Make State of Hawaiʻi Include 'Ōlelo Hawaiʻi in Public Places

Make State of Hawaiʻi Include 'Ōlelo Hawaiʻi in Public Places

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Sonny Kūʻehuikapono Seto-Myers started this petition to Governor David Ige and

Primary Goal: To Continue the Reestablishment of ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiian Language, as an official language of the State of Hawaiʻi by requiring its usage in public utilities (i.e. Street Signs, PA announcements, state press releases, general public signage, etc.).

As an independent nation, far before it was ever an American territory, much less a state, Kānaka ʻŌiwi, the native people of the island archipelago of Hawaiʻi, mastered literacy in `Ōlelo Hawai`i, the Hawaiian Language. Literacy in Hawai`i rose exponentially from near-zero “in 1820, to between 91 to 95 percent by 1834,” as ali`i (chiefs) supported the building of schools in each and every district (Kaʻanoʻi Walk, Hoʻokahua Cultural Specialist). Hundreds of thousands of books in `Ōlelo Hawai`i were printed and the Kingdom thrived in a time when world literacy was barely above 10% (Our World in Data). Education breed nationalism and newspapers sprang up to help the public engage in the affairs of their nation. The Kingdom of Hawai`i, inspired by its international neighbors, introduced police departments, fire departments, and thrust itself into the world economy by making use of its popularity in American trading. The remarkable feats of the kingdom coalesced in British and French recognition of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1843, making it the first indigenous nation acknowledged by any European military power.

On January 17, 1893, sole reigning monarch, Queen Liliʻuokalani was illegally overthrown by a coalition of American merchants and plantation proprietors. To the consternation of President Grover Cleveland muted by a broken Congress, and in the absence of legal consent, American Mr. Dole organized a provisional government which would ultimately persist until the annexation of Hawaiʻi into the United States of America in 1898. Hawaiians have never since regained independence. The Hawaiian language would subsequently be banned from educational use, essentially wiping it away from existence in a blatant case of ethnic cleansing practices.  What resulted was a generation of Hawaiians who had been stripped of their land, their culture, and their identity.

While this act of illicit warfare has never been properly addressed and Hawaiians have received little compensation of the illegal status of their occupation, the language and culture of Hawaii has been kept alive and is enjoying a comeback. With immersion schools and other institutions paving the way for generations of native speakers and cultural practitioners, it is time for the State of Hawaiʻi to support the redevelopment of ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. After all, it IS the only state with two official languages: English and Hawaiian. We hear too much english, and we want to change that.

The State of Hawaiʻi may never be able to completely compensate for the years of oppression and legally described genocide following the 1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, but it can invest in the ancient and primary culture of its people. 

Kānaka ʻŌiwi were here always, we are here, and we will be here forever more. From Mauna-a-Wākea to the kamaliʻi of the ʻAha Pūnana Leo schools, we are permanent fixtures of this ʻāina. We demand the state honors our request.

E Ola ka ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi i ka manawa āpau!                                                        May the Hawaiian Language live forever!

 

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