The First Nations’ Futures Program (FNFP) helps emerging leaders build their capacity and tool-set to further serve Native Hawaiian communities Applications are now being accepted for the 2014-2015 Hawai‘i cohort.

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FNFP was initiated in 2006 by Kamehameha Schools, working in partnership with another First Nations Institution in Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu (Aotearoa – New Zealand) to establish a world-class fellowship program focused on building indigenous capacity through developing values based leadership and more integrated solutions for managing natural and cultural resources.

“Our intent was to catalyze more culturally aligned land and resource management,” says Neil Hannahs, Kamehameha Schools Land Assets division director and one of the founders of FNFP.

The opportunity is now right for us to utilize our lands in ways that are where we adapt to the lands and the answers for that challenge and question are really in the historical records of the practices of our kūpuna.

“We wanted to engage perspective leaders who would take on the charge and provide them with some content as well as inspiration and network to be effective in catalyzing that shift.”

Today, the international alliance includes partners Sealaska/First Alaskans Institute, Stanford University Woods Institute for the Environment and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Center for Hawaiian Studies.

The program partners share a common purpose: to improve the well-being of their communities and steward their assets, including natural and cultural resources, in perpetuity. The vision is to develop well balanced First Nation’s leaders who serve their communities through important work in community, public or professional roles.

FNFP runs an entire year and offers an academic program and a series of problem based learning experiences in Hawai‘i. Highlights include:

  • A two-week First Nations’ Futures Institute at Stanford University (a Stanford certificate course) which equips fellows with an innovative and expansive set of tools from academia

  • A Hawai‘i leadership institute, ‘Aha Nauā Lelepā, which compliments the Stanford and provides fellows with the experience of indigenous leaders in Hawaii today

  • A Hawai‘i placed-based project where learning throughout the year can be applied and which culminates in a presentation to program directors, collaborators and Kamehameha Schools leadership

Current fellow, Maka‘ala Rawlins, decided to apply for FNFP because of the professional development opportunity it provides for students and working professionals alike to gain a broader understanding of cultural and natural resource issues affecting our local and global communities.

“FNFP has allowed me to work with educators, entrepreneurs, and communities to help address these issues while exposing me to a broader network of professionals that I would otherwise not have the opportunity to engage with,” shares Rawlins.

One of the challenges the program addresses is the importance for indigenous peoples to shift from deficit thinking and a deficit state to strength or asset state and to focus on the future vision rather than defining themselves by grievance.

“We’ve captured that as part of the spirit of this program,” said Hannahs.

“That we are leaders we are waiting for. That we need not sit back and hope that there is somebody smarter, somebody more passionate, somebody better equipped to solve the problems or to fulfill the opportunities that we see.”

“To the extent that this program can help people make that shift in mindset and equip themselves with the tools to do it, we are really pleased to take a role there.”

Applications for the First Nations’ Futures Program are accepted through May 31, 2014. Applications can be downloaded at For more information on the program, visit, call (808) 541-5346 or email

News Source : The First Nations’ Futures Program (FNFP) helps emerging leaders build their capacity and tool-set to further serve Native Hawaiian communities Applications are now being accepted for the 2014-2015 Hawai‘i cohort.

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