Updated at 3:09 p.m., Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Hawaii law school program receives $630,000 grant
Advertiser StaffHONOLULU The Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law at UH Manoa's William S. Richardson School of Law has received a two-year, $630,000 grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to support the Na'au Pono Initiative.
Na'au Pono means "a deep sense of justice" and reflects the Center's mission to promote education, scholarship, community outreach, and collaboration on issues of law, culture, and justice for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific and Indigenous peoples. The funding will support the Center's classes and programs at the law school.
"The work we've been doing at the Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law has been invaluable in teaching, researching, doing outreach, and increasing dialogue within the broader community about vital issues – such as self-determination and the protection of traditional and customary rights – that directly affect Native Hawaiians," said Law School Dean Avi Soifer. "We are encouraged by the support of OHA and want to express our deep appreciation to the OHA Board of Trustees and staff members who have worked to make this very significant grant a reality."
In addition to the grant, University of Hawai'i at Manoa Vice Chancellor of Research and Graduate Education Gary Ostrander, has committed to provide an additional $50,000 to support the Center's staff and programs.
"The Center complements and builds on many aspects of our teaching and research mission and we are pleased to help support this program," said Ostrander.
The Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law was founded in 2005 through a grant under the federal Native Hawaiian Education Act. The Center offers specialized courses that focus on Native Hawaiian, Native American, and comparative indigenous issues and law. It also supports students interested in working on issues of significance to the Native Hawaiian community and to Hawai'i.
In its two years of existence, the Center has awarded eleven summer fellowships for students to work with attorneys and organizations on Native Hawaiian cases and issues, as well as three post-J.D. research fellowships and one post-J.D. community outreach fellowship. Last May, three Richardson School of Law students graduated and received the first-ever Pacific Asian Law Studies - Specialty in Native Hawaiian Law certificates. The Center also publishes an e-newsletter, Ka He'e, that discusses current cases and issues in Native Hawaiian and indigenous law.