Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2021
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
University of Hawaii / Manoa
Hulihia Nā Kānāwai ʻĀina: The Effects of Post-Overthrow Land Law Changes on Hawaiʻi and Native Hawaiians

In January of 1893, a small group of Caucasian businessman engineered the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, resulting in the Provisional Government and the eventual Republic of Hawaiʻi. In the space of the next 125 years, Native Hawaiians have gone from being the largest racial population segment to being a minority in their own homeland. In addition, they represent the bottom of the socio-economic scale in nearly every indicator category . While there is some research examining more recent reasons for this socio-economic transition, there has been little research done to explain how Native Hawaiians have become landless here in Hawaiʻi and to connect the current situation to post-overthrow changes in Hawaiʻi. In addition, the majority of what literature exists was written was authored by scholars unfamiliar with Hawaiian culture. This qualitative project aims to explain these changes by examining land laws during the Kingdom period in Hawaiʻi and comparing associated changes during the fifty year period following the overthrow using a feminist, Indigenous lens. Through a 12-month multi-sited archival research project in the United Kingdom, Washington D.C., Maryland and Hawaiʻi, I will document land law changes that were made in the approximately fifty years post-overthrow. I will then use Geographic, Indigenous Studies and Critical Race theories to analyze changes in Hawaiʻi’s population demographics, land use, and the socio-economic status of Native Hawaiians. The ultimate goal of this project is not only connected to expanding academic understanding of Hawaiʻi’s post-1893 changes to land laws, but is also designed to impact Native Hawaiian understandings of this time period, ultimately affecting the identity and well being within on-the-ground Native Hawaiian communities.