I am a historian of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific and a founding member of the Ethnic Studies Department at UH Mānoa. I grew up and live in Kaiwiʻula, Kapālama, Oʻahu. During summers I stayed with my maternal grandparents in Waiakea, Hawaiʻi. I also live in Hoʻolehua, Molokaʻi and as a member of the Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana help steward the lands of Kanaloa Kahoʻolawe. My teaching philosophy is "Ma ka hana ka ʻike"–One learns through hands-on experience. Aloha ʻāina–Love, honor & respect: land and nature; spiritual life forces; Hawaiian national sovereignty–is at the heart of my courses on Native Hawaiians, Land Tenure & Use; and Economic Change in Hawaiʻi.
- PhD, Hawaiian/Pacific History, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 1989
- MA, Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 1979
- PD, Secondary Education, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 1973
- BA, Asian/Pacific History, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 1973
- BEd, Secondary Education, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 1972
My ongoing research & engagement focuses on the persistence of ancestral Hawaiian subsistence, cultural & spiritual customs, beliefs & practices in rural communities–Molokaʻi; Puna, Kaʻu & Waipiʻo on Hawaiʻi; Keʻanae-Wailuanui & Hāna on Maui and Waiahole-Waikane on Oʻahu–featured in my book Nā Kuaʻāina: Living Hawaiian Culture. Currently I am documenting the livelihoods of the original Hawaiian residents of Kalaupapa. The continuity of Native Hawaiian governance of Hawaiʻi and its re-establishment today is another focus of scholarship & responsibility. I am leading the Ethnic Studies effort to re-launch the Center for Oral History as focus of excellence for the College of Social Sciences.
I am active with the Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana, helping to coordinate the cultural field work to the island. I am a director of the Molokaʻi Land Trust seeking to protect & restore the land, natural & cultural resources of Molokaʻi to perpetuate the island's unique Native Hawaiian traditions. I am working with Hui Malama O Moʻomomi to designate the Moʻomomi north coast of Molokai as a Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area. I am also collaborating with the the Limu Hui to conduct an oral history of their kupuna members. I assist communities with protecting cultural resources. Opportunities are provided to students in my classes get involved in these community initiatives