Hawaiian Language Month: Connecting With the Soul of Hawaiʻi

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Read this article in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

Photo: Stacy Ferreira

Aloha mai kākou,

Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi is a period to immerse oneself in the beauty of the Hawaiian language. It’s not merely about learning vocabulary and grammar; it’s about connecting with the soul of Hawaiʻi. Each word, each phrase carries the breath of our ancestors, the stories of navigators, warriors, and kahuna. Our language paints pictures of lush valleys, rolling waves, and the indomitable spirit of our people.

The significance of this month extends beyond revitalization. It’s a movement of cultural preservation and identity reaffirmation. In the past, the Hawaiian language faced near extinction, suppressed by colonial influences. Today, through educational programs, community initiatives, and media, ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi is thriving, echoing through schools and classrooms, and across digital platforms.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) is proud to be major supporter of ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi across our islands. Each year, OHA provides funding to numerous Native Hawaiian community organizations teaching and cultivating the use of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, in addition to $6 million dollars provided to our Hawaiian-Focused Charter Schools to ensure kumu and haumāna have the opportunity to teach and learn in our native tongue. This commitment is crucial in fostering a future where ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi thrives, weaving our rich heritage and wisdom into the fabric of generations to come.

As we celebrate Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, let’s remember that every word spoken in Hawaiian is a seed planted for future generations, ensuring that the voice of Hawaiʻi will never fade into silence. “E ola mau ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi” – the Hawaiian language shall live forever.