Na Moolelo Lecture Series Video Archive

"Waves of Resistance"

Dr. Isaiah Walker | January 12, 2020

Surfing has been a significant sport and cultural practice in Hawaii for hundreds of years. While our moolelo record many ancient surfing stories, hee nalu endured throughout the mid and late 1900s when it was popularized by kanaka like Jonah Kuhio, Victoria Kaiulani, 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 poina 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-Hawaii where he teaches Hawaiian and World History. He specializes in the history of hee nalu and argues that the poina nalu (surf zone) has been a kind of puuhonua 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 Hawaii. He was born and raised in Hilo and currently resides in Punaluu, Oahu, with his wife and 5 keiki. 

"The Queen and I"

Dr. Sydney Iaukea | October 2019

This moolelo 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 Hawaii’s crucial Territorial era. Spurred by questions surrounding inter generational property disputes in her immediate family, she delves into Hawaii’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 Hawaii—in particular, Curtis P. Iaukea’s trusted position with the Hawaiian Kingdom’s last ruling monarch, Queen Liliuokalani. 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 Hawai'i 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 Hawaii"

Ilima Long | November 21, 2018

Between 1907 and World War II, a number of eugenics initiatives were introduced in Hawaii. 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 Hawaii 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 Hawaii.

"The Royal Mausoleum"

Nanette Napoleon | October 2, 2018

Built in 1865, the Royal Mausoleum at Mauna Ala 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 Nuuanu, this sacred site represents the legacy of Hawaiian monarchs and stands as a symbol of Hawaii pride.

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

"Privatizing Aina"

Umi Perkins | September 12, 2018

During the period of privatization of land in Hawaii (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 Hawaii. 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.

"Na Kilo Ao Maiki: Observing the Microbial Realm"

Dr. Kiana Frank | August 22, 2018

By better understanding the microbial mookuauhau of our aina - bridging cultural and historical knowledge systems - we can begin to decode the insight left to us by our kupuna 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 Hawaii, 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 Hawaii 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 Kalakaua founded the Royal Order "Ka Hoku O Osiania." It embodied Kalakaua'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.

"He Mo'olelo No Nā Mea Waiwai Ali'i"

Halena Kapuni-Reynolds | May 30, 2018

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

Halena Kapuni-Reynolds is a Ph.D. student and Kanaka Oiwi born and raised on Hawaii Island in the Hawaiian homestead community of Keaukaha. He addressed Indigenous curation, with a focus on the ways that Kanaka Oiwi and local museum professionals marry their professional responsibilities with indigenous sensibilities when caring for alii museum collections. The talk-story, “He Moolelo No Na Mea Waiwai Alii: Caring for Alii 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 Kanaka Maoli - to tend to the aina 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 Kanaka 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. 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.

"Kaulana Na 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 Hawaii's rich and complex history. The current archive of olelo Hawaii (Hawaiian language) primary resources is both pacific and rich—more than 100,000 pages of nupepa olelo Hawaii (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 Hawaii 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 Hawaii and highlight some of the complexities that make this history so relevant today.

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

"Museums and the Modern Day Moo"

Noelle Kahanu | April 4, 2018

In this discussion, Kahanu addresses the questions: "If museum professionals are modern day moo, 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 Hawaii at Manoa. 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 Moo,” 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.