Hā‘ena, ahupua‘a: Towards a Hawaiian geography
This dissertation is a journey of exploration. It is an exploration that will attempt to accomplish three objectives. The overarching objective is to contribute to the construction of a Hawaiian geography (as opposed to a geography of Hawai'i). The purpose of the exploration is to search for elements and ways of thinking that might be useful in understanding the foundation upon which the aboriginal people of Hawaii constructed the relationships that they had with the world in which they lived. The second objective concerns the concept of ahupua'a developed by the aboriginal people in the process of dealing with the practical issues of survival that confront all people who inhabit different portions of the earth. The issues of who gets what, when, where, and how. The concept of ahupua'a will be used in order to better focus our exploration towards a Hawaiian geography. The exploration will be done as much as possible through the eyes and life experiences of the aboriginal people as it is expressed in the place names, oral history, language, and everyday practices that have been and still continue to be attached to the land. In grounding this exploration in the real world, a single ahupua'a will be the selected. Examples of aboriginal experiences as they transpired in Hā'ena, an ahupua'a located in the northwestern portion of Kaua'i Island, will be the examples used to illustrate the points being made in the discussion.
This dissertation is an exploration. It is not presented as a definitive study or a treatise on an all encompassing Hawaiian geography. Rather, it is a voyage, perhaps in the style of the early navigators and wayfinders, and certainly in the genre of many Hawaiian mele. It is an excursion to visit an ancient place, to see it through older eyes, and a different language. A journey to a place where people are connected by geneology, spirituality, identity, and aloha 'āina to the world in which they live.
Minority & ethnic groups;
0337: American history
0631: Minority & ethnic groups