The Native Hawaiian Place of Learning Advancement Office at UH Mānoa focuses on implementing recommendations from Native Hawaiian reports authored over the last 30 years that guide UH Mānoa in becoming a Native Hawaiian place of learning. We have four focus areas:

Native Hawaiian Student Success
Native Hawaiian Staff and Faculty Development
Native Hawaiian Environment
Native Hawaiian Community Engagement

We cannot do this work alone. It is our mission to foster the potential within each of you to positively contribute to our collective kuleana to make UH Mānoa a Native Hawaiian place of learning. These monthly newsletters are meant to keep you connected, highlight your work and continue to inspire you.
  • Native Hawaiian students are holistically supported from recruitment through post-graduation.
  • Best practices are gleaned from efforts to support Native Hawaiian students and are applied to student success strategies for all students across the campus.
Native Hawaiian PhD Distribution Across Programs
By: Kawehionālani Goto
Combination Chart (above) contains two series for Fall 2019: the bars represent the number of NH students across PhD Programs and the line represents the percentage of NHs in the program

We have had inquiries about NH PhD students across our campus, so we did a little digging. Here's what we found: In Fall 2019, there were 46 NH PhD students in Education (College of Ed.) programs, representing 31% of all students in Education. At the sametime, in Fall 2019, there was only 1 NH PhD student in the following programs: Entomology, Social Welfare, Marine Biology-CNS, Tropical Medicine, Natural Resources & Environmental Management, Urban and Regional Planning, Cell & Molecular Biology, Electrical Engineering, Botany, Oceanography, and Business Administration. This represented a range of 3-14% of the students in their respective programs. For these particular students, we wonder (and invite you to wonder with us):
  • What is it like to be the single NH PhD student in a program?
  • In what ways are these students able (or not able) to bring their whole selves into their programs?
  • Given this data, how can we support these students to achieve their definitions of success?

  • Native Hawaiian staff & faculty are holistically supported from recruitment through promotion and leadership development in every unit across the campus.
  • All staff & faculty at UH Mānoa are more knowledgeable and culturally rooted in Mānoa and Hawai‘i.
Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation
Language and Power: Why Race and Language Are Not Separate, 
& What We Can Do To Interrupt These Isms
By: Christina Higgins
Every month former TRHT cohort fellows have the opportunity to gather on a TRHT-related topic. These gatherings are led by a former TRHT fellow. The purpose of these gatherings are two-fold: Continue to strengthen relationships between TRHT fellows and continue to deepen understandings and grow TRHT praxis. 

On February 12, I had the chance to lead a TRHT gathering on the relationship between language, race, and power. As a sociolinguist, I have researched the ways that people in Hawaiʻi both talk Pidgin and talk about Pidgin in order to better understand how languages become racialized and how speakers of these languages in turn get marginalized due to this racialization. At our gathering, I shared an image from McKinley High School’s 1926 yearbook featuring students celebrating “Better English” week, which included a mock trial where Pidgin was put on trial for killing “Good English,” sentenced to death, and then buried on McKinley’s grounds in a coffin labeled “Pidgin English” by the students, all of whom surely spoke Pidgin. I wonder how they felt that day and what they thought later when they went home and heard the language they had just been asked to bury spoken by their families, their neighbors, and their friends. The gathering gave us all the opportunity to look at more contemporary cases of Pidgin use in Hawaiʻi and to consider how language and race continue to be co-naturalized and valued in ways that perpetuate institutionalized hierarchies of racial and linguistic legitimacy.
Native Hawaiian APT's at UHM
By: Kawehionālani Goto
Line graph: Trend of Native Hawaiian faculty and staff APTs by gender 

Back in 2018 we offered some data around NH Administrative, Professional, and Technical (APT) positions. We then asked: How do we support these NH APT’s in their professional development towards higher degrees (if sought), leadership positions, and feeling empowered to positively impact our UH Mānoa and extended communities? This month, we wonder:
  • How can we (as a campus) support their cultural rootedness in Mānoa & Hawaiʻi?
  • How can they and how are they being supported to utilize their cultural rootedness to help advance UHM as a Hawaiian place of learning?

