Mele ‘Ōiwi: some aspects of genealogical songs in the context of Hawaiian history

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Genealogy | History of the Pacific Islands | Music Performance


Genealogical research is a social enterprise that involves an array of methods, data, and expressions. Mele (songs or chants) are included among the data and expressions of genealogical information in Hawai`i. Over more than four decades, my brother and I worked on our family’s genealogy. The research is still ongoing. This presentation focused upon mele that he composed that incorporated parts of that research. The mele included Wahine `Ilikea, Nā Ali`i Pu`ōlani, and Nā Makani Ehā. Among the issues referred to were the importance of ‘āina (place), Polynesian genealogical chants, traditional naming conventions, intra-familial relations and individual status, the “unification” in the form of the Kingdom, the mandate of Christian first names, the privatization of real property (the Māhele), and the reconstructions of Native Hawaiian genealogies in the context of “modernization.”


The slides for this presentation are not available.