Gender and Sexuality in Native America: Kealakekua Bay District, HI

A view of a bay with rocky shores and houses in the distance.
"View of the Place where Captain Cook was Killed, in the Village of Kaualoa" (Kealakekua Bay). Pen, ink, and sepia on paper, 1836

Drawing by Stanislaus Darondeau, from the collections of the Honolulu Museum of Art.

On their many voyages to the Hawaiian Islands, Captain James Cook and his crew became familiar with the aikane, a select group of men who had sexual relations with the king and other ali'i, or royals. Several journal entries from their extended stays at Kealakekua Bay describe the openness of these relationships; the young men were proud to be in such a prestigious position and openly teased the incredulous Europeans with their behavior and innuendoes. At the time of contact, the villages around Kealakekua Bay were centers of religious and political power. In 1973, the Kealakekua Bay District was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Part of a series of articles titled Finding Our Place: LGBTQ Heritage in the United States.

Last updated: August 15, 2019