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A Conversation on Island Cultures and Environmental Leadership

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A Conversation on Island Cultures and Environmental Leadership

Thursday, May 4, 2023
4pm to 5:30pm PT

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Stanford Native American Cultural Center Lounge, Old Union Clubhouse, Ground Floor

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This event was co-hosted by Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Stanford Native American Cultural Center

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Join us for a conversation on the intersections of indigenous leadership, island cultures and the environment with Peter Vitousek and Kamana Beamer, longtime collaborators on the First Nations Futures Program

The pair recently co-produced a book, "Islands and Cultures (Yale Press)", that views Pacific Islands as models for understanding how environment and culture can interact. A majority of the authors of the book are Polynesian scholars, including Vitousek’s fellow lead authors, Kamanamaikalani Beamer at University of Hawaii and Te Maire Tau at Canterbury University. The book is in many respects an outgrowth of the First Nations Futures Program, a collaboration between Stanford, University of Hawaii, Canterbury University, the First Alaskans Institute, Sealaska Corporation, Hookele Strategies, and the Ngai Tahu Tribe, that was launched in 2006 through the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Offering fellowships for young indigenous leaders, the program focuses on building First Nations’ capacity by developing values-based leadership and integrated asset / resource management solutions.


Speakers will be introduced by Karen Biestman, Associate Dean and Director, Native American Cultural Center. 

Peter Vitousek is Clifford G. Morrison Professor of Population and Resource Studies, Department of Earth System Science, and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University. Vitousek was born and grew up in Hawai‘i and has been on the faculty at Stanford University since 1984.  His research interests include: evaluating the global cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus, and how they are altered by human activity; determining the effects of invasive species on the workings of whole ecosystems; and understanding how the interaction of land and culture contributed to the sustainability of Pacific Island societies before European contact. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was awarded the 2010 Japan Prize.  He is co-director of the First Nations Futures Institute and of the Hawai‘i Ecosystems Project. 

Dr. Kamanamaikalani Beamer is a full professor and the inaugural Dana Naone Hall Endowed Chair in Hawaiian Studies, Literature, & the Environment at Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa. He serves a dual appointment in the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge and in the William S. Richardson School of Law as part of Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law.