Expert Focus: Scholars researching how Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities navigate the US economy, labor market, and society
Equitable Growth is committed to building a community of scholars working to understand how inequality affects broadly shared growth and stability. Such research demands insights from across the social sciences, health, history, law, and interdisciplinary fields, such as environmental studies and ethnic and gender studies. This interdisciplinary research will be even more telling if paired with an increase in the diversity of scholars from NHPI backgrounds studying these topics. One of the many pitfalls of not having diversity among researchers is that certain areas of research, outcomes, and evaluation tend to be forgotten—many of which could inform future research and policy decisions. Hōkūlani Aikau is a professor of Indigenous governance at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Aikau’s forthcoming book, Indigenous Resurgence in an Age of Reconciliation, co-authored with Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark and Aimée Craft, will examine the central concerns and challenges facing Indigenous nations in their resurgence efforts and seeks to center the work, knowledge, and strategies for resurgence of these communities.
Sefa Aina is the associate dean of students and director of Draper Center for Community Partnerships at Pomona College, as well as the director of the Asian American Resource Center. Aina has spent much of his career supporting and cultivating opportunities for nontraditional, marginalized, and first-generation college students, including establishing a leadership pipeline for Pacific Islander students to access internship and fellowship opportunities in Washington, D. Kamanamaikalani “Kamana” Beamer is a professor at the Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa and the Dana Naone Hall chair in Hawaiian studies, literature, and the environment. Beamer is an ongoing collaborator on the Circular Economy study, mixing this modern economic approach with the Indigenous principles of “aloha ‘āina”—respect, reverence, and justice—to build sustainable, efficient systems. David Aiona Chang is a professor of history at the University of Minnesota. His current research projects include an examination of the relationship between Native Hawaiians and Indigenous communities in Canada and how colonialism complicated the fur trade they established, as well as an anthology of writings on the meaning of indigeneity in various countries written by historians from North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania.
Richard Calvin Chang is a Native Hawaiian attorney and the data analytics director and co-founding member of the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Data Policy Lab at the University of California, Los Angeles. Chang also helped found the nonprofit Empowering Pacific Islander Communities, where he co-authored and led the development of the first demographic profiles of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the United States, providing an in-depth look at the social, economic, and political challenges and opportunities of these groups to better inform policy and advocacy. Michelle Ka’uhane is the senior vice president of Community Grants and Initiatives at the Hawaii Community Foundation, an organization dedicated to investing in and strengthening Hawaii’s communities. Throughout her career, Ka’uhane has worked to support vulnerable communities in Hawaii and improve economic outcomes among Native Hawaiians. Equitable Growth is building a network of experts across disciplines and at various stages in their career who can exchange ideas and ensure that research on inequality and broadly shared growth is relevant, accessible, and informative to both the policymaking process and future research agendas.
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