E komo mai, we welcome you to the wide capacious world of the humanities. You are already a part of this story. Mai kinohi a hōikeʻana (ʻŌlelo Noʻeau 2073), from Genesis to Revelation—from the beginning to the end, became a favorite saying in the Hawaiian Islands after the arrival of Christianity. As with so much of our history, this poetical saying can be unpacked in layers. Genesis and Revelation are the opening and closing books of the Christian Bible respectively, the beginning and the end. In the word genesis there is also origin, creation, emergence, evolution, while in revelation there is confession, declaration, disclosure, surprise—from creation to declaration—from emergence to surprise. Layers within layers: a fundamental character of the humanities, because you will find in it everything we do as a part of everything we are. In the humanities, we ask questions, we seek courage, we search for the future. E komo mai.
In HIHumanities opening banner, you will find rivers of words coursing through the mountains of Mākua valley. These rivers recall our motto: nā mana wai pioʻole e hoʻōla ana i ka ʻāina, the many sources of water make the land live. This reminds us of another fundamental character of the humanities, its multitude of perspectives, its richness of sources. In each of these rivers, there is a quote from a person who is part of the rich tapestry that connects and tells the stories of all of us. We keep coming back to the word rich. Wai is the word for water and the word for wealth, so that which brings us life can also fill us with abundance. Here you will find a part of our abundance, these rivers of quotes and their marvelous attribution.
In the last days of the fourth world I wished to make a map for those who
would climb through the hole in the sky.
My only tools were the desires of humans . . .
In the end, nationhood is identity. A nation’s constitutions, laws, and elections are never more than symbols of the will of the people to think, worship, and behave as a people.
We sweat and cry salt water, so we know the ocean is really in our blood.
We should not be defined by the small . . .
The listening is so loud in my chest . . .
Hāpapa hewa ka malihini makamaka ʻole.
A stranger without a friend feels lost.
—Collected by Mary Kawena Pukui
As Hiʻiaka chanted, the sweet fragrance of the maile and hala surrounded the people who had gathered for the feast at Mākua.
—Compiled by Julia Keonaona and Stephen Desha Sr.
—English translation by Kepā Maly
We do not know what plenty looks like—this is plenty.
Who is not in the room?
Sometimes it looked like spilt milk. But it wasn’t spilt milk. It was just a cloud in the sky.
—Charles G. Shaw
All I asking for is my body. I not even asking for a high school education.
A healing also occurs, both in the individual and in the collective, from understanding entire narratives.
—Sydney Lehua Iaukea
It could be a jaw-bone
or a rib or a portion cut
from something sturdier:
anyhow, a small outline
was incised, a cage
or trellis to conjure in.
Like a childʻs tongue following the toils . . .
Nā mana wai pio ʻole e hoʻōla ana i ka ʻāina.
—Mary Kawena Pukui
My mother enjoys telling her young daughters scary stories of the plantation days.
Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history . . . we will be remembered in spite of ourselves.
The Hawaiian people have been from time immemorial lovers of poetry and music, and have been apt in improvising historic poems, songs of love, and chants of worship, so that praises of the living or wails over the dead were with them but the natural expression of their feelings.
E mau ana ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono.
—King Kamehameha III redux
Social science and humanities . . . have a mutual contempt for one another, the former looking down on the latter as unscientific, the latter regarding the former as philistine . . . The difference comes down to the fact that social science really wants to be predictive, meaning that man is predictable, while the humanities say that he is not.
Teach her to question language. Language is the repository of our prejudices, our beliefs, our assumptions.
—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth.
—Ursula Le Guin
I never asked Tolstoy to write for me, a little colored girl in Lorain, Ohio. I never asked Joyce not to mention Catholicism or the world of Dublin. Never. And I don’t know why I should be asked to explain your life to you.
Resistance is its own reward.
. . . you have to be careful with the stories you tell. And you have to watch out for the stories that you are told.