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
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.
Jenny Lee-Morgan (Ngāti Mahuta) has recently been appointed as Professor of Māori Research, and Director of Ngā Wai a Te Tui Māori Research Centre, at Unitec. Formerly a Māori secondary school teacher, Dr Lee-Morgan is a senior kaupapa Māori researcher whose current work is focused in the areas of Māori language, Māori education and Māori housing. She is currently co-leading a two year research project with Rau Hoskins entitled ‘Te Manaaki o te Marae: The role of marae in the Auckland housing crisis’.
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.
Michelle Johnson-Jennings, PhD, Ed.M., (Choctaw Nation) is the Canada Research Chair for Indigenous Community Engaged Research Nominee, Associate Professor at the University of Saskatchewan Indigenous Studies/Community Health and Epidemiology, Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Colorado, School of Public Health, and a Clinical Health Psychologist.
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.
Loea Akiona is from Mākaha, O‘ahu. He is a faculty specialist and career counselor and career services coordinator at UH West O‘ahu. Loea earned undergraduate degrees in liberal arts and Hawaiian Studies and graduate degrees in education. He recently earned his doctorate of education degree in professional education practice. His research focused on Native Hawaiian male students and masculinity in higher education.
Shavonn Matsuda is from Hāna, Maui. She is a librarian at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College and serves as the library liaison for liberal arts programs, Hawaiian Studies, UHMC distance education centers, and the First-Year Experience program. Shavonn earned  concurrent bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Hawaiian Studies and a Master’s in Library & Information Science from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Indigenous Studies from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi. Her research focuses on Indigenous knowledge organization and pathways to improve access to Hawaiian knowledge in libraries and archives through Hawaiian epistemologies.
Pu‘u Zablan is from Waimānalo, O‘ahu. He is a faculty specialist and assistant director of the PIKO Project at UH West O‘ahu. Pu‘u earned undergraduate degrees in liberal arts and Hawaiian Studies and a graduate degree in social work. His research focuses on strengthening Native Hawaiian student success and retention through culture, engagement, health-wellness, and well-being curriculum and programming.  
Stay tuned for Kalei’s bio:)