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41st Annual Conference of the Hawaiʻi Sociological Association

"Acts of Protest: Protectors, Peoples, Places, and Practices"

February 22-23, 2020

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo

Keynote Speaker

James V. Fenelon

Professor of Sociology

Director, Center for Indigenous Peoples Studies

California State University, San Bernardino

James Fenelon is Professor of Sociology and

Director of the Center for Indigenous Peoples

Studies at California State University,

San Bernardino. His latest book titled

Redskins?: Mascots, Indian Nations, and White

Racism was a departure from works that view

long-term domination of Native Nations, as in

Culturicide, Resistance and Survival of the Lakota

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(Sioux Nation) and second book (with Thomas Hall) Indigenous Peoples and Globalization, that combines American Indians struggles for sovereignty with related issues internationally, while his work in progress looks at race and racism origins over 500 years, from the Holocaust of Hispaniola to modern English social institutions as the basis for inequality and capitalism in the United States.


Professor Fenelon has published numerous articles and book chapters, in publications on Indigenous Peoples and Genocide in California for American Behavioral Scientist, on climate change wars and Indigenous peoples for Political Economy of the World-System volumes. He is Lakota/Dakota from Standing Rock (Nation), Gaelish Irish, having taught internationally, with indigenous peoples globally, and with urban groups. James teaches urban inequality, social movements, Native Nations, race /racism, and works with minority organizations. He is a life-long advocate for social justice.

Plenary Speaker

Val Kalei Kanua

Senior Lecturer

Assistant Dean

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

University of Washington


Valli Kalei Kanuha was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaiʻi in the 1950s. She is the daughter of a Native Hawaiian father and Nisei mother, who also lived for most of their lives on Hawaiʻi Island. For the past 45 years, Dr. Kanuha


considers herself a critical, indigenous, feminist activist-practitioner-scholar with a focus on gender violence at the intersections of race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual identity. She has worked as an advocate and community-based researcher with organizations in Hawaiʻi and the continental U.S., and lectures and consults widely on violence against women, diversity, and social justice issues. Her research and community interests include development of Native Hawaiian culturally-based, domestic violence programming; intimate violence in women's same-sex relationships; and transformative, alternative, community-based justice innovations to address interpersonal violence.

Professor Kanuha was a practicing social worker in community health, HIV/AIDS, and LGBTQ services for 20 years before returning to academia for her PhD.  For 19 years, Kalei taught social work, sociology, and women’s studies courses at the University of Hawaiʻi, and  currently serves as Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Washington School of Social Work. Professor Kanuha has received the NASW Presidential Award for Excellence in Research, University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award, and other honors. She is a founding member of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, on the Board of Directors for the Joyful Heart Foundation, and member of the National Indigenous Women’s Research Working Group. A lifelong social worker, Kalei received her BA in social work from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, MSW from the University of Minnesota, and PhD in social welfare from the University of Washington. In 2013, Kalei and her life partner, Kata were gifted with their beloved daughter, Anela Roshan. They are dedicated to their four-legged Golden Retrievers, extended family, and good work.

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Plenary Panel Moderator

Tarisi Vunidilo


Pacific Islands Museums Association (PIMA)

Assistant Professor, Anthropology

University of Hawaiʻi, Hilo

Tarisi Vunidilo has a MSc in Anthropology and a
Postgraduate Diploma in Maori and 
Development, from the University of Waikato,

Hamilton, New Zealand, a Postgraduate Diploma
Arts, majoring in Archaeology, Australian National 
University, Canberra, and a BA in Geography, History

and Sociology, University of South Pacific, Suva, Fiji. She has published two books and several articles about Fijian pottery, language and archaeology. She was Programs Advisor, Pacific Arts, Creative New Zealand from 2007-2009; Collections Services Manager, Waikato Museum of Art & History from 2003-2007; Collection Manager (Registrar) of Pacific Collection at Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa from 2001-2003, and Director from 2000-2001 and Archaeologist and Head of the Archaeology Department from 1997- 2000, and Graduate Trainee, Archaeology Department from 1994-1996 at the Fiji Museum. She is currently volunteering as Secretary-General for the Pacific Islands Museums Association (PIMA) and works between her office in Port Vila, Vanuatu and Hilo, Hawaii. She  completed her Phd in Pacific Studies in January 2016 - on the topic of “iYau Vakaviti-Fijian Treasures, Cultural Rights and Repatriation of Cultural Materials from International Museums”, at the Centre of Pacific Island Studies at the University ofAuckland (New Zealand). She was a Professional Teaching Fellow (PTF) and Lecturer at the University of Auckland from 2012 to May 2018 before taking up her new role asAssistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of Hawaii-Hilo since August 2018.

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