Tag Archives: Hawaiian Immersion

New literature written for Native Speakers

Author David Harrison’s new “The Last Speakers: The Quest to Save the World’s Most Endangered Languages,” is a must-have for you linguist and passionate indigenous speakers out there. The media such as the L.A. Times and the Huffington Post has been writing about this amazing piece of literature.

“A language that was on the brink of extinction can and actually has been revitalized. I think a very formidable success story is the Hawaiian language.”

–          David Harrison

In Harrison’s book he mentions that the Hawaiian language was down to a small number of speakers and was in an advances state of endangerment. He commented saying that if things had not changed then Hawaiian might have been extinct today, but the community pit forth an enormous effort.

Harrison did his research and shared with his readers that when native Hawaiian speakers were trying to bring the language back they created nests, they raised a new generation of youngsters (such as myself) speaking the language and now there are speakers of Hawaiian all around Hawaii.

He also stressed on the idea of how there are native Hawaiian speakers of all ages, not just older grandparents, which was the case in the beginning, but now Hawaiian is even becoming  one’s first language.

Harrison mentioned on an interview that he always hears critics saying that “It’s inevitable that these languages will die, so why even try?” In response Harrison believes that it’s simply not true and the Hawaiians as well as the Mohawk and Cherokee have proved that to the world.

Personally, I have just started reading this book and if you are very passionate about linguistics and cultures I suggest you pick it up.

E Malama I Ke Kai Annual Awareness Fundraiser

This year Punana Leo o Kawaiaha’o will be holding their annual “E Malama I ke Kai Awareness Fundraiser on Saturday May 14th, from 10am to 3pm at Kapi’olani Park Bandstand, Honolulu, HI.

E Malama I ke Kai means to care for the sea, basically an annual ocean awareness fundraiser that has been hosted by Punana Leo o Kawaiaha’o for a little over a decade. This event is a free concert with exhibitors and activities to support Punana Leo o Kawaiaha’o one of the Hawaiian immersion preschools on the island of O’ahu.

Punana Leo o Kawaiaha’o has fostered a unique connection to the ocean through its teachers who engage their students in ocean awareness because they themselves are great watermen and women. Punana Leo o Kawaiaha’o is trying to obtain a more sustainable learning community through their curriculum, making ocean awareness a must because the ocean is an important part of the Hawaiian culture.

The event will feature an outrigger canoe race from Maunalua Bay to Waikiki, followed by environmental education arts and crafts, games for the whole family, good food, and great entertainment. Last year approximately 5,000 people attended this event.

Having attended this event in the past I believe that it is a great way to get the community involved in learning about the local ocean conservation as well as perpetuating the Hawaiian language and culture with all the art exhibits and activities.

Hawaiian Immersion Schools Threaten to Boycott State Test

This month the Honolulu Civil Beat which is an online news service that provides a forum where citizens of Hawaii can learn, understand, debate, and discover important issues facing the state wrote an article about an ongoing issue with immersion schools.

HCB reporter Katherine Poythress wrote an article about how Hawaiian immersion schools are threatening to boycott the Hawaiian Aligned Portfolio Assessment  for various reasons.

The issue is that the HAPA test was given to 290 of both third and fourth graders in Hawaiian immersion schools and results show that the students got significantly low scores. Hawaiian immersion school teachers actually score their students own test, but after looking over the questions in the test they are boycotting the state assessment saying that the Hawaiian translation is inaccurate and unfair.

The HAPA is now being reviewed because it is said to not comply with federal standards. As of today there are about twenty Hawaiian immersions schools enrolling 1,500 K-12 students who learn traditional academic subjects through the Hawaiian language and culture, having Hawaiian be their first language, learning English in the fifth grade and throughout the rest of their education.

Having been in Hawaiian immersion schools all my life I would have to say that it was quite a challenge when I had to take the SAT and the ACT testing. But now having these types of assessments in which the tests are in both the Hawaiian and English language is great, just needs improvement.

“Money spent on promoting Hawaiian Language is money well spent”

“Money spent on promoting Hawaiian Language is money well spent,” is a recent article published in the Honolulu Star Advertiser on Wednesday March 23, 2011 by Wilson Manuwai Peters, a New York based Hawaiian language consultant.

Peter started off the article by stating that the Hawaiian language is starting to be used in the tourist area a lot. The example he used was when travelers arrive and depart at all state airports and how there is an audio message in the Hawaiian language played in the cabin upon arrival to Hawai’i. In one of my other blogs you can watch the in-flight video.

“If we acknowledge the critical role the Hawaiian culture plays in fueling the visitor industry, then the importance of keeping the Hawaiian language vibrant and in use by residents should be prioritized and looked upon as a meaningful investment that supports the revitalization of the native language and long-term health of Hawaii’s economy.”

– Wilson Manuwai Peters

This part from the article is my opinion in a whole; “The beauty of the Hawaiian language imbues the experience with the spirit of the people and land; no marketing dollars can rival that.” I think that using the Hawaiian language gives a positive effect to so many different aspects in Hawai’i, not just the culture. Growing up speaking the Hawaiian language and culture I would have never thought that I could benefit financially in the future.

Peters mentioned in his article that the money that is being spent on teaching and reinforcing the Hawaiian language is “money well spent.” Therefore, Hawaiian immersion schools are a great way to start off the new generation so they can be bilingual individuals to better our future economy.

“Creating a demand for Hawaiian-speaking employees in the sector will increase the number of Hawaiian-language speakers in the state,” added Peters at the end of the article. In my eyes, this is what it’s all about! As great as how the Hawaiian language is helping Hawai’i’s economy, getting the people of Hawai’i back to speaking their native tongue is what internal benefit of Hawaiian language education.

Link to Article

Pulama Mauli Ola is Back Again!!

Last Saturday February 19th, Ke Kula ‘O Nawahiokalani’opu’u the Hawaiian immersion elementary and high school  and Punana Leo o Hilo the Hawaiian immersion preschool located in Puna, Hawai’i hosted their 8th annual Pulama Mauli Ola concert and fundraiser. This was a public event for the Puna and Hilo districts, having free admission for the community.

The concert included the Hawaiian immersion schools themselves performing oli (chanting), mele (singing) and hula (Hawaiian dance), a variety of local Hawaiian musicians, Hula Halau’s (Hawaiian dance groups), as well as solo performances from students and teachers who have a passion for music.

Besides the great performances, the ‘Ono (delicious) food and the fundraising vendors brought to you by the school is what brings most of the community said senior Aloha Andaya-Bohol. The food options were traditional Hawaiian dishes such as, laulau, kalua pig, lomi salmon, etc, to local Hawaiian barbeque favorites such as steak plates prepared by the students and faculty.

Other events include the keiki (children) activities which were modern games, but also integrated with pa’ani kahiko (traditional Hawaiian games), the educational fair where outreach programs or small local businesses come to promote their mission or products, and hana noe’au (a craft fair) selling Hawaiian arts, crafts and clothing.

Although the entire concert and fundraiser was hosted in both the Hawaiian and English language I believe it is a great way for the community to immerse themselves in the Hawaiian language and culture by supporting these schools.