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Sovereignty, indigeneity, identities: perspectives from Hawai'i

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Indigeneity and nation, sovereignty and self-determination, ethnicity and race are abstract concepts that gain significance in the political field, where they take shape through the positions that parties, groups, or individual entrepreneurs promote. Political actors pin their hopes on their ability to affect the political discourses about Hawaiian indigeneity and nationalism, self-determination and sovereignty, and to shape the way Hawaiians (native and local) think about themselves and the way Hawai‘i should be governed. Cultural anthropologists, because they study ordinary people, families, kinship networks, and communities, are interested in the further-reaching and more complicated questions of the extent and manner in which concepts like indigeneity or sovereignty, and self-determination retain any meaning in the social field of Native Hawaiians. Does a concept like indigeneity reflect and unify the ways (native) Hawaiians identify themselves and understand themselves as being Hawaiian?
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Keywords: Hawaiian indigeneity; Native Hawaiians; indigenous political movements; national sovereignty

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of History, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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