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Queens Liliuokalani Definition: “My People”, “Alien”, “Foreigner”, “Haole” Research Paper

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Updated: Dec 21st, 2021

Thesis: The essay is devoted to the discussion of the contextual usage of such terms as “Hawaiian”, “my people”, “alien”, “foreigner”, “haole” in a book Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen by Lili’uokalani. Questions of the political situation and foreign attitudes to her reign are further highlighted. The contemporary interpretation of the terms is taken into account as well.

Analysis of Lili’uokalani’s reign

Liliʻuokalani born Lydia Kamakaʻeha Kaola Maliʻi Liliʻuokalani, was the last queen, head of the Hawaii Kingdom. She changed her real name Lydia Kamakaʻeha Paki for the chosen royal one of Liliʻuokalani. Besides, her name after marriage was Kaolupoloni K. Dominis.

During her reign terms such as “Hawaiian”, “my people”, “alien”, “foreigner”, “haole”, etc were used in special contexts with special meanings. Our task is to investigate the premises, obstacles, and conditions of their use, and what special message did they convey to the Hawaiian Nation.

As Hune points out, “native Hawaiian queens looked after the education, health, and social welfare of their people during their lifetime and upon their passing, in the establishment of perpetual landed estates” (32).

Considering the queen’s policy towards Hawaiians and foreign nations, we can observe the following.

In the final pages of Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen, Lili’uokalani spoke of her devotion to her native race. She pledged her final drop of blood and everything she owned to restore the Hawaiian nation. The many programs funded by Lili’uokalani’s Trust have been and continue to be a source of strength for the Hawaiian community. Recent collaborative efforts on the part of the Lili’uokalani Children’s Center, Queen’s Emma Trust, and the Kamehameha Schools have provided additional opportunities to strengthen the people. Her vision of a restored Hawaiian Nation continues to gain in strength, and the Moi’s efforts were not in vain (Van Dyke, 342).

From the all said above, we can make a conclusion that the words “Hawaiian”, “my people” for queen Lili’uokalani were not just words. They were the aim of all her life and urgent task. The question about Hawaiians’ welfare and right to the unique culture existence was question number one in the queen’s agenda of her political duties.

She fought not only for the monarchy but for Hawaiians’ interests first of all. Aiming to save Hawaiian unique origin, she applied art and music particularly. In a book, Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen she explained this as follows: “although music forms to be a great part of the enjoyment of life, because I wished to bring with me, to my friends and my people on that island, a delight which I knew to them was quite rare, and in which I was quite sure all would find much satisfaction” (40).

For the generations of Native Hawaiians born in the twentieth century, Native Hawaiian national consciousness and identity were fed, nurtured, and shaped by the bitter knowledge of the loss of sovereignty when the Hawaiian monarchy, in the person of queen, was overthrown. The image of the queen – regal, beautiful, defiant, proud, enduring – is integral to the identity of Native Hawaiians, especially Native Hawaiian women. Her motto “Onipa’a” meaning “stand firm in the shifting tides of change,” is interpreted as a call to persevere and endure as a people. “Onipa’a” was a call for future generations of Native Hawaiians to live, practice, and perpetuate the native language, culture, science, spiritual beliefs, and customs and to endure as a distinct people, despite American efforts to extinguish Hawaiian language and culture and to assimilate Native Hawaiians into the American social system (Hune, 33).

American treatment of the mentioned terms

The attitude of the queen to haole was also distinguished. Being associated with the children of Caucasian immigrants at the beginning of the XIXth century, haole was later identified as children born in Hawaii whose parents’ and relatives’ culture was as much common to the Hawaiians as different as well. Except for Caucasians, haole were the descendants of other religious missionaries or immigrants coming with other purposes from Europe or North America but speaking English dialect.

For Hawaiians, haole played the important role in the development of the economic and political system lasting even till nowadays. That is why the queen’s attitude to haole was like to aliens or even like to her own nation.

Queen’s Lili’uokalani position towards foreigners was different. If to take into account the fact that some foreigners, Americans particularly, tried to subordinate Hawaii and assimilate their culture and uniqueness, the queen behaved as a defender of the nation’s interests first of all.

Queen Lili’uokalani became the focal point of Native Hawaiian protest against American annexation, rule, and assimilation, at the end of the nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century (Hune, 33).

In her book, Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen Lili’uokalani emphasized “this is an important page in Hawaiian history because it shows how persistently, even at that date, the “missionary party” was at work to undermine at every point the authority of the constitutional rulers of the Hawaiian people” (39).

Tolerant approach to the interpretation of the terms

As for the queen’s attitude to foreigners in general, we can say it was quite positive. From the book, we knew she traveled a lot to the United States, United Kingdom and other countries because of personal or political reasons. She met a lot of great people whose names are enlisted on her book pages.

The mere mention of these names recalls to me with sadly interesting vividness the past in my native land, when those of Hawaiian and of foreign birth were united in a common love of country, and only too eager to compete with each other for the privilege of showing to us their loyalty and love (35)

Speaking about American contextual usage of the terms such as “Hawaiian”, “my people”, “alien”, “foreigner”, “haole”, we should take into account the historical and moral premises of American understanding and behavior.

Along with exceptionalism, American leaders were influenced by nationalism, capitalism, Social Darwinism, and a paternalistic attitude toward foreigners. “They are children and we are men in these deep matters of government,” future president Woodrow Wilson announced in 1898. His words reveal the gender and age bias of American attitudes. Where these attitudes intersected with foreign cultures, the result was a mix of adoption, imitation, and rejection (Norton, 578).

Thus, it becomes evident the interpretation of the American position towards the Hawaiian nation during the queen’s Lili’uokalani reign. Their actions as the reaction to the queen’s policy are understandable as well.

But time goes by and the attitudes also change. Thus, we can say that modern American treatment of the mentioned above terms is different enough because it is based on theological humane principles.

Thus, the humanitarian norms, which represent the conception of the ideal in its practical applications, merely indicate the direction that we must follow in performing moral duties. The special content of the action must be left to the influence of the developmental conditions governing every single moral act in the infinite course of the moral life (Wundt, 158).

In conclusion, I would like to say that in spite of the historical and political premises and obstacles, the interpretation and the treatment of such as “Hawaiian”, “my people”, “alien”, “foreigner”, “haole” must be based on moral humanitarian principles and not on political benefit reasons. Queen’s Lili’uokalani is a brilliant example of tolerance to foreigners and humanitarian to her own nation.


Goldberg, Jake et al. Hawaii. Marshall Cavendish, 2006.

Hune, Shirley et al. Asian/Pacific Islander American Women: a Historical Anthropology. NYU Press, 2003.

Liliuokalani. Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen, Liliuokalani. Kessinger Publishing, 2007.

Norton, Mary Beth. A People and a Nation: A History of the United States, Brief Edition. Cengage Learning, 2008.

Van Dyke, Jon M. Who Owns the Crown Lands of Hawaii? University of Hawaii Press, 2008.

Wundt, Wilhelm. The Principles of Morality and the Departments of Moral Life. BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2009.

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