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.
This book offers examples of how sustained reading of the works of our intellectual predecessors, those before us in the unending genealogy of indigenous thought, can contribute to a fuller understanding of some of our ancestral world of native epistemology and ontology. It shows that there are many more writers and political actors that need to be researched. Their works deserve to be compiled in bibliographies and then read together. It also demonstrates that it is unacceptable for anyone to continue writing histories of our people without attending to the Hawaiian-language archives, or otherwise having kuleana to do so. Currently, a small collective is producing works that bring us closer to understanding the complex philosophies of our kupuna that are expressed in poetic, sometimes deeply puzzling language. Although we are but a few right now, there is a surge of new Kanaka intellectuals right behind us.