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The Prison Songs of Lili'uokalani


This thesis is a study of the music composed by Lili'uokalani, the last monarch of Hawai'i during her 1895 incarceration at the hands of the Republic of Hawai'i. Aspects of text and context are considered for each of the songs. This thesis also engages in a discussion of the alleged politicization of a copy of "Aloha Oe," notated by the Queen during the incarceration.

My research consisted of visits to the Hawai'i State Archives and the Bishop Museum Archives in Honolulu. I enlisted the help of Hawaiian Language professor, Dr. Puakea Nogelmeier to translate the Queen's songs.

This study establishes that these songs inform us of the people and entities upon which Lili'uokalani relied to help her through her incarceration. They provide us with valuable insights into the mind and spirit of this dethroned, imprisoned Queen still actively engaged in a fight for the sovereignty of her native lands.

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