Indigenous Knowledge Systems

The indigenous and scientific communities each have knowledge and ways of learning that are unique and complementary. Similarly, each generation possesses particular knowledge and experience. Knowledge is cultivated through processes and systems and is the foundation upon which all Olohana projects are based. We call this process Inter-Generational Transfer of Knowledge™ (ITK).

Olohana works with communities using the ITK process, facilitating the sharing of knowledge from one generation to the next, and bringing an indigenous voice to efforts such as NOAA’s National Climate Assessment, and the environmental sustainability work of the Indigenous Knowledge and Environment (IKE) Hui, Haskell Indian Nations University, the Indigenous Peoples’ Climate Change Working Group (IPCCWG), Huaka’i & Blue Trails, the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail Association, the Makali’i Polynesian Voyaging Society, and other organizations.

A native of Hawaii, M. Kalani Souza, Olohana’s founding director, has provided an indigenous perspective to numerous organizations in projects focused on disaster preparedness training, climate change mitigation, and security. He is an active member of an expert network of indigenous scientists, educators, academics, tribal elders, and artists.

The following is a select list of efforts to merge indigenous knowledge and wisdom with contemporary science.
10000 Homegrown FoodForests, a project of the Olohana Foundation


Working with 100 communities in Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, U.S.-affiliated islands, and internationally, in commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of Victory Gardens, we will plant 10,000 food forests and conduct a national indigenous phenology study. It is a proposal to the MacArthur Foundation for their 2016 100&Change challenge.


The Global Breadfruit Heritage Council (GBHC) officially launched at the Pacific Risk Management Ohana PRiMO 2016 conference in March in Honolulu. Using the ITK systems process, GBHC works to honor and protect the genetic, cultural/spiritual, environmental, and product integrity of breadfruit.


Olohana works with our partners, including the NOAA Pacific Services Center and the PRiMO Indigenous Knowledge and Environment (IKE) Hui, to organize and support a Native Expert Advisory Council (NEAC) comprised of the indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands, Pacific Islands, and Alaska. NEAC experts are committed to forwarding society’s understanding of climate change and variability through multi-generational knowledge systems and modern science.


The Native Science Research Center (NSRC) enables professors, students, and communities from around the world to work together to advance indigenous and local knowledge and scientific research around climate change and weather systems. All knowledge systems and knowledge generated are developed for the purpose of serving and advancing tribal, indigenous, and native peoples.