skip to Main Content

Award-winning Native American filmmaker Chris Eyre selected as Inouye chair

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Noelle Kahanu, (808) 375-9125
Assistant Specialist, Department of American Studies
Posted: Nov 7, 2017

Chris Eyre
Chris Eyre

Chris Eyre, award-winning director and producer of more than 15 feature films, has been named the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa fall 2017 Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals.  

An enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes, Eyre was until recently chair of the film school at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.  His film, Smoke Signals (1998) was the first feature film directed by a Native American to receive a national theatrical release. Upon the release of Skins (2002) starring Graham Green, People Magazine called Eyre “the pre-eminent Native American filmmaker of his time.”

Eyre’s numerous accolades also include being named a 2007 USA Rockefeller Foundation Fellow.

"Chris Eyre is the pre-eminent Native American filmmaker. His experiences and wisdom should be inspirational to Hawaiʻi’s growing Indigenous Film Community as well as the UH Mānoa Academy for Creative Media's Indigenous Film Program,” said Thomas Brislin, associate dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. “As a long-time Chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Senator Inouye, and Maggie as well, believed deeply in public history and the importance of documenting the first hand experiences of indigenous peoples. Chris Eyre is a choice - and voice - with whom they would have been pleased."

While in Hawai‘i, Eyre will present several class lectures at UH Mānoa and UH West O‘ahu.  

On November 8, 6:30-8 p.m., Eyre will participate in, “Native Lenses/‘Oiwi Optics: A Community Panel on Indigenous Film-making” also featuring Chris Kahunahana and Donne Dawson, moderated by Leanne Ferrer at the ARTS at Marks Garage.  

Eyre will also present a keynote lecture on his next documentary Statues between U.S. at the UH Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law’s Classroom 2 on November 14, 6:30 p.m.

All public events are free and open to the public.

More about the Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals

Established in 2005 by the UH Board of Regents, the Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals brings significant public figures to Hawaiʻi to foster public discourse regarding democratic ideals and civic engagement. The chair is housed in the UH Mānoa Department of American Studies in the College of Arts and Humanities and the William S. Richardson School of Law.

For more information, contact Noelle Kahanu, assistant specialist, American studies department at