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ERIC Number: EJ877602
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1849
Gazing Back: Communing with Our Ancestors
Osorio, Jonathan Kay Kamakawiwo'ole
Educational Perspectives, v37 n1 p14-17 2004
This article is a poignant commentary on the connection of the Native Hawaiian people with the past, the present, and the future. In this article, the author positions himself within the histories of his people. He talks about putting faces to his ancestors by linking them with the people of his day, and he talks about reconstructing the characters of the past through spoken tales and published accounts of their exploits. By visualizing his ancestors in this way, the author believes that he verifies, not only their identities, but also the identities of the generations that come after. His message has relevance for all indigenous peoples--ancestry is the root of indigenous knowledge and identity. This is what sustains indigenous peoples, no matter how they have been transformed by the loss of their lives, by the loss of their lands, by the oppression of their cultures and their languages, and by the seductions of the western culture. The author evokes the very stuff of life--the things that entrance, grasp, and shake one's being become the events that are remembered and memorialized in indigenous histories. That which has gone before is that which lies ahead. From the moment of his birth, the author's destiny was determined. In what seems like the blink of an eye, he has become the history of his people as told to him by those who have gone before and as told by him to those who come after. He is the ancestral gaze--a keeper of the knowledge of the Native Hawaiian people.
College of Education, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Wist Annex 2 Room 131, 1776 University Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96822. Tel: 808-956-8002; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hawaii