Diving Deeper: Native Hawaiians and Polynesians

Welcome to our Diving Deeper series!

At TeachAAPI, we believe that going deeper in the understanding of peoples, histories and experiences is key to building empathy in children and a more informed view of the diversity within the AAPI community for everyone. The AAPI community is such a vastly complex, diverse and beautiful quilt of histories, cultures and peoples. These stories and experiences span the globe, socioeconomic spectrums, immigration and migration over decades, all landing squarely in the land we call America. No one story could ever capture all that richness. No one story should ever define anyone.

To learn and share is a key tenet at TeachAAPI. We believe that going beyond the single stories that exist in our society is a foundation in raising children capable of self advocacy and true allyship. And we know that in order to teach something, we must also learn it ourselves. We hope you will join us for our first event Hawaiian Holiday on November 21st. In the meantime, we invite you to dive deeper with us to explore the history and modern-day stories of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders.

This is just the beginning of our journey of learning more. Please share with us if you have more you’d like us to explore, #learnandshare.

Diving Deeper: Learn & Share

Only have a few minutes or just want to watch a video together with your children? A great place to start is with this 12-minute PBS video about Queen Lili’uokalani.

The Story of Queen Lili’uokalani: Queen Lili’uokalani (1838-1917) was the only queen and the last sovereign monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Her story helps to shed light on an important part of history that impacts current-day Hawaii and the Hawaiian people in a profound way. This PBS American Masters video provides a glimpse into her life and her fight to preserve native Hawaiian rights and traditions.

Books are a wonderful place to start learning. For younger children, here are some books we recommend:

For parents and educators, here are a few book recommendations including fiction, non-fiction, historical storytelling and more:

For young adults and adults who want to learn more about the history of labor and trade in Hawaii, or the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy, we recommend starting with these two resources:

Pivoting from history to culture, we’ve also learned much about the deeply spiritual origins of hula. For Native Hawaiians, it is a cultural practice of sharing a trove of stories that connect dancers and audiences to the foundation of Hawaiian ancestral knowledge. Hula animates history, genealogy, prophecy, and the tales of those who came before. We invite you to dive deeper into the tradition of hula with the following PBS videos:

Finally, here are a few organizations doing amazing work to preserve, restore and celebrate Native Hawaiian culture. Please consider supporting them!

Mahalo for joining us to dive deeper. Click below for a full list of resources!