Imaging and Imagining of Hawaiian Identity: Cultural Sustainability on the Island of Hawai‘i

By Ashley Meredith and David V. Fazzino II.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines notions of sustainability in terms of not only the readily acknowledged environmental sustainability but also cultural sustainability in the context of Hawai‘i Island, Hawai‘i. We begin with a discussion of the colonial occupation, statehood, tourism, the early 20th century ban on Hawaiian language and cultural activities, and the 50 percent blood quantum rule, noting the profound impact that these issues have had on Hawaiian identity and unity. Methods of data gathering included participant observation, semi-structured interviews, participant photographic observations (a photographic walk-through), pile sort, and category tests. Findings included how Hawaiian identity is perceived in relation to street signs, advertisements, activities, and landscapes of the public environment of Hawai‘i Island to better understand the contemporary Hawaiian identity sustainability efforts. Specifically, this paper examines the responses from indigenous Hawaiians and Hawai‘i residents about images of two postcards, a local restaurant and the Hilo Farmers’ Market in order to discuss meanings of Hawaiianess for each of the study populations. These findings may be of use to various groups in the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement who must navigate representations of Hawaiianess to re-present themselves as a nation.

Keywords: Cultural Sustainability, Hawaiianness, Hawaiian Identity, Perspective, Hawai‘i Island

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp.161-176. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.029MB).

Ashley Meredith

Graduate Research/Teaching Assistant, Department of Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, USA

Ashley Meredith is graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her research focuses on issues related to heritage tourism, the designation of heritage sites, how culture is represented through imagery in the public environment, and perceptions of cultural representations.

Dr. David V. Fazzino II

Assistant Professor, Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA

David Fazzino is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UAF. His research focuses on food security, food systems, health/wellness with a current focus in Alaska.


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