The Pacific Worlds Indigenous Geography Cultural Documentation, Preservation and Education project is a web-based educational initiative that presents an interlinked portfolio of community profiles. This is a free, online resource in which (primarily Indigenous) elders and culture keepers in selected communities present their history and geography—how they understand and experience their place—in their own terms. This approach stands in opposition to traditional Anthropology, in which outside experts present the communities in a removed, academic approach.
Cultural Heritage tells us who we are, where we came from, and how we connect with each other and the land. The land and physical environment are the bases of culture and traditional knowledge. As cultures evolve and as newcomers arrive, some values and traditions are carried forwards, and others are not. Since colonization of the Pacific Islands began centuries ago, much traditional knowledge has been lost and replaced with outside traditions that are not sensitive to small-island circumstances.
At the Pacific Worlds Institute, we recognize that this indigenous environmental knowledge and understanding, and the history and values embedded therein, is a storehouse of vital information. Our project thus aims to preserve and promote these distinct ways of knowing, and to foster their vitality.
This project serves two roles: first, it is a vehicle for cultural preservation and the perpetuation of indigenous traditions in the Pacific. In this role, it presents Pacific Islands—from Pacific-Islander perspectives—to the entire world. Whether you are a tourist or a scholar, this site will transform your understanding of Pacific cultures and environments. Second and more specifically, Pacific Worlds comprises an indigenous-geography education project serving Hawai‘i-Pacific Schools.
The project includes a curriculum for teaching Indigenous Pacific-Islander culture and geography, and has included teacher workshops that help educators use the project. We invite educators to work with us to produce new and better curricula for teaching Pacific Island cultures.
We also invite educators to work with us and their students to research, process and present information about their own ahupua‘a. Go to our Cultural Heritage Documentation page to learn more and engage with us.
This resource is entirely free to the public and without ads. To stay up to date on new additions or changes to the project and curriculum, join our mailing list.
Please help support our mission with your tax-deductible contribution!
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