Mai Pa'a I Ka Leo: Historical voice in Hawaiian primary materials, looking forward and listening back
This dissertation explores a unique body of historical writings published in the native-language newspapers of the Hawaiian kingdom during the 19 th century and examines the incorporation of these materials into contemporary knowledge. Scholars of the 20th century have translated a fraction of the historical material, reorganized its contents and published those portions as reference texts on Hawaiian history, culture and ethnography. These English presentations, along with other translated texts have become an English-language canon of Hawaiian reference material that is widely used today.
The canon of translated texts is problematic in that it alters the works of the original authors, recasting important auto-representational writings by Hawaiians of the 19th century into a modern Western framework. General reliance upon these translated texts has fostered a level of authority for the canon texts similar to, that of primary source material. Such authority and reliance have in many ways eclipsed the Hawaiian authors' original works and have obscured the larger corpus of published writings from the period.
General acceptance of the sufficiency of the translated works, a dearth of access tools and few fluent readers of Hawaiian has resulted in much of the archive of historical material remaining unutilized and largely inaccessible to date. However, the impetus of Hawaiian language renewal efforts and more recent Hawaiian scholarship has brought new attention to this body of writings, and such awareness is generating new efforts to rearticulate this neglected resource into the production of knowledge, now and in the future.