The Center for Pacific Islands Studies (CPIS) recently hosted an international conference on climate change that brought together policy makers, academics, community workers, and students from Hawai‘i and a number of Pacific Island countries. The conference, titled “Waves of Change: Climate Change in the Pacific Islands and Implications for Hawaiʻi,” was held at the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge on the University of Hawaiʻi–Mānoa campus 4–6 April 2013. In addition to the center’s faculty members, the conference advisory committee included Jerry Finin and Melissa Finucane (East-West Center), Ulla Hassager (Ethnic Studies Department), Joakim Peter (College of Education), Maxine Burkett (Richardson School of Law), and Joshua Cooper (UH West Oʻahu). Several pre-conference programs were designed to initiate discussions around climate-change issues that were explored in more depth during the conference. A seminar and film series included a range of faculty members, students, activists, researchers, and community members.
Students from Kaimukī High School’s (KHS) Imua Program participated in a curriculum to prepare for the conference. Their participation was academic and practical and is described in a separate article by Jocelyn Howard. The curriculum was created and taught by community leaders and faculty and students from the UH Mānoa and KHS under the leadership of Nelson Ikaika Fernandez (Pālolo Science Discovery Center), James Skouge and Joakim Peter (UHM College of Education), Leslie Harada and Lisa Shimokawa (STEM and Imua, KHS), Lola Quan Bautista, and Ulla Hasager. In addition to the academic and media-learning outcomes, the high school participation helped to strengthen relationships among Pacific Islander youth groups.
Minister Tony de Brum, Senator J Kalani English, and Tarcisius Kabutaulaka with Kaimukī High School students at the keynote address, photo by Leonard Leon.
The conference began with a keynote address by the Honorable Tony de Brum, Minister and Assistant to the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Minister de Brum highlighted the need for global action to address climate change, especially by the “earth’s polluters.” He said that small island nations like the Marshall Islands have done their part to combat climate change, often in ways “disproportionate to their size, population, their financial capabilities, or their economic status.” The remaining two days of featured speakers and panels focused on issues such as the potential for climate change–related migrations and the implications for metropolitan centers like Hawaiʻi, community responses to climate change, climate change and indigenous knowledge, and the legal issues surrounding climate change, particularly related to human rights. Topics by featured speakers included an overview of significant climate change issues by Noah Idechong, discussion of policy issues by Ambassador Asterio Takesy, implications of migration by John Campbell, and an example of a community toolkit by Willy Kostka. Panelists presented a diverse range of research and personal experiences from Pohnpei, Chuuk, Guam, Fiji, Hawaiʻi, and beyond. The KHS students attended all of the conference events and had personal interactions with many of the conference speakers and participants during interview sessions. The students’ interviews with conference participants will be made available online as part of an attempt to create awareness about climate change in high schools in Hawaiʻi. Participants celebrated the conclusion of the conference with an inspiring evening of poetry, music, and food organized by Craig Santos Perez and Brandy Nālani McDougall (UHM English Department) with performances by several CPIS students.
The conference initiated important discussions that the center hopes to continue through future programs, including a course with a focus on climate change in fall 2013. The working idea is that the course will culminate with students participating at an international conference on climate change or working with communities.
The center is grateful for the generosity and support of the conference sponsors, including the Pacific Islands Development Program at the East-West Center, the Office of Hawaiʻi State Senator J Kalani English, ʻŌlelo Community Media; UH Mānoa’s School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, Ethnic Studies Department, College of Social Sciences, and Office of Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity (SEED); and Joe Nalo and Art Stret Gallery for providing the conference artwork Save the Sinking Art & Culture (2012). ʻŌlelo Community Media filmed the conference proceedings and has made the keynote address available online at http://olelo.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=30&clip_id=34311. Announcements about online access to the other conference sessions and the Kaimukī High School interviews will be posted on the CPIS website and Facebook page.
By Candi Steiner, Ethnomusicology PhD Student and CPIS Graduate Assistant
On 4 April 2013, CPIS graduate assistants Jesi Lujan Bennet, Jocelyn Howard, Kelea Levy, and Candi Steiner, with the help of CPIS faculty and staff, hosted “Oceania Rises,” the center’s first student conference. The event, open to both undergraduate and graduate students, was designed to foster multicultural, pan-Pacific unity that privileges Pacific Islander voices; to raise awareness of Pacific Island cultures on the UH Mānoa campus; and to promote new ways of “doing academia” that build on interdisciplinary approaches to research. Themes included empowerment, self-expression, and academic innovation.
