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The Seeds We Planted

Portraits of a Native Hawaiian Charter School

Noelani Goodyear-Ka'opua

Publication Year: 2013

In 1999, Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua was among a group of young educators and parents who founded Hālau Kū Māna, a secondary school that remains one of the only Hawaiian culture-based charter schools in urban Honolulu. The Seeds We Planted tells the story of Hālau Kū Māna against the backdrop of the Hawaiian struggle for self-determination and the U.S. charter school movement, revealing a critical tension: the successes of a school celebrating indigenous culture are measured by the standards of settler colonialism.

How, Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua asks, does an indigenous people use schooling to maintain and transform a common sense of purpose and interconnection of nationhood in the face of forces of imperialism and colonialism? What roles do race, gender, and place play in these processes? Her book, with its richly descriptive portrait of indigenous education in one community, offers practical answers steeped in the remarkable—and largely suppressed—history of Hawaiian popular learning and literacy.

This uniquely Hawaiian experience addresses broader concerns about what it means to enact indigenous cultural–political resurgence while working within and against settler colonial structures. Ultimately, The Seeds We Planted shows that indigenous education can foster collective renewal and continuity.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Series: First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quote

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pp. 2-9


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pp. ix-11

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pp. xi-xviii

The year 1998 marked one hundred years of U.S. control of Hawai‘i, which the international community of nations had recognized as an independent country—the Hawaiian Kingdom—since the 1840s. I spent that summer teaching a course in applied English for Kanaka...

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pp. xix-xxi

I must first mahalo the ‘āina that have inspired and sustained my work on this book over the past ten years: Wa‘ahila, ‘Aihualama, Mānoa, Maunalaha, Makiki, He‘eia, Ka‘alaea, Kualoa, Lā‘au, Keawanui, Honouliwai, Puna, and especially the great Moana Nui as it touches the...

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Introduction: Indigenous Education, Settler Colonialism, and Aloha ‘Āina

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pp. 1-45

As the 2010–11 school year was coming to a close, I sat with Kau‘i Onekea—a 2006 Hālau Kū Māna (HKM) graduate—at the wooden picnic tables under the two white twenty-by-twenty-foot tents where HKM students ate lunch. Kau‘i was never a student on this, the current...

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Chapter 1: The Emergence of Indigenous Hawaiian Charter Schools

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pp. 47-82

It could be argued that the establishment, against all odds, of Hawaiian culture–based charter schools in urban and rural communities across the islands was the most visible and significant accomplishment of the Hawaiian movement in the first decade of the twenty-first century...

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Chapter 2: Self-Determination within the Limits of No Child Left Behind

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pp. 83-125

In Hālau Kū Māna’s second year of operation, I advised the first graduating class on the creation of a senior video documenting their reflections on their life journeys to that point. Each of the six ‘ōpio grew up in different neighborhoods in Honolulu and spent the majority of their...

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Chapter 3: Rebuilding the Structures That Feed Us: ‘Auwai, Lo‘i Kalo, and Kuleana

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pp. 127-166

The marginalization and suppression of Indigenous knowledges has gone hand in hand with the transformation and degradation of Indigenous economic systems and the ecosystems that nourish us. Conversely, settler-colonial relations might be transformed by rebuilding,...

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Chapter 4: Enlarging Hawaiian Worlds: Wa‘a Travels against Currents of Belittlement

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pp. 167-204

Indigenous Pacific Islanders’ senses of self are created as much in travel as in continuous residence upon particular lands.1 We are both routed and rooted.2 As Native Pacific cultural studies scholars Diaz and Kauanui write, “The land and sea constitute our genealogies and,...

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Chapter 5: Creating Mana through Students’ Voices

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pp. 205-239

In this book I explore the tensions between asserting Indigenous educational self-determination and working within a settler state school system. While HKM educators have tried to establish and maintain cultural kīpuka (stands of continued Indigenous cultural growth),...

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Conclusion: The Ongoing Need to Restore Indigenous Vessels

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pp. 241-247

Mahina had come on board that fall and led a relentless campaign to improve students’ math scores on the Hawai‘i State Assessment (HSA), as math had been the subject keeping HKM from meeting AYP targets. Absolutely determined to get the school out of NCLB...


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pp. 249-283


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pp. 285-291


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pp. 293-311


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pp. 313-321

About the Author

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pp. 322-345

E-ISBN-13: 9780816689088
E-ISBN-10: 0816689083
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816680481

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies