Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
January 6, 2018
The topic under discussion is that Hawaiian is an official language of the State; and some sovereignty activists now demand that criminal defendants and/or civil plaintiffs or defendants should therefore be allowed to use Hawaiian language as the medium for presenting their oral arguments and written documents in court proceedings. This demand is an assertion of sovereignty and self-determination. If implemented it would weaponize the Hawaiian language -- it would force everyone in Hawaii to become fluent in Hawaiian language or to pay for translators, because whatever one side in court says compels the other side to understand and respond or else lose the case by default.
Every Saturday the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper publishes a column written in Hawaiian. The column on December 30, 2017 (copied in full at the bottom of this webpage) made such an assertion, and cited the case of a Maui professor who had demanded to use Hawaiian language as the medium for presenting his defense in court to a criminal charge related to his blocking the access road to Mauna Kea (Hawaii Island) during protests against construction of the proposed 30-meter telescope. The same professor, and another Hawaiian activist, were arrested and had court trials regarding blocking the access road to a different mountain on a different island in protest against a solar telescope under construction on Haleakala (Maui). Internet blogs provide news reports about that professor and the other Hawaiian activist who demanded to use Hawaiian language not only in oral testimony but who also presented the court with legal documents written in Hawaiian. Blog posts linked at the bottom of this webpage display photos of the Hawaiian-language legal documents that were submitted in the Haleakala court trial.
There are two different issues to be discussed here: (1) What do the Constitution and laws of Hawaii require courts and other government agencies to do about using Hawaiian language? (2) What should kind and generous people of good will do to implement the spirit or intention of the Constitution and laws regarding Hawaiian language?
(1) What do the Constitution and laws of Hawaii require courts and other government agencies to do about using Hawaiian language?
The current Constitution of the State of Hawaii was adopted in 1978. During the 40 years since then there have been many amendments proposed by the legislature and approved by the people in elections. There have also been major changes to the Constitution forced by state or federal courts, but there has been no litigation related to Hawaii's official languages.
Here's an example of a major change in the Constitution forced by court decisions: In year 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Rice v. Cayetano 528 U.S. 495 (2000) struck down a racial restriction in the Hawaii Constitution of 1978 on who can vote for trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. A followup decision in the U.S. District Court in Honolulu and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals [Arakaki v. State of Hawai'i, 314 F.3d 1091 (9th Cir. 2002)] struck down a racial restriction on who can be a candidate for and serve as OHA trustee. But there have been no court decisions related to Hawaiian as an official language.
A recent version of the Hawaii Constitution was published in 2016 by the Legislative Reference Bureau, updated to reflect amendments and court decisions. Article 1 is displayed in full, along with a sidebar offering all the remaining sections, at
Article XV Section 4 regarding the official languages of Hawaii has never been changed through legislation or litigation from 1978 to now. It is displayed at
It says: "English and Hawaiian shall be the official languages of Hawaii, except that Hawaiian shall be required for public acts and transactions only as provided by law."
That restriction -- the clause that comes after the comma -- is very important, because it was put there to make clear that Hawaiian does NOT have equal status with English, nobody can be forced to speak or write Hawaiian in court, and nobody can be forced to answer or respond to oral or written arguments that are presented in Hawaiian language.
If a law is vaguely worded or its plain language is silent on a new controversy, courts often interpret what the law means based on the intentions of the lawmakers when they enacted it.
Note that Article XV, Section 4 does NOT say simply that English and Hawaiian shall be the official languages of Hawaii, which would make the two languages completely equal in every way. Instead, there is a restriction imposed on the status of Hawaiian language which makes Hawaiian clearly subordinate to English. The restriction says "Hawaiian shall be required for public acts and transactions only as provided by law." In other words, Hawaiian is declared to be an official language only as a matter of sentiment to honor Hawaii's heritage; but nobody is forced to use Hawaiian in official documents or speeches, and nobody is forced to accept or respond to documents or speeches in Hawaiian language during legal proceedings in the same way as they are forced to accept or respond to documents or speeches in English language.
The restriction says "Hawaiian shall be required for public acts and transactions only as provided by law." So far as I am aware, no additional laws have been passed that would expand or clarify what that means. There have been bills introduced in the legislature during the past several years which would require that Hawaiian be used alongside English in official documents, but none of those bills has passed. For example, SB643 and its companion HB1264 in 2017 "Clarifies that Hawaiian shall be required for public acts and transactions beginning on January 1, 2020. Requires that upon request by a member of the public for the Hawaiian language version, the public officer having the care and custody of a government record, paper, or document shall make all reasonable efforts to make it available in Hawaiian." But the bill(s) failed. SB560 and HB1303 in 2017 "Appropriates funds to the University of Hawai'i to translate the Hawai'i state constitution into the Hawaiian language." But they failed. In 2015 SB895 required that all letterheads, documents, symbols, and emblems of the State and other political subdivisions include accurate and appropriate Hawaiian names and language. Establishes references for accurate, appropriate, and authentic Hawaiian names and words, including proper Hawaiian spelling and punctuation"; but the bill failed.
The strongest evidence of legislative intent is what was said by the legislators during their floor debates or in the media at the time the legislation was being debated.
In August 2017 State Senator Les Ihara posted on the internet the massive 2 volumes of the proceedings of the State Constitutional Convention of 1978, which includes official committee reports and also transcripts of floor debates.
I could find only two places where the "official languages" issue was directly discussed.
Volume 1, page 1016, Committee of the Whole Report #12 says: "Your Committee decided to adopt the amendment making Hawaiian and English the official languages of the State, in order to give full recognition and honor to the rich cultural heritage that Hawaiians have given to all ethnic groups of this State. Your Committee wanted to overcome certain insults of the past where the speaking of Hawaiian was forbidden in the public school system, and of today where Hawaiian is listed as a foreign language in the language department at the University of Hawaii."
That Committee of the Whole Report #12 refers to what was said by delegate Adelaide ("Frenchy") De Soto, transcribed in Volume 2, page 432, as follows: "DELEGATE DE SOTO: Mr. Chairman, I rise to speak in favor of this section. This section in no way dictates that all laws and all official documents -- and that teachers shall have to teach in Hawaiian. All it does is give recognition that English and Hawaiian shall be the official languages of Hawaii, except that "Hawaiian shall be required for public acts and transactions only as provided by law." So there's no law directing that that is going to happen. However, I'd like to share with the delegates who are still here that one of the reasons for doing this is that for Hawaiian people this language, culture and history is replete with ironic innuendos. Example: at the University of Hawaii, the Hawaiian language is in the foreign language department. I am 49 years old and I will never till the day I die understand that. All this does is try to retrieve it from the foreign language department. I don't think anyone should be ashamed of the Hawaiian language. It should be given official status along with English."
It is very clear that both the Convention as a whole, and even the Hawaiian activist Frenchy De Soto who proposed the wording of what became Article XV, Section 4, intended it to be merely an expression of sentiment that Hawaiian language should be honored and respected. Ms. De Soto specifically states that it in no way dictates that laws and official documents must be written in Hawaiian language, nor that teachers shall be required to teach in Hawaiian. In other words, Ms. De Soto told her fellow delegates that nobody would be forced to speak or write in Hawaiian language because of Article XV, Section 4; and her fellow delegates relied on her assurance when they voted to adopt it.
During the 40 years since then, no laws have been passed that would require any courts to accept oral or written testimony in Hawaiian language. And as was shown above, during those 40 years no laws have passed the legislature (although several were introduced) that would force government documents to be made available in Hawaiian, nor even to appropriate money to have the University of Hawaii translate the state Constitution into Hawaiian.
People who do not speak English have a right to testify in their own language: they are provided with a court-certified interpreter to translate what they say into English so that other people in court can understand them, and to translate into their own language what other people are saying.
Presumably that right to testify in one's own language with a court-appointed interpreter paid for by the taxpayers would apply to anyone who cannot speak or understand English. In particular it would apply to a speaker of Hawaiian WHO CANNOT SPEAK ENGLISH, just as it would apply to a speaker of Japanese, Ilocano, or Spanish -- not merely because the testifier prefers a different language to English, but because the testifier cannot speak or understand English. I believe there are no people who speak Hawaiian fluently who do not also speak English with equal or greater fluency. That applies even to ethnic Hawaiians born and raised in foreign nations who then come "home" to Hawaii and learn Hawaiian language along with English (for example German-speaker educator Ku Kahakalau and her younger sister, singer and entertainer Robi Kahakalau).
The Committee of the Whole Report #12 was also factually incorrect when it said that "the speaking of Hawaiian was forbidden in the public school system." That falsehood is a tear-jerker claim to victimhood which has been stated repeatedly for decades to support demands for appropriations to support health services exclusively for ethnic Hawaiians and even to support demands to create a federally recognized Hawaiian tribe. Among the reparations demanded is
providing tax dollars to educate the public to become fluent in Hawaiian (especially schoolchildren) so that Hawaiian language will become once again the language of daily use including full-fledged equality with English. See "Was Hawaiian Language Illegal?" at
and "Holding the State of Hawaii Department of Education accountable for propagating the lie that Hawaiian language was banned." at
An excellent essay of 20 pages of text plus 8 pages of footnotes entitled "E Ola Mau Kakou I Ka 'Olelo Makuahine: Hawaiian Language Policy and the Courts" by Paul Nahoa Lucas was published in "The Hawaiian Journal of History", Vol. 34 (2000).
The first half describes the laws and customary practices about using Hawaiian and English languages during the Kingdom and Territorial periods. Missionaries William Richards and Dr. Gerrit Judd became proficient in Hawaiian, resigned from missionary work, and became official government advisors and translators, always treating both languages with equal deference. Later in the Kingdom Chief Justice Albert Judd wrote in a court decision "the two versions [English and Hawaiian] constitute but one act. There is no dual legislation. As a rule, one version is the translation of the other. The effort is always made to have them exactly coincide, and the legal presumption is that they do." Lucas continues: "Despite Judd's pronouncement, however, English remained the controlling law in Hawai'i. Nonetheless, Hawai'i continued to publish its laws in both Hawaiian and English until 1943, when the practice of publishing laws in Hawaiian was abolished by statute." (page 4).
An important webpage first published in 2011 has been expanded and updated continuously since then: "Hawaiian Language as a Political Weapon." Numerous sections are devoted to both legal and cultural topics such as demanding that names of places and streets must be Hawaiian, the Hawaiian language immersion public schools, the digitizing of Hawaiian language newspapers from 1832 to 1848, forcing the names of people and places to be Hawaiianized, an official Honolulu commission to invent Hawaiian names for future train stations, etc. See
(2) What should kind and generous people of good will do to implement the spirit or intention of the Constitution and laws?
The synopsis of the December 30, 2017 article by Laiana Wong and Kekailoa Perry says "a defendant should be allowed to present a defense in Hawaiian, and not be forced to operate within the limitations of English" and discusses the case of Kaleikoa Kaeo. Mr. Kaeo is a professor who speaks English fluently. In fact he teaches classes using English as the language of instruction, makes fiery political speeches in English, and has also learned to speak Hawaiian fluently. He demanded to give court testimony in Hawaiian, not because he is unable to speak English, but merely as a stunt -- a form of Hawaiian sovereignty street theatre or political activism.
Kaleikoa Kaeo took his inspiration from the wealthiest person in Hawaii in the 1860s and 1870s, Princess Ruth Ke'elikolani, who could speak perfectly good English but refused to do so when politicians or journalists visited her -- she took great pleasure in humiliating them by forcing them to hire translators. She felt she was having a political and "moral" victory by forcing them to use Hawaiian.
Hawaii is filled with the Aloha Spirit. Our people are kind and generous, and show our good will to people who cannot speak English by allowing them to give testimony in their own language and by providing them at our own taxpayer expense with interpreters who have been certified by the court to be fluent in both their own language and English. But Kaleikoa Kaeo's political stunt was neither kind nor generous. It did not display good will, let alone the Aloha Spirit. He could easily have spoken English, but he chose to speak Hawaiian as a way to FORCE everyone else to either learn Hawaiian or to spend taxpayer dollars to hire speakers of Hawaiian.
Hawaii has large numbers of people from many ethnic backgrounds who speak different languages in their homes; but we all come together in shared spaces where we are expected to speak English. Inability to speak English is treated as a disability or handicap. Someone who cannot speak English is given special accommodation to help him communicate in his own language, just as someone who is deaf gets a sign-language interpreter, someone who is blind is allowed to use a seeing-eye dog even in places where dogs are not normally allowed, and someone who cannot walk is allowed to use a wheelchair and elevator. Kaeo who is fluent in English but insists on speaking Hawaiian is like a marathon runner who might demand just for fun to come to court in a noisy wheelchair with a taxpayer-supplied assistant to push it for him.
I believe it is true that everyone who can speak Hawaiian can also speak English with greater fluency. That includes children attending the Hawaiian language immersion classes, and whose parents speak Hawaiian to them in the home to encourage fluency in Hawaiian -- the kids nevertheless learn English spontaneously, because English (or sometimes Pidgin) is the language of daily use in Hawaii on the streets, on television, in the newspapers, etc. There is simply no NEED for anyone to speak Hawaiian in court, unless such a need is artificially created by somebody engaging in a political stunt that forces everyone else to use Hawaiian. Such behavior is maha'oi (rude).
There's an old riddle: If a tree falls in the forest when nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? In the context of this essay, we might reword that puzzle: If a defendant uses Hawaiian to testify in court but neither judge nor jury nor attorneys, witnesses, or reporters are fluent in Hawaiian, did the defendant actually testify? So far as anyone knows, the defendant's words are like the babbling of an infant or the shouting of a raving lunatic -- like the idiot cited by Shakespeare in Macbeth: full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.
The people of Hawaii are very kind-hearted and generous. We give special care to protect endangered species, and we give special respect to creatures which are endemic (found only in Hawaii) or at least native (here before humans came, or at least before Captain Cook came). We pass laws expressing aloha for animals, plants, and things by naming them as "the official" state bird (the endangered nene), state marine mammal (humpback whale), official mammal symbol (monk seal), state flower (yellow hibiscus), state traditional music instrument (pahu drum) and state modern musical instrument ('ukulele). The state plant is kalo (taro) not only because it was the most widespread and important food in ancient Hawaii but also because the Hawaiian creation legend asserts a genealogical relationship whereby these islands and kalo and native Hawaiians are children born to the gods in that order, so that kalo is the natives' elder brother. We treat "Native Hawaiians" as the official state race -- sort of like a beloved mascot. It is in that spirit that Hawaiian was named to be an official state language, alongside English. See "Native Hawaiians as the State Pet or Mascot: A Psychological Analysis of Why the People of Hawaii Tolerate and Irrationally Support Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism" at
But some people, filled with anger and resentment, lash out with hostility at friendly citizens who try to be nice to them. They take any act of kindness or generosity as a confirmation of their own sense of entitlement or as a sign that the existing political establishment feels weak and is vulnerable to attack. Phooey on them!
So what should kind and generous people of good will do to implement the spirit or intention of the Constitution and laws regarding Hawaiian language? How should we deal with other kind and generous people who speak Hawaiian fluently or who love Hawaiian language for its beauty and historical significance? We should learn Hawaiian as much as possible, considering the other obligations and desires we have for work, family and friends. We should help the language to thrive by welcoming it when we hear it, and by using it whenever appropriate in daily life. Learn the "Hawaiian word of the day" from radio or TV and use it. Struggle through the Hawaiian language column in the newspaper with dictionary in hand, and post comments (in English or Hawaiian) if the author abuses his privilege by turning the column into a racist political diatribe instead of a helpful exposition of the language for those who wish to learn it. And consider learning a little of some of the many other languages whose native speakers we are blessed to live, work, play, and pray alongside here in the Aloha State.
PUBLISHED NEWS REPORTS OR COMMENTARIES MENTIONED IN THIS ESSAY; AND FOLLOWUP ON THE ISSUE OF WHETHER KALEIKOA KAEO (AND OTHER DEFENDANTS OR WITNESSES IN OTHER CASES) WILL BE OR SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO USE HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE IN ORAL AND WRITTEN TESTIMONY IN COURT.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, December 30, 2017
Editorial - Kauakukalahale
E kū ka'eo i ke kala'ihi o Maleka
na Laiana Wong a me Kekailoa Perry
Synopsis: Whereas Hawaiian is one of two official languages of the state, a defendant should be allowed to present a defense in Hawaiian, and not be forced to operate within the limitations of English.
Aloha hou mai nō kākou e nā hoa kanaka e pa'u nei i ia hana 'o ka ho'ōla 'ōlelo makuahine. I ka MH 1978, ua palapala 'ia akula kahi kānāwai moku'āina e paipai ana i kā kākou 'ōlelo makuahine i 'ōlelo kūhelu. He 'oli'oli 'i'o nō. Ua hoihoi na'e këia hanana, no ka mea, 'o ia nō ka 'ōlelo e kü ana i ka moku ma mua loa o ka hō'ea mai o ka namu haole. He aha ke kumu e ho'okūhelu 'ia ai ka mea maoli? A i kūhelu ho'i iā wai? A i këia manawa, ke 'ike nei kākou he kūhelu ho'opunipuni wale ia. Aia nō kekahi paukü ma ia kānāwai e ho'oha'aha'a ana i ke kūlana o ka 'ōlelo Hawai'i ma lalo o ka namu haole. Penei ho'i, inā e 'oko'a ka mana'o haole a 'oko'a ho'i ka mana'o Hawai'i o kekahi kānāwai, 'o ka mana haole ke nānā 'ia. A 'o ka mea 'āpiki, ua lilo ke kuleana i nā hale ho'okolokolo Maleka e ho'okolokolo ai i nā hihia a pau ma o ka namu haole. Eia kā, ua ho'okuleana lākou iā lākou iho nō, a ua hapa mai ka ikaika o ka 'ōlelo Hawai'i ma ko kākou 'āina pono'ī iho nō.
I ka P3 o ka pule nei, ua kupu maila kekahi hihia e emi ai ka pono o kākou Hawai'i. Ua ho'oholo 'ia akula e kekahi luna kānāwai o ka moku'āina 'o Hawai'i, ma lalo o ke kaumoku'āina 'o Maleka, kekahi nïnau no ka hihia o Kaleikoa Kaeo, he kanaka aloha 'āina no Maui, i hō'āhewa 'ia akula i ke 'ano 'ino o ka hana, ka 'āke'ake'a i ke alapīpā, a me ka ho'okuli 'ana i ke kauoha a ka māka'i. Ua pili ia nïnau i ka 'ōlelo e ho'okolokolo 'ia ai ua hihia nei, 'o ka namu haole paha, a 'o ka 'ōlelo kanaka paha. Ua koho 'ia ka namu haole, a 'o ke kumu mai, 'o ia nō ka ho'omakauli'i 'ana i ke kālā. Penei ho'i ka mana'o o ka luna kānāwai, 'oiai ua hiki nō iā Kaleikoa ke ho'omaopopo i ka namu haole, e ho'okolokolo 'ia ka hihia ma loko o ka namu haole.
Aloha nō kahi luna kānāwai 'ike 'ole i ke 'ano o ia mea he 'ōlelo. Pehea lā ke akamai o ka mea unuhi, 'a'ole nō e like a like ka mana'o o kekahi 'ōlelo me kona mana'o ke unuhi 'ia ma kekahi 'ōlelo. Inā e mana'o ana ka mea i hō'āhewa 'ia aia kona pono i ka pale aku i nā hō'āhewa 'ana ma o kekahi 'ōlelo, e pale aku nō 'o ia pēlā. Ke mana'o nei ua 'o Kaleikoa 'o ka 'ōlelo Hawai'i ka mea e akāka loa ai kāna mau hana a me kona mau kumu i hana ai, a pēlā ho'i e 'ike 'ia ai kona pono. No laila, 'a'ohe wahi kaulike o kona koikoi 'ia e hō'ike aku i kona mana'o ma o ka namu haole.
He aha lā ho'i ke kumu e hō'ole 'ia nei ko ia ala noi e pale aku i nā hō'āhewa ma o ka 'ōlelo a kona mau kūpuna? He ho'omakauli'i paha i ke kālā, he hāwāwā paha ko ke aupuni 'ike 'ole i ka 'ōlelo Hawai'i, a i 'ole ia, he hana 'āpiki paha ia e hapa mai ai ka ikaika kūpale o ke kanaka Hawai'i a kōkua ai ho'i i ka 'ākena o Maleka i ka ho'oha'aha'a 'ana i ka pono o ka po'e Hawai'i. Eia nō 'o Kaleikoa ke na'i nei i ka pono o kona mau hoa lähui, a ke kū ka'eo nei i ke kala'ihi o Maleka. E ala e nā hoa kanaka! E huliāmahi ho'i o hapa mai ko kākou pono!
Big Island Now [internet blog newspaper], July 16, 2015 (Updated January 24, 2016, 7:37 PM)
Mauna Kea 'Protectors' Appear in Court
By Megan Moseley
Several participants of the Mauna Kea movement that were arrested for blocking construction workers from reaching the Mauna Kea summit on June 24 appeared in court Thursday morning.
The June 24 arrests include: Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo, 49, of Kula; Andre Perez, 44, of Pearl City; Chase Kanuha, 26, of Kailua-Kona; Hualalai Keohuloa, of Kamuela; Kawika Hassard, 36, of Hilo; Joseph Alapai, 54, of Kailua-Kona; Lori Parizal, 45, of Waipahu; Gene Tamashiro, 58, of Hilo; Michel Prevost, 60, of Hakalau; Kaapunialiionalanikiekie Aiwohi, 25, of Wailuku; Michalann Trainer, 44, of Hilo and Ulises Consuegra, 44.
All but Consuegra were arrested on the state portion of the Mauna Kea access road. He was arrested on the county portion of the roadway.
Those arrested are part of a growing movement that aims to protect the Big Island mountain from further development as construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope is slated to begin this year.