UH Mānoa campus is a physical, cultural, spiritual, and interactive environment that exemplifies the values of ‘ohana and community, mālama ‘āina, and kuleana; thereby, perpetuating Native Hawaiian values, culture, language, traditions, and customs.
Aloha ʻĀina Fridays
By: Pua Souza
Aloha ʻĀina Friday participants at our Huli ka lima i lalo working afternoon

Our Aloha ʻĀina Fridays Series serves to engage the UHM community with the responsibilities we each have to care for this ʻāina, as well as the people within it. It is comprised of 4 different parts including:

1st Fridays, 12:30-1:30pm: Aʻo aku, Aʻo mai Speaker Presentations
2nd Fridays 9:00-10:30am: Nā Moʻolelo o Mānoa: Campus Tours
3rd Fridays, 3:00-4:15pm: Moʻolelo aku, moʻolelo mai: Dialogue circles
4th Fridays, 3:30-4:30pm: Huli ka lima i lalo: Opportunity to mālama campus plants

During our February speaker presentation, Manu Kaʻiama taught participants how aloha ʻāina and vocabulary can be used to shape social consciousness. This lesson about vocabulary use was then put into practice during this month's campus tours, which was conducted in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi in celebration of Hawaiian Language Month. Our Aloha ʻĀina Fridays continued with a dialogue circle, where participants shared stories of their own experiences with caring for ʻāina and why they felt it was an important practice. These stories and relationships with ʻāina were brought to life in our fourth Friday's mālama ʻāina working afternoon with campus arboretum curator, Noweo Kai.

Please join us for our Spring 2020 Aloha ʻĀina Fridays Series!
For details and to RSVP click: HERE
UH Mānoa and Native Hawaiian communities are consistently connected and engaged in order that there can be reciprocal teaching and learning for positive impact throughout Hawai‘i.
Kanaeokana Gathering
By: Punihei Lipe
Kanaeokana Logo

Kanaeokana is a network of school/organizations committed to the shared vision of "A strengthened lāhui that grows and sustains future generations of aloha ‘āina leaders." There are several representatives from UH Mānoa who are members of Kanaeokana. At our large gathering in February, we had the opportunity to deepen our connections, inspire one another, and strengthen the ways we are advocating with and for our communities. One of the best things about this particular gathering for me was having fun while working hard. Knowing that the members of Kanaeokana basically work 24/7, the organizers wanted to help us have a little fun and feel a little joy while we were simultaneously talking about the need for more Hawaiian language immersion teachers, addressing inequities in funding, and finding creative solutions to community education. My experiences of joy and laughter that day was an invitation for me to think about how I curate experiences for people where they can work hard AND have fun, too. What a concept!
UHM at the Black Futures Ball
By: Punihei Lipe
UHM representatives. Top Row (left to right): Dr. Ethan Caldwell (Ethnic Studies), Dr. Keith Cross (Curriculum Studies), Matthew K. Lynch (UH Sustainability)/Middle row: Angela Caldwell (guest), Kaiwipuni Lipe (NH Affairs), Rashid Shabazz (guest), Lucie Lynch (guest), Roxie Shabazz (Enrollment Management)/Bottom row: Dissa Ahdanisa (guest), Dr. Charmaine Mangram (Institute for Teacher Education)

I was extremely honored and excited to attend the Black Futures Ball of the Pōpolo Project   on the last day of Black History Month. Some may think, what is the relevance of working with the African American/Black community in our efforts to create a Native Hawaiian place of learning? My answer is this: The majority of our campus is predominantly non-Hawaiian. That's not a judgment, that's just a fact. So in our efforts to help each person find and live into their kuleana to help make UHM a Native Hawaiian place of learning, one thing my team is constantly asking ourselves is: What are the successful models that invite ALL folks into the shared work? We look to the Pōpolo Project - a non-Native Hawaiian organization - as a partner; to learn from the experiences that have allowed them to arrive at their commitments to Hawai‘i and to explore how we can radically connect in order to best aloha this ‘āina.

Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific Program
By: Punihei Lipe
Obama Foundation Asia Pacific Leaders design for the Kuala Lumpur convening

Last month I shared a bit about the Obama Foundation’s Asia Pacific Leaders Program. My 12-person group, called "Borders Without Passports" (long story regarding our name), meets online monthly. Our check-ins so far have been two-fold:
Individual Support
Many on the call shared struggles; struggles of leadership, balancing energy and time, overcoming personal challenges, etc. One of our group members,  Moni Siv   from Cambodia, began to talk about how he has been managing his energy rather than his time and pointed us to  this article.   I share this with the hope that it can help us individually so that we can be of more service to our communities.
Community Support
One conversation we've been having is how Pacific Island communities are often left out of "Pacific Asian" themed events, data, narratives, etc. As a result of increased awareness on this issue, one of our group members, Jaclyn McLendon from Australia, was able to advocate in her role as a lead of the  Asia Pacific Screen Awards   to include more Pacific Island nations, including Hawai‘i. I am learning how these kinds of global communities can also benefit Hawai‘i's communities, and vice versa.
Kānaka Highlight Series
We envision UH Mānoa as a lamāku o ke aloha ‘āina: A leading light of aloha ‘āina for Hawai‘i and the world. In this series, we highlight some of UHM’s own kānaka scholars and shine light on their inspiring and innovative examples of aloha ‘āina across disciplines and communities.

