Nā ʻŌiwi NYC Records

Survey Conducted: 2022-2023

Date Range: 2009-Present

Creator: Nā ʻŌiwi NYC


Founded in 2009, Nā ʻŌiwi NYC is an NYC-based kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiian) education and advocacy hui (social or community group) dedicated to supporting Native Hawaiian politics and history. Nā ‘Ōiwi NYC serves as a platform and resource for Native Hawaiians living in New York City, and aims to educate the broader public on Native Hawaiian culture, history, politics, and language.

On January 10, 2009, Ikaika Hussey (a kanaka maoli political organizer and graduate student at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa) sent an email to five kanaka graduate students living on the continental US asking them to organize a stand against the Akaka Bill and raise awareness of the concurrent Supreme Court case, Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Both the bill and court case were centered around whether the US government possessed the power to sell or transfer “ceded” lands in Hawaiʻi for private development. Kuʻulani Keohokalole (née Miyashiro), a Native Hawaiian MA student in NYU’s Educational Leadership, Politics, and Advocacy program, was one of the recipients of Hussey’s email. On February 25, the day of the Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs hearing,  Kuʻulani, with Kris Kato and Jarrett Keohokalole (Kuʻulani’s partner) organized a demonstration outside of the National Museum of the American Indian where they flew the Hawaiian flag in solidarity with the ceded land rallies back home in Hawaiʻi. This demonstration, known as the “Kūʻē in NY Protest,” would lead to the creation of Nā ʻŌiwi NYC several months later.

As she continued to realize how little the public and those at NYU knew about issues affecting Native Hawaiians, Kuʻulani sent an email in April 2009 to a group of kanaka, proposing the establishment of a Native Hawaiian-led and centered advocacy organization in NYC. Inspired by her time as a student in the UH Mānoa Ethnic Studies Department and its slogan, “Our History, Our Way,”  Kuʻulani felt it critical that Native Hawaiian voices be amplified in the public discourse around Hawaiʻi, which was often reduced to tourist or colonial fantasies. She chose the name Nā ʻŌiwi NYC to emphasize ʻōiwi, which literally translates to “of the bones,” referring to Indigenous Native Hawaiian people. On April 26, Nā ʻŌiwi NYC hosted their first meeting, and on July 27, they organized their first event, a Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea (Day of Restoration) celebration in Union Square to commemorate the end of British occupation in 1843 and to call for the restoration of Native Hawaiian sovereignty. In addition to Kuʻulani, early members of Nā ʻŌiwi NYC included Kaina Quenga, Kris Kato, Jarrett Keohokalole, Harry Kepaʻa, Harry Ramos, Danielle Ompad, Laine Kalahiki, Kale Reis, and Kawai Anakalea.  

In its first year, Nā ʻŌiwi NYC also organized film screenings at NYU, ʻimi naʻauao reading circles around the city, and “Drums for our Sacred Sites” in Union Square. Nā ʻŌiwi NYC has continued to hold stands and rallies that call attention to and support critical land, water, and political Native Hawaiian movements – including demands to shutdown the Moanalua Red Hill Facility (where a fuel leak from the US poisoned the water system for nearly 100,000 residents), protect the sacred mountain Mauna Kea from the establishment of a Thirty Meter Telescope, and calling for the demilitarization and de-occupation of Hawaiʻi. Members also participate in the now annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebrations on Randall’s Island. Beginning in 2019, Nā ʻŌiwi NYC organized weekly rallies calling for the protection of Mauna Kea– first in Union Square, then in Washington Square Park, before ultimately shifting their activities online at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Over the years, Nā ʻŌiwi NYC has developed close ties with American Indian Community House, Redhawk Indigenous Arts Council, and Te Ao Mana, a NYC-based Pasifika performance arts organization founded by Kaina Quenga and Anthony Aiu in 2016. 

Sources: Brown, Puanani. 2022. Survey by Amita Manghnani  and Gracia Brown. New York City, NY. November 8.

