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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Parks Stewardship Forum

UC Berkeley


Parks Stewardship Forum delivers interdisciplinary information and problem-solving techniques across all topics relevant to the world’s parks, protected areas, cultural sites, and other forms of place-based conservation. The journal represents all areas of inquiry relevant to understanding and management of parks, protected areas, cultural sites, and other forms of place-based conservation, including but not limited to the natural sciences, cultural resources-related disciplines, social sciences, and interdisciplinary perspectives. 

We Are Ocean People: Indigenous Leadership in Marine Conservation

Issue cover
Cover Caption: A circle design encapsulates aspects of Indigenous relations to the ocean.CIRCLE DESIGN, clockwise from top:• Northern Chumash ceremony  |  ROBERT SCHWEMMER• Haida Gwaii  |  CINDY BOYKO• The Polynesian Voyaging Society’s voyaging canoe Hōkūle‘a   |  NOAA• Elder teaching youths, northern Alaska  |   US Fish and Wildlife Service• Baby Honu (sea turtles), Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument  |  NOAA• Center: Humpback whale, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument  |  NOAABackground: Pacific Rim National Park Reserve  |  PARKS CANADA

This special issue has been created under the direction of an Indigenous Editorial Team with a vision to offer space to Indigenous knowledge-holders to tell their stories and share perspectives about the ocean and its coastal areas, connecting wisdom of the Ancestors to the promise of the future. Toward that end, the special issue is positioned as a contribution to the fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5) in February 2023.

GUEST EDITORS: Cindy Boyko (Haida; Haida Gwaii) and ‘Aulani Wilhelm (Kanaka ‘Ōiwi – Native Hawaiian; Hawai‘i),

Featured Theme Articles

Paddle Song

Erica Jean Reid (Gidin Jaad) shares a Paddle Song from the Haida Nation.

We Are Ocean People

The Guest Editors of the special issue offer thoughts on Indigenous Peoples' leadership in the responsibility of all people to protect the oecans and waters of this planet.

Welcoming the World to Vancouver in 2023: The Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5)

The Secretariat provides an overview of IMPAC5, scheduled for February 2023 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. The roles of the Host First Nations and the congress' Indigenous Working Group are featured.

Re-imagining contemporary conservation to support ‘Āina Momona: Productive and thriving communities of people, place, and natural resources

The integration of multiple knowledge systems is being used more frequently to inform research and management. However, the end goal of management is sometimes limited to the narratives and values of the status quo of Western fisheries management and in many cases is disconnected from the holistic goals and objectives that other Indigenous cultures strive to achieve. Indigenous cultures are based on an intimate understanding of the driving factors of health and productivity of the natural environment. Rather than thinking about preserving resources as they are through Western approaches to designing and implementing marine protected areas, Indigenous communities have the power to drive biocultural research and monitoring towards addressing aspects of the environment that drive production and support and enhance productivity. Na Maka Onaona (Na Maka), an ‘ōiwi (Native Hawaiian) non-profit organization, has been on a 14-year journey of reimagining contemporary research to support ‘Āina Momona: thriving and productive communities of people, place, and natural resources. Na Maka provides culturally grounded programs and partnerships to support the health of our Hawaiian Islands. Our story takes us to the dynamic rocky intertidal fishery of Hawai‘i, an endless slew of lessons learned, and a nascent management plan that weave the narratives and values of the status quo within the fundamental vision of ‘Āina Momona.

Bringing Back a Relative: Sea Otter Reintroduction on the Oregon Coast

An introduction to a video by the Elakha Alliance on the importance of sea otters to the Indigenous Peoples of the present-day Oregon Coast, and on the alliance's work to reintroduce sea otters.

indigo dreams

A digital photo gallery of the authors' Indigo Dreams Collection of marine-inspired beaded artworks.

Siigee & Our Love for K’aaw as Haida People

The Haida have a relationship of giving and receiving with both the Siigee ocean and freshwater systems. The word “reciprocity” is essentially a mutual dependence; it’s a cyclical relationship which provides everything we need, and in return we have an inherent responsibility to take care of the waters that we depend on for survival—as well as practicing gratitude and giving thanks to the sacred water. An example is the traditional harvesting of k’aaw (herring roe on kelp).

