Save our Surf - Proposal Funded

The University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaiian Collection Project "Save Our Surf, a Grassroots Organization" received $3,075.00 from the UH Manoa Diversity and Equity Initiative to fund scanning of a unique collection of primary resource materials produced by the Save Our Surf group.

The Hawaiian Collection, UH Manoa Library, requested funds to create a digital collection of unpublished material from an organization historically tied to environmental, social, political, and cultural movements that became part of the "Hawaiian Renaissance" of the 1970s and that contributed to the contemporary Hawaiian Sovereignty movement. The project will hire a student to research the history of the Save Our Surf (SOS) organization, digitize its publications, and create an online exhibit to help students understand the importance of a grass-roots movement in the context of the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement.

This project addresses the theme of diversity by creating an online library of primary resource materials focusing on the efforts of a grass-roots organization that included University of Hawai'i at Manoa undergraduate students, many from the Ethnic Studies Program. The issues of class and culture were intertwined in the efforts of Save Our Surf, and its work profoundly influenced the movement for Native Hawaiian sovereignty. Leaders of SOS were surfers, participants were from diverse segments of the population of Hawai'i - University students and faculty, surfers, disenfranchised tenants facing eviction, Native Hawaiians, all brought together by a common desire to preserve the environment of Hawai'i, to provide public access to the shoreline, and to enable a land-based, Hawaiian life style for those desiring one.

Save Our Surf (SOS), an environmental defense group focused on protection of Hawai'i's reefs and shorelines, began in the early 1960s by members of the informal Hawai'i surfing community who were angered by the assault upon surfing sites, fish and fishing areas, public access to beaches, and land and water pollution. Through the efforts of SOS, projects such as the Kuhio Beach widening project and the dredging of reefs around eastern O'ahu were stopped. SOS was instrumental in establishing a shoreline setback law and in creating Sand Island Park. SOS also participated in successful community struggles against evictions of low-income tenants, fishermen, and farmers, as in Waiahole-Waikane and Kalama Valley. Organizational techniques learned from SOS were transferred to community struggles led by people of these communities. Lessons learned about community organization and empowerment were transferred to political struggles of indigenous people.

This project will provide a digital library of materials self-published by the Save Our Surf group, such as information flyers, meeting announcements, and photographs about its own activities, as well as those of related groups, such as Kokua Makua 'Ohana, and the anti-eviction groups He'eia Kea Community Association, the Waimanalo Village Residents Association, and Waiahole-Waikane Community Association. Activities of grassroots organizations such as these are reported in local newspapers, but their publications are not documented for research and scholarship. Flyers and information sheets printed by SOS are the primary documentation available for scholarship and research.

John Kelly was one of the founders of SOS. He began one of several non-commercial print shops to publicize SOS activities and to serve as an educational tool in disseminating the organization's research findings about planned development of shoreline areas around the state. Kelly himself printed many flyers announcing rallies and marches to protest incursions upon the Hawaiian environment and the eviction of its people from their lands. His work in this area has been collected by UH faculty emerita Marion Kelly and John Kelly. It is this body of work that is the focus of our proposal.

The University Library seeks to preserve these materials for the future and make them accessible to a broad audience. Through this project the UHM Library will spread diversity on the local, national, and international levels and participate in the University's diversity initiative.

The goal of this project is to contribute to the Diversity and Equity Initiative of the University of Hawai'i by addressing the need for greater access to information, by providing increased opportunity for research and scholarship about the history of Hawai'i, and by highlighting the work of grassroots organizers and students, many of whom were at the University of Hawai'i.

The objectives of this project are to digitize documents from the latter half of the 20th century on anti-development activities in Hawai'i and to provide electronic access to these materials through a website that will make primary source documents available to a wider audience.

We propose to establish an online exhibit and library of the publications. We will conduct research to place SOS within a historical context of Hawaiian social and political movements, and create a chronology of its activities. (The flyers and brochures are filed in binders, but not arranged in chronological order. Many are not dated, flyers announcing meetings give month and days, but do not include years the events were held.) We will digitize selections from Kelly's collection, create a website, and provide annotations for the selections.

Photographs from the work of professional photographer Ed Greevy, who has documented social and political movements in Hawai'i for 40 years, will be used to provide a visual context of the movement. We plan to include portions of a videotaped oral history of John Kelly.A student assistant will conduct research on the Save Our Surf organization, digitize selected images from the Kelly collection, write an essay to accompany the online exhibit and annotations for the selections, and digitize photographs from the Ed Greevy collection. A website will be created. Selections from a videotaped interview of John Kelly will be added to the website.

Together with the Annexation of Hawai'i website of the University of Hawai'i at Manoa Library, this website will form the beginning of an online Hawaiian Sovereignty Collection. The Hawaiian Sovereignty Collection is composed of primary research materials and an online library to support student and scholarly use of historical and contemporary materials on Hawaiian sovereignty. A 2002 grant from the Educational Improvement Fund assisted in organizing pamphlets, posters flyers, and other materials from the Hawaiian Sovereignty movement in the Hawaiian Collection. The digital collection was begun with two SEED grants received in 2001 and 20002 for the library's Annexation of Hawai'i website. In 2003 a Diversity and Equity Initiative grant of $725.00 provided for the purchase of digital camera equipment to photograph fragile primary documents.

SEED funding will assist in strengthening the role of the University Library in contributing to the quality of teaching and learning opportunities at the University of Hawai'i, and to an informed student population about the role of their predecessors in community and political actions.