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109 Chapter 4 Living with Disease and Death at Makanalua “The disease of the despised.” —The Echo of Our Song, Pukui and Korn Mo‘olelo Lot Kapuāiwa (Kamehameha V) died in December of 1872, and because a successor had not been named, an election was necessary to select a new Mō‘ī. Two front-runners emerged, William C. Lunalilo and David Kalākaua. Lunalilo was a cousin to Kapuāiwa and a descendant of a half-brother of Kamehameha I; his genealogy and popularity led to a unanimous vote for “ke ali‘i lokomaika‘i” (the kind chief).1 Soon after Lunalilo took the oath of Mō‘ī on January 12, 1873, he was confronted with efforts to secure a reciprocity treaty with the United States that would have given the sugar industry duty-free access to the American market in return for ceding Pu‘uloa (Pearl Harbor) to the United States. The people spoke loudly against the proposal, and Lunalilo eventually refused to sign the treaty. Despite this forestallment against American intrusions, the new king appointed U.S. nationals to three of the four major cabinet positions, and he seemed to associate himself with a number of the key individuals from the “missionary” party.2 The Mō‘ī also suffered from tuberculosis, and his disease, together with his penchant for liquor, weakened both his body and his reign. Lunalilo passed away on February 3, 1874, only thirteen months after taking office, and without naming a successor. It was time for another election. This time, the main contenders were Queen Emma (widow of Alexander Liholiho, Kamehameha IV) and David Kalākaua. The contest was characterized by considerations of genealogy and gender, British versus American support and interests, and opposition versus support of a reciprocity treaty. Queen Emma had 110 chapter 4 supporters on every island, but the legislators chose Kalākaua by a vote of thirty-nine to six, bringing an end to the Kamehameha era. Crowds had gathered outside the courthouse where the election took place, and, after the results were announced, a riot broke out among Emma’s supporters . The protesters entered the courthouse, caused extensive property damage, and assaulted many, killing one legislator and injuring fourteen others. U.S. and British forces (numbering 220) were brought in to help re-establish peace.3 Those who protested did so not only because they supported Queen Emma, but also because they feared the influence that haole interests and businessmen had on Kalākaua. Throughout his reign, Kalākaua strove for legitimacy, but he “could never adequately represent either kānaka or haole without alienating one or the other.”4 Kānaka Maoli were cautious of his American support and genealogy. Though most were subjects of the kingdom, Americans and others of foreign descent in the kingdom often withheld their support and later opposed and even ridiculed him. At the heart of the divide over his support was the reciprocity treaty of 1875. Perhaps the Mō‘ī expected reciprocity to benefit all in the kingdom , but many viewed it as a step toward losing independence.5 It did benefit a small class of business elite and it promoted the sugar economy, but for many it came at the expense of the subsistence of Kānaka Maoli. The subsequent success of the sugar industry, which garnered financial support for the kingdom, at least from the planters’ perspective, led them to desire more of a say in governing the kingdom. Kalākaua remained aligned with U.S. and planter interests for the first eight years of his reign, but when he sought “to promote a more independent path,” the business elite began to turn against him and his kingdom.6 During the late nineteenth century, many Westerners commented favorably on the living conditions found at Makanalua. But the relatively unkind climate, a lack of proper shelter, poorly distributed food rations, an insufficient water supply, and inadequate medical attention were in reality much harsher than what was depicted in most accounts of that period.7 The physical environment was difficult for those who were suffering from leprosy, and the challenges of that environment were constant throughout the early decades of the leprosy settlement, informing every aspect of daily life for the patients. Moreover, there was another relentless constant at Makanalua that influenced all aspects of life in the settlement during this era—death. living with disease and death at makanalua 111 In the isolated setting of Makanalua, those who suffered from leprosy were set apart, left...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780824865795
Related ISBN
9780824834845
MARC Record
OCLC
859157610
Launched on MUSE
2013-05-20
Language
English
Open Access
No
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