Nā Hulu Aloha — A Precious Remembering: Origin Stories of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Native Hawaiian Cultural Working Group Kiamanu Subcommittee

Layers of protection rectify an exploitative past of overharvesting seabirds within the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, affectionately known as the kūpuna (ancestral) islands. The Papahānaumokuākea Native Hawaiian Cultural Working Group’s Kiamanu sub-committee—facilitating the gathering of salvage-appropriate seabirds within Papahanānaumokuākea--seeks to transform the corresponding narrative driving seabird conservation today that has preserved that single story. With our kūpuna islands experiencing climate change and the resulting mass exodus of precious marine ‘ohana, this is an important moment for our islands and the broader Pacific region. This essay shares how a community strives to fulfill a duty to mālama our most precious natural and spiritual capital. It is a story of hope that we meet the synergistic challenges of heightened climate variability, biodiversity loss, sustained militarization, and cultural erosion with the same resilience and resolve as from our deep and recent past.

Tuman alaĝux^ agliisaax^tan (Take care of the ocean): A new vision for Indigenous co-management in marine waters of the US

The Pribilof Islands are among the most unique and important places in the world. These islands provide vital breeding and feeding habitat for more than half of the world’s population of laaqudan (as they are called in Unangam Tunuu, Native language of the community), or northern fur seals, as well as important habitat for qawan, or Steller sea lions, and isuĝin, or harbor seals. More than three million san, or seabirds, flock to the islands during the summer months. By virtue of their position straddling the continental shelf and deeper ocean waters of the Bering Sea, the islands play a central role in creating the productive ocean zone that supports some of the world’s largest and most profitable commercial fisheries. This irreplaceable region has experienced centuries of anthropogenic disturbances that have steadily shifted the ecosystem away from its natural stability. Today, the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Tribal Government (ACSPI) is taking steps to restore and sustain Unangax̂ ways of life, mitigate the impacts of climate change in the region, and enact economic policies that eliminate waste and reduce the overuse of resources in the marine environment. Here we provide a case study of our efforts towards using existing US regulations to secure protections for our marine environment.

A First Nations approach to addressing climate change—Assessing interrelated key values to identify and address adaptive management for country

The Yuku-Baja-Muliku (YBM) people are the Traditional Owners (First Nation People) of the land and sea country around Archer Point, in North Queensland, Australia. Our people are increasingly recognizing climate-driven changes to our cultural values and how these impact on the timing of events mapped to our traditional seasonal calendar. We invited the developers of the Climate Vulnerability Index (CVI) to our country in Far North Queensland with the aim to investigate the application of the CVI concept to assess impacts of climate change upon some of our key values. The project was the first attempt in Australia to trial the CVI process with First Nations people. By working with climate change scientists, we were able to develop a process that is Traditional Owner-centric and places our values, risk assessment, and risk mitigation and management within an established climate change assessment framework (the CVI framework). Various lessons for potential use of the CVI by other First Nation communities are outlined.

Note: The authors on this paper all worked together to tell the project from a first-person narrative, which was the lead author’s voice.

Nurturing Coasts: Hala and the Legacy of Mutual Care in Coastal Forests

This article focuses on hala as a coastal keystone species across in Hawai‘i, co-dependent on anthropogenic caretakers, providing a jumping-off-point for bioculturalengagement with coastal conservation. This piece brings ethnohistoric knowledge from the Hawaiian communities of the Puna district, Hawai‘i Island beside kilo (to observe) and mo‘olelo (stories). This piece considers the decline of hala forests on the slopes of Hawai‘i Island as a story of the interwoven ethos of reciprocal care and cultivation of Indigenous peoples and coastal forests.

I Am A Sea Huntress

An account of the author's relationship between their Indigenous identity and the traditional practice of hunting marine mammals.

Nā Wa‘a Mauō Marine Stewardship Program: Perpetuating the practices of our Kūpuna to care for our oceans and strengthen our next generation of marine stewards

Nā Wa‘a Mauō means the canoes that sustain us. The Nā Wa‘a Mauō Marine Stewardship Program uses wa‘a (outrigger canoes) as vehicles to care for our oceans. The mission of Nā Wa‘a Mauō is to perpetuate the practices of our Kūpuna (ancestors) by using our Native tools and language to care for our oceans with a vision of ‘āina momona (fruitful and productive lands) through Kanaka ‘Ōiwi (Native Hawaiian) stewardship. Our program hosts monthly community workdays on Hawai‘i Island, inter-island exchanges across the state, and the Honuaiākea Voyaging program for Kānaka ‘Ōiwi youths transitioning into adulthood. The Nā Wa‘a Mauō program blends Indigenous and institutional sciences to create community-driven marine stewardship efforts that are scientifically rigorous and culturally rooted. As Kānaka ‘Ōiwi, we have generational ties to our lands and intimate connections to our environment that gift us with the kuleana (responsibility) to care for our islands.

