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Portrait of Inoke Hafoka

Inoke Hafoka

Assistant Professor
Faculty of Culture, Language & Performing Arts, Jonathan Nāpela Center for Hawaiian & Pacific Studies

McKay 170C


‘Inoke Hafoka is an Assistant Professor for Pacific Studies at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. Hafoka descends from the villages of Faleloa, ‘Uiha, Taoa and Ha‘akio in the Ha‘apai and Vava‘u regions located in Tonga. He brings with him his connections from Glendale in Soonkahni (Salt Lake Valley), Utah. He is the spouse of Tali Alisa Hafoka, an alumna of Brigham Young University-Hawaii and oil painter, and they have four children.

Hafoka’s work has appeared in AlterNative, Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Journal of Global Indigeneity, Oceania, and Pacific Studies. His teaching and research interests include Pacific Studies, diaspora, educational spaces within and beyond tertiary schooling, Indigeneity, race and ethnicity, and sports.


BS in Sociology: Brigham Young University–Provo
MEd in Education, Culture & Society: University of Utah
PhD in Social Science & Comparative Education: University of California, Los Angeles

Classes Taught

PAIS 105: Introduction to Pacific Studies
PAIS 201: Indigenous Pacific Research Methodologies
PAIS 340: Anti-Racism & Belonging: Pacific Dialogue
HIST 250: History of Eastern Oceania
HIST 362: History of the Pacific
SOCW 372: Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Selected Publications

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Hafoka, ‘I., Tecun, A., Ka‘ili, T. O., & Siulua, S. A. (In Press). Indigenous Performances of Tongan Identity in Global Sporting Events. Pacific Studies.

Alcantar, C. M., Kim, V., Hafoka, ‘I., & Teranishi, R. T. (2022). Space and place at Asian American and Pacific Islander–serving community colleges: The geography of campus student support for Asian American and Pacific Islander students. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 15(2), 178–193.

Vaughn, K., Fitisemanu, J., Hafoka, ‘I. & Folau, K. (2020). Unmasking the essential realities of COVID-19 amongst the Pasifika community in the Salt Lake Valley. Oceania, 90(S1), 60-67.

Tecun, A., Hafoka, ‘I., ‘Ulu‘ave, L., & ‘Ulu‘ave-Hafoka, M. (2018). Talanoa: Tongan epistemology and Indigenous research method. AlterNative: An international journal of Indigenous Peoples, 14(2), 156–163.

Book Chapters

Tecun, A., Fehoko, E., & Hafoka, ‘I. (2021). Faikava: A Philosophy of Diasporic Tongan Youth, Hip Hop, and Urban Kava Circles. In K. L. Camacho (Ed.), Reppin’: Pacific Islander Youth and Native Justice (pp. 219-239). Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.

Hafoka, ‘I., Vaughn, K., Aina, I. & Alcantar, C. M. (2020). The ‘invisible’ minority: Finding a sense of belonging after imperialism, colonialism, and (im)migration for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders in the United States. In R. T Teranishi, B. M. D. Nguyen, C. M. Alcantar, & E. R. Curammeng (Eds.), in Measuring race: Why disaggregating data matters for addressing educational inequality (pp.67-83). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Hafoka, M., ‘Ulu‘ave, M. & Hafoka, ‘I. (2014). Double bind: The duality of Tongan American Identity. In H. F. O. Vakalahi & M. Godinet (Eds.). Transnational Pacific Islander Americans and social work: Dancing to the beat of a different drum (pp. 127–138). Washington, DC: NASW Press.

Pacific Island Studies Program