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Chapter 2

HWST 107 Chapter 2: Kumulipo

Hawaiian Studies
Course Code
HWST 107

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Ka Wa ‘Akahi
● Hawaiians have pondered the beginnings of the world
○ World began with night
■ Male: kumulipo; source of darkness
■ Female: po’ele; dark night
○ We are from the Akua (Gods) and from the divine ‘Aina of Hawai’i
○ Political knowledge has prevented us from knowledge of ancestors
○ 1893 illegal invasion of Hawai’i by American military
○ 1895 American recognition of missionary descendant Provisional Government
cum ‘Republic’
○ 1896 banning of Hawaiian language in all schools and gov’t offices
○ 1898 fraudulent annexation of Hawai’i to America
● Decolonization can only proceed w/ education
○ Education must include indigenization
○ Must speak Hawaiian
○ Hawaiians sailed to other parts of the Pacific in double hulled canoes
○ Intermarried w/ great Ali’i of southern lands
○ Built Hawaiian style temples
○ Taught future generations of traditions
The Kumulipo
● Composed as a Pule Ho’ola’a Ali’i (prayer that sanctifies the chief)
● Chanted at birth of Kalaninui’iamamao
○ Named after Lonoikamakahiki after the Akua of fertility of agriculture, and peace
● Great poem of the cosmos and an ‘Oli Ho’okumu Honua (chant that creates and
establishes the earth)
● Over 2,000 lines in length; divides ancient Hawaiian history into 16 wa (time periods)
○ World unfolds in genealogical procession from the female night, who gives birth
to a male night (Kumulipo) and female night (Po’ele)
○ Ancestors appear when “the earth was hot” and when “the heavens unfolded”
‘Aumakua (divine family guardians) protect and feed us; we honor and cherish
■ ‘Ukuko’ako’a (coral polyp) gave birth to ‘ako’ako’a (coral head)
■ Ko’e’enuhe (worm) digs heaping up the earth (making a refuge)
■ Pe’a (starfish) gave birth to pe’ape’a (small starfish)
■ Weli (sea urchin) gave birth to weliweli (small sea urchin)
○ First 8 wa exist entirely in the Po; the last 8 wa are the time of the Ao (daylight)
■ First 8: all plants and animals of the sea and land are born, of the earth
and sky, of male and female
■ Last 8: human like Akua are born, including Papa and Wakea, and the
hundreds of generations of human descendants
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