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 Student Snapshot
By: Kawehionālani Goto
Column Chart (above) contains a comparison of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data from 2015 of undergraduate senior students' averages across collaborative learning indicators

The Mānoa Institutional Research Office (MIRO), is currently making sense of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) for 2020. As we anticipate this data and experience the current global quarantined climate, we take a minute to reflect on previous data. In the 2015 NSSE results MIRO indicated that NH seniors on average outperform comparison groups on collaborative learning. Comparison groups for Mānoa NH seniors were: all UHM seniors who participated in the NSSE, Peer Institutions chosen amongst Mānoa benchmark institutions that participated in NSSE in 2014 and 2015, averages for institutions in our Carnegie class, and averages for all institutions that took part in NSSE in 2014 and 2015. As we reconcile new online learning environments we consider the following: How have our Native Hawaiian seniors adapted to this change? How has online learning affected their collaboration and learning? How can professors and support staff support them? And in what ways will this shape their futures as they complete undergraduate degrees with our university? For more information on the NSSE 2015 administration and survey characteristics watch the following video:   UH Mānoa NSSE 2015 Informational Video

  • 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 (TRHT)
By: Sonya Zabala
TRHT Design Team

This month we would like to celebrate the amazing UH Mānoa TRHT design team. Amid the COVID-19 crisis and all the other kuleana they have at work and with their families, this team continues to virtually meet weekly in their steadfast commitment to the pillars of UHM’s Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center vision: A Hawai‘i in which each individual, family, and community can recognize and live into their collective and interdependent kuleana to aloha ‘āina. 

The design team, including Charmaine Mangram, Creighton Litton, Daniela Bottjer-Wilson, Jennifer Darrah-Okike, Makana Reilly, Matt Lynch, Monica Stitt-Bergh, Siobhán Ní Dhonacha, Sonya Zabala, and Punihei Lipe draw lessons from Native Hawaiian wisdom including moʻokūa‘uhau and kuleana to design opportunities of healing from racism and settler colonialism to create transformed futures. We have witnessed how this team’s commitment to aloha ‘āina has shaped both their personal and professional lives, including this time of transition to online teaching, community building, and working environments. As one of our team members, Siobhán, explains, “Native Hawaiian systems of knowledge help address an ethics of care in the way we treat our colleagues and our students.” We are grateful for their commitment to care and celebrate them at this time. Mahalo team!
Native Hawaiian Faculty Snapshot
By: Kawehionālani Goto
Earth Day Art via Clay Center (2018)

In 2018, an Earth Day Survey was distributed to our UHM campus. In light of the COVID-19 crisis, we return to those results to re-visit how our staff and faculty responded. One question asked: “Can you talk about how sustainability and climate change issues have influenced or might influence decisions and life choices, no matter how small or big those choices are?” 

Our NH faculty and staff responded with several visions of their individual and collective future as they reduce waste, recognized our reliance on imported goods, and engaged in practices to sustain our local community. 

Here are some excerpts of their thoughts: 
  • “...we may be able to provide some of our food sources than relying so much on imports.”
  • “Today, as a steward and resident of these islands, sea-level rise and heavy reliance on importation for food and goods, have influenced my daily decisions. I've purchased more locally grown food this year than any prior, and have helped my family plant more edible plants in our yard and my sister-in-law's yard. In doing the latter, I've also had the chance to talk to my niece and nephews about why growing food is important.” 
  • “As a teacher I have tried to teach young children the importance of collecting and using resources in the community to cook, make decorations and leis. Then, what we don't use, we compost.” 

We now wonder: how are our faculty and staff adjusting during this time? In what ways have their practices persisted or changed in response to the current global climate? And how can we support their teaching practices as we engage in a sustainable future? In particular, with Earth Day 2020 quickly approaching, we invite you all to continue to discover new ways to mālama one another and mother earth.

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.
Institute of Hawaiian Language Research and Translation:
Terrifying Tsunami Hits Hilo in 1877
By: Paige Okamura
Article published in Ka Nupepa Kuokoa on May 26, 1877

The Institute for Hawaiian Language Research and Translation (IHLRT) was established to generate access to the resources of the Hawaiian language repository for all fields of study through research, translation and the training of a new cadre of capable resource people. As we think about the goal of creating an environment that reflects a Hawaiian place of learning, we look to the Hawaiian language repository as an amazing resource to guide our understanding and implementation of this goal. Each month we share with you a small gem from the repository and the work of IHLRT as a preview of the treasure chest awaiting us. This month we share a piece from GRA Paige Okamura's work:

Terrifying Tsunami Hits Hilo in 1877
While my research does not focus on the spread of illness or disease, I do look at natural disaster accounts. Oftentimes those accounts come with mentions of how people helped support one another. In 1877, a large tsunami hit Hilo particularly hard. Buildings and houses were torn apart by the force of the ocean, fishponds were destroyed, five people died, four people were left in critical condition, and over 50 people were left destitute. Multiple articles noted how our kupuna came together as a community. They created relief funds and those who “weren't greatly troubled are helping those who were harmed by giving food, fish, and clothes” as it was rainy and cold in Hilo at that time. As we all hunker down during this pandemic, it’s a great time to consider how our kupuna supported each other during similar times of struggle. 

