Ahakuelo, Chang, Ida, Kahahawai, and Takai as the Accused
Despite intimidation by the police and appeals from others “in the name of the Hawaiian people,” Ben Ahakuelo held to his story that he and the other Kauluwela Boys did not assault Thalia Massie on the night of September 12, 1931. Ahakuelo was adamant that he, Joseph Kahahawai, David Takai, Horace Ida, and Henry Chang were innocent. Through their words and actions, young men like Ben Ahakuelo asserted a solid pride in who they were and what they did and did not do. This chapter explores local identity in Hawaii of the 1930s by examining the men’s testimony regarding the night of September 12 and observations made by social scientists, social workers, police detectives, and Pinkerton investigators regarding the local youth population. In retelling this part of the Massie case, the aspects of local identity highlighted are markedly male oriented and frequently underscore the tension between local and white males. The chapter focuses on local males and their group activities in order to examine how a sense of geographic place and space contributed to the formation of local identity in the 1930s.
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