NHSC Native Hawaiian Culture

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Native Hawaiian Culture


The culture of native Hawaiians is manifested in many facets of daily life. One of the most important for any culture is language. The Commission was fortunate to have an expert on the Hawaiian language write that section for the Commission's Report. The second section of this chapter discusses culture in a different context—historic preservation.

Another important aspect of the lives of ancient and even present-day native Hawaiians is the religion as practiced prior to the coming of the American missionaries. The next chapter contains information on the native Hawaiian religion, also written by a foremost expert in the subject.


Introduction 1/

Anthropologists and cultural experts recognize the crucial role played by language in identifying people. Language demonstrates the uniqueness of a people, carrying with it centuries of shared experience, literature, history, traditions and reinforcing these through daily use.

A unique Polynesian language restricted to the Hawaiian Islands is inextricably tied to the definition and identity of the Hawaiian people. The language is in fact known to the world by the same name as the people themselves—Hawaiian. However, it terms itself 'olelo Hawai'i, or Hawai'i language, thus like the English terra recognizing the indigenous status of the language unique to these islands.

There is no mention of the origin of the Hawaiian language in the oral traditions. The words of the progenitors, Papa and Wakea, are recorded in Hawaiian and it is assumed that the existence of a separate Hawaiian language is as old as the existence of the Hawaiian people. Although composed of many small communities and four primary geographical divisions, the ancient inhabitants were able to make a distinction between their own language and languages existing outside the traditional boundaries of Hawai'i. The sense of ethnicity is recorded in the chant of Kuali'i, in which a pre-European voyager from the island

*/ The following section is a complete reproduction of the paper prepared by Larry L. Kimura, entitled "Language Section of Native Hawaiians Study Commission Report" (February, 1983), written at the direction of and funded by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Mr. Kimura is an instructor in Hawaiian Language, Department of Indo-Pacific Languages, at the University of Hawaii, Manoa campus. Minor editorial changes have been made to conform to the Final Report's format, and the footnotes have been renumbered. Except for these changes, (cont'd) Mr. Kimura's paper appears as submitted by OHA and is otherwise unchanged. The spelling of Hawaiian words as they appeared in the original paper has also been retained, even though the spelling of some words differs from that used in the remainder of this Report. The references used by Mr. Kimura appear in the "List of References," marked with a "[2]". OHA subsequently sent supplementary information on the Hawaiian language to the Commission, also from Mr. Kimura, and this material is included in the Appendix of this Report.


of O'ahu describes Kahiki, a term used for all lands outside of Hawai'i:

Ua 'ike ho'i au la Kahiki
He moku leo paha'oha'o wale Kahiki
'A'ohe o Kahiki kanaka
Ho'okahi o Kahiki kanaka - he Haole 2/

I have seen Kahiki
Kahiki is an island with a puzzling language
Kahiki has no people
Except for one kind - foreigners

Many Hawaiian */ families trace part of their ancestry to voyagers from these foreign lands called Kahiki. Regular sound correspondence between k in Hawaiian with t in other Polynesian languages supports an identification of at least one Kahiki with Tahiti. Linguistic analysis of Hawaiian supports a theory that the language has its closest relatives in the Marquesas, Society, and other island groups of French Polynesia, some two thousand miles to the south. There still remains a certain amount of mutual intelligibility between Hawaiian and other Eastern Polynesian languages such as Tahitian, Cook Islands Maori, and New Zealand Maori, as shown in Table 59. (All tables appear at the end of the chapter).

The similarity among Polynesian languages has been overemphasized by casual observers who have erroneously claimed that Hawaiian and other

Polynesians all speak but "dialects" of a single language. 3/ Linguists generally accept distinct languages {as opposed to dialects) as having more than 70 percent of their basic vocabulary as cognate. Hawaiian shares 56 percent of its basic vocabulary with Marquesan and only 46 percent with Tahitian, the two languages most closely related to Hawaiian, according to linguists. Given the independent status of the Hawaiian language, it is notable that Hawaiians and other Polynesians in the independent nations of the South Pacific readily recognize the relationship among their languages and put much emphasis on this even in official government business between Hawai'i and their countries.

Unlike New Zealand Maori and Marquesan, which exhibit a number of rather different dialects, differences within Hawaiian are quite minor and were probably never much greater than today. The lack of major dialect differentiation within Hawaiian can be attributed in part to the lack of stable groupings of people, such as tribes or clans, in the traditional political system. In pre-contact times, there was continuous interchange among the various lineages across the whole island chain and constant redefinition of political boundaries across districts and islands. Tradition mentions an individual from the island of Hawai'i named Kalaunuiohua who nearly succeeded in conquering the entire island chain at one time. 4/ Usually, however, Maui controlled the neighboring islands of Moloka'i, Laha'i, and Kaho'olawe, with Hawai'i and O'ahu as separate units, and Kaua'i controlling neighboring Ni'ihau. The greatest contrasts in speech within Hawaiian are between

*/ Mr. Kimura uses the term "Hawaiian" in the same way that "native Hawaiian" is used in the majority of this Report; that is, to signify those persons who have any amount of the blood of those who inhabited the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778.


the most isolated parts of the Kaua'i kingdom (tor example, Ni'ihau), the Maui kingdom (for example, the Kaupo area), and the Hawai'i kingdom (for example, the Puna district). The differences are primarily in the pronunciation of the consonants symbolized with k, l and w, intonation, speed of speech, and small differences in vocabulary. There are no significant grammatical differences. The standard dialect taught in schools is that of O'ahu, the site of the capital. Table 60 gives examples of differences among the different areas. 5/

The Cultural Importance of Hawaiian

In the introduction, reference was made to the inseparable identity between all peonies and their languages, and the extreme importance of language as the bearer of the culture, history, and traditions of a people. This in itself is more than sufficient reason for the Hawaiian language to be valued above all else in the cultural context. In comparing Hawaiian culture with other cultures, however, is there any reason that language might be judged relatively more important or less important in a Hawaiian cultural context? Given the current weak status of the Hawaiian language it is unfortunate that the Hawaiian culture is in the top percentage of the world's cultures stressing the importance of language.

