boys in a taro patch

The Detroit-based Kresge Foundation has awarded $460,000 to Lamakū Naʻauao (Knowledge Torch), a new University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa program that will build the capacity of the Native Hawaiian community to participate in decision-making in critical environmental and social issues.

Participants in the Lamakū Naʻauao project will receive training and policy tools designed to help them contribute to decisions involving island food security, renewable energy research, cultural practices and the impacts of climate change.

The project is spearheaded by Loli Aniau, Makaʻala Aniau (LAMA), a new program housed within the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge and the William S. Richardson School of Law.

“The Lamakū Naʻauao project aligns well with Hawaiʻinuiākea’s mission which is to pursue, perpetuate, research, and revitalize all areas and forms of Hawaiian knowledge and apply this knowledge to provide service and support to the Hawaiian community and beyond,” said Dean of the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge Maenette K.P. Ah Nee Benham.

William S. Richardson Law School Dean Avi Soifer said the new program is a perfect fit for the Law School’s focus on environmental law and sustainability issues. “Our Environmental Law Program (ELP) focuses on training environmental lawyers who contribute to the advancement of environmental law in multiple ways and they practice locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally,” said Soifer. “Partnering with LAMA is certain to enhance that mission.”

Donna Vuchinich, president and CEO of the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation concluded, “We are delighted that this premiere national foundation is building on their past support and fueling this important effort that will benefit our entire island community.”

For more on the award and how it will help the Loli Aniau, Makaʻala Aniau program, view the press release.