Cultivating Allyship

Katherine Achacoso, Cynthia Franklin, Candace Fujikane, Vernadette Gonzalez, and Amy K.H. Vegas

“If to help us is your wish then stand behind us. 

Not to the side and not in front.” 

- ʻĪmaikalani Kalāhele


This section maps the terrain of geographies of allyship between occupied Hawaii, Turtle Island, Palestine, Asia and the Pacific. It provides resources on the ethics and politics of solidarity highlighting the complexities and joys of allyship from settler and international perspectives. In Hawaii, the movement to protect land and to protest U.S. imperialism have always been part of a broader international struggle against U.S. empire, settler colonialism and militarization. And yet, allyship is never easy. It often entails conflict and reorientation. 

In our curation of this section, we focus on the challenges, possibilities, and pleasures of engaging in allyship as settlers living in Hawaii. The offerings here take as their focal point what it means to be an ally—and especially a  settler ally—in Hawai‘i in the movement to protect Mauna Kea, and in the contexts of U.S. imperialism. At the same time, we also understand the texts specific to Hawai‘i and the Mauna as part of a longer genealogy of texts that participate in international, anti-colonial and decolonial struggles for liberation. 

The resources we provide here explore ways that, for international allies and settlers, allyship is not often a given. To be an ally means resisting the ways in which U.S. colonialisms operate through the creation of divisions and the fomenting of conflict between colonized groups, who can then become complicit within one another’s struggles for liberation. At its best, allyship is not transactional or purely strategic, but based on solidarities born from shared political commitments, and practices of friendship and kuleana that are stronger than, and will prove more enduring, than the violence of settler states and intersecting imperialisms. 

Discussion Questions

1.   What is allyship? What does it mean to stand in solidarity with Kānaka Maoli?

2.  How do your own experiences, stories and identities inform your understanding of solidarity and allyship?

3.  What has solidarity looked like on Mauna Kea?

General Literature on Allyship and the Politics of Solidarity

Mauna Medics Healers Hui: On Being a Good Ally 

 General Literature on Allyship and the Politics of Solidarity

-   Gehl, Lynn (Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe), "Ally Bill of Responsibilities"…/ally_bill_of_responsibilities_pos…

- Goodyear-Kaʻōpua, Noelani, "Rebuilding the Structures that Feed Us,” in The Seeds We Planted: Portraits of a Hawaiian Charter School, (University of Minnesota Press, 2013). 

- Guide to Allyship  ||

- Indigenous Ally Toolkit ||

- Kalahele, ʻĪmaikalani, "Huli," in Asian Settler Colonialism: From Local Governance to the Habits of Everyday Life in Hawaiʻi," Edited by Jonathan Okamura and Candace Fujikane

- Nichols, Meriah, "Mauna Kea, Hawaiian Ally, and Teaching Kids to be Hawaiian Allies" 

- Philipps, Noelle, "Stand with Mauna Kea,"

-   Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake, “Constellations of Coresistance” in As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance (University of Minnesota Press, 2017) 

-   Tuck, Eve, Yang, K. Wang, “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society, 1.1 (2012): 1-40. 

-   Walia, Harsha, "Decolonizing Together: Moving Beyond a Politics of Solidarity Toward a Practice of Decolonization"…/moving-beyond-a-polit…/

- Puʻuhuluhulu University and an Ecosystem of Solidarity 

- Noelani Goodyear-Kā'opua, Kyle Kajihiro, Cynthia Franklin, and Candace Fujikane. “Learning and Living in Solidarity: A Conversation with/from Hawai'i.” Moderated by Mary Tuti Baker. Global Development Studies (GDS), International Studies Association.YouTube. March 28, 2021.

On Whiteness and Haoles in Hawaiʻi

-   D'Ange, Robin, White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Beacon Press, 2018. 

-   Rohrer, Judy, Haoles in Hawaiʻi, Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2010.

-   Unsettling Minnesota, Unsettling Ourselves: Reflections and Resources for Deconstructing Colonial Mentality 

Asian Settler Colonialism and Locals in Hawaiʻi

-   Trask, Haunani Kay, “Settlers of Color and ʻImmigrant’ Hegemony: ʻLocals’ in Hawaiʻi”, Amerasia 26 (2001): 1-24. 

-   Fujikane, Candace, “Introduction to Asian Settler Colonialism," In Asian Settler Colonialism from Edited by Candace Fujikane and Jonathan Okamura, Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2008. 

-      Fujikane, Candace, Settler Allies in Indigenous Economies of Abundance, Association for Asian American Studies, 2018.  

-   Fujikane, Candace, Mapping Abundance on Mauna a Wākea as a Practice of Ea,” No ka Pono o ka Lāhui, Eds. Erin Kahunawaikaʻala Wright and Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻōpua, A spec. issue of Hūlili: Multidisciplinary Research on Hawaiian Well-Being 11:1 (2019): 23-54.

