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Native Hawaiian scholars awarded Mellon-Hawaii Fellowships


Five Hawaiian scholars have been selected as 2010 Mellon-Hawaii Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellows in recognition of their commitment to the advancement of scholarship on Hawaiian cultural and natural environments, Hawaiian language, history, politics, and society.

Receiving the doctoral fellowships are:
* Keao NeSmith, doctoral candidate in Applied Linguistics at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand;
* Hiapokeikikane Kichie Perreira, doctoral candidate in the Hawaiian and Indigenous Language and Culture Revitalization Program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo
* Noe Noe Wong-Wilson, doctoral candidate in the School of Maori and Pacific Development, University of Waikato, New Zealand

Postdoctoral Fellows are:
* Leilani Basham, Ph.D., Political Science (2007), University of Hawaii at Manoa
* Noelani Goodyear-Kaopua, Ph.D., (2005), University of California, Santa Cruz

“The Mellon-Hawaii Fellows are outstanding for their influence on our understanding of Hawaii and how language, culture, and politics shape world history,” said Dr. Shawn Kanaiaupuni of Kamehameha Schools and a member of the selection committee.

“These individuals are unique for their ability to bridge cultural perspectives and participate in a global knowledge network, but also as individuals who make solid contributions as leaders in our Native Hawaiian communities,” Kanaiaupuni said. “We are honored to support these Hawaiian intellectual leaders, who are already making their mark in the national and international scholarly arenas.”

The program provides scholars the opportunity to complete their dissertations or to publish original research. Postdoctoral fellowships amount to $50,000 each, and doctoral fellowships, $40,000.

“The Mellon-Hawaii Fellowship program is making an important difference in the lives of everyone in Hawaii. By providing fellowships, they are helping Kanaka Hawaii complete their dissertations and go on to do important work in higher education and other arenas. The post-doctoral fellowships are providing the precious time needed for our Kanaka scholars to turn their dissertations into books, which everyone in our communities can read, learn from, teach from, and enjoy,” said Noenoe K. Silva, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Basham’s dissertation mentor.

Basham said receiving the Fellowship “will allow me to continue learning and producing knowledge for this and future generations of Hawaiians that is centered on our ways of knowing, our ways of being, and our ways of understanding our world in terms of our language, history, politics, and culture.”

“I hope that my work will contribute to our collective body of knowledge not only in theoretical terms, but also in terms of action and practice, and that it will continue to be expanded and built upon by the next generation of Native Hawaiian scholars and practitioners,” Basham said.

“The most driving thought of mine as I pursue my Ph.D. is how exactly I can support my home community in Kekaha, Kauai, and help ensure that the language of native speakers of Hawaiian continues in as true a form to the original as possible as it is taught to Hawaiian language learners,” NeSmith said.

“Our knowledge of Hawaiian history and culture is shifting radically because of the rigorous work of these talented scholars and because they operate from an indigenous point of view,” said Matt Hamabata, executive director of The Kohala Center, which created the program in collaboration with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Kamehameha Schools.

The program is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, and Kahiau Foundation.

Doctoral candidate Wong-Wilson said this support of Native Hawaiian scholars “is a remarkable testimony to the organizations’ commitment to excellence in education and the well-being of our island communities.”

“The Mellon-Hawaii Fellowship program, by its dedication to providing opportunity and core support to the academic advancement of future leaders with a passion for science and culture, will insure the well-being of indigenous people in Hawaii and the world,” said Hamilton McCubbin, Ph.D., UH Manoa professor and director for the university’s Center for Training, Research and Evaluation of the Pacific. McCubbin is Wong-Wilson’s dissertation mentor.

Fellowship applicants were evaluated on their leadership potential as well as their demonstrated commitment to the advancement of Hawaiian scholarship.

They were selected by a distinguished panel of senior scholars and kupuna comprised of Robert Lindsey, Jr., The Kohala Center board of directors and Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee; Dr. Shawn Kanaiaupuni, Kamehameha Schools; Dr. Dennis Gonsalves, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center; Dr. Pualani Kanahele, Edith Kanakaole Foundation; and Dr. James Kauahikaua, U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Receiving doctoral fellowships in 2008 were current Allan Nevins Prize recipient Dr. Noelani Arista, Brandeis University, and Dr. Nalani Sing, Union Institute & University. The 2008 postdoctoral fellowships were awarded to University of Hawaii at Manoa scholars Dr. B. Kamanamaikalani Beamer and Dr. Sydney Iaukea, and University of California at Berkeley scholar Dr. Kathleen Kawelu.

In 2009, fellowships were awarded to University of Hawaii at Manoa postdoctoral scholars Dr. Kuualoha Hoomanawanui and Dr. Karin Ingersoll, and University of Hawaii at Hilo doctoral scholar Kauanoe Kamana.

The Kohala Center supports the progress of the Mellon-Hawaii Fellows, bringing the scholars together for retreats that focus on their writing and the presentation of their ideas, as well as introducing scholars to leading intellectuals in Hawaii and to acquisitions editors from Hawaii and the Mainland.

For more information about the Mellon-Hawaii Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, visit

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