Turnout was excellent for all of the event’s panels, which included art displays, poetry readings, and paper presentations on various Pacific Islands–related topics. As a special treat, Dr Lola Quan Bautista’s PACS 603 students presented on their capstone research progress, offering the community a glimpse of the kinds of projects that CPIS students undertake in the MA program. The organizing team would again like to thank everyone who made this successful event possible. The conference program is still available for viewing online at the conference’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/2013OceaniaRisesStudentConference.
By Karin Louise Hermes, CPIS MA Student and Pan Pacific Association Secretary 2012–2013
For the opening ceremony reception of the “Waaves of Change” conference on Thursday 4 April 2013, Pan Pacific Association (PPA) coordinated and performed several Pacific songs and dances to welcome conference attendees from all over Oceania. PPA President David Dugucanavanua recruited singers and dancers from PPA, his hula halau (Ka Liko Pua o Kalaniakea), and UHM’s Polynesian InterVarsity ministry chapter (Hui Poly) to perform at this event. After several weeks of intense practice, PPA performed three dances in addition to contributions by Hui Poly and Ka Liko Pua o Kalaniakea. These three group dances emphasized the pan-Pacific spirit of PPA’s members and were taught by the PPA members in the 9th floor lounge of the East-West Center’s Hale Manoa dormitory: a Solomon Islands shark dance was led by Derek Mane, the always-popular Fijian raude was led by David Dugucanavanua, and Sandrine Meltewomu, from Vanuatu, taught a Kanaky dance from New Caledonia, where her mother is from. The dancers’ costumes were a combination of black and red lava-lavas, as well as skirts, assorted body ornaments, and accessories made from ti leaves by the dancers during a sleepless night on April 3. Since PPA activities this semester revolved around learning and practicing these dances, they gave a crowd-pleasing encore performance of the three dances as the final act of the East-West Center Participant Association’s “East-West Fest” the following week, on April 13.
By Jocelyn Howard, School of Social Work and CPIS MA Student
The April 4–6 “Waves of Change” conference brought many different people to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Among them were students from Kaimukī High School, located down the road from UHM campus. These students are part of the STEM and Media Projects of the Imua and the Pālolo Pipeline programs, which focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Their participation in the conference was to help them learn about climate change and how it is affecting the Pacific, their home countries, their lives and the lives of their future children, and media training. My service learning involved planning for how these students could prepare before the conference, mentoring students during the conference, and providing feedback for video editing after the conference.
The students visited UH Mānoa two times prior to the conference, during which they watched films on climate change, listened to presentations by Pacific Islander students—including myself—about how climate change has affected their communities, learned interviewing skills, learned techniques for video recording as well as how to interact among themselves and with the UH students and faculty.
The part of my service-learning project that I enjoyed the most was working with the students during the conference. The students had the opportunity to meet the keynote speaker, Minister Tony de Brum from the Marshall Islands, listen to his message, and conduct an interview with him to further explore the subject of climate change. The students interviewed other conference speakers including HE Ambassador Takesy from the Federated States of Micronesia to the United State of America. The students also participated in giving lei to the conference speakers. Overall the opportunity to have this service learning has been a crucial part of my learning in the Pacific Islands Studies program. It allowed me to put theory into practice, serve my community, and learn from my community to be a better student, researcher, service provider, as well as community advocate. I would encourage every student in the program to do service learning.
By Kenneth Gofigan Kuper, CPIS MA Student
“I Finakmatan I Hila’-ta” or “The Awakening of the Tongue” is a service-learning project dedicated to perpetuating the Chamorro language. Kenneth Gofigan Kuper and Brant Songsong teach Chamorro language every Saturday from 10:00–11:15 am at Kakaʻako Kitchen. Hawai‘i has a large Chamorro community and many of these Chamorros were born and raised here. These classes were started to help diasporic Chamorros connect to their roots through the language. This language class helps Chamorros to learn and speak the language of their ancestors and also serves as a social tool for Chamorros to get to know and support one another. Each week participants can meet new people and develop new friendships, thus forming a stronger sense of community. Ranging from 7 to 20 people per week, the language pocket has been successful and fun. Each class starts with a different lesson that ultimately leads to direct dialogue between the members. The lessons they learn can be used in conversation, so the pocket views each week as a building block for becoming conversational in Chamorro. Each week, an e-mail is sent out by the Marianas Club at UH Mānoa providing a vocabulary list and lesson worksheet for that week’s class. This helps people to get familiar with the concepts beforehand and also allows those who are not able to attend to keep up with the lessons. This project has been a Chamorro community collaboration and will only continue to grow as more Chamorros find out that they can learn the language free of charge!
