Recovering Place Names from Hawaiian Literatures
by Noenoe K. Silva.
Indigenous resurgence includes strengthening our ties to ancestral places and languages. Reclaiming our native languages is key to the process of recovery. Settler colonialism in Hawaiʻi, as in many other places, attempts constantly to erase and replace native landscapes with a settler-built landscape. These forms of erasure include replacing native place names and/or strip native place names of their meanings through forceful assimilation tactics such as shifting the language to the colonial one. Kanaka ʻŌiwi Hawaiʻi are fortunate that our recent ancestors (since the 1820s) took up writing in the native language —ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi —seriously and prolifically.