30 Pages


Native Hawaiian poet, critic, and political activist Haunani-Kay Trask ends her essay ‘“Lovely Hula Hands”: Corporate Tourism and the Prostitution of Hawaiian Culture’ (1991) with the following injunction: ‘If you are thinking of visiting my homeland, please do not. We do not want or need any more tourists, and we certainly do not like them’ (1999: 31). The essay is one of a number of articles addressing the effects of what Trask terms ‘American colonialism’ (3) on the Hawaiian archipelago in her collection From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai‘i (1999). Throughout this volume, Trask argues that tourism plays a key role in maintaining the ‘ongoing colonial relationship’ (102-103; original emphasis) between the United States and Hawai‘i, summarizing the industry’s effects on the archipelago as follows:

The overpowering impact of mass tourism on island cultures is best studied in Hawai‘i, where the multibillion dollar industry has resulted in grotesque commercialization of Hawaiian culture, creation of a raciallystratifi ed, poorly paid servant class of industry workers, transformation of whole sections of the major islands into high-rise cities, contamination and depletion of water sources, intense crowding [ . . . ], increase in crimes against property and violent crime against tourists, and increasing dependency on multinational investments.