Title

What is Sovereignty? An Understanding of the Hawaiian Movement

Publication Date

5-1-2007

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Janaki Natarajan

Abstract

The topic of this research thesis is Hawaiian sovereignty, noting that sovereignty has not taken the form of true self-determination in the political and economic sense in Hawai‘i, and has gone through several major set-backs within the past few years. After reading an article about the concept of individual sovereignty and in looking at the education movements here, I questioned: Does Hawaiian Sovereignty exist?

In order to look at this query in depth I focused on a Grounded Theory approach, conducted interviews with 13 respondents, visited four education sites that focus on Hawaiian Cultural education and did literature and current news article reviews. As I gained a clearer understanding of Hawaiian culture I could observe better the cultural methods that are being utilized. This brought to light that there is a difference between political and individual sovereignty.

The main theory that emerged is that education is enabling individual sovereignty in the Hawaiian people who are imbued with strong cultural values and a sense of self and place. This leads to their individual sovereignty which hopefully will lead many to fight for political sovereignty in the overall quest to see pono or righteousness achieved. This process is one that is continual for the Hawaiian people and all human beings. Globally there are issues of sustainability and resource management that need to be addressed. Education is a clear decisive or divisive method to create or quell positive social change. The research that I have done has proven that there are ways to create that social change through individual sovereignty, and that constructive efforts are continuing here in Hawai‘i.

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