Tag Archives: culture_class

Manu Notes for EDUC210

More notes on scrap paper for the Hawaiian Ways of Knowing in education course from meeting with Manu:

For the main project:

What is the purpose of this exercise?

Will it serve my family?

Will it benefit my community?

(Is it moʻo worthy)

How does it extend the quality of our lives?

How is it sustainable?

“Knowledge that holds function at its center moves our students into action & a better understanding of the roles of history and intention” (57).

We will heal and we will be educated by ʻāina. This is key. We will, once again, be “fed” by the tides, rains, stories of place & people made buoyant because this is how culture survives. Let us shape our school lessons by this ideal and let us shape our lives accordingly.

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Twinkies and the Dillybars: Ascriptive and Subjective Identities

The Twinkies and the Dilly Bars

Poem in two voices on ascriptive and subjective identities

I. The realist looks like an essentialist behind closed doors

Self-portrait:                                                   Self portrait:

Hair: doodoo brown                                       Hair: doodoo brown

Eyes: doodoo brown                                       Eyes: doodoo brown

Nose: upepe                                                     Nose: upepe

Hips: wide enough to poop                             Hips: wide enough to poop plenty

plenty babies                                                   babies

Legs: daikon                                                    Legs: daikon

Lips: chocho                                                    Lips: chocho


II. “Identities are fundamental to the process of all knowledge production” (Moya 2006, 102)


“This is a poem by Hawaii poet

Lois Ann Yamanaka.

Cathy, do you think you could read it

for us?”

(Oh hell no, she never go there.

What, I get some kind sign on me?

Am I the token country Jap in here?

Just because I CAN read it no mean

I WANT to read it. I am surrounded by

whiteness, by Twinkies and Dilly Bars.

Why do these haole teachers

keep trying to teach us stuff

that they can’t even read?

Are they appeasing the natives?

Knock, knock, look around.

There are no natives here.

Please let me not be the token Jap, kanak,

pake, anything today. . .

frick, kill fight)

“Before time, every time my sister

like be the boss of the food. . .”



“Kumu, why do we read so many

books by minorities and women?”

Because I’m a minority and a woman.

Because if I cannot see myself,

if I cannot recognize

the voices that I am familiar with

in the literature,

then I have nothing

to offer you.

I am laying a papa for us,

a foundation to build upon.

We cannot understand someone else’s                                                                  story until we know our own story.

Everything we look at, we look at through

an indigenous lens.


He Hawai’i au mau a mau.  Mao popo?

III. Mobilizing identity in the classroom


Not every teacher can teach AP.

I should feel honored, proud of my

hard work

but when I look around 

I am shame

that this girl from Kalihi,

full scholarship

nā pua a Pauahi

could not even serve her own people

I look at my students’ faces

bright, eager, intelligent, bored, belligerent, apathetic


How do I know?

I asked.

And where are Pauahi’s children?

“They are at the short end of a

smaller and smaller

identity stick.” (Meyer 2001, p.124)

The path can go two ways


status quo/divergence


Do I want to work hard to

get these Hawaiian students to be more                                                                like them?

Why do we want to be

more like them?

We are not like those that colonized us.

Observation and then interpretation

Not interpretation based on ascriptive

identities labeled and categorized

by the colonizers to oppress and                                                                            marginalize.

I want them to be awake

Ho’āla hou

“You are nothing but awake,

you just thought you were asleep.”




Meyer, M. M. (2001). Our own liberation: Reflections on Hawaiian epistemology. The Contemporary Pacific, 13, 123-198.

Moya, P. M. L. (2006). What’s identity got to do with it? Mobilizing identities in the multicultural classroom.  In L.M Alcoff & M Hames-Garcia (Eds.), Identity Politics Reconsidered (pp. 96-117). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


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