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Exploring Cultural Identity: Essays

Canonizing the Ko‘ihonua
If anything is to survive as more than a novelty, it must not be learned about, but learned, and practiced, in and for itself.

E Ola Mau nā Kūpuna i Loko o Kākou
The field of archaeology in Hawaiʻi has been a source of turmoil since its inception in the islands.

Echoing Wahi Kūpuna
Wahi kūpuna often make profound statements on their own – echoes from the actions of kūpuna kahiko.

Finding Your Roots
Although genealogy websites are growing at a rapid pace, you may discover that not all the information you need is available on the web.

Game Show
Poetry by Kikolani Martinez, 2006

Hawaiian Railway Society
Every Sunday, the sound of the train horn can be heard through the plains of Kaupe‘a, Kapolei.

Ho‘i Hou i ke Ehu
It is all of our kuleana, our responsibility, as Pauahi-embraced native Hawaiians, to give back to the generations that follow us.

Hula Pahu Revisited
Tatar’s research esoterically invites the native Hawaiian scholar to challenge other viewpoints from the Hawaiian perspective.

Is This Real?
Poetry by Le‘a Ka‘aha‘aina, 2006

Ka Hana No‘eau Hulu Manu
Although many other Polynesian cultures utilized feathers in their artifacts, Native Hawaiians were unrivaled in our expertise at feather artistry.

Keepers of the Flame
Eddie Kamae’s work can be characterized as a subtle but unrelenting counter-revolution of "we need to remember."

Language Builds Identity and Perpetuates Culture
If the mother tongue of a people were to disappear, so too would those people disappear.

Linda Dela Cruz, Hawai‘i’s Canary
Linda does the same, I suspect, for many of us in-betweener Hawaiians: she brings us home from wherever and whatever.

Makahiki: A Change of Season
Makahiki provided a venue for makaʻāinana to present their best works and perform feats of athleticism before their akua and aliʻi.

Makahiki: A Season of Giving and Growing
During the time of Makahiki, there was great emphasis placed on the importance of ho‘okupu and ‘auhau.

Makahiki: An Overview
The rising of Makaliʻi (the constellation Pleiades) at sunset marks the beginning of the Hawaiian new year, known as Makahiki.

Makahiki: Kōnane - Simple Board Game or Battle Simulator?
Kōnane is about options – to be the only one with a move left, to be the one with options.

Makahiki: Let the Games Begin
Although they may appear to be frivolous fun, "Makahiki games," are well-designed exercises that develop physical, mental, and spiritual strength.

Makahiki: The Rise of Makali‘i Marks a Hawaiian New Year
Makaliʻi is known throughout the world by different names and plays an important role in marking the passage of time for many of the world’s cultures.

May the Hawaiian Language Live Forever
I realize that in Hawai‘i we have lost a lot, but it is not too late to save our language.

Nā ‘Eha o Kaho‘olawe
Poetry by Kapono Chang

Nā Lei Makamae, The Treasured Lei
The confluence, in Nā Lei Makamae, of lei, text, mele, place, and image is often so powerful that it brings us to tears.

Nā Mele ‘Ohana, Featuring Vickie Ii and her Family
Aunty Vickie’s gift of mele has served as source and inspiration for many of the "classic" recordings of the last half-century.

Nā Wahi Kapu o Maui
Kapulani Landgraf’s photographs are of Maui’s storied places; her poems are inspired by those same places.

Pacific Experiences: Finding Justice for the Māori People
Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr plans to lead another generation of Māori into adulthood with a better understanding of their history and future.

Pacific Experiences: Native Acting, and Life in Rotuma, Fiji
Sapeta Taito, a 17-year-old from the island of Rotuma, plays the lead role in one of the most talked about films at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

Pacific Experiences: Native Art and Evolution
Lyonel Grant, Māori carver, sculptor, and designer, was an artist in residence for over two months at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

Pacific Experiences: Native Carving, Canoe Making, and Life in Huahine
Marirai "Freddy" Tauotaha, son of Puaniho Tauotaha, is a master canoe carver and paddler of international renown.

Pacific Experiences: Native Dance, Performance, and Education
Ngaria and Tony Walker use kapa haka as an incentive to push their students in school academics.

Pacific Experiences: Native Filmmaking
Rawiri Paratene, a Māori actor acclaimed for his role in the Whale Rider, discusses the movie and various cultural themes featured therein.

Pacific Experiences: Native Playwriting
Hone Kouka, the pōtiki of a large whānau, has ancestral ties to Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, and Ngāti Raukawa.

Pacific Experiences: Tourism, and the Intersection of Native Business & Culture
Andrew Te Whaiti talks about some of his experiences as CEO of Te Puia, an institution dedicated to preserving and fostering Māori culture, crafts, and arts.

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
Hawaiians are genealogically related to the ecosystems, the plants and animals, and the islands themselves.

Pehea nā Maka?
Artwork by Tiana Kuni, 2006

Ruth Ke‘elikōlani
Keʻelikōlani was a believer in her people and fought for the rights of Hawaiians and our traditional way of life.

Supression of Hawaiian Culture at Kamehameha Schools
One of the first orders William Oleson gave at Kamehameha was to ban the Hawaiian language.

Te Reo Kotahitanga (The Voice of Unity): Cultural Conflict, Native Identity, and Unity in Māori Literature
Colonialism often robs the colonized of valued possessions; political power, social prowess, land, and livelihood are only a few of them.

The Altar of an Expert
"No matter how much we know, we know very little." The true masters were our kūpuna, "fabulous and creative" individuals who made their discipline their life.

The Hula Dancer as Actor: Characterization, Visualization, and Emotion
A contemporary performance of hula combines dance and chant or song to tell stories, recount histories and provide entertainment for its audience.

The Land Has Eyes
Vilsoni Hereniko’s "film for Rotuma" is every bit as important as Once Were Warriors and Whale Rider. Maybe more so.

Then There Were None
The book was created because of a “lack” of other literary works of the same nature - stories about the heartache and triumph of the Hawaiian people.

Welo ka Hae Hawai‘i
It is late, dark, and cold when our bus finally pulls into the gravel lot at the village of Poindimie, New Caledonia.

Whale Rider – Why Read It
It unfolds in Māori fashion. Time is less lineal. Words are more powerful. There is room for poetry, oratory, and the coming-to-fruition of an ancient prayer.