search logo

Speakers Kaleha Krug KSK’94, Kahōkū Lindsey-Asing KSH’10 and Amy Kalili KSK’89 join host Lāiana Kanoa-Wong for an ʻapu of ʻawa following the event.

Envisioning the role of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi in self-determination

Dec. 4, 2023

Ho‘okahua Cultural Vibrancy group recently hosted a panel discussion on the role of Hawaiian language in Hawaiian self-determination. The in-person event was held at Ka‘iwakīloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center on the Kapālama campus. Dubbed “‘Ōlelo Ea,” this was the first in a series of four gatherings that will run once a month through the makahiki season, or November 2023 through February 2024.

KS cultural consultant Lāiana Kanoa-Wong welcomes the audience.

Hosted by Kamehameha Schools cultural consultant Lāiana Kanoa-Wong, the panel offered mana‘o for just over an hour defining their “dream state” for ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i and its connection to self-determination for Hawaiians.

Amy Kalili, well-known for her work in Hawaiian language revitalization and a partner in Pilina First LLP, spoke about the feeling of empowerment in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i speakers, “One thing that is crystal clear, that I am absolutely sure of…all of the ‘ohana and haumāna that have come through the papahana…[programs where Hawaiian language is the medium of instruction] there is this sense of wiwo ‘ole [fearlessness].”

Kalili adds that the Hawaiian language has led her into many opportunities and is a big reason she is who she is today. As for the role of ‘ōlelo in self-determination, she posits, “I don’t see how that happens, manifests authentically, if not through, and in, ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i.”

Kalehua Krug, Principal of Ka Waihona o ka Na‘auao school in Nānākuli, spoke to the importance of ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, saying that learning one’s native language can provide courage and purpose, but also added, for him personally, “‘Ōlelo is not my endgame. ‘Ōlelo is like a stage towards an end game…the end game is ecological stability, and ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i is one tool to understand and employ to get us there.”

Rounding out the panel, Kahōkū Lindsey-Asing, manager of destination education for the Hawai‘i Visitors and Conventions Bureau, spoke from his experiences as Kahu of Pūnana Leo o Mānoa, saying that “Our ‘ōlelo is what makes us who we are.” He went on, saying that education in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i helps transmit and perpetuate cultural lawena, ‘ike, and nohona, (norms, knowledge, and life ways).

Audience members joined small discussion groups to offer their mana‘o.

The next panel is set for the evening of Tuesday, December 5, and will address water management in Hawai‘i. The featured speakers will be Hōkūao Pellegrino of Hui o Nā Wai ‘Ehā and Noho‘ana Farms; Kapua Sproat, a Professor of Law and Director of Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law; and Kaina Makua a mahi kalo and owner/proprietor of Aloha Aina Poi Company.

kapalama,native hawaiian identity,ks kapalama

Kaipuolono Article, Regions, Kona, O’ahu, Themes, Culture, Community, Leadership, E Ola!, Kapalama Newsroom, Kapalama Home, Newsroom, Kapalama, Community Education, Alumni, Kapalama, Oahu, Oiwi Leaders, Kapalama campus

Print with photos Print text only