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Blog Posted in avatar   Jonathan Farrell's Blog

Sarah Vowell's book has a familiar current, it is called "colonialism."

By Jonathan Farrell
Posted Jan 2, 2012 in
Bringing best-selling author Sarah Vowell's latest book, "Unfamiliar Fishes" into focus, her unique perspective reminded me of the 1966 movie "Hawaii" starring Julie Andrews, Max Von Sydow and Richard Harris, among others including Gene Hackman and Carroll O'Connor.
Vowell brings to light the complicated history of the 50th state and how it and areas like it were subject to unfair exploitation. Her insight into the mind-set of the 18th and 19th Century people who forced the native people's to submit to them boggles the mind of contemporary society today.
And, while Hawaii seems like such a paradise in contemporary minds these days, its history is filled with lots of sorrows and injustice. Vowell gives the reader the backdrop as to why the Hawaiian Islands and places like it were placed under European and then American rule.
Vowell's writing style was easy to read and yet even with that personable voice guiding this reader/reporter through the complex history it still "boggles the mind" of today that such blatant exploitation took place.
And, with the help of "Christian Religion" which in many ways as this reporter sees it, undermined the natural goodness of a native people that already had their own connection to the creator/maker.
Perhaps what makes the story of Hawaii and places like it so ironic, especially in American History is that true democracy was not afforded to these native peoples. When we look at the American spirit it is always about the rugged individual who "carved out an existence" on the prairie or blazed a new trail.
Yet what about the native peoples? Their full story still has yet to be completely revealed. Hopefully people reading Vowell's book will take more of an interest and really question the value system of our American dream.

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