- V. Lu`ukia Nakanelua
- Mapuana Antonio
- Troy Andrade
Research Project Description
From a Native Hawaiian worldview, health encompasses a spiritual and familial connection with land, including freshwater. Thus, health is holistic and extends to include interconnected relationships between kanaka (humankind) and 'aina/kai (land/sea). In alignment with this worldview, wai, loosely translated as "fresh water," is the center of life.
Our project addresses the following research question: "How can we build community capacity to protect water resources and increase access to water through public trust lands to enhance the overall health and wellbeing of Hawai'i and its communities at large?" This study will be conducted in partnership with communities from Hawaiian Home Lands on the islands of Moloka'i and Maui. The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920 set aside 200,000 acres across the six major Hawaiian Islands (including Maui and Moloka'i) for the creation of Hawaiian Homestead communities.
For generations, these communities have been leading the efforts to seek water restoration. While these communities have been successful in navigating legal and political systems, sufficient wai has yet to be restored. Our project looks to invigorate a coalition by using the information gathered in this research to propose strategies for building "community capacity" to push systemic change across Hawai'i and throughout Indigenous communities. We envision working collaboratively alongside the community at every step to strategically create pathways for self-advocacy. As such, community capacity should be based on community definitions of capacity and empowerment to advocate for water rights and water resources-thereby fostering a culture of health while restoring ancestral knowledge. We see this project as a means to continue to build upon and reinforce this community's rich water legacy to forge pathways to justice through water restoration and return to abundant lands and healthy communities.
V. Lu`ukia Nakanelua
Ms. V. Lu'ukia Nakanelua, Esq. has a background in law and environmental studies particularly in the context of water, working to advance cutting-edge research in Native Hawaiian law; foster understanding of Native Hawaiian history and culture; facilitate law teaching and learning; and support on-the-ground Native Hawaiian justice issues. Ms. Nakanelua will lead the outreach and workshops with participants.
Dr. Mapuana Antonio has a background in psychology, nutrition, public health, and Native Hawaiian health, with training in key areas of this application including qualitative research, photovoice, survey design/implementation, and community-based research. Her research focuses on Native Hawaiian health and resilience, including land connectedness as a mechanism of resilience. Dr. Antonio will lead the research design and analysis of this project.
Dr. Troy Andrade has a background in law and history with research at the intersection of American jurisprudence and history, particularly in the context of the pursuit of Hawaiian political and social justice. His work is grounded in understanding Hawai'i's history and the role of the law in shaping current social, political, and economic conditions in Hawai'i. Dr. Andrade will lead the facilitation of conversations with participants.