Ok 'Umi, I couldn't remember any good ali'i pets offhand, so...

I want to put it out there that, being a culture with a strong kaona tradition, we have many diferent ways of remembering that do not translate easily into Western academia, and will probably never be acknowledged as "valid" in that style of history. But these are so important that I would venture to say that if they are not understood, one is not truly coming from a full Kanaka Maoli cultural perspective.

I have heard it said once that the difference between maka'ainana and ali'i is that ali'i remember their genealogy. Well, that's kind of classist to say the least, but then again there's some truth in it. Being from maka'ainana geneology myself, there is a place where all the traces of my family lines disappear into the mists of time, and I doubt that these will ever be found. Maka'ainana do not generally chant our presence into the world, we take great pains to hide it. But does that mean that we have forgotten who we are? I don't think so.

I know I'm gonna catch shit for this one, but I'm gonna put it out there anyway. I think that maka'ainana lineage and culture is just plain OLDER than that of ali'i. And you know what? We remember it. It's not really documented in any book or oli, it's been wiped and re-wiped and re-re-wiped off the face of the 'aina, but it's still there! You just gotta know how to hear it, and it's not a skill that can be taught, except through experience.

Hanging out with great maka'ainana kupuna is a good place to start, especially if you stay with them hours after you wanted to go home already. Also, the stories -- which many of our more famous mo'olelo do not reflect -- are hidden in places where our ancestors stashed them long long ago, in the mountains, the wind, the waves, the pohaku. And the pueo, and all the 'aumakua, know. That's part of their job. Again, you just gotta know how to listen.

But I don't think the APA is going to accept a citation any time soon!

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Lawa no ka ike he Hawaii au. He poe kupanaha wale ka poe Hawaii, a ku haaheo au. Ua hoomakeaka kau i olelo nei, "But I donʻt think APA is going to accept a citation any time soon!" A oia, aka, some things just canʻt be qualified or quantified, ea? Beyond the various dissention, I really do believe that our culture is one of richness and wisdom. We got style!

I had no idea how rich and wise our culture was. We were so in tuned with Akua and the earth that everything we did was with God in love.

Aloha kekahi i kekahi.

In the royal census of Wainiha Valley, Kauaʻi, ca 1824, 65 of the people of that ahupuaʻa were reported as Menehune, occupying the upper valley, and growing maiʻa there. Their kuleana was described as mauka of Mauna Hina, along the ridge called Lāʻau. ;)
Wow 65! I had heard about this before, but I thought it was just a few. Makes me think that there may have been manas on all the islands, but maybe not in enough concentration to report. Awesome detail to your facts! Aloha, L.
Somewhere in time, we will have people talking about the chasm that exists between the maka'ainana and the alii. We can look at this from a diamond angle and there are many or examine the life of other cultures found in europe where monarchy exists, even Japan. Life is lived by all of us, rich or poor, royal or common but the status in life does not make one above the other. Here in our culture, kings and commoners worked to build heiaus and ships and houses, even if the king merely over saw the whole operation, nonetheless, he was among the laborers. When it came to protecting, representing or war, the strongest, wisest, prudish those with know how rose to the occasion. The one chosen from among these had to prove he was and could be trusted by all the people. He had to think on this feet, be a negotiator, be a person willing to go the whole gammit, even if this might mean giving his life so the whole community could live for another day. In this area, not many people are willing to do it, some might be willing to follow but very few proved to be leaders. Then as you know, a leader might turn out to be a sadistic leader, a bit off his rocker, even coward. People might be willing to follow a leader as long as he is leading, but will give him up when it does not suit their needs, whatever that may be. A commoner in the ancient times were not the bottom of the barrel, there was another group, and that were those born merely to give their life as a sacrifice when one was called. Alii's were known for their achievements, fool hardiness and heroic feats. Parents of maka'ainana's never encourage their children to seek their gneaology.
hmm...there is beauty in what you say, and certainly this is the good side of aliʻi that should be encouraged in all leaders. It is an ideal.

I do not like the term "commoner", personally -- I mean, doesnʻt that sound kind of like a ruling-class perspective, and a foreign one at that? "Makaʻainana" means much, much more.

Itʻs not to dis on the aliʻi, itʻs just to balance the perspective. The perception that aliʻi have "more" mana than all other classes needs some serious scrutiny, I think -- especially because this perspective continues today. Yes, many aliʻi were special, but the flow of mana is not linear. Indigenous and invisible are sometimes closely related concepts -- the menehune mentioned above are an interesting aspect of this. And lack of political ambition does not actually give a person less mana. It means they are fine as they are. And maybe it could be said that that is what native is in its truest form.

Yes, there were great aliʻi who were chosen by the people for their awesome leadership qualties, but letʻs face it, many others got their power through sheer conquest; for this reason, the last to arrive always had an advantage -- Paʻao is a great example of this. People followed them because they were the biggest, the baddest, and they were gonna win. Makaʻainana either joined them or got out of their way. They werenʻt stupid...& theyʻre still trying to get out of the way -- when they can. I think what is most important to makaʻainana is to be on the land, and to survive. I bet it was the same back in the day, too! Now thatʻs old culture. Too old to remember in some ways, but like I said, makaʻainana have more ways of remembering than just chants. Itʻs complex, itʻs spiritual, itʻs impossible to explain to those who donʻt already get it, and itʻs very, very old. So please, just be careful when you say things such as "parents of makaʻainanas never encourage their children to seek their genealogy". Itʻs not that what you say is not true, itʻs just that thereʻs much, much more to the story. Seeking and telling are very, very different things.

Thatʻs my manaʻo, anyways! Aloha!!


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