Kuleana Lahui: Collective Responsibility for Hawaiian Nationhood in Activists’ Praxis

By Noelani Goodyear-Kaopua, Affinities: A Journal of Radical Theory, Culture, and Action, Vol 5, No 1 (2011)

Previous studies of “the Hawaiian sovereignty movement” have compared different groups’ positions, elucidating complex constellations of Hawaiian sovereignty organizations yet remaining bound by the limits of state sovereignty discourse.  In this article, I reflect on conversations between activists and on specific actions, so as to explore the spaces beyond or beneath the surface of state-based models of Hawaiian liberation. Rather than assuming the state to be the center of political life, I am interested in the ways people enact new relations and forms of social organization. ʻKuleana’ and ‘lāhui’ are presented as indigenous concepts for thinking about and practicing collective autonomy. This article provides a beginning for exploring how aspects of contemporary Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) social movement organizing, particularly among independence advocates, may contribute to the development of alliances around anarcha-indigenist principles.

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