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Opening Plenary

  • Event
    • Jun 6, 2018

    Setting Course on the Future While Staying Rooted in the Past

    In 2016, three native Hawaiian college students hit the road with Roadtrip Nation to explore the global impact being made in their own backyards in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math (STEAM). Throughout their journey, they realized that as long as they remain steered by their interests and driven by their love for Hawai‘i, they will never be led astray—no matter which career path they choose to take.

    Join Roadtrip Nation Creative Director, Willie Witte, and the Hawaii roadtrippers to view Setting Course clips and for an engaging panel discussion around the important lessons learned on the open road, the challenges they have faced in pursuing their degrees, and their thoughts about what educators can do to help Native/Indigenous students succeed.

    • 9–10 a.m.

Opening Plenary

Willie Witte

Creative Director
Director for the Hawaii Roadtrip, Setting Course

Willie Witte’s business card reads “Professional Roadtripper.” Seriously, it does. With over 60,000 miles clocked in Roadtrip Nation’s Green RV, he has now set foot in 49 of the 50 United States (someday he’ll make it to North Dakota!). More important, as Creative Director of the Roadtrip Nation television series and associated products, he’s been behind the lens for nearly 200 interviews with inspiring people from all walks of life. He also recently co-authored the New York Times best-selling book Roadmap: The Get-It-Together Guide for Figuring Out What To Do with Your Life.

Keakealani Pacheco

From Hilo, Hawai‘i

When Keakealani Pacheco was in high school, she was chosen to attend an international technology conference—and once she’d interacted with other members of the tech community, her curiosity about the industry was solidified into a passion. As someone who was raised with a strong focus on tradition, she’s excited to tackle a field that’s constantly looking to the future. However, while she wants to indulge her entrepreneurial spirit, there’s a part of her that feels she should focus on settling down and starting a family—values that aren’t always encouraged within the startup world. Now a freshman at Hawai‘i Community College in Hilo, she wants to see how she can use her interests to empower her community, while also staying true to her dreams. She’s ready to take this road trip as an opportunity to remove herself from all outside expectations and, instead, see where her heart will guide her.

Tehani Louis-Perkins

From Hale’iwa, O‘ahu

The daughter of a high school biology teacher, Tehani Louis-Perkins has always been drawn to the sciences. As a senior in high school, she enrolled in a maritime program that taught her how to sail the open ocean using traditional Hawaiian navigational practices—guided only by the wind, sea, and stars. After seeing this custom in practice, she knew her life’s passion would be combining ancestral Hawaiian sciences with contemporary methods and technology. Currently a junior at Whitman College—where she’s majoring in environmental studies and biology—she’s torn between staying in her home state after graduation to work at the local loko i‘a (a community fishpond) or leaving to attend law school in the hopes of affecting change through environmental law. She hopes this journey will introduce her to professionals from both spheres and provide her with the guidance she needs to confidently navigate this fork in her road.

Traven Apiki

From Hilo, Hawai‘i

Born on O‘ahu, Traven Apiki feels Hawaiian through and through. But after 18 years spent moving around the country, he lost touch with his roots and his Hawaiian mother tongue. Ultimately, most of his upbringing was spent in Homer, Alaska, where an experience volunteering for a nonprofit uncovered his passion for environmental science. But as he grew older, he started to feel something tugging him back toward Hawaii. He decided to return to his home state, where he reimmersed himself in the Hawaiian language and traditions, including the art of hula. Now, as he nears the end of his college experience as an environmental studies major at the University of Hawai‘i, he’s starting to feel the pressure of finding a steady job that he loves—but he hopes this road trip will strip away some of that stress to reveal the potential he has within.


  • Event
    • Jun 6, 2018

    Coming Up for Air Native Knowledge and Our Collective Role in World Transformation

    Hawai’i is a beloved place surrounded by the blue ocean and  blue sky. Like a number of populations  around the world, Hawaiians believe that land and water are our highest priorities and the source of our greatest aspirations. How does this idea help our work with native peoples in higher education? How does it instruct us in our own lives? How does aloha ‘āina and ʻike kupuna inspire our Institutions to better address the needs of our time? This plenary talk will focus on the creation and usage of knowledge that will give us a glimpse of the future. It is a place our elders have known, and thus it remains an important element for our studies of science and the humanities. Ulu aʻe ke welina a ke aloha. Loving is the practice of an awake mind.

