Contemporary Moʻolelo: Filling the Literature Stream with Pacific Water

Detwiler, Kalilinoe
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Introduction: This paper discusses the essentialness of drawing from moʻolelo and traditional knowledge in creative works and conducting the production of those works through an Indigenous lens. Methods: I first identify the discourse community through which the research and conclusions are oriented, which is the Native Hawaiian community interested in telling stories through new mediums. I identify a concern of this community which is the number of storytellers who use Hawaiʻi as a backdrop for stories that misrepresent the community and culture in the entertainment industry as a commodity. Results: Through the research, I identify the harm of allowing non-Indigenous voices to tell Indigenous stories. The research links moʻolelo to movements of rhetorical sovereignty and cultural perseverance. I propose a push toward ethical storytelling for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous creatives by orienting their work in traditional values including kuleana and aloha ʻaina. Conclusion: Through a meta commentary of my animated capstone film Pua ka uahi, I demonstrate kuleana as an essential value during Hawaiʻi-based film production. Kuleana is the focal point through which production of creative works should be focused. On top of carefully considered visual and story choices, creators must be aware of and act on their kuleana during the pre-production, production, and post-production stages.
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