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Voices of Fire

Voices of Fire: Reweaving the Literary Lei of Pele and Hi’iaka

ku‘ualoha ho‘omanawanui
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 312
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    Voices of Fire
    Book Description:

    Stories of the volcano goddess Pele and her youngest sister Hi'iaka, patron of hula, are most familiar as a form of literary colonialism-first translated by missionary descendants and others, then co-opted by Hollywood and the tourist industry. But far from quaint tales for amusement, the Pele and Hi'iaka literature published between the 1860s and 1930 carried coded political meaning for the Hawaiian people at a time of great upheaval.Voices of Firerecovers the lost and often-suppressed significance of this literature, restoring it to its primary place in Hawaiian culture.

    Ku'ualoha ho'omanawanui takes upmo'olelo(histories, stories, narratives),mele(poetry, songs),oli(chants), andhula(dances) as they were conveyed by dozens of authors over a tumultuous sixty-eight-year period characterized by population collapse, land alienation, economic exploitation, and military occupation. Her examination shows how the Pele and Hi'iaka legends acted as a framework for a Native sense of community. Freeing themo'oleloandmelefrom colonial stereotypes and misappropriations, Voices of Fireestablishes a literarymo'okū'auhau, or genealogy, that provides a view of the ancestral literature in its indigenous contexts.

    The first book-length analysis of Pele and Hi'iaka literature written by a Native Hawaiian scholar,Voices of Firecompellingly lays the groundwork for a larger conversation of Native American literary nationalism.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-4120-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-v)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-vii)
  3. Ka Pule Wehe / The Opening Prayer: Kūnihi ka Mauna (Steep Stands the Mountain)
    (pp. viii-ix)
  4. Ka Pane / The Response
    (pp. x-xii)
  5. ‘Ōlelo Ha‘i Mua / Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Nā Mahalo / Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. ‘Ōlelo Mua / Introduction: Ke Ha‘a lā Puna i ka Makani (Puna Dances in the Breeze)
    (pp. xix-l)

    IT IS MID-JULY, 1990, and I am in my second year of Hawaiian language at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. A group of Hawaiian-language classes from the O‘ahu-based campus has just arrived at Kalanihonua in ‘Opihikao, a remote area of Puna, Hawai‘i, for a weeklong Hawaiian-language immersion camp. As our caravan of rented vehicles descends the last long slope of highway toward Kaimū, the latest eruption of the Kupaianaha vent is clearly visible in the distance. Roiling pillars of silvery steam clouds form where the lava meets the sea, billowing high into the atmosphere, extending far above Puna’s brilliant...

  8. MOKUNA / CHAPTER 1 Mai Kahiki Mai ka Wahine, ‘o Pele (From Kahiki Came the Woman, Pele): Historicizing the Pele and Hi‘iaka Mo‘olelo
    (pp. 1-32)

    ON A MERRIE MONARCH³ STAGE, a hālau dances with rhythmic precision to the resonant bass tones of the pahu (wooden) drum. The kumu hula chants, the ‘ōlapa (dancers) dance, red pa‘u (skirts) sway, the audience cheers its appreciation. Such is the scene multiplied dancer by dancer, hālau by halau, an ancient story transcending time, passed down for myriad generations, recalling, remembering, retelling a primeval story of creation, migration, history, cultural values, practices of our ancestors, lessons of aloha ‘āina and mālama ‘āina (love and caring for the land); of love, passion, betrayal, forgiveness; instructions of origin, migration, environmental kinship, memorialized...

  9. MOKUNA / CHAPTER 2 ‘O nā Lehua Wale i Kā‘ana (The Lehua Blossoms Alone at Kā‘ana): Weaving the Mo‘okū‘auhau of Oral and Literary Traditions
    (pp. 33-64)

    IT IS 2 A.M. ON A WARM MAY NIGHT IN 1991, and hālau Kukunaokalā has been up for hours preparing our lei, pā‘ū skirts and kīkepa (for women), and malo and ti-leaf capes (for men) for the trek up the slopes of Maunaloa (long mountain), the most prominent hill in the west Moloka‘i mountains, for the inaugural Moloka‘i ka Hula Piko celebration. We make our way west from the Kaluako‘i resort down Maunaloa Highway. It is a dark, moonless night; there are no streetlights, no other vehicles on the road. The only sound is the hum of tires and rustling...

  10. MOKUNA / CHAPTER 3 Lele ana ‘o Ka‘ena i ka Mālie (Ka‘ena Soars Like a Bird in the Calm): Pele and Hi‘iaka Mo‘olelo as Intellectual History
    (pp. 65-92)

    IT IS 3:30 P.M. ON A THURSDAY AFTERNOON, and my friend Alohilani and I are rushing to leave UH Mānoa and make our way to hula practice in Makakilo, twenty-three miles away. During the hour-long drive in afternoon H-1 ‘Ewa-bound traffic, we practice our mele for class—“Kūnihi Ka‘ena holo i ka mālie,” steep stands Ka‘ena, gliding in the calm.

