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Publisher Description

I'D LIKE TO INTRODUCE MY WORK BY INTRODUCING MYSELF and my relationship to it. (1) I was born on Oahu halts century ago into a Hawaiian family who, like most other Hawaiian families, no longer spoke Hawaiian. My mother grew up knowing some words and some songs in Hawaiian, along with a little hula and a lot of fishing practices. Her mother grew up mostly understanding but not speaking her mother's native tongue. And her mother's (my great-grandmother's) native tongue was olelo Hawai'i, which she supplemented with Chinese and English. Between my great-grandmother's time and my mother's time, the knowledge of our language along with its stories, poetry, children s word games, and beautiful figures of speech was almost entirely lost. I was raised in California and when I returned to Hawai'i as an adult, I began to study the language. After receiving a degree in olelo Hawaii, I pursued graduate degrees in order to study the wisdom of our ancestors further. As I began to contest the historiography of Hawaii by reading nineteenth-century material in Hawaiian, I was often frustrated by my inability to understand what I was reading. Not only was our language gone, but so many of the commonly shared cultural references were gone--not even recorded in contemporary reference books. One day, while walking along puzzling over some mysterious passage, I finally became enraged. Why couldn't I understand what was written in a newspaper by someone of my great-grandmother's generation? Why didn't I grow up speaking and understanding this? It is my heritage; it should be my birthright. The violence of the loss of the language became real to me that day, and added to my resolve to keep learning, to teach, and to tell the stories of the people who wrote them down, knowing the language was waning, but having a glimmer of hope that one day, a new generation would be reading their words again. One result of the language loss has been the perpetuation of certain myths about Hawai'i and its native people. One of the most persistent and pernicious myths of Hawaiian history is that the Kanaka Oiwi (the Native people of Hawai'i) passively accepted the erosion of their culture and the loss of their nation. In 1984, in an article in the Journal of Pacific History, for example, Caroline Ralston claimed that the maka'ainana (ordinary people) made "no outspoken protest or resistance against the series of events which appear to have been highly detrimental to [their] well-being" (Ralston 21). Haunani-Kay Trask relates a story of sharing a panel with a historian from the U.S. who, like Ralston, claimed that "there was no real evidence for [resistance by Kanaka Maoli]" (Trask 154-55) Popular historian of Hawai'i, Gavan Daws, dismissed Kanaka resistance in a single paragraph, even though, in the same book, he continued to document it (291). Ralph Kuykendall interpreted King Kalakauas and Queen Emmas resistance to takeover by the U.S. as anti-haole racism (187). But as Amy Ku'uleialoha Stillman has observed, "Hawaiian-language sources suggest remarkable history of cultural resilience and resistance to assimilation" (85)

GENRE
Professional & Technical
RELEASED
2004
June 1
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
13
Pages
PUBLISHER
Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English
SELLER
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.
SIZE
202.1
KB

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