HomeNative HawaiianUH Manoa pushes connections with Native Hawaiian culture.

UH Manoa pushes connections with Native Hawaiian culture.

A cohort of students, faculty, and administrators at the University of Hawaii at Manoa has begun to spearhead efforts to create deeper connections between the campus and Native Hawaiian culture. This two-year initiative will see the first cohort of leaders work with the UH Manoa Native Hawaiian Place of Learning Advancement Office (NHPoL AO) to help advance these efforts across campus.

As a part of UH Manoa’s multi-step strategic plan to become a Native Hawaiian place of learning, starting this week, 10 units at UH Manoa are in engaging in activities centered around Native Hawaiian concepts, ranging from genealogy, kuleana (responsibilities and privileges), and intergenerational interdependent relationships. Activities include learning chants, mapping genealogical stories, participating in “Pilina circles” to build connections, and caring for a loi or taro patch.

Kaiwipunikauikawēkiu Punihei Lipe, the director of the NHPoL AO and the leader of the initiative, explains that “There are three goals in the Native Hawaiian Place of Learning area of the strategic plan”, in an interview with Big Island Now, “The one we are focusing on right now is that 100% of schools and colleges and other similar nonacademic units will create five-year strategic plans focusing on how their units can take steps toward becoming a Native Hawaiian place of learning in four specific focus areas.”.

The four focus areas include Native Hawaiian Student Success, Staff and Faculty Development, Native Hawaiian Environments, and Native Hawaiian Community Engagement.

In an interview with Hawaii News Now, Professor Karen Jolly who teaches history at UH Manoa said that “I want to be able to do that, as well, to integrate Native Hawaiian ways of thinking and being and doing into my classroom and research.”

People of Native Hawaiian ancestry make up 21.8% of Hawaii’s overall population, with 18% of UH Manoa’s faculty being of Native Hawaiian ancestry. About 100 people are expected to form the next cohort in May.

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