draws its inspiration from a consortium of Indigenous educators who
were concerned about education and cultural preservation in their communities.
It was recognized that there was a gap between preserving and maintaining
traditional knowledge and cultural values, and the internet/computer
technology environment that has come to dominate modern society. Bridging
this gap would both make cultural education and preservation more effective,
and show the relevance of modern technologies to traditional ways, thereby
hopefully inspiring young Native people to take interest in both.
Pacific Islands pose a unique situation in which a wide range of often
closely-related cultures are spread over a vast geographical area. Yet
since this vast distribution of peoples contains a relatively small
population, there are limited resources for education within the region,
and for sharing quality information with those outside the region. Pacific
Worlds aims to serve this need by developing place-focused materials
rich in cultural heritage and local viewpoint, but that also provide
standardized information for comparative investigation of the region.
This project began with a focus on the Hawaiian Islands. Since then,
Pacific Worlds has been able to expand beyond Hawai‘i
to island entities in Micronesia. We hope to continue to broaden our
scope to other areas of the Pacific, and we encourage users to build
parallel websites to which we can link.
To accomplish its goals, the development
of Pacific Worlds follows five guidelines:
(1) it must be comparative:
to foster a pan-Pacific sense of identity to explore the diverse heritage
of this region, there must be material from an exemplary cross-section
(2) it must be consistent:
information must be presented in a fairly standardized platform or
template that allows for comparison. The navigation structure for
the site should allow users to move freely across the region to compare
information on the same topic in different locations. At the same
time, standardization must not result in a "cookie cutter" approach
that tries to fit information into a rigid form, regardless of its
content. Rather, it must reshape itself to adapt to specific local
circumstances while retaining consistency;
(3) it requires an efficient methodology:
producing the number of web sites embodying the magnitude of information
sought requires a collection and production methodology that is feasible
within a reasonable time-frame;
(4) there must be quality control:
in order to accomplish its goal of producing a comparative resource,
there must be a comparable level of quality--in the production, and
in the information presented--across all website produced by Pacific
Worlds. At the same time, this project encourages communities to create
their own websites, hopes to be able to foster the technological skills
for local peoples to do so, and will provide links to such sites as
they become available.
(5) Indigenous voices must lead as much as
It is our primary aim to explore indigenous viewpoints and understandings
of the environment and society. We explore this through first-hand
information from people of the area, and supplement their testimony
with historical writings, documents, images, maps, and photographs.
At the same time, we include more "Western" information as it relates
to the indigenous issues discussed, and to the extent that it both
helps to clarify or frame indigenous issues in a common platform or
relate them to contemporary issues.
Learn more about the methodology
involved in producing Pacific Worlds websites.
Guiding Principles | Methodology
| Project Staff | Usage