However, protesters who have been camped out on the mountain since April 2, and whom prefer to be referred to as "protectors" of Mauna Kea, have halted construction for the telescope on multiple occasions.
A majority of the arrestees met with Judge Barbara Takase for their initial court appearance in Waimea. She explained to those present that they faced an obstruction charge, a petty misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of a 30-day jail sentence and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Representing the state was Deputy Prosecutor Britt Bailey.
Those who were present during the initial court appearance were asked whether or not they wanted the state to provide them with legal council [sic, counsel], and were given an opportunity to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or of no-contest.
Several asked for court-appointed attorneys and were granted the return of their bail money. Others chose to represent themselves in the matter, including Keohuloa who said he, as a Hawaiian, felt it best to speak for himself.
"I chose to represent myself because that's all I have -- my honesty," Keohuloa said following court. "Culturally it's your job to represent yourself. It's kind of suicide in this type of system, but that's all we have."
Takase found it necessary to clarify the responses of multiple defendants who demonstrated their culture by speaking in Hawaiian.
"Let's get one thing clear, I don't understand the Hawaiian language," Takase noted during the arraignment.
After speaking to each individual about their decision, Takase took a recess and the self-proclaimed protectors left the court. Some will have to return to enter a plea next month while others will have a pretrial conference in the coming months.
Keohuloa described the mood on Thursday as "real mellow."
"We want to make sure even though we're in this environment that we remain calm," Keohuloa said following court.
Kaapunialiionalanikiekie Aiwohi, who had to travel from Maui to appear in court, said that although he didn't want to get arrested on June 24, he's happy he made it to the mountain that day to be apart of the movement.
"I think that no matter what happens, whatever they decide to do, if they decide to build it or if they don't decide to, I think that we made such a big impact around the world," he said.
[** Embedded video]
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, July 1, 2016
Maui professor sentenced in 2015 telescope protest case
WAILUKU -- A professor who was one of 20 people arrested during a protest over the construction of a solar telescope on Maui last year has been ordered to pay a $200 fine for disorderly conduct.
Samuel Kaeo was sentenced Wednesday in connection with the July 2015 protest of the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope at the Haleakala summit, The Maui News reported.
Deputy Prosecutor Brandon Segal had sought 15 days jail time for Kaeo, noting that he had been one of the leaders of the demonstration.
But Kaeo's attorney said the case should be treated as a "simple violation" and that none of the other five protesters, whom he represented, received jail time.
"(This is) another example of individuals attempting to perpetuate change by invoking America's long tradition of peaceful, nonviolent dissent," Attorney Hayden Aluli said.
Kaeo, an assistant professor at University of Hawaii Maui College, was found guilty of disorderly conduct earlier this year.
He had been among more than 200 people who tried to stop a convoy of trucks from leaving the Central Maui Baseyard to deliver parts for the telescope. The 20 protesters who were arrested had connected themselves with PVC pipes, tape and chains as they lay on the ground blocking the path of the truckloads.
During his sentencing in Wailuku District Court on Wednesday, Kaeo said he would not apologize to the state or the court for his actions. He only apologized to "my people that we were not able to stop further injury upon us."
Kaeo, a Native Hawaiian, said protection of Haleakala is part of "our people reclaiming our humanity."
Judge Blaine Kobayashi said the court acknowledges and respects Kaeo's expression for his beliefs. However, he maintained that his actions "constituted criminal conduct."
"The court, frankly speaking, believes that type of conduct is unacceptable under the state of the law at this time," Kobayashi said.
Kaho'okahi Kanuha, party to the TMT contested case, challenges Hawai'i courts to uphold laws regarding the allowance of testimony in Ōlelo Hawai'i / Hawaiian language. This is his not his first time doing so. (More in comments)
[–]PulelehuaKeiki O Ka 'Āina[S]
I screwed up the title. It is supposed to say, This is not his first time doing so. Hawaiian Language Confounds Court. After requesting a court interpreter versed in 'ōlelo Hawai'i, Kanuha refused to address the judge in English, instead speaking only in Hawaiian. May 2015.
A trial in Hawaii has been delayed while officials look for an interpreter -- for the judge. Defendant Kaho'okahi Kanuha insists on testifying in Hawaiian, a state language. November 2015
Edit to add --
Additionally, Kaleikoa Ka'eo, a Maui professor who educates on the continued existence of Hawaiian sovereignty and one of twelve arrested on Mauna Kea, talks about his court appearance when he also spoke only Ōlelo Hawai'i.
KAHOOKAHI KANUHA: OLELO HAWAII, A LEGAL LANGUAGE UNDER "STATE" LAW ENTERS THE CASE
October 25, 2016 by Kauakipuupuu in Thirty Meter Telescope Project.
PEHEA KO PIKO?
Pehea ka Olelo Hawaii?
And what of the Hawaiian Language?
Hawaiian language is a language protected under Hawaii State law as an official language.
Yesterday, party to the TMT contested case, Kahookahi Kanuha entered motions and requests in the Hawaiian language.
This appears to be the very first time Hawaiian language has been exclusively used in this contested case hearing.
Kahookahi Kanuha was wrongfully arrested while protecting sacred Mauna Kea. Kanuha was acquitted after a trial that was conducted in Hawaiian.
The following 3 documents were served electronically to parties yesterday, click on the pictures to enlarge [Photos are provided showing full text of 3 legal documents in Hawaiian language]:
Palapala Papa Inoa Hō'ike Pa'a (Witness List):
Palapala Ho'okahua Ho'okolokolo Kū'ē Hihia (Pre Hearing Statement):
He Noi No Ka Hō'ano Hou 'Ana I Ka Palapala Ho'oka'a'ike (Request to update contact info for the Certificate of Service):
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, January 25, 2018
Judge cites protester for refusing to speak English
By Timothy Hurley
A Maui District Court judge on Wednesday issued a bench warrant for the arrest of a University of Hawaii-Maui College assistant professor of Hawaiian studies after he refused in court to acknowledge himself in the English language.
Kaleikoa Kaeo, who was scheduled to start a trial for his August 2017 arrest for trying to block a shipment of parts to the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under construction atop Haleakala, spoke only in the Hawaiian language when Judge Blaine J. Kobayashi asked him repeatedly if he was present for the trial.
While an interpreter was provided for Kaeo during his initial court appearance, Kobayashi in December approved a motion by the Maui Prosecutor's Office requiring that the trial be conducted in English.
There is no legal requirement to have Hawaiian language interpreters for those who speak English but prefer to speak Hawaiian in court, according to the state Judiciary.
Nevertheless, Wednesday's events prompted outrage within the Hawaiian community.
Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chief Executive Officer Kamana'opono Crabbe issued a statement saying the agency is "deeply disturbed and offended" that Kaeo was prohibited from defending himself in the Hawaiian language and that a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
"Punishing Native Hawaiians for speaking our native language (evokes) a disturbing era in Hawaii's history when olelo Hawaii (Hawaiian language) was prohibited in schools, a form of cultural suppression that substantially contributed to the near extinction of the Hawaiian language," the statement said.
"It is disappointing that the state government continues to place barriers on olelo Hawaii, 40 years after Hawaii's Constitution was amended to recognize the Hawaiian language as an official language of the state. We demand that the state Judiciary find an immediate solution to this issue."
Kahele Dukelow, wife and fellow UH-Maui College professor, said Kaeo ironically is now in the middle of a trial on Oahu that is being translated from the Hawaiian language. The trial is over his February 2016 arrest for blocking proceedings at the Na'i Aupuni Constitutional Convention in Maunawili.
Even though Kobayashi issued the bench warrant while Kaeo was in the court Wednesday, he was allowed to walk out of the court, and he remained free and taught a class Wednesday night.
Kaeo said it was important for him to take a stand because Hawaiian is an official language of the state, the original language of the islands and should be permitted in official proceedings.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, January 26, 2018
Bench warrant dropped for protester
By Nelson Daranciang
A state judge Thursday took back the bench warrant he had issued the day before for a defendant who was in court for trial but refused to speak in English.
Maui District Judge Blaine Kobayashi's two-sentence order doesn't say why he recalled the $750 warrant. The official court record does not show any requests by either the prosecutor or the defendant, University of Hawaii-Maui College Hawaiian studies assistant professor Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo.
Kaeo and the Maui County Department of the Prosecuting Attorney did not respond to requests for comment.
Kobayashi's order scheduled a status and trial setting conference, and further hearing on the issue of a Hawaiian-language interpreter for Feb. 21.
Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO Kamana'opono Crabbe said in a written statement that while OHA appreciates that the state Judiciary will be reviewing its policies regarding Hawaiian-language interpreters, "this incident should have never occurred."
The Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. called Kobayashi's bench warrant "inexplicable and nonsensical" and said it will wait to see how the matter unfolds at the Feb. 21 hearing.
Kaeo is one of six people Maui police arrested Aug. 2 on the highway going up to Haleakala. Police said protesters tried to block trucks carrying equipment for construction of the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope. Kaeo was charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing a public highway and refusing to comply with a lawful order or direction of a police officer.
At a Sept. 28 court hearing, Kaeo waived his right to a lawyer, pleaded not guilty to the charges and requested a Hawaiian-language interpreter, according to state court records. The interpreter was present when Kaeo showed up in court for an Oct. 18 hearing.
An interpreter was not available when Kaeo showed up for a Nov. 22 hearing at which the prosecutor told Kobayashi she wanted to conduct the trial in English. In its written request the prosecutor says requiring a Hawaiian-language interpreter will cause needless delay and unnecessary expense because Kaeo is fluent in English. The prosecutor also said a federal judge had ruled in a civil case that the right to assert a federally protected language does not extend to judicial proceedings.
Kaeo did not submit a written response.
According to the minutes of a Dec. 27 hearing on the prosecutor's request, the designated interpreter was not present because of a family emergency. Kobayashi conducted the hearing and granted the prosecutor's request, with Kaeo responding in Hawaiian.
The Hawaii Judiciary says Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires it to provide language interpreters when a party or a witness in a case has limited English proficiency or is unable to hear, understand, speak or use English sufficiently to effectively participate in court proceedings.
Hawaiian cultural practitioner Daniel Anthony says he has intentionally gotten traffic tickets so he can go to court and assert his right to participate in the proceeding in Hawaiian.
"I've been detained a couple of times," he said, but no longer than six hours. When the judge ordered him back into court in the afternoon to conduct the hearing, the prosecutor would ask to have the case continued every time he refused to speak in English.
Anthony said the cases were dismissed, and the court eventually provided him a Hawaiian-language interpreter.
The Garden Island [Kaua'i], January 26, 2018
Hawaiian language spoken during Coco Palms trial
By Bethany Freudenthal The Garden Island
LIHUE -- During opening arguments at the Coco Palms civil trial that recently wrapped up in Judge Michael Soong's District courtroom, defendant Kamu "Charles" Hepa gave a commanding oration defending his right to sacred land in Wailua in the Hawaiian language.
The court, Soong told him halfway through his speech, couldn't understand what he was saying because it wasn't in English. Soong gave him the option to continue in English, or continue in Hawaiian. Hepa continued in Hawaiian.
After the first day's proceedings and with much consternation from those observing the trial, Soong denied the defendants right to a translator.
Having an interpreter was their right, the defendants argued.
Hepa indicated he would speak in the Hawaiian language throughout the trial, with or without an interpreter.
At the next appearance, Soong told the defendants that they would be permitted to use an interpreter.
That interpreter was well-known activist Kumu Hina.
Addressing Soong at one hearing, Hina said she was having difficulty translating because of the cultural differences of the Hawaiian language and the legal language of the courts.
Another hearing was rescheduled for the following day when Hina said she missed her plane from Oahu that morning.
During the trial, every word of English was translated into the Hawaiian language and every word of Hawaiian that was spoken was translated into English.
Hawaii News Now, January 26, 2018, Posted 3:45 PM
State says it will provide Hawaiian interpreters in courts to those who request them
By Chelsea Davis, Reporter
WAILUKU, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) -
The state Judiciary says it will provide interpreters to those seeking to speaking Hawaiian in court "to the extent reasonably possible."
The policy change was announced Friday afternoon, a day after a judge rescinded a bench warrant for a University of Hawaii professor who spoke Hawaiian in court.
The incident sparked outrage among Native Hawaiian activists, and raised questions about how Hawaiian -- an official state language -- can be used in courtrooms.
In a statement, the Judiciary said it will start implementing the new policy immediately. It also asked those interested to serve as Hawaiian interpreters to contact the Office of Equality and Access to the Courts at 539-4860.
The policy stands in contrast to the Judiciary's previous statements on using Hawaiian in court.
Earlier this week, the Judiciary said: "There is no legal requirement to provide Hawaiian language interpreters to court participants who speak English but prefer to speak in Hawaiian. In those cases, judges have the discretion to grant, or deny, a request for an interpreter."
On Wednesday, Judge Blaine Kobayashi issued an arrest warrant for Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo after he addressed Kobayashi in Hawaiian. While Kaeo was standing in front of the judge, Kobayashi declared him not present for the hearing because he didn't identify himself in English.
"Since the court is unable to get a definitive determination for the record that the defendant seated in court is Mr. Samuel Kaeo, bailiff, make three calls for the defendant," Judge Blaine Kobayashi said in court.
Kaeo was in court to face charges stemming from an August 2017 protest over the construction of a new telescope atop Haleakala. A courtroom full of Kaeo's supporters immediately began yelling from the gallery after the warrant was issued.
But their outrage didn't move the judge. A bench warrant for $750 was issued for Kaeo's arrest, but was recalled a day later.
Some agree with the judge's decision. Former City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle said the judge was in the right.
"This gentleman is clearly and unequivocally, remarkably, proficient in the English language and what he's using this for is to follow up in the type of protest that he had on Haleakala," said Carlisle.
Current law states translation must be provided upon request to speakers with limited English proficiency.
Maui State Rep. Kaniela Ing hopes to change that.
"I want to change the law so it's folks with limited English proficiency or speakers of Hawaiian," Ing said.
Kaeo said while he's grateful the warrant was dropped, he wasn't told why the judge decided to recall it.
"This judge, I think he fails realize there's been a long movement of revitalization of Hawaiian language and the ability for Hawaiians to express themselves in the court," Kaeo said. "This is not just about language. This is a larger questions in which Hawaiians have been struggling to become visible within Hawaii and the world."
In addition, a hearing was scheduled over the use of a Hawaiian language interpreter in the case.
Addressing his supporters outside a Wailuku courtroom Wednesday, Kaeo said the judge's decision to issue the arrest warrant left him confused.
"I dealt with this judge maybe 15 times before. So, obviously, it had nothing to do with they couldn't recognize me," he said. "You see what the issue was? It wasn't about me. It was about the fact that I was speaking Hawaiian. But these small obstacles are the kinds of things we overcome."
Kaeo was one of six people arrested following the August 2017 Haleakala protest, and was among hundreds who gathered to try to prevent construction crews from getting through.
Kaeo had requested a Hawaiian interpreter during his trial, but the judge denied his request. Hawaiian and English are the state's official languages.
The case also drew rebuke from Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO Kamanaopono Crabbe, who said on Thursday that it's relieved the arrest warrant has been rescinded.
"While this incident should have never occurred, it was a wake-up call for many in our community," Crabbe said. "That a Native Hawaiian was nearly arrested for speaking his mother tongue in 2018 indicates that despite the substantial progress made to revive the Hawaiian language over the years, we still have much further to go."
On Wednesday, the Maui Prosecutor's Office denied Hawaii News Now's request for an interview.
However, a motion to conduct the court proceedings in English explains its position.
"The practical realities of requiring an interpreter this case would cause needless delay in the trial process and an unnecessary expense," prosecutors said, in court documents.
Kaeo is an associate professor of Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii Maui College.
He is facing disorderly conduct, obstructing a sidewalk, and obedience to police officers charges stemming from the August protest. All three charges are petty misdemeanors.
The Hawaii State Judiciary issued a statement to Hawaii News Now on Wednesday stating, "there is no legal requirement to provide Hawaiian language interpreters to court participants who speak English but prefer to speak in Hawaiian. In those cases, judges have the discretion to grant, or deny, a request for an interpreter."
Supporters for Kaeo are organizing a rally for Friday at the Old Wailuku Courthouse from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, January 26, 2018, Breaking news at 4:28 PM
Judiciary allows Hawaiian language interpreter in new policy
By Michael Tsai
The Hawaii State Judiciary will allow the use of Hawaiian language interpreters in courtrooms when participants in legal proceedings "choose to express themselves through the Hawaiian language."
The new policy was announced today, following a widely reported incident in which a Maui district judge issues a bench warrant for a defendant who chose to speak exclusively in Hawaiian in his courtroom.
Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo, an assistant professor in Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawaii Maui College, appeared in Maui District Court on Wednesday on a disorderly conduct charge stemming from his part in an August protest against construction of the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on Haleakala.
Kaeo opted to conduct his defense in Hawaiian, prompting Judge Blaine Kobayashi to issue a bench warrant on the grounds that the court was unable to determine whether the defendant, Kaeo, was present.
Kobayashi rescinded the warrant without explanation the following day.
In announcing the new policy yesterday, the Judiciary said it would develop implementation procedures and solicited public input.
Comments may be sent to email@example.com. Individuals who are interested in serving as a court interpreter may contact the Office on Equality and Access to the Courts at 539-4860 for further information.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Saturday January 27, 2018
Courts to provide Hawaiian-language interpreters
By Leila Fujimori
The state Judiciary will allow the use of Hawaiian-language interpreters in courtrooms when participants in legal proceedings "choose to express themselves through the Hawaiian language."
The new policy was announced Friday, following a widely reported incident in which a Maui district judge issued a bench warrant for a defendant who chose to speak exclusively in Hawaiian in his courtroom.
Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo, an assistant professor in Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawaii Maui College, appeared Wednesday in Maui District Court on a disorderly conduct charge stemming from his part in an August protest against construction of the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on Haleakala.
Kaeo opted to conduct his defense in Hawaiian, prompting Judge Blaine Kobayashi to issue a bench warrant on the grounds that the court was unable to determine whether the defendant, Kaeo, was present.
Kobayashi rescinded the warrant without explanation the following day.
"The Judiciary will provide or permit qualified Hawaiian language interpreters to the extent reasonably possible when parties in courtroom proceedings choose to express themselves through the Hawaiian language," the Judiciary said in a news release.
Kobayashi's actions led to protests by Hawaiian-language proponents across the state Friday.
Scores of people lined King Street fronting the state Supreme Court waving, chanting, singing and reciting the Ka Hakalama, a song to aid students to learn to read Hawaiian.
"Olelo Hawaii is the official language," said Dorian Cabanting, 36, of Nanakuli. "It is more than just a foreign language, as it's being treated as such within its own land. It is our mother tongue."
She added that the community of Native speakers is growing, with "more than 8,000 keiki speaking our language."
"Many here have a deep-seated love for their language, for our culture and our identity," said charter school Halau Ku Mana teacher Imai Winchester, who views the judge's actions as an attack against "my people and all the people of Hawaii."
"We would like to see the Hawaiian language return as the primary language for our people here, for visitors, for jobs and official positions," he said.
Fellow teacher Kauikeolani Naniole, 36, was one of five of the first graduating class of the first Hawaii island Hawaiian immersion school. Tears filled her eyes as she recalled the long journey from the first roach-infested classroom, but said, "Our parents never gave up."
"Our kupuna were punished (for speaking Hawaiian)," she said. "We're still here. We're not quieted anymore."
What happened on Maui is a reminder "there's still this fight," she said.
Joanna Howard, 57, of Kalihi said the judge's action was reminiscent of the past. "It is telling us that we're invisible, we're not being taken seriously."
Eric Keawe, whose mother, musician Auntie Genoa Keawe, pushed in the 1970s for Hawaiian to be taught in public schools, said, "Unfortunately, when (the judge) did that, it felt like we went back 100 years."
Hawaiian cultural educator Pueo Pata, 42, said, "We're not wealthy. We don't own our own homes, but what we do have is our language and our culture. That's why we are super protective of them."
To serve as a court interpreter, call 539-4860.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, January 27, 2018 Kauakukalahale [Hawaiian language weekly column]
Kīhēhē wale aku ka poʻe Hawaiʻi i ke au iā Maleka
na Kekailoa Perry a me Laiana Wong
Synopsis: A court case on Maui has brought attention to Hawaiian rights with respect to the domains of language use. Kaleikoa Kaeo has chosen to present his case through the medium of Hawaiian, but the judge has denied his right to do so. As his rights are stripped away, he becomes increasingly invisible; and so do we.
Aloha e ka po'e aloha o ka 'äina, ka po'e ho'i e kïhëhë wale aku nei i ke au iä Maleka.
I ka Pö'akolu nei, ua 'ike 'ia ka hana 'epa a ka 'oihana känäwai. He 'oihana ia e kü kala'ihi nei ma luna o nëia 'äina aloha o käkou, ka mea ho'i i kä'ilikü 'ia e ka lima 'apakau 'änunu o kahi Maleka. A e like me ke kä'ili 'ia o ka 'äina, hopu 'ia maila kekahi keiki aloha o ka 'äina e kahi 'äkena o ua Maleka nei, 'o ia ho'i, ka Moku'äina 'o Hawai'i. 'O kona hö'ähewa 'ia nö ia e këlä aupuni ho'opunipuni no kauwahi hala mikamina a koikoi 'ia 'o ia e hele aku i mua o kahi luna känäwai o Maui. A i kona kü 'ana i loko o ka hale ho'okolokolo, kähähä, ua kïhëhë wale aku a nalo ho'i i mua pono o ke alo! Kohu mea lä, he pule ho'okalakupua na ke känäwai o Maleka kona mea i nalo ai.
'O ka 'oia'i'o, ua nalo ua keiki nei ma muli o kona koho 'ana e koikoi i kona pono ma o ka ho'opuka 'ana i kona mana'o ma o ka 'ölelo Hawai'i, he 'ölelo kühelu no Hawai'i nei, a he pono ho'i i ho'omalu 'ia ma lalo o ke Kumukänäwai o ka Moku'äina 'o Hawai'i, ma ka 'atikala XV, mähele 4. Eia na'e, i mua nö ka 'ulu a hala! Ua noke aku ua luna känäwai nei e ho'omakapö, a e ho'okuli ho'i, me he mea lä, 'a'ole hiki iä ia ke 'ike maka i ua keiki nei o ka 'äina, a 'a'ole hiki ke lohe pepeiao i käna mau 'ölelo na'auao.
I ka hopena, ua hö'ole 'ia ka pono o ua keiki nei, a hö'ole pü 'ia ho'i me nä pono o käkou a pau. Auë! 'O ua keiki nei na'e, ua küpa'a 'i'o nö ma hope o kona mana'o he pono, a 'o ka pühili loa o kahi luna känäwai, 'o kona ho'opuka akula nö ia i kekahi palapala e koikoi ana i nä mäka'i e hopu i ke keiki. He aha lä ke 'ano o kahi luna? I loko nö o ke kü 'ana o ua keiki nei i mua pono ona, 'ölelo pololei akula nö 'o ia iä ia me ka hea 'ana aku i kona inoa, penei, "I'm going to give you another opportunity Mr. Kaeo to identify yourself." 'O ia nö ka wä i pane aku ai 'o ia ma ka 'ölelo Hawai'i me ka hö'ike 'ana aku ë 'o ia nö 'o Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo. Na wai e 'ole ka 'ike i ka inoa o kekekahi kanaka ua kapa pololei 'ia aku ma o kona inoa pono'ï? Kupanaha!
Eia ho'i ka mea 'ino loa. Ua ho'oweliweli mai kahi luna känäwai iä Kaleikoa penei, "Until you speak English Mr. Kaeo, you will be considered not here." Ua kïhëhë 'o Kaleikoa no kona noke 'ana i ka ho'opuka aku i kona mana'o ma o ka 'ölelo makuahine o nëia pae'äina. A ma o ua 'ölelo lä 'o ke kïhëhë akula nö ia o kona pono, a me ka pono ho'i o käkou a pau.
Ua puni wale käkou i ke kaena 'ana a Maleka ë he kaulike kona 'ano, a 'a'ohe ona wahi kamawae. Ua like a like ka pono o nä känaka a pau. Mai nö a puni! Ho'okahi wale nö 'ölelo lohe a këlä luna känäwai o Maui. No laila, e huki like käkou a ho'opuka aku i ko käkou 'ölelo makuahine ma nä wahi a pau!
Public Affairs Office, Hawaii Judiciary
Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
46-255 Kahuhipa St. Apt. 1205
Kane'ohe, HI 96744-6083
tel (808) 247-7942
Website: "Hawaiian Sovereignty: Thinking Carefully About It"
Book: "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State"
Re: Policy on facilitating court testimony in Hawaiian language
Date: January 27, 2018
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser on January 27 reports "The state Judiciary will allow the use of Hawaiian-language interpreters in courtrooms when participants in legal proceedings 'choose to express themselves through the Hawaiian language.'"
The Hawaiian language is a great treasure for Hawaii's people of all races, and indeed for all the world. Most people of good will are pleased to assist in preserving the language, reviving it and helping it to thrive in everyday use. I myself have spent considerable time and effort over a period of many years learning Hawaiian language to a level of moderate fluency; and I'm proud to use it for reading, writing, and occasionally in public speaking.
However, the primary purpose of our courts is to adjudicate cases in controversy in accord with the Constitution and statutes; it is not to engage in well-meaning adventures in cultural expression or "social justice." Indeed, there are good reasons why judges are given considerable protection against political pressure, including the campaign we have seen in recent days in the criminal trial of Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo (Maui) and the civil case regarding possession and occupancy of the Coco Palms resort (Kaua'i).
Let me remind you that judges and lawyers take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Hawaii -- not an oath of allegiance to the Kingdom of Hawaii nor to an effort to restore Hawaii as an independent nation nor to help create a Hawaiian tribe.
Perhaps you intend to persist in a newly adopted policy of allowing testimony in Hawaiian language by people who are equally fluent in English, and perhaps also allowing written documents in Hawaiian language to be introduced as testimony or evidence or exhibits, and perhaps also providing Hawaiian language interpreters at taxpayer expense.
If you do these things for ethnic Hawaiians, and/or for speakers of Hawaiian language, then you MUST also do these things for people of all ethnicities and all languages. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution includes the Equal Protection clause which requires all people to be treated equally under the law and has been interpreted to require equal treatment regardless of race, religion, or national origin.
Hawaii has thousands of people who are first or second generation from Philippines, Japan, China, Korea, etc. who are fluent in English but who might prefer to use their native language in court. You must now allow them to do so. Indeed, their right to use their native language is superior to the right of an ethnic Hawaiian to use Hawaiian, because virtually 100% of the people who speak Hawaiian are native speakers of English (i.e., they grew up speaking English) even though they are genetically natives of Hawaii.
Let me remind you that Article XV Section 4 of the Hawaii Constitution includes a disclaimer or restriction, which I have emphasized in this quotation of it: "English and Hawaiian shall be the official languages of Hawaii, EXCEPT THAT HAWAIIAN SHALL BE REQUIRED FOR PUBLIC ACTS AND TRANSACTIONS ONLY AS PROVIDED BY LAW."
I have researched the legislative history of Article XV Section 4 from the transcripts of the Constitutional Convention of 1978, and have found no evidence that there was any legislative intent to place Hawaiian on an equal footing with English in legal proceedings. Indeed, the author of Article XV Section 4, Adelaide (Frenchy) De Soto, explicitly said that her reason for introducing it was her unhappiness that Hawaiian was grouped with foreign languages in college catalogues. Please see my webpage on this topic at
One more point needs to be raised here even though it is "politically incorrect" and perhaps painful to do so.
Probably everyone who chooses to use Hawaiian language in court proceedings will do so for political reasons as an act of resistance, defiance and hostility toward the United States and its "puppet regime" the State of Hawaii.
The Hawaiian-speakers in your courtrooms are engaged in street-theatre. They are literally in contempt of court, because they claim your court has no jurisdiction over them due to the "illegal military invasion and occupation" of Hawaii as admitted in the U.S. "confession" of 1993 (i.e., the apology resolution). So even after you are so kind to let them testify in Hawaiian, and you are so generous to pay for their interpreters, they will then refuse to obey your decision or court order.
These Hawaiian sovereignty protesters are intentionally using Hawaiian language as a political weapon to delay and disrupt court proceedings, and to assert the continuing existence of a Hawaiian nation. By allowing Hawaiian language testimony you are allowing your courtroom to be used as the stage for a political rally by people who refuse to recognize your jurisdiction or legitimacy. Whether you realize it or not, you are an enabler and accessory to racial divisiveness, anti-Americanism, anarchy and revolution. Please see my large, detailed webpage "Hawaiian Language as a Political Weapon" at
** DIALOG in newspaper webpage
West Hawaii Today, January 29, 2018, reader commentary
Hawaiian language should be allowed in court
The recent court controversy over whether a professor charged with a crime can use his native language of Hawaiian in his court proceedings has made me recollect Thomas Paine's statement regarding the use of translation in any discussion requiring logical discourse:
"It is a contradiction in terms and ideas, to call anything a revelation that comes to us at second-hand, either verbally or in writing. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication; after this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner; for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him."
