Philosophy

At UHIP, we understand indigeneity to be a political category that recognizes the connection of autochthonous peoples to their lands, and the international alliances and interconnections amongst peoples who identify as Indigenous.

We believe that place matters. Because of our location, the study of Indigenous Politics in Hawai‘i must begin with and be accountable to Kanaka ‘Ōiwi Hawai‘i, the original people of these islands. We are also Pacific-centered because of our familial, genealogical, linguistic, and historical relations to the other Indigenous Peoples of Oceania.

Indigenous politics, as we see, teach, and practice it, is inherently interdisciplinary. Students in this program will examine the breadth and dynamism of the issues and movements that constitute the field of indigenous politics. Our goals are to facilitate learning about the field and to nurture individuals who engage in a critical praxis of indigenous politics. Students are encouraged to analyze the ways various axes of power—such as race, gender, sexuality, and class—intersect with indigeneity.

About Our Logo

UHIP is honored to partner with Kanaka Maoli artist Carl Pao. As part of this partnership, Carl designed the UHIP logo, which evokes three elements of our program.

Kāpala

Kāpala refers to an age-old Hawaiian form of printing. Stamps, typically made from bamboo, were the implement used to impart highly-developed and stylized designs that often told stories. The kāpala element of our logo signifies the ways UHIP trains students to write and to find their own unique, scholarly voice. Students strengthen their abilities to compose and to publish for a range of audiences within and beyond the academy. The design also resembles the ihe—or spear—which evokes the need to equip people for conflict and struggle. Indigenous communities around the world are engaged in struggles to restore health and well-being, which includes political autonomy.

Papamū

The papamū is the board used for the Hawaiian game of strategy, kōnane. UHIP trains students to think politically, to read fields of power and to build skills that will allow them to engage the world around them. Politics requires both theory and action; both abstraction and material labor; both planning and spontaneity.

Muliwai

The muliwai, or estuary, is a partly-contained, coastal body of brackish water, fed by springs, rivers or streams and with a free connection to the ocean. It is the term for a place where fresh and seawater meet. The muliwai is always shaped by the landscape in which that meeting happens, and it is a rich and fertile environment for new growth. Importantly, the muliwai is not a place where organisms remain once they are strong enough to leave. Similarly, we see UHIP as a place for convergence, nourishment and challenge. Its semi-sheltered nature allows students to try out new ideas and approaches. Yet the space is also open to the wider worlds in which we participate.