News Briefs | June 2021


OHA in the Community

On May 4-5, a small contingent from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) went on a two-day huakaʻi to the island of Kauaʻi in advance of OHA’s Board of Trustees’ (BOT) annual Kauaʻi Island Community Meeting on May 5 and Island of Kauaʻi Meeting on May 6. They visited Alakoko Fishpond, the Hanapēpē salt ponds, the Hoʻomana Thrift Store and Training Center, and Hui O Mana Ka Puʻuwai Canoe Club to learn more about the good work these organizations are doing on their island. The team from OHA included BOT Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey (Maui), Kaleiʻāina Lee (at-large), Kaleihikina Akaka (Oʻahu), Luana Alapa (Molokaʻi/Lānaʻi) and Dan Ahuna (Kauaʻi/Niʻihau). Also in attendance was OHA CEO Dr. Sylvia Hussey. (Above) At Alakoko Fishpond with members of Mālama Hulēʻia. (Below) With members of Hui O Mana Ka Puʻuwai Canoe Club in Kapaʻa. – Photos: Joshua Koh & Jason Lees

VIDEO: Watch a short huakaʻi video on the Trustees’ four Kauaʻi site visits at

Maunakea Working Group Members Selected

In March, the House of Representatives voted to convene a working group to develop recommendations for a governance and management structure for Maunakea.

Eight seats of the 15-member working group were reserved for Native Hawaiians – one from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs – and seven others selected from a pool of applicants by House Speaker Scott Saiki.

The following individuals were selected to represent the interests of Native Hawaiians: attorney Jocelyn Doane, Dr. Lui Hokoana, Dr. Pualani Kanahele, Lanakila Manguil, Brialyn Onodera, Shane Palacat-Nelsen, and Dr. Noe Noe Wong-Wilson. OHA Chief Advocate Sterling Wong will represent the agency.

The working group will also include representatives from the state House Mark Nakashima (working group chair), Ty Cullen, Stacelynn Eli and David Tarnas, Robert Masuda from the Board of Land and Natural Resources, Bonnie Irwin of UH Hilo, and Rich Matsuda, interim chief operating officer at W. M. Keck Observatory.

Beamer to Serve as Inaugural Endowed Chair

Photo: Kamana Beamer
Kamanamaikalani Beamer

UH Mānoa’s Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge has named Kamanamaikalani Beamer as its inaugural Dana Naone Hall Endowed Chair in Hawaiian Studies, Literature, and the Environment effective August 2021. The newly established position is named in honor of the revered poet and Kanaka Maoli environmental activist.

Beamer is a professor at Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies and at the William S. Richardson School of Law.

The Endowed Chair position was created to teach and inspire students to perpetuate Hawaiian knowledge and contribute Indigenous land and resource management research in Hawaiʻi to push for policy change. Naone Hall, the chair’s namesake, has worked for decades to protect Hawaiian burial sites, primarily on Maui.

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Support Native Languages

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, headed by Hawaiʻi’s Sen. Brian Schatz, introduced the Durbin Feeling Native American Languages Act of 2021. This bipartisan legislation marks the 30th anniversary of the Native American Languages Act by ensuring federal efforts meet the goal of respecting and supporting the use of Native languages.

Named after Durbin Feeling, a renowned Cherokee linguist and Vietnam veteran who passed away on Aug. 19, 2020, the bill would improve federal agencies’ coordination in support of Native American languages. It would also authorize a federal survey of native language use and programmatic needs every five years to serve as “health checks” to allow native communities and Congress to target federal resources for Native American languages more effectively.

Trask Elected to Prestigious National Society

Photo: Haunani-Kay Trask
Haunani-Kay Trask

One of academia’s highest honors has been awarded to UH Mānoa Professor Emerita Haunani-Kay Trask, who was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies.

Founded in 1780, the academy recognizes extraordinary people who help solve the world’s most urgent challenges and contribute to the common good. Trask will join other notable individuals, including Charles Darwin, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and more than 250 Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners.

Trask started her academic career at UH Mānoa in 1981 as an assistant professor in the American studies department. She is credited with co-founding the contemporary field of Hawaiian studies and became the founding director of the UH Mānoa Center for Hawaiian Studies. She retired in 2010.

Throughout her career, Trask made it her mission to fight for Kānaka Maoli rights and lands, while encouraging the younger generation to embrace their heritage.

Trask will be inducted into the academy in spring 2022. Among the more than 250 scholars selected this year, she is one of eight in the field of political science, joining elected scholars from Ivy League schools, including Yale and Columbia University.

Civil Beat Translating Select Stories Into Hawaiian

Local news site, Civil Beat, has created a new section featuring articles and opinion pieces written in Hawaiian in an effort to connect with Indigenous readers.

The new section, called Ka Ulana Pilina, seeks to share underreported stories and improve engagement with the Hawaiian community. Civil Beat hopes that Hawaiian language speakers will have the opportunity to read news in their language and share perspectives that might otherwise go overlooked. Civil Beat will translate one new story each week with the help of translators at UH Mānoa, and have started by translating a small archive of previously published Civil Beat stories.

Ākea Kahikina, a graduate teaching assistant at the UH Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language, is one of the translators assisting Civil Beat. He helped come up with the new section’s name.

“Ka Ulana Pilina describes the role Civil Beat plays within Hawaiʻi’s communities,” Kahikina said. “Ulana means weave, and pilina means relationship, so Civil Beat, through highlighting and amplifying local voices and stories, acts as a weaver of relationships that binds together our experiences as Hawaiʻi residents to create a more informed, more empathetic and more unified Hawaiʻi.”

Helping Hawaiian Organizations Understand the Section 106 Process

A free e-Learning course is now available to help Native Hawaiians advance their understanding of the Section 106 review process, and increase awareness of strategies for engaging in consultation.

Section 106 regulations require federal agencies to consult with Native Hawaiian organizations whenever a proposed federal project might affect historic properties of religious and cultural significance to them. The Section 106 review process gives Native Hawaiians a unique opportunity to influence federal decision-making.

The course was developed by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s (ACHP) Office of Native American Affairs in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Native Hawaiian Relations and the Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation.

The online course is also intended to enhance the abilities of the Native Hawaiian Community, through Native Hawaiian organizations, to effectively interact and work with federal agencies during the Section 106 review process and project implementation.

The course provides step-by-step guidance about the review process, the rights of Native Hawaiians in the process, and includes tips and strategies for more effective consultation. The course is also a useful refresher for longtime Section 106 practitioners. It is free and accessible any time at

New Kānaka Maoli Physicians

Photo: Native Hawaiian JABSOM Graduates

At a kīhei ceremony on May 14, the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) graduated 12 new Kānaka Maoli physicians. Pictured (L-R) are Jerrick Laimana, Russell Piʻimauna Kackley, Joshua Kaleo Freitas, Bryce Kaleo Chang, Max Pono Castanera, Kawena Akiona, Amanda Wasko, Kadee-Kalia Tamashiro, Cherisse Sen Kawamura, Edy Kalei Gomes, Malia Alinakeakala Brennan, and Chelsea Yin. The graduates represent three islands and five are second- or third-generation physicians. E Hoʻomaikaʻi e nā kauka hou! – Photo: Courtesy