Historical Context & Importance of Cultural Understanding

Each consultation occurs on the continuum of the NHC’s experiences and relationships with officials and citizens of various nations, including the United States. While the United States has a special political and trust relationship with the NHC, it has acknowledged its role in historical events that altered the NHC’s exercise of its sovereignty. The resulting historical and intergenerational trauma endured by the NHC may affect how individual members of the NHC function and relate to others, especially the United States. Thus, it is important for the consulting official to understand the NHC’s history and relationship with the United States. The official, when appropriate, should also exemplify core values shared by consultation and Native Hawaiian culture, including humility, an ongoing process of self-exploration and self-critique, and a willingness to learn from others. This means entering a relationship with the NHC with the intention of learning of things the Office may not understand or even know about, as well as honoring their beliefs, customs, and values.


Resource: ‘Ike Hawai‘i – A Training Program for Working with Native Hawaiians

Although the context of this training is for social work, its discussion of historical and intergenerational trauma and how the NHC’s endurance can be attributed in part to its cultural resiliency informs the importance and function of consultation.

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