Dissonant Belonging and the Making of Community: Native Hawaiian Claims to Selfhood and Home
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In 1898 the United States illegally annexed the Hawaiian Islands over the protests of Queen Liliʽuokalani and the Hawaiian people. American hegemony has been deepened in the intervening years through a range of colonizing practices that alienate Kanaka Maoli, the indigenous people of Hawaiʽi, from their land and culture. Dissonant Belonging and the Making of Community is an exploration of contemporary Hawaiian peoplehood that reclaims indigenous conceptions of multiethnicity from colonizing narratives of nation and race. Drawing from archival holdings at the University of Hawaiʽi, Mānoa and in-depth interviews, this project offers an analysis of public and everyday discourses of nation, race, and peoplehood to trace the discursive struggle over Local identity and politics. A context-specific social formation in Hawaiʽi, “Local” is commonly understood as a multiethnic identity that has its roots in working-class, ethnic minority culture of the mid-twentieth century. However, American discourses of race and, later, multiethnicity have functioned to render invisible the indigenous roots of this social formation. Dissonant Belonging and the Making of Community reclaims these roots as an important site of indigenous resistance to American colonialism. It traces, on the one hand, the ways in which Native Hawaiian resistance has been alternately erased and appropriated. On the other hand, it explores the meanings of Local identity to Native Hawaiians and the ways in which indigenous conceptions of multiethnicity enabled a thriving community under conditions of colonialism.