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Speaking in Maine: College of the Atlantic Summer Institute, Expanding Exploration: Indigenous Futures and Perspectives

Anita Y Wu

Monday, October 16, 2023

This week, Speaking in Maine brings you to the COA Summer Institute at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor. Today's discussion asks, what does “discovery” mean to Indigenous peoples whose cultures and ways of life have been at the receiving end of such pursuits? Betsy Richards,
executive director of the Abbe Museum and senior partner with Wabanaki Nations, is in conversation with National Geographic Explorers Kiliii Yuyan and Keolu Fox to help us re-envision an approach to exploration based on respect and reciprocity.

The son of a Native Hawaiian mother and the grandson of Holocaust survivors, Keolu Fox’s practice as a genome scientist and advocate for technologies that empower Indigenous communities is guided by his family history. Fox is the first Native Hawaiian to receive a doctorate in genome sciences, and is an assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego, affiliated with the Department of Anthropology, the Global Health Program, the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute, the Climate Action Lab, and the Design Lab. He is also co-founder and co-director of the UCSD Indigenous Futures Institute. Fox is a recipient of grants from numerous organizations including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, the American Association for Physical Anthropology, Emerson Collective, the Social Science Research Council and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SOLVE Initiative. Fox holds a PhD in Genome Sciences from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Photographer Kiliii Yüyan illuminates the stories of lives bound to the land and sea. Raised in America, he is informed by ancestry that is both Nanai/Hèzhé and Chinese. Yüyan searches for insight into the human relationship to the natural world from different cultural perspectives while making photographic stories for the pages of National Geographic Magazine, TIME, and other major publications. In 2023, Yüyan received one of National Geographic’s top honors, the Eliza Scidmore Award, and was named one of Photo District News’ top 30 in 2019. He is a member of Indigenous Photograph and Diversify Photo. He is based out of traditional Duwamish lands (Seattle), but can be found across the circumpolar Arctic much of the year.

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