International and Intercultural Communication | Peace and Conflict Studies
This paper presents a major lesson I learned from my research on the roles of non-natives in the Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) sovereignty movement, one that should prove instructive for activists in other movements: when the federal and state governments, immigrants and settlers, and the Kānaka Maoli people compete to define Hawaiian identity and control access to Hawaiian people, land, and culture, who counts as “Native Hawaiian” matters. Yet, with so much at stake, even when common sense tells nonnatives we know what “native” means and it is not us, many forces collude to encourage nonnative appropriation of Hawaiian identity—identity theft. In order to make useful contributions to the movement as a non-Kanaka Maoli scholar and activist, I had to learn to recognize and respect the boundary lines that were being drawn and redrawn around Native Hawaiian identity in everyday movement practices, and to refuse the false comfort of the label “Hawaiian-at-heart.”
Kraemer, Kelly Rae, "Don’t Call Me “Hawaiian-at-Heart”: Self-determination and Identity Theft" (2008). Peace Studies Faculty Publications. 2.