Learning & Teaching Historical Complexity in Hawai‘i: The King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, Two Teachers, and Two Seminars on Native Hawaiian Legal Challenges

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2015-05
Authors
Mandado, Ryan
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Kosasa, Karen Keiko
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American Studies
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
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Many teachers do not have the educational tools to address complex historical topics in the classroom. In Hawai‘i, Native Hawaiian Self-Determination and American democracy are contradictory issues for some teachers. These teachers feel uncomfortable if they uphold American ideals of justice and equality while teaching students about Native Hawaiian legal challenges. Classroom discussions may become too controversial and emotional for them. How can we assist educators to guide young people to think critically about American historical, political, social, and cultural issues? Museums and similar institutions are continually looking for ways to engage with their local communities. Today, teachers often look to museums for resources that their classroom textbooks may not offer. The King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center (JHC) is an example of one of these places in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. This project examines two seminars held at JHC: The Constitution and Native Hawaiian Self-Determination (2009) and Challenges of American Citizenship for Native Peoples (2011). It is important to understand not only what the teachers learned, but how they learned the information in these seminars. To accomplish this I interviewed teachers and JHC staff, and attended a JHC seminar. Through my research I discovered how museums and educators work together to teach students about complex, contradictory, and potentially controversial historical events and issues. I also began to understand the destructive effects of American colonialism on Native and non-Native teachers and students in the classroom.
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American colonialism, historical complexity, critical pedagogy, museum education, teacher professional development
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55 pages
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