HĀ‘ENA: THROUGH THE EYES OF THE ANCESTORS
Hā‘ena is a land steeped in antiquity yet vibrantly beautiful today as any Hollywood fantasy of a tropical paradise. He ‘āina momona, a rich and fertile land linked to the sea and the rising and setting sun, is a place of gods and goddesses: Pele and her sister, Hi‘iaka, and Laka, patron of hula. It epitomizes the best that can be found in the district of northwestern Kaua‘i, known to aboriginal Hawaiians as Hale Le‘a (House of Pleasure and Delight). This work is an ambitious attempt to provide a unique perspective in the complex story of the ahupua‘a of Ha‘ena.
Carlos Andrade begins by examining the stories that identify the origins and places of the earliest inhabitants of Hā‘ena. The narrative outlines the unique relationships developed by Hawaiians with the environment and describes the system used to look after the land and the sea. Andrade goes on to research the changes wrought by concepts and perceptions introduced by European, American, and Asian immigrants. He delves into the impact of land privatization as Hawai‘i struggled to preserve its independence. The Mahele and the Kuleana Act, legislation that laid the foundation for all landholding in Hawai‘i, had a profound influence on Hā‘ena. Part of this story includes a description of the thirty-nine Hawaiians who pooled their resources, bought the entire ahupua‘a of Hā‘ena, and held it in common from the late 1800s to 1967—a little-known chapter in the fight to perpetuate traditional lifeways. Lastly, Andrade collects the stories of kupuna who share their experiences of life in Hā‘ena and surrounding areas, capturing a way of life that is quickly disappearing beneath the rising tide of non-Native people who now inhabit the land.
Hā‘ena: Through the Eyes of the Ancestors is a distinctive work, which blends folklore, geography, history, and ethnography. It casts a wide net over information from earliest times to the present, primarily related from a Native perspective. It should be of great interest to historians, ethnologists, sociologists, and students of Hawaiian language, literature, and culture.