Words from the Wise--Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui

[Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui]

Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui is an associate professor of American studies and anthropology at Wesleyan University, where she teaches courses on Native American sovereignty issues, U.S. colonialism in the Pacific Islands, and U.S. racial formations, and critical race methodologies. Her first book, Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Indigeneity and Sovereignty, is forthcoming from Duke University Press in October 2008. She is currently co-editing a book with Andrea Lee Smith, Native Feminisms: Without Apology (under review, University of Minnesota Press) and is currently embarking on two new book monographs: Mana Wahine Hawaiian Decolonization that explores gender politics in indigenous Hawaiian nationalist struggles, and Hawaiian New England: The Grammar of American Colonialism. She is also the host and producer of a weekly public affairs radio program, Indigenous Politics: From Native New England and Beyond, at WESU, Middletown, Conn., which is syndicated through the Pacifica radio-network.

[Kauanui's first book- Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Indigeneity and Sovereignty]

Dr. Kauanui on the dangers of having Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders subsumed under the general ethnic categories of Asian-Pacific American (APA) and Asian Pacific Islander (API)

The problematic terms “Asian-Pacific American” (APA) and “Asian Pacific Islander” (API) not only offer no recognition that Pacific Islanders already constitute a pan-ethnic group that is distinct from Asian Americans, they also efface Pacific political claims based on indigeneity. For example, indigenous Pacific Islanders who have ties to islands that were forcibly incorporated into the United States (Hawai`i, Guam, American Samoa) have outstanding sovereignty and land claims, based on international principles of self-determination, which get erased by the categorization with Asians. Hence the frameworks for understanding the ills affecting Pacific peoples and their political claims are shaped by imperialism and settler colonialism, not simply civil rights.
--Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui
Read more articles by Dr. Kauanui HERE

Sunday, November 30, 2008