Kaiulani: The People's Princess
This diary is the story of Kaiulani, the last Hawaiian princess. Most of the diary is about her regular activities as a princess. She is later sent to England to study, and the diary reflects the subjects she studied, difficulties she had with her health, and how she eventually left the school she attended for what essentially was home schooling, but still in England.
The story takes a negative turn, though, when American businessmen, working along with some very sleazy politicians, decide to overthrow the Hawaiian monarchy and set up a Hawaii under their own control, a Hawaii which was, essentially illegally, annexed by the U.S. shortly thereafter.
Basically, then, Hawaii should not even be a state but should still be its own country, serving its own interests rather than the interests of U.S. businesses and politicians. The time period in this novel was the historical time when the U.S. felt it had the right to force other countries to do whatever it wanted (something which has not changed even today, unfortunately.) The Spanish-American war of 1898 is only one example. Another is the forced opening of Japan to U.S. trade by American gunboats, threatening an until-then isolated Japan. Another would be the invasion of Mexico and the taking of a large amount of territory that included the future Texas.
Thus, the novel not only gives us insight into a Princess-in-training, but shows how big business interests can result in overthrow of an entire country.
In the July 17, 2005 issue of a local paper is an article entitled "Bill recognizes native Hawaiians." It notes that there are "250,000 indigenous people of Polynesian ancestry" among Hawaiia's 1.2 million esidents. The article notes that "...U.S. troops helped overthrow the independent Kingdom of Hawaii", and that Congress did not apologize for that until 12 years ago. The bill is to "extend soverignty to the native Hawaiian people" much like the Native Americans have in the continental U.S. It would establish "...a governing body that would make decisions on behalf of the estimated 400,000 native Hawaiians in the United States." It also would establish some guidelines for "...the disposition of vast amounts of land and resources taken by the United States when the islands were annexed in 1898."
The article also notes that conservatives in the Senate oppose the bill, claiming it would create a "race-based government." The article also says that there are some Hawaiian secessionist groups.
Dear America index page