Playlist:  Indigenous Values and Aesthetics by Jenna Makowski, Alexander Street Press

The videos in this playlist contain compelling subject matter informed by indigenous values and aesthetics. These values and aesthetics inform the stories that the films tell, and in doing so, they illuminate indigenous ways of knowing that enrich an understanding and appreciation of culture and society. There is often hidden meanings embedded in indigenous languages and cultures that are inaccessible to outsiders but that can be discovered and understood in these “cultural treasures”, films made by Pacific Islanders about themselves and their cultures.
Format
Artwork
Title
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Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege
directed by Joan Lander, fl. 1957 and Puhipau, 1937-2016; produced by Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina (Video production) (Hawaii: Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina (Video production), 2005), 50 mins  
Although the mountain volcano Mauna Kea last erupted around 4000 years ago, it is still hot today, the center of a burning controversy over whether its summit should be used for astronomical observatories or preserved as a cultural landscape sacred to the Hawaiian people. For five years Na Maka o ka `Aina captured on video the seasonal moods of Mauna Kea’s unique 14,000-foot summit environment, the richly varied ecosystems that extend from sea level to alpine zone, the legends and stories that reveal the mountain’s geologic and cultural history, and the political turbulence surrounding the efforts to protect the most significant temple in the islands, the mountain itself. Mauna Kea – Temple Under Siege paints a portrait of a mountain that has become a symbol of the Hawaiian struggle for physical, cultural and political survival.
50:20
30 Sep 2014
Holo Mai Pele: The Epic Hula Myth
directed by Catherine Tatge, fl. 2004 (Honolulu, HI: Pacific Islanders in Communications, 2004), 54 mins  
Holo Mai Pele (Pele Travels) tells the epic saga of the rivalry between Pelehonuamea, goddess of the volcano, and her youngest and favorite sister Hi'iaka. The one-hour performance weaves together archetypal themes of creation, love, and betrayal into a sweeping dramatic performance. For the first time, a rare legacy of chants and dances as passed down through generations is presented by the Kumu Hula and performers of Halau o Kekuhi, in a stunning and exciting adaptation for PBS' Dance in America.
54:17
30 Sep 2014
Just Dancing
directed by Vilsoni Hereniko, 1954-; produced by Jeannette Paulson Hereniko, fl. 1998 (Fiji: Privately Published, 1998), 11 mins  
Just Dancing' is the story of a Polynesian wife of mixed heritage who runs away from home and her abusive husband. While wandering on the beach, she encounters Hina, the Polynesian moon goddess, who teaches her the dances of her ancestors: Samoan, Hawaiian, and Tahitian. This fictional story explores the centrality of dance in ancient Polynesia, and suggests that it is more than 'just dancing'. The central character Te Maka, which means the 'spirit of the dance', the homeless transvestite on the beach, and the husband/policeman, all have to 'dance' in order to discover their true identities within a colonized Hawaiian/American context. The effect of Christian influences on Polynesian dance, the tropical setting of sand, sea, and sky, as well as the use of the famous and very popular Hawaiian song 'Me Kealoha Ku'u Home O Kahalu'u' are intriguing features of this film that suggest 'kaona' (hidden meanings).
11:05
30 Sep 2014
The Land Has Eyes
directed by Vilsoni Hereniko, 1954-; produced by Jeannette Paulson Hereniko, fl. 1998 and Corey Tong, fl. 2004-2012, Te Maka Productions; performed by Voi Fesaitu, fl. 2004, Rena Owen, 1962- and Sapeta Taito, fl. 2004 (Fiji: Privately Published, 2004), 1 hour 27 mins  
Shamed by her village for being poor and the daughter of a convicted thief, Viki is inspired and haunted by the Warrior Woman from her island's mythology. The lush tropical beauty of Rotuma contrasts with the stifling conformity of island culture as Viki fights for justice, freedom, and the clearing of her father's name. This compelling narrative is the first of its kind to feature a predominantly Rotuman cast and contain dialogue spoken for the most part in the Rotuman language.
01:27:03
30 Sep 2014
The Land Has Eyes: Narrative Commentary from Director Vilsoni Hereniko
directed by Vilsoni Hereniko, 1954- (Privately Published, 2003), 1 hour 27 mins  
Watch "The Land Has Eyes", one first of the first films kind to feature a predominantly Rotuman cast and contain dialogue spoken for the most part in the Rotuman language, with commentary from director Vilsoni Hereniko.
