Human beings live and tell stories for many reasons, and it is a way to not only understand one another but to give a time and place to events and experiences. Therefore, a narrational approach within the context of this research offers a frame of reference and a way to reflect during the entire process of gathering data and writing. This study examines the importance of storytelling among Native (Kānaka ‘Ōiwi) and Indigenous (Kānaka Maoli) women of Hawai ̒ i and their interconnectedness to land and spirituality through accessing [k]new knowledge. The main focus of this article is to illustrate the resiliency of stories as told by the Kānaka women who are connected to a time and a place of traditional and ecological knowledge. Findings indicate that despite forced cultural and political changes generationally, these women’s innate beliefs and interconnectedness to land and spirituality has begun to reshape as enduring patterns over time and space. This is evident by a resurgence in moʻolelo (storytelling), ho' oponopono (Hawaiian peacemaking process), revitalized methods of traditional land irrigation, cultivation, and sustainability programs as testimony. In ancient Hawai ̒ i, both men and women equally participated in the activities of food production and cultivation, however, in contemporary Hawai ̒ i, it is mostly the Native and Indigenous women who have mobilized to revitalize these traditional practices.


Indigenous knowledge, relational, narrative, storytelling, kānaka ‘ōiwi, kānaka maoli, resiliency, women

Author Bio(s)

Renuka de Silva is an assistant professor in the Department of Teaching, Leadership & Professional Practice in the College of Education & Human Development. She is also the Director of Indigenous Language Education Program at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. Renuka currently teaches both graduate and undergraduate students. She examines issues in social justice, equity, diversity, bicultural and multicultural education, and inclusion in higher education in her current research. Her primary research focuses on Indigenous epistemology and the importance of storytelling in Native and Indigenous cultures of the Pacific. Renuka’s research also examines relationships between artists and their works in relation to activism. As an award-winning art educator and mentor, Renuka supports the Arts in education. She has delivered to educators interactive arts-based workshops that optimize teaching and learning across multiple fields of inquiry and engagement when addressing issues of invisibility, racism, privilege, and displacement in contemporary spaces. Please direct correspondence to renuka.desilva@und.edu.

Joshua Hunter is an assistant professor at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. He earned his doctorate from Indiana University in International Comparative Education. Beyond academia, he has worked in multiple settings in environmental, outdoor, and adventure education programs for state parks, camps, nonprofits, and schools. He teaches classes in outdoor leadership, environmental education, anthropology of education, and qualitative research methods. Please direct correspondence to joshua.hunter@und.edu.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




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