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Legend as Natural History

Our mo‘olelo (stories and histories) organize and express cultural experience and identity while they interpret forces of nature. Thus, components of mythology have their foundation in natural phenomena.

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That’s the good thing about Hawaiian stories. They’re teaching devices of a rare form.

Keawe Vredenburg
Mauna Kea – Temple Under Siege

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Most people fail to appreciate the beauty and the scope of what we find in the myths. Mythology, after all, organizes experience of human beings and groups of people into very useful elements that describe us human beings existing in and within nature, and how to survive.

A lot of modern people have lost the comprehension of the importance of stories. But most indigenous people have stories that explain how they came into existence, how they see themselves, and how they see their past as well as their future. When we don’t know who we are, we’re kind of lost in the universe. And it’s very comforting to have a kind of knowledge that tells who we are and how we’re related, not only to each other but to the things around us, the trees, the rocks, the mountains, the sky, to everything we see.

Von Del Chamberlain
Astronomer, naturalist (retired)


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