Silva, Noenoe 1954-

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Silva, Noenoe 1954-


Born October 19, 1954, in Honolulu, HI; daughter of William C. Silva and Betty Decker Williams. Ethnicity: "Hawaiian." Education: University of Hawaii, B.A., 1991, M.L.I.S., 1993, Ph.D., 1999. Politics: "Hawaiian Sovereignty."


Home—Honolulu, HI. Office—Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2424 Maile Way, Saunders Hall, Rm. 640, Honolulu, HI 96822-2223; fax: 808-956-6877. E-mail—[email protected].


Academician. University of Hawaii at Manoa, associate professor, 1992—. School for Advanced Research, Lamon scholar, 2006-07; Bishop Museum, research affiliate, 2007—.


Kenneth W. Baldridge Prize, Phi Alpha Theta, 2003-04, for best history book by a Hawaiian resident, for Aloha Betrayed.


Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 2004.

Contributor of chapter to Law and Empire in the Pacific, edited by Donald Brenneis and Sally Engle Merry, School for American Research (Santa Fe, NM), 2004. Contributor of articles to periodicals and scholarly journals, including Hawaiian Journal of History, American Studies, and Pacific Studies.


Noenoe Silva is an American academician. Born in Hawaii of Kanaka Maoli descent, Silva grew up in California, returning to the islands to complete her higher education. She began lecturing at the University of Hawaii at Manoa with research interests in political science and indigenous Hawaiian history and literature. In 2004 Silva published her first book, Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism. In it she outlines, among other acts of resistance, the struggle by a group of indigenous Hawaiians against annexation to the United States. She uses a number of Hawaiian-language sources from throughout the state's history and looks at the role missionaries played in censoring the local media.

Writing in a Contemporary Pacific review, Jonathan Friedman commented that Aloha Betrayed "is an important book, powerfully written and carefully argued, which makes a very significant contribution to our knowledge of the colonial history of Hawaii." Reviewing the work in the same journal, Sally Engle Merry commented that "one of the most significant features of Aloha Betrayed is its extensive reliance on Hawaiian-language materials. While other recent histories of Hawaii claim to use Hawaiian-language texts, Silva's book does so to a far greater extent. Not only does she translate and interpret these texts, but she also discusses problems of translation and shows how inaccurate translations and elisions in the past have skewed our understanding of the meaning of these texts. The analysis she produces demonstrates vividly how relying on Hawaiian-language texts fundamentally reshapes our understanding of colonization and Kanaka Maoli reactions to the overthrow."

Kenneth R. Conklin, writing in the Hawaii Reporter, remarked that "Silva's book is a political propaganda piece intended to arouse the racial passions of today's ethnic Hawaiians to oppose American sovereignty in Hawaii … by making today's ethnic Hawaiians believe their ancestors were united in opposition to the overthrow and annexation" of Hawaii. However, Lyn Carter, also writing in Contemporary Pacific, felt that "overall, Aloha Betrayed provides a convincing and interesting approach to the critique of a historiography that had previously eliminated indigenous voices. Silva raises many important points to do with the strength of the Hawaiian resistance movements during the annexation period." Carter continued, saying that "by questioning the portrayal of Kanaka Maoli as passive in the face of annexation, Silva has demonstrated that history is not always what it seems, particularly when the voices of half the participants have been silenced." Carter concluded her review, commenting that "it is clear from Aloha Betrayed that Kanaka Maoli used print media to communicate protest and unification strategies. Silva has demonstrated that they remain a valuable resource for contemporary Hawaiian communities in communicating a Kanaka Maoli perspective on the resistance to annexation and culture loss. She has redressed the imbalance and provided a vehicle for indigenous Hawaiian voices to once again be heard."



American Historical Review, December, 2005, Eric T.L. Love, review of Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism, p. 1514.

Biography, fall, 2005, James O. Gump, review of Aloha Betrayed.

Contemporary Pacific, spring, 2006, Lyn Carter, Sally Engle Merry, and Jonathan Friedman, review of Aloha Betrayed.

Hawaii Reporter, January 4, 2005, Kenneth R. Conklin, review of Aloha Betrayed.

International History Review, March, 2006, William E.H. Tagupa, review of Aloha Betrayed, p. 193.

Journal of American Ethnic History, summer, 2005, Taro Iwata, review of Aloha Betrayed.

Journal of American History, September, 2005, Mansel G. Blackford, review of Aloha Betrayed, p. 634.

Journal of American Studies, December, 2005, Richard A. Hawkins, review of Aloha Betrayed, p. 570.

Journal of the Polynesian Society, June, 2005, Robert Nicole, review of Aloha Betrayed, p. 176.

Pacific Historical Review, August, 2005, James O. Gump, review of Aloha Betrayed, p. 484.


University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Political Science Web site, (December 15, 2007), author profile.