- Series: Narrating Native Histories
- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: Duke University Press Books (November 7, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0822340798
- ISBN-13: 978-0822340799
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity (Narrating Native Histories)
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From the Publisher
"Hawaiian Blood is an important work that addresses the racialization of Hawaiians in a way that no other work has done. J. Kēhaulani Kauanui reveals how the fifty-percent blood quantum continues to divide the Native Hawaiian community and how it is affecting current court decisions and legislation. These analyses are crucial for the Hawaiian community as it continues to move to define itself and to exercise self-determination and sovereignty."--Noenoe K. Silva, author of Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism
"Hawaiian Blood tells a fascinating and important story that has not received sufficient attention in the historical research on Hawai`i nor in the work on indigenous peoples more generally. Well written, accessible to students and sophisticated in its analysis, this book offers provocative new insights and theoretical perspectives on how we think about and use notions of race, blood, and belonging."--Sally Engle Merry, author of Colonizing Hawai`i: The Cultural Power of Law
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In this, her first book, she pulls no punches in her analysis of the American empire and how it has operated in Hawaii. She argues that blood quantum racial classification is used as a proxy for ancestry, with destructive political consequences for indigenous peoples. Her primary focus being on the legal construction of Hawaiian indigeneity in order to analyze the implications for historical claims to land and sovereignty, an argument she more than backs up.
While the book revolves around the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920, chapter one serves as context, contrasting how Hawaiians use genealogy to determine if one is Hawaiian as opposed to the “blood quantum” method devised by the law. As the author notes, the blood quantum method is designed to displace “the indigenous form of identification.” (38) Furthermore, she notes that genealogy plays a crucial role in Hawaiian political representation, which would account for why the U.S. government did (and continues to do) everything it can to discredit this and come up with an alternate method of determining who is and is not Hawaiian. (63) Chapter two also serves to contextualize the HHCA by discussing “issues of depopulation, rehabilitation, and land entitlement, as well as those of race, indigeneity, and citizenship.” (32) As Kauanui notes, land which was to be used for rehabilitation of natives was the land sugar plantation owners wanted to keep as their “leases were soon to expire.” (69) Chapter three details the first hearing on a proposal of rehabilitation before the House Committee on Territories. (33) Chapter four discusses the second hearing, in which the issue of just who is Hawaiian is debated. At the heart of this is a discussion of racial mixing and assimilation. Interestingly there was a proposal (it did not pass) to set the blood quantum at 100%. Chapter five looks at how the HHCA was recreated (and the advent of the 50% rule) in order to get it to pass Congress. Chapter six details the implications of the HHCA on contemporary Hawaiian politics.
This is a very well written argument which is quite easy to follow for both the specialist and the lay reader alike. Kehaulani’s argument is easy to follow and she conveniently points out what she is arguing not only in the introduction to the book, but in the introduction to each chapter. Indeed, she lays her case out in lawyer like fashion, moving methodically from one piece of evidence to the next, transitioning expertly and reminding the audience of the relation to the overall argument. Best of all, you do not need to be a specialist in the history of the US (or Hawaii) to follow along.
The USA's disregard and discrimination toward Hawaiians is appalling, embarrassing to me & many others who thought we served a just and rightful government as veterans and citizens, only to find out that the government casually, and forcefully discriminates against ethnic groups, as in this instance the Hawaiian people for the benefit of a few and the benefit of certain populations who are monied. The author empathizes the racism and inequality practiced in America's past history and present day practices! Blood quantum is a practice used to ensure Hawaiians will continue to lose land rights today & in the future.