Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

Makana Kushi

American Studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative


As an interdisciplinary historian in Indigenous Studies, Makana Kushi's work explores how relations among Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) and plantation-working immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th century are informed by Hawai'i's physical landscape, Indigenous conceptions of land and water as kin, and politics of agricultural labor. Makana juxtaposes maps of ahupua'a (Indigenous traditional land divisions that determine community responsibilities) and sugar and pineapple plantation camps, compares Indigenous and migrant systems of subsistence gardening, and Hawaiian language descriptions of sociality that invoke relations in the natural world.