Assistant Professor of Hawaiian language in Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language.
As an instructor of Hawaiian in Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language since completing my BA in Hawaiian in 1996, I've always been focused on ways to exhort unto our people that our indigenous language is a primary step towards freeing our minds from the mental slavery of colonization. Knowing our histories through our indigenous language is how we will reconstitute our mauli, life force. My graduate work was in Linguistics where my dissertation focused on a discourse based approach to genitive class selection. My publications since have been primarily in the area of language and identity. Since 1993 I have been involved in the Kahoʻolawe movement and the Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana (PKO). I have served as a PKO representative on the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission from 2011 to 2019. Within the PKO, I lead the Makahiki ceremonies and take University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Hilo and Maui campuses to experience Kahoʻolawe through ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian). Hawaiian medium theatre, or hanakeaka, has been a part of my journey since 1995 completely because of my kōkoʻolua, life partner, Tammy Hailiʻōpua Baker. Her passion for the stage and the revitalization of our Hawaiian language has kept me involved in the modern hanakeaka movement. I primarily serve as dramaturge and language coach on the current projects.