Nā Moʻolelo Lecture Series Video Archive

"Hawaiian Youths Abroad"

Nālani Balutski | May 10, 2020

Between 1880 and 1887, 18 Hawaiians were selected and funded by the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom to participate in the Hawaiian Youths Abroad program, one of the earliest study abroad programs in the world. Studying in Italy, England, Scotland, China, Japan and the United States, the young scholars were selected by King Kalakaua to become future leaders of an independent and progressive nation, the Hawaiian Kingdom. In this lecture, Nālani Balutski will discuss the origins of Hawaiian Youths Abroad and explore the results of its resurgence in 2018 after what’s regarded as a 126-year hiatus.

Brandi Jean “Nālani” Balutski is from Kahaluu, Oahu and is a research & assessment specialist for the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa’s Hawaiinuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge and Native Hawaiian Student Services. In this role, she designs and implements critical, original research on Native Hawaiian higher educational access and success. She is also responsible for coordinating program evaluation and academic assessment efforts for both the college’s degree programs as well as external and co-curricular programming. She received her Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Loyola Marymount University and her Master’s degree in Hawaiian studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa. Her research interests center around critical race theory, indigenous student success, institutional research, and indigenous evaluation. She is a past Vice President of the Hawaiʻi-Pacific Evaluation Association (H-PEA), a local affiliate of the American Evaluation Association. She has co-authored two book chapters, and has presented at conferences locally, nationally and internationally.

"Following In Kapiʻolani's Footsteps"

Colette Higgins | April 12, 2020

While many people are familiar with the life and legacy of Queen Kapiʻolani, few know about her incredible voyage to London to attend Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee celebrations in 1887. In this lecture, Colette Higgins will describe the length and complexity of the trip while sharing insights from her own voyage to travel - quite literally - in the footsteps of the late Queen.

Colette Higgins, a self-described “typical local girl,” was born and raised in Hawaiʻi and lives in Kāneʻohe. She currently serves as dean of academic affairs, division I & academic support at Windward Community College, where she continues to conduct research and present on the life and legacy of Queen Kapiʻolani. Higgins received her Bachelor’s degree in history and anthropology and Master’s degrees in history and Pacific Islands history from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa. Before joining Windward Community College, she served as a professor of history at Kapiʻolani Community College, where she was employed for 24 years and taught world history, Hawaiian history, Pacific Islands history and a College Success course. A strong service-learning advocate, Higgins has encouraged her students to serve in the community to enhance their understanding of Hawaiian history. She believes that student and faculty excursions to the loʻi kalo (taro patch) and loko iʻa (fishpond) provide unforgettable learning-by-doing experiences that make Hawaiian culture come alive. Her dedication to her students won her the Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2002, and the UH Board of Regents’ Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007.

"A Native Nationalistic Celebration: King Kalākaua’s Coronation Ceremony"

Dr. Tiffany Lani Ing | February 9, 2020

Known as the “Merrie Monarch,” King David Kalākaua was acknowledged to a far greater degree for his keen intellect, marked efficiency, and sophisticated diplomacy by nineteenth-century Hawaiian and Englishlanguage publications. Reading from Reclaiming Kalākaua, Dr. Tiffany Lani Ing will examine the moʻi's genealogy of misrepresentation and seek to present a more nuanced and complete amplification of Kalākaua’s coronation as celebrated in Hawaiʻi using Hawaiian-language materials published during his reign (1874–1891).

Dr. Tiffany Lani Ing, from Mānoa, Oʻahu has a Ph. D. in English from The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and currently is an English teacher at Hālau Ku Mana. Her book, Reclaiming Kalākaua: Nineteenth-Century Perspectives on a Hawaiian Sovereign (UH Press), examines ka Moʻi David Laʻamea Kamananakapu Mahinulani Nalaiaehuokalani Lumialani Kalākaua in English- and Hawaiian-language newspapers, books, travelogues, and other materials published in the United States, abroad, and in Hawai‘i during his reign. Her interests include nineteenth-century Hawaiian-language newspapers, nineteenth-century Kanaka ʻŌiwi narratives of Native nationalism, and post-colonial, indigenous discourse and theory.

"Waves of Resistance"

Dr. Isaiah Walker | January 12, 2020

Surfing has been a significant sport and cultural practice in Hawaiʻi for hundreds of years. While our moolelo record many ancient surfing stories, heʻe nalu endured throughout the mid and late 1900s when it was popularized by kanaka like Jonah Kūhiō, Victoria Kaʻiulani, George Freeth and Duke Kahanamoku. In the last century, facing increased marginalization on land, many Native Hawaiians have found refuge, autonomy, and identity in the waves. In Waves of Resistance Isaiah Walker explains that throughout the twentieth century Hawaiian surfers have successfully resisted colonial encroachment in the poʻina nalu (surf zone). Through such histories of resistance, Walker also explores topics of media misrepresentation, masculinity, and contemporary surfing identities.

