Back to Search Results

Puhi in the Tree and Other Stories: Unlocking the Metaphor in Native and Indigenous Hawaiian Storytelling

Renuka M. de Silva, Joshua E. Hunter

2021 United States

Human beings live and tell stories for many reasons, and it is a way to not only understand one another but to give a time and place to events and experiences. Therefore, a narrational approach within the context of this research offers a frame of reference and a way to reflect during the entire process of gathering data and writing. This study examines the importance of storytelling among Native (Kānaka ‘Ōiwi) and Indigenous (Kānaka Maoli) women of Hawai ̒ i and their interconnectedness to land and spirituality through accessing [k]new knowledge. The main focus of this article is to illustrate the resiliency of stories as told by the Kānaka women who are connected to a time and a place of traditional and ecological knowledge. Findings indicate that despite forced cultural and political changes generationally, these women’s innate beliefs and interconnectedness to land and spirituality has begun to reshape as enduring patterns over time and space. This is evident by a resurgence in moʻolelo (storytelling), ho’ oponopono (Hawaiian peacemaking process), revitalized methods of traditional land irrigation, cultivation, and sustainability programs as testimony. In ancient Hawai ̒ i, both men and women equally participated in the activities of food production and cultivation, however, in contemporary Hawai’ i, it is mostly the Native and Indigenous women who have mobilized to revitalize these traditional practices.

Indigenous knowledge, relational, narrative, storytelling, kānaka ‘ōiwi, kānaka maoli, resiliency, women