Amber Strong Makaiau
Amber Strong Makaiau

Dr. Amber Strong Makaiau, an associate specialist in the UH Mānoa College of Education, is part of a three-year $90K grant program to enhance how Hawaiian history and culture is taught in Hawai‛i’s public schools. Makaiau, who also serves as the Director of Curriculum and Research at the UH Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education, will partner with the Mānoa Heritage Center (MHC) and the Hawai‛i Department of Education.

As part of a nationwide National Endowment for the Humanities initiative, Creating Humanities Communities, the grant program will offer professional development workshops for public school teachers who need models to teach Hawaiian history using the newly-adopted College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework. Using MHC’s resources, the workshops will give teachers the opportunity to develop culturally responsive Hawaiian history unit plans.

Winner of the first C3 Teachers Inquiry Challenge in 2016, Makaiau worked with Kailua High School (KHS) social studies teachers, COE teacher candidates, and the Hawai‘i National Geographic Alliance to win funding for the KHS social studies department as well as publication of the inquiry on the C3 Teachers website where it is shared globally through a Creative Commons license.

Also part of the grant program, Professor Puakea Nogelmeier of the UH Mānoa Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language will lead a team of researchers in the examination of archives and Hawaiian language newspapers published between 1834–1948. The Awaiaulu researchers will seek information about the ancient agricultural temple located on MHC’s campus, Mānoa Valley history and legends, and the role plants played.

Senator Mazie Hirono said in an MHC press release, “Supporting the Manoa Heritage Center’s efforts to promote the understanding of Hawaii’s natural and cultural heritage, this grant will allow for the development of community partnerships to help connect our educators, researchers, and students to Hawaiian history and previously unavailable language resources.”

Founded in 1996 by preservationists Sam and Mary Cooke, the MHC is a living classroom situated on a 3.5 acres. It is comprised of Kūka‛ō‛ō Heiau, the last intact ancient temple in Waikīkī; Native Hawaiian gardens; and Kuali‛i, the Cooke’s 1911 Tudor-style home that will also open to the public in the future. Both Kūka‛ō‛ō Heiau and Kuali‛i are on the National Register of Historic Places.

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