While often invisible in histories of Los Angeles, Pacific Islanders have been celebrating their heritage and contributing to the fabric of California for over 200 years. California has one of the largest populations of Pacific Islanders in the United States, second only to Hawai'i. The founding and development of port cities and military bases in Los Angeles are intimately intertwined with the history of Pacific Islander communities. Despite this longevity and rich history, Pacific Islanders are often relegated to the larger umbrella racial category of "Asian Pacific Islanders." As such, this community's unique history and struggles as part of Indigenous Los Angeles have been largely invisible. To address this problem, we aim to create a Pacific Islander digital story maps, based on a series of storytelling events where we will invite elders and leaders from the Chamorrow, Hawaiian, Marshallese, Samoan, and Tongan communities to discuss their histories and elebrate the survivance of their culture in Los Angeles. This collaboration includes three events with invited community elders and knowledge keepers from diverse communities. They will "talk story" or share their memories of events, community histories, or spedific community institutions and organizations. These communities will be invited through Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)'s network and regional contracts in order to recruit multiethnic and intergenerational participation for each of the storytelling events.

These "talk story" sessions with knowlege keeprs/elders will contribute to building a digital archive and a set of oral histories to be archived, in addition to materials collected for the story map hosted by the Mapping Indigenous LA project. The oral history format will help community members gain a sense of why their memories and histories are important. At each session, we will have a digital scanning station where community members who have brought their photos, flyers, and ephemera can have their materials scanned on site. The materials will be projected in a rotating slideshow and also offer participants the digital copy of their materials. The events will include a community presentation of the draft of the story map so that others may add further stories, archival materials, or feedback.

 

 

Affiliated Faculty

Juliann Anesi, Assistant Professor, Gender Studies; Annamarie Francois, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies; Maylei Blackwell, Associate Professor, Chicana/o Studies