Preserving Hawaiian Language and Culture

Standing alongside a group of people supporting the perpetuation of the Hawaiian language and protecting the native culture of my home feels like such an honor to me.  It is so important and such a necessary part of our cultural preservation.  Hawai’i’s is a culture that could have very easily been lost.  We have to prevent that from ever happening!  The culture is alive and we have to keep it that way!

The best part is that we’re not alone in this and we’re not just grasping at straws.  The University of Hawaii has taken a position and sees it the same way!  I almost fell over when I saw this and, while bringing me close to tears, it reinforced my resolve to support this endeavor.  Besides, I want to learn the language too!  🙂

What follows is an excerpt from UH News that was actually published back in March.  I had not seen it until now but I was stunned as I read it — pleasantly stunned.  Check this out and be sure to focus on those bullet points:

A new paragraph, 4-1c(3), also was added to BOR [Board of Regents] policy. It states:

“The University of Hawai‘i is committed to diversity within and among all racial and ethnic groups served by public higher education in Hawai‘i. The President, working with the Chancellors, ensures the unique commitment to Native Hawaiians is fulfilled by:

  • providing positive system-wide executive support in the development, implementation, and improvement of programs and services for Native Hawaiians;
  • encouraging increased representation of Native Hawaiians at the University of Hawai‘i;
  • supporting full participation of Native Hawaiians in all initiatives and programs of the University;
  • actively soliciting consultation from the Native Hawaiian community and specifically P?ko‘a, the system-wide council of Native Hawaiian faculty, staff and students that serves as advisory to the President;
  • providing for and promoting the use of the Hawaiian language within the University of Hawai‘i system
  • providing a level of support for the study of Hawaiian language, culture and history within the University of Hawai‘i system that honors, perpetuates, and strengthens those disciplines into the future;
  • encouraging Native Hawaiians to practice their language, culture and other aspects of their traditional customary rights throughout all University of Hawai‘i campuses and providing Hawaiian environments and facilities for such activities; and
  • addressing the education needs of Native Hawaiians, the State of Hawai‘i, and the world at large, in the areas of Hawaiian language, culture and history through outreach.”

Linda Johnsrud, UH vice president for academic planning and policy said, “By clearly articulating UH’s commitment to Native Hawaiians in the mission statement, the BOR sends a message that we take our obligation seriously, and that we recognize the critical role of higher education to the quality of life of current and future generations of Hawaiians.”

OMG!  Sending a huge “Mahalo!” to the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii for stepping up to the plate on this.  We couldn’t have asked for any better support for the continuance of such a significant undertaking.  This is such a crucial step for the restorative nature of this project.

Damn I’m proud to be a University of Hawaii alumnae!

H2'? - Hawai'i Bilingual o HonoluluNow we just need to work on the State of Hawaii officials to get them to recognize the need to carry this through on their end as well.

So, to do just that, the next ILINA WAI prayer service (“a Spiritual and Artistic Vigil to End the Hawaiian Cultural Genocide”) will be at Mauna ‘Ala on Friday the 29th at 6:30 a.m.   This activity continues that same evening.

Ilina Wai logoDate: Friday, May 29, 2009
Time: 6:30am – 7:30am
Location: Mauna ‘Ala – Royal Mausoleum
2261 Nu’uanu Ave
Honolulu, Hawai’i

Here is a full description and more information:

What: ILINA WAI, an H2‘? – Hawai‘i Bilingual sponsored “Underground” Vigil to End Hawaiian Cultural Genocide until the Official Languages Act is adopted by the Hawai‘i State Legislature

When: May 29, 2009 6:30 a.m.

Where: ILINA WAI is a movable private gathering of Hawai’i Bilingual members and their friends, beginning with a 6:30 a.m. prayer & fasting vigil at Lili’uokalani’s Tomb in the Kal?kaua Crypt at Mauna ‘Ala (the Royal Mausoleum).

P? ILINA WAI, a classical chamber music ‘aha mele will be presented bilingually promptly at 7:30 p.m. ON THE SAME DAY, when members and their guests will gather beginning at 6:00 p.m. at 3810 Maunaloa St. in Kaimuk? (where free parking is available on 15th and 16th Avenues) bringing “potluck” p?p? food and drinks to share, plus a suggested $10 musicians’ honorarium (a donation is required for admission).

