Navigating Humanity Towards a Sustainable Future
Cultural Heritage tells us who we are, where we came from, and how we connect with each other and the land. As cultures evolve, some values and traditions are carried forwards, and others are not. In the Hawaiian Islands, the Native population established a unique culture. Over the past 200 years or more, settlers from other places have come here and brought their own traditions, some of which have been positive additions, some of which have not. The impacts of these new settlers, and particularly colonial rule since 1898 (in which Hawaiian culture and language was displaced from its primary position) has resulted in the loss of much traditional knowledge and its replacement with traditions that do not fit this place.
The Pacific Worlds Project was begun in 2000 to provide a free, online resource in which (primarily Indigenous) inhabitants of certain communities can present their own history and geography—how they understand and experience their place. This approach stands in opposition to traditional Anthropology, in which outside experts present the communities in their understandings, not the communities. This “Indigenous Geography” approach has gained traction since the early 2000s.
For Pacific Islands, the distances that connect these entities makes it even more imperative that a multimedia program focusing on indigenous cultures be available to foster and nurture a Pacific consciousness and pride.
It is also clear that for indigenous peoples, the land and physical environment are the bases of culture and traditional knowledge. A project engaging with these cultures must be rooted in the land and sea. At the Pacific Worlds Institute, we recognize that this indigenous environmental knowledge and understanding is also a storehouse of vital information. Our project thus aims to preserve and promote these distinct ways of knowing, and to foster their vitality.
We aim to work with Native educators to produce new and better curricula for teaching Pacific Island cultures.
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