“Ahu kupanaha iā Hawaiʻi ʻImi Loa,” proclaims Dr. Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa. “Bountiful is that new knowledge that brings great rewards.”
A small group of Library and Information Science (LIS) students, called Nā Hawaiʻi ʻImi Loa, assembled a rather large gathering of information professionals to share insights on the ever-changing ideas on accessing indigenous knowledge.
Held at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, “Ho’okele Na’auao: A Library Symposium is a conference for librarians,” explains Annemarie Aweau, a LIS student and board member of Nā Hawaiʻi ʻImi Loa.
Andrew B. Wertheimer, Ph. D. is an LIS Associate Professor that describes the history of the humble curriculum. “We’re a small graduate program about 100 students in our Masters program and we’re almost 50 years old. We’ve been educating students to be librarians, school librarian media specialists, and archivists from a whole range of information professions, but one thing that we really haven’t done well enough is to try and really help raise a new generation of kānaka maoli librarians. So this conference is really a dream for many people and the credit goes to our students who really helped to put this together.
Annemarie says, “The main goal is to encourage the Hawaiian community to get involved in this kind of work.”
“We had a lot of the pioneers of early Hawaiian librarianship, archives, both within the professional community, but also people within the community here that didn’t have the degree, but had the passion to make information accessible to the public,” says Dr. Wertheimer.
The symposium also included international indigenous views, inviting Native American and Māori professionals to the panels.
Anahera Morehu, Manager of the Māori and Pacific Services Library at the University of Auckland explains why the indigenous perspective is important.
“The role for us is that we’re there to be the proper guardians of our information, our stories, to ensure that they are looked after and cared for properly within those repositories.”
Dr. Wertheimer concludes the day’s events. “We’re seeing developments here in Hawai’i. It takes technological literacy as well as cultural literacy and we’re seeing these kind of gelling here together, so it’s a really exciting time!”
For more information, search Nā Hawaiʻi ʻImi Loa on Facebook.