It is appropriate here that a few examples of the Hawaiian language in action be given to illustrate the three basic features that make language such an important factor of Hawaiian culture: (1) the necessity of language to human activity in order to identify it as human or, in a narrower perspective, Hawaiian; (2) the importance of subtlety, personality, and detail, that is, nicety in expression; and (3) the power of the word.

Human Activity

An example of the importance of language in human activity is best illustrated in the area of music and dance. Many cultures of the world (for example, Plains American Indian, European folk cultures, and classical European culture) emphasize dance and music with only instrumental accompaniment or minimal use of words (such as war and social dances of the Sioux, the polka and jig of Europe, and classical ballet). Such art forms appear simple in a Hawaiian context. Hawaiian culture placed great emphasis on language as the means of human artistic development. An example of this exists in the ni'au kani and 'ukeke (instruments using the mouth as a sound box). Words are formed in the mouth and echoed out with the vibrations of the instrument. Even the nose flute is designed to free the mouth for the formation of words, but since it is almost impossible to form words and play the nose flute at the same time, a custom of using note combinations to stand for words between initiates is associated with the instrument. These extreme examples illustrate the importance given by people to language (the ultimate human characteristic) in the Hawaiian culture.

Subtlety, Personality and Detail

A further complicating factor in Hawaiian culture is that subtlety and personalization are highly favored. This leads to the use of symbolism and veiled references in ordinary speech as a device for emphasizing a point without blatant bragging, criticism, or questioning. The use of symbolism and veiled reference is especially


evident in the poetry utilized in the chants that are used in everything from ordinary greetings to the recitation of genealogies. Subtlety and personalization are further accomplished in chant by using special grammatical and pronunciation complications that make the message even less flat or blatant. 6/

Intense personalization of the language in itself has led to a proliferation of very specific terms, especially relating to natural beauty, which lends itseif well to Hawaiian poetry. An extreme example is seventeen individual names for various winds of tiny Haiawa Valley on the island of Moloka'i, in comparison to the North American continent as a whole, for which far less names are generally known by English speakers. There are, of course, many other wind names throughout the Hawaiian Islands, detailed rain descriptions, special seas, colors, and so on, as shown in Table 61.

Hawaiian attention to terms for life forms has impressed biologists in that it is based on the same principles invented for biological taxonomy by the Swede, Linnaeus (for example, ulua aukea, Caranx ignobilis; ulua 'ele'ele, Caranx melampygus). Hawaiian terminology goes even beyond the requirements of modern biology with special terms for different sizes of fish, recognizing four growth stages for some fish and fewer for others (for example, pua'ama, "mullet under a finger length;" kahaha, "mullet about eight inches long;" 'ama'ama, "mullet about twelve inches long;" anae, "mullet over a foot long").

The Power of Words

From a Hawaiian viewpoint, the factor that gives the Hawaiian language its most important cultural function is the philosophy of power in the Hawaiian word itself. This philosophy is codified in the saying i ka 'olelo ke ola; i ka 'olelo ka make, or (approximately) "language contains the power of life and death. In a Western context this concept might be understandable using as an example the psychiatrist's method of encouraging patients to articulate a problem in order to confirm) existence.

The basis of the Hawaiian concept is the belief that saying the word gives power to cause the action. For example, to say "I wish you good health" will actually help a person tc recover, while an expressed wish for death could actually cause it. Furthermore, a homonym or simile retains some of the power of the original word to influence events. Thus the word ola (good health, life), its partial homonyms like 'olani (to warm in the sun), and a poetic reference to it like kau i ka puaaneane (rest upon the flowering of the faint nreath of life, that is, old age) can all be symbolically helpful. The power of the word is increased by the seriousness and preciousness of the form in which it is offered, such as in a chant or formal speech.

The philosophy of the power of the word is developed to such an extent in traditional Hawaiian culture that there exists a contest of wits called ho'opapa in which poetic references, partial homonyms, and vocabulary knowledge are used in chant fern between two contestants to increase their individual powers and decrease the powers of the opponent. The loser of such a contest can theoretically submit his life to the winner. Although ho'opapa is an extreme application of the Hawaiian philosophy of the power of words, the concept permeates Hawaiian culture. 7/ The choice of negative words in songs and names is widely commented upon and talented speakers of Hawaiian can take a single word, name, or phrase and develop a speech around it by complicated play with connotations. Word power is even prominent in a custom of randomly choosing verses from the Bible and interpreting these through the form of the words therein.


This Hawaiian use of the examination of words to strengthen a thought is often misinterpreted by Westerners who think that the description of the word itself is the point rather than how the word is used to make a point, give a feeling, etc. An example of this is the word 'ohana, meaning "family." Since the word 'ohana has the sound hana (work) in it, the speaker in traditional Hawaiian usage believes that the family should work together, and uses the connection of both words to emphasize a point that 'ohana should hana together. Each spoken affirmation of familial relationship then also affirms the willingness to work together. A Western thinker listening might seize upon the connection between 'ohana and hana made by the speaker and prominently proclaim that one word derives from the other. Such a Western thinker would then tend to disapprove of other interpretations of the word 'ohana or even call ignorant a person who used the similarity in sound between 'ohana and aloha (love) to emphasize love in a family. The traditional Hawaiian who connected 'ohana and hana in the first place, however, would likely accept the connection between aloha and 'ohana as well as hana and 'ohana because he is thinking in terms of the power of the word 'ohana, and such positive associations provide greater power. This is not to say that Westerners cannot understand the concept of word power, or Hawaiians the concept of historical derivation of words, but confusion over which concept is used has resulted in calling Hawaiians inconsistent and calling folk etymologists and Westerners dumb. 8/

An excerpt from an interview of a Hawaiian speaker on the radio 9/ goes as follows:

Interviewer: (L. Kimura)

No hea 'oe?
(Where are you from?)

