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  • A Note to Readers  xi
    Acknowledgments  xiii
    Introduction: Got Blood?  1
    1. Racialized Beneficiaries and Genealogical Descendants  37
    2. "Can you wonder that the Hawaiians did not get more?" Historical Context for the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act  67
    3. Under the Guise of Hawaiian Rehabilitation  99
    4. The Virile, Prolific, and Enterprising: Part-Hawaiians and the Problem with Rehabilitation  121
    5. Limiting Hawaiians, Limiting the Bill: Rehabilitation Recoded  145
    6. Sovereignty Struggles and the Legacy of the 50-Percent Rule  171
    Notes  197
    Bibliography  211
    Index  229
  • Hawaiian Blood is an important work that addresses the racialization of Hawaiians in a way that no other work has done. J. Kēhaulani Kauanui reveals how the fifty-percent blood quantum continues to divide the Native Hawaiian community and how it is affecting current court decisions and legislation. These analyses are crucial for the Hawaiian community as it continues to move to define itself and to exercise self-determination and sovereignty.”—Noenoe K. Silva, author of Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism

    Hawaiian Blood tells a fascinating and important story that has not received sufficient attention in the historical research on Hawai‘i nor in the work on indigenous peoples more generally. Well written, accessible to students and sophisticated in its analysis, this book offers provocative new insights and theoretical perspectives on how we think about and use notions of race, blood, and belonging.”—Sally Engle Merry, author of Colonizing Hawai‘i: The Cultural Power of Law

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  • Description

    In the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA) of 1921, the U.S. Congress defined “native Hawaiians” as those people “with at least one-half blood quantum of individuals inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778.” This “blood logic” has since become an entrenched part of the legal system in Hawai‘i. Hawaiian Blood is the first comprehensive history and analysis of this federal law that equates Hawaiian cultural identity with a quantifiable amount of blood. J. Kēhaulani Kauanui explains how blood quantum classification emerged as a way to undermine Native Hawaiian (Kanaka Maoli) sovereignty. Within the framework of the 50-percent rule, intermarriage “dilutes” the number of state-recognized Native Hawaiians. Thus, rather than support Native claims to the Hawaiian islands, blood quantum reduces Hawaiians to a racial minority, reinforcing a system of white racial privilege bound to property ownership.

    Kauanui provides an impassioned assessment of how the arbitrary correlation of ancestry and race imposed by the U.S. government on the indigenous people of Hawai‘i has had far-reaching legal and cultural effects. With the HHCA, the federal government explicitly limited the number of Hawaiians included in land provisions, and it recast Hawaiians’ land claims in terms of colonial welfare rather than collective entitlement. Moreover, the exclusionary logic of blood quantum has profoundly affected cultural definitions of indigeneity by undermining more inclusive Kanaka Maoli notions of kinship and belonging. Kauanui also addresses the ongoing significance of the 50-percent rule: Its criteria underlie recent court decisions that have subverted the Hawaiian sovereignty movement and brought to the fore charged questions about who counts as Hawaiian.

    About The Author(s)

    J. Kēhaulani Kauanui is Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Studies at Wesleyan University.