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Popular ʻOnipaʻa speaker series returns


‘Onipa‘a: Military Occupation in Hawai‘i and Okinawa features guest speakers Keala Kelly (left) and Sam Ikehara. Image courtesy of James & Abigail Campbell Library

The University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu welcomes the return of the popular ‘Onipa‘a speaker series with the virtual event, ‘Onipa‘a: Military Occupation in Hawai‘i and Okinawa, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

The free event features guest speakers Keala Kelly and Sam Ikehara, who will critically examine the cultural and environmental impacts of military occupation in Hawai‘i and Okinawa, highlighting shared experiences and dynamics.

The speaker series is presented by UH West O‘ahu’s James & Abigail Campbell Library with support from the Nālimakui Native Hawaiian Council, UH West O‘ahu Political Science, and UH West O‘ahu Hawaiian-Pacific Studies.

“Hawai‘i and Okinawa share a unique connection and similar histories, especially with the involvement of the U.S. military,” said Kawena Komeiji, Hawaiian Pacific Resources Librarian and member of the Nālimakui Native Hawaiian Council. “With everything going on in Hawai‘i, across the Pacific, and around the world, the impacts of the U.S. military on people and land should be more widely examined and discussed.”

Kelly is an international, award-winning Kanaka Maoli filmmaker, journalist, author, activist, and advocate for Indigenous peoples’ rights. Her expertise is in the areas of Indigenous peoples’ cultural and environmental issues, political analysis, and commentary.

Ikehara was born and raised across Honolulu, in Kalihi, Nu‘uanu, Pauoa, and Mānoa. Her research and activism emerge from her family’s histories and experiences across multiple wars and empires in the Pacific Ocean, particularly U.S. military occupation of Hawai‘i and Okinawa.

“By attending this panel, I hope that UH West O‘ahu students, faculty, and staff, and our community members, gain insight into the detriments of war,” Komeiji said.

Registration is required to attend ‘Onipa‘a: Military Occupation in Hawai‘i and Okinawa. Register at For questions about the event, email or

For more information about the speakers for this event, as well as the history and goal of the overall series, read a blog post by Komeiji at

Event flyer.

Image courtesy of James & Abigail Camp