Executive Director, Founder
Raised on Moloka‘i, Uncle Walter Ritte has been a pillar of social activism in Hawaii for over 40 years. He was recruited into activism at an early age by cultural icons like Uncle Charlie Maxwell and Aunty Frenchy DeSoto, who saw in a young Ritte natural leadership and dedication to his people and culture.
Uncle Walter solidified his place in Hawaiʻi’s history when he and eight others defied the U.S. Military to return to the Hawaiian ‘āina of Kahoʻolawe, an island which had long been seized and occupied by the U.S. Navy for military testing and target practice. In an unprecedented act of courage, “the Kaho‘olawe Nine” became the first Native Hawaiians to step foot on the beaten and ravaged island without military permission in decades. Most of the group was shortly therefore captured by military officials, but Uncle Walter and one other evaded capture for two days.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jon Osorio, Ph.D
Dr. Jonathan Kay Kamakawiwoʻole Osorio is a full professor and Dean of Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge. Dr. Osorio received his PhD in History from the University of Hawaiʻi. At Kamakakūokalani, he has developed and taught classes in history, literature, law as culture, music as historical texts, and research methodologies for and from indigenous peoples. His recent publications include The Value of Hawaiʻi: Knowing the Past and Shaping the Future, which he co-edited and authored, and Dismembering Lāhui: A History of the Hawaiian Nation to 1887. He is also a composer and singer and has been a Hawaiian music recording artist since 1975.
Dr. Watson was born and raised on the island of O‘ahu to which she has long ancestral ties. She obtained her degrees from Washington State University and the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa. Her legal background is in environmental law. Her PhD studies focused on indigenous epistemologies and traditional natural resource management. She previously worked in administration at the University of Hawai‘i on special projects related to culture and research issues. She currently runs her own consulting company, Honua Consulting (www.honuaconsulting.com) that focuses on biocultural resource planning and management in Hawai‘i.
Trisha Kehaulani Watson,