01:27:11
30 Sep 2014
Words, Earth & Aloha: The Sources of Hawaiian Music
directed by Eddie Kamae, 1927-; produced by Rodney A. Ohtani, fl. 1998 and Myrna Kamae, fl. 1970 (Honolulu, HI: Hawaiian Legacy Foundation, 2005), 58 mins  
In Hawaii music has always been much more than a form of entertainment. It has been a key to Hawaiian culture. This documentary explores the sources of a complex tradition, from early chants and 19th century gospel influences, to the work of composers who flourished between the 1870s and the 1920s, for whom Hawaiian was still a first language. This film pays tribute to the poetry and play of their lyrics as well as the places and features of nature which inspired songs still loved and played today.
58:10
30 Sep 2014
Ola Na lwi: Haloa
produced by Ty Robinson, fl. 2013 (Honolulu, HI: Twiddle Productions, 2013), 13 mins  
Hāloa (pronounced: Haa-lo-ah) tells the story of how the first Hawaiian came to be and how the Hawaiian peoples bond is forever linked to the Kalo (taro) plant, the Aina (land), and the Kanaka (people). Hāloa is a short animated film produced by Twiddle Productions in Honolulu Hawaii, and is brought to life with a unique blend of animation, Hawaiian chants, and Hawaiian language
12:33
30 Sep 2014
Vaka: The Birth of a Seer
directed by Peter Rockford Espiritu; choreographed by Peter Rockford Espiritu, in Vaka: The Birth of a Seer (Suva, Central (Fiji): University of the South Pacific, 2012), 1 hour  
VAKA, DRUA, AND MOANA were created and produced as a trilogy of films that focus on the art of canoe voyaging in the Pacific. VAKA is about the traditional art of canoe building on Fiji, DRUA is about collaboration in double-hulled canoe building among Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, and Kiribati and the demise of this art form when steam ships arrived in the Pacific, while MOANA is about the symbol of the double-hulled canoe as a hope for rising sea levels and the human effects of climate change on the Pacific Islands. These films are multi-disciplinary as well as inter-disciplinary in their approach to research and dissemination of cultural and historical information employing art forms that are rooted in traditional Pacific cultures: music, dance, oral storytelling, chanting, and indigenous aesthetics.
01:00:26
30 Sep 2014
Drua: The Wave of Fire
choreographed by Peter Rockford Espiritu; produced by University of the South Pacific; performed by Pasifika Voices and Oceania Dance Theatre (Oceania: University of the South Pacific, 2012), 58 mins  
VAKA, DRUA, AND MOANA were created and produced as a trilogy of films that focus on the art of canoe voyaging in the Pacific. VAKA is about the traditional art of canoe building on Fiji, DRUA is about collaboration in double-hulled canoe building among Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, and Kiribati and the demise of this art form when steam ships arrived in the Pacific, while MOANA is about the symbol of the double-hulled canoe as a hope for rising sea levels and the human effects of climate change on the Pacific Islands. These films are multi-disciplinary as well as inter-disciplinary in their approach to research and dissemination of cultural and historical information employing art forms that are rooted in traditional Pacific cultures: music, dance, oral storytelling, chanting, and indigenous aesthetics.
58:25
30 Sep 2014
Moana: The Rising of the Sea
directed by Vilsoni Hereniko, 1954-; produced by Vilsoni Hereniko, 1954- (Suva, Central (Fiji): University of the South Pacific, 2013), 35 mins  
VAKA, DRUA, AND MOANA were created and produced as a trilogy of films that focus on the art of canoe voyaging in the Pacific. VAKA is about the traditional art of canoe building on Fiji, DRUA is about collaboration in double-hulled canoe building among Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, and Kiribati and the demise of this art form when steam ships arrived in the Pacific, while MOANA is about the symbol of the double-hulled canoe as a hope for rising sea levels and the human effects of climate change on the Pacific Islands. These films are multi-disciplinary as well as inter-disciplinary in their approach to research and dissemination of cultural and historical information employing art forms that are rooted in traditional Pacific cultures: music, dance, oral storytelling, chanting, and indigenous aesthetics.
34:33
30 Sep 2014
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