Our Own Liberation: Reflections on Hawaiian Epistemology

Meyer, Manulani Aluli
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University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
As the Hawaiian political and cultural movement continues to gro w, issues of re presentation, power, and control are being critiqued—now by Hawaiian minds. In this essay I look at the fundamentals of Hawaiian epistemology and begin to link them with the educational re f o rm now underway in Hawai‘i. With the guidance of twenty mentors, I outline seven epistemological categories that begin to solidify a distinct way in which to view teaching, learning, intellect, and rigor. These categories, now struggling to be useful in the Hawaiian Charter School movement, will inevitably also serve as a way to critique the current colonial system in Hawaiian language immersion, spotlight the oppression embedded in well-meant content and performance standards, and highlight the hidden curriculum of assimilation and the acultural assumptions in pedagogy that exist in Hawai‘i’s colonial schools. This outline of a Hawaiian philosophy of knowledge expands, invigorates, and redefines ideas of empiricism, intellectual rigor, and knowledge priorities—all through Hawaiian ontological lenses. Like any definition of culture put forth by indigenous practitioners and scholars, it pushes the envelope of what it means to think, exist, and struggle as a nonmainstream “other,” and as it details the liberation found in identity, it must also, inevitably, outline the systems that deter its full blossoming.
culture, empiricism, epistemology, Hawaiian, intellectual, ontology, philosophy
Meyer, M. A. 2001. Our Own Liberation: Reflections on Hawaiian Epistemology. The Contemporary Pacific 13 (1): 124-48.
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