Broken Trust: Greed, Mismanagement & Political Manipulation at America's Largest Charitable Trust

Discussion Questions

  • Chapter 2:  A Culture Suppressed

    • Why did the authors tell us that Princess Ruth Keelikolani wrote her will in Hawaiian and signed it “R. Keelikolani,” and that Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop wrote her will in English and signed it “Bernice P. Bishop?”  Are those facts relevant to the Broken Trust story?
    • In her Will, Princess Pauahi stated that the gifts to married women were for their “sole and separate use free from the control of their husbands.”  Why do you think she added those words to her Will?
    • Princess Pauahi gave the bulk of her estate to five individuals “in trust,” subject to “fiduciary duties.”  What is a trust, and what are fiduciary duties?  If you were a rich person about to die, would you take the time to write a Will?  If you wanted to make sure that your wealth would always be used to support a particular charitable activity, such as educating Hawaiian children, how would you arrange for that to happen? 
    • Explain the meaning of the cartoon on page 99.
    • Why do you think Princess Pauahi called for education in “the common English branches,” and said nothing about Hawaiian culture and language?
    • Why would Princess Pauahi require that teachers and trustees always be members of her religion, but not require that they be Hawaiian or say anything in her Will about preserving Hawaiian culture or language?
    • During Princess Pauahi’s lifetime, the number of full-blooded Hawaiians dropped from 124,000 to less than 50,000.  Perhaps at the time she wrote her Will she expected the number of full-blooded Hawaiians to keep going down.  If so, how might that have influenced her thinking?
    • The authors describe students at the time of the Overthrow as “instinctive royalists,” and as “reverential to alii nui.”  What does that mean?  Why might someone favor a monarchy over another form of government?
    • Why do you think the counterrevolution did not last long and only one life was lost?
    • For many years, the boys at Kamehameha Schools wore military uniforms to class and spent an enormous amount of time engaged in military training.  Was that a good thing, or a bad thing?  Why?
    • Based on the quote at the bottom of page 37, Ida May Pope apparently did not hold Hawaiian culture in high regard.  Why do you suppose she felt that way?
    • For many years at Kamehameha the girls cared for real babies at the Senior Home Management Cottage.  Do you think that was a good idea?  Why or why not?
    • Prohibited from speaking Hawaiian at school and at home, Gladys Brandt concluded that anything Hawaiian must be “junk.”  Why do you think both a school for Hawaiians and Hawaiian parents would prohibit Hawaiian children from using the Hawaiian language? 
    • The authors explain that vocational education was thought to be a “forward-thinking approach to education.”  Do you see merit in young students learning a vocation instead of, or in addition to, taking academic courses in preparation for college?
    • According to the authors, “the trustees did not see Hawaiians as becoming anything more than workers—certainly not leaders.”  Why would the trustees have such low expectations for Hawaiians?  Why did that later change?
    • This chapter ends with a story about a Kamehameha alumna, Johanna Wilcox.  Why do you think the authors included this story, and why would they put it at the very end of a chapter entitled, “A Culture Suppressed”?