Interviewee: (K. Kaleiheana)

No Hanalei o Kaua'i au. Ma laila i kanu 'ia au ko'u 'iewe, aka 'o Kalihi ko'u 'aina i hanai 'ia ai.
(I belong to Hanalei of Kaua'i. 10/ It is there that my placenta was buried, but Kalihi is the land where I was raised.)

The interview shows both the Hawaiian attention to detail in immediately identifying two locations, even though the speaker was taken to the second location soon after birth. The reference to the first location in Hanalei shows the typical Hawaiian pride in an ancestral homeland and emphasizes this with reference to traditional Hawaiian practice involving the placenta of a newborn child. This causes a Hawaiian-speaking listener to recall poetic usages relating to the placenta and navel cord of babies as connecting ascending and descending generations in a family homeland. The reference to the area in which she was raised, Kalihi, expresses a neighborhood pride common to all people.

Such an exchange would, of course, sound silly in English and the associated poetic connections to the placenta would be lost. Hawaiians do not speak this way in English because it cannot be done properly in that medium, an example of losing the power of words if translated.

A slightly more poetic example involves the funeral of Princess Ka'iulani reported in a Hawaiian newspaper under the headline Eo ia Hawai'i Moku o Keawe ("Hawai'i Isle of Keawe Supersedes All"). 11/ The


island of Hawai'i is so commended because of the floral tribute brought by Henry West, a member of the Hilo branch of the Hui Aloha 'Aina. Mr. West and his fellow members gathered from their forests:

...na kihene pua lehua, na 'oowili lei hala o 'Upeloa, a me ka maile kupaoa o Pana'ewa.
...woven leaf bundles of lehua blossoms, coils of hala wreaths from 'Upeloa, and the strongly fragrant maile of Pana'ewa.

These Mr. West presented at the casket of the princess in Honolulu with a chant announcing that he had been sent on board the Kina'u (interisland ship) to represent the people in his home district. The poetry of his chant is not recorded, but the poetry of the flowers remains for us to see how he used the concept of word power. The Hawaiian word hala (pandanus) also means to pass, a Hawaiian reference to death or closure, and the presentation of this lei is consistent with the Hawaiian custom of urging a corpse to depart and join other departed family members. 12/ The fact that the hala came from a place called 'Upeloa is significant, not because it is the location of a famous grove of hala trees, but because the name contains the sound 'upe (tears of grief welling up even into the nasal passages), which expresses the deep emotion of the people of Hilo regarding the beloved princess' death. The connection with Hilo is specifically detailed by the maile vine from the Pana'ewa forest outside Hilo, which is reknowned throughout the islands for its particularly strong, sweet scent. The fragrance of the maile is especially apropos because the presence of spirits and departed souls is often associated with fragrances.

Literally, lehua blossoms are emblematic of the island of Hawai'i, where Hilo is located, expressinq pride and concern of the island. Figuratively, lehua refers to youth, beauty, and warrior. Ka'iulani was only in her late twenties when she died, an international beauty who use her European education to further restoration of Queen Lili'uokalani's throne through connections in London, New York, and Washington. In the eyes of the people of Hilo she was like a fallen lehua, beautiful, young or warrior, who had ventured out amongst the enemy on behalf of her people.

The selection also uses a place name in Hawaiian poetic thinking. Hawaiian place names are probably one of the first truly Hawaiian things that strikes a visitor to Hawai'i. The abundance of Hawaiian place names is only a hint of their actual number, for there are literally many places where individual boulders are named. Place names are used as displays of wit to express a great deal in a few words, and they are extremely common in Hawaiian poetry and traditional sayings. Perhaps the reason that place names have such evocative power in the Hawaiian language is the emphasis on homeland or aloha 'aina (love of land, patriotism, pride of place) in the culture. There are several words used to describe a person descended from generations of a family living in an individual location (kupa, kama'aina, papa, 'oiwi) while English has only "native," which, rather than expressing pride, can carry negative connotations. To traditional Hawaiians, place names are considered kupa (natives) themselves. Place names are like esteemed grandparents linking people to their home, personal past, and their history.

Hawaiian personal names share many features with place names in Hawaiian culture and language since personal names require a specific and distinct


marking from ordinary words in sentences. Personal names often incorporate ancestral place names and contain references to family history. Without a knowledge of Hawaiian language, remaining within the traditional concept of word power, poetic Hawaiian names cannot be understood or properly pronounced, thus diminishing the power of the names and the person. Compared to Hawaiian culture, American culture puts small emphasis on names. In fact, many Americans treat their own names with little respect, abbreviating them until they seem to lack dignity (for example. Deborah-Debby-Deb, Randolph-Randy- Ran). In a Western sense, reaction to Hawaiian names has been to develop a folk myth that Hawaiian names are poetic, while the beauty of "large-storage-gourd," "the-name-of-the-father's people," "the-casket-of-the-ali'i" is not appreciated because of a lack of understanding of the poetic images, history, and traditions specific to the Hawaiian people.

