Rethinking the Native Hawaiian Past

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Taylor & Francis, 1998 - History - 194 pages
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This innovative study challenges scholars to rethink standard approaches to the study of Hawai'ian history by proposing a Native-centered historiography based on concepts derived from the Hawai'ian language and oral traditions. Historical approaches to traditional Hawai'i have tended to focus on the Ali'i Nui (high chiefs) as leaders of a stratified society, and on the decisions they made in the context of the arrival of the haole (foreigners). This study traces the history of the Kaukau Ali'i, the chiefly servers, who were the lesser-ranked relatives of the high chiefs. The Kaukau Ali'i performed a variety of tasks-ranging from childcare to redistributive service to the provision of battlefield support-within this service relationship which structured the flow of daily life. Kanalu Young, himself a descendent of the Kaukau Ali'i, argues that the Native Hawai'ian past can be better understood by approaches which are grounded in concepts derived from Native Hawai'ian language and oral tradition. By shiftingthe focus of historical study from the high chiefs to the chiefly servers, new light is shed on the history of the traditional Hawai'ian polity. Bibliography. Index

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About the author (1998)

University of Hawai'i at Manoa