A brief background of ‘Aha Punana Leo the Hawaiian Language Program that was founded in 1983 with a dream that the Hawaiian language during that time on the edge of extinction might survive for future generations is the foundation of Hawaiian immersion education, having a few elders and less than fifty children under the age of eighteen at the time being fluent in Hawaiian.
A little over a year ago, ‘Aha Punana Leo has applied and successfully received a grant from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) which is an organization that promotes the goal of self-sufficiency and cultural preservation of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Native Pacific Islanders organizations. It was a 2.1 million dollar grant in which ‘Aha Punana Leo created three projects and Ka Leo ‘Oiwi was one of them.
‘Oiwi TV is the first and only Native Hawaiian television station that offers programming from timely news, documentaries, children’s programming, and Hawaiian language instruction with a mission to strengthen the Hawaiian identity and normalize the Hawaiian perspective through mainstream media.
Ka Leo ‘Oiwi is one of the projects funded by the ANA grant used by ‘Aha Punana Leo and broadcasted through the ‘Oiwi TV network. Ka Leo ‘Oiwi is basically a new sitcom that teaches Hawaiian language in a social setting that may seem informal but very informative by teaching the Hawaiian language.
Throughout this first year of the grant, Ka Leo ‘Oiwi has created thirteen episodes and they will be launching their first episode in the next month. This sitcom involves three characters who are young native Hawaiian speakers who live in a beach house and the episodes will include everyday conversations, such as cooking and hanging out with friends. Within these regular conversations, the characters will incorporate Hawaiian language in everything they do in order to slowly teach viewers Hawaiian.
When I was in elementary I remember I used to watch a Hawaiian language sitcom that only lasted for two years that was called Kulaiwi that had a grandmother that speaks Native Hawaiian that would write lessons on the board and teach Hawaiian language. In my opinion, Ka Leo ‘Oiwi is a better way for people to adapt to because there are young actors and the situations will be easier for the new generation to understand with these fresh ideas.