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Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition “Roots of Wisdom” at WCC Library

OPENING RECEPTION: February 22, 4–6 p.m. EXHIBIT: February 13 – May 5

Windward Community College
Contact:
Bonnie J Beatson, (808) 235-7374
Mktg & Public Rel Dir, Windward Community College
Sarah Gilman Sur, 235-7435
Head Librarian, Library
Posted: Feb 9, 2017

Volunteers repair the rock wall of Waikalua Loko Fishpond. Courtesy Oregon Museum of Science and Ind
Volunteers repair the rock wall of Waikalua Loko Fishpond. Courtesy Oregon Museum of Science and Ind
Members of the Tulalip Tribes cooking salmon traditionally on ironwood sticks over wood coals. Courtesy Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
Members of the Tulalip Tribes cooking salmon traditionally on ironwood sticks over wood coals. Courtesy Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
A basket weaver from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians weaves a river cane basket.
A basket weaver from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians weaves a river cane basket.
Corinne Sams of the Umatilla Indian Reservation fishes on the Columbia River.
Corinne Sams of the Umatilla Indian Reservation fishes on the Columbia River.

“Roots of Wisdom: Native Knowledge. Shared Science” will open Monday, February 13, 2017 at Hale La‘akea, Windward Community College’s Library Learning Commons in Kāne‘ohe, where it will be on view through May 5. The Smithsonian traveling exhibition explores the ways in which traditional knowledge of indigenous communities and cutting-edge Western science are being applied. Part of the exhibition spotlights the Waikalua Loko fishpond restoration project in Kāne‘ohe.

An opening reception will take place on Wednesday, February 22, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Hale La‘akea is open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., and Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The exhibition and opening reception are free and open to the public. Lectures, school tours and a panel discussion for the public are being planned during the exhibition.

"We are thrilled to have this Smithsonian exhibit begin it's tour of the country here in Hawai‘i at Windward Community College, and we are doubly thrilled that our partnering Waikalua Loko I‘a is featured in it," said Head Librarian Sarah Gilman Sur.

“Roots of Wisdom” explores four inspiring stories of environmental and cultural restoration from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Tulalip Tribes, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Native Hawaiians. The exhibition tells the stories of these communities, giving visitors examples of how traditional knowledge and Western science provide complementary solutions to ecological and health challenges. The stories featured in “Roots of Wisdom” reflect the sacred relationship that each community has with its homeland and pass along knowledge of the environment, history, social values and spiritual beliefs.

Today, Native Hawaiians are using traditional knowledge and Western science to restore parts of the land divisions or small communities called ahupua‘a, which span from mountaintop to the ocean. One such restoration project is Waikalua Loko I‘a (fishpond), one of the few remaining intact ancient Hawaiian fishponds in Kāne‘ohe and the only fishpond restoration project featured in this exhibit. Through the work of students, community groups, and many others, the restoration of Waikalua Loko I‘a serves to teach Hawai‘i youth the ingenuity of ancient Hawaiians who engineered complex irrigation and aquaculture systems. More importantly, the collaborative efforts of this restoration project, while challenging, are significant for Hawaiian culture and potentially important for future sustainable food sources. 

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla) are using their resources to restore waterways and native species in Eastern Oregon and the Columbia River Basin. The Tulalip Tribes of Northwest Washington are rediscovering native foods, raising organic foods and, in the process, reconnecting to native food and traditional medicine plants. In doing so, they combine traditional knowledge and Western science for a more culturally appropriate approach to health care. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is working with scientists and regional groups to restore river cane in its homelands of Western North Carolina. They are also revitalizing cultural traditions that use the cane, such as basket making.

“Roots of Wisdom: Native Knowledge. Shared Science” was developed, produced and circulated by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. The exhibition was made possible with funds provided by the National Science Foundation.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at sites.si.edu.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere—past, present and future—through partnership with Native people and others.                                                                                                                              

Founded in 1944, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the nation’s leading science museums, a world-class tourist attraction and an award-winning educational resource for the kid in everyone. OMSI operates the largest museum-based outdoor science education program in the country and provides traveling and community outreach programs that bring science-learning opportunities to schools and community organizations in nearly every county in Oregon. For general information, call 503-797-4000 or visit omsi.edu.

For more information, contact Windward Community College Head Librarian Sarah Gilman Sur at 808-235-7435 or sgilman@hawaii.edu. For information about upcoming events during the exhibition, visit windward.hawaii.edu/rootsofwisdom.
 

About Hale La‘akea, Library Learning Commons
Hale La‘akea, Windward Community College’s Library Learning Commons, is committed to providing exemplary services that foster information literacy and enhance teaching and learning. We take pride in developing, organizing and maintaining resources that provide for diverse perspectives and styles of learning. As part of our mission, it is our obligation to preserve and perpetuate Native Hawaiian print and electronic resources because such resources connect our campus and surrounding community to the rich legacy that we are born into here in Hawaiʻi.

Photos courtesy of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

For more information, visit: http://windward.hawaii.edu/rootsofwisdom