American Experience
Hawai'ians Remember Hawai'ians Remember

video | transcript

Grieving for Joe KahahawaiStories About the Massie CaseFear of the MilitaryPrejudice in the Haole CommunityThe Case's Impact on Hawai'iansAssessing the JuryCould It Happen Again?Racial TensionsA Threat to StatehoodInjustices Today

Haunani-Kay Trask (1:38)
Grieving for Joe Kahahawai

At funerals, especially in that time, Hawaiians would wail -- which is a traditional grief chant, really. And not only do they do that at the funeral, but they do it if there's any kind of group that goes up to the graveyard, then they do it as they go. And, Hawaiians can also chant at the gravesite. So, all of that is a kind of wailing of sorrow. And Kahahawai's funeral had that.

And, also I think the idea that the injustice was so recent to the overthrow, yet another blow to Hawaiian people, another assault on us. And that they were going to get away with it. The assumption always is when we're injured, the people who injure us are going to get away with it. And that's the legacy of the overthrow. That's part of our bad feeling that -- and in fact, I've heard my own people say -- "oh, there's no point in saying anything because it's not going to work." And I'm certain that's what people thought about the death of Kahahawai, that nothing was going to come of it. They were not going to be punished, the murderers. They were not going to be brought to justice. And the worst part of all is, one more Hawaiian man is dead.

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