If you would like to learn the Chamorro language also, please feel free to contact Kenneth Gofigan Kuper at email@example.com and the Marianas Club at Marianas@hawaii.edu. These classes are for everyone, whether Chamorro or not, and only require an open mind, pencil, and paper. We hope you will join the effort to keep the Chamorro language alive and spoken!
By Juliette Budge, Urban and Regional Planning PhD Student
While helping in an afterschool and workforce-training class in Kalihi-Palama, I got to know a group of women who often cook for events in the community. I asked if they would be willing to share their knowledge of some Pacific Island foods with me. The women agreed to cook on-camera and the foods were identified with the help of children from the afterschool program, who chose three of their favorite dishes to focus on.
Fried fish with sweet potato and taro was the first meal filmed. The chefs—Marie Akitekit, Asarina Yerten, and Ignacia Terno from Chuuk—explained the process as they skillfully prepared the meal at Shem Hall in Kalihi-Palama. The end result was not only delicious but also a record of their valuable cultural knowledge.
The next cooking segment focused on tapioca. The chef was Rakei Aunu from Chuuk. Filming began in Chinatown as Rakei navigated the shops with precise knowledge of the place that would have the ingredients she needed. Back in the kitchen, she stirred, kneaded, wrapped, and boiled the roots. While preparing and cooking, she told stories about learning to cook and the meaning of these foods for her family.
The final film was about otai, a Tongan specialty made with watermelon, pineapple, and coconut. With the help of Mina Ikavuka, Fane Lino, and Lilette Subedi, thirty children in an afterschool program set up stations for each fruit. They harmoniously went to work cutting, shredding, and juicing each ingredient. Fane showed the teenagers how to split the coconut without spilling the juice, and Villiami Lino, Fane’s son, taught the younger children how to shave off the white flesh of the coconut without scraping the shell.
The preparation of these foods was enjoyed by all participants. The short films will be screened in the afterschool program and will hopefully contribute to the interesting culinary and cultural knowledge that is here in the Islands.
By Keali‘i MacKenzie, CPIS MA Student
For my PACS 603 service-learning project, I wrote a SEED grant application. SEED stands for Student Equity, Excellence, and Diversity. The purpose of these grants is to address issues on ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and culture. These may be projects that take place on campus or in the community.
With my background and connections to the Hawai‘i slam poetry community, I wanted to pursue a project involving poetry. Fortunately, I knew of the nonprofit organization Pacific Tongues. According to their Facebook page, their mission is “to provide a safe and central location in the Hawaiian Islands to facilitate a cross-cultural exchange within Pacific influenced populations through spoken arts education. Our commitment is to honor the practice of kuleana (responsibility or privilege in the Hawaiian language) through creative workshops, public events and pedagogical development.”
I was naturally drawn to Pacific Tongues’ commitment to creative workshops in the public school system. I worked with Jason Mateao and Melvin Won Pat Borja, two of the co-founders, to propose a project that SEED could fund. We decided to apply for funds for a poet to conduct workshops with students in an O‘ahu public high school. These workshops would focus on creative writing as means of expression and an avenue to improve the students’ self-confidence.
Although we were not awarded a SEED grant, this project taught me about the potential for partnerships between the university and arts-focused nonprofit organizations. Institutions such as the University of Hawai‘i and Pacific Tongues have distinct strengths that can be used to foster a vibrant creative arts community, which I believe is essential for students’ success at all education levels. The programs organized by Pacific Tongues are vital to unleashing the creativity of Pacific Islander and Kanaka Maoli students. Lastly, the experience of applying for a grant was very useful. This is a vital skill for students and those who do community-based work.
