo / stay carved in the creases of my poho / so that every part of / this earth i hold has a moment / to know your touch” (39). Osorio urges for both the recovery and the re-visioning of this mo‘olelo as part of the process of redefining gender, sexuality, and nation building, as the kuleana for Kanaka and others who call Hawai‘i home. Ryan Oishi engages in this work that Osorio calls for through a curriculum grounded in mo‘olelo, providing an example of the decolonization of education in Hawai‘i that Tina Grandinetti describes, and Oishi’s former student Mailani Neal writes the mo‘olelo of Poli‘ahu with an eye to kuleana, teaching us about the responsibilities of teachers and students who are “star keepers” (49).

Reading across the storytelling in both A Nation Rising and The Value of Hawai‘i 2 illuminates the multiple dimensions to these struggles to cultivate both the kulāiwi and ‘āina momona. Proposals for alternative energy economies, for example, often entail conflicts between proposed land use and Kanaka ‘Ōiwi celebrated and sacred places and communities, as in the case of geothermal energy and wind and solar farms. Makena Coffman’s discussion of renewable energy can be compared with pieces by Manu Ka‘iama, Davianna Pōmaika‘i McGregor, and Emmet Aluli on the adverse familial and cultural impact of geothermal energy industries on the akua Pele and Kanaka ‘Ōiwi practices. Kanehe’s essay on biotech corporations, biocolonialism, and ea ‘āina, food sovereignty, can be read in conversation with Cheryse Julitta Kauikeolani Sana’s piece on MA‘O Organic Farms and their Youth Leadership Training Progam, as well as Elise Leimomi Dela Cruz-Talbert’s discussion of a food policy council in Hawai‘i. The visual insights offered by Greevy’s photographic portraits are rearticulated through Prime’s cover art for The Value of Hawai’i 2 and his discussion of urban arts, powered by hip-hop and graffiti-writing culture, as an avenue for young people to to learn leadership skills; Matt Yamashita’s work on videography and the radical education it offers at the Akakū Molokai Media Center builds on the work of Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina, whose origin is described by Puhipau in A Nation Rising.

It is clear from both books and the dazzling array of essays they offer that the editors made difficult decisions about selecting authors and pieces that would be representative of the multidimensional movements in Hawai‘i. Both volumes are relay points for these conversations, and they invite the [End Page 983] publication of other volumes on contemporary Hawaiian movements and peoples’ movements for sustainable independence in Hawai‘i. Subsequent volumes could add to the powerful accounts of Peralto and Hawane Rios on the fight to protect Mauna Kea from the astronomy-industrial complex, along with more voices on deep seabed mining that link the struggle for ea with the work of other Pacific nations to regain control over their lands and waters. Like Indigenous peoples elsewhere, ‘Ōiwi stand on the front lines of the fight against the forces of climate change and global capitalism, and the stories of those networks need to be told.

As kūpuna, community leaders, educators, and many others testified at the Department of the Interior hearings, there is much work to be done in representing people’s visions of what the restoration of Hawai‘i’s independence will look like. These two books, however, represent the many powerful voices in Hawai‘i that speak to us of profound commitments to the kulāiwi and ‘āina momona—voices that carry us into a future beyond the scarcities of occupation and settler colonialism, enacting independence and the practices of abundance right now, in our present.

Candace Fujikane

Candace Fujikane is associate professor of English at the University of Hawai‘i. She has coedited, with Jonathan Okamura, Asian Settler Colonialism: From Local Governance to the Habits of Everyday Life in Hawai‘i (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2008). She has an essay forthcoming in “Rooted in Wonder: Tales of Indigenous Activism and Community Organizing,” a special issue of Marvels and Tales edited by Bryan Kuwada and Aiko Yamashiro. She is working on her book, “Mapping Abundance: Indigenous and Critical Settler Cartography in Hawai‘i.”


1. For the text of the document and its background history, see!documentDetail;D=DOI-2014-0002-0005 (accessed March 5, 2015).

2. Glen S. Coulthard, “Subjects of Empire: Indigenous People and the ‘Politics of Recognition’ in Canada,” Contemporary Political Theory 6 (2007): 437–60; Coulthard, Red Skins, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014); Audra Simpson, Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life across the Borders of Settler States (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014); MANA, “MANA Official Press Statement Regarding OHA Governing Entity,” July 16, 2014,

3. S. Kaleikoa Ka‘eo, written testimony, August 2014,!documentDetail;D=DOI-2014-0002-2035.

4. For more on ‘āina momona, see Malia Akutagawa, Lahela Han, Harmonee Williams, and Emilia Noordhoek, “Sust‘āinable Molokai—Molokai Agriculture Needs Assessment,” May 2012. Akutagawa is part of Hui ‘Āina Momona, a consortium of scholars who work to address issues of Native Hawaiian rights and the law, cultural resource management, sustainability, and food security. See also Akutagawa, “Restoring ‘Āina Momona and Sust‘ĀINAbility to the Earth,” (accessed March 10, 2015).

5. Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua, The Seeds We Planted: Portraits of a Native Hawaiian Charter School (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013).

6. There are two ongoing court cases against the State of Hawai‘i’s Board of Land and Natural Resources’ approval of a Conservation District Use Permit for the construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope. The Environmental Impact Statement clearly states that the telescope will have a negative, substantial, and adverse effect on the sacred mountain, violating the criteria for the Conservation District. [End Page 984]

7. Patrick Wolfe, Settler Colonialism and the Transformation of Anthropology: The Politics and Poetics of an Ethnographic Event (London: Cassell, 1999).

8. Alice Te Punga Somerville, Once Were Pacific: Māori Connections to Oceania (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 112.

9. David Lloyd, plenary speaker at the “Critical Ethnic Studies and the Future of Genocide: Settler Colonialism/Heteropatriarchy/White Supremacy,” University of California, Riverside, March 2011. His talk will be published as “‘The Goal of the Revolution Is the Elimination of Anxiety’: On the Right to Abundance in a Time of Artificial Scarcity,” Critical Ethnic Studies (forthcoming). I thank David for a draft of the essay that he shared with me. [End Page 985]

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