The Power of the Steel-tipped Pen: Reconstructing Native Hawaiian Intellectual History
Noenoe K. Silva is Professor of Indigenous Politics at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and author of Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism, also published by Duke University Press.
Ngugi wa Thiong’o is the author of numerous works of fiction, poetry, plays, and criticism, most recently, Birth of a Dream Weaver.
In The Power of the Steel-tipped Pen Noenoe K. Silva reconstructs the indigenous intellectual history of a culture where—using Western standards—none is presumed to exist. Silva examines the work of two lesser-known Hawaiian writers—Joseph Ho‘ona‘auao Kanepu‘u (1824–ca. 1885) and Joseph Moku‘ohai Poepoe (1852–1913)—to show how the rich intellectual history preserved in Hawaiian-language newspapers is key to understanding Native Hawaiian epistemology and ontology. In their newspaper articles, geographical surveys, biographies, historical narratives, translations, literatures, political and economic analyses, and poetic works, Kanepu‘u and Poepoe created a record of Hawaiian cultural history and thought in order to transmit ancestral knowledge to future generations. Celebrating indigenous intellectual agency in the midst of US imperialism, The Power of the Steel-tipped Pen is a call for the further restoration of native Hawaiian intellectual history to help ground contemporary Hawaiian thought, culture, and governance.
Download citation file: