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Dr. Valli Kalei Kanuha Awarded Research Fellowship from the National Institute of Justice

Kanuha to research family violence in Native Hawaiian populations

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Valli Kalei Kanuha, (808) 956-6239
School of Social Work
Kristen Cabral, (808) 956-5039
Public Information Officer
Posted: May 29, 2003

Dr. Valli Kalei Kanuha, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, has been awarded the 2002 W.E.B. DuBois Research Fellowship from the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of the U.S. Attorney General. First awarded in 1999, the DuBois Fellowship is made each year to a researcher who will contribute to the National Institute of Justice‘s research agenda on crime, violence and the administration of justice.

Named after noted African-American scholar and political theorist William Edward Burghardt DuBois, the fellowship focuses on the development of researchers who are interested in exploring "the confluence of crime, justice and culture." Kanuha was awarded $76,448 for the one-year fellowship to explore the social construction of violence against women and children among Kanaka Maoli in pre- and post-contact Hawaiʻi. Culturally-derived sanctions against domestic and sexual violence will also be examined to determine if such indigenous interventions are viable in contemporary Hawaiʻi.

Kanuha‘s research project will be comprised of three activities. First, she will collaborate with a historian-archivist to review primary sources—state archives, museums, libraries—of Native Hawaiian myths, legends, reports, diaries, oral histories or other accounts of sexual or domestic violence among Kanaka Maoli families. The analysis will include a comparison of data from pre- and post-Western contact, examining any changes in the representation of or strategies used to address family violence in Native Hawaiian populations.

The second research activity will be a literature review of restorative and alternative justice principles and practices derived from indigenous cultural settings similar to Native Hawaiians, such as the Maori of Aotearoa (New Zealand) and First Nations peoples of the American continent. Historical and contemporary themes and strategies from the literature will be compared with those uncovered in Native Hawaiian texts.

Finally, Kanuha will travel to Australia and New Zealand to consult with Dr. Kathleen Daly, a feminist criminologist at Griffith University in Brisbane, and also with indigenous practitioners in the fields of sexual and domestic violence to integrate the findings from the first two activities of the fellowship with studies and practices from these countries and cultural contexts. Implications for criminal justice policy is a major outcome projected from the research study.

For more information about the research study, contact Kanuha at the UH Mānoa School of Social Work at (808) 956-6239 or (808) 956-5964, or e-mail