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Asian Pacific Islander Caucus
Promoting & Empowering Asian & Pacific Islander Americans

  Haunani-Kay Trask, NCORE 2009 (San Diego, California) Keynote Speaker API Caucus   

Steering Com

traskHaunani-Kay Trask

Keynote Address: Militarism and Tourism in the Pacific.
Haunani-Kay Trask, Ph.D., Professor, Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai’i—Manoa, Hawai’i

Haunani-Kay Trask, a Native Hawaiian, best-known indigenous leader, and human rights organizer in her Native land of Hawai‘i. Professor Trask descends from a long line of Native orators. Her grandfather, a Hawai’i territorial senator and her father, a lawyer and advocate for Hawaiians, were among the political figures known for their speechmaking and political contributions toward securing Native land rights in Hawai’i. Today, Professor Trask is widely considered an authority on Hawaiian political issues, as well as an internationally-known Indigenous human rights advocate.

Born in California, Trask has represented Native Hawaiians in the United Nations and various other global forums. She has spoken at venues across the Pacific, including New Zealand and Australia, in the United States and Canada, in Europe, including at the United Nations in Geneva, the Human Rights forum in Strasbourg, the Basque country in Spain and in Africa at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. For the past twenty years, Trask has enlightened audiences about conditions facing indigenous peoples, including the global struggle for human rights. Described by the San Francisco Examiner as the “radical firebrand, feminist author and native daughter of royal blood who is one of the leaders of a growing sovereignty movement in Hawai‘i,” Trask was ranked one of the top Native leaders in a 2001 poll taken by The Honolulu Advertiser.

Trask has authored four books, including the bestseller, From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai‘i. Alice Walker has called the book, “A masterpiece on decolonization,” that is “so powerful, it will change the way you think about Hawai‘i and all the lands seized by force forever.” From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawaii is a collection of essays on the Hawaiian sovereignty movement. Trask produced the award-winning film, Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation. She also has a public-access television program called First Friday. Dr. Trask’s dissertation was revised into a book entitled Eros and Power: The Promise of Feminist Theory and was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 1986.

Trask has at times been an outspoken and visible leader within the Hawaiian sovereignty movement. She opposes the tourism industry and the United States military presence in Hawaii. She identifies with other activists and leaders, most notably Malcolm X, Franz Fanon and the Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o. She also maintains a friendship with Ward Churchill, Angela Davis and Alice Walker. More recently Trask has spoken against the Akaka Bill.