Hawai‘inuiākeaSchool of Hawaiian Knowledge University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Community Engagement Team
The mission of the Hawai‘inuiākeaSchool of Hawaiian Knowledge is to pursue, perpetuate, research, and revitalize all areas and forms of Hawaiian knowledge including its language, origins, history, arts, sciences, literature, religion, and education; its laws and society; its political, medicinal, and cultural practices; as well as all other forms of knowledge.
Our ‘Ohana KamakakūokalaniCenter for Hawaiian Studies offers both bachelor and master degrees in Hawaiian studies. With coursework focused in Hawaiian arts and sciences, history and literature; traditional Hawaiian agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture, the environment and natural resource management; Native Hawaiian rights and western law; land tenure in Hawaiʻi; Hawaiian herbal medicine; social economic and political issues; performing and visual arts, and comparative Polynesian culture. Kawaihuelani center for Hawaiian Language promotes Hawaiian as a viable and vibrant means of facilitating culturally appropriate communicative interaction in a wide array of domains. Kawaihuelani offers bachelor and master degrees in Hawaiian and an undergraduate certificate. The center conducts research in relevant fields of study and offers four years of language study as well as courses on immersion education, curriculum development, and topics of relevant Hawaiian cultural content. Ka Papa Loʻi o Kānewai is host to over 15,000 visitors every year – including children, youth, families, pre-k-12 school programs, university classes and researchers, and visitors from around the globe. Among the many things that this small crew of 4 people do is provide experiential, cultural, and educational learning and teaching about traditional Hawaiian farming methods, in a modern context through practice. Kānewai is, indeed, a puʻuhonua – a refuge for plants, ecosystems and people. Native Hawaiian Student Services Kauhale is an essential unit of the School as its primary function is to recruit, support and foster the successful matriculation of Native Hawaiians at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. As part of Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, the Kauhale has two discrete but related kuleana: To serve Hawai‘inuiākea majors (Hawaiian Language & Hawaiian Studies) and to serve all Native Hawaiian students at UH-Mānoa
A Brief Background Hawai‘inuiākea, established at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 2007, is the newest college on campus and the largest indigenous college in a Research I Institution (perhaps the only one). Since 2008 (arrival of Dean Benham) the School has been working to define, develop, implement, evaluate and sustain a strategic direction that is grounded in three core areas: Knowledge Transmission (Learner/Student focus) Knowledge Generation and Dissemination (Learner/Faculty focus) Community Engagement (Learner/Internal & External focus) These core areas come together creating a synergy that supports the mission of Hawai‘inuiākeato be a source, a beacon, for Hawaiian‘ikeand‘ōlelo.
The Envisioning of Community Engagement Dean Benham states, “The primary aim of university and community engagement efforts is to both envision and enact local community-based, intergenerational leadership that can work across boundaries—geographic, racial, cultural, age, class, or faith (and so on)—by mobilizing collective action to improve local conditions and the quality of life in their communities. The principles that ground the community-engagement work of Hawai‘inuiākeacan be found in four key principles: (a) the concept of hā, (b) the concept of place (‘āina) and space (spirit); (c) the sacredness of mana and its power through relations (past, present, and future); and (d) the concept of individual generosity and collective action, which is our deep kuleana.”
Our Team at the ECE Summit Our team at the upcoming ECE Summit consists of School representatives who are working collaboratively with community partners (in particular our Leeward Coast partners Wai‘anaeKauhale, KS Ka Pua/DOE, and INPEACE). Lia, Konia, Kekeha and Ileana have all participated in past W.K. Kellogg Collective Leadership Exchange retreats. No‘i, our youth representative, participated in the planning of our ECE Summit.
Dr. Lia O’Neill Keawe Dr. Keawe is an Assistant Professor at KamakakūokalaniCenter for Hawaiian Studies. Lia earned her doctorate degree in political science in 2008 from the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa. Her dissertation, "Ki‘iPāpālua: Imagery and colonialism in Hawai‘i" examines the appropriation, misrepresentation, commodification and expropriation of the Hawaiian hula girl image. She is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools and earned a bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Studies and a master's degree in political science at UH Mānoa. Dr. Keawe’s research locates and exposes the structures of colonialism that are often hidden in plain sight. She has focused much of work on communities located on the Leeward Coast of O‘ahu in rewriting and rerighting the mo‘olelo of these communities to realize social justice, self-determination and well-being.
Konia Freitas Since 2006, Konia has used her training and experience as a planner to enhance how the programs in the School of Hawaiian Knowledge serve and interact with the people the university is meant to serve. “The planning background can help me move more and more toward getting the university out of Mānoaand into other places,” says Konia. “We should be in the community, and there should be learning back and forth. It’s not just us downloading information to people as if they don’t know what’s going on. They know what’s going on.” Among Freitas’ contributions are co-writing a successful Title III grant and serving as principal investigator for Kōkua a Puni, and drafting a ten-year plan for Ka Papa Lo‘ioKānewai. The plan helped Kānewai secure a federal HUD grant for capital improvements. Konia is currently working on her Ph.D. in Urban Planning at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
Ileana Ruelas Welina mai. My name is Ileana Haunani Ruelas and I serve as the Community Engagement Coordinator at Hawai‘inuiākea. My role is responsible for creatively developing and implementing college recruitment strategies for underrepresented groups with an emphasis on Native Hawaiians. My formal education background is in the field of Sociology, but I have been greatly influenced by the informal mentorship of many elders in my life. My passions include care for the elderly, prisoner education, advocacy around homelessness issues, food sustainability, dance/music as a mode for sharing stories and voice, and the ea of Hawai‘i.
Dr. Kekeha Solis Dr. Kekeha Solis is Assistant Professor at Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language. Kekeha's research covers language and culture revitalization and worldview utilizing traditional and contemporary sayings. He teaches an array of introductory as well as upper division Hawaiian Language courses. Kekeha is famous amongst his students for his‘ŌleloNo‘eaucourse in which students learn the wit and intelligence kūpunahad when using Hawaiian proverbs. His other popular coursework includes facilitating student ‘voice-over projects using popular films to engage Hawaiian language learners.
No‘iAkaka Ka‘ano‘iAkaka is a Tech Resource Center Assistant for Kōkua a Puni, Native Hawaiian Student Services where her primary responsibilities include conducting tech-related workshops, designing program material, and offering technical assistance to other students. She is currently a 2nd-year undergraduate at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoamajoring in Hawaiian Studies. On her free time, No‘ienjoys hula, sewing, and going to the beach.