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Native Hawaiian Resources

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Our newest member mentioned this group. Does seem like a very good resource.

Also invited them to come here or add more resources.

Pono Aloha:
Thank you for the invitation. As far as critiques of Huna go, there is very little in print or on the web, though the people associated with the About Huna page on Facebook are working on a book and plan to make associated media once that is done. There is a chapter in the book, Ho'opono with research showing it is not Hawaiian. I mentioned previously the book Hawaiian Lomilomi: Big Island Massage with research on what they call "temple" or "tantric" lomilomi. However, the book is not written by a Hawaiian and in other sections suffers from a cultural appropriation perspective.

Also, please be aware that the latest version of cultural appropriation is with ho'oponopono. Ho'oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian tradition of a family council that comes together to resolve family problems, thought to cause sickness. However, the word has been appropriated and a New Age version invented and published in the book Zero Limits: The Secret Hawaiian System for Wealth, Health, Peace, and More, by Joe Vitale a motivational speaker who was in The Secret. A lot of the Huna people are into this, what Jolene calls faux'oponopono.

I will post more resources as I become aware of them. Hawaiians have mostly concentrated on preserving and reclaiming their own heritage, rather than fighting the ethnocide, but that is changing. One of the things we've been looking at is the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Have you folks looked at that? We are wondering now that the US has adopted it whether there are ways of bringing claims against the Hunians. We are also interested in whether others have tried bringing fraud, deceptive trade practice or other lawsuits against plastic shamans (other than the big one against James Ray).

Pono Aloha:
Recommended Reading

These books are listed more or less in the order of suggested reading, as they build on each other. Hard to find titles are often available at

Pali Jae Lee

Tales from the Night Rainbow
Written with John Koko Willis, this is the true story of the kaula or prophetess from Molokai, Makaweliweli, told in the authentic voice of the last of her students, Kaili‘ohe Kame‘ekua. It is about the ancient spirituality, before kapu. It is about the true mystical, magical place where love ruled and men lived as brothers. (As of this writing, this book is in print.)

This book continues the teachings of Makaweliweli, and brings them into our lives today. It tells the wonderful life stories of Pali and Koko and their amazing telepathy. Entwined with the stories are practical suggestions for how we can connect with traditions of mana, ‘ohana, kahuna, ‘aumakua, pono, and aloha.

Nana Veary

Change We Must
The life story of one of Hawai‘i’s most respected kupuna. She tells delightful stories of growing up with her grandparents, learning ho‘oponopono, feeding sharks, listening to plants, and her religious journey of spirituality from ‘aumakua to Pentecostalism to Unity to Zen Buddhism.

Matthew Kaopio

Hawaiian Family Album
This lovely small simple book contains eleven stories told by the author’s Tutu or grandmother. She speaks of ‘aumakua, the signs seen in clouds, being saved by an owl, a visit with Pele, and other mystical tales. The stories are accompanied by vivid artwork, mouth painted by the author who was paralyzed in a diving accident in 1994.

MJ Harden

Voices of Wisdom: Hawaiian Elders Speak
Twenty-four contemporary kupuna are interviewed in this beautiful book, accompanied with stunning black and white photographic portraits. They speak movingly of nature, spirituality, healing, history, hula, chant, art, and more.

Sarah Vowell

Unfamiliar Fishes
An overview of Hawaiian history by the New York Times best-selling author, largely from a Hawaiian perspective. Covers Cook’s discovery through the illegal overthrow, with Hawaii 5-0 and Brother Iz thrown in for fun.

Kenneth Emory

Ancient Hawaiian Civilization
This is a collection of lectures given in the 1930s at Kamehameha Schools by some of the great luminaries of Hawaiian history and culture. It covers geology, biology, voyaging, language, religion, food, fishing, and more. Though some of the information is a bit outdated, this is an excellent introductory overview of ancient Hawaiian civilization.

Mary Kawena Pukui

Hawaiian Dictionary
If you really want to learn about the culture, buy the Pukui and Elbert Dictionary—the big one. You will need it for the rest of these books. (The Dictionary can be accessed online at, but it is useful to have the book as well.)

Nana i ke Kumu: Look to the Source, Volumes 1 & 2
These books are very easy to read, written in a conversational style with dialogue and case studies. Covers healing, ho‘oponopono, visions, dreams, mysticism, prayer, telepathy, sexuality—the most complete compendium available about the ancient ways of life. Although written for social workers, they offer insights for any reader. Best to start with Volume 2.

The Polynesian Family System in Ka‘u
Co-written with Handy, this is a fascinating look into the daily lives of the people, as well as much about kahuna.

‘Olelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings
This book is a collection of wise proverbs and wisdom sayings from ancient to historic times. Each proverb is translated, and then often explained further with some of the kaona (hidden meaning) revealed.

Lucia Tarallo Jensen and Natalie Mahina Jensen

Daughters of Haumea: Women of Ancient Hawai‘i
Written by the mother and daughter of a Hawaiian family, this is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in authentic traditions. Focusing on the goddesses and elder women teachers of ancient Hawai‘i, it is organized around the different areas of women’s work, including chapters on the Oracle, Martial Art Exponent, Fishing Experts, Agriculturalist, Obstetrician, Physiotherapist (lomilomi), Tattoo Artist, Hula Dancer, Women Skilled in the Art of Love, and more.

Patrick Ka‘ano‘i

The Need for Hawai‘i—A Guide to Hawaiian Cultural and Kahuna Values
This small gem of a book is a wonderful introduction to Hawaiian values. It covers spirituality, aloha, ‘ohana, ho‘oponopono, and excellence (maika‘i). It explores a value rarely discussed today, pa‘ahana, or hard work and industriousness.

Kamalamalama—the Light of Knowledge
This book has much wisdom that is documented nowhere else. It covers the Kumulipo, kaona, mana, aloha, the stars, the drum, heiau or temples, ‘aumakua, and much, much more. He gives the meaning of the sacred sounds in the names of the gods, Ku, Kane, Lono, and Kanaloa. Each god name has a different vowel sound, and each sound has meaning. This teaching is very significant. Also important is the work on astronomy.

Moke Kupihea
Seven Dawns of the ‘Aumakua: The Ancestral Spirit Tradition of Hawai‘i (originally issued as Kahuna of Light: The World of Hawaiian Spirituality)
Moke Kupihea is a Hawaiian who grew up on the island of Kaua‘i at a time when it still truly was the Garden Island. This book contains fascinating stories of his childhood and young adulthood spent with kupuna. He describes in vivid detail his treks through Waimea and beyond. His narratives of his long journeys help us begin to understand that the way Hawaiians think about land and spirituality is fundamentally different than the way they are thought of in Western civilization. His spirituality springs from a closeness to the land few of us can ever hope to have. The land is almost literally his mother, his nurturer, his guardian. He describes mystical experiences that even in the re-telling give the reader chicken skin.

The Cry of the Huna: The Ancestral Voices of Hawai‘i
This book is also autobiographical. It is a wild and mystical story about a visit to Kamehameha’s birthplace of Mo‘okini. It is definitely not a Huna book.

June Gutmanis

Kahuna La‘au Lapa‘au: Hawaiian Herbal Medicine
A wonderful book about the healing kahuna. Written in a story form but with footnotes to sources for more reading. Also has an excellent example from Theodore Kelsey of the explanation of the kaona or hidden meaning of a healing prayer.

Na Pule Kahiko: Ancient Hawaiian Prayers
Prayers for every occasion, with a good overview of the kapu system and religion.
Michael Kioni Dudley

Man, Gods, and Nature
A short book with religious practices and beliefs, mostly focused on the time of the kapu system.

