Winter in Hawaiʻi: Linguistics DSP 2022 Highlights!
At the time of my writing this post, I'm sitting in my new room on campus after spending my entire junior winter term in Hawai'i, on the islands of O'ahu and Big Island, as a member of the Linguistics DSP. While I sometimes missed campus when doing linguistics homework by the beach, now I miss Hawai'i tremendously and can't stop thinking about some of my favorite memories of my term there. We had the opportunity to talk to so many amazing scholars, teachers, artists, and activists all doing incredible things for the local community while staying grounded in Native Hawaiian culture and worldview. I wouldn't have passed this opportunity up for the world. Here's just a little bit about what we did!
- No. 1
Harvesting kalo at Hoʻokuaʻāīna!
Our first excursion was to a loʻi in eastern Oʻahu known as Hoʻokuaʻāina. Here, kalo (known as taro), is planted in the wetland style, submerged under water. As a nonprofit organization, Hoʻokuaʻāina employs local residents and teaches the local community about Hawaiian culture. Headed by Native Hawaiians, we learned about Hawaiian culture, heard stores that explained kalo's significance to the Hawaiian people, and even got involved in harvesting the kalo. We all ended up waist-deep in the muddy water of the loʻi, but got to harvest and weed alongside some incredible people. Couldn't have had a better introductory excursion for our DSP!
- No. 2
Traveling around Hawaiʻi!
When we weren't learning Hawaiian or documenting Micronesian languages, we tried to spend as much time as possible exploring the island on our own. Coastline drives along scenic routes meant plenty of possible time spent finding the best views. This picture was taken at Laupāhoehoe on Big Island. The water was so clear, you could see fish swimming around at your feet. Additionally, it was a great time to bond with some of the other students, most of whom I'd never had a longer conversation with. I really enjoyed being able to meet my classmates and explore with them - amazing people who I'm glad aren't just friendly faces anymore!
- No. 3
Touring ʻIolani Palace in downtown Waikīkī!
One of our excursions was a guided tour of ʻIolani Palace, where we learned about some of the ruling chiefs and monarchs in Hawaiʻi. Because the palace was the residence of the monarchs Kalākaua and Liliʻuokalani, walking around their living quarters and learning about the different events and ceremonies that had transpired there was pretty surreal. Experiences like these where we get to see the places and people we've read about in person really empowered our learning experiences. For most of my life, I'd read about the palace and its residents in Hawaiian history, and yet to walk around a building that had electricity before the White House? Just incredible.
- No. 4
Planting Indigenous flora!
During our time in Hawaiʻi, we got to learn a lot about the impacts of globalization on Hawaiian biodiversity. As part of our programming, we planted Indigenous plants that had been devastated by invasive species. In the picture above, we are planting a kukui nut tree, which has a lot of cultural significance to Native Hawaiians and is a plant native to the islands. Numerous times, we had the opportunity to learn from leading experts who helped us understand the ramifications of lax legislation when it comes to environmental protections. Being able to work on the land alongside those experts was just another example of the unparalleled experiential learning we got to enjoy while on the DSP.