Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander

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Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander

Chair: Tammy Martin (Hawaii Pacific University)
APM Assignment: 2024–2026

Co-Chair: Tressa Diaz (University of Guam
APM Assignment: 2024–2026

As one of the fastest growing racial groups in the United States, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) have been a distinct racial category in the U.S. Census since 2010. This was a response to contentions that NHPIs were very different in social, economic, and health profiles from that of Asian Americans.  As such, scholars examining social (Godinet et al, 2012; Mokuau, Garlock-Tuiali’I, & Lee, 2008), health (Godinet et al, 2020; Liu et al, 2012; Samoa et al, 2020), and justice issues (Halaevalu & Godinet, 2012) with NHPIs have strongly advocated for the disaggregation of these groups. Due to the variation in cultural, historical, diaspora, and political status contexts of NHPIs, social and health challenges manifest differently within NHPI groups and even more so with other racial groups. This recognition and fundamental understanding of NHPIs are essential in research and scholarship as they inform SW practice, policies, and SW education towards social justice, equity, and culturally relevant practice.  

Disaggregating NHPI from other racial categories is about recognition of a group that has too often been ignored because of their relatively smaller numbers.  Despite their size, the national level recognized NHPI as a race category given the aforementioned reasons. Unfortunately, CSWE has yet to acknowledge this separation.  This renders a racial group who has experienced devastating losses, disparities in health and justice issues, to name a few, invisible. While overall the NHPI community continues to support efforts of Asian communities and First Nations and Native Americans towards justice and equity, it is essential that in the process voices/ scholarship on and of the NHPI community and scholars are not ignored, compromised, or marginalized.

As a profession that values and advocates for diversity, inclusion, social justice, and cultural relevance, recognizing the presence of NHPI and the need to ensure representation resonates with standard social work practice. Thus, adding an NHPI track to CSWE’s Annual Program meeting would be a step in the right direction

Recommended Topics for NHPI Track:
1)    Advancing knowledge of cultural ways of knowing and doing that address social and health issues;
2)    Promote understanding of NHPI context as a racial group and as multiple ethnicities within a racial group.  Consideration to how the varying contexts impact (i.e., assets and challenges) current status in the areas of, but not limited to, social, health, and justice;
3)    Contributing to knowledge on centralizing NHPI paradigms;
4)    NHPI and higher education (recruitment and retention).