ʻIke Kuʻuna

  1. Traditional knowledge

There is much talk today about what being Hawaiian means, whether it means you have the koko (blood) or you can ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, or you know the history and the culture of Hawaiʻi or you take part in the Hawaiian traditions. And the debate goes on. You certainly won’t find the answer in this He Momi, although I do believe that knowing, valuing and participating in “traditional knowledge” is a key aspect.

There is a base of knowledge that has been passed down through generations that is unique to Hawaiʻi and to being Hawaiian. This can include body language, fishing and farming methods, child raising techniques and family practices, beliefs and superstitions, and a certain spiritual connectedness that spans centuries. This is ʻike kuʻuna. ʻIke is the Hawaiian word for knowledge and kuʻuna translates as traditional or hereditary. Traditional knowledge.

Knowing the best time to plant taro or sweet potato according to the season and phase of the moon. That is ʻike kuʻuna. Not putting your hands behind your back when talking with someone because that is a sign of wishing bad upon the person you are talking to or that you are hiding something. That is  ʻike kuʻuna. Naming your child after an event, a family member, or because a name “came” to you in a dream. That is  ʻike kuʻuna. Not saying you are going fishing when you are going fishing. That is  ʻike kuʻuna.

Learning about  ʻike kuʻuna is an all important step to connecting to part of what it means to be Hawaiian or being sensitive to Hawaiians and all that has gone before us here in Hawaiʻi. But, really, no matter what ethnicity you are, everyone has their own ÿike kuÿuna that should be embraced, valued, and used. What was good for our ancestors, in a time when living in harmony was a necessity to survival (and this is the case for most minorities!) and the environment and all living creatures were respected and cared for, should be good for us.

E nānā mau kākou i ka ʻike kuʻuna o ko kākou mau kūpuna – Let us always look to the traditional knowledge of our ancestors.

Copyright: 2015 – Liana Iaea Honda. All rights reserved. All versions of He Momi e Lei ai”, in its entirety, past and present, is the property of L. K. I. Honda. Reproduction and use of any kind other than the sharing of this website is prohibited. Alteration to the original content in any form is prohibited in every and any instance, and use in any other variant is prohibited without written consent of the author. Adress inquiries to: hemomi [at] gmail.com. Definitions and wise sayings are from: Hawaiian Dictionary by Pukui and Elbert, 1986. ʻŌlelo Noʻeau – Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings by Mary Kawena Pukui, 1983.

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