Voices of Fire
Reweaving the Literary Lei of Pele and Hi’iaka
Publication Year: 2014
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 Fire recovers the lost and often-suppressed significance of this literature, restoring it to its primary place in Hawaiian culture.
Ku‘ualoha ho‘omanawanui takes up mo‘olelo (histories, stories, narratives), mele (poetry, songs), oli (chants), and hula (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 the mo‘olelo and mele from colonial stereotypes and misappropriations, Voices of Fire establishes a literary mo‘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 Fire compellingly lays the groundwork for a larger conversation of Native American literary nationalism.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
Title Page, Copyright, Quote
Papa Kuhikuhi / Contents
Ka Pule Wehe / The Opening Prayer: Kūnihi ka Mauna (Steep Stands the Mountain)
Ka Pane / The Response
‘Ōlelo Ha‘i Mua / Preface
...by the stories of my Maoli ancestors, most particularly those associated with Pele and Hi‘iaka. I say without knowing because they were absent from the curriculum of the public and private school education I received. When discussed in the public sphere, stories...
Nā Mahalo / Acknowledgments
...living treasures who have committed themselves to upholding our language and cultural traditions; others have passed into Pō (the realm of the ancestors). My work could not have been accomplished without their...
‘Ōlelo Mua / Introduction: Ke Ha‘a lā Puna i ka Makani (Puna Dances in the Breeze)
...As we visited each place over the following days, I wondered and worried what I would talk about; nothing inspired me. On the last day of our visit we met with Pi‘ilani Ka‘awaloa, a cultural practitioner...
Mokuna / Chapter 1. Mai Kahiki Mai ka Wahine, ‘o Pele (From Kahiki Came the Woman, Pele): Historicizing the Pele and Hi‘iaka Mo‘olelo
...1860–1928 influence and affect how it developed as literature and contributed to the development of Hawaiian literary nationalism? An overview of Kanaka Maoli history that contextualizes the production of Pele and Hi‘iaka mo‘olelo helps us better understand and appreciate...
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
...Kumu has received special permission from the ranch for this occasion. The sacred spot had been forgotten, abandoned and overrun by cattle and introduced plant life for over...
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
...Our kumu hula, John Ka‘imikaua, is a practitioner of the Moloka‘i hula tradition. Like many Kanaka Maoli displaced from traditional homelands, Kumu’s family lives in Makakilo, where our hula practices are held. We enter the cafeteria...
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
...We will haku lei as a ho‘okupu, a traditional offering, a simple gesture of our aloha for this ‘āina; in Hawaiian culture, one never arrives empty-handed. At the end of the road we enter...
Mokuna / Chapter 5. ‘O ‘Oe ia, e Wailua Iki (It Is You, Wailua Iki): Mana Wahine in the Pele and Hi‘iaka Mo‘olelo
...panic and conserve energy while we wait for the wa‘a or the escort boat to pluck us from the water. I am a good swimmer; in fact, I could swim before I could walk. But I am afraid of the deep water that opens up to the sea near Pu‘ukoholā, Kamehameha’s...
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
...begun in 1983, a land swap between the state and the estate was proposed so that the geothermal development could proceed. In 1985, twenty-seven thousand acres of Waokeleopuna’s pristine rainforest were traded for twenty-five thousand acres...
Mokuna / Chapter 7. Aloha Kīlauea, ka ‘Āina Aloha (Cherished Is Kīlauea, the Beloved Land): Remembering, Reclaiming, Recovering, and Retelling—Pele and Hi‘iaka Mo‘olelo as Hawaiian Literary Nationalism
...miles. But the volcano has been active since 1983, and over the years, a series of eruptions and lava flows have consumed major portions of the highways and roads through Kaimū, Kalapana, and Kapa‘ahu so many times that the county, state, and...
Ka Pule Pani / The Closing Prayer: He Pule no Hi‘iakaikapoliopele (Hi‘iakaikapoliopele’s Prayer)
‘Ōlelo Wehewehe Hope / Notes
Papa Wehewehe ‘Ōlelo / Glossary
Papa Kuhikuhi o nā Mea Kūmole ‘ia / Works Cited
Papa Kuhikuhi Hō‘ike / Index
About the Author
...Kanaka ‘Ōiwi nationalist, poet, artist, scholar, and aloha ‘āina advocate ku‘ualoha ho‘omanawanui is associate professor of English at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa specializing in Oceanic literatures and...