Native Men Remade: Gender and Nation in Contemporary Hawai'i

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Overview


Many indigenous Hawaiian men have felt profoundly disempowered by the legacies of colonization and by the tourist industry, which, in addition to occupying a great deal of land, promotes a feminized image of Native Hawaiians (evident in the ubiquitous figure of the dancing hula girl). In the 1990s a group of Native men on the island of Maui responded by refashioning and reasserting their masculine identities in a group called the Hale Mua (the “Men’s House”). As a member and an ethnographer, Ty P. Kāwika Tengan analyzes how the group’s mostly middle-aged, middle-class, and mixed-race members assert a warrior masculinity through practices including martial arts, woodcarving, and cultural ceremonies. Some of their practices are heavily influenced by or borrowed from other indigenous Polynesian traditions, including those of the Māori. The men of the Hale Mua enact their refashioned identities as they participate in temple rites, protest marches, public lectures, and cultural fairs.

The sharing of personal stories is an integral part of Hale Mua fellowship, and Tengan’s account is filled with members’ first-person narratives. At the same time, Tengan explains how Hale Mua rituals and practices connect to broader projects of cultural revitalization and Hawaiian nationalism. He brings to light the tensions that mark the group’s efforts to reclaim indigenous masculinity as they arise in debates over nineteenth-century historical source materials and during political and cultural gatherings held in spaces designated as tourist sites. He explores class status anxieties expressed through the sharing of individual life stories, critiques of the Hale Mua registered by Hawaiian women, and challenges the group received in dialogues with other indigenous Polynesians. Native Men Remade is the fascinating story of how gender, culture, class, and personality intersect as a group of indigenous Hawaiian men work to overcome the dislocations of colonial history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Native Men Remade is a tour de force. Ty P. Kāwika Tengan combines participant observation and archival and oral history in a study of the Hale Mua, a group of Hawaiian men who have revived ancient martial arts, carving skills, and rituals. As both member and ethnographer, Tengan engages passionate debates about the ‘emasculation’ of Hawaiian men by colonialism and tourism, the contested place of men and women in nationalism, and feminist critiques of Hawaiian patriarchy and gender violence. For Hawaiian peoples navigating their future, he suggests there are ‘more islands of hope than of despair.’”—Margaret Jolly, Head of the Gender Relations Centre, The Australian National University

“This book concerns a distinctive Hawaiian men’s movement dedicated to decolonizing male consciousness by means of ritualized physical disciplines modeled after historically resonant warrior images. The writing is powerful, and the point of view is a compelling blend of interpretive humility and analytical forthrightness. Offering a wealth of insider testimony drawn from detailed interviews and from his own engaged experience in the Hale Mua, Ty P. Kāwika Tengan makes contemporary Hawaiian struggles and sensibilities accessible to non-Hawaiians by contextualizing them historically, culturally, and comparatively. This work will interest scholars of gender, race, and postcolonial cultures, as well as both academic and non-specialist readers interested in the contemporary Pacific.”—Rena Lederman, Princeton University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822343219
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 783,343
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ty P. Kāwika Tengan is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction: Lele i Ka Po 1

1 Engagements with Modernity 33

2 Re-membering Nationhood and Koa at the Temple of State 65

3 Pu'ukohola: At the Mound of the Whale 93

4 Ka i Mua-Cast into the Men's House 125

5 Narrating Kanaka: Talk Story, Place, and Identity 163

Conclusion: The Journeys of Hawaiian Men 199

Appendix 'Awa Talk Story at Pani, 2005 219

Notes 229

Glossary of Hawaiian Words 239

References 247

Index 267

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