The result of the difference between Western and Hawaiian treatment of names has been generally one-sided, that is, negative toward the Hawaiian. Unless one considers negative, the Hawaiian tendency to call Deborah, Deborah rather than Deb, which is the name she is usually called by her family in Oregon. Hawaiian names, on the other hand, are abused in their spoken form by English speakers, even in the face of Hawaiian protest, as has been the case with media usage of "Kal" for Kalaniana'ole and "Molahkay" for Moloka'i. It has been shown, in fact, that with minimum effort English speakers can pronounce Hawaiian words, since close approximations of all the sounds of Hawaiian are found in English, including the 'okina or glottal stop. Abusive pronunciation of Hawaiian names is humiliating from any viewpoint, but from a cultural viewpoint, it weakens the name carrier due to the neqative influence on the power of the word.

Ironically, some younger Hawaiians deliberately mispronounce or allow mispronunciation of their own personal, family, and place names in order to avoid embarrassing English speakers. From a traditional viewpoint, this attitude is most destructive. Western ignorance of Hawaiian culture is another problem, since English speakers cannot understand the culture without the language and yet inquire into the "meaning" of a name. The best approach in such a situation is simply to say that the name is a special family one, and leave it at that, rather than try to make "large-storage-gourd" sound poetic to non-speakers of Hawaiian who cannot properly appreciate the name without the language.

Place names also fare poorly, since Westerners often want to change the original name of a place to socething with a more romantic translation (in the Western view), instead of preserving the history of the place. Attempts are constantly made to change place names, which causes suffering to those families who are rooted in the locations of proposed name changes. Such families believe in the old traditions and to eliminate the name damages the power of the word. For these reasons, Hawaiians protest changes to place names, which far too often are for the convenience of non-speakers of Hawaiian. Hawaiians then bear the risk of being labeled radical, even though without these names the culture as expressed in Henry West's tribute associated with 'Uplloa and Pana'ewa cannot live.

Our last simple illustration (from the record Na Leo Hawai'i Kahiko 13/)


comes from a prayer to Laka, the goddess of the hula, a deity still invoked by many practitioners of Hawaiian dance. 14/

'O Laka 'oe,
(You are Laka, )

'O ka wahine noho i ka lipo,
(Woman resting in the dark color,
[as in the deep sea or forest])

I ka uluwehi palai nei la e.
(In the lushness of the palai fern here.)

E ho'i. Ho'oulu 'ia.
(Return. Let there be growth/inspiration.)

The first thing to note is that the prayer has words. From a traditional Hawaiian viewpoint, the Western concept of silent prayer denies the god-given human privilege of using words. The prayer is also chanted, which makes the words purposefully more subtle, thus very personal, a feature enhanced by the inclusion of extra sounds such as la and e. The language in this short excerpt is not much different from ordinary speech, except for the use of a passive in the last line, a feature that does not appear in the English translation, but which makes the language more formal from a Hawaiian perspective.

There is considerable use of word power in these lines, although the only obvious one in the above translation is the term ho'oulu meaning "to cause growth" and also poetically, "to inspire." Word power is also evident in the word uluwehi (lushness), which contains the sound ulu connected to ho'oulu. There is also the word noho (rest upon, sit), which is used in Hawaiian culture to refer to the inspiration of gods accomplished traditionally by their coning to noho upon one's shoulders around the head where one's essential humanity is located. The whole prayer is further complicated by the actual wearing of lei (or wehi, "ornament," as in uluwehi) palai fern upon the shoulders (the place of inspiration), on the head (the place of basic humanity), on the feet (the source of the movement of the dance), and on the hands (which will interact with the words of the dance, although not always in a direct and blatant one-to-one relationship). The palai is traditionally thought of as a form that Laka can assume and it grows in the dark lushness of the forest (that is, lipo). The lei actually brings the goddess into physical union with the dancer, not as a form of worship but as a joint effort of the dancer and a spirit member of the Hawaiian people (Laka), to honor those for whom the dance is being presented. All this symbolism in Hawaiian thinking should help and strengthen the dancer, and will be greatest in a subtle chant, enabling the dancer to keep everything just under the surface for the dancer as well as the audience.

The three examples given above are very simple ones because Hawaiian chants are very long and can contain hundreds of lines. There are also sagas with chanted dialogues, short stories, and books written in a European genre (much like Americans attempting Japanese haiku poetry in English), and of course many songs. Hawaiian love songs are especially interesting as there is strong emphasis on subtle description and personal response referring to places visited, occurrence of minor or major events, humorous occasions, and infinitum. The song can be so personalized that only the composer and honored recipient can fully understand the camouflaged meaning (kaona) of the song, although there is also a surface meaning that is poetic and enjoyable in itself.


The basic premise that a strong Hawaiian culture cannot continue without a strong Hawaiian language should be easily understood without analysis of complicated literature such as the Hawaiian chant of creation (the Kumulipo). It could be overwhelming to dwell on various nuances of Hawaiian literature, which might underestimate the human potential to learn the use of the Hawaiian language in its traditional context.

Hawaiian children should find it sinple to learn the intricacies of Hawaiian poetic thought and expression, due to the essential continuation of a basic Hawaiian cultural personality among the majority of Hawaiian people who do not control the language. Furthermore, Hawaiians have traditionally believed that deceased friends and ancestors could assist poetic composition through dreams or visions.