    • 12:30–1:30 p.m.

Manulani Aluli-Meyer

Manulani Aluli Meyer is the fifth daughter of Emma Aluli and Harry Meyer. The Aluli ohana is a large and diverse group of scholar-activists devoted to Hawaiian education, justice, land reclamation, law, health, cultural revitalization, arts, prison reform, transformational economics, food sovereignty, Hawaiian philosophy, and most of all, music. She works in the field of indigenous epistemology and its role in worldwide awakening. Professor Aluli-Meyer obtained her doctorate from Harvard (EdD, 1998) by studying Hawaiian epistemology via language, history, and the clear insights of beloved Hawaiian mentors. She has published on the topic of native intelligence and its synergistic linkages to postquantum sciences, simultaneity, spirituality, whole thinking, and to liberating evaluation and reflective pedagogy. Aluli-Meyer’s background is in wilderness education and experiential learning within cultural settings. She has been an instructor for Outward Bound and Hawai‘i Bound schools, along with coaching at high school and national levels in volleyball, track and field, and Special Olympics. Aluli-Meyer was an associate professor of Education at University of Hawai‘i, Hilo. She also worked five years at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, the largest Maori university in New Zealand, and created their first master’s in Applied Indigenous Knowledge. She is currently the Konohiki (to invite willingness) of Kūlana o Kapolei, a Hawaiian Place of Learning at the University of Hawai‘i, West Oahu campus.

Culture-Based Education Field Experiences

  • Event
    • Thu, Jun 7, 2018

    Culture-Based Education Field Experiences

    NASAI is proud to add a new and exciting option to our offerings—a set of full-day, off-site learning programs focused on indigenous cultural traditions.

    For NASAI 2018, these workshops, demonstrations, tours, and hands-on experiences  offer a deep dive into various aspects of Hawaiian culture.

    • 8:45 a.m.–5 p.m.

Explore the state’s largest museum to view collections that tell a special story of Hawai‘i and tour the restored palace of Hawai‘i’s last reigning monarchs.

Visit a Hawaiian nature preserve and explore how the health of the land connects to the health of the people.

Learn about Hawaiian arts and culture by participating in hands-on projects in an outdoor environment.

Help restore the banks of a stream while learning about traditional Hawaiian perspectives on water management and food sustainability.

Tour a 400-year-old Hawaiian fishpond and participate in activities related to the traditions of Hawaiian aquaculture.

Visit a historic and cultural site for a cultural tour and demonstration that will deepen your understanding of Hawaiian history and traditions.

Go to Program for more details.

Closing Plenary

Cultural Event

  • Event
    • Jun 8, 2018

    Cultural Event

    Music, poetry and singing with Jamaica Heolimeleikalani and Jonathan Osorio

    • 1:15–2 p.m.

Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio is a Kanaka Maoli wahine poet/activist/scholar born and raised in Pālolo Valley to parents Jonathan and Mary Osorio. Jamaica is a three-time national poetry champion, poetry mentor, and a published author. She is a proud past Kaiāpuni student and a graduate of Kamehameha, Stanford (BA), and New York University (MA). Jamaica is a PhD candidate in English (Hawaiian literature) where she is finishing her dissertation, “Pilina, A Kanaka Maoli Moʻolelo Beyond Queer Theory: Unsettling White Settler Logics and (Re)membering Indigenous Desires.” Currently, Jamaica is a Ford Dissertation Fellow and a Junior Faculty Specialist at Native Hawaiian Student Services at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Jonathan Osorio is a Hawaiian father, musician, activist, and scholar. He has a PhD in History from the University of Hawaiʻi, and has been teaching at the Kamakū’okalani Center for Hawaiian Studies for over 25 years. Jonathan is the author of Dismembering Lahui: A History of the Hawaiian Nation to 1887, which won “Excellence in Nonfiction” and “General Hawaiian Culture” at the 2003 Ka Palapala Po’okela Awards. He is currently the interim Dean of the Hawaiʻianuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.