Kato, Masahide T.

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    In the Footsteps of Ancestors : Holistic Healing at Kaʻala Farm Cultural Learning Center, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi
    (The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society, 2022) Kato, Masahide T.
    Based on ethnographic work at the Kaʻala Farm Cultural Learning Center on the island of Oʻahu, this paper explores the role land-based cultural revitalization plays in the healing of the aboriginal people of Hawai'i or Kanaka Maoli (“true human being”) under prolonged colonization and occupation. Since its inception in the late 1970s when the teachers and students of a Hawaiian alternative school began the restoration of the ancient kalo (taro) terrace as part of its educational activities, Kaʻala Farm has served the larger community in facilitating land based cultural learning through participation in traditional kalo farming. The research focuses on the process of healing at Kaʻala’ Farm observed by the Kaʻala Farm directors and staff and the coordinators of the programs for elementary school students, at risk high school students, early college students, college students, and survivors of substance abuse and incarceration. Based on the data collected through interview and participant observation methods in their interface with previous research in other aboriginal communities, the paper identifies the significant factors in the healing process as follows: cultural protocol, practices and values, place and ecosystem-based knowledge, reconnection with ancestors in various forms, and spirituality. Through Kaʻala Farm’s pedagogical and communal farming activities, the participants experience a spontaneous self-directed discovery of aboriginal cultural values and cosmology as a process of holistic healing. The research finds that such an organic process of self-discovery allows the participants to reconnect with the wholeness of life, overcoming the social and existential fragmentation wrought by colonization and belligerent occupation.
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    Hawaiian style graffiti and the questions of sovereignty, law, property, and ecology
    (SAGE Publishers, 2018) Kato, Masahide T.
    Based on the ethnographic insight gained from the fieldwork conducted between 2006 and 2012 on the island of O‘ahu, this article attempts to capture the aesthetic and symbolic expressions of decolonization in aerosol writing pieces by a crew primarily composed of Kanaka Maoli (“true human being,” indigenous people of Hawai‘i) writers. By focusing on the indigenous aesthetic practice of kaona (“hidden meaning”), the article analyzes the ways in which Hawaiian style graffiti unveils the contested issues of jurisdiction, sovereignty, property claims, and ecological integrity under the prolonged colonial and military occupation. It simultaneously illuminates the decolonial vision brought forth by Kānaka Maoli writers that seeks to transcend and transform the realities imposed by the colonial and occupational power. Through socio-historical contextualization, the article draws parallels between the time of Hawaiian Kingdom and the present, to unravel the integration of ancestral knowledge and contemporary expressions in Hawaiian style graffiti.
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    Community Resonance: Indigenous Epistemology and the Learning Community Program at the University of Hawaiʻi, West Oʻahu
    (Evergreen State College, 2018-06-12) Kato, Masahide T.
    The paper examines the transformative potential unveiled by the integration of indigenous epistemology into an experimental learning community program in Hawaiʻi. Through contextual analysis of the author’s direct participation in classroom interactions, cultural and service learning activities, the final project, and the culminating event, the paper unravels the twofold process. On the one hand, indigenous epistemology in action integrated classroom, placed-based service learning, and cultural activities into a holistic learning experience. On the other hand, it also connected diverse communities in an interdependent relationship through the resonance of its foundational concepts: shared responsibility (kuleana) to the “homeland that feeds” (ʻāina) and its ecosystems. Interdependence of diverse communities and learning activities formed through such resonance provides an opportunity for transformation.