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Native Hawaiian Religion


In order to faithfully represent most modern-day native Hawaiians and their needs and concerns in this important area of native culture, this report will clarify with as much brevity as possible the aspirations of the Hawaiian people to effect respect for their dignity as native Hawaiians, Hawaiian Americans, and as thoughtful citizens of the world. It will concentrate on several main issues:

1) The ancient Hawaiian concept of the soul of man in relation to ancestral or controlling spiritual beings in nature, or beyond nature, during human life and in a spiritual afterlife.
2) The relationship between the community worship of the chiefs and priests as a ruling class, and family ('ohana) worship in ancient pre-contact (1778-1779) and post-conversion (1820-) times, continuing into fragmented private family religious observances today in association with introduced forms of worship, reflecting positive or negative identity changes.
4) The need felt by some emerging native Hawaiian groups to recover self-esteem as Hawaiians by pledging faith in ancient religious beliefs and customs beneficial to group identity through participation in a live, revitalized religious setting, requiring recovery of temple and other shrine sites designated as sacred, with the privilege or right to reenact pertinent rituals in ceremonies conducive to harmonious and inspired religious expression.
5) Summary of needs and concerns about Hawaiian religion with recommendations for improving religious expression as desired in the present multiethnic social setting.

*/ The following chapter is a complete reproduction of the paper prepared by Rubellite K. Johnson, entitled, "Religion Section of Native Hawaiians Study Commission Report" (February 1983), written at the direction of and funded by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Rubellite Johnson is an Associate Professor in Hawaiian Language, Department of Indo-Pacific Languages, at the University of Hawaii, Manoa campus. Minor editorial changes have been made to conform to the Final Report's (cont'd) format, and the footnotes have been redesignated, for the convenience of the reader. Also, information appended to Professor Johnson's paper does not appear in the text of this chapter, but can be found in the Appendix of this Report, referenced at the appropriate places in the text. Except for these changes, Professor Johnson's paper appears as sub-ed. mitted by OHA and is otherwise unchanged. References used by Professor Johnson appear in the "List of References" of this Report, marked by a "[3]."


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