Mahalo Haunani Kay Trask
"Our culture has to be the core of our mana." Haunani-Kay Trask
We invite you to take this time to remember and uplift the work of Dr Haunani-Kay Trask: Native Hawaiian, Mana Wahine, Activist, Author, Kumu, Poet, Scholar, and Visionary.
Haunani-Kay was a person whose clear understanding of our history moved her to her own form of personal action. Now that we are all in possession of our own levels of understanding, what can we do with this knowledge and insight?
Ideally, we let our leo be heard, understood, shared. We work together with insight, compassion, and understanding. We have evolved from our own perception of ourselves as angry to reasonable people resolute in truths that are steady and will prevail.
We continue to do what Haunani-Kay did in her own way: we work to heal intergenerational cultural trauma through steadfast truth and aloha.
Born in 1949 to Haunani and Bernard Trask, Haunani is a descendant from Aliʻi Nui lineages of Māui & Kauʻi. Nurtured and surrounded by a family of Hawaiian politicians, Trask would go on to champion the movement for indigenous rights, Hawaiian Sovereignty, and the rights of the Hawaiian people in many ways. A student of knowledge, she earned her BA, MA, and PhD in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She became a Professor at the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa, and would eventually become a founding member and prominent visionary for the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies.
Learn more about Dr. Traskʻs academic accolades & work here:
Outside of her academic work, Dr. Haunani-Kay Trask’s work also includes, but is not limited to: fighting against gender-based violence, opposing gentrification of Waimānalo, fighting evictions of Native Hawaiians from Sand Island, and being a critical voice in challenging colonization of Indigenous land.
Locally-owned news-site Civil Beat shares a beautiful tribute to Dr Traskʻs work and legacy here:
Below are a list of her selected works:
- Eros and Power: The Promise of Feminist Theory (1986)
- From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawaiʻi (1993)
- Light in the Crevice Never Seen (1994)
- Night Is a Sharkskin Drum (2002)
- Kūʻē: Thirty Years of Land Struggle in Hawaiʻi (2004)
- Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation (documentary film, 1993)
- Haunani-Kay Trask: We Are Not Happy Natives (educational CD, 2002)
Of poetry, Trask explains that "The genre of poetry can use everyday statements for political analysis. A metaphor can be more political than a declarative statement because it gets to the heart of the feeling, and a metaphor says many things in a small moment." Below is her poem entitled Pūowaina: Flag Day from her book "Night Is A Sharkskin Drum":
Feel free to download this poem as well as her pieces Nā ʻŌiwi & At Punaluʻu here.
Trask will forever be remembered as a fierce warrior at the forefront of the fight for Hawaiian Sovereignty & the self-determination for the Hawaiian people. She was never one to stay quiet, evident in her always articulate and strong speeches- speeches that will touch the hearts and minds for many years to come.
Amongst many of her speeches, there is one in particular that has and will continue to transcend time. Trask, standing tall at the rotunda at ʻIolani Palace on January 17, 1993, shouts:
“We are not American! We will die as Hawaiians, we will never be American!”
Please join us in celebrating the power of her leo with just a few of her numerous interviews, talks, and rousing speeches:
The Nā Mea and Native Books ʻOhana has proudly housed three of Traskʻs work: From a Native Daughter and Night is a Sharkskin Drum and Kūʻē: Thirty Years of Land Struggle In Hawaiʻi. While the first two titles are currently sold out, we are hoping to have re-stocks in the near future. Until then, please enjoy the Kūʻē: Thirty Years of Land Struggle in Hawaiʻi. as well as resources above in remembrance of our fearless advocate.