Campus Tours
By: Keahialaka Ioane
Aloha ʻĀina Friday participants during a ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi Campus Tour

Have you ever been on our monthly campus tour that we co-host with the Multilingual-Multicultural Initiative ? On this tour we reorient our community to campus through a Hawaiian lens, particularly through mo‘olelo and  ‘ili ‘āina . This framing is important because it highlights the significance that place names play in understanding the world we live in and the campus we inhabit. The tour recounts Hawaiian histories that have not normally been rendered significant in UH Mānoa's story. For example, the tour goes through a portion of Dole Street and stops to recount the rarely told history of the street's original name, Kapaʻakea, the name of King Kalākaua and Queen Liliʻuokalani's father. In future editions of this e-newsletter, we will introduce you to each of these ‘ili while we cannot take you on in-person tours. Stay tuned!
Aloha ʻĀina Fridays
By: Pua Souza
Aloha ʻĀina Friday participants with Dr. Davianna McGregor during our March Speaker Presentation

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 March speaker presentation, Dr. Davianna McGregor shared stories of aloha ʻāina movements and activism aimed at the protection of both cultural and natural resources. Her unique role in movements such as Protect Kahoʻolawe and protesting against geothermal development in Puna allowed participants a glance into aloha ʻāina histories from a first hand perspective. From this, attendees learned about the role aloha ʻāina can play in promoting both social and political change. Dr. McGregor's presentation was followed by our 2nd Friday campus tour, where stories of UH Mānoa's own social and political change was shared, along with moʻolelo about the ʻāina of our campus.

Unfortunately, any remaining Spring 2020 Aloha ʻĀina Friday events have been canceled.
For any questions regarding future Aloha ʻĀina Fridays, please email: [email protected]
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: Lei Ānuenue
By: Pua Souza
Kanaeokana: Lei Ānuenue 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; some of whom have teamed up and created a new webinar series, Lei Ānuenue. We want to especially highlight Kumu Malia Nobrega-Olivera , Community Engagement Specialist from Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, who is hosting the show.   Primarily conducted through Zoom and Facebook Live, Lei Ānuenue features Native Hawaiian practitioners and cultural experts who share their knowledge on subjects such as kilo, hula, mele hawaiʻi, fishing practices and more! 

For program schedules or to sign up to be a presenter visit there website here: Lei Ānuenue
Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific Program
By: Punihei Lipe
Obama Foundation Asia Pacific Leaders design for the Kuala Lumpur convening

I have promised to give you a monthly update of my engagement with the Obama Leaders Program and my fellow leaders. In March I had my monthly call with my 12-person group comprised of leaders from throughout the Pacific and Asia. Each of them carry kuleana in their regions raging from taking care of their families to supporting rural communities to leading organizations to advising governments. Like each of you, they are managing a lot. So our conversation really focused on personal health and well-being as we reminded each other that we cannot care for anyone else if we do not care for ourselves. With that said, we shared a list of daily check-ins:
  • What am I GRATEFUL for today?
  • What expectations of "normal" am I LETTING GO OF today?
  • How am I GETTING OUTSIDE today?
  • How am I MOVING MY BODY today?
  • What BEAUTY am I either creating, cultivating, or inviting today?

I personally find this list to be extremely helpful so that I can maintain balance in order to continue to serve and connect. I hope this list is helpful to you, too.
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.

Kawehionālani Kiyeko Goto
Birthplace: Waiheʻe, Maui
Hometown: Papakōlea, Oʻahu
High School: Punahou School
UHM Degrees: MEd, Educational Psychology, 2018 & PhD, Educational Psychology, currently pursuing

What inspired/inspires the path for your academic major? 

Like many, I feel as though my academic pathway has had several twists and turns, struggles and successes. I acknowledge these experiences and in particular the people who have guided me through these experiences, which ultimately led me to the educational psychology field. In self-reflection, I am continuously inspired by my ʻohana on this journey. This inspiration, in particular to my doctoral studies and academic major, has included my hula family. I have been dancing with Hālau Hula Ka Noʻeau and Kumu Hula Michael Pili Pang for eleven years. I graduated as an ʻōlapa with the hālau in ʻ09, and am going through my second ʻūniki training concurrent to my doctoral studies. I draw on these experiences and consider how hula as an embodied knowledge system, which is one way for making sense of Hawaiian ways of living and being in the world, can be used as a Kanaka ʻŌiwi framework and methodology in my academic research. My ʻohana inspires me to continue to move forward, as we, at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, (re)claim spaces in academia together.

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?  

As an educational psychologist and scholar, I think about how my role as a researcher to aloha this place is connected to the practices I embody that are in a direct response to the peoples and places I have interacted with across the UHM campus. I have learned from the aloha ʻāina Friday series how people in our UHM community have helped to define aloha ʻāina for our students, myself included, and the powerful action they have taken to confront critical spaces within and beyond our university. Through their stories I have learned how to begin to do the same in my scholarship as I continue to interact with peoples, places, and practices in my life. I believe UH has shaped the way I aloha ʻāina by providing opportunities for me to interact with people who aloha ʻāina in ways that inspire me to do the same. They have become the lamakū for me to aloha ʻāina better, in a more conscious way, and through deeper connections to Mānoa and Hawaiian practices.

What are your future goals in your work? 

My goals for the future are: (1) to continue do work that is valuable to my community, and that supports students across the academic pipeline, and (2) to never stop learning and growing, to continue to uplift and be uplifted by people who challenge the way I think and honor their perspectives as we learn how to care for one another through our working together.

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

UHM as a Hawaiian place of learning, to me, means being mindful of place across our campus and in our practices as a university. It means embracing our perspective when they are in tension, so that we can come to a collective understanding of aloha ʻāina. As we aloha one another and the Mānoa valley, I believe that we should strive to reciprocate our beings, and celebrate our struggles. A Hawaiian place of learning also means being Hawaiian through our students, faculty, and staff. What do our students, faculty, and staff take with them daily that is a reflection of UHM as a Hawaiian place of learning? What do they get from UHM that honors our ʻike and is unique to Hawaiʻi? In part, I believe one way to answer these questions is through how students, faculty, and staff have been challenged to think differently about the education system, and how they have come to model aloha ʻāina in their own lives.