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Indigenous Politics Program
Dept. of Political Science
2424 Maile Way
Saunders Hall Room 640
Honolulu, HI 96822

Indigenous Politics> Summer 2011



Summer Session II: July 5-August 12, 2011


POLS 620 Introduction to Indigenous Politics

POLS 642 Indigenous Peoples and Western Imperialism

(6 Credits total)Students working in a taro patch January 2010



Hokulani K. Aikau and Noenoe Silva

(Indigenous Politics, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)

Taiaiake Alfred and Jeff Corntassel

(Indigenous Governance, University of Victoria)


Land Water and Governance: Reclaiming 'Ćelánen'(Ancestry/Birthright)




Land Water and Governance: Reclaiming 'Ćelánen'(Ancestry/Birthright) offers a unique opportunity for cross-cultural study of indigenous practices in the seminar room as well as in the community. During the second summer session, students will participate in an academic exchange with students and faculty of the Indigenous Governance program at the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island, BC. The course is divided into two parts. Part 1 (July 5-15) will take place at UHM and will reflect a traditional graduate seminar where students will be introduced to land and water issues in Hawaii nei. For part 2 (July 18-30) of the course, students and faculty will travel to Victoria, BC to participate in a place-based, experiential course lead by the IGOV faculty. Upon our return to UHM, after our two-week immersion into land and water politics in the Pacific Northwest, students will present their work in a pubic forum. The 2011 Summer course continues an ongoing informal exchange between UHM Indigenous Politics and the School of Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria, British Columbia (IGOV). Through collaborative, intensive graduate seminars and community work, students engage in dialogue on current and relevant issues facing Indigenous communities in Canada, Hawai‘i and the Pacific. The IGOV program of study follows an approach to learning that is similar to UHM Indigenous Politics. The faculty, staff and students are politically dedicated to Indigenous values and committed to community. IGOV supports the use of innovative teaching methods and aims to provide a sound and challenging educational experience. The IGOV program of study integrates critical and intellectually challenging coursework, an Indigenous ethical framework for conducting research, and long-term, mutually productive working relationships with Indigenous communities.

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The 2011 Summer course focuses on Indigenous Land and Water Based Practices, as lived by local Coast Salish and Strait Salish Peoples on Vancouver Island and the Fraser River. This highly experiential course will allow students to develop a comparative understanding of the impact that major social and economic forces have had on Vancouver Island peoples since colonial invasion. Students and faculty will focus on three theoretical and practical areas:

  • Decolonization by regenerating land and water-based practices;
  • Education and youth work; and
  • Food sovereignty.


The goals of this Summer course are to allow for a hands-on, community-based learning experience for UH Mānoa and UVic students, to help facilitate dialogue with a broader perspective on topics related to Indigenous political thought and action, and to have the opportunity to bring international awareness to the realities of Indigenous communities in Canada and Hawai‘i. The course curriculum will include classroom-based lectures from both UVic and UH faculty, interspersed with onsite visits to local Indigenous communities so that participants can learn about and participate in traditional land and water based practices. WASANEC artist Charles Elliott

Planned activities include a visit to local WASANEC artist Charles Elliott’s carving studio to learn about local culture, protocol, and the ancient art of canoe making; a traditional Salish pit cook on the beach of the west coast of Vancouver Island; travel to the mainland to experience the various elements of fish camp on the Fraser River with the Cheam First Nation; and a tour of colonial Victoria to identify places of significance to local Indigenous peoples and the colonial institutions and names that now mark them. Through these experiences, course participants will develop an intimate awareness of local culture and practices, while engaging with broader strategies of resistance and resurgence.

The course will be offered as a six credit graduate seminar through Outreach College during the second Summer Session.  Indigenous Politics students from UHM will register for POLS 620 “Introduction to Indigenous Politics,” and POLS 642 “Western Imperialism and Indigenous Peoples.” 

Part 1 (July 5-15) at UHM. Structured as a graduate seminar where students read and discuss land and water issues in Hawaii nei, as well as develop a knowledge base about indigenous land issues in BC.
Part 2 (July 18-30) at Victoria, BC. Students and faculty participate in a place-based, experiential course focused on land and water politics in the Pacific Northwest led by the Indigenous Governance faculty from the University of Victoria.
Part 3 (August 1-12) at UHM. Students prepare papers on one of the focus areas and present their work in a public forum.

Reading list (partial and tentative):

Chris Arnett. The Terror of the Coast: Land Alienation and Colonial War on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, 1849-1863 (Burnaby: Talonbooks, 1999);

Barman, J.. Leaving Paradise: Indigenous Hawaiians in the Pacific Northwest, 1787-1898 (Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2006);  

Turner, Nancy J. .  Plant technology of first peoples in British Columbia (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1998) reference book/ especially the introduction;

Ummek (E. Richard Atleo). Tsawalk: A Nuu-chah-nulth Worldview (Vancouver: UBC press, 2004);

Wilson, A.C., Wilson, W.A. & Bird, M.Y. For indigenous eyes only (School of American Research, 2005).  

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Protocol and Course Expectations Welcoming ceremony Victoria B.C. 2006


Participants are expected to participate in ALL scheduled events including ceremonies with First Nation hosts, seminars and community work and learning experiences.


In the months prior to the Summer Course participants are expected to pariticipate in preparing makana for the elders, students, and instructors in Victoria, B.C. and ho`okupu for protocol ceremonies on tribal lands. In order to participate fully in protocol ceremonies, participants are also required to learn oli and mele.


The formal exchanging of gifts is an important cultural activity that expresses UHM Indigenous Politics participants’ respect for and gratitude to their hosts. The process of ho‘okupu exchange is also part of a political commitment that affirms the nationhood of first nations peoples upon whose land we will be guests.   Makana are given to students and faculty of the IGOV program to formally renew our intellectual and political relationship and to ensure that our collaboration will continue forward into the future.  Although the exchange between our programs is considered informal according to university standards, the exchange of ho`okupu and makana reflects indigenous protocol for naming and renewing international relationships amongst equals.  It symbolizes our peoplehood as Kanaka ‘Oiwi Hawai‘i as much as it marks our recognition of their nationhood.


Program Costs


UHM Summer tuition (6 credits): $2,232
Airfare Hawai`i to Victoria, BC: $750 **
Lodging at UVIC July 17-30: $630 **for single room
  $392 **shared
Food and incidentals: 500 **
  ** Approximate costs.


TOTAL estimated cost:  $3,874 to $4,112


Some financial aid may be available.

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Application Procedures:


All students currently enrolled as graduate students at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa are eligible to apply to the Summer Course.  Preference will be given those students who express a commitment to their community and to indigenous politics and who can commit to participate in ALL aspects of the course.  If you are interested in enrolling in this course please submit the following:


  1. Write a 500-word essay about your grandmother that serves as an introduction to you, your research interests, community commitments, and interests in indigenous politics. 
  2. Academic CV.
  3. One letter of recommendation from your faculty advisor or mentor in your field.


Applications will be accepted until Friday, March 4, 2011.


NOTE: A valid passport is required to travel between Hawai`i and Canada.


Submit all material to:


Indigenous Politics

Department of Political Science

Saunders Hall Rm. 640

2424 Maile Way

Honolulu, HI  96822


If you have questions please contact indigenous politics by email at:


Or faculty by phone:


Professor Aikau:  (808) 956-8171

Professor Silva:  (808) 956-8030



The Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Hawai`inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge

College of Social Sciences and the Department of Political Science





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