Decolonization in Oceania

Kevin Escudero

Project Co-lead, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies

Kevin Escudero is the son of a Vietnamese/Cambodian refugee mother and Bolivian immigrant father who grew up in Southern California. Drawing on his family’s own immigrant/refugee background and his previous participation in immigrant rights activism, he is interested in understanding the ways that such work might dovetail Indigenous communities’ ongoing plight for self-determination and decolonization. As an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University and building on his preliminary meetings with community leaders during his visit to Guåhan during the summer of 2019, Kevin is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled Imperial Unsettling: Indigenous and Immigrant Activism towards Collective Liberation, which examines the relationship between Indigenous and immigrant activists on the island. More information about his work can be found here.

Makana Kushi

Project Co-lead, PhD Student in American Studies

Makana Kushi is a Kanaka ʻŌiwi and Japanese PhD student studying at Brown from Hilo, Hawaiʻi, and the program coordinator of Brown’s Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative. She uses oral histories, family histories, and nūpepa (Hawaiian language newspapers) to think about the early 20th century roots of today’s dynamics of settler colonial and ethnic and racial hierarchy in Hawaiʻi. As a beneficiary of the Hawaiian language immersion school movement, she hopes to contribute to the expansion of ʻŌiwi resurgence within educational spaces via the revitalization of everyday ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi and ʻŌiwi understandings of responsibility and relation in the community for Kānaka and non-Kānaka alike.

Annabelle Liu

Undergraduate Research Fellow

Annabelle Liu is an undergraduate senior studying Behavioral Decision Sciences and International and Public Affairs on the Policy & Governance track. Through Brown’s Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative, Annabelle is especially interested in Indigenous law and politics. She hopes to eventually leverage her knowledge of tribal, federal, and international law to contribute to efforts protecting sacred land (#LandBack) and countering cultural appropriation of Indigenous intellectual property. She is particularly interested in the limitations of Federal Indian Law in applying to or addressing Pacific Islander Indigenous communities, and how international law can help to address these gaps.

Ari Lunow-Luke

Ari Lunow-Luke

Undergraduate Research Fellow

Ari Lunow-Luke is a Chinese and German undergraduate from Kailua, Oʻahu studying Biology and Ethnic Studies at Brown. She is interested in ecological knowledge production, scientific colonialism, and farming as an act of both political resistance and social/ecological healing. She is currently working on a senior honors thesis in Ethnic Studies where she hopes to explore Asian settler and Kanaka ʻŌiwi relationships to ʻāina on Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi island, and how aloha ʻāina practices can act as a gateway for solidarity-building work in Hawaiʻi.