Friday, May 28, 2010

King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center

The last part of our field trip day was spent at the King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center.

The building is absolutely beautiful, both inside and out. I felt like I was back in the south, sweeping along the veranda of my plantation.

This glorious stained glass window was directly overhead in the foyer.

The History Center conducts and encourages research, disseminates information, and collects, preserves and displays Hawaii's legal history.

They have a very interesting and educational museum area and several films about Hawaiian history. We learned about The Great Mahele which divided up Hawaiian lands among the native Hawaiians and the local government.

Then we watched a synopsis of the court case "Oni v. Meeks". This was a famous case involving land rights in 1858 which set a precedent for future land disputes.

Rather than just watch the film, the history center had the kids in the group act out the major parts of the case in an actual courtroom. They wrote a script which boiled the case down to the major points and gave everyone a part to play. We had more people than parts, so some parts had to be shared.

Katie, with her legal team, played the part of Oni, a native Hawaiian man whose horses were taken and sold by a neighbor (Meeks) after he continually allowed the horses to graze on Meeks property.

Emily played an angry spectator in the courtroom. Fortunately she was pro-Oni or Katie would have been extremely miffed.

Ben played the bailiff and got to bang a gavel (with gusto).
This was an excellent way to teach the kids about Hawaiian history and have them truly understand how some of the current land laws came about. I believe they will remember far more about this case than if they had simply read about it in a book or watched an educational film on it.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, it was fun to scream stuff at people... Hehe...