TRADITIONAL HAWAIIAN METAPHORS

  

I.  Importance of Genealogies

         A.  "Hawaiian Time"

                  1.  the past = Ka wā mamua ("the time in front or before")

                  2.  the future = Ka wā mahope ("the time which comes after or behind)

                  ==> back to the future with eyes fixed on the past

         B.  Histories of the Hawaiian people

                  1.  about the Ali‘i Nui

                  2.  Ali‘i Nui were not merely individuals

                           a) genealogies = sum total of their identity

                           b) ancestral identities in names (i.e. Ka‘ahumanu)

                  3.  maka‘āinana descended from Ali‘i

         C.  Purpose of genealogies

                  1.  ancestors as role models

                           -- mo‘olelo (stories) accompany names

                  2.  links those alive today with mana of the past

                  3.  psychological comfort & reinforcement

                  4.  a role in politics -- Kalākaua & Emma debates (1873)

II.  Historical Metaphors from Wākea & Papa

         A.  Mālama ‘Āina: Caring for the Land

                  1.  roles of siblings are reciprocal

                           a) younger -- love, honor, serve older

                           b) older -- feed & protect younger

                  2.  perfect harmony between man & nature = pono

                  3.  How did the Hawaiians care for the land?

                           a) role of Ali‘i Nui as mediator & protector

                           b) Hawaiian land division

                                    -- mokupuni (island)

                                    -- moku (district)

                                    -- ahupua‘a ("pig altar")

                                    -- ‘ili & lele

                           c) complex agricultural system

                                    -- ‘auwai (irrigation system)

                                    -- konohiki administered

                                    -- personal names for land

                           d) Makahiki  festival to honor Lono

                                    -- collection of ho‘okupu  

         B.  ‘Aikapu: Metaphor of Separation (ordering of society)

                  1.  men &  women eating separately

                           a) phallic symbols & kinolau (forbidden to women)

                                    -- pig (Lono)

                                    -- coconut (Kū)

                                    -- bananas (Kanaloa)

                                    -- red fish (Kū‘ula)

                           b) practical aspects

                                    -- men do all the cooking

                                    -- only men sacrificed to Kū

                                    -- forbidden foods not a hardship

                  2.  underpinning of entire Kapu system

                           a) great distance between Ali‘i & maka‘āinana

                           b) rituals at heiau

                                    -- Hānaipū for Lono

                                    -- ‘Aha for Kū

         C.  Nī‘aupi‘o Mating: Metaphor of Incest

                  1.  acceptable & desirable among Ali‘i Nui

                           a) formula for creating divinity

                           b) proof of divinity

                  2.  children can rank higher than parents

                  3.  multiple matings were acceptable

                           a) po‘olua ("two heads")

                           b) punalua ("two springs)

III.  Importance of religion

         A.  ‘Imihaku = to search for a source of mana

                  1.  path of Lono (god of fertility) -- sexual

                  2.  path of Kū (god of war) -- violence

         B.  Mō‘ī must have mana to be pono

 

  

 

Think/Write Questions

Do you think the history of Hawai‘i is more accurately written if it has a Native voice, either a Native Hawaiian historian or by reconstructing metaphors of a past culture as Kame‘eleihiwa does?

 

Kame‘eleihiwa argues that the women of ancient Hawai‘i were quite powerful and the ‘Aikapu does not prove that women were inferior to men. Do you agree with the explanation she gives? Why or why not?