Dr. Isaiah Walker is a Professor of History at Brigham Young University-Hawaiʻi where he teaches Hawaiian and World History. He specializes in the history of heʻe nalu and argues that the poʻina nalu (surf zone) has been a kind of puʻuhonua for Hawaiians over the last 200 years. He also contends that Hawaiian surfers played a critical role in resistance to colonialism since the occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom. In addition to writing various academic articles, he is the author of Waves of Resistance: Surfing and History in 20th Century Hawaiʻi. He was born and raised in Hilo and currently resides in Punaluʻu, Oahu, with his wife and 5 keiki.

"The Queen and I"

Dr. Sydney Iaukea | October 2019

This moʻolelo focused on Dr. Iaukea's family connection to Colonel Curtis P. Iaukea and her extensive research done for her book, The Queen and I. In the book, Iaukea ties personal memories to newly procured political information about Hawaiʻi’s crucial Territorial era. Spurred by questions surrounding inter generational property disputes in her immediate family, she delves into Hawaiʻi’s historical archives. There she discovers the central role played by her great-great-grandfather in the politics of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Hawaiʻi—in particular, Curtis P. Iaukea’s trusted position with the Hawaiian Kingdom’s last ruling monarch, Queen Liliʻuokalani. As Iaukea charts her ancestor’s efforts to defend a culture under siege, she reveals astonishing legal and legislative maneuvers that show us how capitalism reshaped cultural relationships. She finds resonant parallels and connections between her own upbringing in Maui’s housing projects, her family’s penchant for hiding property, and the Hawaiian peoples’ loss of their country and lands.

Dr. Sydney Iaukea holds a Ph.D. in political science with a specialty in Hawaiʻi politics. Her book publications are The Queen and I: A Story of Dispossessions and Reconnections in Hawaiʻi, and Kekaʻa: The Making and Saving of North Beach West Maui. Originally from Maui, Sydney is a dedicated community member, instructor, author, and avid surfer.

"Unfit for a Queen: Eugenics and Hawaiian Education in Territorial Hawaiʻi"

Ilima Long | November 21, 2018

Between 1907 and World War II, a number of eugenics initiatives were introduced in Hawaiʻi. Learn more about how these measures helped assimilate Native Hawaiians and other non-whites to American norms while stabilizing control of the new oligarchy in the first decades of US occupation.

Ilima Long is a doctoral student in the Political Science program at University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa. She works at Native Hawaiian Student Services, where she builds programming to support the NHSS mission and prepare students to contribute to life-affirming and de-occupied future in Hawaiʻi.

"The Royal Mausoleum"

Nanette Napoleon | October 2, 2018

Built in 1865, the Royal Mausoleum at Mauna ʻAla houses the iwi (bones) of all but one of the past eight ruling monarchs. In addition, a number of retainers and close family members are also buried there. Located in lower Nuʻuanu, this sacred site represents the legacy of Hawaiian monarchs and stands as a symbol of Hawaiʻi pride.

Nanette Napoleon is a freelance historical researcher, writer and lecturer who focuses on the history and cultures of Hawaiʻi. She is best known as being the state's leading expert on historic cemeteries, and is the author of the book Oʻahu Cemetary Burial Ground & Historic Site.

"Privatizing ʻĀina"

Umi Perkins | September 12, 2018

During the period of privatization of land in Hawaiʻi (1840-1855), kuleana, translated as "native tenants rights," constituted both a right to, and responsibility over, land for Hawaiians. Learn more about the 1850 Kuleana Act, gathering rights, and the radical forgetting of place in the context of this pivotal period.

Umi Perkins, PhD, is a Manoa Academy Scholar at the University of Hawaiʻi. He teaches courses on nonviolence at the Matsunaga Institute for Peace at UH Manoa and Hawaiian history at the Kamehameha Schools. He has written for The Nation, Hawaii Review, The Contemporary Pacific, Summit magazine and many other publications, and co-wrote the screenplay for the upcoming feature film The Islands.

"Nā Kilo Ao Māiki: Observing the Microbial Realm"

Dr. Kiana Frank | August 22, 2018

By better understanding the microbial moʻokūʻauhau of our ʻāina - bridging cultural and historical knowledge systems - we can begin to decode the insight left to us by our kīpuna and better evaluate overall ecosystem health, inform current monitoring, and perpetuate the restoration, sustainability and resilience of our native ecosystems.

Dr. Kiana Frank is an Assistant Professor in the Pacific Biosciences Research Center at the University of Hawaiʻi, Manoa. She studies the microbial dynamics of Hawaiian ecosystems as a mechanism to better understand the connectivity between land and sea, and to perpetuate the restoration, sustainability and resilience of our native ecosystems.

"Before and After: Shangri La"

Kent Severson | August 8, 2018

An important part of modern conversation practice is documentation which includes before and after photographs of everything a conservator does. From mosaics to bronze sculptures, from the ancient to modern world.

Kent Severson is the Conservator at Shangri La, Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design in Honolulu. He is responsible for overseeing the care and preservation of Shangri La's collection of Islamic art. He has participated in active archaeological excavations in Turkey, Greece, Italy and Egypt. The discussion, "Before and After: Shangri La" took place on August 8, 2018.

