December 10-12: #ANZLHS2018
By: A. Kuuipoleialoha Poai
Aloha and greetings from the University of Wollongong in Australia. I am here to present at the 37th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society. As an invited guest, I would first like to extend my appreciation to the Dharawal nation and Wodi Wodi people—the original inhabitants of this land. Indigenous sovereignty was never ceded and I pay my respect to their elders, past, present and emerging.
The conference was entitled, “Exclusion, Confinement, Dispossession: Uneven Citizenship and Spaces of Sovereignty.” Audra Simpson provided the keynote, “Savage States: Settler Governance in an Age of Sorrow.” We also were blessed to have a plenary session entitled, “Dreaming Inside: The Black Wallaby Writers’ Creative Writing Program for Indigenous Prisoners.” It was an inspiring talk that allowed us to see how creative expression has been a powerful form of healing for aboriginal prisoners.
My conference paper, “Confinement in the Hawaiian Kingdom, Before and After Annexation: Understanding Incarceration Disparities Wrought by Injustice,” provided a demographic profile of the prison and asylum population during the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, from approximately 1866–1902. By examining prison records, asylum records, original case files, and government reports, I attempt to answer the following questions. To what extent did Hawaiʻi’s prison and asylum population resemble the wider population of the Kingdom, and it what ways did it differ? What was the national origin of those inmates? What types of incarceration-specific characteristics do we see at various times in history? Were there any changes in Hawaiʻi’s incarcerated population subsequent to contemporary policy and legal changes that were implemented?
Prior to annexation, in comparison with the general population, Hawaiians were under-represented in both the prison and asylum populations. Indeed, Hawaiians only became over-represented at the turn of the century. My conference paper provided some possible explanations for these results.
Blawg postings will resume next week when I return from Australia. Mahalo for your support!