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NEH awards Hula Preservation Society $300K for oral history project

Nick Yee
Nick Yee

A federal agency will give nearly $300,000 to an Oʻahu nonprofit to uplift its oral history efforts, according to a Tuesday news release.

The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the grant to the Kāneʻohe Hula Preservation Society. The grant will fund the Hoʻolālā Ulu, Growing Indigenous Hawaiian Knowledge Access project.

The initiative aims to create an Indigenous-centered controlled vocabulary for the nonprofit's oral history library. The project would also produce guidelines for developing subject headings and preferred terms.

The Hula Preservation Society is one of more than 200 recipients nationwide to receive the grant awards.

Maile Loo-Ching, the society’s project director, said this is the first significant grant they've won from the federal agency.

"It's very validating because it's such a competitive program," she said. "Usually, around 20% of proposals are selected. It wasn't our first time trying. We just feel very happy to be recognized and also to see that they feel that the work that we're proposing to do is important."

The project will begin this June and is slated to be completed by May 2026.

Cassie Ordonio is the culture and arts reporter for Hawaiʻi Public Radio. She previously worked for Honolulu Civil Beat, covering local government, education, homelessness and affordable housing. Contact Cassie at cordonio@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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