Hawaiian Cultural History


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Aloha! A Culture History of Hawai’i By Hanna Beth 'Po’o ‘Ele’ele' Blum and Chris 'Kilika' Liang November 12, 2001


Wafted is the breath of the lau’e fern. The essence of the beloved waters alights like mist. Beloved is the covering of the sea spray, Drawing concealment listening, inquiring intently. The lehua of the misty face brings mist. The lehua of the misty face brings mist. The mist unafraid of the cold, The cold of the pathway of life. Mauna Hina is a pathway directing mankind. Perhaps it is just I who will succumb. Perhaps you and I, or the large assembly, will Succumb. Wait! Cold, just cold! Mapu ka hanu o ka laua’e Mapu noe ka poli o ka wai aloha Aloha I ke kapa ‘ehu kai, Hauki palai, huki, lohe, noi kahau. Noe mai la ka lehua makanoe. Noe ka lehua makanoe, Noe wiwo’ole I ke anu, Anu I ke ala kipapa ola e, Ala e kuhikuhi lima kanaka ‘o Mauna Hina e. E hina no paha ‘o wau wale no. E hina no paha e kaua, e ka’aha nui e. Alia lae! He anu, he anu wale no

A Brief History of Hawai’i: 

A Brief History of Hawai’i AD 500-700 – settled by Polynesians from the Marquesa Islands 11-14th centuries – Tahitians took over islands 300,000 Hawaiians lived on islands when Captain Cook arrived 1778 – Captain Cook landed in Waimea, Kaua‘i. 1810 – King Kamehamela unified islands for first time The Polynesian Islands

More History…get excited: 

More History…get excited 1820 - First missionaries arrived from Boston 1835 - Established sugar cane plantations 1848 - King Kamehameha III proclaimed the Great Mahele (division), changing the concept of land ownership 1850 – Foreigners can buy land and work in sugar and pineapple plantations 1893 – Coup forces Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate thrown. Monarchy is overthrown 1894 – Republic of Hawaii is established 1900 – US annexes Hawaii and creates the Territory of Hawaii 1941 – Pearl Harbor bombing 1950 – Hawaii becomes the 50th state of the Union


Mythology In the beginning… Po – vast and empty land Spirit Keawe formed the sky and sun from Po’a, a single flame Transformed into Nawahine (daughter) and Kane (sun-god) Royal family: - Ku (war) - Lake (hula) - Lono (wisdom, rain) - Hina (underwater) - Kane (natural phenomenon) - Papa (nature) - Kanaloa (fishermen) -Milu (spirit world) Poli’ahu The snow goddess

Polynesian VoyageTwo legends: 

Polynesian Voyage Two legends Hawai’iloa, a fisherman from land of Ka’Aina Kai Melemelea Kane (land of the yellow sea of Kane) - Big Island named after him - Maui, Kaua’I, and O’ahu named after his sons - All Hawaiians are his descendents Tafa’i (son of underwater goddess) saw volcanoes undersea and fished up the islands Strong connection between legends of discovery and fishing


Canoes Built with tools of stone, bone, and corals Dug out of tree trunks or planks sewn together Sails made from coconut or pandulus leaves woven together Could travel 2000 miles (Hawai’i to Tahiti) Faster than Cpt Cook’s ships No navigational equipment A deck bridged two hulls for longer voyages.

Ancient Culture: 

Ancient Culture Culturally similar to inhabitants of Tonga and Somoan Islands Language, archeological, and biological evidence points to Hiva (Marquesa) Islands as origin 1976 Bicentennial Celebration of American Independence – Reenact voyage from Hawai’i to Tahiti

Captain Cook: 

Captain Cook British sailor 3 voyages to Pacific 1778 landed in Waimea, Kaua'I; received in peace 1778 – returned to distrusting Hawaiians; perished on the beach HMS Resolution

He’e nalu: 

He’e nalu 1500 AD 1779 Captain King 1820 Missionaries 1890 Almost Extinct 1905 Beach Boys 1907 Demonstration

Tropical Sounds: 

Tropical Sounds Mele – chant Percussion instruments Ipu – dried gourd ‘Ili’ili – water worn shoes, clapper Modern Ukulele Guitar, slack-key Ukulele, ‘ili’ili, ipu

The Sacred Art of Hula: 

The Sacred Art of Hula Laka – goddess of the hula Ancient hula (Hula kahiko) Dances and chanting during ceremonies Proud and somber history, customs Modern Hula (Hula auwana) Spirited dance Multicultural practice 'Hula is the language of the people and therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people' --King David Kalakaua

Come on I wanna lei ya: 

Come on I wanna lei ya Stringing of individual flowers on a strand Many types, unique for each island Lei niho palaoa Ancient symbol of rank Shell, bone, human hair Feather lei Worn by ali’I Solid yellow Lei pikake Jasmine Marriage

“May Day is Lei Day in Hawai’i”: 

'May Day is Lei Day in Hawai’i' Don Blanding Lei maile Hula dancers May 1, 1928 Celebrate Hawaiian culture and traditions Ancient and modern hula competitions Fragrant vine Common lei Peace offering Graduation

Lu’auA Hawai’ian feast: 

Lu’au A Hawai’ian feast War victories, marriages, harvests, royalty Important to honor gods, share good fortune Cook food in an imu Popular tourist activity


Colonialism When the colonialist arrived they had the Bible, and we had the land. They said, 'Hallelujah! Let us pray,' and suggested that we pray with our eyes closed. When we opened our eyes, we had the Bible, and they had the land. . .

“Progress and Enlightenment to benighted savages”: 

'Progress and Enlightenment to benighted savages' Religion Education Racial Hierarchy

Educational Rationale: 

Educational Rationale

Who Decides?: 

Pre-1800s = Hawaii Mid-1800s = Hawai’ian Nobility andamp; U.S. Missionaries Late 1800s – WWII = U.S. Businesses, Descendants of Missionaries, One-Party System Present = Gov andamp; One-Party State-Legislature Who Decides?


Heathen Society in need of Christian Values Edu to Devaluate Native Culture Institutionalize Religious Beliefs Education: Teaching them the White Culture


1893 – New Power Centralized School System w/ Preference Towards Whites Few Independent Schools Elimination of Hawaiian Language in Classroom Stage 2. . .


3rd Between World Wars Segregation Stage


Newfound Respect for 'Minorities' Edu = Pathway to Economic Prosperity Multiracial Leadership Increased Citizenship Abolition of Segregation by 1954 Post WWII

Fourth Stage: 

Fourth Stage State Constitution: Article X, Sect 4 'The State shall promote the study of Hawaiian culture, history, and language.'


English and Hawaiian Recognized as Official Languages

Lake Pu’uWaiau swirling water lake: 

Lake Pu’uWaiau swirling water lake 3rd highest alpine lake in United States Sacred to Native Hawaiians 10 telescopes on Mauna Kea Hawaiian graffitti


The End

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