Anthropology, Department of



William R. Belcher

Date of this Version



Belcher, William R., Suzanne Falgout, Joyce Chinen, R. Kalani Carriera, and Johanna Fuller. 2021. Experiences in Archaeology, Social Justice, and Democratic Principles: the 2016-2019 Archaeological Field School at the University of Hawaii West O'ahu. Advances in Archaeological Practices 9:4: doi:10.1017/aap.2021.23


This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence


From 2016 to 2019, the University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu conducted archaeological field schools at Honouliuli National Historic Site to teach our students basic archaeological skills. Because the site was the largest Japanese and Japanese American concentration camp on O‘ahu, the field school initiated a program related to social justice and democratic principles for the imprisonment of US citizens and legal residents based on racial and national profiling. The demography of O‘ahu created a special bond to the incarcerees’ stories and the students of Asian and Hawaiian descent. Through field trips, student discussion, and curriculum development, we focused on the pedagogical benefit of experiential learning. Field trips to the National Park Service’s World War II Valor in the Pacific Park System on O‘ahu, King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i allowed the students to see and understand the historical context of the Japanese internment from the mid-nineteenth century, with the development of plantations and early colonialism, to the beginning of World War II and the internment of the more than 300 Japanese and Japanese American—as well as European and Okinawan—civilians and the imprisonment of over 4,000 prisoners of war.