Lit. HI: Kanaka Maoli Non-Ficton (LSE, AP, CSAP)

Since writing was introduced to
Hawaiʻi in 1820, Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) enthusiastically embraced
western literacy.  Prolific readers,
writers, editors and publishers, by the end of the 19th century,
over 75 Hawaiian newspapers had been established, containing all genres of
writing.  While Hawaiian literature is
included in University of Hawaiʻi courses, the focus is on creative works, from
folklore to contemporary writing and multimedia texts.  There is over a century’s worth of
non-fiction writing by and about Kanaka Maoli deserving of close study.

This course will explore major works of multi-genre
Kanaka Maoli non-fiction from the early nineteenth century to the present within
the historical and interpretive contexts of colonialism.  Texts for the course will be multi-media, and
include autobiography, biography, memoir, essay, journal excerpts, travel
writing, essays, interviews, testimonies, audio recordings, and documentaries
primarily written in or translated into English.  Students with a Hawaiian language background
are encouraged to conduct research with primary Hawaiian language sources, such
as the vast Hawaiian language newspaper archives.

We will examine pertinent themes which surface in
these works, such as aloha ʻāina (patriotism or Hawaiian nationalism,
eco-consciousness, love for the land), colonial resistance, and perpetuation of
cultural language and arts.  We will look
at traditional Hawaiian modes of non-fiction, such as moʻolelo (history),
moʻokūʻauhau (genealogy), mele inoa (name songs), kanikau (laments), and
connection to wahi pana (storied placed). 
We will also examine the transition from oral tradition to written
literature, as well as the shift from the indigenous (Hawaiian) to colonial
(English) language, paying attention to the interplay between these factors,
including changes to indigenous non-fiction. 
Some questions we will examine include: What are common themes in Kanaka
Maoli non-fiction writing?  What are the
contributing factors to Kanaka Maoli focusing on these themes?  What can we learn from Kanaka Maoli
non-fiction writing?  How does Kanaka
Maoli non-fiction contribute to Hawaiian literature as a whole?  How does it contribute to Hawaiian culture
and society in the past and present? How does it (can it) influence the future
in areas such as Hawaiian independence? A better informed Hawaiian lāhui?

Course goals: 1. familiarize students with a substantial range of Kanaka Maoli
non-fiction writing over a period of approximately 150 years, and read these
texts as cultural, political, and historical productions as well as informative
texts; 2. identify and apply indigenous and other critical theories to the
reading of these texts; 3. develop a deeper understanding of the role of
non-fiction texts in the broader field of Hawaiian literature.

Course Requirements:  Weekly
written responses on Laulima to the assigned reading and films, a short paper,
lead one class discussion on a text, oral presentation and completion of final
research project, class participation, daily attendance.

short paper will be an analysis of a topic related to Kanaka Maoli non-fiction.  The Final Project will include original
research and fieldwork with a Hawaiian author or within a Hawaiian community,
and may include both written and visual/multimedia components.


Sally Jo Keanuenue. The Heart of Being

Stephen. Kamehameha and His Warrior.

John Dominis. On Being Hawaiian.

Bernice Pi’ilani.  I Knew Queen Lili’uokalani.

Emma. The Story of Kapa’ahu.

Piʻilani. The True Story of Kaluaikoʻolau.

Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen.

Daviana.  Nā Kuaʻaina.

Henry.  No Footprints in the Sand: A Memoir of Kalaupapa.

Haunani.  From a Native Daughter.

Smith, Linda. Decolonizing Methodologies.

Noenoe. Aloha Betrayed.

Thiongo, Ngugi. Decolonizing the Mind.


Kekuni.  “I hea nā Kanaka Maoli? Whither
the Hawaiians?”  Hūlili,vol. 2, no. 1.  Shawn Kanaʻiaupuni, ed.  Honolulu: Kamehameha Publishing, 2005.

Mahealani.  “In My Father’s Garden.”

Noelani and Lana Kaopua.  “Letters.”  Women
Writing Oceania: Weaving
the Sails of the vaka, a special issue of Pacific Studies, vol. 30 no. 1-2,
March/June 2007.

hoʻomanawanui, kuʻualoha,
ed.  “The Voice of Hāloa: Kanaka Maoli       Testimonies on GMO Kalo SB 958.”

“Mauna Kea Testimonies.”  ʻŌiwi: A Native Hawaiian Journal, vol. 3.

J. “A Trip to Molokaʻi.”

John.  “Living Without Kuleana.” Hulili.

Thomas.  A Visit to Kaupō, Maui. 
Honolulu: Bishop       Museum Press, 1998.

Rodney, ed.  Hoʻihoʻi Hou: a tribute to George Helm and Kimo Mitchell.  Honolulu:  Bamboo Ridge Press, 1984. (selections)

Silva, Noenoe and
Nālani Minton.  “Kūʻë: The Hui Aloha
ʻĀina Anti- Annexation Petitions, 1897-1898. 
Honolulu: Noenoe Silva and Nālani Minton, 1999.