    We cruise through Kalihi, ‘Aiea, and the Wai-lands that make up Pearl City (Waimalu, Waiau, Waimano, Waiawa, Waipi‘o), gliding swiftly along the freeway in our four-wheeled wa‘a, past Waipahu, Waikele, and Kunia; Pu‘u o Kapōlei, the hill that rises up...

  11. MOKUNA / CHAPTER 4 Ke Lei maila ‘o Ka‘ula i ke Kai ē (Ka‘ula Is Wreathed by the Sea): Pele and Hi‘iaka Mo‘olelo and Kanaka Maoli Culture
    (pp. 93-126)

    IT IS SUMMER 1994 AND I AM HOME on Kaua‘i. My friend Puna is visiting from Hawai’i island, and we decide to drive to Hā‘ena at the end of road on Kaua‘i’s north shore. We will hike the short distance to Ke Ahu a Laka (the altar of Laka), the hula pā at Kē‘ē on the north side of Makana (gift), the prominent mountain of Ha‘ena marketed to the world as “Bali Hai,” a made-up name popularized globally from the 1958 American movieSouth Pacific

    As a wahi pana, Makana signifies Lohi‘au’s home, where the pahu drumbeats lured Pele’s spirit...

  12. MOKUNA / CHAPTER 5 ‘O ‘Oe ia, e Wailua Iki (It Is You, Wailua Iki): Mana Wahine in the Pele and Hi‘iaka Mo‘olelo
    (pp. 127-160)

    IT IS JUNE 2003 AND I AM STANDING on the edge of the pier at Kawaihae Deep Draft Harbor in the ahupua‘a of Kawaihae, South Kohala, staring down into the teal green waters. I am here as a kumu for Ka Ho‘i Wai, a Native Hawaiian education teacher training cohort, a part of the College of Education at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. There are about six other kumu, twenty or so students, and our alaka‘i (leaders) for the next few days, Chad and Pōmaika‘i Paishon. Uncle Chad is the captain and navigator ofMakali‘i, a traditionally designed wa‘a...

  13. MOKUNA / CHAPTER 6 Hulihia Ka Mauna (The Mountain Is Overturned by Fire): Weaving a Literary Tradition—the Polytexts and Politics of the Pele and Hi‘iaka Mo‘olelo
    (pp. 161-192)

    IT IS MARCH 25, 1990, AND FIFTEEN HUNDRED people representing over thirty Native Hawaiian, environmental, and community groups are marching into the Waokeleopuna rainforest in Puna, Hawai‘i, to protest True Geothermal Venture’s planned development of a geothermal power plant. Over 140 people are arrested, led by Native Hawaiian kūpuna. There are multiple concerns over the proposed development of geothermal power in Puna, touted by the state as a “renewable” energy source. Some worry about repercussions to health and the environment, others are alarmed over losing a way of life. Kanaka Maoli are upset about these questions. They are also concerned...

  14. MOKUNA / CHAPTER 7 Aloha Kilauea, ka ‘Āina Aloha (Cherished Is Kīlauea, the Beloved Land): Remembering, Reclaiming, Recovering, and Retelling—Pele and Hi‘iaka Mo‘olelo as Hawaiian Literary Nationalism
    (pp. 193-227)

    IT IS JANUARY 1992, AND I AM ASLEEP on the floor of a rented house in Pahoa, a small town in rural Puna, Hawai‘i. There are twenty of us scattered throughout the home, mostly students from Leeward Community College’s Hawaiian Theater and hula classes. I am here to assist the kumu, and the students are here to research the topic of their next production on the history of Kalapana, an ahupua‘a down the road, next to Kapa‘ahu and Poupou, lands where my kūpuna lived before the Volcanoes National Park took them, before economic hardships forced them off the land and...

  15. Ka Pule Pani / The Closing Prayer: He Pule no Hi‘iakaikapoliopele (Hi‘iakaikapoliopele’s Prayer)
    (pp. 228-230)
  16. ‘Ōlelo Wehewehe Hope / Notes
    (pp. 231-256)
  17. Papa Wehewehe ‘Ōlelo / Glossary
    (pp. 257-260)
  18. Papa Kuhikuhi o nā Mea Kūmole ‘ia / Works Cited
    (pp. 261-272)
  19. Papa Kuhikuhi Hō‘ike / Index
    (pp. 273-285)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 286-286)