Pacific Worlds began in 2000 with funding from the Hawaiian Council for the Humanities and Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, to produce ethnographic websites focused on indigenous communities in Hawai‘i and Micronesia. The project was a pioneer in using appropriate, non-exploitative methodologies for outsiders working in Indigenous settings.
Over 20 years, the project expanded to include eight community profiles in the words of the community members themselves, as well as curricula and teacher workshops so that educators can freely and easily use the project in the classroom. Additional funding and support has come from The Hawaii Geographic Alliance, Pili Productions Inc, the Atherton Family Foundation, The Center for Pacific Island Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the Department of Geography & Environmental Planning at Towson University, U.S. Forest Service Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, and the the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
The project has also been endorsed by the the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States; The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat; the State of Hawai‘i Department of Education; the Fiji Ministry for Education; The Centre for South Pacific Studies at The University of New South Wales, Australia; the New Zealand Ministry of Education’s Pasifika Education division; the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, Samoa; and The Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific International, Fiji.
In 2020 the Pacific Worlds Institute was founded as a 501(c)3 educational non-profit for sharing with the larger public the knowledge that has been transmitted to us from over 200 kūpuna and culture keepers in Hawai‘i and Micronesia. That knowledge came with a mandate to pass it on to future generations, that others may learn the wisdom and practices of the ancestors and apply them to today’s situations.
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