Member Education Sessions: Kānaka Maoli Experiences
Since the illegal annexation and occupation of the Kingdom of Hawai’i, Kānaka Maoli, Native Hawaiian peoples, have long faced unique challenges to protecting their homelands and culture. Due to their unique history and location, they are often left out of conversations when it comes to building relationships with and investing in the Indigenous peoples of what is now known as the United States.
Our moderator, Stephine “Steph” Poston, M.A. (Pueblo of Sandia), and Kānaka Maoli changemakers, Kēhau Meyer, Ku’uleinani Maunupau, and Līpoa Kahaleuahi, discuss the work of Native Hawaiian peoples and how philanthropy can better support the restoration of land and perpetuate Native Hawaiian culture.
ABOUT OUR SPEAKERS:
KĒHAU MEYER (Kānaka Maoli) (she/her)
Program Officer, Community Grants & Initiatives, Hawaiʻi Community Foundation
Over the last four years, Kēhau Meyer has been a productive part of the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation’s (HCF) Community Grants & Initiatives team as a Program Officer. Kēhau supports programs dedicated to foster youth, vulnerable populations, youth resiliency, and child abuse and neglect prevention across the state. In 2022, she joined the Arts & Culture team, where she leads strategic engagement with programs and projects that are centering Hawaiʻi’s Indigenous (Native Hawaiian) community, knowledge practices, and perpetuated traditions. She also manages the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority’s community programs, Kūkulu Ola & Aloha ʻĀina, which focus on uplifting Hawaiian culture and natural resource management projects. Kēhau earned a Master of Communication Management from the University of Southern California and her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Notre Dame. She currently lives in Kāneʻohe, Hawaiʻi on the island of Oʻahu.
KU’ULEINANI MAUNUPAU (Kānaka Maoli) (she/her)
President, Maui Mixer, dba Na Mahi’ai o Keanae
Kuʻuleinani Maunupau is the Director of Sustainable Planning for KAʻEHU, a nonprofit organization that manages 64-acres of coastal wetlands and coordinates youth and community programs that perpetuate Hawaiian culture and the Ahupuaʻa traditional stewardship practices. Maunupau serves as the President of Maui Mixer, dba Na Mahiʻai o Keanae, a nonprofit organization supporting Native farmers in Keanae and the island of Maui. She is creating the first Native Hawaiians in Philanthropy (NHIP) project to secure and leverage long-term funding for Native Hawaiian organizations that demonstrate strategic and fiscally responsible business management; promote and perpetuate traditional knowledge and cultural practices, and; support and strengthen innovative solutions to address complex problems in Native Hawaiian communities.
Kuʻulei has over 30 years of experience in designing, implementing, and coordinating community-centered fund development, capacity building, and project development. She has worked locally, state-wide, nationally, and internationally with government, community, and educational organizations to improve the socio-economic conditions of Native Hawaiian communities.
LĪPOA KAHALEUAHI (Kānaka Maoli) (she/her)
Executive Director, Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike (MKHKI)
Līpoa Kahaleuahi is a Native Hawaiian raised in Hāna, a graduate of Hāna High & Elementary School and Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike (MKHKI), and a Gates Scholarship recipient. After earning her undergraduate and graduate degrees and working as a Hawai’i Island school teacher, Līpoa first served MKHKI as an Outreach Coordinator and Project Manager. In 2019, MKHKI executed its first executive transition, through which Līpoa became its Executive Director. Her cultural practices are surfing and hula, and the various ethnobotanical activities pertaining to both (for example, lei making!). Outside of serving her community through MKHKI, she uses her skills, time, and passion in organizing efforts toward community stewardship and the reclamation of ancestral spaces.
MODERATOR: STEPHINE “STEPH” POSTON (Pueblo of Sandia) (she/her)
President & CEO, Poston & Associates, LLC
“Steph” was born and raised on the Sandia Pueblo Indian Reservation. She worked for her Tribe for eleven years before launching Poston & Associates, a full-service communications firm.
Steph’s expertise includes strategic facilitation, capacity-building training, leadership development, strategic communication, and event planning. She has worked with numerous Tribes and Tribal entities in New Mexico and throughout Indian Country on public relations and marketing campaigns, sacred site protection, voter empowerment, water rights, Tribal policy development, economic development, education, and healthcare.
She is a co-founder of Native Women Lead and is the current Chairwoman of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts which hosts Indian Market.