More about the program:

  • Created in 2013 and initially led by Hema Katoa, the People of the Pacific (POP) program grew from a need to address PI identity and the need for our K-12 students in Utah to be able to envision themselves in multiple spaces, while also holding onto and learning about their cultural identities and understanding the significance of their experiences and cultural wealth.
  • In 2014, Utah Valley University Multicultural Student Services (UVUMSS)* received a grant funded by the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) and StepUp Utah that would support college access specifically for PI and Native American students within the K-12 system, while also highlighting their cultural identities and funds of knowledge. UVUMSS requested to partner on the POP program because of its significant focus and the opportunity to further develop the program and curriculum.
  • With this new partnership, key stakeholders were located and a curriculum was created to address the K-12 PI student need in Utah. The curriculum is a collaborative effort between staff and administration in the following school districts: Granite, Jordan, Salt Lake, Canyon, Alpine; community leaders and organizations, the UVU School of Education, and UVUMSS office. While the curriculum is housed online through Utah Valley University (UVU), UVU assists in the facilitation of the program under the guidance and in collaboration with a committee comprised of key stakeholders who helped develop the curriculum, community leaders, school and school district administrators and current POP teachers.
  • Through these significant and valuable collaborations, UVU was able to officially create and launch a Pacific Islander Initiative in the summer of 2015 to continue to address the PI and Native Hawaiian student need on our campus, while also maintaining and building upon community relationships.

Interested in implementing a POP class at your school?

Contact: Leone Saaga (801) 863-8796

*UVUMSS does not own the POP program or curriculum; it is meant to be shared by those interested in developing a POP program within their schools, or in better understanding how to connect PI pedagogy and epistemology with mainstream academic content.

Flower with white pedals and a yellow inner, indiginous to the Pacific Islands

E lē falala fua le niu, 'ae falala ona o le matagi. "The coconut tree doesn't sway on its own, but is swayed by the wind."

- Resource: Samoana Integrated Language Initiative; NZ Ministry of Pacific Islander Affairs

Paid for in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.