WATCH: U.S. Senate field hearing on Native Hawaiian community held at UH Hilo

U.S. Senator Schatz brought the committee to Hilo to hear directly about successes, challenges, and recommendations for advancing Native Hawaiian education, tradition and culture, economic development, and the arts.


U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, led a field hearing titled “Upholding The Federal Trust Responsibility: Funding and Program Access For Innovation In The Native Hawaiian Community” on June 2 at Haleʻōlelo on the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo campus. Haleʻōlelo is home to Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language.

Schatz opened the hearing by highlighting the unique perspectives that UH and and the Hilo community bring to the federal conversation about how best to support Native communities.

“This is a place where rich tradition and cutting-edge innovation meet, and I am interested in learning from you today about how you use those resources to serve the Native Hawaiian community,” says Schatz in a media release. “We brought the committee to Hilo to hear directly from you about your successes, your challenges, and your recommendations for advancing Native Hawaiian education, tradition and culture, economic development, and the arts.”

Keiki Kawai‘ae‘a, director of Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language at UH Hilo, gave testimony.

In addition, the following witnesses participated in the hearing in Hilo:

      • Nāmaka Rawlins, Alaka‘i – Senior Director, Hale Kipa ‘Ōiwi at ‘Aha Pūnana Leo
      • Kāhealani Naeole-Wong, Po‘o Kula – Head of School, Kamehameha Schools Kea‘au Campus
      • Amy Kalili, Partner, Pilina First LLP
      • Luana Kawelu, President, Merrie Monarch Festival
      • Noa Kekuewa Lincoln, Advisor, Hawai‘i ‘Ulu Cooperative, President, Māla Kalu‘ulu Cooperative and Associate Research Professor, UH
      • Kūha‘o Zane, Creative Director, Sig Zane Designs and SZKaiao & Kālaimoku, Board of Directors, Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation