ʻOnipaʻa speakers to discuss melding indigenous knowledge and science as “Roots of Wisdom” opens

Onipaa Roots of Wisdom flyer with information similar to what is in the article

The next presentation in the ʻOnipaʻa speaker series will dovetail with the new “Roots of Wisdom: Native Knowledge. Shared Science.,” exhibition opening Saturday, March 7, at the James & Abigail Campbell Library.

A panel featuring Dr. VerlieAnn Malina-Wright from the Pacific American Foundation and UH West Oʻahu’s Dr. Daniel (Bubba) Lipe from the Sustainable Community Food Systems program will discuss the importance of synergizing indigenous knowledge and science for culture-based integral education in Hawaiʻi. Such integrated knowledge is widely applied to sustainable natural resource conservation, biodiversity preservation, and climate change adaptation and resilience. The speakers will share their experience of joy and challenges involved in integrating traditional knowledge and science.

Dr. VerlieAnn Malina-Wright

Dr. VerlieAnn Malina-Wright

The event is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., March 20, in the ʻUluʻulu Theater Space as part of an opening ceremony for Roots of Wisdom. UH West Oʻahu Chancellor Maenette Benham is scheduled to speak, as is Herb Lee of the Pacific American Foundation. The event is sponsored by the UH West Oʻahu Hawaiian-Pacific Studies, History, and Political Science departments, the ʻUluʻulu Moving Image Archive, the James & Abigail Campbell Library, and the Building & Bridging Native Hawaiian Futures Title III grant.

The “Roots of Wisdom: Native Knowledge. Shared Science” exhibit tells the stories of four Native communities, giving examples of how traditional knowledge of indigenous communities and Western science provide complementary solutions to ecological and health challenges. Exhibit organizers worked with the Waikalua Loko Fishpond Preservation Society and the Pacific American Foundation in Hawaiʻi to examine how restoration of fish ponds involves mending parts of the fish pond’s ahupuaʻa (land divisions extending from the mountain to ocean).

Dr. Daniel Lipe

Dr. Daniel Lipe

Roots of Wisdom was developed, produced and circulated by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Indigenous Education Institute, the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. The exhibition was made possible with funding from the National Science Foundation and is being shown here with the help of PIKO and Pueo Scholars. 

Malina-Wright serves as board chairman of The Pacific American Foundation and is a Native Hawaiian educator with more than 50 years of education experiences from pre-school to PhD. She also serves as a cultural education resource to the design team for the UH West Oʻahu Creative Digital Media Building.

Malina-Wright has been an advocate for Hawaiʻi public and private education systems, native language immersion and culture-based education for schools, colleges and universities worldwide; informal science and traditional ecological knowledge; and prosperous sustainability.

Her honors include being awarded the Leo Reano Human Civil Rights National Award by the National Education Association for Human Civil Rights and as an outstanding Native Hawaiian Educator by the Native Hawaiian Education Association.

Lipe is Western Band Cherokee and grew up in the Pacific Northwest in the woods and along the rivers of Oregon. He is a Sustainable Community Food System project specialist who works as an indigenous educator. Lipe’s passion is working with indigenous knowledge and western science, creating spaces and opportunities for students to learn about the importance of diverse perspectives in natural resource management. He has done this work for over 20 years across many different education levels. He is also an avid bowhunter and steelhead fly-fisherman.

Image courtesy of UHWO Staff