Collection Description

Culture Name

Hawaiians

Culture Description

Hawaiians are the indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands. Now a disadvantaged minority in their own homeland, they are the descendants of Eastern Polynesians who originated in the Marquesas Islands. The early Hawaiians lived on marine resources. They later developed a large and productive agricultural economy based on the cultivation of taro. In the 1840s the Hawaiian king was persuaded by resident foreigners to create private property; within a few decades most Hawaiians were without land. Foreigners bought huge tracts for plantations and ranches and the laborers they imported soon outnumbered the Hawaiians. The shift to wage labor began during the 19th century as Hawaiians increasingly worked on foreign-owned sugar cane plantations. About one-quarter of Hawaiians are engaged in agriculture with most working in service industries.

Note

Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.

Region

Oceania --Polynesia

Countries

United States

OWC Code

OV05

Number of Documents

28

Note: Select the Collection Documents tab above to browse documents.

Number of Pages

5145

Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The Hawaiians collection consists of 27 English language documents dealing with a variety of different ethnographic topics. The time frame for the collection ranges from the late eighteenth century (at the time of first Euro-American contacts) to the 1990s, with particular emphasis on traditional Hawaiian ethnography from approximately 1778 through the nineteenth century. The most comprehensive studies in the collection dealing with this time period are those of Buck (1957, no. 2), Handy and Pukui (1972, no. 4), Handy (1972, no. 5), Kamakau (1968, 1976, nos. 9 and 10), and Ellis (1917, no. 11). Although all of these deal broadly with the general ethnography of the Hawaiian people, Buck's work emphasizes material culture, while Handy adds additional information on traditional horticultural practices prior to Euro-American contacts, and adds further data on land use, mythology, settlement patterns, climate, geography, fauna, and flora. The work by Ellis, a missionary, who spent two months on the island of Hawaii in 1822-1823, is significant because it represents one of the earliest reports in the literature on the transitional changes taking place in Hawaiian society following the abolition of the idols in 1819. In addition to the above, one other major work in the collection is that of Buck (1993, no. 1), which is a study of the politics of Hawaiian history using concepts derived from various theories of social formation and culture change, illustrated through the changing historical contexts of chant, hula, and music. Other major topics discussed in this collection are: myths, legends, traditions, and folklore in Beckwith (1970, no. 3); studies of the community and household in Howard (1974, no. 6), Ito (1999, no. 8), Linnekin (1985, no. 14), Heighton (1968, no. 25), and Gallimore (1968, no. 26); culture change in Buck (1993, no. 1), Howard (1974, no. 6), Linnekin (1990, no. 13), Sahlins (1992, no. 15), and Kame'eleihiwa (1992, no. 16); and childhood and adolescent studies in Jordan (1968, no. 20), Boggs (1968, no. 21), and Howard (1968, 1968, nos. 23 and 24).

The collection in general is well balanced between the traditional Hawaiian society of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and more recent ethnographic studies of the late twentieth century.

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

This culture summary is based on the article "Hawaiians" by Jocelyn Linnekin, in the Encyclopedia of World Cultures, Vol. 2, 1991. Edited by Terrence E. Hays. Boston, Mass.: G. K. Hall & Co. The synopsis and indexing notes were written by John Beierle in July 2002. The Human Relations Area Files would like to thank Ty Kawika Tengan of the Department of Anthropology, University of Manoa, for his bibliographical suggestions in the preparation of this collection.

Overview by

John Beierle

'AHA -- ritual -- category 788

'AHA'AINA PALALA --the first festivity in honor of the new born child -- category 852

AHA-ALEE -- a council of nobility -- category 646

AHUPUA'A -- a type of land division, usually extending from the mountains to the sea, under the control of a chief -- category 634

'AHU 'ULA feather cloaks -- 292, 287

AIKAPU -- traditional religion -- categories 771, 783

'AINA -- land -- category 423

AKUA -- the gods -- category 776

ALI' I -- the aristocracy -- categories 565, 554

ALI ' I AIMOKU -- paramount chief of a territory or island -- categories 634, 643

ALI' I NUI -- generally the paramount chief, but may also include other members of the aristocracy -- categories 643, 565, 554

ALOHA -- love, generosity -- categories 152, 577

'ANA' ANA -- magic and/or sorcery -- categories 754, 789

A0 -- the three realms of the spirits of the dead -- category 775

ARIOI society -- category 575

AUMAKU -- guardian spirit -- categories 776, 787 (sometimes with 775)

'AUWAI -- an ancient irrigation ditch which supplied water for pondfield irrigation -- category 312

'AWA -- see KAVA

Board of Land Commissioners -- a board that determines who has the rights to lands in Hawaii -- categories 423, 698

gourds, growing of -- category 249

HAKA -- a spirit medium -- 791

HAKU -- the functioning head of an extended family -- category 622

HALAU -- the school for learning the HULA -- category 874

HALEKUKU -- tapa beating houses -- category 343

HALE NOA -- the sleeping house -- category 342

HALE NAUA -- family experts in genealogy who tested the claims of persons who were supposed to be kin of the Ali'i (aristocracy) -- categories 173, 814

HALE PE'A -- the menstrual hut -- category 343

HANAI -- adopted child -- category 597

HEIAU -- a place of worship or sacrifice, ranging from simple upright stones to massive temple platforms -- categories 346, 368, 778

