The fall teacher workshop on “Indigenous Knowledge” generated a surge of interest from the community with 35 teachers participating and others having to be placed on a wait-list. How cultural knowledge is taught and passed down through generations is increasingly relevant in Hawaiʻi and around the world. The workshop featured the East-West Center Gallery Exhibit, “First Nations Art of British Columbia” and Ms. Brenda Crabtree of the Sto:lo/Nlak`pamux Nation, a multi-disciplinary artist and consultant to the exhibit.
Ms. Crabtree had teachers weaving cedar tree bark into beautiful twine that became necklaces and bracelets. While they worked, she explained the arduous, time- consuming task of harvesting the bark from trees designated for First Nations people use, which finally results in soft and pliable strips of bark that feel like soft leather and has the recognizable scent of cedar. She explained the practices associated with the harvest, such as only harvesting from a living tree once, and leaving a small offering of thanks, usually tobacco, at the base of the tree.
The Hawaiian perspective of imparting cultural knowledge and practices to future generations was impressively and colorfully presented in three presentations from: Ms. Kaili Chun, Hawaiʻi contemporary artist; Ulana Me Ka Lokomaikai (weaving with the goodness from within), a lauhala weaving group; and Dr. Manulani Aluli Meyer, Director of Konohiki Kulani O Kapolei (A Hawaiian Place of Learning) at the University of Hawaiʻi West Oʻahu.
Teachers were enthusiastic to brainstorm ways to infuse their newly gained knowledge into their classrooms and share with their colleagues.
“I found the value of indigenous knowledge across many different indigenous peoples to be enlightening and inspiring. The parallels are many. I feel so blessed to be a participant.”
Save the Date:
Spring K-12 Teacher Workshop on ethnic music of Asia-Pacifc, April 3-4, 2020. Details coming soon!