By Kathy Jetnil-Kijner, CPIS MA Student
“The creativity beaver beatboxes prayers.” This gem of a prompt originated out of a freestyle session during one of the Pacific Tongues Tuesday workshops in Kuykendall Room 409. We discussed what is “creative” versus what is “wack/hackneyed.” What does creativity look like? Does it look like a beaver beatboxing sermons? The poetry and the freewrite that originated out of this workshop showed what Pacific Tongues is actively involved in—getting youth and writers around the Pacific to tell our stories and to think outside the check-marked box of what is “Pacific” and what constitutes “art” and “writing.”
Pacific Tongues is a new nonprofit organization that cultivates an active artistic Oceanic community of writers, spoken-word artists, rappers, and educators. One of the initiatives of the organization is to facilitate spaces to encourage creative writing for youth and for community members through school visits, open mics, slam poetry competitions, and free workshops in the community. The Tuesday workshop that birthed the “creativity beaver” was one in the series that Navid Najafi and I were leading and facilitating. With my background as a spoken-word artist and poet and with Navid’s background as a rapper with the group Ill-nomadics, we organized weekly writing workshops that fused poetry and hip-hop. Participants, who ranged in age and background from high school students to PhD students, wrote along to beats, freestyled poetry on myths and ghost stories, and talked back to the shadows that haunt them.
As a part of my service-learning project, I used the weekly sessions with Pacific Tongues to understand how spoken word can be integrated into my MA research project. My research project is focused on bridging the gap between the Marshallese oral traditions and the written word, with an emphasis on encouraging more writing among our youth. One of my theories is that spoken word, as a fresh and oral art form, might offer a solution for filling this gap. The Pacific Tongues workshops gave me the experience I needed to better understand how to encourage writing, and what kinds of structures, prompts, and discussions lead to participants being able to express themselves through writing and also share and connect with one another.
Ultimately, Pacific Tongues is about healing and connection through expression—a worthy endeavor in this day and age when so many of our Pacific communities are silenced or voiceless. I am excited to see this organization grow as we spread into the Pacific through the Marshall Islands, Guåhan, Saipan, and other places. I’m sure the creativity beaver is excited as well.
By Kahala Johnson, CPIS MA Student
Makawalu was established in 2010 in response to the lack of active Native Hawaiian organizations at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa. Since then, the group has been involved in Hawaiian advocacy initiatives on and off campus, including opposition to GMO kalo, the Honolulu Rail Transit, and the exhuming of iwi kupuna (ancestral bones) at Kawaiha‘o church; an Independent Hawaiʻi petition drive; and celebrations of Hawaiian holidays such as Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea (Hawaiian Kingdom/Sovereignty Day) and Lā Kūʻokoʻa (Independence Day).
The mission of Makawalu is to promote the vision of Hawaiʻiʻimiloa: a far-seeking Hawaiʻi in which pono imbues all aspects of life and ancestral knowledge is sought in realizing our futures; a Hawaiʻi whose people are the healthiest and happiest on earth; a place where sustainability is not a trend but a way of life; a Hawaiʻi that serves as an example for the rest of the world to live by. The way we achieve Hawaiʻiʻimiloa is through education, community support, advocacy, and numerous other far-seeking endeavors that serve the perpetuity of life.
In 2013, the group became an RIO (recognized independent organization on campus). Prior to achieving this status, its members volunteered their time and effort to the organization and execution of its events. Therefore, we decided to apply for a SEED (Student Excellence, Equity, and Diversity) grant to support the creation of an online media series describing various political and cultural issues in the Hawaiian community such as food sovereignty and the Kanaʻiolowalu Hawaiian roll commission. This was my first attempt at writing for financial support; I took this opportunity to learn the process, which I will use to help other Hawaiian groups in the future. Although the need to abide by deadlines and fulfill all parts of the application was important, the ability to articulate the objectives of the group was my foremost concern. The experience continues to inspire me to refine my skills and hopefully reapply for funding for subsequent projects next year.
By Jesse Yonover, CPIS MA Student
Music has always been an important part of my life and especially over the past few years. Last spring, some friends and I decided that a good way to give back to the youth in our community was through music, acknowledging the positive role it played in our own upbringing. Our desire to give back evolved into the formation of Sound Project in 2012.
Sound Project is a nonprofit organization that strives to involve local youth in Hawaiʻi’s thriving music industry. The project seeks to:
1) Involve students in the process of creating music on a professional level with guidance from established artists, producers, and experts.
2) Educate students on aspects of the music industry such as production and business through hands-on experiences.
