Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact


SDHF Newsletter No. 284 Book Review Hawaiian Sovereignty

Hawaiian Sovereignty: Do the Facts Matter?
Thurston Twigg-Smith
Goodale Publishing, 1998
Reviewed by Tadashi Hama

August 20, 2020

One notes from the current rioting in America not only how rapidly American racial minorities escalate to raw violence in response to alleged injustice but how tightly enveloped they are in victimhood culture. “Victimhood culture” is belief in externalities beyond one’s control are responsible for one’s failings. In the US, the White majority ruling class “oppresses” non-Whites via “institutional racism”. Thus, tearing down White institutions and overthrowing the White ruling class will lead to a brighter future for non-Whites—so it is hoped.
Native Hawaiians, specifically, the race that existed in the islands prior to the arrival of European explorers, have also called for secession from the US and restoration of the Kingdom of Hawaii, which ceased to exist with the abdication of the last sovereign, Queen Liliuokalani, on January 17, 1893. As with other racial minorities, Hawaiian sovereigntists aim to replace White American institutions with “traditional Hawaiian culture”.
However, Thurston Twigg-Smith’s book tells a different tale. Former publisher of the Honolulu Advertiser, Twigg-Smith was the great-great-grandson of one of the first missionaries to arrive in Hawaii and grandson of a former cabinet member chosen to serve the Hawaiian monarchy, who later took part in the Hawaii “revolution” of 1893 which led to the end of the Hawaiian monarchy. Few visitors, as well as locals, know anything of the true history of Hawaii and Twigg-Smith gives reads an unflinching look at the real past.
It should be noted that the Constitution of 1887 had the following stipulation for voters: “every male resident… of Hawaiian, American or European birth or descent” and “he shall be able to read and comprehend an ordinary newspaper in either the Hawaiian, English or some European language…” Thus, Asians were excluded from voting—Japanese immigrants consisted of the largest population group at that time.
Behind the story of Hawaii’s final days as a monarchy is an interaction of numerous Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian personalities and competing agendas. Numerous non-Hawaiians were in fact loyal to the Kingdom and worked with the monarchy to preserve and continue Hawaii’s independence in the face of encroaching European powers. When the rulers failed their subjects, non-Hawaiians, as well as Hawaiians, put interests of the people of Hawaii first.
The Hawaiian monarchs were shewed politicians by any standard—today’s sovereigntists consider them dupes of foreign influence, but on reading Twigg-Smith’s account, this is patently false. Twigg-Smith’s book is an island of measured and calm facts in a sea of emotional propaganda.

MOTEKI Hiromichi, Acting Chairman
for KASE Hideaki, Chairman
Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact