Examples of Some Angry or Bitter Published Articles Claiming That Ethnic Hawaiians Were Victimized by Having Their Language Made Illegal or Suppressed

The claim that evil haoles suppressed the Hawaiian language, or even made it illegal, is repeated from time to time in televised speeches, panel discussions, and newspaper articles. The editor of this website has been hearing this nonsense since first coming to live permanently in Hawai'i in 1992. That's why the following webpage was created, to show once and for all that such a claim is nonsense:

But the claim continues to be made, over and over and over, as part of the Hawaiian grievance industry. Ethnic Hawaiians seeking race-based money and power like to try to make everyone else feel guilty -- especially haoles. They say their racial group is owed money, land, and political power to make up for genocide, illegal overthrow of the monarchy, theft of Hawaiian land, illegal annexation, illegal statehood vote, suppression of culture, and suppression of Hawaiian language.

This particular small webpage was started in December 2003 to capture a few of the published items that claim victimhood specifically on the issue of the Hawaiian language being suppressed or made illegal. That claim about the language is usually made in passing, as just another in a long list of grievances. But it is an especially bitter claim, asserted intentionally to stir up strong emotions. "They made our language illegal right here in our own homeland. My grandmother was beaten by teachers in school for speaking Hawaiian." It is important to see how the claim is asserted, and for what purpose.


The claim Hawaiian language was banned can be found even in some articles purporting to be scholarly:


Technology and Indigenous Language Revitalization: Analyzing the Experience of Hawai'i

Mark Warschauer

An edited version of this paper appears as:

Warschauer, M. (1998). Technology and indigenous language revitalization: Analyzing the experience of Hawai'i. Canadian Modern Language Review, 55(1), 140-161.

** The paragraph containing the falsehood:

"At the end of the 19th century, wealthy American landowners, backed by the U.S. government, overthrew the sovereign Hawaiian kingdom and forcefully incorporated the Hawai'i as a U.S. territory. Laws forbidding the use of Hawaiian in the schools were passed and vigorously enforced through beatings of children who dared speak their native tongue (Wilson, in press). By the time Hawai'i became a state in 1959, Hawaiian was spoken by only a few thousand elders and the language was seriously endangered."

It is false that "Laws forbidding the use of Hawaiian in the schools were passed ..." The law passed in 1896 required that IN ORDER TO BE CERTIFIED AS MEETING THE REQUIREMENT THAT CHILDREN MUST ATTEND SCHOOL that school must use English as the medium of instruction. But Hawaiian-medium (or Japanese-medium) schools were perfectly legal as afternoon or weekend academies for families wishing to perpetuate a culture or language, as hundreds of Japanese-language schools actually did. Furthermore, the law explicitly provided for language courses to be taught, so that children could study Hawaiian, Japanese, Mandarin, or other language (but mathematics and science courses, for example, must be taught in English in schools certified as meeting the requirement of the compulsory attendance law).

Furthermore, "...beatings of children who dared speak their native tongue" were probably administered by ethnic Hawaiian parents at home, wanting their children to speak English, more frequently than by teachers at school. The use of the word "beatings" is outrageously inflammatory as a description of parents or teachers rapping a child's knuckles with a ruler or other forms of corporal punishment typically given by loving parents to correct a child's misbehavior.

By 1892, the year before the overthrow of the monarchy and four years before the law requiring English, only 5% of all the government schools were still using the dying language of Hawaiian as the medium of instruction -- 95% of the Kingdom's government schools used English, because that's what the sovereign Kings and the native parents chose as being in the best interests of their children. "By the time Hawai'i became a state in 1959, Hawaiian was spoken by only a few thousand elders and the language was seriously endangered." -- yes, and that happened because parents chose not to speak Hawaiian to their children and insisted the children speak only English even in the home. Today's Filipino and Korean parents who immigrate to Hawai'i are free to speak their native language at home, in which case the children grow up speaking both English and their parent's native language; however, some immigrant parents do what Hawaiian parents did, and demand their children speak only English even at home.


The falsehood that Hawaiian language was banned can also be found in the "findings" (preamble) of legislation actually passed by the U.S. Congress. The following sequence of URLs shows where the offending paragraph came from:

Public Law print of PL 107-110, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001



Sec. 7202. FINDINGS.

"Congress finds the following:

"(19) Following the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893, Hawaiian medium schools were banned. After annexation, throughout the territorial and statehood period of Hawaii, and until 1986, use of the Hawaiian language as an instructional medium in education in public schools was declared unlawful. The declaration caused incalculable harm to a culture that placed a very high value on the power of language, as exemplified in the traditional saying: 'I ka 'olelo no ke ola, i ka 'olelo no ka make.'. 'In the language rests life; In the language rests death.'."

It is false that "Hawaiian medium schools were banned." The law passed in 1896 required that IN ORDER TO BE CERTIFIED AS MEETING THE REQUIREMENT THAT CHILDREN MUST ATTEND SCHOOL that school must use English as the medium of instruction. But Hawaiian-medium (or Japanese-medium) schools were perfectly legal as afternoon or weekend academies for families wishing to perpetuate a culture or language, as hundreds of Japanese-language schools actually did.

It is false that "use of the Hawaiian language as an instructional medium in education in public schools was declared unlawful." The legislation regulated all schools, both government (public) and private, which wanted to be certified as meeting the requirements of the compulsory attendance law. The legislation also explicitly allowed the teaching of language courses so that children could learn whatever language(s) they wanted to learn.


The first items gathered below were published in the Maui News in December 2003. Additional language victimhood items will be added to this page as more are published. Special attention will be given to school children making such statements, as evidence of how their young minds are being brainwashed in tax-supported public schools to feel racial hostility; and righteous indignation that is totaly inappropriate because it is based on a total falsehood.


The Maui News, Thursday, December 11, 2003
Letter to Editor

Hawaiians did not ask for your language, it was forced upon us (Letters, Dec. 1). We already had our own language. We understood each other way before you came and took our lands and banned the use of our language. You could not understand our language and way of life, so you taught us a language that gave you power to rule over a sacred nation of Hawaiians. In exchange we got death from diseases, guns, and from the alcohol and drugs that are still putting our people in jail. The people of Hawaii used your language to make our sounds of music be heard, so you can understand in your own language what your forefathers did to the Hawaiian people. I'm using your language to express myself to you and all my fellow Hawaiians, to stand strong together as one making more beautiful Hawaiian music that only our ancestors left behind for us to follow, that which comes from deep within our hearts and souls.

Lehuanani Aquino


The Maui News, Friday, December 12, 2003
Letter to editor

We are papa 'eiwa (freshman class) - Hawaiian Language Immersion students at King Kekaulike High School.

After reading the Dec. 1 letter "Haoles deserve much credit for today's Hawaiian music," we feel that haole take too much credit for our achievements. First, taking our aina, our aloha, our health, and now taking credit for our musical abilities and creativity.

In writing "anti-haole lyrics," we have the right to express our feelings truthfully. Also, when Hawaiians write anti-haole lyrics, it is an emotional reaction based on facts of our history. Historically, Hawaiians have been oppressed and controlled by foreign powers since 1893. Are we not allowed to have feelings of anger and resentment toward the power culture in our own homeland?

The Hawaiian people are not only defined by aloha, a convenient use of our language and culture to continue the cycle of our oppression. We were a very warlike people and had numerous accomplishments beyond this overused, overrepresented term.

We should be defined by our extensive knowledge of our past, our skills and accomplishments (traditional and contemporary) and our people's vision for excellence for the future. Me ka 'o ia 'i'o. - Papa 9. [grade 9]

We are Hawaii's future Native Hawaiian leaders who practice the legacy of our kupuna. We use the musical instruments of native origin, as well as the imposed instruments of the recent past.

Although the haole taught us to read and write, this does not mean that we are willing to sacrifice what we feel in our na'au when we oli (chant) or sing our mele (songs).

We strongly disagree with the Dec. 1 letter implying that Western introductions were the basis for Hawaiian music being what it is today when we ourselves create beautiful oli and mele. Haole do not deserve credit for our musical heritage, but do deserve credit for forcing on us their beliefs, their own cultural practices, and banning our language for generations. - Papa 11. [grade 11]

Kula Kaiapuni ma Kekaulike


** Letter to editor in reply, as submitted by Ken Conklin on December 12, 2003 **

Hawaiian Kids Being Brainwashed at Taxpayer Expense

A letter by the 9th grade Hawaiian language immersion class at King Kekaulike High School was a real wake-up. The students wrote that haoles took their land, their aloha, and their health, forcing upon them haole beliefs and haole cultural practices, and "banning [Hawaiian] language for generations." They said "when Hawaiians write anti-haole lyrics, it is an emotional reaction based on facts of our history. Historically, Hawaiians have been oppressed and controlled by foreign powers since 1893. Are we not allowed to have feelings of anger and resentment toward the power culture in our own homeland?"

It is sad that these children have been brainwashed with false historical beliefs. It is dangerous that these children have been programmed to be angry and resentful, and to feel justified in racial hatred. They even make a point of threatening that Hawaiians are "a very warlike people."

This racist brainwashing is being paid for with tax dollars. Half of all Hawai'i's public charter schools are "Hawaiian focus" meaning that the curriculum is controlled by Hawaiian activists who teach their warped brand of history and require student participaton in Hawaiian religious practices. This particular 9th grade class is not even in one of those charter schools -- it is an older-style Hawaiian language-immersion class which might be expected to have a traditional curriculum taught through Hawaiian language.

Let me conclude by commenting on just one of the historic falsehoods in their letter. This same falsehood was also contained in several other recent letters published in the Maui News. It is part of the standardized Hawaiian propaganda victimhood grievance list intended to build racial resentment and bolster claims for racial reparations.

It is FALSE that Hawaiian language was ever illegal. It is false that Hawaiian language was banned in the schools. It is true that a law passed in 1896 required that English must be the language used for teaching all the subjects in all the regular schools. It is true that Hawaiian language (or Japanese or Chinese) could be taught in the regular schools as a language course, that the government provided funds for printing Hawaiian dictionaries. It is true that after-school or weekend programs could be organized by parents who wanted their children to preserve the language and culture -- impoverished Japanese plantation families did this in large numbers; Hawaiian parents mostly wanted their kids to learn English and forget Hawaiian. Throughout Kingdom history Hawaiian parents and the Hawaiian government steadily moved toward English. By 1892, before the overthrow, 95% of all the schools were English-language. Two scholarly books contain the research supporting these facts. For details, see: http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/hawlangillegal.html


** The above letter by Ken Conklin was published on December 18, 2003; however, the published version was missing some very important content, and provided an incomplete webpage URL that prevented readers from looking up the information for themselves. Here is the published version, which should be compared against what was submitted. Note that the webpage URL is incomplete and totally useless. **

The Maui News, Thursday, December 18, 2003
Letter to Editor

Kids being brainwashed at taxpayer expense

The Dec. 12 letters from Hawaiian language immersion classes at King Kekaulike High School were a real wake-up. The students wrote that haole took their land, their aloha, and their health, forcing upon them haole beliefs and haole cultural practices, and "banning (Hawaiian) language for generations."

It is sad that these children have been brainwashed with false historical beliefs. It is dangerous that these children have been programmed to be angry and resentful, and to feel justified in racial hatred.

This brainwashing is being paid for with tax dollars. Half of all Hawaii's public charter schools are "Hawaiian focus," meaning that the curriculum is controlled by Hawaiian activists who teach their warped brand of history.

These particular classes are not even in one of those charter schools - they are an older-style Hawaiian language-immersion class.

It is false that Hawaiian language was ever illegal. It is false that Hawaiian language was banned in the schools. It is true that a law passed in 1896 required that English must be the language used for teaching all the subjects in all the regular schools. It is true that Hawaiian language (or Japanese or Chinese) could be taught as a language course and that the government provided funds for printing Hawaiian dictionaries.

In 1892, before the overthrow, 95 percent of all the kingdom's schools were English-language. Two scholarly books contain the research supporting these facts. For details, see www.angelfire.com

Kenneth R. Conklin


On May 18, 2004 the Maui News published an editorial commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court school desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The editorial was very self-serving, praising Hawai'i as always having been an open, welcoming society in which all racial groups worked side by side and intermingled. But the article once again made a flat-out statement that newcomers (i.e., haoles) had made the Hawaiian language illegal.

Here is the offending paragraph: "Ironically and sadly, the most obvious institutional racism involved the host culture when misguided but well-meaning newcomers outlawed the use of the Hawaiian language and other cultural practices. Today, Hawaiian and English are the two official languages of the islands and Hawaiians are re-establishing their language and arts as integral parts of day-to-day life."

Here is the entire editorial:

The Maui News, Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Integration an island way

The United States is marking the 50th anniversary of a pivotal victory for civil rights with a re-examination of the way the country as a whole is dealing with a rapidly changing ethnic demographic, a situation faced by Hawaii for more than 100 years. The Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Topeka (Kan.) Board of Education on May 17, 1954, laid the groundwork for overturning segregation in public schools nationwide.

Today there is ample evidence that even at the height of the civil rights fight integration did not carry over to post-public school life, and today schools are more segregated - due more to economics than racism - than they were 20 years ago. Also today on the Mainland, integration is more complex with the rise in the number of Hispanic and Asian immigrants.

In the islands, the relatively low population and the much-abused legacy of Hawaiian acceptance of newcomers led to the kind of cultural and racial mixing of families that is the ultimate solution to the problem of racism.

A primary reason for the relatively peaceful integration of people from many countries was that newcomers soon found themselves living the same way everyone else did. They sent their children to the same schools, they attended the same churches, they enjoyed the same pastimes, they shared their cultural holidays and practices.

Ironically and sadly, the most obvious institutional racism involved the host culture when misguided but well-meaning newcomers outlawed the use of the Hawaiian language and other cultural practices. Today, Hawaiian and English are the two official languages of the islands and Hawaiians are re-establishing their language and arts as integral parts of day-to-day life.

Over the years there have always been individual islanders who were racially motivated but they constituted a small minority. What racism existed was one of preference rather than exclusion.

If the multicultural successes of the past are to be extended into the future, newcomers must make a patient effort to learn the ways of others and to appreciate the fact that on an island, we all need to work, play and live together.


Here is a response submitted by Ken Conklin as a letter-to-editor (remember that letters must be very short):


TITLE: Hawaiian language outlawed? Nonsense!

Your editorial celebrating the 50th anniversary of the school desegregation decision made serious errors of fact and interpretation.

Your article says "Integration [is] an island way ... rather than exclusion." Yet your newspaper supports racial exclusion at Kamehameha School, and 160 racially exclusionary government programs, and creating a racially exclusionary government to protect those programs (Akaka bill).

You talk about the "host culture," implying that all other people are mere guests relegated to permanent seats in the back of the bus.

Your worst factual error said "newcomers outlawed the use of the Hawaiian language and other cultural practices." The missionaries urged the Kings to abolish polygamy and suppress the hula, but final decisions were made by sovereign native Kings. Most important, Hawaiian language was NEVER outlawed. This time please don't cut short the complete webpage URL where anyone can read the truth about that pernicious lie:



The letter submitted to the Maui News was published a few days later, minus the final sentence and the webpage URL. Without that URL, there will probably be responses that will need rebuttals which cannot be adequately explained due to space limitations. This is a complex topic that is very easy for opponents to demagogue with short sentences that need long rebuttals.

The Maui News, Friday, May 21, 2004

Hawaiian language outlawed? Nonsense!

The Maui News editorial celebrating the 50th anniversary of the school desegregation decision made serious errors of fact and interpretation.

The May 18 editorial says "Integration [is] an island way . . . rather than exclusion." Yet your newspaper supports racial exclusion at Kamehameha School, and 160 racially exclusionary government programs, and creating a racially exclusionary government to protect those programs (Akaka Bill).

You talk about the "host culture," implying that all other people are mere guests relegated to permanent seats in the back of the bus.

Your worst factual error said "newcomers outlawed the use of the Hawaiian language and other cultural practices." The missionaries urged the kings to abolish polygamy and suppress the hula, but final decisions were made by sovereign native kings. Most important, Hawaiian language was never outlawed.

Kenneth R. Conklin


The above letter to editor produced a typical heated, racist response

The Maui News, Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Enough of white man's revisionist history

Is anyone else getting sick of Kenneth Conklin's revisionist white man's history (Letters, May 21)? The host culture was looked on as inferior since first contact. Missionaries exacerbated the process through total control of the early monarchy. Missionary dominance made cultural demise inevitable. For Conklin to suggest otherwise is ludicrous.

English-standard schools and punishment for use of Hawaiian in schools were standard practice. Ask our kupuna.

Stop it, Kenneth. The genocide of the Hawaiian race and culture has gone on for far too long. Entitlements and rights are long overdue. You are not the victim.

Louie Vierra


On May 24, 2004 the Honolulu Star-Bulletin published an article reporting a new audio CD that helps people learn Hawaiian language. Unfortunately, a sentence midway through the article gives the impression that Hawaiian language was banned by evil haoles.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Monday, May 24, 2004

Native speech
An audio CD package aims to give the Hawaiian language the place it deserves in everyday life

By Pat Gee

Beyond "aloha" and "mahalo," the common tourist knows about as many Hawaiian words as do most residents of this state, unless they are the names of local food or streets.

But with the growing sovereignty movement and continuing controversy over Native Hawaiian rights, cultural awareness has prompted some kamaaina and malihini to learn the language for their own enrichment.

To others, the pursuit of the language goes even further. Kaliko Beamer-Trapp, a Hawaiian language teacher, is among those who think Hawaiian should be on par with English -- spoken all the time at work and play, and used more commonly in legal documents.

He has developed an audio CD series to keep the language "surviving in today's world."

"We represent a lot of young people trying to get the language spoken to each other all the time. If you don't believe in it this way, why do this at all?" he asks.

"We" includes Kiele Akana-Gooch, who translates historic Hawaiian documents into English for Alu Like (an education-oriented Hawaiian nonprofit agency), as does Beamer-Trapp.

He and Akana-Gooch provide the two voices on an eight-disc audio "Instant Hawaiian Immersion" course produced by the Seattle-based Topics Entertainment. The smiling face of the pretty, young woman who is "one-eighth Hawaiian and nine different things" graces the box.

"I see my face all over the place," she says, covering her face with her hands in modesty. Bookstores and other outlets carry the Instant Immersion product line that offers courses in Spanish, Japanese, French and English.

[** Here comes the offending sentence about Hawaiian language being forbidden because those evil haoles took over **]

Akana-Gooch said many people don't know that Hawaiian is an official language of the state, along with English; and that Hawaii is the only state with two official languages. So much has changed since a time when speaking Hawaiian "used to be forbidden" -- when Hawaii was subjugated to rule of the United States in 1898, she said.

"People can write checks in Hawaiian, testify before the Legislature in Hawaiian (with an interpreter), and write land deeds -- all the major functions ... I'm really proud that the Hawaiian language is being embraced. It's about time," she said.

"I'd like to see Hawaii become more of a bilingual state, like in Canada (where, on all store merchandise) one side is written in French and the other side in English," she said.

** remainder of lengthy article deleted **


The article above received a letter-to-editor in response.

Letters to the Editor
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Friday, May 28, 2004

Hawaiian language was never illegal

Pat Gee's article of May 24 was an enthusiastic, unpaid commercial for a Hawaiian language CD. That's fine -- I love the language and speak it myself.

However, the article quotes the CD author as saying that "speaking Hawaiian used to be forbidden -- when Hawaii was subjugated to rule of the United States in 1898."

Hawaiian language was never illegal. By 1892, a year before the overthrow, 95 percent of all the schools were already using English as the language of instruction. That's what Hawaiian parents and the sovereign Hawaiian government wanted. Teachers probably did forbid Hawaiian -- and Japanese and Chinese -- because everyone was supposed to learn English. Hawaiian parents refused to speak Hawaiian to their children at home, even while speaking it between themselves, because they wanted their kids to learn English.

The Hawaiian grievance industry has perpetuated the lie that Hawaiian was made illegal by evil haoles hell-bent on subjugating Hawaiians. That lie generates sympathy for reparations and race-based government (the Akaka bill), but it is hurtful to the love we should all feel for the language -- and for each other.

The Hawaiian language was never banned, but that lie should be. For a thorough study of the alleged banning of Hawaiian language, see:


Ken Conklin


A lengthy article in the Honolulu Weekly for April 27 to May 3, 2005, pages 7-8, was devoted to the publication of a literary journal named "'Oiwi." The word "'Oiwi" literally means "of the bone" and is a metaphorical reference to ethnic Hawaiians who are sometimes called "kanaka maoli" (the real people), or "kanaka Hawai'i maoli 'oiwi" (people who are truly Hawaiian all the way down to the bone). As might be expected, the literary journal has a requirement that every author of every article must be ethnic Hawaiian. The article in Honolulu Weekly defends that racial exclusion by saying that poor, downtrodden ethnic Hawaiians often feel embarassed about being Hawaiian, or fear their articles will be rejected; and therefore don't submit their articles to mainstream publications. This literary journal is praised as a place where ethnic Hawaiians can talk to each other freely, in a warm and nurturing environment. Uh-huh.

The title of the article is: "A Hawaiian Voice: The Journal "'Oiwi" continues a maoli literary tradition that took root in the 19th century, only to be silenced in the 1930s"

Note the phrase that the literary tradition was "silenced" in the 1930's, implying that it was somehow suppressed or killed by hostile forces. But then the article goes on to say that Hawaiian language newspapers continued to be published until 1948 when the last Hawaiian language newspaper went out of business in Hilo.

Now, here's the claim that the Hawaiian language was banned:

"We had a rich literary tradition in the 19th century, before our language was banned ..."

A timeline in an inset box on page 8 says:

"1896: Schools teaching in Hawaiian are closed and the language is banned"

and the very next item is

"1948: Last Hawaiian language newspaper, "Ka Hoku O Hawai'i" goes out of business in Hilo."

The Honolulu Weekly article does not say that all articles in the literary journal "'Oiwi" must be written in Hawaiian language, only that all the authors must be ethnically Hawaiian. So why, then, does the Honolulu Weekly article make such a big deal about the alleged banning of the language? Ethnic Hawaiians have always been free to publish literary essays in English-language newspapers as well as in Hawaiian-language newspapers. And non-natives were always welcome to publish literary articles in Hawaiian language too, even though this new literary journal is racially segregated and will not allow that. Quite strange.


I submitted the following letter to editor, but it was not published.

** TITLE: Correction: Hawaiian language was never banned

Your lengthy article about the literary journal "'Oiwi" perpetuates the urban legend that the Hawaiian language was banned. This outrageous falsehood is constantly repeated by the Hawaiian grievance industry, to portray Hawaiians as victims and to inflame anger.

A timeline in the article contains these two consecutive entries. "1896: Schools teaching in Hawaiian are closed and the language is banned" and "1948: Last Hawaiian language newspaper, "Ka Hoku O Hawai'i" goes out of business in Hilo." The 1948 entry clearly disproves the 1896 entry.

The alleged banning of the Hawaiian language has been thoroughly disproved in a well-documented webpage at http://tinyurl.com/6zrka which includes these facts:

By 1892, still under the monarchy, Hawaiian parents so strongly preferred English for their children, voluntarily, that there were only 28 Hawaiian language schools serving only 5% of children, while there were 140 English-language schools serving 95% of all children.

The law of 1896 that allegedly banned Hawaiian language applied equally to all languages. Its purpose was to ensure that all children (Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, and white) would share the one common language already most widely spoken. All children were required to attend "school" (could not work full time on the sugar plantation or taro patch). Any "school" to satisfy that requirement must teach its subjects in English language. But the law specifically allowed other languages to be taught as languages even in the official schools.

The law also allowed unofficial schools (afternoons and weekends) to use whatever language they wanted as the medium of instruction. Impoverished Japanese plantation workers spent scarce money to set up Japanese language/culture schools, but most Hawaiian parents embraced English for their children (as they had already done for many years). Many Hawaiian parents spoke Hawaiian to each other but insisted their children speak English even at home.

Read the webpage http://tinyurl.com/6zrka for all the facts. Stop perpetuating a pernicious lie.


On July 2, 2005 the Honolulu Advertiser published an article about an annual cultural celebration taking place at Ulupo Heiau in Kailua, O'ahu. The article provides wonderful information about the history of this heiau, and the spiritual power felt by volunteers who work on preserving and restoring it. I, Ken Conklin, visit that heiau often, and feel that power myself.

However, the reporter wrote one paragraph near the beginning that makes a flat-out totally false statement referring to "a provisional government that banned spoken Hawaiian." Wow! How ignorant can a newspaper reporter be! And even if that claim about language banning (in 1896) were true, it would be irrelevant to the deterioration of the heiau. That one paragraph poisons all that follow.

Anyone halfway competent in Hawaiian history should know that the ancient Hawaiian religion was deliberately overthrown by order of the King and Regent (Liholiho Kamehameha II and Ka'ahumanu) in 1819. After making a public show of violating a sacred taboo, they immediately ordered the destruction of all the heiau(s) and burning of the idols in 1819, several months before the missionaries arrived and 77 years before the language was allegedly banned! A brief civil war followed, in 1819, in which the King's forces defeated the defenders of the old religion, and then took vengeance by further destroying the temples and idols. By 1896 (the year the Provisional Government passed a law regarding the definition of a "school"), this heiau and all others had already fallen deeply into tumbledown disrepair due to the original trashing of it by order of the native King and its subsequent neglect by the local natives. The newspaper reporter also insinuates that non-natives "undermined" the religion served by the heiau, when in fact it was the natives themselves who overthrew their ancient religion and ordered the destruction of the heiau even before any Christian missionaries arrived.

The result of such emotionally incendiary flagrant falsehoods is to stir up anger in the hearts of ethnic Hawaiians toward "evil haoles." Whether the newspaper reporter knew the historical claims were false is unclear -- but if not, her reporting is negligent. Whether the newspaper reporter intentionally publishes emotionally incendiary falsehoods for the purpose of stirring up anger is also unclear -- we cannot see into her heart. But a published correction by the reporter, accompanied by her name, would be a suitable beginning toward making things right; along with a heartfelt firm resolve never to repeat the falsehoods.

The irrelevance of the alleged language-ban to the task of maintaining a heiau is also shown by the fact that what is spoken by the mouth does not keep a heiau in good condition -- that requires the work of the hands. An 'olelo no'eau (clever saying, or proverb, frequently used to make a point in conversations in ancient Hawai'i) sums that up nicely: "Hana ka lima; pa'a ka waha" (work with the hands, shut the mouth; i.e., quit yakking and get to work!). Does this reporter seriously think that natives in the 1700s (before the religion was overthrown) would have sat around chit-chatting (using Hawaiian language) when they're supposed to be carrying heavy rocks? Does she think there were language police watching over the heiau workers after the alleged banning of the language to arrest them if they spoke Hawaiian while working?

Readers of this webpage are urged to read the full explanation of why this false claim about banning the Hawaiian language is so pernicious and scurrilous, along with the documented scholarly research proving that the allegation is totally false. See:

OK, now it's time to see the actual offending sentence, in its immediate context. It's just a single sentence, so what's the big deal? Remember, a single drop of poison inside a sweet piece of cake can be fatal. A knife blade is very thin, so what's the harm inserting it in between two ribs in a 300-pound man? As another 'olelo no'eau (with a double meaning) says: "Li'ili'i ka 'ukulele; naue na'e kino nui." One meaning is: a jumping flea is tiny, but makes a big body squirm. The proverb is also used to describe the fact that the musical instrument "ukulele" is quite small, but the music coming from playing it causes huge people to move and dance.


Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, July 2, 2005 ** Excerpts selected from a lengthy article for the purpose of showing the false statement about the alleged banning of Hawaiian language, and how irrelevant and gratuitous it was. Copy and paste the URL above to see the complete article; which on the whole is quite informative and nicely done. **

Restoring heiau lets many tap its power

By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Windward O'ahu Writer

KAILUA -- The ancient Hawaiians built Ulupo Heiau one rock at a time -- pouring their sweat and mana into the effort. Today, hundreds of volunteers are doing the same thing as they restore the ancient cultural site.

Molly Hahn, 15, is a visitor from New Jersey who spent time Wednesday at the Ulupo Heiau in Kailua. As the site is restored, more people are gathering to work there and to experience its power.

Thousands of tons of rocks form Ulupo Heiau, which is said to be the biggest on O'ahu and one of the oldest in the Islands.

** Now here comes the irrelevant and totally false language-ban claim, sending its poison into the hearts of thousands of readers just casually, in passing **

But heiau fell into disrepair after the undermining of the Hawaiian religious system, the overthrow of the monarchy and a provisional government that banned spoken Hawaiian.

Seto believes the oldest Hawaiian settlement on O'ahu was at the marsh, and that the heiau was built around 900 A.D. as a mapele heiau where commoners worshipped. Surrounding the heiau were acres of taro patches from Kailua to Maunawili Valley and at the temple's feet was the 450-acre Kawai Nui fishpond. ** And does the reporter also believe the alleged language-ban, and the "undermining of the Hawaiian religious system" also prevented the natives from maintaining the irrigation ditches and taro patches that fed thousands of people? **

Reach Eloise Aguiar at eaguiar@honoluluadvertiser.com or 234-5266.


I sent a lengthy e-mail to Eloise Aguiar citing her offending sentence, and providing her a link to the major webpage proving that Hawaiian language was not banned. I explained how important this issue is, and asked her to please publish a correction. I also sent copies of that e-mail to an editor and another reporter at the Advertiser. After a few days (holiday weekend) Ms. Aguiar wrote back "I will look into it." On Wednesday, July 6, 2005 the Advertiser published the correction copied below. However, notice that the correction perpetuates the insinuation that Hawaiian language was suppressed. The correction says that in 1896 the Provisional Government "closed Hawaiian-language schools." Well, yes, that's true -- but there were hardly any of them remaining; even by 1892, the year before the overthrow of the monarchy, the Kingdom government had already gradually but inevitably established 95% of all government schools as English-language, because that's what the parents and Kingdom government wanted. The correction says the Provisional Government "ruled that English would be the language of instruction in schools." Yes, that's true; but the wording makes it sound like cultural or racial oppression by using the word "ruled." So, the Advertiser, with its reluctant correction providing terse statements that are true but grossly incomplete, continues to perpetuate victimhood grievance bitterness.

The Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, July 6, 2005


Advertiser Staff

• The provisional government's Board of Education closed Hawaiian-language schools in 1896 and ruled that English would be the language of instruction in schools. A Local News story on Saturday contained incorrect information.


While doing research to find health statistics to see whether some Hawaiian grievance claims are correct (ethnic Hawaiian women have the highest rates of breast cancer among all ethnic groups in Hawai'i), I came across a publication of the U.S. government containing the false claim about Hawaiian language being banned. As usual, that claim was asserted quickly, in passing, among a collection of other victimhood claims. This claim can be found in an undated, unsigned report of the National Cancer Institute, which is one of the agencies inside the National Institutes of Health. The 21 page report is entitled "Cancer in Native Hawaiian Women. See:
Here is the quote, with surrounding context, found on page 2, most of the way down the page.

"Not only did Hawaiians suffer the ravages of introduced diseases, but their culture, religion, land tenure practices, political system, and social institutions also were systematically destroyed and the fragile island ecosystems seriously damaged. This process of destruction culminated in the armed overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 by American businessmen and formal annexation by the United States in 1898, by which time even speaking the Hawaiian language or performing traditional dances had been prohibited (Kimura, 1983)."


While doing that same research project on Hawaiian health victimhood claims, I came across a report that says Western contact was so devastating to Hawaiian natives that it broke their hearts (metaphorically), and as a result of that, ethnic Hawaiians today literally have broken hearts (a high incidence of heart disease). Boo-hoo! The quote below is taken from the paper "Legacy of a Broken Heart" published at

The Ho'olokahi Program ~ Mawaena Team

Natalie Luong-Weeks
Lara Lee
Ethan Small
Faculty: Stephanie Bell, MSW, LSW, DCSW
Donald Durr, MSW, LSW, CSAC

** About 45% of the way down, there comes the following paragraph. The offending sentence is in the middle. Notice also that all these grievance claims are made in jumbled order. Captain Cook arrived in 1778, which is also when infectious diseases were introduced; the ancient religion was overthrown (by the native King) in 1819; the concept of land ownership was introduced (by the native King) in 1848; the alleged language ban came in 1896. **

"After the arrival of Captain Cook, Hawai`i was changed. The Hawaiians were told that all that they believed in, their traditions, beliefs, customs, and even their language were all wrong. They could no longer have any connections to their `aumakua or ancestral spirit guides. The Native Hawaiians were forbidden to speak their language. The sacred dance of hula was deemed lewd and barbaric. Consequently, all traditional and spiritual customs were banned from practice. Much ancient ritual and knowledge was lost forever. Christianity became the official religion. The concepts of money and land ownership were introduced. Infectious diseases were introduced to the islands. Within 100 years of Western contact, an estimated 90% of the Hawaiian population was decimated. (Judd, 1998). This decimation of a people was the burden carried by all Hawaiians. The legacy of loss still lingers today."


On July 16, 2005 the Attorney General of the State of Hawai'i, Mark Bennett, repeated the scurrilous lie that Hawaiian language was banned. Mr. Bennett made that assertion in passing, in the middle of a major published tirade against Constitutional law expert Bruce Fein's assertion that the Akaka bill is racist. Mr. Bennett's entire rant, published in Hawaii Reporter (online), can be seen at:

Here is the third paragraph of Mr. Bennett's article; the lie about the alleged language ban comes very near the end of it.

"Perhaps the most patently ignorant and insulting statement Fein makes is his assertion that "Native Hawaiians have never experienced racial discrimination." For any intelligent and presumably educated person to make such a statement about Native Hawaiians who have been historically documented to have suffered substantial discrimination for more than a century -- from outright prejudice in all walks of life, and wholesale deprivations of their native lands, to bans on speaking their native tongue -- is shocking."

Here is my reply to Mr. Bennett, written in imitation of his style:

Perhaps the most patently ignorant and insulting statement Bennett makes is his assertion that Hawaiian natives were banned from speaking their own native tongue. For any intelligent and presumably educated person to make such a statement is shocking. And discrimination? What discrimination? All the discrimination goes in favor of ethnic Hawaiians who enjoy over 160 federally funded programs that exclude anyone laching a drop of native blood. Ethnic Hawaiians have suffered such terrible discrimination that members of their race, and institutions they control, are by far the largest landowners in Hawai'i. Ethnic Hawaiian John Waihe'e was elected Governor of Hawai'i; ethnic Hawaiian U.S. Senator Dan Akaka is at this very moment trying to push a racist bill through Congress; many ethnic Hawaiians serve in the state Legislature. What an idiot this Bennett is!


On August 19, 2005 a leftist publication "Asian Week" included an article entitled: "APOP HawaiianCultural Center: Keeping the Ancients Alive"

The article portrayed brave Hawaiians preserving their culture in the face of historical victimhood. But many of the historical victimhood claims were false, including a typical assertion about Hawaiian language being illegal. Here are excerpts:

"The Aloha Pumehana 'O Polynesia (APOP) Hawaiian Cultural Center nestles itself in a quiet South San Francisco residential neighborhood. ... Established in 1994, it is the first Hawaiian dance company in the United States to own its facilities ... Under the direction of kumu hula (hula master) Kawika Alfiche ... Given the dwindling native Hawaiian population, he feels the importance of preserving the traditions integral to the perpetuation of Hawaiian culture. "Up until 1970, it was illegal to teach Hawaiian language so we couldn't even teach it in schools," he said."

Ken Conklin wrote a letter to editor of Asian Week pointing out that the population of "Native Hawaiians" is not dwindling -- that it has actually multiplied tenfold during the fitsy century of American sovereignty, from 40,000 to 400,000. The letter also explained that Hawaiian language was never banned, and cited the large webpage filled with evidence proving that the language was never banned. The magazine editor forwarded my letter to the article's author, and received back a response defending the falsehoods as true. The author write that native population had declined from a million prior to captain Cook all the way down to 40,000 -- true, but irrelevant to the impression created by the article that "Native Hawaiian" population is (now!) "dwindling." And then, regarding my very strong proof that the language was never banned, the article's author replied: "These were the facts (1) taught to me by my Kumu and Kumu Hula and (2) information that I've learned through 'Aha Punana Leo and other immersion schools."

Yes, indeed. Precisely.


Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Letters to the Editor, ** Excerpt focusing on illegal language claim **


It amazes me to see how so many people who have not walked in our (kanaka maoli) shoes know so much about what is good for us and how a judicial system can change the law and/or a will, as in the case of Kamehameha Schools, that was set up in a country that they had no jurisdiction in.

Let's switch the roles for a year. Forbid the speaking of English and force everyone to speak Hawaiian. ...

Kalani Po'omaihealani


On Monday October 17, 2005 the Honolulu Advertiser reported on some candlelight vigils held around the U.S. (and even in Iraq!) by supporters of racial segregation at Kamehameha Schools who are protesting the 9th Circuit Court decision ordering desegregation, and holding prayer vigils to encourage God to support racial segregation.

Here is the entire first portion of the newspaper article, which focuses on the alleged banning of Hawaiian language as a victimhood claim that is supposedly related to demanding that racial segregation be preserved at Kamehameha Schools. We might also recall that Kamehameha itself never taught Hawaiian language to the all-Hawaiian students until recent decades, preferring instead to teach Spanish as a language course.

Honolulu Advertiser, Monday, October 17, 2005

Prayers unite past, future

By Rod Ohira

Candlelight brightened the darkness of the Royal Mausoleum grounds at Mauna'ala in Nu'uanu last night, symbolizing the hope Native Hawaiians hold for their future.

"All things we do traditionally is important for the future," Wayne Dickson said, noting that many in his over-60 age group are members of a lost generation of Hawaiians. "It's called the dark ages and now, we're trying to bring the light back as to who we are for our children and their children.

"I never knew my father could speak pure Hawaiian until I was 22 years old. In the 1950s, we were led to believe to get ahead, you had to speak English and that learning Hawaiian wouldn't get you anywhere."

A gathering of about 75 people, including members of Hawaiian civic clubs, attended a pule, or prayer service, last night at Mauna'ala in memory of the 121st anniversary of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop's death and to pray for the defense of Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiians-first admissions policy and passage of the Akaka bill.

Anita "Kaanapu" Naone, president of the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu, observed, "Many people don't realize that princess (Pauahi) was a woman who stepped up to the plate to take on challenges. She had the fortitude to think ahead for her people, and obviously education was first."

After the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, Naone said her grandparents were prohibited from speaking Hawaiian in public. Because of that, her parents did not speak Hawaiian to their children.

** Note that there was no law prohibiting Naone's grandparents from speaking Hawaiian in public. So, if it is true that the grandparents were actually prohibited from speaking Hawaiian in public (very doubtful claim), then the only explanation would be that the grandparents' own parents were the ones who imposed that prohibition. **


Following is the first small portion of a very lengthy proposal to establish a masters degree program in Hawaiian language at the University of Hawai'i's flagship campus at Manoa. It illustrates how half-truths, distortions, and wild exaggerations are used for victimhood propaganda even in the academic community where one might hope for scholarly accuracy.



"The proposed MA will be located in the Department of Hawaiian and Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures in the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. In 1896, after the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy, the self-appointed Republic of Hawai'i ceded Hawaiian lands to the United States Government including the lands upon which this institution is currently situated. To compound this injustice, legislation was enacted banning the use of Hawaiian as a medium of instruction in the public education system whereby children were subsequently beaten and humiliated in school for speaking their native tongue, the Hawaiian language. The consequence of this was that inter-generational transfer of the Hawaiian language all but ceased throughout Hawai'i, except in a few small, rural areas."

The following passage is technically correct: "In 1896 ... legislation was enacted banning the use of Hawaiian as a medium of instruction in the public education system ..." However, Hawaiian language was not singled out to be "banned" as the language of instruction. The sentence could equally well say that Japanese was banned as the medium of instruction. The legislation did not BAN any language; it simply ESTABLISHED English as the required language of instruction. Also, remember that in 1892, before the overthrow of the monarchy, only five per cent of the public schools of the Kingdom used Hawaiian as the language of instruction -- that's because ethnic Hawaiian parents, and the government headed by King Kalakaua and Queen Lili'uokalani, wanted English to be the universal language for Hawai'i's rainbow of ethnicities, and therefore wanted English to be the medium of instruction for the children.

Also, this sentence is correct: "... inter-generational transfer of the Hawaiian language all but ceased throughout Hawai'i." But what is NOT true is that the so-called "banning of the language" in the schools was somehow responsible for that breakdown of intergenerational transfer of the language. We all know that plenty of immigrant parents continue speaking their native language in the home, with the result that the children grow up speaking both English (from school) and their parents' native language. Ethnic Japanese parents continued speaking Japanese in the home, and sent their children to Japanese-language schools afternoons and weekends; ethnic Hawaiian parents chose to stop speaking Hawaiian to their children even in the home and to require the children to speak only English at home.

This phrase is vastly exaggerated: " ... whereby children were subsequently beaten and humiliated in school for speaking their native tongue, the Hawaiian language." It is extremely doubtful that any children were beaten (bleeding, broken bones, severe bruises). It's likely that children who spoke ANY language other than English were verbally reprimanded and perhaps rapped on the knuckles or made to stand in the corner. And the same punishment was given to children who spoke Japanese, Mandarin, or Cantonese in school.


Los Angeles Times, June 16, 2006

Native Hawaiians find their voice
But the U.S. is still devaluing its island allies.

By James D. Houston

** Excerpts **

"LAST WEEK, a bill recognizing the rights of native Hawaiians failed in the Senate. ... The banner of colorblind pluralism can come in very handy when someone is asking the government to acknowledge rights that have been withheld along ethnic lines since the end of the 19th century. ... In January 1893, with the aid of U.S. Marines, Queen Liliuokalani's government was overthrown by force. Five years later, Hawaii was annexed to the U.S. by the Senate. ... Soon the Hawaiian language would be stolen just like the kingdom. Early in the 20th century, it was banned in schools and in public offices. It was a devastating policy. When an indigenous language is devalued, replaced with another, the culture suffers, and something in the spirit suffers too. ... The [apology] resolution that Clinton signed was a major step. ... Akaka's bill was an effort to act on that mandate. ... It is a people's long journey to recover a voice that was almost lost. Fueled by the ongoing cultural revival, that voice grows stronger day by day."

Let's see the offending material regarding Hawaiian language: "Soon the Hawaiian language would be stolen just like the kingdom. Early in the 20th century, it was banned in schools and in public offices. It was a devastating policy. When an indigenous language is devalued, replaced with another, the culture suffers, and something in the spirit suffers too."

And then, of course, the idea of a banned language is carried forward in the metaphor of the "voice" of the brave modern-day ethnic Hawaiians: "... a people's long journey to recover a voice that was almost lost. Fueled by the ongoing cultural revival, that voice grows stronger day by day."

As we know, it is false when James Houston says Hawaiian language was "banned in schools and in public offices." The language was not banned in schools. And Hawaiian language was not banned in public offices -- for example, it was frequently spoken in debates in the Territorial Legislature."

Here are some quotes from a recent book proving that the language was not banned in public offices: taken from Rich Budnick, "Hawaii's Forgotten History 1900-1999," Honolulu: Aloha Press, 2005.

p. 18: 4/9/03: Territorial Legislature overrides Governor Sanford Dole's veto of a joint resolution asking Congress to allow Hawaiian and English to be Hawaii's official languages. Legislators had been speaking and printing bills in both languages. Opponents of using the Hawaiian language point out that statehood has been delayed several decades for New Mexico and Arizona because they speak Spanish and English.

p.20 12/12/03: Pacific Commercial Advertiser says the 1903 Legislature spent $20,000 to interpret, translate and print bills in Hawaiian, although federal law requires English only.

p. 32: 2/17/11: Territorial House votes not to receive bills from the Senate unless they are translated into Hawaiian.


** Here's a typical example of the hit-and-run attack -- one sentence asserting the bogus "illegal language" claim in the middle of a longer appeal for sympathy. Here's the quickie: "Their grandkids banned the Hawaiian language in 1896." Here's the full context:


Honolulu Advertiser, July 24, 2006, Letter to Editor


Excellent article by Cliff Slater (July 22) but two things need to be kept in focus.

The first is that the 113-year-old overthrow is not settled history so long as there are folks continuing to attack Hawaiian programs based on the U.S. Constitution. These people have the mind set of Lorrin Thurston, W.O. Smith, and John L. Stevens. The Blount Report is still a matter of record.

The second thing to keep in focus is the reason why tourists choose to visit Hawai'i. They do so because of the Hawaiian culture. We don't have a lock on sun, sand, surf and handsome people. The American missionaries initiated a "cultural bomb" on the Hawaiians by limiting hula, discrediting Hawaiian history and ancient chants and discrediting ancient practices like caring for the land and the ocean. Their grandkids banned the Hawaiian language in 1896. The population collapse from 1778-1893 is also a matter of record. If the Hawaiian culture is removed, then you can bid aloha to tourism as we know it today. Guam, Australia and New Zealand will attract Asian visitors, while Mexico and Florida will attract the Mainland visitor.

The bottom line is political correctness, but it is a two-way street.

Wayne Hinano Brumaghim


"Midweek" is a weekly newspaper on O'ahu, mailed free to all households, which includes advertising circulars for supermarkets but also commentaries by regular columnists. The front-page feature for December 13, 2006 was a story about entertainer Don Ho supporting the Punana Leo preschool Hawaiian language immersion program. The story did not say Hawaiian language was made illegal; but it did push very hard the idea that the Hawaiian language was suppressed because of the 1896 law that required English to be the language of instruction for all schools. The article creates a false victimhood claim that the adoption of this law was cruel to ethnic Hawaiians because it forced on them a sudden switch to English language. Here is the dramatic beginning of the article, with portions of the remainder, along with a brief rebuttal.

Midweek, December 13, 2006

Talking Story, Hawaiian Kine

By Susan Sunderland

Imagine the impact of this announcement: "Effective immediately, all children must speak Hawaiian, the state's official language. This is decreed by law and applies to all communications in public and private schools. There are no exceptions. Violators will be ostracized and subject to punishment."

Ready. Begin. Speak Hawaiian only.

Change the language of our population overnight? Absurd, you say. Civilized societies don't do this. It destroys one's identity and pride. This could never happen here.

Fact is, it did.

When the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893, the provisional government prohibited the speaking or teaching of the Hawaiian language. The suppression of the Hawaiian language lasted for most of the 20th century.

In 1983, most native speakers of Hawaiian were over 70 years old. There were fewer than 50 children under the age of 18 fluent in the language. The Hawaiian language nearly vanished.

What impact would this have had on our society?

Sociologists say the connection between language and culture is inextricable. If you kill the language, they say, you kill the culture.

It was this frightening fate that brought together a small group of Hawaiian-speaking educators on the island of Kauai in 1983. They discussed the demise of the Hawaiian language, then teetering on the brink of extinction like so many native animal species.

The group decided it was time to re-establish a Hawaiian language education system. They opened a preschool on Kauai, where the last community of Hawaiian-speaking children could be mixed with English-speaking children.

This type of school is called a Punana Leo, "nest of voices" or language nest.

Today there are approximately 2,000 children being educated in Hawaiian in schools run by the `Aha Punana Leo or in schools established by the state in response to the program. There are 11 Punana Leo schools statewide, including five on Oahu.

A strict policy of no English in Punana Leo schools results in children rapidly learning and regularly using Hawaiian. For the first time in more than 50 years, children are speaking fluently in Hawaiian with their grandparents and with each other. The movement has grown explosively and has affected enrollments in Hawaiian language courses at high schools and colleges.

Ho, 76, reflects on what the Hawaiian language and culture means personally. Born in Kakaako of Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and German parentage, his father spoke Hawaiian. So did his grandmother and aunties.

But when Ho went to school, English was mandated as the only language of instruction.

"Even at Kamehameha Schools, we had teachers from the Mainland who didn't know the Hawaiian language," he recalls. "They felt like they were in a foreign place. We sang Hawaiian songs in haole style.

"When I was a senior, they made me president of the Hawaiian Club, and I knew nothing about the Hawaiians. It was embarrassing.

"It's like brain-washing," he laments. "They send you to school ... all you do is English, arithmetic, ABCs, no Hawaiian. They teach you God Bless America, 'I pledge allegiance to the flag,' all of that stuff.

"When we got older, we were conned into the American dream ... taking away our basic culture. The biggest loss was the language.

"I don't know why local people allowed that to happen. We are living the American dream and forgetting the Hawaiian dream," Ho says.

Asked what the solution is, he says, "One way is to make them (non-Hawaiians) feel guilty as hell."

But he also observes, "Hawaiian people have lost their motivation. That's not unusual for native people who have been overrun by empires." It's a form of alienation, he suggests.

"If you look at all facets of life here," Ho says, "you'll see the influence is still strong from the first visitors here. Nothing wrong with that. All I'm saying is don't have short memories."

That applies to Hawaii's educational system, in Ho's view. Although there is progress, with programs like Punana Leo and Hawaiian language electives, Ho notes the school system is not run by Hawaiians. "It's run by Republicans and Democrats."

** Comment by Ken Conklin:

Midweek's cover story on Hawaiian language needs a reality check.

By 1892, the year BEFORE the monarchy was overthrown, 95% of all Kingdom schools were already using English as the language of instruction. That's because English was preferred even by Hawaiians. Hawaiian language was dying because parents did not speak it to children at home, and it was not used as much as English in daily life. The English-only rule for schools, adopted 1896, was not a sudden change. Its purpose was to make Asian and Portuguese kids learn English rather than to kill Hawaiian.

Look at it another way. Today's Hawaiian immersion kids speak only Hawaiian in school. Do they grow up not also speaking English? Of course not. They learn English spotaneously because English is the dominant language of everyday life. So back in the day, the English-only rule for schools could never have killed Hawaiian language unless that language was already dying from natural causes.


Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, February 22, 2007


Outside forces again influencing our culture

By Rochelle delaCruz

I love kiho'alu! The nahenahe music that soothes, then energizes with its distinct plucking techniques -- I'm a huge fan of slack key.

Ledward Ka'apana, John Keawe, George Kahumoku, Dennis Kamakahi, Keola Beamer, Daniel Ho, Owana Salazar, Brittni Paiva, all the Pahinuis -- I have their tapes and CDs and play them often.

When the Grammys announced a new category of Hawaiian music in 2005, we were thrilled. At last -- recognition of our favorite music. I come home to Hilo often, but in Seattle, where I live and work, Hawaiian music is not much appreciated.

I was ecstatic when kiho'alu won the first Grammy in 2005. I was fine with the second award in 2006. But a few weeks ago when the Hawaiian Grammy went to yet another slack key compilation, I got worried.

As much as I love this music, I'm suspicious. Do those who vote for the Grammys know anything about Hawaiian music beyond slack key? Must Hawaiian musicians record only kiho'alu to be in contention for a Grammy? It reminds me how easy it is for American megaforces to drive what goes on in these islands.

You'd think by now we'd be used to it. Maybe we are, and maybe that's why I'm disturbed. So let me now step back from the world of music to look at the larger picture.

Ever since the overthrow of Queen Lili'uokalani in 1893 and U.S. annexation in 1898, Hawai'i has been evolving into a place that reflects American values. Certain practices -- such as citizens voting for leaders -- are good, but if we want the Islands to retain its own values and unique qualities, then we must recognize and counteract those outside influences that hurt our island life.

Some of these are obvious: fast food franchises that affect our eating habits and retail warehouses that drive out small businesses. Influx of the wealthy in search of sun and sand results in high prices in the housing market, turning us into a society of the rich and the poor. But we are already aware how these influences contribute to changes in the physical and cultural landscape of these islands and are looking for ways to mitigate them.

Some of the threats however, are not so obvious. With American annexation came public schools where English was mandated and the Hawaiian language forbidden. Today we recognize the importance of native languages. But at the turn of the last century, who gave much thought to the ramifications such a prohibition would have on life in Hawai'i?

This is an example of the double-edged sword that comes with being the 50th state: The introduction of public education was a good thing for the people of Hawai'i, but the prohibition of the Hawaiian language was bad. If language is how we view the world, then imagine the damage done when you board up the main window that served a people so well for generations, and force them to look through another smaller and foreign one.

And now I return to the Grammy, for it also is a double-edged sword. What musician wouldn't enjoy the fame and fortune that accompanies a Grammy? But the recognition thus far of only slack key by the National Academy of Recording Artists and Sciences can be dangerous to these islands. With this new focus on kiho'alu, other kinds of Hawaiian music may no longer be perceived as relevant; slack key with its Mainland-designated status could now become the new "standard" in Hawai'i. Eventually, other island sounds could be looked upon as music that gets you nowhere. This happened before, when English dominated and all things Hawaiian fell by the wayside. The energy now spent trying to recover lost traditions could have been avoided had Hawaiian not been so eclipsed by American English.

Hawaiian music is an integral part of these islands and the recognition of kiho'alu artists is long overdue. But if getting a Grammy is important and if slack key is the only way to get one, then this could change our entire music scene. And once again, it will be the forces from elsewhere, smothering island traditions.

Cultural change is inevitable and many positive things are already occurring to help shape what we think the future should look like, such as immersion schools where the Hawaiian language is being revived and the attempt to ban "big box" stores.

But we must also be mindful of those outside influences that are more insidious in their assault on island ways. Discerning and dealing with negative forces is a big job, but it is a crucial one if we want to pass on to grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the values of these islands and the way of life that we love.

Rochelle delaCruz, who was born and raised in Hilo, teaches English at Seattle Community College and edits and publishes Northwest Hawai'i Times, a community newspaper for Hawai'i transplants in the Pacific Northwest. She wrote this commentary for The Advertiser.


** Letter submitted to Honolulu Advertiser by Ken Conklin on February 22, responding to the above commentary. Proposed title: Hawaiian language never illegal; Hawaiians embraced new culture

Rochelle delaCruz' commentary (February 22) reasserted a frequently-heard falsehood while explaining a dubious concept. She complains the Grammys recognize only slack-key guitar, thereby threatening to change Hawaiian culture -- just like making Hawaiian language illegal caused cultural meltdown.

Here's her concept: I want you (outsiders) to recognize my beauty (Grammys). But I insist you like me for ALL my wonderful attributes, not just my breasts.

Rochelle, if you look to outsiders to validate your worthiness, you place yourself under their authority. You cannot dictate they like you for reasons you prefer. Changing yourself to meet their approval, or be successful, makes you a different person by your own choice, not their oppression.

Hawaiian language was never illegal or suppressed. That's a big lie perpetuated through constant repetition by the Hawaiian victimhood industry. Please read http://tinyurl.com/6zrka .

Hawaiians eagerly embraced English. The wealthiest Hawaiian, Bernice Pauahi Bishop, demanded English be the language used at Kamehameha Schools, 1885. In 1892 English had become the language of instruction in 95% of all schools, by insistence of Hawaiian parents and under authority of the sovereign monarchs.

Hawaiians freely chose to embrace new cultural influences, not to place themselves in a museum display case.


New York Times, Sunday April 15, 2007
** This was an Associated Press article also printed in dozens of other newspapers large and small; for example:
Deseret Morning News [Utah], Saturday, April 14, 2007
South Coast Today [Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod] Saturday, April 14, 2007

Major Effort Is Under Way to Revive and Preserve Hawaii's Native Tongue


KE'EAU, Hawaii, April 14 (AP) -- Portraits in the school's library are not of United States presidents but Hawaiian royalty, from King Kamehameha to Princess Ka'iulani. Near the classroom door rubber slippers are tidily lined up by the students, who go barefoot. The calendar shows it is the month of "Malaki."

Hawaiian language and culture fill the hallways and playgrounds of Ke Kula 'O Nawahiokalani'opu'u Iki and define the mission of the school with the sizable name -- Nawahi for short. English is allowed only during the one-hour English class.

A major effort is under way to revive and preserve Hawaii's native tongue -- courses in various subjects are taught entirely in Hawaiian.

The language was nearly wiped out after being banned from schools across the islands for nearly a century. [** Note from ken Conklin -- the 1896 law clearly states that Hawaiian language is not banned from school.] In 1983, when a small group of educators began a Hawaiian language revival program, fewer than 50 children spoke the language. Today, the rhythmic, fluid sounds of Hawaiian are used proficiently by more than 2,000 children.

"It's important because I'm the only one in my family who speaks Hawaiian," said Leiali'i Lee, a 10th grade student at Nawahi, one of 23 immersion programs in the state. "I can make a difference and I can revive my language."

While fluency is still rare -- just 1 percent of the state's 180,000 public school students attend immersion programs -- Hawaiian words are commonplace around the islands, from vowel-filled town names such as Ka'a'awa and 'Aiea to popular fish like mahimahi. There is a weekly radio news report in Hawaiian. Tourists often are greeted in the language even before stepping off the plane. Hawaiian is finding its way into more books and Web sites. And it is taught as a second language at many island schools, public and private.

The immersion schools carry this teaching further, of course.

Nawahi, which has nearly 200 students from preschool through 12th grade, was founded in 1994 as a laboratory school affiliated with the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Students are taught Hawaiian traditions and culture, such as growing sweet potatoes, building canoes and understanding the land.

The school has succeeded despite financial and political challenges, and skepticism about educating in Hawaiian, the only indigenous language in the United States that is an official state language.

In the tiny school library, books are in Hawaiian, including many originally in English. With very few children's books available in Hawaiian, parents paste translations on top of the English text. Critics say students could be held back by learning a language that is not "viable" in today's world. But school officials say Nawahi students have exceeded peers in standardized English tests.

"What people don't realize is that we speak English," Akala Neves, a junior, said. "Right after we leave this campus, it's English. When we go home, we speak English. So we have so much English."

State Senator Clayton Hee, a longtime supporter of Hawaiian language programs, was encouraged to speak only English while growing up, like many other Hawaiians. He learned Hawaiian in college and now uses it proudly and often.

"It gave me a sense of identity. It gave me a sense of pride," he said.

Kapa'anaokalaokeola Oliveira, an assistant professor of Hawaiian at the University of Hawaii, also expressed encouragement about the once-forbidden language. [** Note from Ken Conklin: The language was never "forbidden."] "Today, I think there's a revitalization," Ms. Oliveira said. "People are encouraging their children to speak Hawaiian."

Still, Hawaiian is far from being saved.

In 1896, three years after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, a law was enacted, stating, "The English language shall be the medium and basis of instruction in all public and private schools."

"That was a real death knell," said Albert J. Schutz, author of "The Voices of Eden: A History of Hawaiian Language Studies."

"That meant the younger people weren't using it anymore, and it was only the older people that spoke the language." [** Note from Ken Conklin: That would be a death knell if the only place Hawaiian language was spoken was in school. But just as this article points out that today's Hawaiian language immersion school children speak English because English is the dominant language in the society outside of school; so also the children in 1896 would continue speaking Hawaiian language outside school if Hawaiian was in fact the dominant language at that time (thus we see that English was also dominant even among ethnic Hawaiian children at home).]

As the Hawaiian elders died, so did the language.

A rare exception was the island of Ni'ihau, where because it was privately owned and isolated from the state's rules, Hawaiian thrived through the years. Ni'ihau currently has about 160 residents, all of whom speak Hawaiian.

With extinction looming elsewhere, a resuscitation movement began in the 1970s. In 1978, Hawaiian was re-established as an official language of the state. In 1990, the federal government adopted a policy of recognizing the right to preserve, use and support indigenous languages.

Today, as hula and Hawaiian music spread beyond the islands, even non-Hawaiians are picking up the language. About a fifth of the students at Nawahi have no Hawaiian blood, like the blonde, freckle-faced freshman Kemele Lyon.

"The reason I love to speak Hawaiian," she said, "is because I think it's the most beautiful language I have ever heard, and every sentence is like poetry." [** Note from Ken Conklin: Thus we see that Hawaiian language and culture are being preserved by people of all races, and it is not necessary for ethnic Hawaiians to have race-based political sovereignty in order to accomplish cultural preservation]


A point-counterpoint article was published in the biweekly Hawaii Island Journal of July 14-27, 2007. The "point" article had said that some ethnic Hawaiians cannot speak either English or Hawaiian correctly and seem content to speak pidgin, stay unemployed and collect welfare. Former OHA trustee Moanike'ala Akaka wrote a reply basically saying "it's not our fault." She portrayed ethnic Hawaiians as downtrodden victims of history. Part of that portrait was this statement:

Moanike'ala Akaka wrote "... after the overthrow of our Queen and the Hawaiian Nation in 1893, our language was torn from our tongues -- made illegal to speak here in our motherland ... "

** Here's my reply, which was published in the Hawaii Island Journal of July 28 - August 10.

Hawaiian Language Never Illegal

The claim that Hawaiian language was illegal is absurd, yet it is repeated zillions of times until everyone believes it. I have refuted that claim publicly many times, and each time the victimhood zealots rush forward to hang onto it for dear life. Some Hawaiians love to portray themselves as victims to grab sympathy, demand reparations, and stir up anti-haole sentiment. Shame!

Hawaiian language newspapers were published continuously, 1834 to 1948 when they finally died out. Hawaiian language was spoken in the Territorial Legislature in the early 1900s. Hawaiian kings and parents were so eager to promote English that by 1892 (a year before the overthrow) 95% of all the schools used English as the language of instruction. Loving parents insisted their kids speak only English at home, even while the parents spoke Hawaiian between themselves. Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the most powerful and wealthy woman in the Kingdom, established Kamehameha in the 1880s as an English-only school. A large webpage provides thorough documentation of all this: http://tinyurl.com/6zrka .

Chinese and Japanese plantation workers arrived in huge numbers in the 1880s and 1890s. Their children, born in Hawaii, were subjects of the Kingdom and citizens of the Republic. The government decided that all children should be able to speak the same language, and chose English because it was already the dominant language even among Hawaiians. All full-time schools were required to use English as the language of instruction. Japanese families intending to return to Japan created after-school private academies to teach Japanese language and culture. Those plantation workers were poorer than the Hawaiians, and making lower wages; yet they found money to set up private academies to perpetuate their language and culture. Hawaiians chose not to do that because they had already chosen English for their children.


** Here's a reply from a Professor of Hawaiian language and linguistics at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, who has taught Hawaiian to thousands of students over a period of many years.

Hawaii Island Journal, August 11-24, 2007

Language Lesson

Mr. Ken Conklin recently stated that "The claim that Hawaiian language was illegal is absurd" (Point/counterpoint, HIJ 07/14). He is wrong.

Legal barriers to Hawaiian were instituted with the overthrow and remained after U.S. annexation. As late as the 1980s, private Hawaiian language schools parallel to a foreign language school were ruled illegal.

Those who overthrew the Monarchy believed that targeting children in schools would eliminate Hawaiian. They themselves stated, "The gradual extinction of a Polynesian dialect may be regretted for sentimental reasons, but is certainly for the interest of the Hawaiians themselves."

They were repeating U.S. policy regarding Native Americans: "Schools should be established, which children should be required to attend; their barbarous dialects should be blotted out and the English language substituted."

The state and federal governments have rejected past actions against Native American languages -- our state in 1986 -- and Congress in 1990. Hawaiian immersion has proved itself. This past year one student from East Hawai'i's Nawahiokalani'opu'u School graduated from Stanford. Another is attending Oxford.

Hawaiian language schools are no longer illegal. It is important, however, to get the history correct and to realize the importance of Hawaiian language schools. (*For the interest of the Hawaiians themselves" ahapunanaleo.org/news/journal).

While greatly exaggerated by Conklin, Hawaiians themselves played a role in the near extermination of the language. They did so by accepting an ideology of inferiority. How this false and racist idepology came to be historically accepted and implemented needs to be understood to be fully rejected.

Conklin is wrong in insisting that Hawaiian was never illegal. Legislative bans on Hawaiian had at their core an ideology that Hawaiian is inferior, an ideology which Conklin's incessant distortions of history promote. That ideology is false and is being proven false by those who speak Hawaiian today.

William H. Wilson, Ph.D.
Hawaiian Language and Linguistics,


** Here's a letter I submitted in reply to Professor Wilson. The letter was published in Hawaii Island Journal for August 25-September7, 2007 on page 4, except that the headline was changed to "Hawaiian Illegal?" and the Ph.D. was deleted from my name.

"Illegal Hawaiian language" is a vicious lie

I'm shocked that William H. Wilson chooses to defend and reassert the vicious lie that Hawaiian language was illegal. Like Ward Churchill he should be fired from his professorship for academic malpractice. Pity his poor brainwashed students.

There's no way a short letter-to-editor can provide my evidence. Please, re-read my previous letter; but more importantly, read the extensively documented proof in the webpage at

Wilson insists Hawaiian language was illegal? Let him cite the clearly written law -- in its entirety, not just some vague snippet out of context. Let him name a single individual who was ever tried, let alone convicted, for breaking that law. Let him explain how Hawaiian language newspapers were published continuously from 1834 to 1948 and nobody went to jail because of it; why some members spoke Hawaiian in the Territorial Legislature without being silenced or expelled.

Let him refute citations by Rich Budnick "Hawaii's Forgotten History" pp. 18, 20, 32, 61 etc.

12/12/1903: Pacific Commercial Advertiser says the 1903 Legislature spent $20,000 to interpret, translate, and print bills in Hawaiian.

2/17/1911: Territorial House votes not to receive bills from the Senate unless they are translated into Hawaiian.

5/10/1928: Hawaiian language weekly newspaper is established, and continues until 1939.

Budnick helps us not to forget Hawaii's history. Wilson is not content merely to forget history; he twists it in service to the Hawaiian grievance industry and for the apparent purpose of stirring racial hatred. Shame.

Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.


** As might be predicted, William Wilson rushed to the defense of the indefensible proposition that Hawaiian language had been made illegal. "Attack Response," Hawai'i Island Journal, 22 September - 5 October 2007, p. 4.

Attack Response

Mr. Ken Conklin rants that it's a "vicious lie that the Hawaiian language was illegal" and that I should be fired for "academic malpractice." But he himself cites the 1896-1986 law eliminating Hawaiian as a teaching language in public schools. Students caught speaking Hawaiian weren't jailed; they were punished by hitting, by being humiliated.

Conklin says that when the ban was initiated English "was already the dominant language even among Hawaiians." Then he himself shows the opposite. Hawaiian was used in newspapers, even the legislature. But Hawaiian was banned in the public schools and that almost killed the language. (see "for the Interest of Hawaiians Themselves" aha-punanaleo.org/news/journal.)

Conklin says that I am "stirring up racial hatred" by challenging his historical distortions. Not only Conklin, but others now attacking Pidgin, are making inflammatory statements about Hawai`i's [sic] languages in the press. The ban on Hawaiian in the schools had at its core an ideology that what is Hawaiian and local is inferior. That that ideology has long played a role in Hawai`i's [sic; again!] history, and that it was adopted by some Hawaiians, does not make it correct. Conklin's history is filled with that ideology.

Yes. The Hawaiian language was illegal, but it isn't now. This year there will be a statewide 20th year commemoration of the reestablishment of public education through Hawaiian. Such education is open to childrern of all races and teaches other languages as well. At UH-Hilo's Nawahiokalani`opu`u School, we teach all elementary students Japanese, all 7th through 10th graders Latin, and English from grade 5. Nawahi has a 100 percent high school graduation rate and 80 percent college attendance. More and more families are raising their children speaking Hawaiian again. I think that's something to celebrate!

Dr. William H. Wilson, UH-Hilo


** Here is the response I submitted, but it was not published.

Hawaiian language never illegal

Let's review this newspaper's series of letters regarding the vicious lie that Hawaiian language was made illegal, and expose William Wilson's "cheat and retreat" strategy.

Moanike'ala Akaka wrote (HIJ 7/14) "... after the overthrow of our Queen and the Hawaiian Nation in 1893, our language was torn from our tongues -- made illegal to speak here in our motherland ... "

In HIJ Jul 28 I replied "The claim that Hawaiian language was illegal is absurd, yet it is repeated zillions of times until everyone believes it. ... Hawaiian language newspapers were published continuously, 1834 to 1948..."

In HIJ Aug 11 Professor William Wilson predictably rose to defend Hawaiian victimhood. After all, he gets a big paycheck and huge grants partly justified by the claim that Hawaiian language was illegal. Knowing he could not defend that large claim, he shifted to a smaller claim -- the alleged banning of the language in schools. But he kept letting readers believe the larger claim.

In HIJ Aug 25 I killed the larger claim of illegality citing further examples how Hawaiian language was used in newspapers continuously from 1834-1948, and also in the legislature during the early Territorial period.

In HIJ Sept 22 Wilson acknowledged the use of Hawaiian in newspapers and legislature, and retreated to asserting only that Hawaiian was banned as the language of instruction in the schools. But even that is false. And toward the end of his letter Wilson continued shouting the flat-out big lie "The Hawaiian language was illegal, but it isn't now."

The 1896 law clearly states that English must be the language used for teaching regular subject matter, but that other languages can also be taught. The law never singled out Hawaiian, and was actually aimed at ensuring that huge numbers of Japanese and Chinese children of plantation workers, born in Hawaii and soon to be citizens of America, would all be able to speak English. The law did not prohibit after-school academies where other languages could be used; and indeed the impoverished Japanese plantation workers sacrificed to establish hundreds of such language/culture immersion academies for their kids.

Let's be very clear. Hawaiians, paid more than Japanese, were free under the law to do what the Japanese did, and establish language/culture immersion schools for their kids; but chose not to do so. Hawaiian language was never illegal -- neither in society nor in the schools. Shame on Mr. Wilson for repeatedly trying to make people believe otherwise.

To read what the law said, and data showing Hawaiians themselves had already established English as the language of instruction in 95% of government schools by 1892 under the monarchy, see http://tinyurl.com/6zrka

Now let's review Mr. Wilson's cheat-and-retreat. Moanike'ala Akaka asserted total illegality of Hawaiian language; easily disproved. Mr. Wilson tried to salvage it by retreating to the smaller claim about the language being banned in the schools (while still letting people think there was nothing wrong with the bigger assertion). And even now Wilson's reduced claim is still overblown. There was never any law banning Hawaiian from being taught as a language class nor banning after-school academies conducted entirely in Hawaiian.


Honolulu Weekly, May 28, 2008

Ola Ka 'Olelo Hawai'i
Native people, native tongue

by T. Ilihia Gionson

In an era when the United Nations estimates that over half of the world's languages spoken today are in danger of extinction, the Hawaiian language revitalization movement has overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. Just two hundred years ago, ka 'lelo Hawai'i (the Hawaiian language) was the exclusive language in the Kingdom of Hawai'i. In the years following the 1893 overthrow, however, the new government pushed hard to eradicate the Hawaiian language. The language was forced underground for most of the 20th century, until the widespread spiritual, political and cultural revival commonly known as the "Hawaiian Renaissance," began in the 1970s.

But even then, the younger generations weren't speaking the language. By the early '80s, it was estimated that fewer than 50 children under age 18 spoke Hawaiian. To get children to speak their ancestors' tongue and ensure the continued life of the language, a small group of educators founded an organization calleded 'Aha Pnana Leo, dedicated to revitalizing Hawaiian language–and thereby Hawaiian culture–through language immersion preschools.

The movement has grown exponentially ever since. Today, Hawaiian language immersion schools statewide serve over 2,000 students from preschool to 12th grade. This year, about 70 high school seniors will make up the 10th class to graduate from Hawaiian immersion schools and be educated entirely in the Hawaiian language. This graduation will be a monumental achievement for a movement that brought a language back from the brink of extinction. Ka 'lelo Hawai'i lives.

Disenfranchising a People

The use of Hawaiian in the classroom began to diminish as early as the 1840s. The Hawaiian elite began enrolling their children in schools such as Punahou and 'Iolani to promote a higher standard of English among Hawaiians. Even at Kamehameha Schools (which opened in 1887, was funded through the estate of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, granddaughter of King Kamehameha I, and was specifically endowed to educate Hawaiian children), communicating in English was strongly encouraged. Still, the majority of Hawaiian students attended public schools, which taught in the Hawaiian language.

That all changed in 1896, three years after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. The Republic of Hawai'i Legislature passed into law Act 57 regarding the public education system. Following the model of United States policy on the use of Native American languages in schools, that act decreed, "the English language shall be the medium and basis of instruction in all public and private schools."

Michael L. Forman, professor of linguistics at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, says the act declaring English the one medium of instruction was "major." Although parents may have wanted their children to learn in Hawaiian following the ban, he says, "parents also wanted their kids to have schools" and were forced to send children to English language schools. A 1911 revision of the laws concerning education in the Territory of Hawai'i went further, stating that a child's attendance at any school where English was not the medium of instruction would not be recognized.

"The ban was especially vigorous in the schools. Children were physically and psychologically punished for using the native tongue," says William "Pila" Wilson, one of the founders of the 'Aha Pnana Leo and a professor at Ka Haka 'Ula O Ke'eliklani, the Hawaiian language college at the University of Hawai'i-Hilo.

"America is unique in that it ignores other languages," Forman said. "In some places in the world, multilingualism is taken for granted. There's value in speaking more than one language."

Unfortunately for the Hawaiian language, many parents bought into the "mystique of monolingualism" and soon chose not to speak or teach Hawaiian to their children.

A nearly dead language

Even with the Renaissance of the 1970s, the Hawaiian language was still seriously threatened. In 1978, the Hawai'i Constitutional Convention amended the state constitution, making Hawaiian an official state language alongside English. As a result, the Hawai'i public school system mandated Hawaiian language and cultural study, but this was for the most part limited to knowing colors, numbers, and a song or two in Hawaiian.

"Those of us most involved in Hawaiian language study were sure that [these lessons] would not revitalize the language," Wilson said.

In 1982, UH-Hilo initiated a Hawaiian Studies program, taught primarily in the Hawaiian language. Although college-level Hawaiian Studies programs already existed, this was the first time since 1896 that Hawaiian was used as the main medium of communication in a government-funded school.

Even so, 'Aha Pnana Leo estimated that by 1983, only 40 people under age 18 could speak Hawaiian fluently; the group felt this seriously threatened the survival of the language.

"A language is dead when children are no longer speaking it," Wilson says. "What we envisioned essentially was the re-establishment of the public Hawaiian-medium schools that had been the sole form of public education initially in Hawai'i. We wanted such schools for our own children when we had them."

Birth of a movement

On January 12, 1983, Wilson and six other Hawaiian language teachers–'lei Beniamina, Hklani Cleeland, Kauanoe Kamana, Larry Kimura, No'eau Warner and Koki Williams–met on Kaua'i to discuss the state of the language. The outcome of their discussion was the formation of 'Aha Pnana Leo.

The idea was to establish preschools where young children could interact with native speakers, and later go on to Hawaiian language public schools. Beniamina and Wilson drafted a bill to reestablish Hawaiian as a language of instruction in public schools, but the bill didn't pass. It turned out that there were legal barriers blocking both actions.

"Public school education through Hawaiian was still banned by a descendant of the law that had closed the Hawaiian-medium schools in 1896," Wilson said. "And the law banning the preschools was less direct, but more insidious. It banned the last remaining native speakers of Hawaiian from being teachers because they lacked–and were very unlikely to ever obtain–the proper credentials."

Despite the laws, the first Pnana Leo preschool opened on Kaua'i in 1984. Similar preschools opened on O'ahu and in Hilo the following year. However, there was still no Hawaiian language education option beyond preschool.

Finally, in 1986, following three years of lobbying by parents and the Hawaiian community, the two laws were amended. After 90 years, it was again legal to teach through the Hawaiian language.

"There still remained much to do, though," Wilson says.

When it was clear that the state Board of Education had no plans of its own to establish such a program, the 'Aha Pnana Leo proposed a pilot program at two schools. In July of 1987, the BOE approved the one-year pilot program at Waiau Elementary School in Pearl City, O'ahu and Hilo's Keaukaha Elementary School.

Fast forward

In May, 1999, six students graduated at Ke Kula Kaiapuni o nuenue in Palolo, O'ahu, as did five at Ke Kula 'O Nawahokalani'pu'u in Kea'au. These 11 students were the first in more than a century to earn diplomas from high schools that taught entirely in the students' mother tongue. Having achieved that milestone, the Hawaiian language revitalization movement expanded its programs to reach both older and younger students.

In 2002, UH-Hilo's Ka Haka 'Ula O Ke'eliklani program awarded its first Master's degree in the field of Hawaiian Language and Literature. It was the first graduate degree in an indigenous language ever to be awarded anywhere in the United States. Today, students in Hawaiian language fields can earn associate's degrees at the state's community colleges; UH campuses at Hilo and Manoa offer bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Also of note is Kahuawaiola, the indigenous teacher education program at UH-Hilo.

On the other end of the spectrum, the 'Aha Pnana Leo instituted the Hui Hi'i Pp, a day care service delivered entirely in Hawaiian for children of Hawaiian-speaking parents as young as six weeks old.

E Lei I Ka Lanakila

Barely a quarter-century after the movement to revitalize the Hawaiian language began in earnest, about 70 high school seniors statewide will make history this year as the 10th class to complete their educations entirely in the Hawaiian language in more than a century.

On Hawai'i Island, a dozen of those seniors will be graduating from Ke Kula 'o Nawahokalani'pu'u, a small school of about 200 students in grades K–12. Next year, Ke Kula 'O 'Ehunuikaimalino in Kona will graduate its first class.

"This is a big accomplishment for a program that many people thought wouldn't last longer than a year," said Malie Namahoe, one of the graduating seniors. She plans on attending Northern Arizona University and pursuing a career in a medical field. Her classmates plan on post-high school pursuits from medical school to animation to journalism.

Kanani Maka'imoku was a member of the first graduating class in 1999, and is now a teacher at the school.

"Ten years flew by so fast," she said. "The program gets stronger and stronger every year."

Kau'i Lauano, another early graduate who is now a teacher at the school, agreed. "The whole program has grown so much."

This Memorial Day weekend, Namahoe and her 11 classmates proudly rose in unison and danced a hula that dates back to the late 1800s. It begins:

'Au'a 'ia e Kama e kona moku
'O kona moku e Kama e 'au'a 'ia

Kama refused to part with his land
This is the land held back by Kama

The prophetic chant warns of a time when Hawaiians would have to struggle to hold on to their heritage. It implores the next generation to hold fast–not to part with tradition, culture or language that is rightfully theirs. Indeed, the Hawaiian language is alive. Ola ka 'lelo Hawai'i.

Wala'au: Dr. Ku Kahakalau

Interview by Mindy Pennybacker

Dr. Ku Kahakalau is the director of Kanu O ka 'Aina Learning Ohana, a non-profit organization, and the principal of New Century Public Charter Schools, a K-12 Hawaiian language public charter school in Kamuela, Hawai'i; part of the Hawaiian-focused Na Lei Na'auao.

Please tell us about the rebirth of Hawaiian language in schools.

It's a movement that's celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, a movement that started as part of the Hawaiian Renaissance. We have been part of the revitalization of Hawaiian history, language and culture. I taught Hawaiian language classes for 20 years and I can tell you, studying it in just one class, you don't learn the language. It doesn't work.

Is there a philosophical or practical difference between Hawaiian immersion schools and members of the Native Hawaiian Charter School Alliance?

There's considerable variety, including some taught entirely in the Hawaiian language and others in a bilingual approach.

Na Lei Na'auao are Hawaiian-focused charter schools; we answer to a charter school review panel. Our model is an integrated approach. We seek to implement design and control of education at the community level, engaging stakeholders–teachers, children, and parents–in native ways of teaching, learning and knowing. It's much more cultural immersion, and this is not a critique of the other model. Our school is bilingual.

What is the difference between Hawaiian research and Western research methods?

Our students learn the Hawaiian language in the context in which it was developed, in outdoor education, with project-based learning, as in our Waipio water study, which involves stream restoration. Our students work with Bishop Museum scientists and learn to identify native species, for example, using the traditional vocabulary. We don't teach math in Hawaiian because there are no traditional words for it–you'd have to make up new words.

Our curriculum is relevant. We don't use western textbooks, except for math. We start with our place, Hawai'i, and then go outward.

It's not just language, but the approach. The students are integrated as a multiage group like in a Hawaiian family; the oldest has responsibility for the younger. It's wonderful to see, especially for our teenage boys who come in from public school thinking they have nothing to offer. When they read at their level, even a 1st grade level, to the little kids and see how they're looked up to. We teach them to stand up straight, be proud of who they are. Teachers and staff are called Uncle, Aunty, Tutu. The framework is truly a learning 'ohana. It's a huge shift. I have a Ph.D., but I am Aunty Ku.

From being among the worst in the state five years ago, the standardized test scores for your charter school now meet federal requirements. What indicators do you use to mark the cultural and social growth of your school?

When we first started, under-funded and with hardly any facilities, people pitied us. Poor things! Yet our students have won state science fair prizes. We give our students performance-based assessments based on presentations to several authentic audiences. For instance, in our annual hula drama, our 150 students perform three times: To neighboring schools, to family, and to the general public. We also compose our own chants and choreography.

And now after eight years of schooling in tents and trailers, this year we are finally getting a building with electricity and indoor plumbing.

We have an ongoing review process and research project since 1992, a longitudinal study with yearly surveys of students, parents and staff. Each year, families have to reapply to the school, and say how they have been striving to meet their highest level and perpetuate the Hawaiian language.

With only room for 150 students, we have to ask ourselves, should we take kids who we know would do well on standardized tests, or those who need help? As long as we have the latter kind of students, we'll have a challenge on standardized tests.

What percentage of your students graduate?

Most years we have a 100 percent graduation rate, but our classes are small, only 8-11 children. There are 12 Hawaiian-focused charter schools and all those schools are doing very well.

How many of your graduates go on to college?

At this point focusing on other data rather than college rates seems more appropriate.

In general we are too young (between 6 and 8 years old) and our number of graduates are too small to be statistically significant. Most of these graduates entered our schools between 9th and 12th grade, i.e. only a small portion of their schooling was done with us, so full effect cannot be measured.

Our true measuring stick has to be our class of 2013, i.e. students who started with us in kindergarten.

Only seven of our 12 charter schools currently go up to 12th grade. The average yearly graduates of seven schools, about five students, is a very small sample.

The following statistics present just some of the successes of Na Lei Na'auao schools

Average percentage of native Hawaiians
Na Lei Na'auao (NLN): 86%
Department of Education (DOE): 26%

Average percentage of Free and Reduced Lunch
NLN: 62%
DOE: 56%

Average percentage of Excessive Absences
NLN: 1.9%
DOE (among native Hawaiians): 8.6%

(Among Charter school students, we find significantly reduced odds of being in DOE category of chronic absenteeism, which they define as 20 absences in a single semester. Among Hawaiians, charter school students are about 74% less likely to be chronically absent than students in traditional DOE schools.)

Average Graduation Rate
NLN: 94%
DOE (all students): 79%
(DOE native Hawaiian Graduation Rate is much lower.)

Schools who met AYP* and are In Good Standing
NLN: 45%
DOE: 35%

Schools In Corrective Action/Restructuring
NLN: 12%
DOE: 40%
Adequate Yearly Progress in No Child Left Behind Act.

Graph and statistics courtesy of Kamehameha School's Research and Evaluation staff.


** The following reply was submitted by Ken Conklin on Thursday May 29, but was not printed by the newspaper.

** Proposed headline: Celebrate Hawaiian language renaissance; Stop stirring anger over false victimhood grievances.

Your May 28 article celebrates the revival of Hawaiian language, which is indeed a great treasure for all Hawaii's people. Unfortunately the article also contributed to the Hawaiian grievance industry. It is false to claim Hawaiian language was forbidden or suppressed as part of a conspiracy to destroy Hawaiian culture. Such a false victimhood claim stirs unwarranted resentment and anger, when the focus should be on celebrating the renaissance.

Hawaiian language was dying from disuse even before the monarchy was overthrown. Research by noted UH scholars shows that 95% of Kingdom schools were already using English to teach all their courses by 1892, because that's what parents and the sovereign Kings wanted for the Hawaiian children. Thus the 1896 law mandating English as the language of instruction affected very few schools. The intent of the law was to ensure that Japanese and Chinese plantation children would learn English, so everyone would share a common language. For details and references see

Impoverished Japanese plantation workers found money and willpower to set up after-school and weekend academies to educate their kids additionally in Japanese language and culture. But Hawaiians (who were more highly paid) chose not to do that because they embraced English.

Here's some common sense. Look at today's kids in the Hawaiian language immersion program. They use Hawaiian all day long in school to learn all the subjects; and then speak Hawaiian at home with their parents. Nevertheless, they are also fluent in English. That proves that speaking only Hawaiian at school does NOT prevent or destroy fluency in English, because English is the dominant language in everyday use. The same is true in reverse. If Hawaiian has been the dominant language in Hawaii in the 1890s, then the kids would have picked up Hawaiian despite the law requiring English-only at school. But the fact that didn't happen shows that Hawaiian was nearly dead in everyday use even without the law mandating English-only in the regular schools.

It's wonderful to see (and participate in) the revival of Hawaiian language. It's horrible to poison the celebration and stir racial grievance by falsely portraying an alleged 115-year-old conspiracy to destroy the language and culture.


A very similar essay to the top one in Honolulu Weekly (by Gionson) was published in the June 2008 issue of the OHA monthly newspaper, and was written by the same author. The following reply was submitted on June 6, but (of course) was never published.

** Headline: Let's celebrate Hawaiian language renaissance without stirring anger over false grievances

Hawaiian language is a great treasure for us all. Those who worked hard to revive it deserve our applause. It's sad to see the celebration poisoned by false historical statements whose only purpose is to stir up unwarranted racial animosity (KWO June 2008 p.3). The following facts are fully documented at

The Republic and Territory governments did not "push hard to eradicate Hawaiian." 1901: All laws become legally binding only when published in both an English daily newspaper and a Hawaiian weekly. 1903: Legislature spent $20,000 to interpret, translate and print bills in Hawaiian. 1911 Territorial House voted not to receive Senate bills unless they were translated into Hawaiian. 1913: Law requiring announcements relative to the sale of government land must appear in Hawaiian. 1913: $10,000 appropriated for publication of a Hawaiian dictionary. 1919: Law that Hawaiian shall be taught as a subject in all high schools and teachers' colleges. 1923: $2000 appropriated for writing and publishing textbooks in Hawaiian.

The language was not "forced underground for most of the 20th century." Hawaiian language newspapers were published openly and continuously from 1834 to 1948, when they died out because people weren't buying them.

The English-only law for regular schools did not prohibit Hawaiian or any other language as the medium of instruction in afternoon or weekend academies. In 1920 there were 163 such academies -- 9 Korean, 7 Chinese and 147 Japanese -- with 300 teachers and 20,000 students. There were zero using Hawaiian (although they would have been allowed) because Hawaiian parents wanted their kids to speak English.

The number of students in Hawaiian language schools fell continuously from 1847 to 1902. 12 years before the revolution the number of students in Hawaiian-language schools had dropped below 50%. In 1892 (one year before the overthrow), 94.8% of all children were in the 140 English-language schools. Was this the fault of "suppression" by Kalakaua and Liliuokalani? The Republic or Territory did not yet exist for you to blame them!

Today's kids in the Hawaiian language immersion program use Hawaiian all day long in school to learn all the subjects; and then speak Hawaiian at home with their parents. Nevertheless, they are also fluent in English. Speaking only Hawaiian at school does NOT prevent or destroy fluency in English, because English is the dominant language in everyday use. The same is true in reverse. If Hawaiian has been the dominant language in Hawaii in the 1890s, then the kids would have picked up Hawaiian despite the law requiring English-only at school. Hawaiian was nearly dead in everyday use even without the law mandating English-only in the regular schools.

Please, let's celebrate the revival of Hawaiian language without telling historical falsehoods whose only purpose is to stir up unwarranted outrage.


** Note from Ken Conklin: Occasionally I receive e-mails from people whose racial prejudice against Caucasians is so strong, and whose brainwashing on the alleged illegality of Hawaiian language is so strong, that they use harsh language and refuse to accept proof of the facts. Here is one such e-mail.

[ No Subject ]
Monday, January 26, 2009
From: "jakemahan@live.com"
To: ken_conklin@yahoo.com

You must be english or american. You are so full of crap. The hawaiian languaage was forbidden to be spoken! Just because you could not find a written law that proves it , it doesn't mean it didin't happen. Just as the native american indians were forbiden to speak their language. The english seem to think in their own greedy arrogant way that their language and their ways are the best.They were the immigrants on hawaian land that robbed , rapped and killed to satisfy their lust for cruelty just as they did to the First Nations People of Turtle Island(the bnative american indians) Enough of this lying crap - you must be a white man!
Little Breeze



Indian Country Today, September 28, 2010

Convention comes at a pivotal time for Hawaiians

By Rebecca Jacobs

** Excerpts showing the context, ending with the claim that Hawaiian language was banned.

From throughout the Hawaiian islands, countries and territories across the Pacific, Alaska, the U.S. and beyond, Native leaders and community members will gather for the 9th Annual Native Hawaiian Convention hosted by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.

The momentous event, themed Kukulu Aupuni~Kukulu Ea!, Building on Greatness-Sovereignty In Action!, comes at a pivotal time in contemporary Hawaiian history as Hawaiians near the point of federal recognition.

"We're right at the helm," Jade Danner, Native Hawaiian, CNHA vice president said. "Sovereignty is, really, having the resources to do the work on a full-time basis, so we don't need to fight, but can get to the business of health care, homelessness, education and language."

Danner explained that Native Hawaiians and supporters have been working at the legislative level for approximately 40 years pursuing the issue of Hawaiian self-determination. At this point, she said, CNHA is trying to rally enough support from Republican representatives ... mustering 60 votes on the Senate floor to overcome a filibuster, and continuing work with Gov. Linda Lingle to garner her support of the movement and verbiage of the Akaka Bill H.R. 2314, or Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act.

Jade Danner, Native Hawaiian, CNHA vice president said ... "It's about solving our own problems and ensuring that our children are learning our ways. In 1988, there were only 500 [Native Hawaiian] speakers left. Now there are 9,000 to 10,000. Up until the mid-90s, it was a banned language. That's what this convention is about recognizing."


** Here's another example showing how the "language was made illegal" claim is asserted right in the middle of a bunch of other victimhood claims. It only takes a little poison to kill you. By the way, the letter to editor immediately before this one on the same day in the newspaper was a warning about "chemtrails" -- airplane contrails which, the writer said, are actually poison being sprayed by the government to weaken and kill people. Two crazy letters in a row in the Kaua'i newspaper!

The Garden Island (Kaua'i), November 27, 2010, Letter to editor

Cultural survival at stake

Dear people of Kaua‘i and visitors, I am writing to express my opinion. I am a father of four children who are half kanaka maoli (native). Their family owned thousands of acres of land post-Kamehameha and millions held communally before his dynasty took hold.

After the overthrow, due to racial inequalities their families suffered huge losses, including the outlawing of their language, exile of some to Kalaupapa, diseases and poor education.

I am American and this is my second tour to Iraq. I am in the infantry. We have spilled blood and sacrificed so the Iraqi people will have freedom to the tune of more than a few trillion dollars.

As we have been told this is not our land it is theirs. My dilemma is how do you tell a 10-year-old or a grandmother that we took your lands and its too bad and we are giving theirs back? Oh, and by the way, there are a lot of kanaka maoli here fighting for your freedoms — they deserve theirs — solutions take compromise and respect which is where I hope the future takes us.

My grandfather always said before you judge try walking in that person’s shoes for a bit. My children who are well educated would all want everyone to know that as kanaka maoli there needs to be some change to ensure their cultural survival and I believe it too.

David Denson, Tikrit, Iraq


A strange little article asserting Hawaiian language victimhood was published in a strange place. "Island Scene" is the quarterly magazine sent to HMSA policy-holders. HMSA describes itself as "an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, ... we are the largest and most experienced provider of health care coverage in the state. Over half of Hawaii’s population have chosen HMSA for their health care coverage."

The magazine is mostly filled with articles about asthma, colonoscopies, healthy recipes, exercising, sports and physical fitness. The Winter 2011 edition is the last one for 6-year editor Lucy Jokiel, who moved on to a new job as editor of the "Honolulu Weekly" alternative newspaper. On the last page of her last edition of "Island Scene" editor Lucy Jokiel authored an article "A new generation of Hawaiian speakers" based mostly on information told to her by Keao NeSmith. He is a Hawaiian secessionist who uses his fluency in Hawaiian language to write frequent articles for the weekly Hawaiian language column "Kauakukalahale" in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Most of his articles are virulently anti_American and filled with false or badly twisted narratives about the history of Hawaii during 1887-1898 (bayonet Constitution, revolution that overthrew the monarchy, annexation to the U.S.).

It's interesting that Jokiel chose to write this article as her swan song to the large audience of "Island Scene", since her new venue, the "Honolulu Weekly", serves as a megaphone for the Hawaiian secessionist and Hawaiian victimhood propaganda line. It's also interesting that the internet links inside the "Island Scene" website that point to this article are now dead:
now returns an error message "The page you have requested could not be found." Perhaps the HMSA magazine was embarrassed by the article and decided to "disappear" it to a place where "the sun don't shine." Perhaps Ms. Jokiel could request one of those colonoscopies to find it!

Perhaps Mr. NeSmith is chiefly responsible for telling Ms. Jokiel the language victimhood nonsense. But Ms. Jokiel is the one chiefly responsible for propagating those lies in the magazine she edited. She's the one who chose the topic for the article. She's the one who selected a secessionist history-twister as her source of information. And she's the one who wrote the article stating the lies as though they are truth (not stating that these are the things Mr. NeSmith told her, but actually asserting these things in her own voice). She imagines herself to be a journalist, and has taught journalism at the University of Hawaii; so she should know better!

Let's copy and refute three Hawaiian language victimhood lies in this article one at a time.

1. Jokiel writes "In the years following the 1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai'i, the new government worked tirelessly to eradicate the Hawaiian language." That's totally false. Here's what's true.

Immediately after the revolution of January 17, 1893 there were a few weeks when some royalist newspapers (both Hawaiian and English language ones) were suspended by the Provisional Government, as is normal in any revolution anywhere in the world both then and now. But after a few weeks all the newspapers resumed publication, with zero censorship.

Noenoe Silva published a book in 2004 entitled "Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism." Her book is strongly pro-royalist as can be seen from its title, and portrays ethnic Hawaiians as poor downtrodden victims of American colonialism (just as NeSmith and Jokiel do). Her book is based mostly on research in the Hawaiian language newspapers of the 1890s. She's an expert. On page 181 Silva says there were both Hawaiian-language and English-language newspapers supporting Lili'uokalani after the overthrow and throughout the Republic period; and also newspapers in each language that were pro-Republic.

Furthermore, in July of 1894, when the Republic of Hawaii was created, its Constitution was published in both English and Hawaiian. The continued publication of Hawaiian language newspapers, and the publication of the Republic's Constitution in Hawaiian, clearly disprove Jokiel's assertion that "the new government worked tirelessly to eradicate the Hawaiian language." Incidentally, at least 5 members of the Constitutional Convention were native Hawaiians (as can be seen in a list of names of Convention delegates), and also the Speaker of the House of the Republic whose name was John Kaulukou.

2. Jokiel writes "Three years later the state Legislature passed Act 57, which decreed, 'The English language shall be the medium and basis of instruction in all public and private schools.' " There are several falsehoods or half-truthts in that sentence.

First of all, there was not yet a State of Hawaii. Thus there was no "state Legislature." But that's a minor misstatement. The major lie in that sentence is that the quotation from Act 57 is only the first part of a much longer statement, which makes clear that Hawaiian language is not prohibited in the schools. Here's the complete statement.

1896 Laws of the Republic of Hawaii, Act 57, sec. 30: "The English Language shall be the medium and basis of instruction in all public and private schools, provided that where it is desired that another language shall be taught in addition to the English language, such instruction may be authorized by the Department, either by its rules, the curriculum of the school, or by direct order in any particular instance. Any schools that shall not conform to the provisions of this section shall not be recognized by the Department."

As the webpage

has conclusively proved, the primary purpose of the law was not to ban Hawaiian or any other language, but rather it was directed mostly against the babble of multiple languages being spoken by the children of tens of thousands of Japanese, Chinese, and Portuguese plantation workers, who greatly outnumbered the Hawaiians and Caucasians. The purpose of the law was to establish one language that everyone could speak together. When Asians and Europeans arrived in Hawaii and had to choose which language to speak in order to assimilate, nearly all of them were already choosing English rather than Hawaiian. Furthermore, this webpage has cited references showing that in 1892, the year before the revolution, English was already the dominant language in the Kingdom and the actual language of instruction in 95% of the government schools. Most Hawaiian parents were demanding their children attend English-speaking schools, and were also requiring their children to speak only English in the home. So the law had very little actual effect on Hawaiian language. Furthermore, the law did not prevent parents from sending their kids to private academies on afternoons and weekends where the language of instruction could be Hawaiian or any other language -- indeed, nearly all the Japanese kids did attend such academies to preserve their language and culture; but Hawaiians chose not to do so despite the fact that Hawaiians were paid a higher wage than the Asians and could have afforded it more easily.

3. "In 1986, following three years of lobbying by the Hawaiian community, laws banning the Hawaiian language were amended. After 115 years, it was legal to teach students using the Hawaiian tongue."

There's that word "banning." There was never any banning of Hawaiian language. Even in the regular government schools Act 57 made clear that Hawaiian language could be taught in the same way as Spanish, French, Hawaiian, etc. are taught in the schools today. Act 57 did not apply at all to the hundreds of after-school and weekend academies where Japanese, Chinese, or Portuguese were used as the language for teaching all the subjects, and where Hawaiian could also have been used as the language of instruction if parents had wanted that for their children.


On January 24, 2011, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie gave his first "State of the State" speech. In the written press release of his speech, his falsehood was "In 1896 it was made illegal to teach in the Hawaiian language." The sentence he actually spoke was even worse: "In 1896 it was made illegal to teach the Hawaiian language." These are variations of a commonly told lie, which says that In 1896 Hawaiian language was made illegal. A webpage provides full text of Abercrombie's written speech, an audio podcast and a video of the speech (with timeline and closed captioning), and further analysis explaining why Abercrombie's lie is scurrilous. See


A regular column is published in The Big Island Weekly, entitled "Wala’au Sessions with Makela", featuring the content first in Hawaiian and then in English immediately afterward. The column on Wednesday June 1, 2011 was entitled "New Hawaiian Language School Approved in Waimea." The third and fourth paragraphs are copied here:

"Hawaiian immersion school of Kea`au, a laboratory school of the University of Hawai`i at Hilo’s Ka Haka `Ula o Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language. People of Waimea and surrounding areas will be able to exercise their right to learn and use the Hawaiian language in their daily lives, as it is one of Hawai`i’s official state languages.

"This was not the case in 1896, when the use of the Hawaiian language was banned from being taught in schools by United States policy. Teachers were told that speaking Hawaiian to the children would result in losing their jobs. The kupuna of today share countless stories of being reprimanded very harshly for speaking their mother tongue in their younger years. It was a big blow to the hearts of all, as it was recognized that when a language is lost, so is its culture."

Here is the comment posted online by Ken Conklin:

The article says " ... in 1896, when the use of the Hawaiian language was banned from being taught in schools by United States policy."

This falsehood has been repeated so many times that many people have come to believe it.

One reason it is obviously false is that in 1896 Hawaii was still an independent nation, The Republic of Hawaii, and remained independent until annexation in 1898. So the U.S. had no authority to ban Hawaiian language or to impose any other laws in Hawaii.

Several books have documented the fact that English was already the predominant language in the government schools of the Kingdom -- in 1892, the year before the revolution that overthrew the monarchy, English was already the language of instruction in 95% of all the government schools of the Kingdom, because that was what the monarchs and the parents wanted.

It is true that in 1896 the Republic of Hawaii passed an update to the law requiring that all children must attend school. In order to be considered a "school" to satisfy this requirement, the new law said that English must be the language used for teaching all subjects.

The law did not single out Hawaiian -- it was aimed mainly at stopping Japanese and Chinese from being the language used to teach school subjects like science, history, etc. The idea was that all children growing up in the nation of Hawaii should be able to speak the same language as each other, and that language would be English.

The law did NOT prohibit Hawaiian or any other language from being taught as a subject in the curriculum. The law also did NOT prohibit special academies from operating after school or on weekends, where languages other than English could be used as the language in which all subjects were taught. Impoverished Japanese plantation workers did in fact open such special academies for their children to learn Japanese culture and language. But Hawaiian parents chose not to open Hawaiian academies, because they were glad to have their children be taught in English.

Children of all races were punished in school for speaking all languages other than English, in order to be sure they would learn English. Hawaiian parents also punished their children at home for speaking Hawaiian at home -- they wanted their kids to learn English and to use English at home as well as at school.

To read exactly what the law said, and to see heavily footnoted facts about why the law was passed and what effects it had, see this webpage:

Let's all celebrate the revival of Hawaiian language today. To do that, it is not necessary to repeat historical falsehoods whose only purpose is to arouse anger, resentment, and racial hatred.


** On February 1, 2012, Senator Dan Akaka posted the following news release on his official U.S. Senate website. Everything in it is historically accurate, although incomplete. By focusing on the 1896 law, Senator Akaka makes it seem as though Hawaiian language had been the primary language in the schools before that date. But in fact, by 1892, the year before the revolution that overthrew the monarchy, 95% of all the government schools were already using English as the language of instruction. Despite this shortcoming of Senator Akaka's statement, the statement is surprisingly free from the gross falsehoods so often asserted by Hawaiian victimhood mongers.


Senator Akaka Commemorates Month of the Hawaiian Language

Wed, February 1, 2012

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka made the following remarks today in the Congressional Record:

I rise today in celebration of the Hawaiian language. February is designated as the "Month of the Hawaiian Language" by the State of Hawai'i. Speakers and students of the language use this time to foster and promote Hawaiian through festivals, spelling bees, and speech and debate competitions where the Hawaiian language is the primary medium.

Since the first official designation in 1994, February has been a celebration of the Hawaiian language in Hawai'i. However, this modern renaissance happened only after the Hawaiian language came close to extinction, and the people of Hawai'i fought to preserve it.

In 1896, following the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai'i, English was named as the primary language of instruction in Hawai'i's schools. As a result, students who spoke Hawaiian were subject to physical punishment or public humiliation. As Native Hawaiian families struggled to assimilate with the increasing Western presence in Hawai'i, parents gave children non-Hawaiian first names. Families who carried Hawaiian family names adopted Western surnames to avoid a Hawaiian identity. Parents stopped teaching their children Hawaiian, and maintained English-only households. This was a sad chapter in Hawai'i's history, but fortunately, today, thanks to the effort of many Hawai'i residents, political and community leaders, and educators, the Hawaiian language is thriving.

In 1978, the Hawaiian language, also called 'Olelo Hawai'i by its speakers, was declared one of the two legal languages of the State of Hawai'i. In 1984, the first Hawaiian language preschool was established, 'Aha Punana Leo. Three years later, Hawaiian language immersion expanded to include kindergarten through grade 12, and today, students can study the Hawaiian language from preschool through their doctorate studies.

Use of the Hawaiian language is not limited to its fluent speakers. Those who live in and visit Hawai'i use Hawaiian words and phrases in their everyday vocabulary, whether they are Native Hawaiian or not. Towns, roadways, schools, and parks bear Hawaiian names. Island residents commonly give each other directions using the words mauka - meaning towards the mountains, or makai - meaning towards the ocean. A waitress might ask you if you are pau, or done, with your meal before she clears the table. You might tell her it was 'ono, or delicious.

Some of the more commonly used words, including aloha and mahalo, are known well beyond the shores of Hawai'i. I probably do not have to explain that mahalo means thank you, or that aloha is a greeting that conveys warmth, love, and affection and is used to both welcome someone and wish them well.

The Hawaiian language is thriving in our modern society and it remains relevant as technology evolves around us. The iPhone and Google's homepage are just two instances where the Hawaiian language can be selected as an option in language settings. Developers of the popular website, Wikipedia, borrowed the Hawaiian word wikiwiki, meaning speedy, for its name. Travelers through Honolulu International Airport are greeted every half hour with a public announcement first in Hawaiian, followed by its English translation. Local television reporters and weather forecasters consult with language experts on Hawaiian pronunciation. One of the morning news shows features a segment produced entirely in the Hawaiian language. Cable subscribers receive a channel featuring Hawaiian language reporting.

The Hawaiian language is engrained in our daily lives in Hawai'i, and is important to all of Hawai'i's people. I am extremely grateful for the efforts made by kupuna, our elders, as well as language and cultural educators, to preserve the Hawaiian language. According to the University of Hawai'i at Hilo, there are approximately 7,500 people learning the Hawaiian language today, from preschools, institutions of higher education, and community programs. Parents are again raising their children to speak Hawaiian. While there is an increasing interest in the Hawaiian language, this is still just a small percentage of the population of the State of Hawai'i. I applaud the State for designating February as the "Month of the Hawaiian Language" and bringing awareness to the need to perpetuate our language so that future generations may learn the language of their ancestors.

E ola mau ka 'Olelo Hawai'i! Long live the Hawaiian language.


** Here's a typical assertion that Hawaiian language was banned -- an assertion made in passing (as though it is a well-established fact) in the middle of a sentence about a different topic, as is so often done. This happened in an Alaska newspaper in June 2012!


Juneau Empire [Alaska], June 7, 2012, **Excerpts showing context of the assertion that Hawaiian language was banned; that assertion comes in the bottom paragraph.

Native language council seen as hope for indigenous culture Experts say time is dwindling to save threatened languages from extinction

A new Alaska Native Language Council has the potential to bring threatened languages back from the brink of extinction, say experts in the field.

"Our hope is that we can really create living languages, and advocate for the importance of the languages," said Lance Twitchell, an assistant professor of Alaska Native languages at the University of Alaska Southeast. ...

The issue of disappearing languages was highlighted recently with the death of the last speaker of the Eyak language. ...

Other states and nations have dealt with similar issues and have had some strong successes as well.

Hawaii has adopted Native Hawaiian as one of its official languages, giving official support to a language that was once banned, while in New Zealand an effort to restore the Maori language in preschool has successfully expanded into grade school, middle school, high school and finally college.


** On October 4, 2012 Senator Akaka gave his final speech as a Senator to the annual convention of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. In the middle of his lengthy speech, he asserted that there was a time when the teaching of Hawaiian language had been banned. Here's the offending assertion, in context:

"I have seen so many changes in Hawaii and across the country, and I have been amazed at the resiliency of our Native Hawaiian people, our culture, and our language. Since I was a boy, the United States has grown and evolved. I have witnessed profound change in the status and treatment of all indigenous peoples. Gone are the days when teaching our language was banned, when our culture and traditions were deemed unimportant."

The entire speech is available at

Shame on Senator Akaka for telling such an inflammatory, scurrilous lie.

Here is some information about the laws of Hawai'i concerning Hawaiian language, taken from a sheet distributed by kumu hula John Lake in his Hawaiian culture classes. 1913: $10,000 appropriated for publication of a Hawaiian dictionary; 1919: Law that Hawaiian shall be taught as a subject in all high schools and teachers' colleges; 1923: $2000 appropriated for writing and publishing textbooks in Hawaiian; 1935: Daily instruction of at least 10 minutes in Hawaiian conversation or writing required in elementary schools serving Hawaiian Homes children. Clearly, Hawaiian language was alive, and received government funding in the schools throughout the Territorial period.


Maui News, May 11, 2013, Viewpoint (lengthy letter to editor)

Let the Hawaiian language live


** Excerpts focused on the claim that Hawaiian language was banned.

"We are a dynamic community of Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians alike, with a common belief that the children of Hawaii have the right to be educated in ka 'olelo 'oiwi, or the native language of this land. The concept of employing a lottery to determine who will be allowed into an immersion school is oppressive in nature. ... in a time that requires due diligence, recognition and thoughtful consideration of state responsibilities to na kupa o ka 'aina, or natives of this land. ... It is not acceptable to hold us down by refusing support an equal opportunity for education on Maui. Learning our language is a right, not a privilege. This right was legally banned from 1896 to 1978, and public education helped to implement this ban. As a result, a generational gap occurred in the usage and what would have been the natural evolution of our mother tongue. In fact, by the 1980s, Hawaiian language was near extinct."


Midweek (weekly newspaper on O'ahu), Wednesday October 23, 2013

Anuenue School’s Pono Po‘okumu

by Mufi Hannemann [Former mayor of Honolulu]

"Political and linguistic repression after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy nearly brought an end to the language of its people, but deep in the lush vegetation of Palolo Valley, you hear old Hawaii flowing through the voices of Ke Kula Kaiapuni ‘O Anuenue students. They are pupils of Anuenue School, one of a dozen Hawaiian Language Immersion Programs (HLIP) operating in our state aimed at perpetuating the Hawaiian language and culture. ..."

** Letter to editor submitted by Ken Conklin

The very first clause in Mufi Hannemann's essay on Anuenue School (Midweek 10/23/13) is factually false and racially inflammatory.

Mr. Hannemann wrote "Political and linguistic repression after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy nearly brought an end to the language of its people ..."

I have a fact-filled webpage with plenty of footnotes disproving that often-repeated falsehood, whose only purpose is to stir up bitter resentment among ethnic Hawaiians. In 1892, when Lili'uokalani was Queen, 95% of all the government schools were already using English to teach all subjects, because that's what Hawaiian parents wanted for their children. Please see

Can't we please celebrate and take pride in the revival of Hawaiian language without writing historical falsehoods that only serve to create racial hatred?


** Here's a letter to editor showing how the allegation of Hawaiian language ban is inserted casually in the midst of other statements, as though everyone already knows it is true.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, November 12, 2013, Letters to Editor

Not all Hawaiians oppose Senate Bill 1

Hawaiian baby boomers, young and old, need to stop waving the Hawaiian flag, Ka Hae Hawaii, at the Iolani Palace grounds or even at the Capitol and stating that all Hawaiians believe in marriage only for one man and one woman.

Our alii, our people and throughout history, Hawaiians had polygamous relationships. A gay person (mahu) was known in every family. Acts of aikane, po‘olua and punalua were accepted by Hawaiians prior to the arrival of Western people.

Christians came in and slammed Bibles in our faces and indoctrinated our people to become like them, speaking one language and banning the Hawaiian language.

Well, times have changed. It’s 2013, not 1913. Same-sex marriages will be established. May the people who support SB1 prevail.

Kalani Pe‘a
Kihei, Maui

** Here's my comment published online under the letter:

To Kalani Pe'a:

There's one sentence in your letter which has several falsehoods and borders on hate-speech. You said "Christians came in ... speaking one language and banning the Hawaiian language."

The Christian missionaries created the written Hawaiian language, translated the Bible into Hawaiian, preached in Hawaiian, and taught thousands of natives to read and write in Hawaiian. The missionaries certainly were not "speaking one language" -- unless that language was Hawaiian!

Neither the Christian missionaries nor anyone ever banned the Hawaiian language. The assertion that Hawaiian language was banned is one of the most widely believed lies about Hawaiian history. The grievance industry loves to perpetuate that scurrilous lie because it would be so awful if it were true. Telling that lie does nothing but stir up hate against Caucasians and demands for reparations.

I have a detailed webpage filled with footnotes proving that it is false and explaining how that lie got started. See
I'm adding your letter to my collection of other similar hateful assertions of the alleged language ban, at
You need to get educated with facts to overcome your edumacation by the "Hawaiian Studies" brainwashers.


Here's another example of the false assertion that Hawaiian language was banned in all public and private schools in Hawaii until 1986. As usual, the falsehood is asserted in passing, as though it is a commonly-known fact. See the final sentence in the excerpts, which provide context.


Honolulu Civil Beat, Wednesday November 20, 2013, feature article by staff writer Alia Wong.

"Nawahi is one of 20 schools in the state where a total of about 2,400 students learn in Hawaiian, not English. These Hawaiian immersion programs are publicly funded, and many are housed on regular public school campuses. ... The three-decades-old Nawahi has spearheaded the movement to revitalize the Hawaiian language by establishing immersion schools that are a form of blowback against what activists see as a generations-long strategic effort to extinguish the Native Hawaiian identity. ... While Hawaii in 1978 adopted a constitutional amendment requiring that its public education system promote the Hawaiian language and culture -- and also made Hawaiian one of two official languages -- on-the-ground change was slow to follow. Linguistics scholars, including Nawahi Principal Kauanoe Kamana, estimate that by 1983 fewer than 50 children spoke Hawaiian fluently. The state's complicity was apparent; it didn't repeal a long-standing law banning the Hawaiian language from public and private schools until 1986."


On February 4, 2014, the 'Aha Punana Leo issued a news release falsely asserting that Hawaiian language was banned in Hawaii schools. Here is that assertion in context, taken from

"The 'Aha Punana Leo's system of eleven Punana Leo preschools, one infant daycare program and State-wide Administrative office was evaluated last week in a new preschool through high school (P-12) accreditation standards based on indigenous education guidelines under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This accreditation is part of the long process of revitalizing the language and reestablishing high quality distinctive Hawaiian language medium education. ... Use of Hawaiian was illegal in schools for 90 years. The 'Aha Punana Leo lead [sic] the movement to remove that ban and has been the primary private entity supporting development of education through Hawaiian from preschool on to the doctorate level."

Comment: As we have noted before, a law passed in 1896 required that for a school to be certified as meeting the definition of "school" for the mandatory attendance law, it must use English as the language of instruction. The law did not single out Hawaiian, and its main purpose was to require all children to grow up speaking English as their common language regardless of whatever other language they might speak at home -- especially Japanese and Chinese children whose parents were working on the sugar plantations. The law required all courses in the regular curriculum (science, math, history, etc.) to be taught through the English language, but it specifically allowed for languages other than English (including Hawaiian) to be taught in language courses in the schools, much as students today might study French or Spanish in school. The law did not in any way prohibit parents from creating after-school or weekend academies where all subjects could be taught in whatever language the parents wanted -- indeed, the Japanese parents created hundreds of Japanese language/culture academies during a period of many decades, but Hawaiian parents did not create Hawaiian academies, even though by law the Hawaiian parents were paid higher wage rates than the Japanese. Many Hawaiian parents also demanded that their children speak only English in the home, because they wanted their children to speak English fluently as the pathway to success.


Noelani Goodyear-Kaopua, Associate Professor at University of Hawaii, authored an article in the Winter 2014 issue of the Harvard International Review entitled "Hawai'i: An Occupied Country" available at

On pages 58-59 she wrote the most flagrantly false version of the claim about Hawaiian language being banned: "The onset of prolonged US occupation that began in 1898 abruptly halted the growth of Hawaiian national life. Control of the national land base was wrested from the Hawaiian Kingdom. The Hawaiian language was also banned and ..." Her article had numerous other falsehoods and distortions about Hawaii's history, and what's especially disappointing is to see it published in a publication of the prestigious Harvard University.


Honolulu Star-Advertiser, letter to editor, February 28, 2014 explaining and justifying a series of outrageously racist public remarks by Faye Hanohano, chairperson of a committee in the state legislature.

"Poor Hawaiians. At one time the Hawaiian language and the hula were banned in Hawaii. Things haven't changed. So state Rep. Faye Hanohano needs to show more aloha?"


Indian Country Today, May 30, 2014

Hawaiian Language Preschools Garner International Recognition
[News release from 'Aha Punana Leo]

"The 'Aha Punana Leo's Hawaiian language preschools in Hilo, Hawaii have been granted by the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) the first accreditation of an early education program conducted through an endangered and indigenous language worldwide. ... For 90 years the use of Hawaiian was illegal in schools. The 'Aha Punana Leo lead the movement to remove that ban and has been the primary private entity supporting the development of education through Hawaiian from preschool on to the doctorate level. Language revitalization programs worldwide widely recognize the 'Aha Punana Leo as the model for education in an endangered and indigenous language revitalization movement."

** But of course Hawaiian language was never illegal in schools. It could be taught as a language course on the same basis as Japanese or French or Spanish; and it could be used as the language of instruction in after-school or weekend academies -- the Japanese plantation workers established hundreds of Japanese-language academies, but the Hawaiians chose not to establish their own language schools.


