In 1938 Ralph Kuykendall, a leading historian of Hawai’i in the 19th century, argued kānaka maoli were slave owners, a historical “fact” few actual kānaka maoli would recognise.
Disney’s Moana isn’t progressive — it’s dangerous
Morgan Godfery
12519

Kuykendall is correct — the kauwa were a slave class, likely descendants from the original Marquesean colonists who were invaded and conquered by Tahitian colonists.

Whether or not this is accepted by anyone does not make it any less true.

Sadly, many kanaka maoli have not studied their history, and know little about the truly amazing history of the original waves of colonization to the islands, and the amazingly forward looking Kamehameha the Great, who unified the islands under a multi-racial coalition and fully embraced and managed the changes that came with contact with the West.

The truth here is that the history of Hawai’i both before and after western contact was rich, interesting, filled with good guys, bad guys, normal guys, and a magical set of circumstances that has made it the single most prosperous island chain in the Pacific.

Like what you read? Give Jere Krischel a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.