Hawai’i ’78: Collective Memory and the Untold Legal History of Reparative Action for Kānaka Maoli
University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change Volume 24, Issue 2 2021
64 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2021
Date Written: 2021
Constructed from years of archival and legal research, and in-depth interviews, this Article unearths the story of Native Hawaiians who, tired of failed promises and hollow apologies, in 1978 capitalized on an indigenous cultural and political revival to change the law and secure reparative action. The Native Hawaiian community subsequently faced immediate backlash from politicians who weaponized sterile and racialized views of Hawai‘i’s indigenous people to create a memory of the past that upended those reparative initiatives. This Article is thus a legal history that, unlike any other, captures the messiness of politics and race relations in twentieth century Hawai‘i. It contributes to the study of collective memory and demonstrates the constant negotiation of history, mobilization, and power that lawmakers wield to either advance or stymie justice for Native Hawaiians. The events recounted in this Article offer both hope and a cautionary tale for those seeking reparative action for historical wrongs.
Keywords: Native Hawaiian, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Legal History, Collective Memory, Reparations, Reconciliation
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