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The Kingdom and the Republic: Sovereign Hawai’i and the Early United States
By Noelani Arista CEF ’13

The early 1800s saw immense change for the islands of Hawai’i. The first American missionaries landed in 1823. Laws were being translated from oral tradition to written. With the sandalwood trade came new legal restrictions on access to Hawaiian women for foreigners in 1825. This law—implemented by the chiefs, called ali’i, but misinterpreted as coming from the missionaries—resulted in an attack on two mission stations and a breakdown in relations between the merchants, missionaries, and sailors.

By digging into previously unknown Hawaiian language archives, Noelani Arista creates a more robust picture of colonial Hawai’i. She explores the formations of native politics and law and how that rule extended to the changing population of both indigenous and foreign people.

Dr. Arista “upends a simplistic colonial historiography that makes American missionaries the dominant forces in the period,” wrote David Chang of the University of Minnesota. The book “reveals instead a more complex and surprising story that speaks powerfully to questions of law, culture, language, and power in history.”

The Kingdom and the Republic was the winner of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association First Book Award for 2020.

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