The Hawaiian Learning Center Hosts Indigenous Taiwanese Students

Indigenous Taiwanese students recently visited The Hawaiian Learning Center to learn about Native Hawaiian culture. The visit revealed a host of similarities between the two cultures.

use their heart to revitalize their culture, we must also use this to revitalize our culture,” said Kerikelilj Salinga, a fourth year law student. “We are in the same situation as the Hawaiians. We struggle for identity and we must do something to change that.”

“It was a great learning day for both cultures, as the similarities of what the Americans did to Hawaii and the Chinese did to Taiwan was shared in detail,” said Walter Ritte, the center’s director.

The purpose of the program is to enhance the student’s global perspectives, according to Ahyee Lee, the program director and an economics professor at Fu Jen Catholic University.

“The Austro-Asians are one big family that Taiwan is also a part of, so we bring the students here to visit their brothers and sisters,” said Lee.

During there time on Molokai the students learned about Hawaiian culture and sustainable living. Calaw is from the Amis tribe, who live in Taiwan’s coastal regions. Because of this, Calaw said he was particularly intrigued by the fishponds and the Hawaiian ways of managing and protecting its marine life.

“I would like to learn how the Hawaiians do this – and use those skills to revitalize Taiwan’s ocean life,” said Calaw. He is majoring in indigenous studies at Dong Hwa University, the only college in Taiwan to offer such a program.

The program is organized by Fu Jen Catholic University, but the students are indigenous Taiwanese students from various universities all over the province. This is the tenth year the university has taken students into the Pacific and the second time Fu Jen has brought students to Hawaii.

The group of Taiwanese students left Molokai last Friday afternoon. They will continue their learning experiences while staying at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.


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