Mililani Trask

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Mililani B. Trask
Mililani Trask.JPG
Mililani Bernardette Trask

Honolulu, Hawaii, US
OccupationIndigenous Consultants LLC (2009-Present), Executive Director, Gibson Foundation (1988-2004), Consultant to World Indigenous Peoples

Mililani Trask is a leader of the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement and a political speaker and attorney. One of Trask's contributions to the Hawaiian sovereignty movement was her founding of Na Koa Ikaika o Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi, a native Hawaiian non-governmental organization.[1]

Outside of Hawaiʻi, Trask has worked with the United Nations to aid indigenous people from around the world seeking independence. She was a member of the Indigenous Initiative for Peace, helped author the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and was elected vice chair of the General Assembly of Nations of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization.[2] For seven years, she worked and studied under the guidance of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.[3] She is the younger sister of activist and writer, Professor Haunani-Kay Trask.[1]


Mililani Trask was born on the island of Oahu in Honolulu, Hawaii and she has four siblings. Mililani's mother, Huanani Cooper was a school teacher and Huanani’s mother, Iwalani Haia, worked for the Benevolent Societies on Maui while also engaging in efforts to raise awareness around the 1893 overthrow of Queen Lili‘uokalani.[4] Mililani's father, Bernard Trask was a lawyer.[5] Mililani’s grandfather, David Trask, was the first sheriff in Honolulu and was affiliated with the Territorial Legislature for 26 years. Her uncle, David Trask Jr. was a senator, a state representative and a leader of the Hawaii Government Employees Association. He was credited for bringing the power of collective bargaining to the union[6]. Her other uncle, Arthur Trask was a layer and political figure for the Democratic Party who was well known for his abilities as an orator and storyteller.[7]

Office of Hawaiian Affairs[edit]

Mililani Trask worked for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from 1998 to 2000 as a Trustee at Large. After the passage of the Rice Decision in 2000 gave non-Hawaiians voting access in OHA elections, Mililani lost her bid for reelection despite the fact that she won the 1998 election by a previously unprecedented number of votes cast by Hawaiians since the formation of OHA in 1978. In 2016 she ran for the Big Island OHA Trustee position on the grounds that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs needed to be more accountable to its beneficiaries. In press interviews and meetings on the topic, she has addressed the need for reform and a change in leadership. Although she did not win the 2016 election, she urged Native Hawaiians to vote.[8]

“OHA wants to retain wardship - have the state provide it with the revenue, but they are not willing to work with their own people to provide critical needs like housing and poverty alleviation. We have to stop making the goal of self-governance be the opportunity to suck at the state and federal teet. It is not that. It is economic self-sufficiency and that’s where we should be going and we’re not.”

— Mililani Trask

Mililani Trask has stated that, because the decisions made by OHA impact all of Hawaii, there needs to be more accountability and a focus on the most critical needs of Hawaiians in terms of education, housing, healthcare, incarceration, poverty and jobs instead of political campaigns. Mililani Trask also holds eighteen years of experience with ceded Hawaiian land trusts and affordable housing.[9]

Further reading[edit]

  • Mast, Robert H.; Mast, Anne B. (1996). Autobiography of protest in Hawaiʻi. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press Press. pp. ISBN 9780824817848.


  1. ^ a b Tourism and indigenous people: a resource guide. Ecumenical Coalition on Third World Tourism. 1995. p. 12. OCLC 35021069.
  2. ^ Tsai, Michael (July 2, 2006). "Mililani Trask". The Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved February 4, 2010.
  3. ^ Burchett, Elisa (November 22, 2006). "Elisa Burchett asks, 'Will African Group Proposal Derail Entire Indigenous Declaration Process?'". U.N. Observer. Archived from the original on 7 November 2007. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
  4. ^ Wong-Wilson, Noe Noe; Trask, Mililani (2005). "A Conversation with Mililani Trask". The Contemporary Pacific. 17 (1): 142–156. doi:10.1353/cp.2005.0034. ISSN 1527-9464.
  5. ^ "About". Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  6. ^ "Labor leader David Trask Jr., who brought HGEA into modern era, dies". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. 2016-02-19. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  7. ^ "Arthur K. Trask, lawyer, politician | The Honolulu Advertiser | Hawaii's Newspaper". Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  8. ^ "Keli'i Akina and Mililani Trask Team-up to Reform OHA > Hawaii Free Press". Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  9. ^ "Mililani B. Trask". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. 2016-07-26. Retrieved 2018-10-07.