Act of War- The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation Act of War – The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation is a documentary film that depicts Hawaii’s history through the eyes of the Hawaiian people. Before I watched this film, I did not know how the Hawaiian Islands became part of the United States. I was surprised that Hawaiian annexation was an unfriendly takeover by the United States. This documentary was new to me, so it caught my attention right from the start. That’s why I choose this video for third reaction paper. In the beginning of the documentary, a woman speaking to a crowd says, “We are not American.
We are not American. We are not American. We will die as Hawaiians. We will never be American. ” It was a very powerful start to go into the history of Hawaii’s annexation. The annexation followed the overthrow, which led to Hawaii officially becoming the 50th state of the United States of America. The overthrow of Queen Lili’oukalani was definitely a great tragedy for her and for her people. It was disappointing to know that they took away everything from the Hawaiian nation – their land, their monarchy, their culture, their language, and their independence.
Besides, they were not able to speak their native tongue, and they taught to be ashamed of their culture, and let America do what they want with their land. I felt that it was unethical that the US American troops trespassed on Hawaiian soil prepared to threaten to take down the monarchy when they had no right to do. Watching this documentary give more perspective on the big event and made me have more sympathy on what used to be a very sacred kingdom to the Native Hawaiian people.
I can only imagine the pain that Queen Liliuokalani went through to lose something as big as a whole territory. The Act of War is definitely a compelling and devastating documentary about the annexation of Hawaii from the Hawaiian’s point of view. The documentary told the story of Hawaii’s history from pre-Western contact up until the annexation through many old photographs, voice-overs, interviews by well-educated scholars, stage reenactments of the event. The interviews that were in the documentary were scholars, which helped the dialogue be a bit more honorable.
The fact that the director didn’t do the usual thing documentary films do, which was taking someone off the streets to do this interview for this film. That was a good because it gave the film the true fact information rather than a person opinion and thought. The documentary itself is made about historical events, with slides of black and white pictures, reenactments, voice over and music. In the beginning, calming Hawaiian music is played, and also the voice over is a calm woman who talks about how the Hawaiian people build up their paradise.
As the story gets more heated, the music and voice over also becomes more dramatically, so the story gradually builds up to a climax and at the end it starts to slow down again. The documentary is powerful, but it also shows us that the Hawaiian people fought bravely for their rights, and that the Hawaiian spirit has remained. Before I took this class, I was unaware of what lies buried in the islands’ history and how opposed Hawaiians have felt and may still feel toward belonging to the USA.
In this class, I leaned about Hawaiian history or their culture. Especially, this movie helped me to learn more about the people of Hawaii and their battle to protect what’s theirs. The powerful documentary made me feel sad for the Hawaiian people. Their own traditions have been taken from them by the Americans. It actually made me angry. I learned that the Native Hawaiians are the minority now. They are the poor and uneducated people in their own country. Americans have taken over their land, and most of it was sold to Americans and the British.
After watching the documentary, it makes me think back to the days of Queen Liliuokalani and makes me be more respectful of Hawaiian history and what it means. I want to learn more about Hawaiian history, and make an effort to understand and respect their traditions and culture. I think that is a first step in the right direction. I highly recommended this documentary film for all young students as a part of American history in middle school or whenever they start learning about it.