Haunani-Kay Trask

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Haunani-Kay Trask
Born (1949-10-03) October 3, 1949 (age 67)
California, U.S.
Ethnicity Hawaiian
Education Kamehameha Schools (1967)
Alma mater University of Wisconsin–Madison (1972)
Occupation Author, professor
Partner(s) David Stannard
Relatives Arthur K. Trask (uncle)
Mililani B. Trask (sister)

Haunani-Kay Trask (born October 3, 1949) is a Hawaiian nationalist, educator, political scientist and writer whose genealogy connects her to the Piʻilani line on her maternal side and the Kahakumakaliua line on her paternal line. She grew up on Oʻahu and continues to reside there. Trask worked as a professor of Hawaiian Studies with the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa until her retirement and has represented Native Hawaiians in the United Nations and various other global forums. She is the author of several books of poetry and nonfiction.

Early life and education[edit]

Trask was born in California, grew up in Hawaii, and comes from a politically active family. Mililani B. Trask, her younger sister, is an attorney on the Big Island and was a trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs created by the 1978 Hawaii State Constitutional Convention to administer lands held in trust for Native Hawaiians and use the revenue to fund Native Hawaiian programs.

Trask graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 1967. She then attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison, earning her bachelor's degree in 1972, a master's degree in 1975 and a PhD in political science in 1981. Her 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 opposes tourism to Hawaii and the U.S. military's presence in Hawaiʻi. More recently Trask has spoken against the Akaka Bill, a bill to establish a process for Native Hawaiians to gain federal recognition similar to the recognition that some Native American tribes currently possess.[1]

Collegiate work[edit]

Trask is professor emeritus on Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.


As a poet, Trask believes in and utilizes the "art as an anvil" approach in her writing. Believing that Native Hawaiians have been shunted off to the margins of society, she employs the words of her "works as weapons against the oppressor."[2]


Trask considers the United States and its citizens her enemy and the enemy of the Hawaiian people, saying "The Americans, my people, are our enemies."[3] She stated to her students that "We need to think very, very clearly about who the enemy is. The enemy is the United States of America and everyone who supports it."[4] She has referred to non-indigenous Hawaiians, whether they be of Asian or white descent, as "settlers". Trask has stated that "I am NOT an American. I am NOT an American. I will DIE before I am an American." This statement has been criticized by some as she was born in the contiguous United States and is thus a U.S. citizen.[5]

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has condemned Trask for her anti-American statements, stating that such vitriol helps fuel racism in Hawaii.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Trask is the longtime partner of University of Hawaii professor David Stannard.[7]

Trask's uncle, Arthur K. Trask, is an active member of the Democratic Party and a supporter of Hawaiian rights. David Trask, Jr., another uncle, was the head of Hawaii's white collar public employees' union, the Hawaii Government Employees Association, an affiliate of AFSCME, and an early proponent of collective bargaining for Hawaii's public employees. Trask's grandfather, David Trask, was a member of the legislature of the Territory of Hawaii for twenty-six years as a Democrat. He was a key proponent of Hawaii Statehood.[8]


  • Light in the Crevice Never Seen
  • Night Is a Sharkskin Drum
  • Eros and Power: The Promise of Feminist Theory which is a revised version of Trask's Ph.D. dissertation.
  • From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawaii which is a collection of essays on the Hawaiian sovereignty movement.
  • Trask also produced the award-winning film,[9] Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation.
  • She also has a public-access television program called First Friday.[10]


  1. ^ Pro, con articles on Akaka bill fail to address land issues, Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, May 2, 2004
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Haunani Trask. A Conversation with Haunani Trask 3:42, 1993. 
  4. ^ Williams, Walter (October 23, 2013). "Loving and Hating America". Retrieved April 5, 2015. 
  5. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20160303174917/http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/sepnatcommoncore.html
  6. ^ Keller, Larry (August 30, 2009). "Hawaii Suffering From Racial Prejudice". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved April 1, 2016. 
  7. ^ Nakao, Annie (May 28, 2005). "The 1932 murder that exposed the hole in Hawaii's idyllic facade". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ "Na Maka o ka Aina". Retrieved May 28, 2005. 
  10. ^ "Land, Leadership, And Nation: Haunani Kay Trask On The Testimonial Uses Of Life Writing In Hawaii". Retrieved May 28, 2005. 

External links[edit]