UH scholars recognized for indigenous research excellence

March 20, 2017  |   |  Comments
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University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa scholars Kerry Laiana Wong, Daniel Lipe and Kalani Akana are participating in Invited Presidential Session at the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) annual meeting in Texas. The sessions are reserved for scholars who are recognized by AERA as leading authorities in their areas of research.

Kerry Laiana Wong

Laiana Wong

Kerry Laiana Wong

Wong, an associate professor at the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, will participate on the “Genealogies of Indigenous Research: Leadership and the Making of Educational Opportunities” panel, which will examine the challenges that indigenous researchers face within western contexts that often hold narrow understandings of what constitutes research and its dissemination.

Wong, a leading indigenous language revitalization scholar, has gained international recognition for the research he has amassed through the weekly Honolulu Star Advertiser column Kauakūkalahale that he writes with fellow Hawaiʻinuiākea Associate Professor Ron Kekeha Solis. Wong and Solis believe it is critical for Hawaiian language researchers and learners to be able to access new knowledge through an avenue that is easily accessible.

“My work has been inspired by Jewish lexicographer and newspaper editor Eliezer Ben-Yehuda who was a driving force behind the revitalization of Hebrew,” said Wong. “In choosing the newspaper as the primary medium of communication in his efforts to revitalize the Hebrew language, Ben-Yehuda introduced new lexical items into the context of news stories and continued to do so until they were normalized into common use. The regular appearance of Kauakūkalahale each week in the Honolulu Star Advertiser represents an anti-hegemonic move to normalize Hawaiian in a public forum dominated by English.”

Wong is recognized internationally for his ability to write quality thought-provoking research in both Hawaiian and English. “I know of very few researchers who possess the research and language expertise necessary to write and disseminate their research in two languages,” said Linda Tuhiwai Smith of the University of Waikato. “It is fair to say that Dr. Wong has taken a central role in establishing the University of Hawaiʻi as a leading institution in the field of indigenous research.”

Daniel Lipe

Daniel Lipe


Kalani Akana

Kalani Akana

Daniel Lipe and Kalani Akana

UH Mānoa College of Education graduates Daniel Lipe and Kalani Akana will participate in a panel session, entitled “The Promise of Equal Educational Opportunity or the Promise of Self Determination: Indigenous Perspectives.” The panel will examine several issues including what counts as educational opportunity and indigenous self-determination? In what ways the rigor of research is matched by the rigor of methodological frameworks and approaches, interpretation of results and application of knowledge? What steps might research help craft across educational, social and public policies?

Lipe will draw on his research on indigenous knowledge systems and western science. He will critically analyze the underlying values of each and explore ways in which both systems can be utilized side by side. He argues that, until recently, indigenous worldviews have been forcefully removed and placed outside of the realm of science. However, as issues such as global warming increase in both size and complexity, so too does the need for culturally and intellectually diverse frames of reference for identifying solutions to problems.

Akana will focus his research with hei or string figures as a medium of recovery and how these have helped him connect back to his ancestors and their ways of knowing and doing. In particular, Akana will discuss the nature of indigenous knowledge transmission and how a deeper understanding of hei and its role and function in the culture counters the myths and stereotypes imposed on the Hawaiian language and culture by outsiders. He will argue for the importance of indigenous peoples taking responsibility for preserving and expanding their traditional archival spaces.

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