Hawaiian storied place names

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“We live in a time of un-naming, in a time when old names for the land, names given in honor, happiness, and sorrow have been set aside for marketing jingles that commemorate little more than a desire for sales, for ka mea poepoe, the round thing, money” (DeSilva 1993). Hawaiian place names are storied symbols reflecting Hawaiian spatial and environmental knowledge. Performed in daily rituals they were a conscious act of reimplacing genealogical connections, recreating cultural landscapes, and regenerating cultural mores. This chapter highlights the sensuous nature of Hawaiian place names, examines the processes by which they are incorporated into the cultural landscape, investigates cultural conflicts and problems involved with naming places in the post-contact/modern-colonial era including the standardization of place names, and advances transmodern solutions that re-place the old names DeSilva refers to without fueling existing cultural conflicts.


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