Culture can be seen at two levels, base culture and aesthetic culture. The base culture includes the daily lifestyle, values, and personality of a people. The aesthetic culture includes ceremonies, philosophy, and literature, building upon the base culture foundation and legitimizing it to the people. Language generally unites the two. The features of Hawaiian aesthetic culture derive, then, from the same features that unite most of today's young English-speakinq Hawaiians with older and previous generations. For example, in the area of language use, the attention to specific detail found in Hawaiian poetry and quotations from sayings is also evident in the normal conversation of Hawaiians. Local people often report a conversation by quoting exactly what someone said, when haole (foreign) people would give an approximation. (The conflict between these two strategies is often irritating; to the Hawaiian because of lack of detail and accuracy, and to the haole because of anxiousness to get to the central point.) On the other hand, also as in Hawaiian poetry, local people value getting their own thoughts across with the least number of words, thus making an understanding of their personality a matter of subtlety and personal sensitivity on the part of the listener. Haole people, on the other hand, tend to say as much as they can with the hopes that their true personality or interests will be immediately perceived by the listener, in order to avoid any mistakes. The fact that most modern Hawaiians retain a strong Hawaiian base culture makes involvement in the traditional aesthetic culture a natural for them, once the full mechanics of the language are mastered.

The beneficial role of the aesthetic culture in supporting the base culture is also important to emphasize in the context of language. The aesthetic culture contains stories, sayings, and traditional customs—all of which reinforce values inherent in the base culture. Thus, base culture and aesthetic culture work together toward a cultural ideal. When a language that holds the key to the aesthetic culture of a people is replaced with a language foreign to their base culture, the result is damaging conflict between the traditional base culture and the new aesthetic culture. The base culture becomes redefined as an aberrant subculture within the culture of the replacement language, and the original people are faced with a choice of abandoning the base culture that represents their family and friends, or rejection of the ideals of the new aesthetic culture, which sets the means for acceptance and success in their daily society. Unfortunately,


this is what has happened in Hawai'i where the base culture associated with the Hawaiian language and practiced by most local students is interpreted in terms of an American-English aesthetic culture. The most common course in Hawai'i in recent years has been to reject the English-associated aesthetic culture that allows for the continuation of group loyalty. However, without the influence of Hawaiian aesthetic culture on their lives, even the ideals of the base culture weaken, and there is rejection of intellectual development, resulting in increased crime, and so forth, deplored by both Hawaiian and American culture.

Language not only plays an important part in the aesthetic culture that protects the lifestyle of a people by giving it status, it also ensures orderly change in culture as it adapts through time to new concepts and technologies. Since language documents within itself past changes and adaptations of a people, it legitimizes the concept of change, and shows that it can be accomplished within a traditional framework. Damaging rapid and radical change, however, is resisted by language since it carries with it old attitudes and concepts that will always continue to exert an influence on its speakers.

An example of how language maintenance has protected one well-known culture and adapted it successfully to the modern technological and highly-politicized world is the case of Japan. In Japan, the exclusive use of the indigenous language protected traditional customs and a base cultural feature emphasizing group consciousness, which has served the Japanese well both in the period previous to Western contact and in today's modern world. Features of Hawaiian base culture such as attention to detail, conciseness, and group consciousness could serve the Hawaiian people well in today's technological world if they could be strengthened and given status by Hawaiian aesthetic culture.

In discussing the role of the Hawaiian language in Hawaiian culture it is also well to remember that American English is a vehicle of its own culture and that English words carry their own connotations and history. Whenever Hawaiian is translated into English, the English words used add cultural connotations to the idea conveyed, while eliminating intended connotations and meanings of the original Hawaiian. An example of this are the words ali'i and maka'ainana. The usual translations of these words in English are "king" and "connoner," respectively. In American fairy tales, an English king carries connotations of the European feudal system, the American historical rebellion against King George (American law still forbids titles), royal decadence, and a fascination with royalty, as shown by all the attention given the marriage of Prince Charles in the American popular press. In American English, the term commoner suggests the word "common," which is very negative in the language (for example, "How common!" or "a common drunk"), connotes the existence of strong socio-economic stratification and distance, and even some of the economic and racial separation that exists in America itself.

The Hawaiian terms ali'i and maka'ainana have completely different connotations and even meanings. From the traditional Hawaiian viewpoint the ali'i and maka'ainana are the same people and one family. Both the early traditional historians Malo and Kamakau state that the ali'i and maka'ainana are one people descended from Papa and Wakea and that the ali'i came from within the maka'ainana. The


foremost traditional Hawaiian scholar of the twentieth century, Puku'i, 15/ records a Hawaiian proverb that explains how the position of ali'i was created from within the maka'ainana:

Kuneki na ku'auhau li'ili'i, noho mai i lalo; ho'okahi no, 'o ko ke ali'i ke pi'i i ka 'i'o.
(Let the lesser genealogies sit below; that of the ali'i alone should be raised up towards significance.)

What this means is that the people put forth the flower of their families as their representative and de-emphasized the rest of the family to give added prominence to that representative. (Of course once their representative is recognized and admired, the status of everyone else is assured as well by genealogical connection.) The ali'i were the flower of the maka'ainana, within the ideals of both the base and aesthetic culture. The family relationship remains intact, although individuals maintain distances.

In Hawaiian base culture much emphasis is put on first-born children. In today's Hawaiian families the oldest child often has control over the younger children, and respect and even some authority is carried by the first-born child even in to adulthood with respect to his or her younger siblings. The Hawaiian language itself always distinguishes older from younger sibling in its kinship terms. The importance of birth order even carries into the extended family, with the term used for a cousin depending on the relative age of the connecting parent. In their base culture, then, Hawaiians put much emphasis on birth order and the prestige of being first-born. The aesthetic culture supports this with special ceremonies for first-born children and traditions of giving them special name songs, or similar special recognition.

