Collegiate Affiliation

I am a Native Hawaiian historian of Indigenous people, colonialism, borders and migration in Hawaii and North America, focusing especially on the histories of Native American and Native Hawaiian people. My work moves between hyperlocal and global scales while centering the perspectives and experiences of Indigenous people and integrating close textual analysis, granular social history, theoretically informed analysis of race, gender, sexuality and nationalism, and Indigenous epistemologies and methodologies. 

My second book, The World and All the Things Upon It: Native Hawaiian Geographies of Exploration was published in 2016 by the University of Minnesota Press. It speaks to a foundational imperative in Indigenous studies: the need to not just understand Indigenous people from their own perspectives, but to understand the world from their perspectives as well. It traces the ways that Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) explored the outside world and generated understandings of their place in it in the century and half after James Cook stumbled on their islands in 1778. In doing so, this book examines indigenous people as the active agents of global exploration, rather than the passive objects of that exploration, broadening our understanding of geographical knowledge production and power in the context of colonialism.

The book draws on Hawaiian-language sources—stories, songs, chants, texts, and political prose—to reveal Kanaka Maoli reflections on the nature of global geography and their place in it. The World and All the Things Upon It received the American Historical Association’s Albert J. Beveridge Award (best book in English on the history of the United States, Latin America, or Canada from 1492 to the present); the Modern Language Association's Prize for Studies in Native American Literatures, Cultures, and Languages; The Western History Association's John C. Ewers Award (best book in North American Indian Ethnohistory); the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association's Best Subsequent Book Prize; and was honored as a finalist for the American Studies Association's John Hope Franklin Award (for Most Outstanding Book in American Studies).

My first book, The Color of the Land, argues for the central place of struggles over the ownership of Native American lands in the history of racial and national construction by Creeks, African Americans, and whites in the Creek Nation and eastern Oklahoma. The Color of the Land was awarded the 2010 Theodore Saloutos Prize for best book in agricultural history from the Agricultural History Society and was granted Honorable Mention in the competition for the American Studies Association's 2011 Lora Romero First Book Prize.

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: , University of Wisconsin, 2002 - none


  • Race and Nationalism
  • Indigenous History
  • U.S. West
  • Native Hawaiian History
  • Indigenous Studies
  • United States Colonialism
  • United States, Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century History