“Hawaiian Nationality” Dissertation Defense – Willy Kauai, Ph.D. candidate

***UPDATE. Willy Kauai successfully defended his dissertation. He will be graduating in May 2014 with a Ph.D. in political science. His committee members were comprised of Professor Neal Milner, Chair, Professor Debora Halbert, Professor Charles Lawrence III, Dr. Keanu Sai, Professor Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie, and Professor Puakea Nogelmeier.


13 thoughts on ““Hawaiian Nationality” Dissertation Defense – Willy Kauai, Ph.D. candidate

  1. I believe this to be a critical addition to the scholarship surrounded the Hawaiian issue. I would be very appreciative of the opportunity to read the dissertation itself. Sadly, I am unable to attend the defense.

    I wish to thank Mr. Kauai for his effort in this realm. As a non-Hawaiian, but as one who grew up enjoying the largesse of the remnants of this society, I pray that work such as this will one day lead to the recognition the Hawaiian Nation deserves.

    • If I’m understanding the article, it’s saying that the term didn’t come about until the republic claimed to take control. Prior to that, it was only Hawaiian subjects. That seems to be part of the author’s problem with the usage, amongst many, many other good points he or she is making.

      • Aloha kaua e Noelani.
        Yes, an outstanding article by Adam Kinau, who is male, and also writes the online Hawaiian Historian blog, which is always a pleasure to read.

        It is interesting he should write: “There are absolutely no statues, treaties, or laws made during the Hawaiian Kingdom era that uses the term Hawaiian national.”

        That is very likely 100% correct, however, it is also likely that the term Hawaiian national can be found long before the so-called “Republic of Hawaii” and was intrinsic to the Hawaiian Kingdom.

        Dr. Kanalu Young at U.H. ran an article on the meaning of Hawaiian in the Summer 2004 issue of “Hawaiian Journal of Law and Politics.” Will attempt to post the link here:


        Notice how the terms Hawaiian subject and Hawaiian national are used interchangeably throughout the article to mean one and the same thing, e.g. “This means indigenous people known as ‘Oiwi, became Hawaiian nationals without the assistance of the U.N. or anything like it.”

        And/Or: “The term Hawaiian possesses its own historicity today in part because of how the word was used to identify the Hawaiian Kingdom’s citizenry, its subjects, or nationals beginning in the 1800s.”


        • My bad, the above link fails to open. Just Google; ‘An Interdisciplinary study of the term “Hawaiian” by Kanalu Young, PH.D’ and you should locate the said article online.

          • I feel a little lost on the discussion now. I thought the question was whether anyone knew when the term “Hawaiian national” was first used. According to the article provided, it had referred to the haole “republic” as being the first time it was referenced. I’m not going to have a chance to look at the entire article of Young for quite some time (23 pages is a lot right now : ) but thank you for providing the link, as I find a lot of really interesting articles on this site. But, according to Young’s article, the entire article is only an opinion piece.

            Personally, I feel this is a subject that Hawaiians struggle with all the time. For instance, the term “hapa” has been taken to mean half anything today, I feel. I think hapa used to mean part Hawaiian. I mean, if someone is half Japanese or Caucasian or Korean, etc. why not use that language to describe the word “half”? Why use the term “hapa”? Another example, “keiki o ka aina”. I’ve had to start using “kamalii” because I’ve noticed that everyone is using “keiki o ka aina”. Heck, I’ve even heard news stations describe Obama as “keiki o ka aina”. Maybe that’s the changes that Young is describing? I’ll have to read the entire article to have an actual opinion on Young’s opinion. : )

            But, as far as your original question, does Young offer actual historical information or just opinion to where the terminology changed or came from? I feel it’s really important to keep it as “subjects” if that’s what it is by Hawaiian Kingdom laws. Otherwise it could leave loopholes for a later date, so best if they change the language of their bill ahead of time. But its just internal memos to themselves in the end. The real job is with the HK.


          • Reply to Noelani.
            As an opinion it would be a surprise if there was no mention of “Hawaiian national” in all the intervening years between 1840 and 1892 somewhere in the minutes of the Privy Council or Kingdom legislature.

            Dr. Kanalu Young’s article is specifically about the term “Hawaiian” and is thus nebulous on the distinction between Hawaiian subject and national.

            If you scroll down to VI. “The Hawaiian national or Hawaiian subject?” he writes re. locals of foreign immigration ancestry before August 12, 1898: “If so, such a person may be a Hawaiian national, meaning a Hawaiian subject.”

            Looking back at the Larsen court case, Lance Paul Larsen was identified as a Hawaiian subject. Yet for the Arbitral Tribunal, Keoni Agard in choosing an arbitrator is identified as a Hawaiian national. Assumedly Dr. Keanu Sai and the powers that be have a valid reason for using both terms.

            Houston Wood wrote a book titled “Displacing Natives: The rhetorical production of Hawaii” (1999) in which he made the point that the word kama’aina originally meant in ka ‘olelo Hawai’i native born or indigenous Hawaiian, by the early 1900s the word had changed to mean island born. So maybe the same holds true for the ever changing meanings of words from the original.

            Aloha also & have a great weekend!

  2. I was unable to make it to this event. I really wanted to attend. It sounded so fascinating. Was anyone able to make it and share?

    Good luck as a Doctor Mr. Kauai! Imua!

  3. Hey Lima, possibly u might add the hyperlink to the part where Dr. Sai introduced Keoni Agard as a national. I found one document, but it looked like a transcript from the actual Court. Anyway, I’m not really sure I’ve enjoyed the way our discussion went from a friendly question to a strange “analysis” of other peoples published opinions that are being used with a lot of forcefulness, as if to add authority to them??

    Seems like u may have wanted to discuss something, maybe debate. I like a good spat; a discussion of viewpoints, etc. But this seems a little contrived. If there’s something you’d really like to say, please do. If there’s something you’d really like to investigate, do ask. But, asking innocent questions and attempting to make your opinion fact by saying that you’d be surprised if it were not true…. : ( there’s nowhere to go with that. That’s more a statement of faith.

    Bottom line when it comes down to it, in my OPINION, is that, Legally speaking, extreme caution must be used and historical perspective preserved. Modern and personal usage…completely different. Unfortunately I know all too well what it’s like to be divided into a different kind of Hawaiian. Main thing is that Hawaiians know who they are, and non-Hawaiians stop having an identity crisis. And I might add, that Everyone differentiate between local and Hawaiian. Lots could be accomplished with those things in mind.


    • Aloha Noelani.
      Hopefully the posted link will work this time:


      Keoni Agard the Appointing Authority is listed as a Hawaiian national, if you Google “Wikisource Larsen Vs. Hawaiian Kingdom 2005-05-02” it goes into more debt as to why Lance Paul Armstrong is listed as a Hawaiian subject.

      Mahalo Noelani for your well stated and expressed mana’o, I can see the area where you are coming from and concur with same.

      Having recently ordered the four-volume Hawaiian National Bibliography 1780-1900 I will go through the index on arrival to see if it mentions “Hawaiian national” between the years 1840-1892. Otherwise it is a matter of going through the entire 2,637 pages of same. Aloha.

  4. Aloha E Dr. Willy Kauai
    I wanted to thank you for your passionate work bringing to artentiion to everyone especially our Lahui the truth of Hawaiian Kingdom. International Law, treason, illegal occupation, the list of offense goes on.
    I am praying for your protection. I praying for a stead fast attention to the Hawaiian nation while exposing the facts. I pray For your continued pursuit Of The Goal Of The Hawaiian kingdom
    Malama pono ame Mahalo nui loa
    Druella Mae Kaleialoha Paikai-Hind

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