3) Encourage creativity and innovation through educational outreach, competitions, and hands-on learning.
4) Elevate aspirations of students to share their music and make careers in the music industry, and promote socially and culturally constructive uses of music.
5) Connect reputable Island artists, producers, and studios with up-and-coming musical talent to nurture and mentor young musicians, helping pass along musical ingenuity to future generations.
Our vision is simple—to inspire Hawaiʻi’s youth to play and create original music, playing a pro-active role in their musical endeavors to instill exceptional musicianship in the next generation.
During the spring 2013 semester, I was able to develop the founding concepts as part of my service-learning project. Despite complications related to registering the program as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization in the State of Hawaiʻi, we were able to launch the program on the Internet in collaboration with the reggae blog (rudeboyreggae.com) I co-founded in 2010. The site gets close to 10,000 hits per month from over 30 countries and there is a dedicated page on the blog to inform followers about Sound Project. The next goals are to release previously recorded music for Sound Project with proceeds helping us get the operation off the ground and hold the first competition for high school students in the fall of 2013. For more information, see http://www.rudeboyreggae.com/p/clothing.html.
“Words in the World: Literatures, Oratures, and New Meeting Grounds” was held at UHM on 7–9 February and featured Albert Wendt, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Pualani Kanakaʻole Kanahele, Kimo Keaulana, Hosam Aboul-Ela, Francesca Orsini, and Chantal Spitz. The symposium bought together literary critics, performance artists, and cultural practitioners to discuss the situations of literatures and oratures, both in relation to the earth and to each other. Throughout the program, the presenters endeavored to trace the movements within literary, cultural, and performance circles to reconceptualize the field of “world literature.” Working from a location in Hawaiʻi and Oceania, the symposium pursued an alternative vision of “words in the world” that foregrounds perspectives and cultural forms from around the world that the field of “world literature” previously peripheralized. Visiting scholars and UH faculty members and students discussed need for the literatures and oratures of the world to engage indigenous aesthetics and ethical traditions of speaking from and for particular places, while developing lines of connection and affiliation among disparate communities of writers and scholars.
Portraits of Al (2008), a film by filmmaker Anne Keala Kelly, was shown on 5 February in a pre-conference event. Portraits of Al pays tribute to Wendt and the impact of the artwork he began painting during his tenure teaching poetry as UH Mānoa’s Citizens Chair of English from 2004 to 2008. In the film, Kelly interviews those inspired by his work and paintings. Vilsoni Hereniko’s Drua: The Wave of Fire (2012) was presented on the first evening of the symposium and was followed by a discussion of the film, which was produced while Dr Hereniko was director of the Oceania Center for Arts, Culture, and Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific, Fiji.
By Jesi Lujan Bennett, CPIS MA Student
On February 28, the Center for Biographical Research and CPIS cosponsored the lunchtime brownbag “Life Writing and Pacific Islands Studies: Student Perspectives.” Aiko Yamashiro, moderator and English PhD candidate, proposed the session to provide Pacific Islander students an opportunity to examine how their lived experiences influence their academic work. Kenneth Gofigan Kuper and Jesi Lujan Bennett, CPIS MA students, spoke from a Chamorro perspective. Gofigan Kuper discussed dealing with Chamorro language oppression within the Mariana Islands and his journey to fight for language revitalization. Lujan Bennett spoke from her background as a native woman raised in the Chamorro diaspora. She discussed her family’s migration story and San Diego’s Chamorro community through the lens of militarization. Leonard Leon, a student in the Academy for Creative Media and the Anthropology Department, discussed his experiences as a Marshallese man dealing with identity politics and authenticity in the Marshall Islands, Saipan, and Hawaiʻi. The panelists presented complementary stories about how they keep their indigenous perspective in the forefront of their research.
