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Tiki Central Forums Beyond Tiki Taking Political Correctness to a New Height
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Taking Political Correctness to a New Height
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3836
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2004-05-25 7:31 pm   Permalink


[i]On 2004-05-25 10:17, Atomic Cocktail wrote:
It was King Liholiho (Kamehameha II) who abolished the Kapu system for his own political purposes in 1819, before the missionaries arrived in Hawaii. One could argue Liholiho made their work easier by presenting them with a society in turmoil.

For a good overview of Hawiian History check out this NPS site:

. . . .

If I recall correctly, wasn't the true motivation for abolishing Kapu was to increase his mother's political power because of Kapu's gender bias?

Anyway, as your excellent, excellent website states, the missionaries outlawed the hula because they thought it was immoral and lewd. (They probably had not seen the Tahitian style)

But yes, abolishing Kapu and not replacing it with another religion (like Tiki) certainly allowed the Missionaries a religious vacuum to fill.

Nevertheless, it was not all bad - the Mormon Church created the Polynesian Cultural Center.

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Atomic Cocktail
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 25, 2002
Posts: 927
From: Land O' The Next Big One-L.A.
Posted: 2004-05-25 8:02 pm   Permalink


I do agree with you not EVERYTHING the missionaries did was wrong. I was not making a value judgment just trying to present some info. It is sometimes hard to put aside our 21st Century values and try to see the situation with 19th century ones. From the Missionaries viewpoint they were saving the "heathens" from eternal damnation. Most Hawaiians saw it otherwise. The fact that anything of the ancient Hawaiian culture survives is a miracle considering the steps some took to eradicate it.

Read Lawgiver 29:6

[ This Message was edited by: Atomic Cocktail on 2004-05-25 20:03 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3836
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2004-05-28 7:04 pm   Permalink

I agree completely. I located the following on a website advocating U.S. restitution by restoring the Hawaiian monarchy:

"When the first Europeans came into contact with Hawaii, the native people accepted nudity and lived very simple, happy lives. This came to an end twenty years after the first Congregationalist missionaries landed on the islands in 1818. By 1838, nudity was prohibited and the native religious dance, the Hula, was outlawed. The missionaries devised the first alphabet for the Hawaiian language, and they taught the whole native people how to read and write. The chiefs of the seven principal royal families of Hawaii felt that the future of the islands lay with lands outside the Hawaiian worldview, which caused them to turn their princely children over to a missionary couple to educate. The missionaries lost no time introducing these innocent minds to the rigors of Christian theology.

In 1778 there was a total of 800,000 native-born Hawaiians; within a mere fifty years 80% of the native population would perish. Largely as a result of the "diseases of foreign contact," such as alcoholism and diseases for which the native people had no native immunity. This is the same basic pattern that took place in north America too . . .

The missionaries openly used their influence to westernize the traditional society of Hawaii. Initially foreigners were not allowed to buy native land, which they clamored against right from the start. The first step in changing the native culture was to press for a "constitutional government," which, of course, meant different things to different people, a cloud of confusion the missionaries were eager to exploit in their own best interests. It was not too hard for the worldly missionaries to impress upon the simple native chiefs of Hawaii that a constitution would be an improvement for everyone, even though once this form of government was implemented, none of the chiefs had any experience operating such a government, and they gradually became totally reliant on the missionaries. Thus the missionaries soon ascended to Cabinet positions, giving them control over key segments of the native government.

Soon the missionaries pushed through a series of complex new "reforms" that they claimed were "democratic," but which ultimately only benefited a small elite. The "reforms" allowed foreigners to buy native Hawaiian land from the chiefs and the government, and before long less than 1% of the land was in the possession of the native Hawaiian people. The Hawaiians had lived in large multi-generational tribal groupings, just like the native American indians, and they really had no conception for the private ownership of property. Private ownership was alien to them, and no one went to any great effort to instruct them in the ins and outs of the private property convention; instead, their ignorance was ruthlessly exploited, and their families were scattered. Of course, families not only provided functional services, they also provided the heart and soul of the native society, and once the tribal families were scattered, it caused cultural devastation as well as economic hardship. The remnants of these tribal groupings moved to the towns, where they had to sell themselves as menial laborers to the missionaries, who were enriched by this destruction of the native culture by the acquisition of the native lands. Now the missionaries became prosperous plantation aristocrats, with a permanent interest in the government of Hawaii.

