When Elizabeth Lindsey Speaks, People Quiet- Show 29

Two thousand people in the theatre and you could hear a pin drop when Elizabeth Lindsey floated onto the stage. When she spoke, the stillness deepened. I was so moved by her presence and message, I reached out during my interview with her and held her hand. When I think of her now as I write this, I take a deep breath — and know we’re not alone. Elizabeth has a big message for women and our role on the planet now. Part of that is nourishment. And that’s exactly what she gave to me.

Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey, Ph.D., is the first female National Geographic Fellow. An award-winning filmmaker and anthropologist, she is also the first Polynesian explorer for the National Geographic Society. Elizabeth’s commitment to the conservation of vanishing indigenous knowledge and tradition not only provides a cultural record for present and future generations, but also serves as the foundation for a global, digital repository, an initiative which she spearheads at the National Geographic Society.


Her expeditions take her to some of the most remote regions of the world. She journeyed to Satawal, Micronesia where she recorded the nearly lost traditions of the palu, Micronesian non-instrument navigators. Lindsey, who earned her doctorate with a specialization in ethnonavigation, was mentored for over a decade by master navigator Pius “Mau” Piailug who is considered the greatest wayfinder in the world. Presently, Dr. Lindsey and members of the United Nations work on behalf of Pacific Islanders who are experiencing the punishing realities of climate change.

In 2002, Elizabeth was named “Woman of the Year” for Hawai’i Island. Her documentary film, “Then There Were None”, which chronicles the near extinction of native Hawaiians, is considered a Hawaiian history classic and has received numerous awards including the prestigious CINE Eagle.

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