Decolonization In The Hawaiian Islands Essay

1010 words - 4 pages

The people of Hawaii and other Pacific Island Nation groups have experienced great injustice from their colonial powers and the acts of imperialism. Lands were seized, cultural practices banned, language lost, and people were even forced to move away from their homes for the purpose of bomb testing. The United States and other countries abroad sent out representatives to do their work for them; in return their future actions would be justified in describing the Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders as savages that need to have wider powers enforced upon them; thus resulting in a tangled web of political mythologies.

The first step in legitimizing the take over of an indigenous person was to make them less human. In Stannard's article he says the way that this was achieved was by a ""blotting out of knowledge" of native people or the making of them into "people without history." Once the natives have thus been banished from collective memory, at least as people of numerical and cultural consequence, the settler group's moral and intellectual right to conquest is claimed to be established without question." (Stannard, 382) "The fact that indigenous societies had their own system of order was dismissed...they were not fully human, they were not civilized enough to have systems, they were not literate, and their languages and modes of thought were inadequate." (Smith, 28)

In some instances the erasing of a history was not enough though; to further justify the take over and occupation of a given area, historians maintain "that there were very few indigenous people in the area of colonization prior to the arrival of colonists. And... the colonist historian dismisses those few native people as primitive and savage types who actually benefited from being conquered." (Stannard, 383)

These events took place in Hawaii, the first day of Hawaii's history began in 1778 when Captain Cook arrived in the islands, it some how slipped the mind of the historians that the Hawaiian people were there long before, living in a peaceful coexistence with the land. The Hawaiians were further depicted as "thieves" like the rest of the "people in Polynesia," and plagued with the barbaric accusation of committing infanticide. These so called "facts" were enough for the Euro-American forces to send out missionaries to regulate the Hawaiian people and take over their land and all their practices. (Stannard, 381- 417)

As a result to new people coming into colonizes Hawaii and its people, the Hawaiians suffered many consequences. Formerly, the Hawaiian Islands remained isolated from the rest of the world. Once they were tainted with outside contact, the Hawaiians quickly fell ill with disease causing their population to go on rapid decline. Smaller populations allowed the missionaries to eventually gain more control. Eventually hula was prohibited, as well as the language and other past times, the final straw coming down to Hawaii's illegal annexation. The...

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