|Previous Page||Next Page|
"ungodly, irreligious, wicked, careless of observing taboos" and who "led others astray." 5/ They represent a recurrent, steady percentage of the population discontent with the status quo. This "radical fringe," already existing in marginal Hawaiian society before the arrival of Captain Cook, could only have increased during the time of massive annexation of territory by Kamehameha I that obliterated traditional claims of titled chiefs to their lands and gods, both of which Kamehameha attached to his domain. Disaffection with conquest is evident in reported rebellions and retaliations by rival chiefs until they, and their families too, were dispossessed or brought under the Kamehameha administration.
The increase in numbers of conquered "deviants" were being influenced as well by the mere proximity of deviant, although natural, examples of European behavior operating out of range of akua controls with no negative results as expected. Cultural deviation by the all'i class from ordained akua authority, established in native religion by force of kapu akua, as a ripened revolt (while not military in character) became in 1819 open refutation by the chiefesses in publicly defying the efficacy of godly mana. This action by the ali'i is not to be misconstrued as violent overthrow, but rather as a reasoned movement toward -liberation of both the ali'i and maka'ainana classes from restrictions on human pleasure. (Note that restrictions on sex as plural or extramarital relations were absent. Post-conversion introduction of the Mosaic code of Biblical laws on adultery became a headache for Hawaiians.)
The chiefesses, however, could not have succeeded without support of the priesthood. The priests had charge of and professional obligation toward interpretation of the law for the ali'i, and such power was not given to ruling chiefs. In a sensitive analysis of the overthrow of the kapu system as a result of "culture fatigue," anthropologist Kroeber correctly identifies High Priest Hewahewa as the real force behind the whole overthrow. 6/ What motive drove this high priest to completely dismantle his "courts of justice" (the heiau with powers over life and death) by renouncing the authority of his public office? Nothing so liberating in bringing the law itself to justice has ever been seen on earth since, paving the way for easy conversion of Hawaiians to Christianity in 1820.
Unifying Effect of the Kinolau Concept
This section discusses the unifying effect of the kinolau concept of the akua and 'aumakua (that is, multiple symbolic forms of gods) in the religious practice of the chiefs and priests on one hand, and the commoners on the other. It is expedient for discussion of the kinolau concept to return to Malo's description of the difference between the manner of worship of chiefs/priests versus commoners as a primary factor of distinction, rather than in the objects of worship, that is, the gods worshipped in common by both systems. To quote Malo:
- The names of the male deities worshipped by the Hawaiians, whether chiefs or common people, were Ku, Lono, Kane, and Kanaloa; and the various gods worshipped by the people and the ali'i were named after them. 7/
There was and still is an inherent and consistent agreement in the symbolism of identity linking through the kinolau of the akua the "national" manner of worship, or customs carried on closer to home or in places of daily, economic occupation. A pervasive system of multiple symbolic
|Previous Page||Next Page|