Native Books (Nā Mea Hawaiʻi)

Holy Moli Albatross and Other Ancestors

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Hob Osterlund
Oregon State University Press
Softcover, 208 pp.

Hob Osterlund moved to Hawai'i after being visited in a dream by an ancestor, Martha Beckwith, author of the monumental classic, Hawaiian Mythology. It was there, on the island of Kaua'i, where she happened upon a few courting albatross and felt an inexplicable attraction to the birds—an attraction too powerful to be explained by their beguiling airbrushed eye shadows, enormous wingspans, and rollicking dances. In Hawaiian mythology, ancestors may occupy the physical forms of animals known as 'aumakua. Laysan albatross—known as mōlī—are among them. Smitten with these charismatic creatures, Osterlund set out to learn everything she could about moli. She eventually came to embrace them as her 'aumakua—not as dusty old myths on a museum bookshelf, but as breathing, breeding, boisterous realities.

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