Press Release: Olohana Partnering in New Major Coastal Research Hub

Olohana Foundation Partnering with Haskell Indian Nations University and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in New Major Coastal Research Hub

Olohana Foundation to build community technological and communications infrastructure

PAAUILO, August 22, 2022—The Olohana Foundation, a nonprofit on the Big Island focused on cultivating community resilience around food, energy, water, and knowledge systems, has been named a sub-awardee under a new $20 million project spearheaded by Haskell Indian Nations University and funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), announced in early August.

The five-year grant to fund the Rising Voices, Changing Coasts: The National Indigenous and Earth Sciences Convergence Hub (RVCC), will be housed at Haskell and is focused on bringing together Indigenous knowledge-holders from diverse coastal regions and university-trained social, ecosystem, and physical Earth system scientists and students for transformative research to address coastal hazards and create more resilient communities. This grant is the largest NSF-funded research award in tribal college and university history.

Haskell, established in 1884 and based in Lawrence, Kansas, is a post-secondary tribal college operated by the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Education that serves members of all federally recognized tribal nations in the United States. Haskell has been a leader among tribal colleges and universities in climate change research and education for decades.

The Olohana Foundation is a longtime partner of Haskell and others who will be participating in the RVCC Hub. Olohana’s sub-award is $1.6 million over five years, which will focus on community technological and communications infrastructure to support RVCC research for dissemination and future research collaborations.

“The Olohana `ohana is tremendously honored to be a part of the RVCC Hub, a necessary expansion of work we’ve been doing together for more than a decade with folks at NCAR/UCAR’s Rising Voices Center for Indigenous and Earth Sciences and others on a long list,” said Sarah Purgus, Olohana’s Executive Director.

The RVCC Hub’s goals are to improve modeling and prediction of coastal processes to support adaptation and mitigation decision-making by Indigenous communities; develop a framework for cross-cultural collaboration that can be adopted in the future; train the next generation of Indigenous scientists and researchers; and increase the infrastructure at Haskell needed to support future large research projects.

“That NSF has made this award is a strong endorsement that Indigenous wisdom together with academic scholarship has an important role to play towards finding collective, long-term, and sustainable solutions to the climate crisis along our coastlines,” said Purgus.