10
Niihau Fights Back

One of the most famous incidents of the invasion occurred far to the west on the remote, privately owned island of Niihau. The island is seventy- two square miles and seventeen miles off the coast of Kauai, far to the northwest of Oahu. It has been privately owned since the white men took over the islands and has always been off limits to all but its two hundred or so residents, most of whom are Hawaiian and possess the purest strain of Hawaiian blood remaining in the islands. They are the only people left in the state who speak Hawaiian all the time, with English as a second language. Niihau has never had electricity, telephones, television, firearms, a doctor, liquor, or a jail.

While they certainly are not enslaved by the owners and are free to leave any time they want to, those who live there have chosen to stay in isolation over the generations and to work on the Robinson family plantation and provide its necessary support services. At this writing, the only outsiders who may visit the island without an invitation from the owners are state officials, such as social services and public safety bureaucrats. The island children go to high school on Kauai, then go away to college if they want to. As is often the case with people who grow up in the isolation and protection of an island, Niihau's pull is strong, and most return.

This enforced isolation and ban on casual visitors gnaws at some people, particularly journalists, who like to hint at dark deeds being done by the owners to the Niihauans. There is hardly a guidebook to Hawaii without a complaint about the way the owners protect their private property. Hawaiians know many of these same journalists would complain

-82-

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The Day the War Began
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction: Saturday, December 6, 1941 1
  • 1 - The First Shot 21
  • 2 - The Americans Fight Back 27
  • 3 - Adventures of the Henley 43
  • 4 - Game Called Due to War 49
  • 5 - View from the Cane Fields 53
  • 6 - Friendly Fire 61
  • 7 - Chinese-American Family 66
  • 8 - Hell on a Sunshiny Day 70
  • 9 - The Military Takes Over Hawaii 77
  • 10 - Niihau Fights Back 82
  • 11 - The Saga of the Pacific Clipper 86
  • 12 - The Forgotten Attack 93
  • 13 - On the Home Front 97
  • 14 - War Comes to the Football Game 105
  • 15 - The Delayed Message 114
  • 16 - The White House Prepares for War 120
  • 17 - War Becomes a Reality 124
  • 18 - Extra! Extra! 132
  • 19 - Strange New Words 135
  • 20 - Sudden Heroes 142
  • 21 - The Mating Dance Continues 149
  • 22 - The Nation Unifies 154
  • 23 - Hawaii's Longest Night 157
  • 24 - Defending the East Coast 162
  • 25 - I Slept Like a Baby 166
  • Bibliography 169
  • Index 173
  • About the Author 181
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