HIHIA -- entanglement -- category 578

HOLUA -- sled races -- 526

HO 'OKUPU -- offerings, tribute -- category 651

HO ' OPONOPONO -- conflict resolution -- category 627

IKU-PAU -- high chiefs -- category 643

IKU-NU'U -- ordinary chiefs -- category 622

'ILI -- a land division, usually a subdivision of an AHUPUA'A -- category 634

'ILI'ILI -- small pebbles or gravel used as paving on a house terrace or floor-- category 342

IMU -- underground earth ovens -- category 354

KAHILIS -- feathered staffs of state -- categories 293, 287

KAHU -- a family member or retainer who was often involved with the burial of the members of the household; also an honored guardian, servant or family retainer -- categories 767, 554, 592

KAHUA -- the terrace of a temple -- categories 346, 351

KAHUNA -- individuals of status (priests, craftsmen, mediums, medical practitioners) -- categories 793, 463, 554, 791, 759, 756

KAHUNA-HO'OUNAUNA -- priests of Milu or sorcerers -- category 754

KAHUNA-LAPAAU-LAAU -- a herb doctor-- category 759

KAHUNA NUI -- high priest -- category 793

KAIKO ' EKE --siblings-in- law -- category 607

KALANA -- in certain areas, a subsection of 'OKANA -- category 634

KALO -- taro -- category 244

KANAWAI ALI' I -- a ruler's edict -- category 671

KAPU -- taboo; also associated with royal privileges or rank -- categories 688, 784, 554

KAUHALE -- the permanent home of the family; a homestead or household compound; sometimes a dispersed community of scattered homesteads -- categories 342, 592, 621

KAULA -- prophets -- category 792

KAUWA-- the outcaste class -- category 565 (sometimes with 567, depending on context)

KAVA ('AWA) -- a stimulant or narcotic subsistence, often used as a drink -- categories 272, 276

kings -- category 643

KOA -- warriors -- category 701

KONOHIKI -- tax collectors; land stewards -- categories 651, 423

KUKUI -- the candlenut tree (Aleurites moluccana); the oily candlenut kernels provided light when burned in stone lamps and were cooked for use as a relish -- categories 137, 263, 372

KUPUA -- supernatural beings -- category 776

KUPUNA -- ancestors -- category 769

LAPU -- a ghost -- category 775

LAULIMA -- cooperative enterprises -- category 476

LEI NIHO PALAOA -- whale tooth pendant suspended from a necklace of braided human hair and a symbol of chiefly status -- categories 301, 554

LELE -- offering stands; altars; also used for discontinuous land parcels belonging to an 'ILI -- categories 417, 782, 778; 423

LILI -- jealousy -- category 152

LOKO I'A -- fishponds -- category 228

LO' I -- wet land plots -- category 241

Long God -- the symbol of LONO, a wooden staff surmounted by a carved figure -- categories 778, 5311

LUAU -- feast -- category 574

LUAKINI -- a war temple, devoted to the god KU -- categories 346, 778

MA -- a term used to refer to a "commoner" household group -- categories 592, 596

MAHELE -- the division of the land of the kingdom in 1846-1855 -- category 423

MAKA' AINANA -- commoners -- category 565

MAKAHIKI festival -- festival of the new year -- categories 527, 796

MALAMA -- watch over land -- category 423

MALO -- the loincloth -- category 291

MANA -- supernatural power -- category 778

MAPELE -- a general term for temple, devoted to the worship of the god LONO -- categories 346, 778

'MATAKAINANGA -- a corporate descent group occupying a specific territory -- category 565

MAWAEWAE festival -- "path clearing"; a ceremony at the birth of a first-born child -- category 852

MELE -- a chant -- category 533

MENEHUNE -- the first settlers in Hawaii, according to tradition -- category 173 (?), 773

MOI -- king, ruler -- category 643

MOKU -- district -- category 634

MO' OLELO -- history -- categories 173, 773

MUA -- a men's eating-house that also contains the family shrine -- categories 344, 345, 346 (depending on context)

NIELE -- curious, inquisitive -- category 576

NOHO -- spirit possession -- category 787

'OHANA -- the extended family; a dispersed community -- categories 596, 621

'OKANA -- districts -- category 634

'O'O -- digging sticks -- category 412

PAEPAE -- the foundation for a dwelling consisting of rock walls filled with small stones -- categories 342, 333

PAPA ALI'I -- the ranking body of high chiefs -- category 643

PONO -- perfect equilibrium -- category 772

PULE -- a prayer -- category 782

PULUNA -- affines-- category 602

PUNALUA relationships -- categories 602, 595

PUNA HELE -- favorite child, sometimes adopted -- categories 597, 593

PU' UHONUA (POHAKU O KANE) -- the Stone of Kane, a place of asylum -- categories 696, 778

sleds -- categories 493, 526

surfboards -- category 526

TAPA beaters -- categories 287, 412

TAPA, making of -- category 287

UHANE -- spirit or soul -- category 774

'UNIHIPILI -- the spirit of a dead person -- category 775

WAUKE -- a plant (or tree) cultivated for its fiber, and in the manufacture of paper and TAPA cloth -- categories 248, 245

Indexing Notes by

John Beierle

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