The color of nationality : continuities and discontinuities of citizenship in Hawaiʻi

Kauai, Willy Daniel Kaipo
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2014]
This dissertation examines the evolution of citizenship in the Hawaiian Islands from the late 18th century to present day. Until 1887, race was not used as a basis to determine citizenship in the Hawaiian Kingdom. During the Hawaiian constitutional era (1840-1887), people of all origins were extended rights, privileges, and protections. Acquiring Hawaiian citizenship was based on allegiance, not skin color. This tradition of political inclusion was disrupted by the 1887 Bayonet Constitution, which for the first time introduced racially exclusive policies aligned with American racial standards of citizenship. The term "Hawaiian" became codified under the Bayonet Constitution as a racial or ethnic marker rather than an indicator of nationality or citizenship. Hawaiian nationality was further complicated in 1898 by the United States' illegal occupation of the Islands. Considering, however, that the US never legally acquired the Islands, the history of citizenship brings forward many political and legal implications today. Recent, and current, legal proceedings in international courts and U.S. courts are now challenging and re-conceptualizing U.S. sovereignty in Hawaiʻi. Such challenges to U.S. jurisdiction in Hawaiian territory presume a continuity of Hawaiian sovereignty. Given the legal bond between citizenship and sovereignty, this also presumes a continuity of Hawaiian nationality. This begs the question: In light of the United States' illegal occupation, who comprises the "Hawaiian" citizenry today? This dissertation answers this question through an analysis of the origin, evolution, and present condition of Hawaiian citizenship. It also provides a recommendation to address some of the many complications of citizenship that has resulted from the on-going illegal occupation now in its 121st-year.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
citizenship, Hawaiians
Access Rights
Email if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.