University of Minnesota
Author: hoomanawanui, kuualoha
Soft Cover, 312 ppgs.
Stories of the volcano goddess Pele and her youngest sister Hiiaka, patron of hula, are most familiar as a form of literary colonialismfirst 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 Hiiaka 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.
kuualoha hoomanawanui takes up moolelo (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 Hiiaka legends acted as a framework for a Native sense of community. Freeing the moolelo and mele from colonial stereotypes and misappropriations, Voices of Fire establishes a literary mookūauhau, or genealogy, that provides a view of the ancestral literature in its indigenous contexts.