Unsettling marine conservation: Disrupting manifest destiny-based conservation practices through the operationalization of Indigenous value systems

Indigenous Peoples have stewarded marine environments since time immemorial. Due to colonialism, Indigenous Peoples suffered impacts to their rights and abilities to holistically manage ocean systems. We situate the value systems embedded within manifest destiny and colonialism as the root systems that generated a plague of conservation issues that impact Indigenous Peoples today (e.g., fortress and green militarized conservation praxes). This paper is written by Indigenous scholars using Two-Eyed Seeing, reflexivity, and decolonizing methods (e.g., symbology, storytelling, and Indigenous beading) to unsettle the ways that marine conservation should be facilitated. Our framework operationalizes Indigenous value systems embedded within “the seven R’s”: respect, relevancy, reciprocity, responsibility, rights, reconciliation through redistribution, and relationships. This framework underlines the need for marine conservation efforts to center Indigenous voices and futures and Tribal management of marine systems. Marine system managers can use this paper as a guide for decolonizing marine conservation approaches, operationalizing Indigenous value systems in marine management, and building decolonial relationships with Indigenous Peoples and waters.

Traditional Foods of Southcentral Alaska

Chugach Regional Resources Commission (CRRC) is a nonprofit, inter-tribal consortia formed by seven Tribes in the Chugach Region to protect the subsistence lifestyle through the development and implementation of natural resource management programs to assure the conservation, sound economic development, and stewardship of natural resources in the traditional use areas. In 2016, CRRC initiated a traditional foods program to conduct a baseline assessment of food consumption, use and harvest patterns to develop wellness strategies in the face of a changingenvironment. Through this endeavor, a traditional foods poster was created that portrays subsistence foods in southcentral, Alaska. This poster serves as a window into the lives of thepeople of the Chugach, a glimpse of the traditional foods that are important to their cultural identity and a stepping stone to protect a subsistence way of life that desperately needs to be preserved.

Huli‘a: Every place has a story ... Let’s listen

Ancestral knowledge systems are driven by an intimate understanding of place and the seasonal productivity of interconnected ecosystems. This knowing supported our ancestors to adjust and adapt their lives to work in sync with the world around them, constantly listening to the innuendos and inferences of nature. Today, our relationship with nature is filtered through indirect sources and our ability to listen to the world around us has weakened, and for some, has completely vanished. Huli‘ia is an observational process and tool to build our capacity to listen and present an opportunity for a place to, once again, contribute to its own narrative. Take a journey with us as we explore this tool and listen in as other collaborating agenciesand communities share their experiences using Huliʻia and the impact it has had on their ability to listen, engaging directly with the spaces they are tasked to manage.

The Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary: An interview with Violet Sage Walker

An interview with a key figure in the proposal for the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.

HĀNAU KA PALIHOA, LELE! The story, genealogy, and process of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Native Hawaiian Cultural Working Group Nomenclature Subcommittee

HŌ‘ULU‘ULU MANA‘O‘O ke kapa inoa i nā mea ola a me nā hi‘ohi‘ona ‘āina ke kuleana o ka Nomenclature Hui. He kōmike nō ia hui ma lalo o ka Native Hawaiian Cultural Working Group o ke Kiaho‘omana‘o Kai Aupuni ‘o Papahānaumokuākea. Aia nō ka mole o ko mākou ka‘ina hana kapa inoa i ka pilina wehena ‘ole o nā Kānaka ‘Ōiwi, ‘o ia ho‘i ka mo‘okū‘auhau o Kānaka, ka mea e ho‘opili ai a pili kākou i nā mea a pau loa. A ‘ike le‘a ‘ia nō kēia pilina ma ke ko‘ihonua ‘o ke Kumulipo. Ma o nā lālani he 2,000 i hānau ‘ia mai ai kēlā me kēia mea ma ke ao Hawai‘i mai kikilo mai nō a hiki loa i kēia wā ‘ānō e holo nei. Ma Hawai‘i nei, mai Hawai‘i Mokupuni a hiki loa i Hōlanikū, mau nōke kaunānā ‘ia o nā ‘ano mea ola like ‘ole, ‘o ka limu ‘oe, ‘o ke ko‘a ‘oe, ‘o ka i‘a ‘oe, ‘o ka manu ‘oe, ‘o ka lā‘au ‘oe, a ia ‘ano lāhui hou aku. Ma kēia pepa nei e wehewehe ‘ia ai ia ka‘ina hana kapa inoa Hawai‘i i ia ‘ano mea hou loa i kaunānā ‘ia. Ma o ka hana kapa inoa e pili pū mai ai nā mea ola hou iā kākou ma ko lākou ho‘onohonoho ‘ia i ko kākou mo‘okū‘auhau, a lilo ia i kumu e hō‘oia ‘ia ai ka pono me ke ko‘iko‘i e mālama aku i ia lālā ‘ohana hou loa. I ‘ike ‘oe, e ka mea heluhelu, he hoa namu haole ko kēia pepa. ‘A‘ole na‘e ia he unuhi.


The Papahānaumokuākea Native Hawaiian Cultural Working Group Nomenclature Subcommittee gives Hawaiian names to spaces, objects, or organisms within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Our naming process recognizes the intimate genealogical relationship between Kānaka ‘Ōiwi (Native Hawaiians) and the environment. This is well-documented in the cosmogonic chant, the Kumulipo, which spans across 16 wā (epochs). Over 2,000 lines breathe life into everything in the Hawaiian Universe that continues today and guides us towards the future. In this contemporary wā, the (re)discovery of new marine species, including limu (algae) and ko‘a (coral) in Hawai‘i represents a need to name them. This paper documents the subcommittee’s naming process that draws upon traditional Hawaiian knowledge and practice. Kānaka ‘Ōiwi understand the life-giving potential of names. Thus, the subcommittee draws upon the Kumulipo in the naming of newly discovered species and places found in Hawai‘i—recognizing their cultural significance in our genealogy and the need for their study and conservation. This paper is presented primarily in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, the Indigenous language of Native Hawaiians. An English paraphrasing follows.

Mamalilikulla Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area: From vision to validation

This article outlines the Mamalilikulla Nation's journey to develop and declare an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area in November 2021. It speaks to the initiation and inspiration behind the IPCA, including the role of its guardians, and the Nation's inventory and knowledge collection that spoke to the need to manage the area in accordance with its law ofAweena'kola. It speaks to the strategy of leveraging Crown commitments to UNDRIP and reconciliation, and the development of a Marine Protected Areas Network. The importance of planning in advance to outline the Nation's direction is explored, as well as the value of managing for the inter-connection of watersheds with marine areas. The IPCA Declaration ceremony is outlined as a significant way of reconnecting dispersed Nation members and leaders to each other and to the territory. The paper speaks to the long journey ahead.

Community Sampling for Ocean Acidification in Southcentral Alaska

The Chugach Regional Resources Commission (CRRC) is a Tribal non-profit fish and wildlife commission established in 1984 by the Tribes of Prince William Sound and Lower Cook Inlet. TheAlutiiq Pride Marine Institute (APMI), a division of CRRC, is a mariculture technical center located in Seward, Alaska focused on providing subsistence resource harvest opportunity to Tribal members. The ocean acidification (OA) program, conducted by the APMI and CRRC, has been bridging the gap between western science and residents of coastal communities in Southcentral Alaska. Continuous OA monitoring by APMI and discrete OA samples and exposure studies provide climate data for researchers to utilize in studying trends and high-level science. The discrete OA sampling program is conducted by Natural Resource Specialists in Alaska Native communities in Southcentral Alaska. Continuing OA work is critical to understanding the effects of OA effects on important food resources for the Tribes in the Southcentral region.

A Time Apart

A recollection of an encounter with ka ‘ea, a hawksbill sea turtle.

Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs) in Madagascar: Best Practices

An introduction and link to the nongovernmental organization MIHARI's video on LMMAs in Madagascar.

Kū‘ula: Nurturing a generation of Indigenous leadership for marine conservation in Hawai‘i

“Kū‘ula: Integrated Science” was developed as an official undergraduate–graduate dual-level course at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. It aimed to provide research and service-learning opportunities in natural resource management that integrated Native Hawaiian and Western sciences. So far, it has served four cohorts of students, mostly Native Hawaiian. In this article, we offer summaries of how this course impacted participants while they were students and in their post-graduation careers. The participant voices illustrate the deep and long-lasting impacts of their experiences with Kū‘ula, some by academic content but mostly because of experiential and peer-learning. Such impacts are lasting well beyond their graduation into their careers now. Kūʻula participants resoundingly advocate for University of Hawai‘i campuses to offer place-based pedagogical frameworks that integrate Native Hawaiian knowledge and epistemologies.

From Sea to Ancestral Sea

Short personal reflections from two members of the Indigenous Editorial Team on their experiences in bringing this special issue of Parks Stewardship Forum into being.


Acknowledgments from the Indigenous Editorial Team and the publishers for the special issue of Parks Stewardship Forum, We Are Ocean People: Indigenous Leadership in Marine Conservation.

A Voice of Gratitude

Kalani Quiocho shares “Oli Mahalo,” a Hawaiian chant by Kēhau Camara (text and embedded/linked audio file).