Academic journal article Tamara : Journal of Critical Postmodern Organization Science

Rhetorical Vision of the Independent and Sovereign Nation of Hawai'i[1]: A Fantasy Theme Analysis[2]

Academic journal article Tamara : Journal of Critical Postmodern Organization Science

Rhetorical Vision of the Independent and Sovereign Nation of Hawai'i[1]: A Fantasy Theme Analysis[2]

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The rhetorical vision of the Independent Nation of Hawai'i, a sovereignty group seeking independence from the United States, was analyzed via fantasy theme analysis of two artifacts in their website. Spirit, Kupuna, and Lili'uokalani symbolized positive dramatis personae themes; the United States Government and haole invaders represented villains against Native Hawai'ian people. Cultural preservation, political determination, and environmental protection of all Hawai'ian 'aina is deemed paramount for Hawai'ian survival. This study demonstrates that the use of symbolic themes has been developed to persuade the public to support an Independent Nation of Hawai'i, which is a symbolic vision of the future.

INTRODUCTION

Social-scientific researchers have recently begun to focus increasing attention upon the Kanaka Maoli, descendants of the "original" people of Hawai'i, an indigenous culture of just under 10,000 pure-blood members (Blaisdell, 1993), who are prophesied to die out within the next hundred years due to interbreeding with outgroups and decreased blood quanta. Faced with extinction, and reviewing the vast changes that have swept the Hawaiian arena since it was first invaded by Captain James Cook in 1778, many modern Kanaka are angry at Western encroachment and want change (Francia, 1995; Trask, 1993). Indeed, within the Kanaka Maoli has sprouted the Native Hawai'ian sovereignty movement, a collection of grass-roots political organizations with slightly different aims and goals, yet all united under the rubric of making some sort of legal, social, and economic change within the multicultural setting of the Hawai'ian Islands. Proposals for change range from deportation of all foreigners and institution of a Hawai'ian government and economic system to a "state-within-a-state" model such as that utilized by many American Indian tribes today. This study focuses on a group known as the Independent and Sovereign-Nation State of Hawai'i (also referred to as the Independent Nation), whose stance on sovereignty is based upon Native Hawai'ians regaining their culture, lands, and economic freedom, beginning with the expulsion of the United States government and other foreign powers. This organization was selected because their views on sovereignty were extremely polarized, and it was thought that by understanding the symbolic and cultural aspects found within their argumentation, a greater understanding and appreciation for the plight of Native Hawai'ians who have lost their legacy to Westerners can be gained. The aims of this paper are hence threefold, and offer:

1) a brief discussion of the origins of the Independent Nation organization, including their approach to public information-sharing through modern electronic means such as the Internet,

2) descriptive and symbolic dissemination of two Independent Nation publications found within their Internet website: their 1994 speech the Proclamation of the Restoration of the Independence of the Sovereign Nation State of Hawai'i, and the 1995 Hawai'ian Constitution, which is a legal document, through a qualitative methodological approach known as fantasy theme analysis, and

3) exploration of how these documents are persuade the public to participate in supporting an Independent Nation of Hawaii, which is a symbolic vision of the future.

UNDERPINNINGS OF THE MODERN HAWAI'IAN SOVEREIGNTY MOVEMENT

Since 1778, when Captain James Cook of the English Navy was attributed as the first white man to step foot on Hawaiian soil, haoles (foreigners) have wreaked havoc upon the Hawaiian culture by introducing deadly epidemics, dispossessing the indigenous government, and claiming Hawaiian lands for their own (Dudley & Agard, 1993; Trask, 1993). These issues merit discussion because of their impact on modern-day Natives. First, reductions to the Hawai'ian population stem directly from Cook (Kuykendall & Day, 1976, Stannard, 1989): his men brought new diseases with them, such as tuberculosis and syphilis, decimating the population. …

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