This article investigates how white educators used American education in an effort to socially engineer Hawaiian acceptance of U.S. control over the islands. Examining school reports, journal articles, and official correspondence from the Kamehameha School for Girls, I explore the various strategies principal Ida M. Pope used to promote white middle-class ways of homemaking and mothering, in an effort to undermine her Native Hawaiian students’ Indigenous identities and convert them into docile Hawaiian Americans. Despite Pope’s language of female empowerment, she harbored racist attitudes toward Native Hawaiians and produced an institutional climate hostile to Indigenous identity. This article builds on previous work on white women’s maternalism in Native American boarding schools to highlight how themes of white feminity, U.S. empire, and settler colonialism manifested at the Kamehameha School for Girls. More broadly, it reveals the role of white women in Hawai‘i as agents of colonial control who actively labored toward normalizing U.S. occupation and empire.

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