My people have lived in the Hawaiian Islands since the time of Papa—Earth Mother—and Wākea—Sky Father. Like many other native people, we believed that the cosmos was a unity of familial relations. Our culture depended on a careful relationship with the land, our ancestor, who nurtured us in body and spirit.
For over one hundred generations, we tended the earth. Then, in 1778, white people arrived on our shores. They brought syphilis and tuberculosis, iron and capitalism. And they also brought violence, the violence of first contact, the violence of plague and death, the violence of dispossession.
By the arrival of the first missionaries in Hawai’i in 1820, more than half the estimated one million Hawaiians present in 1778 were dead from foreign, epidemic diseases. Within another twenty years, the population had been halved again. Conversion to Christianity occurred in the chaos of physical and spiritual dismemberment.
In 1893, the American military invaded Hawai’i, overthrew our chiefly government, and put an all-white puppet government in its place. We were forcibly annexed to the United States in 1898. Hawai’i has been an occupied country ever since."