Please remember that ILINA WAI vigils are private, not public, events for Hawai’i Bilingual members and their friends.

Why: ILINA WAI (“underground stream”) is a Hawai‘i Bilingual sponsored monthly “underground” spiritual and artistic vigil that began on April 30, 2009 at Mauna ‘Ala (the Royal Mausoleum) and will be observed at the end of each month until an Official Languages Act similar to Canada’s and Ireland’s is adopted by the Hawai‘i State Legislature, effectively confirming an END of the era of Hawaiian cultural genocide. Cultivation of Honolulu’s bilingual creative culture is instrumental in articulating Hawai‘i Bilingual’s vision, and since members of the Honolulu Symphony (America’s oldest symphonic society west of the Mississippi River) have endured more than three months without pay, and several members have already quit, ILINA WAI will increase Hawaiian bilingual social & cultural awareness among and beyond the Hawaiian speaking community while supporting Honolulu’s professional musical society by holding monthly bilingually presented chamber music concerts.

All ILINA WAI programs will be presented bilingually in Hawai‘ian and English languages at private gatherings at the end of each month until the State Legislature adopts the Official Languages Act, confirming an end to the era of Hawaiian cultural genocide.

For more information: http://www.causes.com/h2o

It’s worth looking into and it’s a cause worth joining.  I will urge all readers who call Hawai’i home (either ethnically and/or culturally through birth) to look into this cause, take it seriously, and take it to heart!  The culture of our home is worth preserving and the language is the first treasure we need to protect.  All else will stem from that.

Come, join in, and share the aloha!  Here’s a link to RSVP your attendance! You may need to join Facebook, if you haven’t already.  I have found Facebook to be quite useful.  A lot of Twitter members and business people seem to have found it useful as well.  It’s amazing how much you can learn about what is going on around you so it will be worth joining if only just for that.  You will also be able to follow the progress of this project as it moves forward.

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7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Daughters of Hawai’i and Their Calabash Cousins // May 31, 2009 at 3:32 am

    […] Funny they should mention that!  Did I tell you guys about H2O and the recent decision by the University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents?   Such a coincidence […]

  • 2 Carnival Excitement Rides the Waves to Our Island Shores! // Jun 2, 2009 at 9:58 am

    […] has been concerned more and more with Preserving Hawaiian Language and Culture and has been talking about related topics here at Homespun Honolulu quite a bit recently.  […]

  • 3 Keahi Pelayo // Jun 19, 2009 at 9:17 am

    In preserving parts of the culture are being lost. The academics are sanitizing the language. People from Kauai have traditionally said the name of there island differently than the teachers. Yet this is how you know someone is from Kauai.
    Aloha,
    Keahi

  • 4 Evelyn // Jun 19, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I wouldn’t worry too much about that, Keahi. It seems that we hold on to our colloquialisms, no matter which island or town we’re from or tend to hang out. I’ve found more recently that even things said in a town less than 20 minutes away are not said anywhere else. Odd but it’s part of our cultural character. 🙂

    If we learn how to say anything correctly, we’ll still morph into what’s comfortable and familiar to us. I guess you would call that slang or even Pidgin Hawaiian! 🙂

  • 5 HR 1207: Congress Monkeys Meet About Our Money « Blog Of Fire // Sep 26, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    […] public interest of Portland, Oregon; or New York City; or Lubec, Maine; or Dacono, Colorado; or Honolulu, Hawaii; or Chatham County, North Carolina or Gilpin County, Colorado. Those who live in Montana […]

  • 6 Biography | Malulani Odegaard // Aug 14, 2010 at 9:41 am

    […] On April 30, Malulani completed a year of leading monthly Hawaiian language vigils held at both Mauna ‘Ala – the Royal Mausoleum and King Lunalilo’s Tomb, adjacent to the ‘Iolani Palace. […]

  • 7 Malulani’s Bio | Malulani Odegaard // Sep 4, 2010 at 12:57 am

    […] cultural genocide. On April 30, Malulani completed a year of leading monthly Hawaiian language vigils held at both Mauna ‘Ala – the Royal Mausoleum and King Lunalilo’s Tomb, adjacent to the […]

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