In addition to her work as an educator, Aiko Yamashiro has also helped to produce The Value of Hawai'i 2: Ancestral Roots, Oceanic Visions, featuring autobiographical essays by community leaders, organizers, artists and academics on their work and ideas to increase the true value of Hawai'i. See Honolulu Magazine's coverage of the book here.
From Instructor Yamashiro:
In our Eng 270: Postcolonial/Decolonial Literature class at UH-Mānoa, we've been thinking and talking about colonialism and reading examples of creative resistance, authors imagining other possible futures. How is our oppression connected? How is our healing connected?
We had just finished reading Craig Santos Perez's book of poetry, from unincorporated territory [saina], and so have been talking a lot about what it means to be Pacific Islander. We are trying to remap ourselves: we are not small and inconsequential specks. The Pacific Ocean is a complex and contested source of identity and wisdom. As the current of our discussion moved from Guåhan and militarization to Hawai'i, I asked my students to respond, as poet-activists, to some of the current struggle over healthcare for COFA citizens.
After spending some time watching Protect Kaho'olawe 'Ohana's beautiful film tribute to George Helm, and thinking about his decolonial strategies, we watched a small part of Keola Diaz's Basic Health Hawai'i documentary, and then used the healthypacific.org petition to Congress as a jumping off point for some collaborative poems. Twenty minutes later, we staged a rally in the classroom, where students performed their interventions in front of each other.
This was just a small exercise any of us could do in our classes, but I was moved by how my beautiful students tackled the issue with thoughtfulness and heart. None of them are genealogically connected to Micronesia, but they felt compelled to reach out and write from positions of connection and understanding, from anger and sadness too. We hope this small offering can inspire other creative projects, as we continue to struggle together for a healthy Oceania.
me ke aloha,
instructor and graduate student, English Dept, UH-Mānoa
Poem 0: Adam and Eileen
Poem 1: Kayla and Paul
Poem 2: Emily and Alison
Poem 3: Mary Grace and Malia
Poem 4: Peggy and Eric
Poem 5: Keali'i and Kevin
Poem 6: Troy and Sunny
Poem 7: Peter and Marissa