As Hawaiians continue to recover their language and culture, the voices of kupuna (elders) are heard once again in urban and rural settings, both in Hawai‘i and elsewhere. How do kupuna create knowledge and “tell” history? What do they tell us about being Hawaiian? Adopted by a Midwestern couple in the 1950s as an infant, Leilani Holmes spent much of her early life in settings that offered no clues about her Hawaiian past—images of which continued to haunt her even as she completed a master’s thesis on Hawaiian music and identity in southern California. Ancestry of Experience: A Journey into Hawaiian Ways of Knowing documents Holmes’ quest to reclaim and understand her own origin story.
“Part memoir of a Kanaka academic in the diaspora searching for her ‘ohana, part historical and ethnographic celebration of Hawaiian culture, and part documentation of the reality of Kanaka ʻŌiwi constant communication with our kūpuna o ka pō (those who have passed into the pō), Ancestry of Experience is that rarity of rarities: an academic page-turner. Leilani Holmes’ book will bring readers to tears in its evocation of the enduring love and spiritual connection in an ʻohana that spans many generations, and make them gasp at the incredible series of ‘coincidences’ that leads to Leilani’s re-connection with her ʻohana.” —Noenoe Silva, professor of political science, University of Hawai‘i, and author of Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism
September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3129-5 / $39.00 (CLOTH)