For Native Hawaiians, February 14 is About the Death of Captain James CookBreaking News
tags: colonialism, Hawaii, Captain Cook, Pacific Islands
As the story goes — on Feb. 14, 1779, Captain James Cook set up a blockade at Kealakekua Bay after the theft of one of his boats. To prove his point, he tries to take hostage the high chief Kalaniʻōpuʻu.
Confusion ensues and a chief is shot by Cook's men for not obeying the blockade.
"Word is being shouted from the ocean that this chief has been shot and killed," said Hawaiian historian Kēhau Abad.
"And in this one tense moment, the chiefs are not having it, they’re not going to let Kalaniʻōpuʻu take another step forward and anybody who tries to move him is going to get it. And that’s when Cook is killed," she continued.
Abad said this was a symbolic moment for Native Hawaiians. Cook's arrival brought with it infectious diseases that devastated the Native Hawaiian population.
"There’s a growing sense that we can no longer tolerate the big and small incursions upon our land and our people and our culture and our language," Abad said. "And James Cook represents some of the worst of what has happened."