"Cultural Property, Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, and Western Intellectual Property Systems"

Barron Oda | July 18, 2018

Indigenous peoples are protecting their heritage and traditional knowledge from misappropriation and exploitation by working within Western intellectual property regimes, the same regimes that often fail to recognize Indigenous peoples' interests in their cultural property.

Barron Oda is Co-Chair of the ABA's Section of Science & Technology Law's Museum's and the Arts Law Committee. His practice areas include governance, art, entertainment, museum, cultural property, and intellectual property law. He has taught intellectual property and constitutional law at the Hawaiʻi Pacific University. The discussion, "Cultural Property, Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, and Western Intellectual Property Systems" took place on July 18, 2018.

"Genealogy of the Royal Order of the Star of Oceania"

Dr. Lorenz Gonschor | June 27, 2018

King Kalākaua founded the Royal Order "Ka Hoku O Osiania." It embodied Kalākaua's vision of unifying the remaining independent archipelagos of Oceania under Hawaiian leadership to fend off Western imperialism.

Dr. Lorenz Gonschor is a senior lecturer and associate dean at ʻAtenisi University in Tonga. His research interests include historical and contemporary governance and politics of Oceania, with a special focus on the International relations of the Hawaiian Kingdom. He explored the origins and development of the last royal order created by Hawaiian monarchs and the policy it symbolized. The discussion, “Kau ka ʻiwa, he lā makani”: A genealogy of the Royal Order of the Star of Oceania,” took place on June 27.

"An Uncomfortable Truth: Hawaiʻi has been in a State of War with the United States since 1893"

Dr. Keanu Sai | June 13, 2018

King Kalākaua founded the Royal Order "Ka Hoku O Osiania." It embodied Kalākaua's vision of unifying the remaining independent archipelagos of Oceania under Hawaiian leadership to fend off Western imperialism.

Dr. Keanu Sai is a political scientist specializing in international relations and public law, as well as a faculty member at the University of Hawaiʻi-Windward Community College and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Hawaiʻi College of Education. He addressed the concept of “act of war,” as well as its implications and consequences in the context of international law.

"He Moʻolelo No Nā Mea Waiwai Aliʻi"

Halena Kapuni-Reynolds | May 30, 2018

This talk-story will focus on the ways that Kānaka ʻŌiwi and local museum professionals bring together professional responsibilities with indigenous sensibilities in the care of aliʻi museum collections.

Halena Kapuni-Reynolds is a Ph.D. student and Kanaka ʻŌiwi born and raised on Hawaiʻi Island in the Hawaiian homestead community of Keaukaha. He addressed Indigenous curation, with a focus on the ways that Kanaka ʻŌiwi and local museum professionals marry their professional responsibilities with indigenous sensibilities when caring for aliʻi museum collections. The talk-story, “He Moʻolelo No Na Mea Waiwai Aliʻi: Caring for Aliʻi Museum Collections,” took place on May 30.

"Intimacies: Poetics of a Land Beloved"

Dr. Jonathan Osorio | May 23, 2018

"Intimacies" is about our mele and its significance to understanding our role as Kānaka Maoli - to tend to the ʻāina and to remember who we are.

Dr. Jonathan Osorio is a scholar, professor and popular composer/singer. He addressed the themes of intimacies and Hawaiian mele, and their significance to understanding our role as Kānaka Maoli—to tend to the aina and to remember who we are as a people. The discussion, “Intimacies: Poetics of a Land Beloved,” took place on May 23.

"Kaulana Nā Pua: Claiming Space on the Historical Landscape"

Dr. Ronald Williams, Jr. | April 20, 2018

Dr. Ronald Williams, Jr. highlights how the vast archive of Native Hawaiian language documents are providing new insight to Hawaiʻi's rich and complex history. The current archive of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) primary resources is both pacific and rich—more than 100,000 pages of nūpepa ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language newspapers) and tens of thousands of Hawaiian language letters, government documents, and personal manuscripts. These long-ignored native voices on the history of Hawaiʻi are now claiming space on both the physical landscape and in the minds of a new generation of students and the general public. Dr. Williams's presentation will cover general historiography in Hawaiʻi and highlight some of the complexities that make this history so relevant today.

Dr. Ronald Williams, Jr. of the Hawaiʻi State Archives highlighted how the vast archive of Native Hawaiian language documents are providing new insight to Hawaiʻi’s rich and complex history. The discussion, “Kaulana Nā Pua: Claiming Space on the Historical Landscape,” took place on April 22.

"Museums and the Modern Day Moʻo"

Noelle Kahanu | April 4, 2018

In this discussion, Kahanu addresses the questions: "If museum professionals are modern day moʻo, what are we guarding? Who or what are we protecting?"

Noelle Kahanu is an assistant specialist of Public Humanities and Native Hawaiian programs in the American Studies Department of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Noelle took attendees on a personal and professional journey through the museum field, from Bishop Museum to the British Museum, as she addressed the questions: If museum professionals are modern day moo, what are we guarding? Who or what are we protecting? The discussion, “Museums and the Modern Day Moʻo,” took place on April 4.

The free Na Moolelo Lecture series continues Iolani Palace mission to preserve and share Hawaii’s unique cultural and historical qualities with the community.