“Education for the nation”: Forging indigenous Hawaiian identity in higher education

2003 2003

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

The very mention of Hawai'i conjures up images of sultry, lazy days spent on iridescent beaches under brilliant azure skies. Missing from this seemingly benign tourist view of Hawai'i is the indigenous people. Native Hawaiians occupy the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder in their own homeland. One particular way in which many Hawaiians are problematizing this unfavorable status is through education.

Part asserting Native self-determination is the development of Native-centered or culturally-centered educational contexts like Hawaiian Language Immersion and Native Hawaiian Charter Schools. These schools transform traditional K–12 educational structures into culturally-relevant educational systems by actively incorporating traditional knowledge, cultural norms, and contemporary culture into its pedagogy and curriculum. Consequently, central to this educational process involves the deliberate cultivation of students' individual and collective indigenous cultural identities. The challenge for current education research is to understand how this culturally-centered educational process influences students and, in turn, how this understanding can be used to improve, expand, and even further transform educational processes for Hawaiians.

Research discerning the interplay between higher education and Hawaiian identity is non-existent. Despite this gap in the academic discourse, though, there is a rich body of literature chronicling the experiences of other students of color attending same ethnicity higher education institutions (like American Indian Tribal Colleges) and its positive influences on cultural identity formation. As such, this qualitative study explores the complex and multidimensional relationship between Native Hawaiian identity and Native Hawaiian higher education, as defined and experienced by 10 graduates of the Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.

Indexing (details)

Higher education;
Minority & ethnic groups;
Bilingual education;
Multicultural education
0745: Higher education
0631: Minority & ethnic groups
0631: Sociology
0282: Bilingual education
0282: Multicultural education
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Education; Hawaiian; Higher education; Identity; Indigenous; Native Hawaiian
“Education for the nation”: Forging indigenous Hawaiian identity in higher education
Wright, Erin Kahunawaika'ala
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 65/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Astin, Helen S.
University of California, Los Angeles
University location
United States -- California
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.