The ‘Aha Moʻolelo Hawaiʻi conference started today. The English Department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa played host to a series of lectures and panels that began at 8:30 this morning and took a breather at 4:30 this afternoon. Can I say, holy moly?
I apologize my eloquence has left me. And if you, dear reader, are mumbling disparaging remarks under your breath, ‘Aʻole! I’ve been stretching the grey matter into all sorts of uncomfortable positions for hours in response to the questions posed by the panels I was able to attend today, but it was well worth it.
Aaron Salā, Raukura Roa, and Keawe Lopes, the panelists for Mele Maoli, Mele Māori didn’t just talk about cultural relationships to music in Hawai’i and Aotearoa; the performed it into a boisterous treat.
Leilani Basham, Keao NeSmith, Renee Pualani Louis, and Marie Alohalani Brown were the speakers for the panel What is Moʻolelo?, which discussed the intricacies of moʻolelo from multiple directions that ranged from linguistic to formalistic to cartographic, and emphasized the fact that “direct” translation is not only impossible, but often undesirable.
Chadwick Allen discussed his newly published book, Trans-Indigenous Methodologies: Reading "Across", and encouraged the pursuit of indigenous collaborative conversations with the hopes that such an endeavor might open additional spaces for indigenous voices and methodologies in an academia that continues to marginalize non-western non-canonical work. Alohalani Brown and Nālani McDougall offered Kanaka Maoli interpretations of Professor Allen’s colloquia talk.
|Blurry, yes, I know. iphone proved inadequate to the task.|
It was a full day that was beautifully rounded out by performances of storytelling, theatre, and mele at the Halau o Haumea with “I Lohe ʻia ka Puana,” Hawaiian 684 Mele Analysis and Performance class with Kumu Keawe Lopes, Haili‘ōpua Baker's Hālau Hanakeaka Hawaiian Theater troupe, and Lopaka Kapanui.
This last portion of the evening was delivered predominantly in ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi, which really stretched my grey cells, because my comprehension is shaky at best, but what a joy to see nā haumana so comfortable and fluent with their performance expressions in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi!
In brief, this is why we do what we do.