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chapter 2 Colonial Violence and Hawaiian Resistance While an identity crisis has contributed to conflict on the North Shore over the last several decades, contemporary solutions to confrontation are stifled by the historian’s inability to connect Hawaiian surfers to their past. The stories of the Hui Nalu, the Hui O He‘e Nalu, and other Hawaiian surfers are interwoven with a larger story of conquest and occupation in Hawai‘i. In order to understand Hawaiian surfers, we must analyze them in the context of their colonial history. These surf hui were born and shaped from the colonial violence that preceded them. Hawaiian surfers have also drawn from age-old historic colonial encounters to define themselves in the present. Unfortunately, most people today see violence in the surf as one-sided, where dehistoricized haole surfers play the role of random, innocent victims guilty only of the arbitrary crime of disrespect. However, to detach this colonial history from twentieth-century tensions in the surf is simply irresponsible. In this chapter I contextualize twentieth-century Hawaiian resistance in the surf by chronicling a history of colonial violence in nineteenth-century Hawai‘i. The written history of this period has matured over the last few years as more scholars have represented Hawaiians as agents in their own history. While such agency has uncovered stories of resistance and in some cases empowerment, we still cannot disregard the systematic oppression of Hawaiians in this story. Colonial violence and resistance are key themes in Colonial Violence and Hawaiian Resistance     43 nineteenth-century Hawaiian history, and the relationship between the two is still tangible today. Although their identity has evolved, Hawaiian surfers have expressed an inherited version of nineteenth-century colonial resistance in the waves. This genealogy of resistance has survived, in my opinion, because of the unique nature of ka po‘ina nalu (the surf zone). By reviewing this history from which many Hawaiian surfers have molded their concepts of resistance, we have a clearer picture of both haole and Hawaiian motives, violence, and protests. Hawaiian History and the Dispossession of the Kānaka Maoli The history of Hawaiian marginalization can be traced back to the earliest encounters with European voyagers. Although these late eighteenthcentury voyagers did not actively pursue political conquest over the islands, nor directly displace Hawaiian hegemony there, the diseases they brought to Hawai‘i killed off a large portion of the population and had a devastating impact on Hawaiian communities. This inevitably altered the political and cultural landscapes of Hawaiian society: because there were fewer chiefs, this contributed to political instability and disrupted social order. Civil war had plagued the Hawaiian Islands by the close of the eighteenth century. With the aid of Western weapons obtained from explorers like Briton George Vancouver and American Simon Metcalf,1 the tenacious Kamehameha had conquered the Hawaiian chain and united all of the islands under one mō‘ī (or king) by 1810.2 Such a conquest posed some challenges to Hawaiian leadership at the time. As Jonathan Osorio has pointed out, while Kamehameha created a new leadership that consolidated power around his administration , his “military supremacy suppressed the power of other Ali‘i Nui, whose rivalry with one another had contributed so much to the competitiveness and vibrancy of Hawaiian society.”3 Despite such challenges, Kamehameha I ended civil war and introduced long-awaited peace in the islands. He also preserved Native rule for Hawaiians amid looming European colonial window shoppers. He maintained Hawaiian sovereignty by modernizing the Hawaiian military and creating political alliances with competing Western nations such as England, France, and the United States. While Kamehameha I preserved Native Hawaiian control over the islands and maintained rule through traditional Hawaiian religious, legal, and cultural systems, his successors instituted dramatic political and social changes after his death in 1819. 44     Chapter 2 Shortly after his father’s death, Kamehameha’s heir, twenty-two-year-old ‘Iolani Liholiho, was encouraged by his father’s favorite wife, Ka‘ahumanu, his mother, Keōpūolani, and others who advocated ‘ainoa (free eating) to dismantle Hawai‘i’s legal and religious system known as the kapu. Previously, Hawai‘i’s kapu system had prevented the over-exploitation of items such as fish and other wildlife through seasonal hunting restrictions. The kapu system also provided a spiritual balance that was maintained through specific separations between the gods, ali‘i, and maka‘ainana in Hawaiian society.4 Shortly after Liholiho became king, he abandoned the ‘aikapu (sacred eating kapu) by eating...


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