Keiki Kawai‘ae‘a receives 2015 Dr. Henrietta Mann Leadership Award

The national award is presented to native leaders who are committed to native students, advancing indigenous communities, and fostering the development of future leaders. 

Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa
Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa

Keiki Kawai‘ae‘a, director of Ka Hala ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language, is the recipient of the 2015 Dr. Henrietta Mann Leadership Award.  The annual award is presented to native (American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian) individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to native students, advancing indigenous communities and fostering the development of future leaders.

From the award page:

(Kawai‘ae‘a’s) vast experience as a teacher in Hawaiian Language Immersion P–12 and tertiary education has enabled her to critically think about and actuate teaching and learning processes that are grounded in Hawaiian epistemology, ontology, and axiology. With many publications to her credit, Dr. Kawai‘ae‘a has disseminated strategic information that has helped other Hawaiian educators expand their understanding of and ability to deliver educational programming to support the growth of children, especially those of Hawaiian ancestry, through Hawaiian culture-based educational frameworks.

Dr. Kawai‘ae‘a has advocated for and participated in policy development, research, and programming that have enabled Hawaiians and other Native communities worldwide to exercise their right to educate their young in Indigenous ways.

As she says, though our language may no longer live in our homes, we can, through education, build a new generation that can communicate at home, in schools and work places, and beyond, in the language of our ancestors.

Kawai‘ae‘a is an associate professor of Hawaiian and Hawaiian studies and has been at the College of Hawaiian Language for 20 years. She is the recipient of the 2011 Koichi and Taniyo Taniguchi Award for Excellence and Innovation. She is founding director of the Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education Program and is a past director of the Hale Kuamo‘o Hawaiian Language and Culture Center. Along with former UH Hilo colleague Keola Donaghy, she was instrumental in creating a digital archive of Hawaiian language materials.

  • See Keaohou, May 24, 2012: Digitized Hawaiian language source materials

Kawai‘ae‘a is a published author on Hawaiian education and language revitalization, and has written numerous children’s books and songs. She received her bachelor of arts in Hawaiian studies and master of education from UH Mānoa, and doctor of philosophy in indigenous education from Union Institute and University, Cincinnati, Ohio.

The award

Henrietta Mann is a member of the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes and the founding president of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College. She is a renowned leader in native education and has been recognized nationwide for her leadership, vision, and inspirational guidance in Native education. This award honors and acknowledges individuals who exemplify the spirt of Mann’s legacy.

The award was bestowed to Kawai‘ae‘a at the annual Native American Student Advocacy Institute conference in Arizona this summer. The presentation of the Dr. Henrietta Mann Leadership award at the annual conference provides an opportunity for the NASAI community to thank and acknowledge leaders for their tireless advocacy and work to improve lives within native communities.