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Local StoryThe Massie-Kahahawai Case and the Culture of History$
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John P. Rosa

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824828257

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824828257.001.0001

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The Killing of Joseph Kahahawai

The Killing of Joseph Kahahawai

Native Hawaiians and Stories of Resistance

(p.44) 3 The Killing of Joseph Kahahawai
Local Story

John P. Rosa

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines how Native Hawaiian struggles in the early decades of the twentieth century often allowed Hawaiians to align themselves on the side of working-class Asians, Portuguese, Puerto Ricans, and other locals. The death of Joseph Kahahawai in January 1932 at the hands of four mainland haoles was seen as more than merely an injury against the Native Hawaiian community. His murder was cast as a story of local oppression, revealing to Native Hawaiians that they had more in common with working-class peoples of color and were part of an emerging local culture. These common interests challenged the tenuous and contradictory alliances that Native Hawaiian elites had sometimes formed with white merchants, planters, and governing officials who sought desperately to preserve their oligarchic control of territorial Hawaii.

Keywords:   Native Hawaiians, working class, Hawaii, oppression, Joseph Kahahawai

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