DeFranco, Lehuanani. 2022. Survey by Amita Manghnani  and Gracia Brown. New York City, NY. October 24.

Kato, Kris. 2023. Survey by Amita Manghnani  and Gracia Brown. Zoom. April 25.

Keohokalole, Kuʻulani. 2023. Survey by Amita Manghnani and Gracia Brown. Zoom. July 7.

Nā Ōiwi NYC, Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/naoiwinyc.

Nā ’Ōiwi NYC Blog, 2009. https://naoiwinyc.typepad.com/blog/.

Quenga, Kaina. 2023. Survey by Amita Manghnani and Gracia Brown. Zoom. January 26.

Quenga, Kaina and Anthony Aiu. 2022. Survey by Amita Manghnani  and Gracia Brown. New York City, NY. October 18.

Summary: The Nā ʻŌiwi NYC collection consist of documentation, digital files, and artifacts possessed by Nā ʻŌiwi NYC group members. Materials from Nā ʻŌiwi NYC events comprise the bulk of the collection. These include items such as flags, printed chants, and posters from various rallies in support of Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Peoples’ movements; digital media such as photographs, fliers, and videos of these events are also included in the collection, some of which can be viewed on social media through Nā ʻŌiwi NYC’s Instagram and Facebook profiles. The Nā ʻŌiwi NYC collection also contains DVDs from Nā ʻŌiwi NYC screening events. Other items in the collection include a notebook with Nā ʻŌiwi NYC meeting notes and sketches, as well as email correspondence from staff.

Languages of Materials: English and ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

Arrangement: Other

Location: Private Residences

Conditions Governing Access: Currently inaccessible to the public.

Midori Shimanouchi Lederer Papers

Midori ResizeDate Range:
Creator: Lederer, Midori Shimanouchi (1923-2005)

History: Midori Shimanouchi Lederer (1923-2005) was the founder of Japanese American Social Services, Inc. (JASSI), a social services agency for New York’s elderly Japanese and Japanese American residents. Born and raised in Fresno, California, Lederer was a student at the University of California, Berkeley, when she and her family were forcibly removed from their home and incarcerated at the Topaz War Relocation Center, a concentration camp, in 1942. Her 1943 appeal to the US government granted her permission to leave Topaz and resume her studies at Pace College in New York. While living in New York she became involved in the film and publicity industries. In 1952 she became the secretary of renowned film producer Michael Todd and served as his production assistant. She later joined Bill Doll and Company, a top New York-based firm of press agents in 1960 and eventually rose to partner and vice president.

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George Yuzawa Papers

GY_GradDate Range: 19082009
Survey Conducted: Tue, 2010-09-14
Creator: Yuzawa, George

History: George Katsumi Yuzawa was born in Los Angeles, California on February 21, 1915. George’s immigrant parents named their Nisei son after the first president of their adopted country, George Washington (whose birthday was a day later on February 22). His parents, Tamasaburo “James” and Bun “Mary” Yuzawa, immigrated to the United States from Nagano, Japan. In 1917, James Yuzawa established the Vermont Flower Shop in downtown Los Angeles near the University of Southern California campus. He served a term as president of the Southern California Floral Association. As a young man, George was a founding member of Boy Scout Troop 64 in Los Angeles and achieved the rank of Life Scout.

United Automobile Workers of America, District 65 Photographs

Basebll Protest

Date Range: 19381969
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2011-05-20
Creator: United Automobile Workers of America, District 65

History: District Council 65 of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) began as a group of Jewish laborers working in dry goods warehouses in the Lower East Side of New York City. The union became a local of the Wholesale Dry Goods Employees Union in 1935 before affiliating with the Distributive Trades Council of New York and the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Its affiliation with the UAW began in 1979. In later years, the union’s membership grew beyond the warehouse and retail workers to include white-collar workers in publishing and universities. The union remained active until bankruptcy forced the union to close in 1994. Read more

Oral History of the American Left: Radical Histories Collection

Date Range: 19201980
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2008-10-24
Creator: Tamiment Library

History: The Oral History of the American Left (OHAL) project was started in 1976 by the Tamiment Library at New York University. The purpose of this project was to expand the archive of American labor and radicalism through the creation of “living documents;” the memories of veteran activists. After receiving major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1982, the project conducted a sweeping oral history of ethnic-immigrant radicalism, its press and fraternal organizations. The NEH grant also enabled OHAL to collect hundreds of hours of interviews made by filmmakers on American anarchism, the Hollywood blacklist, the Communist Party, the Columbia University student strike of 1968, and other subjects. Read more

Soh Daiko Records

Soh Daiko_Credit_Kim NakashimaDate Range: 19801999
Survey Conducted: Sat, 2008-11-15
Creator: Soh Daiko

History: Soh Daiko was founded in 1979 as the first taiko group on the East Coast. Originally formed by members of the New York Buddhist Church, the group now consists of members from diverse backgrounds and professions. Members receive instruction on drum building, basic taiko skills and philosophy from senior members and visiting expert drummers. The group currently operates as a collective in which decisions are made by consensus; however, the group structure allows for elected officers who serve in the capacities of Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary, Practice Committee, and Practice Leaders.

SALGA-NYC, Serving the Queer Desi Community Records

Date Range: 19952008
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2010-08-13
Creator: SALGA-NYC, Serving the Queer Desi Community Report

History: SALGA-NYC, Serving the Queer Desi Community is committed to combating all forms of oppression and discrimination. The all-volunteer non-profit organization promotes “awareness, tolerance, acceptance, empowerment and safe spaces for sexual minorities and people of all gender identities, who trace their heritage to South Asia or who identify as South Asian.” Its programming includes monthly support group meetings (open to people who identify as both queer and South Asian), workshops, a weekly hotline (supported by Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS, The Stonewall Foundation, and Trikone, San Francisco), and political, cultural, and social events that are open to the general public. The recognitions that the organization has received include the 1995 Community Service Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Read more

Rocky Chin Papers

Date Range: 19692008
Survey Conducted: Tue, 2011-12-13
Creator: Chin, Rocky

History: Rocky Chin is a civil rights attorney who has been an active community leader advocating for labor and human rights. An Asian American born in Washington D.C., Chin completed his BA at Lehigh University, his MA at Yale University, and his JD at the University of Southern California. As an attorney, Chin has represented marginalized groups including immigrant and working-class families. He is married to May Y. Chen, former vice president of UNITE HERE and a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA).

Organizations of Chinese Americans – New York Chapter (OCA-NY)

Date Range: 19932007
Survey Conducted: Wed, 2011-09-21
Creator: Organization of Chinese Americans – New York Chapter (OCA-NY)

History: Founded in 1973, the Organization of Chinese Americans is “a national, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to advancing the social, political and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).” The national organization was formed by the cooperation of three founding chapters. Lead by K.L. (Kung-Lee) Wang and others, the Chinese American Leadership Council was created in September 1971 in Washington, D.C. following the example of organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). In November 1971, a steering committee chaired by Alex Mark was formed in Detroit to discuss the formation of a national organization. In February 1972 the League of Chinese Americans was formed in St. Louis. On June 9, 1973, the three regional organizations came together under the umbrella of a new, national organization. The New York Chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA-NY) was founded in 1976 and is one of more than 80 chapters of OCA in the United States. Read more

New York Taxi Workers Alliance Records

NYTWA logoDate Range: 19982009
Survey Conducted: Thu, 2009-04-23
Creator: New York Taxi Workers Alliance

History: The New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) was founded in 1998 by members of the Lease Drivers Coalition (LDC), an advocacy project of the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV). The union fights for structural change in the taxi driving industry, ranked by the Department of Labor as the most dangerous job in the country, and supports individual drivers through comprehensive services and advocacy efforts for economic justice, safety and health rights.