Cultural Attachment and Restoring Kindred Connections to Uhiūhi [Mezoneuron kavaiense (H. Mann) Hillebr.], a Critically Endangered, Endemic Tree of Hawaiian Dry and Mesic Forests

Date
2013-08
Authors
La Pierre, Lance Genson Mahi
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Publisher
[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2013]
Abstract
ʻAno ʻai... Welina! Greetings! By opening these pages, you have been chosen to embark on this labyrinthine journey through place, space, and time. This journey is a moʻolelo (historical narrative) of creation and destruction, gods and humans, the empirical and theoretical, phenomena of the heavens and earth, ancestors and genealogies, perceptions and epistemologies, the physical and metaphysical, enumerations and utterances, the living and departed, and the conscious and unconscious. Even as we may be without certainty as to where the road leads, the inner impulse of our guts will eventually bring us to where we will be most functional. We must pay heed to the strange callings of our inner voices, and trust that they are coming from the well-hidden past... We are only beginning our journey; makaʻala (be alert) for we seek to help prepare a better future for the keiki o ka ʻāina. Intrinsically, the Hawaiian Islands are truly one of a kind, living and breathing laboratories of evolutionary experimentation.3 They are exceptional variants of nature, and so are its people and other biota—isolated by thousands of miles of ocean, evolving under tropic skies, and guarded by majestic peaks born of lava and fire, and in the Hawaiian worldview—the divine. The main Hawaiian Islands will be our setting, as we wander and dwell in several spaces, landscapes, philosophies, practices, and experiences of the past and present. We will holoholo (go for a walk) together and travel among the islands of Hawaiʻi, learning of customs and beliefs of Native Hawaiians, as well as, the malihini (newcomers) from lands afar, we will come to know a little of their lives in these islands, and that of other inhabitants seen and unseen. The central figure of this expedition is uhiūhi [Mezoneuron kavaiense (H. Mann) Hillebr.], a critically endangered, endemic tree species of Hawaii's dry to mesic forest ecosystems. This thesis embodies an intimate quest to provide sound cultural arguments for the preservation of uhiūhi through the sharing of its cultural significance and familial connection to Kānaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian people). Additionally, it is hoped that this journey will serve as a template to assist Native Hawaiians and other native peoples in rekindling relationships with their homelands and their non-human kin of the natural and supernatural worlds.
Description
MA University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 144–153).
Keywords
Caesalpinia, uhiuhi, Mezoneuron kavaiense, cultural attachment, Hawaii, Hawaiian worldview, cultural knowledge
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