Ancestral Places”

By Katrina-Ann R. Kapāʻanaokalāokeola Nākoa Oliveira

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Ever feel like a piece of you is missing, or wonder where you’re from?  Sometimes, in order to answer questions like that, one must take a journey.  To help with that journey, is the book Ancestral Places.  On Sunday, January 25, 2015, book author Katrina-Ann R. Kapāʻanaokalāokeola Nākoa Oliveira launched “Ancestral Places” at Nā Mea Hawaiʻi in Ward Warehouse.

“…different than academic books…because there is so much Hawaiian in it, that there’s this…kuleana to get it right.”  Having been a reader of many books in my lifetime, I have never given it any real thought as to how much time and energy it takes to author a book.  While there are some who are fortunate enough to be able to pen a whole book in a few hours due to an additional 3 hour layover in an airport, others need a significant amount of time; days, weeks, months, even years.  Does that make one writer better than the other?  No, it does not.  It would seem as if almost anyone can sit down and write a book; however, when writing a book that talks about a specific place and a specific people, it is crucial to be accurate in everything that is written; from the spelling to the definition of words, to the ability to use them correctly.

Book author, Katrina-Ann R. Kapāʻanaokalāokeola Nākoa Oliveira states, “…different than academic books…because there is so much Hawaiian in it, that there’s this…kuleana (responsibility) to get it right.”  Ancestral Places is a book that explores the deep connections and intimate relationships that the Kanaka ʻōiwi (Native Hawaiians) has with their environments.  It honors the mo`olelo (historical accounts) of the ancestral places of our kupuna (ancestors), and reveals how these moʻolelo and our relationships with the ʻāina (land) inform a Kanaka’s sense of place.

Ancestral Places uses the combined efforts of moʻolelo and hula to provide contemporary scholars with insights into traditional culture which include the way Kanaka navigated cartographic performances in order to map our ancestral places and the retention of our moʻolelo.  Ancestral Places is a book where Katrina-Ann R. Kapāʻanaokalāokeola Nākoa Oliveira reasserts the validity of ancestral knowledge systems and their impact in modernity.

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