Genealogies are made more prominent by including first-born children, and the person chosen to represent the people as ali'i is usually from the genealogy with the most first-born children and lineages in it. In a more traditional Hawaiian interpretation, then, ali'i and maka'ainana are kin terms with the ali'i representing the equivalent of kaikua'ana, "older sibling of the same sex or cousin related to one through an older sibling of one's parent." The grammar of the language itself strengthens the identification of ali'i and maka'ainana as kin terms, since they use the O-class possessive markers characteristic of the possession of kin. That is , the ali'i says ko'u maka'ainana, "my maka 'ainana" (note the o of k o'u), and the maka'ainana says ko'u ali'i, "my ali'i. " The use of the O-class possessive markers here contrasts with the use of A-class possessive markers used with ordinary material goods possessed by a person, and even hired hands, and spouses, who are treated as A-class and less intimately bound with one than O-class possessed items. 16/

Even the rigid "taboos" (kapu) as described in English books on Hawaiian culture are not as the English language makes them appear. The kapu are actually associated with a lineage through an historical or legendary event, the emphasizing of which through ceremonial observation stresses the status of the lineage (ali'i and maka'ainana as one). When the people (and even nature, as happens in the traditional context) recognize these kapu by lighting torches at day, sitting before an ali'i, allowing the ali'i to move only at night, or observing rainbows


arching at the approach of their ali'i, the people gained status along with that of their ali'i. The more extravagant the kapu, the greater the status for the whole group.

This is quite different from European culture, which sometimes described commoners and serfs as forced to grovel before royalty. In fact, when an ali'i misused his or her powers and kapu responsibilities, he or she was removed by the group and replaced with another, a practice for which there is ample evidence and moral support in Hawaiian traditions. For all the ferocity reported on Hawaiian kapu in English books, little or no mention is made of the fact that the greatest defense against the kapu was the physical person of the ali'i. The ali'i was a pu'uhonua or "place of refuge and sanctuary" for those who inadvertently failed to maintain the kapu of the lineage. This concept is preserved in ordinary Hawaiian language in the word 'opuali'i, meaning to have the heart of an ali'i or the ability to forgive some mistake.

Thus, the study of Hawaiian culture through the English language can be very damaging and just the two words, ali'i and maka'ainana, as interpreted through English-language Hawaiian culture textbooks, have caused problems for English-speaking Hawaiians. As mentioned earlier, the ali'i and maka'ainana are a single lineage with those descending from first-born children having higher status. Almost every Hawaiian has some connection to some first-born linkage in his background and thus every Hawaiian seems to have some ali'i "blood." There are two reactions to this within the context of the Enqlish connotations of the English term "king:" overbearing haughtiness, or shape in association with a repressive group, both in direct, conflict with the traditional Hawaiian view that the people are all one.

We see then that the replacement of Hawaiian with English can have (and has had) a tremendous negative impact on Hawaiian culture and thus the Hawaiian people:

  • First, any aesthetic culture divorced from its language cannot exist, and this is especially true for Hawaiian culture in which such qreat importance is placed upon the intricate and subtle use of language.
  • Second, although the base culture or the basic personality of the Hawaiian people can survive within the context of the replacement English language, that Hawaiian base culture becomes redefined as a subculture and historic development will move toward a definition of negatives that contrast with ideals of both the indigenous aesthetic culture and the imposed aesthetic culture.
  • Third, descriptions of the indigenous Hawaiian aesthetic culture and base culture through the medium of the imposed English language cannot absolutely transmit a full picture of Hawaiian culture. English inevitably implies Anglo-American culture in direct proportion to that part of Hawaiian culture that is lost in the description. This has a negative impact on Hawaiians, not only in the impressions gained by

outsiders, hut also in the self-impression gained by English-speaking Hawaiians using such descriptions.


History of the Hawaiian Language

Origin of the Language

What is technically, in English terminology, the prehistory of Hawaiian (that is, the period before the documentation of the language in writing) was touched on briefly in the first section. Linguists agree that Hawaiian is closely related to Eastern Polynesia, with a particularly strong link in the Southern Marquesas, and a secondary link in Tahiti, which may be explained by voyaging between the Hawaiian and Society Islands. The weakest linguistic link exists between Hawaiian and Western Polynesian languages, such as Samoan. Tongan and Niuean are considered the least closely related Polynesian relatives of the Hawaiian language.

Hawaiian tradition itself claims a local origin for man and thus his language, agreeing with linguists however, in ascribing some cultural influences to a period of voyaging. 17/ Anthropologists also support a theory of voyaging between Hawai'i and Central Eastern Polynesia, with some believing that voyaging started in Hawai'i and moved south (as does Thor Hyerdahl) and others that voyaging originated in Central/Eastern Polynesia (as does Dr. Kenneth Emory of the Bishop Museum and the majority of anthropologists now working in the Pacific). Some local religious denominations, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, ascribe to one theory or the other (in their case, Hawai'i is considered the original source); others, such as the Buddhists, have no teaching regarding the origin of voyaging between Hawai'i and the rest of Polynesia.

Phonology, Grammar, and Syntax

Despite disagreements on how Hawaiian is related to other Polynesian languages, it is clear that the language has continued to expand and develop its own uniqueness. Hawaiian is typically Polynesian in an emphasis of vowel over consonant. The most noticeable phonological difference between Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages involves consonant correspondence, including the merger of some consonants, somewhat in the way that English differs from Romance languages in certain consonant correspondences (for example, Latin "pater" and English "father," Latin "ped-" and English "foot," Latin "mater" and English "mother"). (See Table 62).

