Haunani-Kay Trask

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Haunani-Kay Trask
Born (1949-10-03) October 3, 1949 (age 66)
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 Native Hawaiian academic, activist, documentarist and writer. Trask is a professor of Hawaiian Studies with the Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa 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 Hawaii. 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 heads the Hawaiian Studies Program at the University of Hawaii.


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 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]

Personal life[edit]

Trask is the longtime partner of University of Hawaii professor David Stannard.[5]

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.[6]


  • 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,[7] Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation.
  • She also has a public-access television program called First Friday.[8]


  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. ^ Nakao, Annie (May 28, 2005). "The 1932 murder that exposed the hole in Hawaii's idyllic facade". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ "Na Maka o ka Aina". Retrieved May 28, 2005. 
  8. ^ "Land, Leadership, And Nation: Haunani Kay Trask On The Testimonial Uses Of Life Writing In Hawaii". Retrieved May 28, 2005. 

External links[edit]