Kamuela Joseph Nui Enos
Hometown: Makaha, Oʻahu
High School: Waiʻanae High-ish (G.E.D. 1991)
UHM Degrees: BA in Hawaiian Studies, '02 & MA Urban Regional Planning, '10
Current Occupation: Director of Indigenous Innovation in the Office of Research and Innovation

What inspired/inspires the path for your academic major? 

My father, Eric Enos, co-founded of Kaʻala Farms in Waiʻanae Valley during the late 1970’s. I am his hiapo , so I was able to witness first hand all the challenge, complexity, personal sacrifice, fearlessness, and doubt that went into building what is now called, “‘Āina-based Education.” Very early on, he told me two things: 1) “Don't fight against decision making boards. We did that and it's so tiring. Be on decision making boards” and 2) “You can't hide up here in the farm. This is not a space of retreat. There are forces out there that will overrun us. I need you to go out and learn them so that we do is embraced.” So when you are given that kauoha , you have to wade into the uncomfortable spaces of uncertainty, learn hard lessons about collaboration, and wrestle with the constant awareness of how complex governance landscapes (community and institutional) are. But at Ka‘ala I was also able to witness the joy of creating productive spaces and feel the love that our ‘āina and our kupuna have for us. It is those memories, especially the time I was able to share with the kupuna whom Ka‘ala was able to invite - Uncle Walter Paulo and Uncle Eddie Kaanana - that compelled me to enter higher education to figure out how to preserve and grow these sacred spaces of productivity

How did your academic major lead you to the work you are currently doing?

In Hawaiian Studies, I was able to learn the syntax of the ancestral practices I was raised in. As a child of the early 80s, I knew loʻi kalo as a lived experience, but never had access to the language our kupuna used, or an overview of the deep sciences they evolved to deploy their work. Via the carefully curated space that the founders of the Hawaiian Studies program were able to cultivate, a deep understanding of my context was provided, and powerful tools were gifted to me to allow me to translate my past experiences into frameworks I could deploy in contemporary spaces of power (i.e. policy, grant writing, business plans, strategic plans). I also learned how to hold my ground in academic spaces and rebut everyone who thought of my ancestors as savages. In the Dept. of Urban and Regional Planning, I was taught the practices of building the beloved community. If Hawaiian Studies was the Kū, the Department of Urban and Regional Planning was the Hina. I was taught to listen, to weave, to create space, and help collectives vision together and craft strategies of communal change. 

Both these Kū and the Hina teachings were vital to informing my previous work as Director of Social Enterprise at MA`O farms and now in my role as Director of Indigenous Innovation in UH's Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. We need to articulate the mana, relevance, and absolute necessity of our hana and ʻike kupuna in contemporary spaces, and we also need to build the networks of practices around these systems to be able to deploy them at scale.

We believe that at the heart of a Hawaiian place of learning is aloha ʻāina: the constant care for and reciprocation with Hawaiʻi’s people, places and practices.”  How do you see your time at UH shaping the way you aloha ʻāina?  

My ability to dropout of high school and yet be prepared to successfully enter into a post-secondary career is  directly  related to the teachings that were provided to me in the loʻi kalo of Ka'ala. Everything our ʻohana has been able to accomplish is because the 'āina was there to receive us, as broken as we were, and grow us. Every decision I make in this current capacity is always rooted in how to best support kānaka in the restoration of the systems our kūpuna created to calibrate between kānaka, 'āina, and nā akua and to do so in ways that theses systems are embraced and adopted by contemporary society.

What are your future goals in your work? 

I hope to be able to articulate the value of our ancestral systems to contemporary society in a way that allows our people to restore their role in executive decision making process locally, and give us powerful voices in global conversations. I hope to allow this to happen via lifting up the powerful work of redeploying ʻike and hana Hawaiʻi as community-driven innovation currently being done by UH kumu and haumāna .  I hope to ensure that this work is resourced, supported, and allowed to scale via a range of collectively derived strategies. 

What does UHM as a Hawaiian place of learning mean to you? 

It means that 'ike Hawaiʻi is understood as a codex by which contemporary kanaka use to solve for the complex issues we face. It means that the How, Why, and What we do here is measured in metrics of wellness that pertain to our living landscapes, our living traditions, and the agency we instill in our haumāna to be creators and defenders of these spaces of generative abundance.