Haunani-Kay Trask

Haunani-Kay Trask (born October 3, 1949) is an American-born academic, activist, documentarist and writer. Of Native Hawaiian descent, 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.

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]


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 derogatorily 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]

Her books,

  • 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]


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