By Jesi Lujan Bennett, CPIS MA Student
On 2 March, UHM’s Marianas Club hosted the Humåtak Project as part of the Mes Chamoru (Chamorro Month) activities. Austin Shelton, a Chamorro marine biologist at the Kewalo Marine Laboratory and PhD candidate with the Department of Biology, reconnected the club members with the natural resources and geography of the Mariana Islands. Through lecture, group discussions, interactive activities, and film, Shelton emphasized the importance of natural resources as the foundation of Chamorro culture. He discussed his graduate work, the Humåtak Project, which engages communities in Guam, specifically the village of Humåtak, to help stop local environmental stressors and accelerated erosion. Shelton taught the club that erosion takes place with poor land-use practices and goes hand and hand in with the depletion of forests and the sedimentation of coral reefs, which kills the corals. His presentation discussed community efforts to maintain the island’s watersheds in order to preserve coral reefs, nearshore fisheries, and native forests. Shelton ended his workshop by challenging attendees to get involved in caring for the Mariana Islands through planning, acting, maintaining, and sustaining. Due to the large turnout and student enthusiasm, the Marianas Club and the Humåtak Project are creating a video, “Coral Reef Smack Down.” The video will to stress the importance of preserving coral reefs. http://humatakproject.org/.
By Jesi Lujan Bennett, CPIS MA Student
Oceania Rising is a newly registered independent organization at UH-Mānoa. Oceania Rising is made up of students from around the Pacific who are working in solidarity for a peaceful and just Oceania. To recognize the 59th anniversary of the dropping of the nuclear bomb “Bravo” on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, the students organized the Oceania Rising event on 1 March 2013. The occasion was used to inform and empower members of the community about the atrocities brought about by the nuclear testing. A candlelight vigil paid honor to Marshallese nuclear test survivors and those who have passed away. Marshallese community members spoke about their thoughts on the catastrophes that took place within their islands. Oceania Rising and student participants from Brigham Young University–Hawaiʻi gave tribute to the Marshallese community through short presentations on different Oceanic national heroes and the struggles they supported, and through performance art including music and poetry. Through these activities, Oceania Rising promoted the spirit of Pacific solidarity. Due to the support of the attendees, the sign-in sheet was unanimously voted on to become a petition to restate Maʻohi Nui (otherwise known as French Polynesia) back onto the United Nations’ list of non-self-governing territories. Watch the event on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VqPBds5uhcc.
By Fata Simanu-Klutz, UHM Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures Assistant Professor
Pacific Islander filmmakers, poets, musicians, and actors converged at the UH Mānoa campus to share talents and to enjoy meeting new people or reconnecting with friends and acquaintances through the arts for the PACITA showcase, 18–20 April 2013. PACITA included three evenings of artistic expressions by emerging and seasoned artists of Pacific Islands ancestry, most were UHM students majoring in various disciplines.
The showcase featured visiting performers such as Hawaiʻi-born and raised Kalala Pasi, an opera singer of Tongan ancestry who is studying music at Utah University, and William Giles, a poet of Samoan ancestry who recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin. Also featured were the Hui Poly, a Christian chorus, who shared their blend of gospel and Pacific sounds at the opening ceremony on Thursday evening. They were followed by a marvelous ensemble of traditional dances by the Fealofani o Sāmoa (FOS) club. Hui Poly also performed at the Friday evening extravaganza of poets and musicians at Mānoa Gardens. To round up the showcase, students from the Samoan classes and FOS club presented Tamaʻitaʻi Sa, a play delivered in the vernacular about women and politics in ancient Sāmoa. Tamaʻitaʻi Sa was written by Tofa Aumua Mataʻitusi Simanu Papaliʻi (Samoan Program at IPLL) and co-directed by Fata Simanu-Klutz and Misa Tupou. Tamaʻitaʻi Sa promises to be an attraction for the UHM campus in the future.
PACITA was made possible with funding from UHM’s Student Activity and Program Fee Board (SAPFB) and Sociology Department, and through collaboration among faculty and staff from many departments at UHM and Kapiʻolani Community College, most of whom are Pacific Islanders. PACITA promises to be an annual event to create and sustain a space for Islanders to develop skills and nurture a passion in any art form of their choosing. This passion—for the aspiring artists in particular and Pacific Islander students in general—is often thwarted by the pragmatics of family obligations and the high cost of education and living in Hawaiʻi.
Special thanks to Dean Robert Bley-Vroman (College of LLL) and CPIS Director Terence Wesley-Smith, chair of IPLL Dr John F Mayer, Dr Takiora Ingram (Pacific Writers Connection), Dr Lisa Uperesa and the Sociology Department, Laura Shimakuboro and the technicians at Campus Center Facilities, Jennifer at SAPFB, Ahmad and Ako of Da Spot restaurant, and the Island elders for their mana. Mahalo nui loa, faʻfaetai tele lava.