From the very founding of our nation we have held that speech and language are protected rights. The First Amendment restricts the government from creating any law that abridged the freedom of speech. Our Founding Fathers understood that a person's right to state his beliefs was sacred and, as Thomas Paine eloquently professed, any translation of the thoughts of one man into a different language ceases to be the exact deliberations of that person. Each language is a tune onto itself. Words from one do not equal words of another. Some idioms have many more words and phrases than others and each often concentrates on words and phrasing for different cultural emphasis.
Not only should Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo be allowed to testify in his native language within his native region of Hawaii, but the person who sits in his judgment should be fluent in Hawaiian also. After all, we are in Hawaii and Hawaiian is a recognized language in this state. To not allow Hawaiian to be spoken in a Hawaiian court is absurd and makes a mockery of the First Amendment, stating Mr. Kaeo has a right to not have the government impede his right to choose how to explain himself (First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution). To have a judge hear the case and rely on translation is to allow the court to receive the defendant's case second hand and likely with some degree of translation error. This is neither a fair nor a just way to hear a case brought against a Hawaiian in Hawaii.
To set the record straight, I am not a person who believes Mr. Kaeo's argument against the telescope on Mauna Kea is justified. I believe the telescope will create great opportunities for the people of Hawaii. However, I also believe Mr. Kaeo is right to assert that Hawaiians should be allowed to present their case in Hawaiian. That to do otherwise is an impingement on his inalienable rights. That if protecting his rights creates added expense for the state, the state has an obligation to make sure it has not overstepped its Constitutional boundaries and such expenditures are justified. All rights which are not specifically granted to the government by the Constitution belong to the people.
In this case the Constitution has specifically restricted the government from creating any law which restricts the freedom of speech. A law which restricts the language to be used to English, necessarily restricts the individual's speech because no two languages are equal.
R. J. Kirchner is a resident of Kailua-Kona
Online comment by Ken Conklin, December 29, 2018
Anyone is free to speak whatever language he wishes in any place at any time. Go ahead and speak Klingon if you wish; or babble like a baby. But if you wish for someone else to understand what you say, then you really ought to speak a language which your hearer can understand. So the real issue here is whether a party to a court proceeding should have a right to FORCE everyone else to respond to what he says, even if he speaks a language which is not understood by his hearers. In court, if you do not respond to accusations or assertions, then you automatically lose by default. But if no accusations or assertions are made, then there's nothing that must be responded to. Someone who speaks in Klingon or Babble has not made any accusations or assertions that require a response. Verstehen Sie? Вы понимаете?
Online response by R.J. Kirchner, December 29, 2018
We should recognize that English and Hawaiian languages are recognized by the State constitution as official State languages. Klingon, French, German, and Gallic are not.
Online rebuttal by Ken Conklin, December 30, 2018
Article XV Section 4 of the Hawaii Constitution includes a disclaimer or restriction, which I have emphasized in this quotation of it: "English and Hawaiian shall be the official languages of Hawaii, EXCEPT THAT HAWAIIAN SHALL BE REQUIRED FOR PUBLIC ACTS AND TRANSACTIONS ONLY AS PROVIDED BY LAW."
I have researched the legislative history of Article XV Section 4 from the transcripts of the Constitutional Convention of 1978, and have found no evidence that there was any legislative intent to place Hawaiian on an equal footing with English in legal proceedings. Indeed, the author of Article XV Section 4, Adelaide (Frenchy) De Soto, explicitly said that her reason for introducing it was her unhappiness that Hawaiian was grouped with foreign languages in college catalogues.
Probably everyone who chooses to use Hawaiian language in court proceedings will do so for political reasons as an act of resistance, defiance and hostility toward the United States and its "puppet regime" the State of Hawaii.
The Hawaiian-speakers in our courtrooms are engaged in street-theatre. They are literally in contempt of court, because they claim the court has no jurisdiction over them due to the "illegal military invasion and occupation" of Hawaii as admitted in the U.S. "confession" of 1993 (i.e., the apology resolution). So even after taxpayers are so kind to let them testify in Hawaiian, and so generous to pay for their interpreters, they will then refuse to obey the decision or court order.
These Hawaiian sovereignty protesters are intentionally using Hawaiian language as a political weapon to delay and disrupt court proceedings, and to assert the continuing existence of a Hawaiian nation. By allowing Hawaiian language testimony we are allowing our courtroom to be used as the stage for a political rally by people who refuse to recognize the state's jurisdiction or legitimacy. Please see my large, detailed webpage "Hawaiian Language as a Political Weapon"
Online response by R.J. Kirchner, January 30, 2018
You are correct that the defendants are using the courts as a stage to voice their grievances and explain their actions. Isn't that what courts are for? If the State chooses to charge them with a crime, don't they deserve the opportunity to explain their actions? You may look at them as taking advantage of their circumstances and making a show of the court proceedings. But, who gave them this stage? The state did when they charged them with a crime!
It is without doubt that the U.S. and the State of Hawaii have acted poorly in regards to how Hawaii was annexed and how the State has continued to ignore its obligations to the Hawaiian people financially. I cannot blame those who try to shed light on these improprieties for taking advantage of every opportunity to shed light on the plight of the Hawaiian people. The State has given them their microphone, and they are using it.
As to whether or not Hawaiian is an appropriate language for this action, some of the comments regarding my article are illustrative. It cannot be argued that Hawaiian was the recognized language of this region until fairly recently. It is not a dead or ancient language. It is the language of the native people of this area. English language is the intruder. Yet, many of the comments regarding my article put this language on a par with fake languages such as Klingon or call it babble. This alone is a clear illustration of plight of the Hawaiian people, their culture and their language.
The defendant has a right to defend himself from the charges. He has a right to present his own defense. Obviously the defense in this case is his desire to protect Hawaiian culture. I am not convinced that his defense can be as clear in English as it would be in Hawaiian. And, neither is the judge or you. At the end of the day, the defendant has a right to be heard.
Online rebuttal by Ken Conklin, January 30, 2018
My dear R.J. Your well-written response makes it clear that you support the "right" of the defendants to use the court as a venue for street-theatre, to present their grievances on all manner of issues. But no. Defendants were charged with a specific crime, and court is the place where that specific charge must be adjudicated. The activists are free to engage in actual street demonstrations -- in the street, not in the courtroom. They can publish articles, maintain websites or blogs, etc. Everyone acknowledges that babies are unable to control their outcries and their bowels, so we tolerate their off-topic screams and poops even in the middle of solemn worship services. But an adult charged with a crime must use the court as the place to defend against that specific charge, and not to spew rhetoric on other issues, especially when that rhetoric is in a language which hardly anyone else understands. A defendant should use the language of the judge and jury if he is fluent in that language. We taxpayers are very kind and generous to pay for interpreters for defendants who are not fluent in English. But we are under no moral or legal obligation to pay for a defendant to use whatever language he prefers merely in order to assert that language is important, and certainly not to force everyone else to use that language or to pay for their own interpreters. Hawaiian is a beautiful language, which I am proud to use at a moderate level of fluency. But sovereignty activists have weaponized Hawaiian language as a political tool, and have selected the courts as a battleground to wield that weapon. Read my webpage "Hawaiian language as a political weapon" -- google it.
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