Indigenous Education: Culturally-Driven, Family-Oriented, Community-Based: Native Womb-to-Tomb Education in Hawai'i

Dr. Ku Kahakalau
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This paper presents an overview of a womb to tomb model of education designed and controlled by a native community on Hawai'i Island. This model includes a bi-lingual 0-5 program, a Hawaiian-focused elementary and secondary school, an Indigenous teacher training program as well as an adult and cultural education component. All programs are grounded in a Pedagogy of Aloha developed by this unique learning ‘ohana or family over the past decade. All programs integrate culture, family, place and academic rigor and are part of an ongoing Indigenous action research project which continuously evaluates all aspects of the model to inform ongoing growth and measure the impact of native-designed and controlled education on native performance.

Keywords: Indigenous Education, Liberatory Education, Community Development, First Nations Education
Stream: First Nations and Indigenous Peoples
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Ku Kahakalau

President, Halau Wanana Native Hawaiian Center for Higher Learning, Kanu o ka 'Aina Learning 'Ohana (KALO)

Ku Kahakalau is a native Hawaiian educator, researcher, cultural practitioner and community activist, residing on the Island of Hawai’i. As a pioneer in the field of Indigenous Education, Ku works tirelessly to effect systemic change for Hawai’i’s 50,000 native students, at the bottom of all educational performance indicators. Utilizing a distinctively indigenous research methodology developed during her doctoral studies, Ku designed and implemented an innovative, womb-to-tomb model of education with and in her community. This model functions as a template for a parallel system of Hawaiian education currently being conceptualized, that is culturally-driven, community-based and family-oriented. Ku’s learning ‘ohana, or family includes a bi-lingual 0-5 program, a Hawaiian-focused elementary and secondary school, an Indigenous teacher licensing program, as well as a culturally-driven adult and higher education component. As founder, president, and primary researcher, Kü and several groups of co-researchers constantly evaluate the program to measure the impact of Hawaiian-focused education on native performance and inform the ongoing growth of the vision. Although less than six years old, the model developed by Ku and her community is already having significant impact on native Hawaiian education and is recognized state-wide as a quality model of Indigenous education and care.

Ref: H06P0250