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Then There Were None

Camille Naluai [Ka‘iwakīloumoku]

At 109 pages, Then There Were None is a story about Hawaiian history, not complete, but a story worth telling over and over again, lest we forget what the little girl in lei whose face graces the cover of this book went through at the dawn of a new century, starring into the face of foreign rule.

The author Martha H. Noyes, a non-Hawaiian, put into print what had already been made into a film by Elizabeth Kapuʻuwailani Lindsey Buyers. Both creative works were not meant, as the creators acknowledge, for use as historic text, “In neither the film nor the book have we attempted objectivity,” they write in the book’s preface.

Instead, they say the book was created because of a “lack” of other literary works of the same nature—stories about the heartache and triumph of the Hawaiian people.

The book goes into no detail but rather remains a poetic piece of literature that leaves you longing for more. Filled with pictures of sacred sites, events, Hawaiian people and foreigners you are left amazed at what our kūpuna were able to endure.

“Speaking generally, a region larger than several of our States has been redeemed from utter savagery . . . tho [sic] the natives are steadily disappearing in number and seem likely sooner or later to disappear, their places are already supplied by others of a sturdier stock,” D. L. Leonard, D. D., “Christianity and the Hawaiian Islands,” The Missionary Review of the Word (July 16,1903).

Among these stories of colonial ridicule lies the festering discontent among the Hawaiian people. The stories of modern day heroes, people who speak out against the continued disenfranchisement of the Hawaiian people.

“Hawaiian voices rose in protest, protest against wrongs done in the past, against abuse in the present, against the loss of Hawaiʻi in the future.”

This book however, is not for those who are learned in Hawaiian history and are searching for another bit of information that may have alluded you in the past. This book is for the coffee table or for those friends who want to know more but don’t know where to start.