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Schatz Leads Committee Field Hearing In Hilo On Federal Resources For The Native Hawaiian Community

Hearing Highlighted Culture and Innovation in the Native Hawaiian Community

HILO – Today, 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 & Program Access For Innovation In The Native Hawaiian Community.”

Chairman Schatz opened the hearing by highlighting the unique perspectives the University of Hawai‘i 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,” said Chairman Schatz. “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.”

The following witnesses participated in today’s hearing in Hilo:

  • Ms. Nāmaka Rawlins, Alakaʻi – Senior Director, Hale Kipa ‘Ōiwi at ‘Aha Pūnana Leo
  • Ms. Kāhealani Naeole-Wong, Po‘o Kula – Head of School, Kamehameha Schools Kea‘au Campus
  • Dr. Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa, Director, Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo
  • Ms. Amy Kalili, Partner, Pilina First LLP
  • Ms. Luana Kawelu, President, Merrie Monarch Festival
  • Dr. Noa Kekuewa Lincoln, Advisor, Hawai‘i ‘Ulu Cooperative, President, Māla Kalu‘ulu Cooperative & Associate Research Professor, University of Hawai‘i
  • Mr. Kūhaʻo Zane, Creative Director, Sig Zane Designs and SZKaiao & Kālaimoku, Board of Directors, Edith Kanakaʻole Foundation

To view the full video of the hearing, click here. Photos are available here.


Nāmaka Rawlins, Kāhealani Naeole-Wong, Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa, and Amy Kalili testify before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Hilo


Luana Kawelu, Noa Kekuewa Lincoln, and Kūhaʻo Zane testify before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Hilo


Chairman Schatz with Luana Kawelu following the conclusion of the Senate Committee Indian Affairs field hearing in Hilo