We Stand Behind Liliʻuokalani Through the Language


Read this article in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

We are calling all of our elders, parents, and children; teachers, students, commoners and citizens; to the people of our Hawaiian nation, this is a call of aloha to each and everyone one of you.

On Sept. 2, 2022, the birthday of Queen Liliʻuokalani, the Hawaiian language community gathered virtually for a two-day summit called He ʻŌlelo Ola (www.anahuluolelohawaii.org). This event is a part of the UNESCO International Decade of Indigenous Languages (IDIL). The main goal of the event was to discuss our collective vision for Hawaiian language revitalization for today and into the future looking specifically at four of the main objectives of the Global Action Plan of the IDIL2022-2032 (www.en.unesco.org/idil2022-2032/globalactionplan).

For this first year, the committee chose four of the objectives and we translated it to fit our needs here in Hawaiʻi. We continue to see the value of the Hawaiian language in the work that we do and how it continues to grow. The four topic areas for 2022 were:

  • Indigenous Food Systems
  • Education
  • Digital Empowerment
  • Traditional Systems of Medicine

Through observing and paying close attention to these four objectives, and listening closely to all that has been done in the past and how it continues to live on today, we asked all of our panelists and participants the question: At the end of this IDIL, where will we be in our language revitalization movement?

We are so thankful for all of our panelists who answered the call to be a part of He ʻŌlelo Ola. On the ʻŌnaehana ʻAina ʻŌiwi Panel ʻAnakala Earl Kawaʻa and Kaʻea Lyons-Yglesias; on the Education panel Puakea Nogelmeier, Pūlama Collier, and Keʻalohi Reppun; on the Digital Empowerment Panel Keola Donaghy, Maluhia States, Maui Bartlett, Kapuaonaona Roback, and Kamalani Johnson; and on the Traditional Systems of Medicine panel Tuti Kanahele, Puni Jackson, Tatiana Tseu Fox, and Kahaulahilahi Vegas.

We have learned the saying, “great and numerous is the knowledge of the Hawaiian people,” but we have also seen and heard the stories that “great and numerous” is the desire of Hawaiians to look within and be the solution. We heard so many stories about the great work being done in our community and how the Indigenous language of our people has helped the work that is being done. However, we also learned that the work we are doing in the community is contributing to the revitalization of our language and culture for all the generations to come.

We all have a responsibility: what will we each do in our daily life to ensure that this language we all love will continue to live on for our children and for all of our kūpuna?