By Alice Te Punga Somerville, UHM Department of English Associate Professor
The “Taukaea Māori” symposium on 26 April brought together and celebrated Māori students, scholars, and community members based on Oʻahu and beyond. The day was envisioned by organizers Alice Te Punga Somerville (English Department), Raukura Roa (Māori Program), and Marata Tamaira (PhD candidate ANU/CPIS MA, 2008) as a “first” of many such gatherings that will bounce annually between UH-Mānoa and Brigham Young University–Hawaiʻi (BYUH) and the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) in Laʻie. A taukaea is a rope to which a hook is attached; this provides the central metaphor that foregrounds our connections with each other as Māori but also, more broadly, with our relatives from all around the Pacific; it recognizes where we are currently located and also the possibilities of nurturing our long-standing regional links. Held at Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, the day began with an appropriate interaction of Kanaka Maoli and Māori protocols, and the first session featured two kuia (women elders), Vernice Wineera and Alice Unawai, who reflected on their many years as educators, cultural practitioners, and artists. Following this, three panels featured Māori (and some Kanaka Maoli) presenters who talked about their research projects and experiences. The speakers were a mixture of undergraduate and graduate students, scholars, and artists; those from UHM and BYUH/PCC were joined by Māori scholars from the University of California–Los Angeles, Syracuse University, and University of Alberta. More than sixty people attended the event, including faculty, staff, and students based at UH Mānoa as well as members of the Māori community based in Hawaiʻi. There was singing, there was eating, there was scholarship, there was laughter, there were tears… and we’re ready to do it all again next year at BYUH/PCC in April 2014.
Congratulations to Ronia Auela (CPIS BA student) for receiving one of the 2013 Sony Technology Awards. Sony donates cutting-edge technology to help young scholars to realize their dreams. Ronia has worked extensively with underprivileged Pacific Islander youth and she is passionate about social justice and ending racial stereotypes.
The 2013 Amos P and Edna Lee Leib Fellowship for the Study of Pacific Literatures has been awarded to Steven Gin. Steven is pursuing a PhD in English with a focus on Pacific literature. His dissertation seeks to explore the relationship between contemporary Pacific storytelling traditions in various media and narrative theories. Congratulations, Steven!
CPIS affiliate faculty member Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻōpua recently published The Seeds We Planted (see Publications and Moving Images). Dr Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua was among a group of young educators and parents who founded Hālau Kū Māna, a secondary school that remains one of the only Hawaiian culture-–based charter schools in Honolulu. Goodyear-Kaʻōpua served as a teacher, administrator, and board member at various times during the school’s first decade. In this book, she tells the story of the school against the backdrop of the Hawaiian struggle for self-determination and the US charter school movement, revealing a critical tension: the successes of a school celebrating indigenous culture are measured by the standards of settler colonialism.
Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua asks: How does an indigenous people use schooling to maintain and transform a common sense of purpose and interconnection of nationhood in the face of forces of imperialism and colonialism? What roles do race, gender, and place play in these processes? Drawing from Native studies, history, anthropology, gender studies, cultural studies, and education, she provides a richly descriptive portrait of indigenous education at Hālau Kū Māna and offers practical answers steeped in the history of Hawaiian popular learning and literacy.
This uniquely Hawaiian experience addresses broader concerns about what it means to enact indigenous cultural–political resurgence while working within and against settler colonial structures. Ultimately, The Seeds We Planted shows that indigenous education can foster collective renewal and continuity.
Adria L Imada, Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at University of California, San Diego, was selected by the Organization of American Historians (OAH) to receive the 2013 Lawrence W Levine Award, which is given annually for the best book in American cultural history. The award was presented to Dr Imada for Aloha America: Hula Circuits through the U.S. Empire (2012) during the 106th annual meeting of the organization in San Francisco.
Issue 25:1 of The Contemporary Pacific includes:
How Can Traditional Knowledge Best Be Regulated? Comparing a Proprietary Rights Approach with a Regulatory Toolbox Approach
Looking Good: The Cultural Politics of the Island Dress for Young Women in Vanuatu
“I Guess They Didn’t Want Us Asking Too Many Questions”: Reading American Empire in Guam
Valerie Solar Woodward
Pacific Research Protocols from the University of Otago
compiled and edited by Judy Bennett, Mark Brunton, Jenny Bryant-Tokalau, Faafetai Sopoaga, and Gary Witte, with an introduction by Stuart Dawrs
The artists featured on the cover and throughout the issue are part of Jaki-Ed Collective in the Marshall Islands. Terse Timothy, Susan Jieta, Patsy Hermon, and Ashken Binat are expert weavers involved with a program aimed at reviving the art of jaki-ed and training young weavers at the University of the South Pacific (usp) Marshall Islands. The initiative has resulted in revitalization of jaki-ed as well as contemporary interpretations of the customary techniques.
