Author Haunani-Kay Trask Dies At 71 Years Old

Activist, feminist scholar, and tireless advocate for native Hawaiians against colonialism Haunani-Kay Trask died on July 3 at 71 years old.

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Who was DR. Haunani-Kay trask?

A supernova of knowledge, resilience, and bravery, Haunani-Kay Trask remains a force to be reckoned with in the essays and poems that survive her. The activist, feminist scholar, and tireless advocate for native Hawaiians against colonialism died on July 3 at 71 years old.



Dean Hawaiinuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, Jonathan Osorio, said, “Our teacher, colleague and friend, Haunani Kay Trask passed away this morning. Professor Trask was a fearless advocate for the Kanaka Maoli and was responsible for inspiring thousands of brilliant and talented Hawaiians to come to the University of Hawaii,” in a statement released on Twitter.




“We are not American. Say it in your heart. Say it when you sleep. We are not American. We will die as Hawaiians. We will never be Americans! … They took our land. They imprisoned our queen. They banned our language. They forcibly made us a colony of the United States. America always says they are democratic. Lies! That is a lie!”


Trask retired as a professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2010, but began her academic career at the university in 1981, the same year she released her powerful essay Eros and Power, as an assistant professor in American studies with a background in indigenous studies.

Trask sought to teach the truth of Hawaiian history, rather than the Americanized, padded-corner version so often portrayed in schools.

Famously, she gave a speech at a protest on the 100th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom at Iolani Place, decrying Hawaiians’ status as Americans, rather than native Hawaiians. ” Soon after the speech, Trask was branded as a “hate America professor”, yet continued to share her opposition to colonialism, and its lasting impact, in Hawaii.



Eros and power: the promise of feminist theory – 1981




In Eros and Power, Haunani-Kay Trask explores the substance of this “feminist Eros,” locating its origins in women’s everyday experiences as erotic/reproductive objects while pointing to its expression as a utopian vision of the future.

The alternative vision of the “feminist Eros” challenges the fundamentals of patriarchy by offering a feminist conception of power and love based on the life-protecting bond with the mother and, by extension, with other women.” Via Goodreads.


From a native daughter – 1993




Since its publication in 1993, From a Native Daughter, a provocative, well-reasoned attack against the rampant abuse of Native Hawaiian rights, institutional racism, and gender discrimination, has generated heated debates in Hawai’i and throughout the world.” Via Goodreads.


Light in the crevice never seen – 1994




“Through Trask’s eyes we see a Hawai’I of living contradictions. Strange unscented trees from Asia, ill-clothed people, and miles of wire coexist alongside new-born stone, little sparkling fish, and long spears of moonlight. [Trask] carries us on a path that begins with the violence of dispossession and stolen lives, and takes us through that plundered world into a present where the women gods rise up, strong and resilient, where life is defende ‘with a spear of memory.” Via Google Books.

“For a debut collection, it is extraordinarily angry. An activist and an academic, Trask resents what she sees as the subjugation of Hawaii by the Japanese and the Americans, and she is deeply chagrined at the development of tourism, which she believes to have accelerated the decay of native island culture and language.” Via Goodreads.


Night is a sharkskin drum – 2002




“Night Is a Sharkskin Drum is a lyrical evocation of Hawaii by a Native poet whose ancestral land has been scarred by tourism, the American military, and urbanization. Grounded in the ancient grandeur and beauty of Hawaii, this collection is a haunted and haunting love song for a beloved homeland under assault.” Via UH Press.

Kue – 2004




Few people would associate the island paradise of Hawaii with protest, but there is a long island tradition of speaking out against civil and social injustices, political wrongs and environmental issues. In Kû`ç: Thirty Years of Land Struggle in Hawai`i, photographer Ed Greevy has documented social and political events concerning eviction struggles and the development of the Hawaiian Sovereignty movement from 1971 to the present. Haunani-Kay Trask, an activist and sovereignty leader, provides the words to describe the events.” Via Goodreads.