Honolulu Star-Advertiser, April 5, 2015, ** excerpts

Artists explore the Americanization of Hawaii and its impact on the land and its people
By Mindy Pennybacker

Solomon Enos spoke about his installation, "A Struggle of Narratives," part of the exhibit "Contact" at the Honolulu Museum of Art School. ... In his shady Nu'uanu carport, Solomon Enos stepped onto his papier-mache model-in-progress of Central Oahu being attacked by white giants and defended by action figures. As he narrated the gory scenes, the artist threw back his head and laughed. "I'm retroactively changing people's legacy. Seeing how you built your wealth, you're not so beautiful after all!"

The invaders were "papering over natural areas with the documents that gave them power," including newspapers that supported the businessmen who overthrew Hawaii's monarchy. The defenders included Hawaiian and Asian deities and St. Francis of Assisi confronting a monster who's chewing up a Hawaiian-language newspaper "because the language was banned."

** Ken Conklin's note: The news reporter quotes the artist who flat-out said the most extreme version of the lie: "the language was banned." The outrageousness of that lie is magnified in this case by the fact that the news report shows that the artist and reporter are both aware of the Hawaiian language newspapers, which continued publishing continuously right up until the last one finally died out for lack of readership in 1948.


The Garden Island (Kaua'i), Sunday May 31, 2015

"Pua Rossi-Fukino, instructor of Hawaiian language and studies at Kauai Community College, said ... she finds the funding for Hawaiian language ironic since an 1896 law, which was lifted in 1987, banned the teaching of the language in public schools. "It just caused a ripple effect: families stopped teaching it, families stopped sharing it because they were not supported," she said. "What happened in 1896 was that (a U.S. policy) banned the practice of Hawaiian language, the teaching of Hawaiian language in public schools, and they took away the funding to the people who wanted to continue that." Rossi-Fukino said the incorporation of the 1896 law led to Hawaiian speakers rarely sharing the language. She added that her family is an example of that. "My great-grandmother was a native speaker and she was an educated woman, but she was a native speaker of olelo Hawaii and a speaker of English and she refused to teach Hawaiian language to my grandmother," she said. "My grandmother had to go and learn her own indigenous language from somebody else outside of the household. In turn, she herself didn't teach it to my father. My father had to go to other ohana and learn his language. ..."

** Comments by Ken Conklin: Rossi-Fukino says the 1896 law banned Hawaiian language from being taught in the schools. That's false. The law only required that English must be the language used for teaching all the subject-matter in science, history, mathematics, etc. And it only applied to schools which were government-certified as meeting the requirement that all children must go to school. The 1896 law specifically allowed other languages to be taught as language courses. The 1896 law also did not stop anyone from opening after-school or weekend academies where other languages could be used for teaching all subjects. Impoverished Japanese plantation workers set aside money to establish academies for perpetuation of Japanese language and culture for their children; Hawaiian laborers chose not to create Hawaiian-language academies even though Hawaiians were by law paid a higher wage rate than Japanese, and even though wealthy ali'i could have donated money for that purpose but chose not to do so. Rossi-Fukino says the 1896 law was U.S. policy. That's false. In 1896 Hawaii was still a sovereign, independent nation -- the Republic of Hawaii. Annexation did not happen until 2 years later. Rossi-Fukino does tell the truth when she says her great-grandmother refused to teach Hawaiian to her own daughter, who in turn refused to teach Hawaiian to the next generation in the family. That's the real reason the language nearly died -- not because it was banned in schools (it was not banned), but because Hawaiians themselves voluntarily abandoned Hawaiian in favor of English, even in the privacy of their own homes. Native parents wanted what was best for their kids, and realized that the pathway to success for the future was through English, not Hawaiian.


Here's an example showing how the lie that it was illegal to speak Hawaiian language in school continues to be stated, as though it were true, on February 15, 2016 in both of the Hawaii Island newspapers (West Hawaii Today [Kona] and Hawaii Tribune-Herald [Hilo]). Notice that the lie is stated very briefly, in passing, as though it is an accepted fact which everyone accepts without needing any discussion.




Excerpt from article: "It was 1972. Hawaiian was dying out. Most native speakers were kupuna -- and there were not many left. It was still technically illegal to speak Hawaiian in schools. Who was going to listen to a program conducted entirely in Hawaiian?"

Excerpt from Conklin online comment: "Article says "It was 1972. ... It was still technically illegal to speak Hawaiian in schools." That's false. It was NEVER illegal to speak Hawaiian anywhere, including in the schools. The lie that it was illegal to speak Hawaiian has been repeated so often, for such a long time, that many people believe it. The purpose for repeating the lie is to portray ethnic Hawaiians as poor, downtrodden victims, and to stir up racial resentment and bitter anger against those evil haoles who (allegedly) oppressed the natives and made it illegal for them to speak their own language in their own homeland. It's very easy to say a scurrilous lie in a single sentence, and much more complicated to explain and prove the truth. ... Larry Kimura, glorified in this article, is a leader in perpetuating this lie and milking it for propaganda purposes. Larry Kimura and Pila Wilson, both professors of Hawaiian language at UH Hilo, cling tightly to this lie, repeatedly ignoring and denying proven facts presented to them in public, perhaps because their huge salaries and status in the community depend on having people believe this nonsense; and they keep teaching the lie to their students. After all, they are the experts, right? So who would dare to contradict them with facts! Search for their names -- especially Wilson -- in this webpage"


Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa is Professor of Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii where she has sometimes been department chair, and she has taught thousands of students during several decades. For four weeks in February 2016 she was a delegate to the Na'i Aupuni convention that wrote a proposed constitution for a Hawaiian tribe. In an article in Honolulu Civil Beat on February 24, 2016 she explained her view on why the race-based convention should write a constitution for the race-based tribe in which citizenship should be limited to racial Hawaiians exclusively, bu pointing out some treasonous things Caucasian subjects of the Kingdom had done.
Here she repeated the lie she has undoubtedly taught thousands of students in her classes:
"1896: Banning of the Hawaiian language in the public schools and the beating of Native Hawaiian children for speaking Hawaiian"


The Na'i Aupuni convention in February 2016 not only produced a proposed tribal constitution, they also had an independence committee that produced and published its own declaration.
After reciting a litany of grievances, in the 6th paragraph from the end, the declaration says "We declare that these are but a few of the truths about the injustices our people and lands have endured, including the banning of our Native tongue, since foreigners came to our islands."


On February 18, 2016 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser published an article entitled "Google service translates Hawaiian." The first sentence says "The Hawaiian language, once banned in the public schools and teetering on the edge of extinction two decades ago, is now being translated by Web giant Google." Ken Conklin wrote to the reporter who wrote the article, and to the editor in charge of corrections, asking for a correction to be published about the false allegation that Hawaiian language had been banned in the public schools. Conklin explained about the falsehood and provided a link to Conklin's lengthy and detailed webpage proving it is false. The reporter responded "I hear what you're saying but even the state Department of Education's own website describes the language as being 'banned.'" Conklin tracked down the "History of Hawaiian Education" webpage on the Department of Education website, and saw that the falsehood is prominently asserted in three places on the two-page webpage. Conklin then wrote to the Director of Hawaiian Studies, whose name and email are displayed on that history webpage. Conklin's lengthy email provided detailed proof that the assertion is false, and requested that the DOE webpage be corrected. The Director of Hawaiian Studies entire reply was: "The Department appreciates your attention to the information provided on our website. We will review the website and make changes as deemed necessary." Anticipating bureaucratic delays and probable stonewalling, Conklin created the following webpage where the offending DOE webpage, Conklin's detailed email, and further events are tracked. During April 2016 Ken Conklin wrote directly to Superintendent of Schools Kathryn Matayoshi, who replied two weeks later that the offending webpage would not be corrected. Ken Conklin then issued a Goebbels Award For Outstanding Use of Media for Propaganda Disguised As Fact -- awarded jointly to Director of Hawaiian Studies Dawn Kau'ilani Sang, Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, and the Hawaii Department of Education; for refusing to correct a scurrilous falsehood on their website and in their curriculum despite being provided with massive irrefutable proof that it is false. A followup email was sent to every member of the Board of Education asking them to order Director Sang and Superintendent Matayoshi to correct the falsehoods on the webpage and to remove the falsehood from the school curriculum. THIS IS A MAJOR CASE STUDY. "HOLDING THE STATE OF HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ACCOUNTABLE FOR PROPAGATING THE LIE THAT HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE WAS BANNED."
See also
The Goebbels Award For Outstanding Use of Media for Propaganda Disguised As Fact -- awarded jointly to Director of Hawaiian Studies Dawn Kau'ilani Sang, Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, and the Hawaii Department of Education; for refusing to correct a scurrilous falsehood on their website and in their curriculum despite being provided with massive irrefutable proof that it is false.


HCR190 and HR136: A resolution in the legislature of 2016 requested the Department of Education's Office of Hawaiian Education to conduct a study on how to provide access to instruction in the Hawaiian language in all public schools statewide. This resolution included as its first "whereas" clause the following falsehood: "Whereas the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893 led to a ban on teaching and learning through the medium of the Hawaiian language beginning in 1896, thereby eradicating the Hawaiian language from all formal education for the next four generations" which was taken directly from the Department of Education webpage noted above. Ken Conklin submitted detailed testimony disproving that assertion, requesting that no further administrative authority or funding should be given to the Office of Hawaiian Education until the falsehood is removed from its webpage and school curriculum, and demanding removal of the first "whereas" clause from this resolution. However, the committee passed the resolution with no votes against it and no amendments.

Resolution text, history, committee hearings, pdf of all testimony submitted to each committee, YEAs and NAYs, committee reports:


In March 2016 Kahookahi Kanuha gave a 75-minute lecture, recorded as a YouTube video, "presenting historical findings on how the Hawaiian language was eliminated from society in Hawaii." The lecture provided some important details about the development of Hawaiian as a written language, and the slow but stead emergence of English as the dominant language. However the lecture greatly overstated the importance of the 1896 law, and falsely asserted that there was a deliberate suppression of Hawaiian language by Caucasians from the mid-1800s until about 1980. The lecturer is Kaho'okahi Kanuha, who was one of the two top leaders of the protest on summit of Mauna Kea. He was arrested for trespass, and put on trial. He succeeded in demanding that his trial must be conducted in Hawaiian language. His father is an elected member of the Hawaii Island County Council. Kaho'okahi Kanuha is highly intelligent, knowledgeable, and charismatic. The video is available at

Ken Conklin's online comment to the video:

This video has lots of valuable facts about Hawaiian and English languages in mid-1800s Hawaii. Thank you! But note that by 1892, BY DECISION OF SOVEREIGN NATIVE MONARCHS, 95% of all government schools were already using English as medium of instruction. So the 1896 law made no practical difference for native kids. The main purpose and effect of 1896 law was to force Japanese kids attending plantation schools to use English as language of instruction instead of Japanese, because it's important for all people in nation to have one language which they all can speak 1896 law was NOT directed against native kids or Hawaiian language. Japanese parents responded by creating after-school and weekend Japanese-language academies to perpetuate their language and culture; Hawaiian native parents chose not to do that, even though by law the natives were paid higher wages than the Japanese. Think about it -- do kids in today's Hawaiian immersion schools not learn English because they speak only Hawaiian in school? No! They learn English because English is the dominant language in everyday life. The same would have been true in reverse for native kids -- speak only English in school, but IF Hawaiian was really the dominant language on the street, then the kids would never have lost Hawaiian. The downfall of Hawaiian language and rise of English was by gradual choice and lifestyle of native parents and native government leaders, not because of evil haoles suppressing Hawaiian language or passing the law of 1896.

For details and proof of all main points, see these three webpages:
Was Hawaiian Language Illegal? Did the Evil Haoles Suppress Hawaiian Language As A Way of Oppressing Kanaka Maoli and Destroying Their Culture?
Holding the State of Hawaii Department of Education accountable for propagating the lie that Hawaiian language was banned.
Examples of Some Angry or Bitter Published Articles Claiming That Ethnic Hawaiians Were Victimized by Having Their Language Made Illegal or Suppressed


Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Sunday March 19, 2017

Event celebrates schools’ perpetuation of language

By Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi

** The first paragraph of this article is as follows:

If a group of Hawaiian educators hadn't met in 1982 to develop the immersion concept of Punana Leo, Kili Namau'u is certain the Hawaiian language would have been lost. "For many years, teaching Hawaiian was banned in public schools; it couldn't be spoken or taught," said Namau'u, who is of one-fourth Hawaiian ancestry. "By the mid-1980s only about 500 people in Hawaii could speak Hawaiian, and most of them were elders."

** The credit at the end says:
Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi is a Honolulu-based freelance writer whose travel features for the Star-Advertiser have won several Society of American Travel Writers awards.

** Here is Ken Conklin's online comment:

Article says "For many years, teaching Hawaiian was banned in public schools; it couldn't be spoken or taught."
That is totally false. That lie has been repeated so often that people have come to believe it. The main result of repeating it is to build feelings of anger and resentment which are not justified by the facts.
It's easy to tell a lie in one or two sentences.
The truth needs to be explained thoroughly.
See "Was Hawaiian Language Illegal?" at
and also
"Holding the State of Hawaii Department of Education accountable for propagating the lie that Hawaiian language was banned." at


Below are the first two sentences in a story broadcast on an evening newscast and published on the TV station's website, with brief online rebuttals attempted by Ken Conklin but which the station's censors did not allow to be posted.

KITV 4 news, February 1, 2018

British native speaks fluent Hawaiian, turns heads at State Capitol

By Moanike'ala Nabarro

Before the Hawaiian monarchy abruptly ended in the late 1800's, Hawaiian was the primary language of the islands. Court trials, day to day business, everything was conducted in Hawai'i's native tongue.

FALSE. In the year 1892, the year before the revolution, when Liliuokalani was still the head of state, 95% of all the government schools in the Kingdom were using English as the language of instruction, to teach all the subjects.

The Hawaiian Kingdom was overthrown in 1893 and following Hawaii's annexation, the language was banned.

FALSE. This piece of nonsense is constantly asserted, and the main reason for saying it it to stir up racial hatred. If it were true that Hawaiian language was banned, how do you explain the fact that Hawaiian language newspapers continued to be published and sold openly on the streets right up until 1948. ???


A Facebook page caught my attention on September 18, 2018. A company named Kumucards is selling Hawaiian language flashcards. The company's website
currently offers only one set of flashcards and and they apparently seek only ethnic Hawaiians to be their customers:
Is to provide the Kanaka Maoli around the world with the resources they need to reinforce the Hawaiian language in their daily lives. We work tirelessly to developing immersive & interactive curriculum that makes learning fun.

Here's what their Facebook page says (9/18/18):

"Aloha and Welcome to the @Kumucards page. Here is a little history of Hawai'i and the reason why we founded our company.
In 1893 the kingdom of Hawai'i was illegally taken with force by the United States of America. Shortly after in 1896 the Hawaiian language would be banned from being spoken in the Public school system and in the work place. Children were disciplined for speaking their native tongues, for 25 years this would be law. A heroic few would hold fast, without them surely our language would have been lost to history.
As you could imagine this wreaked havoc on our people and brought many socioeconomic hardships to the indigenous peoples of Hawai'i. Since the 80's the Hawaiian language has recovered slightly; schools have been formed with the sole purpose of teaching the language. Sadly the vast majority of Hawaiians don't necessarily have access to these awesome resources. Our goal is simply to normalize the Hawaiian language being spoken and make learning the Hawaiian language (Olelo Hawai'i) more accessible to all.
Mahalo nui for stopping by!

Here's Ken Conklin's comment posted on that Facebook page:

It's good to revive Hawaiian language and provide a product to help people learn it. But it's sad that you feel a need to spew falsehoods about Hawaii's history as a marketing tool -- falsehoods which only serve to fill people with hate.

The U.S. did not "illegally take Hawaii by force" in 1893. The revolution was done by an armed militia entirely composed of local men, half of whose leaders were native-born or naturalized subjects of the Hawaiian Kingdom. U.S. peacekeepers came ashore to prevent rioting and arson, but were held in reserve and did not participate.

The 1896 law did not ban the Hawaiian language in the schools or work places -- it required that in order for a school to be certified by the government as BEING a school that would satisfy the law that required all children to attend school, the school must use English as the language of instruction in all subjects. This law was aimed mainly to ensure that the children of Japanese and Chinese plantation workers must attend a school where they would learn English -- they could not continue attending only schools taught in Japanese or Chinese. Japanese workers then created Japanese-language academies where their kids could learn Japanese language and culture after school and on weekends; Hawaiian parents could have done that but chose not to do so. The idea was that all the children of Hawaii, regardless of race, should grow up having one language everyone could understand (English) in addition to whatever other languages they might speak at home or in the workplace. A Ph.D. dissertation at UH found that in 1892 (year before the revolution, while Liliuokalani was still in control) 95% of all the government schools in Hawaii were already using English as their language of instruction, because the Hawaiian parents wanted it that way. That's why English was chosen instead of Hawaiian to be the language required by the law. For details see


You may now






Email: ken_conklin@yahoo.com