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Indigenous People & Rights

            Cesaire and Hawaii's Indigenous People.
             Over five hundred years ago, the first explorers from Europe set forth into the unknown in hopes of discovering new lands to expand existing empires. Upon discovering these new continents and land mass, these explorers, determined to claim these lands for their respective empires, often faced hostility from those already occupying the land. Oftentimes, these places contained rich natural resources and an organized civilization that was self-sufficient and not dependent on the outside world. Outside contact proved to be detrimental to these civilizations, as famine, violence, and destruction proved to be the leading causes to their demise (Stannard 1992, 54).
             Images such as these are not limited to one particular part of the world. In our history classes we have learned about the heinous crimes committed by the Spanish Conquistadors, the displacement of the Aborigine children in Australia, the desecration of land in the African nations, and the attempt to rid a Hawaiian nation of their culture and heritage. We are aware that these things have happened, but most of us are unaware of the full extent of the damage done to the indigenous people of the world. When examining the issue affecting the kanaka maoli, I feel that the U.S. Government's lack of recognition is the primary reason why this particular group has had little or no progress in achieving any kind of reparation for the actions taken against them.
             In "Discourse on Colonialism," Amie Cesaire introduces the concept of colonialism versus civilization. Western thinking often justifies colonization by asserting that the domination of a culture would bring decency and humility to that group of indigenous people. Henceforth, the term "colonization" is now being hidden by a more proper and acceptable word - "civilization." In the different acts of colonization, indigenous groups lost their identity and were relegated to insignificant "things" (Cesaire 1972, 21).

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