Who We Are

Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio

Jamaica Heolomeleikalani Osorio

Assistant Professor


ʻO wau nō ʻo Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio. I am a Kanaka Maoli aloha ʻāina educator, activist, and artists whose ʻohana has been living, working and bettering Hawaiʻi since time immemorial. My kūpuna were aliʻi, makaʻāinana, activists, educators, firefighters, laborers, pastors, artists, composers, community organizers, social service providers, storytellers, and weavers. Most importantly my kūpuna were committed members of their lāhui. I emerge from this genealogy primed and ready to continue to take forward the charge of contributing to a Hawaiʻi whose future is decolonial, deoccupied, demilitarized, and bursting with possibility.

My ʻohana come mostly from Hawaiʻi Moku o Keawe; however, my father and mother raised me and my five siblings in the bosom of Kaʻau Crater in Pālolo Valley on Oʻahu o Kākuhihewa. I was raised in the ahupuaʻa of Waikīkī, where in the sixteenth century Māʻilikūkahi deployed one of the most productive land management systems in the world.

In 2018 I earned my PhD with the completion of my dissertation entitled: “(Re)membering ʻUpena of Intimacies: A Kanaka Maoli Moʻolelo Beyond Queer Theory.” As my research and work to this point has been primarily focused on Kanaka Maoli Moʻolelo, Indigenous queer feminisms, Native Hawaiian politics, Hawaiian language and translation studies. I am particularly interested in the way Kanaka Maoli moʻolelo teaches contemporary Kanaka essential lessons on pilina, relationally and ethical forms of governance and nation/ family building. My writing reflects a passionate investment in dismantling the contrived borders between the critical and creative and insist that Kanaka scholars approach our history and ʻike with a rigorous creativity.

Course Taught

Native Hawaiian Politics (POLS 302)
In 1895 Joseph Nawahī created the nūpepa (Hawaiian language newspaper) Ke Aloha Aina in opposition to the proposed annexation and in order to further share the moʻolelo and interests of Kanaka Maoli. In 1897, a group of Kanaka Maoli formed a “patriotic league” to fight the proposed annexation of Hawaiʻi. The league called themselves “Hui Aloha ʻĀina”. In their formation, the Hui Aloha ʻĀina and Ke Aloha Aina displayed a genealogical relationship to self-governance and a particular brand of nationalism rooted in ʻāina that was generations in the making. This course will begin with aloha ʻāina as an orienting political framework and explore the way this framework and the practice of aloha ʻāina has been deployed in a diversity of ways in historic and contemporary contexts in Hawaiʻi and by Hawaiians. This iteration of Native Hawaiian Politics was envisioned as a way for students to explore the many ways aloha ʻāina is a major and effective thread and driving logic through Hawaiian politics, literature and history.

Because our class is focused on the literature born out of the Kanaka Maoli value, aloha ʻāina, this class will ground itself by developing a foundational knowledge of Hawaiian history, the history of Hawaiian literature, and a diverse study of the many ways aloha ʻāina can be defined. In doing so, we will explore the many genres of literature that were created as a means to demonstrate a distinctly Hawaiian nationalism through many generations of Hawaiian nation building, survivance and resistance. In addition, we will learn to rigorously analyze from a political science framework and discuss many genres of composition including but not limited to: oli, mele, poetry & spoken word, plays, film, short story, official testimony, and biography. We will also read many non-fiction and creative non-fiction essays written by Kanaka Maoli to give context to the many ways aloha ʻāina is central to Hawaiian politics and literature.