Hawaiian Studies

Hawaiian Studies is a K-12 program that provides curriculum support and resources in the instruction and learning of Hawaiian culture, history and language. This may include integration of Hawaiian concepts and content into classroom lessons delivered by teachers and/or school-level Cultural Personnel Resources.

​ʻO wai ka i ʻole i ke ala i hele mua ʻia e oʻu mau kūpuna. 

Who can deny the wisdom of following a path laid by our ancestors.

Hawaiian Studies Program history

The Hawaiian Studies Program (HSP) was established by the DOE in 1980 to implement the 1978 State Constitutional Amendment that mandated that the “State shall promote the study of Hawaiian culture, history and language” (Article X, Section 4). During that time, a Hawaiian renaissance was in full swing and community leaders pushed for a more integrated educational system in Hawaiʻi, one that took into account important aspects of Hawaiʻi's indigenous culture and history.

The DOE's efforts to comply with the constitutional requirement started in 1979 with a Kūpuna Program pilot project developed by the Queen Liliʻuokallani Trust. This project was established with the intent to revive the Hawaiian culture through the Hawaiian language utilizing native-speaking kūpuna. In 1981, the Department of Education adopted this kūpuna-based program as a component for the Hawaiian Studies Program, gradually implementing it statewide to serve students in grades K-6.

Hawaiian Studies Program philosophy

The knowledge of our Kūpuna is the guiding light that directs our purpose in support of Hawaiian Education. Hawaiian education perpetuates the skills, knowledge, values and practices of the native people of Hawaiʻi and their innovations and resilient response to adapt to an ever-changing world. Hawaiian education leads to the development of a cultural lens that preserves core Hawaiian perspectives. Hawaiian education goes beyond content learning as it also includes internalizing and putting into practice the teachings of our Kūpuna.

Knowledge, skills and practices that are an integral part of Hawaiian education include, but are not limited to:

  • Ka mālama ʻāina — knowledge and stewardship of the land, ocean, and sky
  • Ka moʻolelo Hawaiʻi — knowledge and usage of the language, legends, stories, and arts
  • Ka nohona — knowledge and practice of Hawaiian culture and way of life
  • Ka ‘ike kūpuna — knowledge and consideration of history, origins, genealogy and governance of Hawaiʻi
Core Hawaiian perspectives in teaching and learning include, but are not limited to:
  • Ka pilina — recognizing and honoring relationships and inter-connections
  • Ka mahalo — displaying gratitude and appreciation
  • Ke aloha — showing compassion and kindness

Mission and Goals

The Hawaiian Studies Program provides the support and resources needed to implement the goals of Hawaiian education in the State of Hawaiʻi's public school system. To achieve this mission, the program goals based on BOE Policy 105-7​ are:

  1. To support the incorporation of Hawaiian knowledge, practices and perspectives in varied content areas by assisting in the acquisition and use of resource materials.
  2. To support teachers and cultural personnel resources (CPR) in gaining knowledge of Hawaiian Studies content which includes the culture, history, places, and language of Hawaiʻi.
  3. To support community resources and resource people, such as CPR (e.g. kūpuna/makua/kumu) in ways to share their valued knowledge, skills, and experiences that enhance and enrich learning.
  4. To support students in developing an understanding and appreciation of Hawaiian culture, history, places, and language.
  5. To gather data and information that will inform program effectiveness.

Related links

Contact Information

Ku'ulei Makua

Phone: 808-784-6087

Email: Kuulei.Makua@k12.hi.us


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