Natives of the Hawaii Islands belong to
the Malay race, modified by the
Polynesian type. Physically, they are among
the finest races in the Pacific, and they
show considerable intellectual capacity.
to the introduction of Christianity they
were not much more superior in moral character
any of the other savages in the Pacific.
Polygamy, infanticide, and polyandry all
idolatry of the Kanakas, as the Natives are
called, was barbarous and bloodthirsty, for
human sacrifices were frequently offered
during the sickness of a chief, at the
of a temple, or the inception of war. On
the other hand, the natives are even-tempered,
light-hearted and a pleasure-loving race."
Messages of Superiority: This
selection from the Encyclopedia of Missions
published in 1913 is evidence of
the condescending perspective that the New
England Missionaries had of the Native population.
It also highlights the divine obligation that
the missionaries felt in converting the Natives
from their previous sinful way of life. The
superior view which the missionaries and other
American immigrants maintained certainly contributed
in the eventual subjugation of the Natives.
Take for example the idea of a school, even
though the missionaries may have been founding
these institutions with altruistic motives,
messages are still communicated through the
dynamic of the institution, i.e. the head master,
and teachers are White, New England, Protestant
missionaries and the students, (in the more
subordinate position) are Natives. This same
logic transcends to the capitalist businesses
which were established, such as Dole. The owner
is White and American whereas the plantation
workers are primarily made up of the natives
or other Asian and Polynesian immigrant groups.
The non verbal messages of white superiority
and native inferiority are prevalent throughout
the entire process of Hawaiian incorporation
into the United States, whether they were intended
Personal Perspective: The
writings of Mary
Ella Spooner (Mount Holyoke, Class
of 1872) in her autobiography reflect the
complex and offers personal insight into the
travels and experiences of a white, New England
Protestant living in Hawaii.