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KEYNOTES - Saturday, June 1

General Session featuring David Palaita "VĀSĀ (Ocean)—An Interdisciplinary Framework for Critical Pacific Islands & Oceania Studies"


Saturday, June 1, 2024  |  8:15 AM - 9:30 AM


This keynote explores the power of indigenous frameworks and language as a transformative site for re-imagining conceptions of space and identity in higher education. Using etymological deconstructions of words in our Pacific languages, the keynote will share a framework Pacific Islander students created at City College of San Francisco that are both de-centering and re-centering. A collective understanding of our ocean languages promotes values that provide a basic structure to building programs that are meaningful, intentional, and sustainable. The keynote will also illustrate how Pacific Islander student movements in schools are critiques of diversity in post-secondary educational institutions and explores students’ engagement with colonization--as a way of understanding their personal lives, their family and community histories, and the worlds they occupy.

David Palaita

presenter David Palaita

Dr. David Ga'oupu Matthew Palaita, Ph.D., is a Samoan scholar born and raised in Waipahu, O'ahu, Hawai'i. A product of public schools and a former McNair Scholar at the University of Washington in Seattle, Dr. Palaita went on to become professor of Critical Pacific Islands & Oceania Studies and Ethnic Studies at the City College of San Francisco. He is currently chair of the department of Interdisciplinary at City Colege of San Francisco Studies where he oversees programs in Diversity and Social Justice, Ethnic Studies, Critical Middle East Studies, and Trauma, Prevention, and Recovery. Dr. Palaita is currently working on a
manuscript for publication entitled, "VĀSĀ (Ocean): An Interdisciplinary Framework for Critical Pacific Islands & Oceania Studies.


Closing Ceremony and Conference Closing Keynote – Using Only the Stars to Guide Us – Featuring Archie Kalepa


Saturday, June 1, 2024  |  2:45 PM - 4:00 PM

The conference closes with a profound message of the last element of the Pledge to our Keiki "Using only the Stars to Guide Them" featuring an address by Archie Kalepa and a conference closing ceremony.

Photo at top featuring a Microsorum spectrum leaf (endemic to Hawai‘i and commonly known as a laua‘e fern) provided by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority. Used with permission.