Nā Kua‘āina: Living Hawaiian Culture

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University of Hawaii Press, Apr 30, 2007 - History - 384 pages
The word kua‘‚ina translates literally as "back land" or "back country." Davianna PŰmaika‘i McGregor grew up hearing it as a reference to an awkward or unsophisticated person from the country. However, in the context of the Native Hawaiian cultural renaissance of the late twentieth century, kua‘‚ina came to refer to those who actively lived Hawaiian culture and kept the spirit of the land alive. The mo‘olelo (oral traditions) recounted in this book reveal how kua‘‚ina have enabled Native Hawaiians to endure as a unique and dignified people after more than a century of American subjugation and control. The stories are set in rural communities or cultural kÓpuka—oases from which traditional Native Hawaiian culture can be regenerated and revitalized.

By focusing in turn on an island (Moloka‘i), moku (the districts of Hana, Maui, and Puna, Hawai‘i), and an ahupua‘a (Waipi‘io, Hawai‘i), McGregor examines kua‘‚ina life ways within distinct traditional land use regimes. The ‘Úlelo no‘eau (descriptive proverbs and poetical sayings) for which each area is famous are interpreted, offering valuable insights into the place and its overall role in the cultural practices of Native Hawaiians. Discussion of the landscape and its settlement, the deities who dwelt there, and its rulers is followed by a review of the effects of westernization on kua‘‚ina in the nineteenth century. McGregor then provides an overview of social and economic changes through the end of the twentieth century and of the elements of continuity still evident in the lives of kua‘‚ina. The final chapter on Kaho‘olawe demonstrates how kua‘‚ina from the cultural kÓpuka under study have been instrumental in restoring the natural and cultural resources of the island.

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If you are the type of person who likes reading 'concise history' type titles from cover to cover, than Na Kua'aina may be the book for you. I, however, am not one of those people, and I found it very ... Read full review


One Na Kuaaina and Cultural Kipuka
Waipio Source of Water and Life
Hana from Koolau to Kaupo
A Wahi Pana Sacred to Pelehonuamea
Great Molokai Child of Hina
Rebirth of the Sacred
Tell the Story
Appendix I 1851 Petition from Puna Native Hawaiians to Extend the Deadline to File a Land Claim
Appendix II Number of Males Who Paid Taxes in Puna in 1858
Appendix III Molokai Petition of July 2 1845

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About the author (2007)

Davianna PŰmaika‘i McGregor is professor of ethnic studies at the Univeristy of Hawai‘i and a historian of Hawai‘i and the Pacific.

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