Consonants are de-emphasized in Hawaiian, accentuating instead vowel distinctions and combinations. This vocalic nature gives Hawaiian a melodic character. Hawaiian speakers frequently refer to English in slang as namu, "grumbling," because of its comparatively harsh sound, and also as hiohio, "windlike or flatulence-like whistling," again because of its heavy use of consonants compared to Hawaiian.

In the area of grammar, most Polynesian languages have one or two definite articles. Hawaiian, however, has five: ka (regular singular definite article), ke (irregular singular definite article), kahi (diminutive singular definite article), na (regular plural definite article), and nahi (diminutive plural definite article). Hawaiian conversely uses a single verbal negative, 'a'ole (with pronunciation variants 'a'ale and 'ale, like the single English verbal negative not with the pronunciation variant -n't), where Tahitian and New Zealand Maori utilize different negatives with different tenses.

In syntax, Hawaiian provides complex grammatical methods for emphasizing different points in a sentence, which in English are normally indicated by raising the voice level. Hawaiian has also


reduced the complexities of Polynesian morphology not found in European languages (for example, the loss of reciprocal verb forms and indefinite possessive pronouns, such as, respectively, Tongan--fekainga'aki, "be related to each other," and haku--"one of my"). Depending on whether one emphasizes consonants and morphology (as many earlier schools of American language scholars did) or vowels and syntax (as is becoming more popular in modern linguistics) Hawaiian at initial Western contact was either a simple or complex language. Like all Polynesian languages, however, Hawaiian has an elegant and pragmatically-balanced grammatical structure that eliminates many of the ambiguities of English. The pronominal, verbal, possessive, and demonstrative systems are particularly well-developed compared to English (as shown in Table 63). Dr. Samuel E. Elbert, one of the pioneers of Hawaiian and Polynesian linguistics, has even proposed that the pronunciation and structure of Hawaiian makes it a good candidate for a language of international communication like Esperanto.

Vocabulary and Written Form

The vocabulary of Hawaiian relating to traditional Hawaiian culture and the natural history of Hawai'i is extensive (over 25,000 words have been recorded in the Puku'i-Elbert dictionary). Contact with the rest of the world in 1778 created a need for an expanded vocabulary to describe new artifacts, technologies, diseases, and activities. The process of expanding vocabulary was already well established in the language and it was readily applied upon the arrival of the first Western ships. For example, ships were termed moku, a poetic term for a large exposed sea rock or small island; guns became pu, a term referring to large trumpet shell horns; and syphilis became known as kaokao, probably ar analogy with hakaokao, a description of rotting taro.

For some forty years Hawaiians rapidly developed vocabulary to describe new things with which they came into contact, by adapting traditional vocabulary and foreign terms to Hawaiian. Early vocabulary expansion was particularly great in matters relating to Western sailing vessels and technolooy. Hawaiian men were recruited in large numbers as crew members by visiting traders and whalers, with some commanding vessels for foreign owners as well as vessels acquired by the Hawaiian court.

It was not until forty-four years after the first Western contact that an attempt was made by Westerners to participate in the expansion of Hawaiian vocabulary. Calvinist missionaries from New England arrived in Hawai'i in 1820, with the altruistic intention of egotistically imposing their religion and culture on a people considered inferior and deprived, because of a religion and culture incomprehensible to Calvinists. It took approximately two years and the guidance of John Pickering's Essay on a Uniform Orthography for the Indian Languages of North America before the missionaries were able to start teaching Hawaiians a method of writing and reading their native lanauage. The experimental orthography that they used was most stable in its use of five vowel symbols (a, e, i, o, and u) and the exclusion of the English consonantal symbols c, q, and x.

Hawaiian language possessed sounds for which there were no consonant symbols in the English language. The confusing result was frequent interchange of consonant symbols that


were as nearly similar to the sound as possible. For example, l, r and d were all used in the spelling of the word Hilo and three English-speaking listeners night have recorded the sound three different ways. The first sheets printed in the Hawaiian language on January 7, 1822, used this confusing alphabet. However, it was released before confusion over the consonant symbols was resolved.

Reading and writing spread very rapidly in schools instituted by district ali'i with Hawaiian teachers, and in schools at the mission stations taught by missionaries. The early schools enrolled all ages, the majority of whom were adults. Great public examination festivals termed ho'ike further stimulated interest in learning the basic skills of reading and writing as well as some arithmetic and music. These ho'ike were times for villages and districts to show off personal finery and meet together, as well as display the skills acquired in the schools. By the late 1820's, spontaneous enthusiasm for learning had reached its peak when there were some 900 schools in the country, attended by forty to sixty thousand students. Only a tiny fraction of these schools was taught by the missionaries.

In the 1830's, once reading and writing had been mastered, enthusiasm for further schooling lessened somewhat among the adult Hawaiians. Missionaries, reinforced by several newly-arrived groups of fellow workers, concentrated their efforts on improved facilities, teacher training, and increased production of materials. The goals of the mission are well illustrated by the following excerpt from the instructions given by the American Board to the fifth party of missionaries in 1832:

Your mission...embraces a wide range of objects. Depending on divine grace, it aims at nothing less than making every Sandwich islander intelligent, holy, and happy. Its appropriate work will not, therefore, be fully accomplished, until every town and village is blessed with a school house and church, and these school houses are all well furnished with competent native masters, and all these churches with well instructed native preachers—until every inhabitant is taught to read, and is furnished with a Bible in the native tongue—until academies, with native preceptors, are established on all the principal islands; and the High School now existing on the island of Maui, has become a College with native professors--until the printing presses are owned and conducted by native publishers, and find employment for native authors, and, so employed pour forth treasures of theology, history, and every useful science, for supplying the native demand for public and private libraries; nor until Christianity is fully established as the religion of the island, and its benign influence has become paramount in every rank and class of the people.

