Empty Promises on Stolen Land (Reaction: “Act of War”)

National high school curriculums around the world continue to place shade on some of the most shocking, dehumanizing and cruel events that have taken place throughout history. For example, Australian schools incorporate learning material centralized around the white people who invaded the large continent in history lessons, instead of shining a true and harsh light on how the native Aborigines were mistreated by those who stole their rightful land. In correlation to the Natives of Australia, America shares a very similar gap in the school curriculum as the majority of Americans have not been taught about how the Native Hawaiian’s were stripped off their land.


The movie, “Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation” shares a new and vital perspective into the overthrow of Hawaii, when the Hawaiian islands were annexed in 1898 as a part of the United States. There were various cinematic features of the film that made it so authentic and startling. The contrast between the beginning of the movie and the ending was impressive. Numerous shots of Hawaiian nature is shown, illustrating the peaceful and breathtaking beauty that the islands display. Soft singing in the Hawaiian native language accompanied the visuals with a ukulele playing in the background, showing the deeper connection that the natives have with their land. This perfect image of paradise, with Hawaiians spear fishing, surfing and enjoying nature, quickly comes to an end as the movie progresses and there is a distinct contrasting portrayal of the missionaries and soldiers from the main land begin having their impact on the islands.

I loved the narration and the images that accompanied interpreted voices of people who played important roles in the overthrow of the islands. The movie really initiates the motion of how fixated civilized society is with money and power, two things that evidently can make some human beings do the unthinkable. Many viewers of the film were genuinely surprised when images of the native Hawaiians becoming slaves and being gruesomely murdered, another reason to why America needs to begin properly fixing their wrongs towards the Native Hawaiians. I liked how the film was detailed in presenting the past, present and even future of the Hawaiian islands and its peoples because it created a realistic but upsetting realization for myself as well as the majority of the audience.

“Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation” should be seen by every individual in high school in America and to properly educate children about their country’s true and raw history. It gives a voice to those natives who lost their lives all those years ago through impressive cinematic choices and hopefully their history will be preserved and respected in the years to come.


  1. Great post and thanks for sharing your thoughts. I too think it is wrong and selfish of schools around the globe to only talk about the positives of history and make students believe that there was only one side to the story. For example, when we watched this film in class, many people did not even know that Hawaiians did not want to be a part of America. History books taught us that they begged America to take them over.
    Interesting what you learn when you get both sides of the story.

  2. I’m glad that you added a similar perspective of the treatment of the Australian Aborigines. It’s sometimes hard to believe that similar cultures throughout history want to erase their shameful pasts.

Leave a Reply to Gabrielle Schiefer Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *