Kevin Y. Kawamoto
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald
The University of Hawai‘i’s Center for Oral History on the Mänoa campus is open for business once again, and longtime Ethnic Studies Professor Davianna Pömaika‘ºi McGregor has stepped up to serve as the center’s new director. McGregor was among the early supporters of the Ethnic Studies Oral History Project as it was known in the 1970s when the idea was proposed to the state Legislature. She is a historian of Hawai‘i and the Pacific and a founding member of the Department of Ethnic Studies, as well as a longtime member of the Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana, a grassroots organization that helped stop the bombing of Kaho‘olawe and has worked to heal the island after decades of U.S. military use.
Readers may recall a Hawai‘i Herald story from more than a year ago announcing the joint retirements of Warren Nishimoto and Michi Kodama-Nishimoto, who served as COH director and research associate, respectively, for nearly four decades. Since that announcement, some community members have wondered whether the center was on track to continue its mission of preserving the recollections of Hawai‘i’s people through recorded oral history interviews and various community activities. Those concerns were eased during a series of events in late September that both celebrated the center’s past and foreshadowed its future potential.