Shifting accounts of the confrontation in 1824 between a Christianized Hawaiian chiefess and the priestess of Pele, the deity of the volcano, illustrate the way the same story changes over time. A comparison of these different versions and of the circumstances of their production provides a way of thinking about how historical ethnographers can use such plural and competing accounts as the basis for writing histories of colonial encounters. It shows how the choice of one or another version of a story has significant implications for the histories we tell and for the way groups understand their pasts.
- Historical anthropology
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