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Advocacy priorities

Advancing Native Hawaiian rights

We believe in Native Hawaiian empowerment, culturally and civically, as a means to creating a thriving environment and communities. Kamehameha Schools supports the development of leaders who will champion the rights and well-being of our people.

Hawaiian Language

‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i enables Native Hawaiians and the larger community to connect with Hawaiian history, cultural practices and our identity as a Lāhui.

The Need to Renormalize

Hawaiian language was relegated to the status of a foreign language for more than 80 years.1

ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi became an official State language in 1978.2

Today, there are only 18,000 ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i speakers out of almost 1.5 million residents.3

How we support ʻŌlelo Hawai‘i:

  • Requiring all employees and students to take ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i courses.
  • Providing over $18 million of support for Native Hawaiian charter and immersion schools annually.
  • Advocating in support of establishing professional qualifications and training programs for Hawaiian Language Immersion Program teachers.

Civic Engagement

Local and global leaders engage in their communities. Increasing civic engagement amongst the Native Hawaiian population can help advance policies that will reflect the values of our growing Lāhui, promote and strengthen Native Hawaiian identity within our keiki, and protect Native Hawaiian rights.

Action, Not Apathy

Only 11 of our current Representatives and State Senators are Native Hawaiian.4

Nearly half of all Hawai‘i voters did not cast a ballot in the November 2018 general election.5

Hawai‘i has consistently ranked last in the nation in voter turnout.6

How we support civic engagement:

  • Supporting community efforts to increase Native Hawaiian participation in elections, helping students register to vote, and providing civics focused curriculum.
  • Organizing school-time field trips for eligible students to vote in local elections.
  • Creating civic engagement clubs in local high schools across Hawai‘i.

Resources for Student Clubs and Teachers

1 Nina Porzucki. “Meet the last native speakers of Hawaiian.” The World in Words (July 28, 2016):
2 Hawaii State Constitution. “Official Languages.”
3 Hawaii State Data Center. “Census Data Highlights.”
5 Office of Elections, State of Hawaii. “Registration and Turnout Statistics.”
6 Nonprofit VOTE. “America Goes to the Polls.”

Make your voice heard!