Camilla G. Wengler, Ph.D. is a 2015 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dr. Camilla Vignoe [right] with her Dissertation Chair, Dr. Carolyn Kenny [left]

Dissertation Committee:

  • Carolyn B. Kenny, Ph.D., Chair
  • Lize Booysen, D.B.L., Committee Member
  • Peter Hanohano, Jr., Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Maenette Ah Nee-Benham, Ph.D., External Reader

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When Native Hawaiians move away from the islands, they risk losing their cultural identity and heritage. This dissertation utilizes a Hawaiian theoretical framework based in Indigenous research practices and uses phenomenology, ethnography, heuristics, and portraiture to tell the stories of leadership, change, and resilience of five Native Hawaiians who as adults, chose to permanently relocate to the United States mainland. It explores the reasons why Kanaka Maoli (politically correct term for Native Hawaiians) leave the 'āina (land; that which feeds) in the first place and eventually become permanent mainland residents. Some Hawaiians lose their culture after relocating to the United States mainland, giving in to societal pressures demanding conformance, assimilation, and acculturation. Some who have lost their cultural identity are able to later regain it, yet others, resilient, found a way to retain their cultural identity despite the traumatic transition. This study focuses on those who have retained or regained their Native Hawaiian identity after relocating to the United States mainland, and questions, “What caused them to relocate?” and “How do they maintain cultural practices far away from the 'āina?” I begin by situating myself as the researcher, review the literature, offer an historical chronology of events that occurred in Hawai‘i, and explain the research methodology. Four Native Hawaiians who have relocated to the mainland United States as adults and have continued Native Hawaiian cultural practices were interviewed. I painted their individual portraits as well as my own—using the art and science of portraiture—which includes aesthetic writing that focuses on the “good” that is found in within context. I constructed the portraits with data from the interviews, observations, pictures, music, poetic sayings, video clips, sound bites, and my own reflections. The phenomenon of “walking in two worlds” is explored. This study provides examples of leadership in portraying how Native Hawaiians perpetuate ‘ūlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian language, poems, songs), mo’olelo (stories, myths, folklore), mo’ok ū’auhau (genealogy), hula (Hawaiian dance), and many other cultural practices far away from home. The electronic version of this dissertation is available in the open access OhioLink ETD Center,


Dr. Camilla Grace Fusae Ka'iuhono'onālani Wengler Vignoe

Camilla Grace Fusae Ka'iuhono'onālani Wengler Vignoe is a professor and career counselor at Santa Barbara City College in California. She grew up in Honolulu, HI, and attended Kamehameha Schools. Graduating with honors as an undergraduate, she received her A.A. in Business Administration from Santa Barbara City College, B.S. from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, M.A. in Psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara, and Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University.

Dr. Vignoe has over ten years experience in Human Resources and career consulting, has led workshops and seminars for students, educators, and professionals seeking student success and career advancement. She has close ties with Native Hawaiian communities in Hawai'i and on the mainland United States. Dr. Vignoe is a student practitioner of hula, and currently resides in Santa Barbara, CA with her husband David.