DeTours: Mapping Decolonial Genealogies in Hawai’i
This essay examines an alternative tour conducted on O’ahu, Hawai’i by DMZ Hawai’i/Aloha ‘Aina, a network of organizations confronting the U.S. military’s negative cultural, social, and environmental impacts on the islands and elsewhere in the Pacific. Informed by a commitment to Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) self-determination and the principle of aloha ‘aina (love for the land), DMZ Hawai’i offers “DeTours” to visitors and locals that highlight the geography and history of military occupation. The tours focus on the role of the U.S. military in the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, its current effects on life on the island, and the ongoing struggles against militarism. These DeTours remap Hawai’i to convey the contestations and collisions that have defined the islands for well over a century, generating a model of Kanaka Maoli sovereignty rooted in familial relations to land while drawing from vast networks of kinship and affinity. In this endeavor, we engage three overlapping practices and concepts of genealogy: a critical historical understanding of the present and its conditions of emergence, the instantiation of Indigenous claims that have consistently confronted Western imperialism, and a spatiotemporal mapping of alliance and coalition. Our essay addresses the politics of U.S. empire in the Pacific, as Hawai’i stands as both the command center for U.S. military operations across half the Earth’s surface and is also one of the world’s preeminent tourist destinations. It also highlights possibilities for coalition predicated on Oceanic ties and shared histories of dispossession, illuminating strategies for survival and resistance in spaces of empire.