Liʻu i ka paʻakai
Seasoned and Preserved in Salt
Society for Hawaiian Archaeology Annual Conference
October 7-9, 2016
University of Hawaii-Maui, Hawaii
Welcome to the Valley Isle for the 2016 Society for Hawaiian Archaeology conference
and annual meeting. We hope the conference is thought- provoking and provides a good
window into what archaeologists across the islands have been doing over the past year.
This is typically the only time most archaeologists working in Hawaiʻi come together,
and the conference offers a great opportunity to learn, debate, and provide additional
substance to our discipline.
The theme of the conference, and the following words, were suggested by several
upcountry Maui kūpuna earlier this year. We were talking to them about a conference
theme while sitting together under a small thatched hale in Waiohuli, Kula, Maui, and
they shared the following insights:
“Liʻu i ka paʻakai,” as Hawaiian kupuna Eddie Kaanaana would say. Everything
is seasoned and preserved with salt. Salt is used to season and preserve various
foods in Hawaiʻi –ʻōpelu, akule, ʻahi, and aku, to name just a few. Salt adds
flavor to the fish, but the fish itself is the substance and sustenance. There are,
however, other connotations associated with salt. Salt preserves yet also leaves
residues. These metaphors for archaeological work are striking.
Similarly, traditional Hawaiian knowledge systems sustain many people, even
today. They thrive through perpetuation of Hawaiian culture, practices, chants,
stories, and the physical remains of yesterday. In our work as archaeologists, we
have a responsibility to our community and a responsibility to the subject(s) of
our research. Scholarship in Hawaiʻi can thus be thought of as “liʻu i ka paʻakai.”
Just as the salt seasons the fish, archaeology can add to the substance of Hawaiʻi,
Hawaiians, and Hawaiian traditions when it is carried out with respect, good
scholarship, and care.
Please join us for the conference this year, and share in the knowledge and the
camaraderie. I hope to see you there!
Dr. Sara Collins