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.

What this author said about working with us...

I chose Luminare Press for my project after seeing the beautiful volume they produced for a friend and hearing her unqualified praise of their professionalism, efficiency, and responsiveness. As my book progressed through all the steps, I was amazed at how comprehensive their offering was, covering things I'd never considered or would have found daunting to do on my own. I unreservedly recommend Luminare, not only for the quality of the interactions, but for the quality of the book they put together for me. Nina Macheel