Ke Kumu Aupuni: The Foundation of Hawaiian Nationhood embodies a monumental history of Hawaiʻi, from the beginnings and political rise of Kamehameha I, the negotiations and battles that would come to unify Hawai‘i’s islands and kingdoms, and the development of a single government that would endure, to be ruled by his son and heir, Liholiho, Kamehameha II. This narrative is an invaluable catalog of data about Hawai‘i, Hawaiians, and the nature of national and cultural identity in the Pacific.
Offered here in both Hawaiian and English, this history gives rich detail regarding Hawai‘i’s lands, genealogies, gods, chiefs, sociopolitical climate, material culture, laws, agriculture, and social decorums, much of which still lingered in the memories of the living informants who were accessible to the original author, Samuel Mānaiakalani Kamakau. From this Hawaiian scholar, trained at the Lahainaluna Seminary in the 1830s, readers are given an extraordinary fabric of cultural and historical knowledge in print, recounting life in Hawai‘i before and during the early interactions with foreigners, the influence of new religion, the negotiation of borders for trade and diplomacy within and beyond the islands, and the introduction of writing and printing in both Hawaiian and English.
This book presents the entire first third of Kamakau’s massive serial column, a section comprised of 60 articles published weekly from 1866 to 1868 in Ka Nupepa Kuokoa under the title “Ka Moolelo o Kamehameha I.” This immense assemblage provides the author’s original text, a biography for Kamakau, and introductory texts that document the means by which this translation has come to exist, itself a history of language recovery and preservation. Illuminating the imbricate nature and plurality of Hawaiian historical methodologies and cultural logics, this text allows readers the opportunity to enjoy the dense storytelling of a Hawaiian master and the chance to interpret language alongside the translator, Puakea Nogelmeier