Ironically, it was the sugar business that ultimately led to the destruction of the native Hawaiian Kingdom. In 1874 an intensely nationalistic prince came to power as King Kalakaua, who was known by the title, The Merry Monarch. He brought back the Hula dance, and his intention was to limit the power of the missionaries over the government of the Kingdom. He was joined in this intention by his sister and heir, Lilioukalani. In 1876 he travelled to Washington DC to negotiate a treaty that opened up the U.S. market to Hawaiian sugar tax free. This enabled the sugar business to realize enormous profits, which would later become the dagger at the heart of the native culture.

The booming sugar business started to suffer from a shortage of labor, which led to the importation of large numbers of Asians to do the work. The Asians soon outnumbered the native-born Hawaiians in their own country. The tactic of importing people, such as slaves, was repeated everywhere the Europeans set up colonies, because the white man recognized the importance of diluting the influence of the natives through numbers, "democratic" theories all relying on the idea of majority rule.

The plantations, by 1885, were almost all in the hands of foreigners. Of course, they were the descendants of the first missionaries, so that they, themselves, now also had a kind of claim to being native born. Their plantations became the centers of European influence in Hawaii, importing the latest technology from the U.S. for the sugar production, so that soon Hawaii was the largest sugar producer in the world. This gave the white people a sense of duty to bring "high civilization" to the Hawaiian Islands; the more money they made, the more they felt entitled to control the government of the Kingdom. The white plantation owners came to call themselves, "The Missionary Boys," and they increasingly looked upon anything they did to pursue their interests as justified, even if it broke the very Christian principles they claimed to be an example of.

What really motivated the Missionary Boys to come together ultimately was the actions of the King, as he tried to save the last vestige of the sovereignty of the Hawaiian people. In 1881 the King left on a world tour, and he left his sister, Lilioukalani, in charge during his absence. Her first action was to close the port of Honolulu when it was discovered that a ship loaded with 4,000 Chinese was infected with the deadly smallpox. This infuriated the white business community, who characterized this lifesaving measure as a "tyrannical act," solely because it interfered with the business community's financial interests.

The King, while on his world tour, had been exposed to European royalty, and upon his return he intended to embellish the Hawaiian monarchy with the kinds of royal symbols that were taken for granted in Europe. He had the Iolani Palace built, at great expense, and to the utter horror of the white business community, he acquired a gunboat. These actions infuriated the white community, who saw in them the seeds of future actions that might enable the monarchy to re-assert its independence of the Missionary Boys. One man -- a hot-headed lawyer and journalist -- Lorrin Thurston, took it upon himself to set up a secret society of white businessmen, which became known as the Hawaiian League. It is important to understand that the reason this society was set up secretly was because its main objective, the overthrow of the government, WAS ILLEGAL. (This was the same complication that the early colonials had to confront, in the original thirteen colonies of the U.S., because they were busy stockpiling weapons just like the Hawaiian League, which joined forces with the "citizens militia," the Honolulu Rifles).

One thing led to another, and the vigilante group set up by Thurston brought their forces to the Iolani Palace, where they forced a new constitution upon the reluctant king at gunpoint! Christian principles of fellowship and love be damned! "

PS - France and Britian also had interest in Hawaii, to reinforce the issue that it is a miracle any of the culture was able to remain.

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Unga Bunga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5857
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2010-01-21 11:18 am   Permalink

Conan O'Brien or another late night talk show host (I was half asleep or drunk, take your pick) was talking about this last night.
Is it back in the news for some reason?

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Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 9051
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2010-01-21 1:56 pm   Permalink


On 2004-05-28 19:04, christiki295 wrote:
...website advocating U.S. restitution by restoring the Hawaiian monarchy...

Unfortunately, you can't go back and fix the errors in history. Every piece of property in the world, including yours, used to belong to someone else and was taken away by force and/or deceit. There is no RESET button

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