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New Hawaiian Studies Chair honors Poet, Activist Dana Naone Hall Endowed Chair in Hawaiian Studies established

Dana Naone

Dana Naone Hall responds to the support of motorists along Ka‘ahumanu Avenue in Kahului. Photo by Masako Cordray

Dana Naone

Dana Naone Hall at ‘Iolani Palace. Photo by Masako Cordray

Hawai‘i – The Laurence H. Dorcy Hawaiian Foundation has donated $3.2 million to establish the Dana Naone Hall Endowed Chair in Hawaiian Studies, Literature, and the Environment at the Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

Hawai‘inuiākea Dean Jonathan Osorio said, "Through this endowment, we will teach new generations of Hawaiians about their ancestors who honed social, environmental and cultural management skills over a thousand years. Powerful, fearless community leaders like Dana Naone Hall have been key to the perpetuation of Hawaiian knowledge over the last 50 years as they worked tirelessly to protect our oceans, streams and forests from urbanization and tourist-driven development."

Naone Hall is a poet, Hawaiian rights advocate and environmental activist. A graduate of Kamehameha Schools, she earned a BA in liberal studies with an emphasis on contemporary poetry from UH Mānoa. She was the editor of The Hawai‘i Review, UH Mānoa’s flagship literary journal, and has published poetry in national and international literary journals. Among her many contributions are 2017’s Life of the Land: Articulations of a Native Writer, winner of an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation; and editorship of Bamboo Ridge’s winter 1985 issue, “Malama, Hawaiian Land and Water.”

Naone Hall wrote in the introduction of her book Life of the Land: Articulations of a Native Writer, "In speaking on behalf of these special places, I sought to leaven polemical language with poetic expressions of aloha ʻāina. I also wanted to convey as much pertinent information as possible to aid those in decision-making positions."

"We are humbled and honored to have this new endowed chair honoring such an influential and inspirational educator and advocate," said UH President David Lassner. "As an endowed chair, it will have an impact stretching across generations, creating a new cohort of Dana Naone Hall emeriti chairholders. These leaders and future alumni from our programs will infuse new energy into the application of Hawaiian knowledge, enriching not only our Hawaiian communities, but our world."

Osorio added, "This chair will contribute continuous research in indigenous land and resource management in Hawaiʻi building a platform for policy change in keeping with its namesake. Naone Hall shaped history by leading changes in practices and laws through her protection of a Maui Native Hawaiian burial site. She brought environmental and cultural values into political activism, culminating in the protection of sacred places."

Naone Hall has worked for decades to honor and protect Hawaiian burial sites, primarily on Maui, when planned development threatened access by Native Hawaiians and the public to culturally important locations. For her decades-long work in "resolving very contentious matters involving development projects and native Hawaiian burials," the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation awarded her its 2011 Native Hawaiian Advocate of the Year Award, proclaiming she “continues to step up because of her sense of justice and unflinching courage under fire. She is an inspiration to us, she holds a very special place in Hawaiʻi’s history, and our recognition and acknowledgment are long overdue.”

Laurence H. Dorcy Hawaiian Foundation President Jeffrey Peterson said, "As a Hawaiian Foundation, we are excited to celebrate and help perpetuate Dana Naone Hall’s lifelong passion for preserving and maintaining native Hawaiian history, culture and environmental stewardship." Peterson added, "Dana challenges us to reflect on our values and live them. To acknowledge what we see, and if the spirit moves us, to act. Her words and her actions align to make her life truly inspirational and worth honoring in this lasting way."

Established in 2007, Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge is Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language, Ka Papa Lo‘i O Kānewai Cultural Garden, Native Hawaiian Student Services, and the Dean’s Office. Hawai‘inuiākea is the first new school or college established on the Mānoa campus since 1982, and it is the only college of indigenous knowledge in a Research I institution in the United States. The mission of the Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge is to pursue, perpetuate, research and revitalize all areas and forms of Hawaiian knowledge.

The mission of Kamakakūokalani, the center of Hawaiian Studies, is to achieve and maintain excellence in the pursuit of knowledge concerning the Native people of Hawai‘i, their origin, history, language, literature, religion, arts and sciences, interactions with their oceanic environment and other peoples; and to reveal, disseminate and apply this knowledge for the betterment of all peoples.

Kawaihuelani Hawaiian Language Program - I Pono Nā Mamo a Hāloa, honors Hāloa as a common ancestor of the Hawaiian people, asserting a hope that the descendants of Hāloa will find balance again, and recognize our responsibility to ensure a righteous and successful future for these descendants, who are the Hawaiian people, as well as our history, our cultural practices and our language.

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FOR UH • FOR HAWAIʻI, The Campaign for the University of Hawaiʻi, is focused on raising $1 billion to support UH priorities on all 10 campuses across the state, including student success; research that matters; kuleana to Native Hawaiians and Hawaiʻi; sustainability, resilience and conservation; innovation and entrepreneurship; building Hawaiʻi’s workforce; and engaging our community. Learn more at

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The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations.