I was born and raised in Hilo, Hawai’i. My grandparents immigrated to Hawai’i from Okinawa (mother’s parents) and Korea (father’s parents) in the early 1900’s. I grew up surrounded by the rich cultures, foods and traditions of the many beautiful communities of Hawai’i, which became the foundation of the journey and adventures of my life.
Our family moved to Northern California in 1981 when my husband, Tim, joined the medical team at United Indian Health Services (UIHS). The Native communities were vey welcoming and “adopted” our family. I feel blessed to be invited to ceremonies, family gatherings, celebrations, community events and to be “Aunty” to so many children of the children I met years ago.
I was the Director of the MultiCultural Center (MCC) at Humboldt State University for almost 20 years. I worked directly with students to develop social justice programs, leadership development, community building, cultural celebrations, identity exploration and more. I truly loved working with students and being a part of their academic journey; I always described being MCC Director as “the job made in heaven just for me!” I retired in 2015 and keep in touch with many students. I am so proud of the work our MCC family continues to do in the world.
I joined the HAF Board of Directors in September, 2018. I currently serve as the board liaison to the Native Cultures Fund, and I am very interested in the equity and inclusion initiatives at HAF. The work I do as a board member at HAF is in many ways a continuation of my journey learning and teaching social justice, equity and inclusion, historical trauma, and appreciation of cultures and communities.
I have three amazing children and three adorable grandchildren. Being “Tutu” (Hawai’ian word for grandmother) is the best! I experience life and love in different and special ways. Thus the journey continues!