-   Saranillio, Dean, Why Asian Settler Colonialism Matters” in Settler Colonial Studies 3: 3-4 (2013): 280-294. 

-   Saranillio, Dean, “Alternative Economies for Alternative Futures”

-   Choy, Peggy, “Anatomy of a Dancer” in Asian Settler Colonialism: From Local Governance to the Habits of Everyday Life in Hawaiʻi," Edited by Jonathan Okamura and Candace Fujikane

-       Cachola, Ellen, Yamashiro, Aiko and Tina Grandinetti, "Demilitarizing Hawaiʻi‘s Multiethnic Solidarity: Decolonizing Settler Histories and Learning Our Responsibilities to ‘Āina" Critical Ethnic Studies 5 (2019), 68-98. 

-       Compoc, Kim, “Weaving Our Sovereignties Together: Maximizing 'Ea' for Filipin@​s and Hawaiians,” Amerasia 45 (2020): 316-365. 

-       Goodyear-Kaʻōpua, Noelani, Ikaika Hussey, Erin Kahunawaikaʻala, A Nation Rising: Hawaiian Movements for Life, Land and Sovereignty, Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. 

-       Goodyear-Kaʻōpua, Noelani, Nā Wāhine Koa: Hawaiian Women for Sovereignty and Demilitarization, University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2018

-       Caligtan Tan, Malaya,  On Igorot Solidarity with Mauna Kea

-     Bryan Kamaoli Kwada and No'u Revilla, "'I Wanted to Show the Joy': Interview with Marie Eriel Hobro." Biography: an interdisciplinary quarterly 43.3 (2020): 650-54.

-   Bryan Kamaoli Kwada and No'u Revilla, "'You're Here Now': Interview with Mikey Inouye." Biography: an interdisciplinary quarterly 43.3 (2020): 650-54.

-   Ikehara, Sam,  "Hawaii’s BLNR, Mauna Kea And Settler Colonialism"

- Marie Anamong Ramos, "#Lucky we live in Hawaiʻi" 

Palestinians Voices in Solidarity with Kānaka Maoli

Image above: Cynthia Franklin, Yousef Aljamal, Rana Barakat and J. Kēhaulani Kauanui at Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu

Statements in Solidarity with Mauna Kea 


-   Grace Caligtan, Marie Antoinette, Anakybayan Hawaiʻi 

- Katherine Achacoso, Resources on Teaching Filipinx-Kanaka Maoli Relationalities (AMST 373: Filipino American Experience Syllabus for Ethnic Studies/American Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 

International Solidarities/Japan

-  Maunakea no tameno kōgi: Kiai no shiten マウナケアのための講義:キアイ(守り⼈)の視点 (Megumi Chibana)

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December 2020

Interview with Noura Erakat by Cynthia Franklin. 

Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and assistant professor at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She has served as legal counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives and as a legal advocate for Palestinian refugee rights at the United Nations. She is the author of Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2019). Committed to Black-Palestinian and Hawaiian-Palestinian solidarity, she here reflects on the significance of allyship in relation to the time she has spent in Hawai'i, in 2014 and then again in 2019 as part of Students and Faculty for Justice in Palestine at UH's "Decolonial November."

October 2020

Interview with Rana Barakat by Cynthia Franklin

Rana Barakat is an assistant professor of history at Birzeit University in Palestine. Her research interests include the history and historiography of colonialism, nationalism, and cultures of resistance. She is currently working on a book monograph titled "Lifta and Resisting the Museumification of Palestine: Indigenous History of the Nakba," which advances an indigenous understanding of time, space, and memory in Palestine by focusing on the details of the people and place of Lifta village over time. In this interview, she reflects on time she spent at Mauna a Wākea as part of the Students and Faculty for Justice in Palestine at UH's 2019 "Decolonial November" visit. She discusses how the connections she made inform her understanding of allyship and of the articulations between the Palestinian and Kanaka Maoli movements for liberation.

August 2020

Interview with Yousef Aljamal by Cynthia Franklin

Yousef Aljamal is a researcher in Middle Eastern Studies and the author and translator of a number of books. He is a co-author of A Shared Struggle: Stories of Palestinian and Irish Hunger Strikers published by An Fhuiseog (July 2021). In Hawai'i in 2019 for the Students and Faculty for Justice in Palestine at UH's "Decolonial November," in this interview he considers the significance of his experience at Mauna Kea, and of allyship with Kanaka Maoli. 

September 2020

Interview with  Megumi Chibana by Vernadette Gonzalez 

Interview with Ellen-Rae Cachola, Kim Compoc, and Demiliza Saramosing by Vernadette Gonzalez