Abstract

In 1895 Queen Lili’uokalani was put on trial, sentenced, and imprisoned in ‘Iolani Palace for misprision of treason after an armed royalist attempt to reinstate the Hawaiian Kingdom. During her imprisonment, she began her translation of the Kumulipo, her mo’okū’auhau (genealogy), which traces her descent from over eight hundred generations and recounts the universe’s beginnings. Despite this history, Lili’uokalani’s translation is largely invisible, and the American folklorist Martha Warren Beckwith’s translation, published in 1951, is often thought to be the only one. Exactly how this has come to pass, I assert, is directly related to how “colonial entitlement” continues to pervade academic forums. Comparing these translations of the Kumulipo, this essay examines the opposition between colonial entitlement and mo’okū’auhau. I “ho’okū’auhau,” or genealogize, as a methodology to contextualize both translations before comparing them ideologically, politically, and aesthetically. I conclude with how the Kumulipo challenges American Empire, using Jamaica Osorio’s 2009 performance of “Kumulipo” at the White House.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 749-779
Launched on MUSE
2015-09-21
Open Access
No
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