Monday | January 23, 2017
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History association honors Hilo author

The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) this week will honor Hilo author Louis Doody, Kauai native Betty Kikumi Hikiji Meltzer and the Malki Museum in California with an AASLH Leadership in History Award of Merit for their book, “Losing Ground: The Displacement of San Gorgonio Pass Cahuilla People in the 19th Century.”

This award is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history, said a spokesman for the Nashville, Tenn.-based association.

Doody, a 1968 graduate of the University of Hawaii, resides in Hilo with his wife, Dolly Strazar. Hikiji Meltzer was born and raised on Kauai and now lives in Cherry Valley, Calif. The authors were long-time teachers at Banning High School in Riverside County, Calif. In retirement, they made it their mission to address what they saw as a scarcity of historical resources on the Cahuilla people for use in area schools. Both donate royalties on sales of “Losing Ground” toward purchases of the book for Banning-area schools.

“Losing Ground” took five years to research and write and was published under the auspices of the Malki Museum on Morongo Reservation in Banning in 2012. It focuses on the harsh experience of the Cahuilla people under Spanish, Mexican and American authorities in the 19th century, when the Cahuilla people declined in numbers and were almost completely driven from their homelands.

This year, AASLH will be conferring 88 national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, books and organizations during the 2013 AASLH Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Ala. on Friday.

“The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history,” according to the association.

The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203 or go to

Copies of “Losing Ground” or its smaller companion volume, “Glimpses of History,” are available for purchase through or For further information, contact Doody at 935-7381.


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