Haunani-Kay Trask

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Haunani-Kay Trask is the leading voice of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement.

Haunani-Kay Trask Ph.D. (born October 3, 1949) is a California-born Native Hawaiian academic, activist, documentarist and writer. Trask is a professor of Hawaiiana with the University of Hawaii System and has represented Native Hawaiians in the United Nations and various other global conferences. She is a noted author of several books of poetry and prose, Light in the Crevice Never Seen, Night is a Sharkskin Drum and From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawaii which is a collection of essays on the Hawaiian sovereignty movement. Trask produced Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation, an award-winning film. She also has a public-access television program called First Friday.

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Background

Trask comes from a politically active family. Mililani B. Trask, her younger sister, was a trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs created by the 1978 Hawaii State Constitutional Convention to advance the Native Hawaiian agenda. Trask's grandfather was heavily involved in labor and local politics through the Hawaii Democratic Party.

Education

Trask graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 1967. She then attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison earning her bachelor's degree in 1972, a master's degree in 1975 and a Doctor of Philosophy in political science in 1981. Her dissertation called Eros and Power: The Promise of Feminist Theory was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 1986.

Activism

Trask is considered the most outspoken and visible leader of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement. She is specifically associated with the organization Ka La Hui Hawaii. She vocally opposes the tourism industry and military presence in Hawaii. She identifies with other activists and leaders, most notably Malcolm X and the Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o.

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