Nina Macheel writes short fiction, essays, articles, and opinion pieces for the causes she feels strongly about. Her work was most recently published in The Midwest Review and Out of Print, an online literary journal published in India.

Title by Nina Macheel

  • by Nina Macheel

    • Released: November 2022
    • Genre: Memoirs

    Rural Wisconsin of the 1950s, where Nina Macheel grew up, was a plain-vanilla place where everyone looked the same. Except for her mother. She was Hawaiian, and she didn’t look like anyone else for miles around. She still called her far-off island home and she used a Hawaiian word to describe her kids—the word hapa, meaning “mixed.” She didn’t like questions about their origins, so Nina never asked.

    Years later, as an adult, Nina arrived in Hawaiʻi for a year-long hiatus. There, her hoped-for relaxation was waylaid by the apparition of her great-grandmother Waipuilani, of whom she knew nothing. Waipuilani’s message was fierce: It was time to delve into the family history that her mother had kept in the shadows.

    Don’t Call Me Moana: A Daughter Reckons with Her Hawaiian Heritage follows the author as she maps generations of her family’s interracial marriages to the colonialist forces that destroyed the indigenous Hawaiian culture and marginalized its inhabitants. Fusing historic research with intuitively imagined truth, she sheds the residue of her racially ambiguous childhood, peels back the veil of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and lays bare a truth that’s been hiding in plain sight—a truth that alters everything she thought she knew about herself as the daughter of a Hawaiian.