The issue also contains political reviews for Micronesia and Polynesia and book and media reviews.
The Contemporary Pacific (from volume 12 –present) is available to members of subscribing institutions via the Project MUSE database of journals in the humanities and social sciences. Back issues of the journal are freely available via UH’s ScholarSpace digital institutional archives. http://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10125/2828
The State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program at the Australian National University will be hosting the inaugural State of the Pacific conference, 25–26 June 2013 in Canberra. The aim of the conference is to bring together academics, parliamentarians, policy makers, business leaders, civil society representatives, and the media to share and discuss policy-relevant issues and research on and about the Pacific region. The conference will be structured around the following three themes: State of Democracy (including such things as elections, new states, constitutions); Challenges Facing Small Island States (including issues to do with viability, climate change, migration); and Land (including livelihoods and food security). For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato is organizing a conference to explore indigenous knowledge and research through the themes of innovation, well-being, and inspiration. The conference will be held 30 June–3 July 2013 at Claudelands Event Centre, Hamilton, Aotearoa/New Zealand. For more information, see http://www.waikato.ac.nz/rangahau/hemanawawhenua.
The Australian National University is organizing a conference that will explore the theme of “Pushing Boundaries” and will engage delegates in discussion about significant and controversial issues facing the Asia-Pacific region. Students of all disciplines from all around the world are encouraged to apply. The conference will be held from 30 June to 5 July 2013 at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. For more information, see http://asiapacificweek.anu.edu.au.
The 2nd Marianas History Conference will be held on Guam from 30 to 31 August 2013. The conference theme will highlight the deep and rich history of the Mariana Islands, while also bridging the archipelago’s political division, which dates to the late 1800s. Papers and posters will fall under the following categories: Ancient History; Early Colonial (17th–18th centuries); Late Colonial (19th–early 20th centuries); World War II; Recent (post-war); and Oral History and Genealogical Research. For additional information, see http://guampedia.com.
The 2013 Oceania Development Network Conference will be held 11–12September 2013 at the University of the South Pacific, Fiji. Regional issues discussed will include addressing inequality, opportunities for equality, Pacific voices on gender, structure and opportunities for change, and Pacific policies promote inclusive development and social protection. For additional information, see http://www.gdn-oceania.org.
The 2013 Hawaii Library Association Annual Conference will take place on 8–9 November 2013 at the Aulani (Disney Resort & Spa) at Ko Olina on O‘ahu. This year’s conference theme is “Teaching Library Instruction & Information Literacy: Opportunities, Challenges, and Future Directions.” For more information, see http://hla.chaminade.edu.
The Pacific Islands Political Studies Association (PIPSA) 2014 conference will be held at the University of French Polynesia, Papeete, Tahiti from 3 to5 June 2014. The theme is Political, Economic and Legal Governance in Pacific States and Territories.” The theme covers a broad range of issues relating to the Pacific, and presenters may choose to focus on a theoretical aspect, policy approach, comparative study of countries and territories, individual case studies, or a broad regional approach. The conference will be collaboratively organized in tandem with GDI (Gouvernance et Développement Insulaire), a research group affiliated with the University of French Polynesia as well as the University of Hawaiʻi and the Australian National University. The deadline for the 300-word abstract is 1 November 2013 and the deadline for the paper is 30 April 2014. The abstract and paper in Word format must be sent to Kerryn Baker, PIPSA Secretariat, Australian National University at Kerryn.Baker@anu.edu.au.
The World Conference on Indigenous Peoples will be held in New York in September 2014. The conference will focus on Pacific issues that include climate change, health equality, decolonization, land and cultural protection, violence against women, and militarization. These issues will be discussed along with other global concerns indigenous people throughout the world are experiencing. For additional information, see http://www.eiseverywhere.com/ehome/index.php?eventid=56983&tabid=104922.
The Hawaiian and Pacific Collections will be closed as of 11 May 2013 for approximately eight weeks. Continue reading