this month at the center

Events are subject to change, please check here for updated times and locations.

Event:  Lands, Seas and Skies: Conversations with Science, Tradition and the Sacred Symposium

Dates:  Tuesday, September 6 to Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sept. 6th, 7:00pm-9:30pm, Art Auditorium, UHM

A screening of Standing on Sacred Ground – Islands of Sanctuary (Australia & Hawai‘i) with Filmmaker Toby McLeod and Hawaiian Language Instructor Kaliko Baker of the Protect Kaho'olawe 'Ohana. Reception at 7:00pm. Questions and answers following the film. See film screening flyer for more information.

Sept. 7th, 8:30am – 6:30pm
Lands, Seas, and Skies: Conversations with Science, Traditions, and the Sacred symposium (panels at 8:30, 11:00, 2:00, and 4:00).

This all-day conversation between traditional knowledge holders, guardians of sacred lands, natural scientists, academics, and protected area managers will unfold through a series of discussions about specific places and issues loosely organized around three domains (lands, seas, and skies). The goal of the symposium is to highlight possibilities for growing collaboration, mutual understanding, and better protection of biodiversity, indigenous land rights, and sacred natural sites and territories. Whether perceived through the lens of science or the sacred, nature and nature’s spaces and cultural diversity alike face tremendous threats, and now more then ever we need innovative approaches, new thinking, and concerted efforts to provide appropriate solutions. Enhancing and fostering dialogue between different epistemic communities, different ways of thinking about and approaching western science, tradition, and the sacred is the goal. A concluding roundtable and open-room dialogue seeks to raise the meaning of the day’s conversations for our work as scientists and scholars, for the the policies at our university, and for the research goals and directions this gives us as a community of teachers and learners. See symposium flyer for more information.

Scholars, filmmakers, cultural practitioners, and community organizers, will come together for a full-day symposium that seeks to enhance our understanding of the possibilities of conversation and exchange between science, traditions, and the sacred, including Toby McLeod, Kaliko Baker, Danil Mamyev, Slava Cheltuyev, Buyanbadrakh, Patricia Gualinga, Brendan Mackey, Rosie ʻAnolani Alegado, Hiʻilei Kawelo, Mac Poepoe, Davianna Pōmaikaʻi McGregor, Kalei Nuuhiwa, Alan Friedlander, Paul Coleman, Luana Busby-Neff, and more.

Sponsors:  Organized by the Biocultural Initiative of the Pacific—a UHM knowledge center and network linking scholars, instructors, and students who share the common goal of thinking holistically to enhance understanding of biocultural systems—this symposium seeks to draw broad participation from across UHM’s natural and social science, humanities, and broader communities. See series flyer for more information.

This symposium is grateful for support from The Biocultural Initiative of the Pacific, Center for Pacific Islands Studies, The Christensen Fund, Department of Anthropology, Department of English, Department of Ethnic Studies, Department of History, Department of Linguistics, Department of Political Science & Indigenous Politics Program, the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, Sacred Land Film Project, and SOEST.

Contact:  Alexander Mawyer (


Event:  Sailing with Lata: The Unbroken Voyaging Traditions of Taumako Island

Dates:  Thursday, September 8, 2016
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location: John A. Burns Hall, Room 3118, 1601 East-West Road

Description: Unknown to most of the world, ethnically Polynesian navigators in the remote Solomon Islands high island of Taumako have carried on an unbroken ancestral tradition of canoe building and navigation, constructing remarkably engineered voyaging vaka solely with natural materials and traditional methods.

Drs. Simon Salopuka and Mimi George will discuss the latest activities of the Vaka Taumako Project, which is dedicated to perpetuating this imperiled tradition. The project is now working on a documentary and book based on tales of Taumako’s legendary original voyager Lata, who is known in many different forms throughout Polynesia. And the Taumako islanders are preparing for a historic voyage along ancestral routes to an island in Vanuatu, the longest Taumako voyage in many decades.
Dr. Simon Salopuka, executive director of the Vaka Taumako Project in the Solomon Islands, was born on Taumako but left at a young age to pursue his studies, eventually becoming the first Taumako islander to attend college, and later a medical doctor. He is now residing back on Taumako in preparation for the voyage to Vanuatu.
Dr. Mimi George is an anthropologist, sailor, and writer specializing in voyaging cultures. After visiting Taumako in 1993, she agreed to the request of paramount chief and master navigator Kruso Kaveia to help perpetuate the island’s voyaging traditions, which were nearing extinction. She serves as the project’s principal investigator.
See flyer for more information.

Sponsors:  East-West Center Pacific Islands Development Program and the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Center for Pacific Islands Studies

Contact/RSVP:, 808-944-7111


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