Keynote Speakers



Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele was raised in a hula tradition that spans many generations and is responsible to her ancestral and matrilineal lineage. Dr. Kanahele knows the forests, mountains, volcanoes, and oceans of her homeland. She and her sister, Nālani, lead Hālau o Kekuhi, a world-renowned Hawaiian cultural dance group known for its ‘ai ha’a style of hula Pele. In addition to being a kumu hula, or master hula teacher, Dr. Kanahele is an accomplished writer, researcher, educator, stage and film director, community leader, and public speaker. Her lifelong work to promote and elevate Hawaiian cultural knowledge has resonated with a growing worldwide audience. Dr. Kanahele currently serves as president of the Edith Kanaka’ole Foundation and director of Hawaiian Traditional Knowledge Research at Hawai’i Community College.

Moana Jackson is a Māori lawyer specializing in the Treaty of Waitangi and constitutional issues. Jackson is of Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Porou descent. He is director of Nga Kaiwhakamarama I Nga Ture (the Māori Legal Service) which he co-founded in 1987. Dr. Jackson has worked extensively overseas on international indigenous issues, particularly the drafting of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He was a judge on the International Tribunal of Indigenous Rights in Hawaii in 1993 and again in Canada in 1995.

Kaleikoa Ka‘eo is an associate professor of Hawaiian Studies at UH Maui College and staunch community advocate. Kaleikoa engages the ‘Ōiwi community by sharing his philosophies of Hawaiian consciousness, active resistance and empowerment. He has been instrumental in the ongoing movement to protect the Hawaiian environment, it’s sacred places, people, language and rights.

Leonie Pihama is the director of Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato, and director of Māori and Indigenous Analysis Ltd, a Kaupapa Māori research company. She has worked as an associate professor in Education at the University of Auckland teaching in the fields of policy analysis, Māori women’s issues, and the politics of representation of indigenous peoples. Leonie is a leading kaupapa Māori educator and researcher. She has been working in the intersecting fields of education, health, whānau wellbeing and Maori immersion education for a number of decades. Leonie has worked on a broad range of Māori education research projects.

Kamanaʻopono Crabbe is Ka Pouhana or chief executive officer at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs since January 2012. He is focused on nurturing a sense of commitment to empowering Hawaiians and strengthening Hawaiʻi. He was selected from OHA’s executive team, where he had been research director since November 2009. Before joining OHA, he was the director of Psychology Training at the Waiʻanae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.

Christi Belcourt is a Métis artist and author with a deep respect for Mother Earth, the traditions and the knowledge of her people.  In addition to her paintings she is also known as a community based artist, environmentalist and advocate for the lands, waters and Indigenous peoples. She is currently a lead organizer for the Onaman Collective which focuses on resurgence of language and land based practices. She is also the lead coordinator for Walking With Our Sisters, a community-driven project that honors murdered or missing Indigenous women.

Kamanamaikalani Beamer is an associate professor at the Center for Hawaiian Studies in the Hui ‘Āina Momona program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with a joint appointment in the Richardson School of Law and the Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge. Previous to this role, Dr. Beamer was the president and chief executive officer of The Kohala Center. 

Heather Shotton is an associate professor in Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Shotton is a leading expert on improving American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian access to — and equity in –- higher education. She has spent her career improving Native student access to post secondary education. Dr. Shotton is a past president for the National Indian Education Association and was named the NIEA Educator of the Year in 2016.

Jonathan Kay Kamakawiwoʻole Osorio is a professor and dean of Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. At Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, he has developed and taught classes in history, literature, law as culture, music as historical texts, and research methodologies for and from indigenous peoples. Dr. Osorio is also an accomplished musician, singer and songwriter.

Taupōuri Tangarō is a professor of Hawaiian studies at UH Hawaiʻi Community College and delivers the associate of arts degree in Hawaiian studies with a hula focus. By using the hālau (formal Hawaiian education) foundation to teach the hula degree program, he established Unukupukupu, the hālau hula of Hawaiʻi CC, over ten years ago. Tangarō and Unukupukupu have performed worldwide including at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC; the 2012 International Union for the Conservation of Nature Congress in Jeju, Korea; and at the World of Shadow Theatre in Stuttgart, Germany. Tangarō serves as director of the Kauhale Academic Village, described as an ʻohana (family) of administrators, faculty, staff, students, their families and the Hawaiʻi Island community that contributes measurably to the success of Hawaiʻi CC’s mission and outcomes. In 2016, he was named director of Hawaiian culture and protocols engagement for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College.