Dr Haunani-Kay Trask 03 October 1949 - 03 July 2021
"Our teacher, colleague and friend, Haunani Kay Trask passed away this morning. Professor Trask was a fearless advocate for the Kānaka Maoli and was responsible for inspiring thousands of brilliant and talented Hawaiians to come to the University of Hawaiʻi.
But she also inspired our people everywhere to embrace their ancestry and identity as Hawaiians and to fight for the restoration of our nation. She gave everything she had as a person to our Lāhui and her voice, her writing and her unrelenting passion for justice will, like our Queen, always represent our people. E ola mau loa e Haunani Kay Trask, ʻaumakua of the poet warrior." - Jonathan Osorio, Hawai'inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge Dean
Pacific people all over the world are mourning the loss of Dr Haunani-Kay Trask, an esteemed leader of indigenous sovereignty in Hawaii, who fought many effective battles against the US for Kanaka Maoli, and whose mana is upheld around the region.
Her extraordinary journey, and the impact she has made on Moana people here -
For nearly four decades, through her extensive academic work and activism, Trask has been a critical voice in what she called, “the modern Hawaiian movement” and the broader Hawaiian sovereignty movement.
She burst onto Hawaiʻi’s political scene in the late 1970s. Throughout her career she advocated for issues such as resisting gender-based violence against women and supporting indigenous nations; the relationships between indigenous peoples, particularly Native Hawaiians, and the United States; and women’s leadership in the Hawaiian movement.
She is credited with co-founding the contemporary field of Hawaiian studies and battling against gender and racial biases to secure tenure at UH Mānoa. Trask ultimately served as a tenured member of the UH faculty for more than 30 years and was the founding director of the UH Mānoa Center for Hawaiian Studies.
Her accomplishments are too numerous to list, but include famously challenging white male anthropologists who claimed authority to speak and write about cultural and political movements in Hawaiʻi and Oceania and becoming involved in land struggles on Oʻahu.
She is a founding member of Ka Lahui Hawai'i, the state’s largest sovereignty organization and spoke & wrote boldly about Native Hawaiian rights, institutional racism, gender discrimination and the United Nations Declaration on the rights of the Indigenous Peoples.
She opposed the evictions of Hawaiians from Sand Island, the development of Heʻeia wetlands near her childhood home and the gentrification of Waimānalo. She argued that these were “ceded lands” that should belong to a sovereign Hawaiian national government.
Trask’s academic work on these issues and more include books of theory and poetry; a television series; an award-winning documentary film; political oratory; countless op-ed and review essays; educational program-building and more.
In 2019 she was awarded the Angela Y. Davis Prize by the American Studies Association (ASA). The honour recognizes scholars who have applied or used their scholarship for the public good. It’s namesake, Angela Davis, is a prominent black feminist writer, activist and critical voice in black freedom struggles.
Information above taken from the University of Hawaii news, read the full article here