• The Power of the Steel-tipped Pen: Reconstructing Native Hawaiian Intellectual History

    Contributor(s): Thiong′o, Ngugi Wa
    Pages: 288
    Illustrations: 5 illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
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  • Foreword / Ngugi wa Thiong‘o ix
    Acknowlegments  xi
    "Ke Au Hawai’i" by Larry Kauanoe Kimura  xiii
    Introduction  1
    Part I. Joseph Ho‘ona‘auao Kanepu‘u
    1. Joseph Ho‘ona`auao Kanepu‘u  21
    2. Selected Literary Works of Joseph Kanepu‘u  53
    3. Kanaka Geography and Aloha ‘Aina 82
    Part II. Joseph Moku‘ohai Poepoe
    4. Joseph Moku‘ohai Poepoe  105
    5. Singing (to) the ‘Aina  150
    6. Mo‘olelo Hawai‘i Kahiko  174
    Conclusion  211
    Appendix A: Kanepu‘u"s Selected Bibliography  215
    Appendix B: Poepoe Selected Bibliography  217
    Notes  221
    Glossary  241
    Bibliography  247
    Index  263
  • Thiong′o, Ngugi Wa

  • "The Power of the Steel-tipped Pen is the most in-depth exploration of Native Hawaiian intellectual history to be published to date. . . . [It] is likely to join Aloha Betrayed as part of the modern canon of Hawaiian history, as well as provide a potential model for Indigenous intellectual histories in Oceania and elsewhere."


  • "The Power of the Steel-tipped Pen is the most in-depth exploration of Native Hawaiian intellectual history to be published to date. . . . [It] is likely to join Aloha Betrayed as part of the modern canon of Hawaiian history, as well as provide a potential model for Indigenous intellectual histories in Oceania and elsewhere."

  • "One of the ways in which suppressed languages are marginalized is by convincing users that it is not an adequate basis for intellectual production. Hence the importance of this work: The Power of the Steel-Tipped Pen . . . ensures that the young generation has something concrete to help them feel connected to a rich intellectual ancestry. But the work as a whole has a resonance that goes well beyond Hawai‘i to other areas in the world where people are still struggling to decolonize their minds. It is a welcome addition to the global movement for the decolonization of languages and minds." — Ngugi wa Thiong'o, from the foreword

    "Noenoe K. Silva’s latest book solidifies her reputation as the leading scholar of Native Hawaiian intellectual history. This book deepens our understanding of the Indigenous knowledges and mentalities that were skillfully transcribed into written form during the nineteenth century. Silva’s work connects contemporary and ancient Native Hawaiians in a trajectory of resistance to cultural annihilation, and demonstrates through her research and her own efforts that Native Hawaiian intellectualism is rooted in the concept of Aloha Aina." — Taiaiake Alfred, author of, Wasáse: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom

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  • Description

    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.

    About The Author(s)

    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.
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