This essay analyzes nationally recognized and San Francisco–based kumu hula Patrick Makuakāne’s iconic hula mua choreography, “Salva Mea,” from the climax of his theatrical production, The Natives Are Restless (1996). Linking the civil rights era’s cultural renaissance movement’s twin goals of reclaiming and revitalizing traditional hula forms to Makuakāne’s own diasporic hula mua project, the essay first defines and locates hula mua within an Indigenous tradition of Hawaiian hula, and then routes it through an innovative diasporic hybridity. Contextualized by a contemporary political history of Hawai’i, the essay uses choreographic analysis to argue that “Salva Mea” makes the cultural violence that accompanied Native Hawaiian conversion to Christianity in the nineteenth century visible and visceral, while requiring audience members to confront the ongoing repercussions of settlement. In light of a forthcoming twentieth-anniversary reconstruction of The Natives Are Restless in 2016, the essay propels Native Hawaiians into the twenty-first century and into global theatre as one kumu hula finds new ways for hula to produce and enact Indigenous knowledge.


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pp. 487-501
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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