Traditional Classics

If you seek deep knowledge of the traditions, read these classics:

David Malo (Chun translation)—Hawaiian Antiquities
Samuel Kamakau—The People of Old, The Works of the People of Old, Tales and Traditions of the People of Old
John Papa ‘I‘i—Fragments of Hawaiian History
Kepelino (Beckwith, trans)—Kepelino’s Traditions of Hawai‘i
Handy—Polynesian Religion
George Kanahele—Ku Kanaka: Stand Tall, a search for Hawaiian values
Rubellite Kawena Johnson –The Kumulipo

New Classics

New books are being released by Hawaiians about Hawaiians that are destined to become classics. A few of these are:

Lele Kawa: Fire Rituals of Pele, by Taupouri Tangaro (Kamehameha, 2009)
   Ritual chants to Pele, reinterpreted by a modern Hawaiian trained in the tradition, leading to heightened awareness of our proximity to the sacred.

Ka Honua Ola, ‘Eli‘eli Kau Mai: the Living Earth, Descend, Deepen the Revelation, by Dr. Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele (Kamehameha, 2011)
   The author was born in Keaukaha, Hawai'i and is of pure Hawaiian descent. She was raised in a hula tradition that spans many generations and is responsible to her ancestral and matrilineal lineage. Dr. Kanahele knows the forests, mountains, volcanoes, and oceans of her homeland. She and her sister, Nalani, lead Halau o Kekuhi, a world-renowned Hawaiian cultural dance group known for its 'ai ha'a style of hula Pele.
Kuni Ola: Countering Sorcery and Its Roots to Forgiveness, by Malcolm Naea Chun (First Peoples Productions, 2011)
   Tracing back from Kahuna Daddy Bray in the 1950s, this book chronicles how sorcery was countered in traditional and modern times, and its relation to ho‘oponopono, the Hawaiian forgiveness and reconciliation process.

No Na Mamo: Traditional and Contemporary Hawaiian Beliefs and Practices by Malcolm Naea Chun
Combines the best traditional sources with contemporary analysis for insightful treatment of these concepts: pono, aloha, welina, a‘o, ola, ho‘oponopono, ho‘omana, alaka‘i, olelo, ho‘onohonoho, kapu, and hewa.


University of Hawai‘i Professor Puakea Nogelmeier, translator of The Epic Tale of Hi‘iakaikapoliopele, says that Hawaiians hid much of their wisdom in the chants and stories of their myths and legends. Martha Beckwith’s Hawaiian Mythology explains some of their meaning and kaona.

Political Analysis

These articles are recommended for their political analysis of the plastic shaman or Huna phenomena.

Lisa Kahaleole Hall, Ph.D., “‘Hawaiian at Heart’ and Other Fictions” (2005)

Andy Smith, “For All Those Who Were Indian in a Former Life” (1991)

Lisa Aldred, “Plastic Shamans and Astroturf Sun Dances: New Age Commercialization of Native American Spirituality”(2000)

Christopher Ron Jocks, “Spirituality for sale: Sacred knowledge in the consumer age,” American Indian Quarterly, Summer/Fall96, Vol. 20 Issue 3/4, p415

Thanks Pono, this is very useful information. For me, my first brush with "huna" was from a white woman that was a friend of a friend. I never did like this woman, there was something off about her from the getgo. She was hanging around trying to learn "Indian religion" from someone I knew. And she was very obviously uncomfortable around brown skinned people. One friend said, oh, no, she likes native people she is studying huna. So I asked what that was and they said it was ancient secrets disclosed by Max Freedom Long. Hmmm. Ancient secrets as told by a white guy. Then I heard she paid $10,000 for a week long "retreat"! Ok, then I knew this couldn't be legit. Another friend was talking to a massage therapist who was familiar with Hawaii and she said that most of the Native Hawaiians she met laughed about the dumb people learning huna. I feel I was lucky to get clued in so quickly. So many people would just accept it as "true". Oh, and I was right about that woman not liking brown skinned people. She referred to a Nex Perce/Cherokee friend of mine with a rude racist word when she thought no Indians would find out. I was asking why she would want to learn from brown skinned people when it hit me: It was for the $$$$.

Pono Aloha:
Yes, Huna is about $$$$$. For more info on Huna, see the thread here


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