Feeding the Ancestor- Herb Kawainui Kane
The painting depicts an ancient belief that still exists among some Hawaiian extended families (ohana). In times of danger or distress, the spirit of a powerful ancestor (aumakua), might shed its invisibility and become physically present by taking possession of a living creature. For some ohana this might be a fish, a bird, a turtle, or a sea mammal. In the painting, a family elder feeds a shark that appears regularly and is believed to be possessed by an ancestral spirit.
In family rituals an inanimate object, such as a small figure carved in wood or a natural but distinctively shaped stone, might also serve as a resting place for an invisible ancestral spirit. In the old culture such an object would have a place in the men’s eating-house. Murmuring some words of filial respect and devotion, a leading elder would set a piece of food before it at the beginning of a meal.
In men’s and women’s work places, such objects might also invite the presence of patron spirits while the people worked at their crafts. In Polynesian culture, authority was—and often still is—based on seniority, as evidenced by the similarity of the terms makua for parent, aumakua for the invisible spirit of an ancestor, and akua for a spirit of immense stature and power.
Ali’i Nui (King of Hawai’i) Liloa with his son Umi-a-Liloa and Umi’s Hanai (adopted) sons
Ali’i Nui Liloa with his son Umi-a-Liloa and Umi’s hanai sons’ (left-right: Ko’i, Oma’okamau, Umi, Pi’imaiwa’a and Liloa at Waipio Valley, Hawaii Island) (Ruling Chiefs pg 6-17)- Brook Kapukuiahi Parker (artist)
Brook Kapukuniahi Parker is a cousin of mine from the island of O’ahu. He is an extremely talented artist who was invited to help illustrate the revised version of Kamakau’s Ruling Chiefs (Kamehameha Press) coming out later this year. It is a great source for anyone interested in the rich history of our ‘aina (homeland). The stories behind great battles our ancestors fought to conquer the independent island nations and create the Kingdom of Hawai’i .
This is the first in a series of Brook’s paintings LUA will be presenting:
Liloa was the son of Kiha-nui-lulu-moku, Alii Aimoku of Hawaii and Waoilea. He became Ali’i Nui (King of Hawai’i) following the death of his father. He was a ruling chief who was famous for his good deeds. Liloa was also a religious chief who honored his gods and kept peace in his kingdom by keeping his people contented and prosperous.
Liloa built the heiau of Honu’ula in Waipio Valley, his home. Before he died, Liloa gave Umi the custody of the war god to his son Umi a Liloa while making Hakau, Umi’s half-brother, his heir. Hakau did not follow in the footsteps of his father becoming a cruel and tyrannical ruler. Umi with the help of his “hanai son’s” Ko’i, ‘Oma’okamau, and Pi’imaiwa’a defeated Hakau in battle and sacrificed him and his attendants at the heiau. This pattern repeats itself through Hawaiian history when the leadership is split between two heirs, one receiving the lands and ruler ship the other the custodianship of the war god and temples. We see this tradition upheld by Kamehameha I when he defeated his rival cousin, Kiwala’o, and later Liholiho over his cousin Kekuaokalani.
Liloa kept his court at Waipio. Liloa’s first wife was Pinea a Maui chiefess, with whom he had a son, Hakau, and a daughter, Kapukini. Later in life, while traveling near the borders of the Hamakua and Hilo districts, (The legend says that he had been to Koholalele in Hamakua to consecrate the Heiau called Manini, and that, passing from there, he stopped at Kaawikiwiki, and at the gulch of Hoea, near Kealakaha, he fell in love with Akahiakuleana.)
He spied a young woman, of whom he became deeply in love with, and whom he seduced, and the offspring of that relationship was a son, whom the mother named Umi, and who afterwards played so great a role in the annals of Hawaii. The mother of Umi was named Akahiakuleana, and though in humble life, she was a lineal descendant in the sixth generation from Kalahuimoku, the son of Kanipahu Alii Aimoku of Hawaii, with Hualani of the Nanaulu-Maweke line, and haft-brother to Kalapana, the direct ancestor of Liloa.
When parting from Akahiakuleana, Liloa gave her the ivory clasp (Palaoa) of his necklace, his feather wreath (Lei-hulu), and his Malo or loincloth, (One legend has it that, instead of the Lei, Liloa gave her his Laau-palau, a short instrument for cutting taro tops, a dagger) and told her that when the child was grown up, if it was a boy, to send him with these token to Waipio, and he would acknowledge him. The boy grew up with and journeyed to Waipio valley. Along the journey he makes friends which he calls his “hanai” (adopted) son’s. These three become life long companions and remain loyal to Umi the remainder of their lives. They are; Ko’i, ‘Oma’okamau, and Pi’imaiwa’a. Umi proceeded alone to the royal mansion, not far distant. According to his mother’s instructions, though contrary to the rules of etiquette observed by strangers or inferior visitors, instead of entering the courtyard by the gate, he leaped over the stockade, and instead of entering the mansion by the front door, he entered by the back door, and went straight up to where Liloa was reclining and set himself down in Liloa’s lap. Surprised at the sudden action, Liloa threw the young man on the ground, and, as he fell, discovered his Malo and his ivory clasp on the body of Umi. Liloa publicly acknowledged Umi as his son and he soon became the favorite of all.
Brook’s comments (artist):
This was the first picture completed for this special project. People who have seen this illustration continue to ask me where I got the faces of these famous Ali’i. The women seemed especially enamored commenting that these Hawaiian men are so handsome! The eyes really draw the viewer in. I readily admit I take no credit for it; they just came out of my heart, through my hand on the paper, so to speak. I knew I wanted to do a “group portrait” needing to include all four gentlemen. As the thumbnail sketches were approved and when this rendering completed I was very pleased with the outcome, even becoming emotional, I started to weep, I felt that they were pleased too, almost hearing them say; “Don’t not let our loved ones forget our stories, don’t let them forget us.” Portrayed at a heiau in Waipi’o Valley are from left to right: Ko’i (given the honor of hiding the iwi after the death of the chiefs), ‘Oma’okamau (tallest of the friends and also the fastest runner), Umi–a-Liloa, Pi’imaiwa’a (Umi’s champion and strongest warrior) and Liloa.
OHA supports State Recognition for Native Hawaiians
HONOLULU – Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees Chairperson Colette Machado was one of the five featured speakers at a ceremony Gov. Neil Abercrombie hosted Wednesday at Washington Place to sign into law a bill that recognizes Native Hawaiians as the only indigenous people of Hawai‘i.
Speaking to more than 100 people at the bill-signing ceremony, Machado called the landmark legislation the clearest position the state has taken since 2000 to reaffirm Native Hawaiian rights, adding that it should define the state’s position on any future challenges to Native Hawaiian entitlements.
“This law sends a clear message to the federal government to endorse the recognition of Native Hawaiians as the indigenous people of Hawai‘i and to support Native Hawaiian self-governance,” she said. “OHA stands ready to work with the Governor’s Office and the Hawai‘i Legislature as we continue on this journey toward self-governance.”
Among OHA officials accompanying Machado to the bill-signing ceremony was Chief Executive Officer Clyde Nāmu’o. In a statement to the press after the event, he said: “We commend the governor and state lawmakers for supporting efforts to enable Native Hawaiians to create a better future for themselves. This law is a significant step in our nation building process that will help federal recognition. It demonstrates broad-based support by the state of Hawai‘i for Native Hawaiians.”