For a time it appeared that these goals would be met. The high school referred to above is Lahainaluna boarding school, established on ' September 5, 1831, to train young Hawaiian men to become teachers and ministers. 18/ Students were soon studying such subjects as geography,


geometry, anatomy, music, trigonometry, Greek, English, Hawaiian language, and composition, all through the medium of Hawaiian language.

Lahainaluna was the cornerstone of the government department of education that developed in 1840 to coordinate schools of the kingdom. Lahainaluna supplied texts and periodicals through its press and trained native Hawaiian-speaking teachers. The school was also the primary source of many of the Hawaiian ministers, lawyers, politicians, and judges of the monarchy and later the Territory of Hawaii. Individuals educated in the better Hawaiian medium schools received broad exposure to Western knowledge, but within a generally Hawaiian context since almost all the teachers in the system were Hawaiians themselves. Hawaiian cultural topics appear to have been actively used as topics for compositions, and many Lahainaluna graduates became well-known writers on Hawaiian topics for the Hawaiian publications.

The great enthusiasm of the nineteenth and twentieth century Hawaiians for written literature in their own language has left today's Hawaiian people with a tremendous gift, although one that they cannot fully appreciate without an ability to read their ancestral language. In the some five hundred years between the Christianization of the English and their conquest by the Norman French, the Anglo-Saxons preserved very little literature relating to their pre-contact past. The most famous of these, the epic poem Beowulf, is somewhat comparable to Hawai'i's Kumulipo preserved by Hawaiian writers, although one can find some Christian influence in Beowulf. While much cf Old English poetry concerns Christian topics, Hawaiian writers generally chose traditional topics, shown not only in their great interest in recording old chants but also in their own compositions. Historians of English are proud of the development of an early English prose tradition that consisted primarily of translations from well-known texts in Latin. Baugh states:

In the development of literature, prose generally comes late. Verse is more effective for oral delivery and more easily retained in the memory. It is therefore a rather remarkable fact, and one well worthy of note, that English possessed a considerable body of prose literature in the ninth century (Note: This is three hundred years after initial introduction of writing), at a time when most other modern languages in Europe had scarcely developed a literature in verse. 19/

It is surprising for students of the Hawaiian language to discover that English had no tradition of prose until the introduction of Christianity. Early Hawaiian writers recorded many long Hawaiian prose stories, some of the more famous are sagas of Pele and Hi'iaka, Kawelo, Kamapua'a, and La'ieikawai. Not satisfied with a single version, early Hawaiian writers sometimes wrote down regional or period variants of Hawaiian sagas. Like the newly literate Anglo-Saxons, the Hawaiians translated works from other languages into their own tongue, but there are also a number of original compositions, including several histories of the people and descriptions of foreign travel. Through their writings, these people preserved and created a body of written Hawaiian literature within approximately a one hundred-year span that is comparable


to the body of written Old English literature covering a period of about four times as long, with a much larger population.

The introduction of writing, and contact with a third culture, led to a strengthening of Hawai'i's culture through Hawaiian documentation of practices disapproved by the American Calvinists. 20/ The Hawaiian newspapers (some of which had come into existence before 1900) were the primary means through which traditional and Western culture were communicated to the adult population. Hawaiian traditions were serialized in the newspapers along with translations of famous European works, such as those of Shakespeare. The newspapers were avidly read by a population that was one of the most, if not the most literate of its time. Literacy in the United States was in fact considerably deficient in comparison to the Hawaiians of the nineteenth century.

Most of the Hawaiian population actually learned to read and write largely through their own efforts prior to the missionary translation of the Bible in 1839, and even before the missionaries had standardized the alphabet they would use in their mission. This standardization occurred in the mid-1820's when missionaries voted to end the confusion between consonant pairs such as k and t, w and v, and b and p. This vote resulted in a decision to represent all native Hawaiian words with the symbols a, e, i, o, u, h, k, l, m, n, p, w, and to use other symbols only in spelling words of non-native origin. This alphabet was subsequently used in all Protestant mission and government publications, and although challenged for a period by a Catholic practice of occasionally using t, v, and r to represent k, w, and l, respectively, the same set of symbols has survived until today. In making their final decision on their alphabet, the American missionaries closely copied the decisions made by English missionaries in the South Pacific, and like the English failed to establish standards for the marking of phonemic vowel length and glottal stop. Correcting this defect was the first task of modern students of the Hawaiian language.

The glottal stop, or 'okina, is a phonemic consonant of Hawaiian and the length of vowels is also a phonemic feature distinguishing words. 21/ Neither of these are especially unusual features in world languages. English historically had a long/short contrast in its vowels and contemporary American English has a glottal stop. (For example, the word button pronounced bu'n differs from the word bun in pronunciation only by the presence of a glottal stop in most American dialects.) The early American missionaries were only vaguely aware that words written identically were somehow pronounced differently, and they sometimes referred to the effect of the phonemic glottal stop and vowel length as "accent" or "euphony." By 1864, the missionary grammarian Alexander had noted the importance of both the 'okina and vowel length, but he had difficulty in transcribing them and therefore made no attempt to use the symbols for them consistently in his writing.

Native Hawaiian speakers devised a method to indicate the presence of a long vowel, or 'okina, to eliminate the possibility of word ambiguity. A dash between consonants indicated a pronunciation including long vowels


(for example, ku-mu would spell kumu, a type of fish, in contrast to kumu, "teacher"). A dash between vowels indicated a pronunciation including long vowels, an 'okina, or both (for example, pa-u would spell pa'u, "riding skirt," in contrast to pau, "finished"). An apostrophe between vowels indicated an 'okina (for example, ka'i would spell ka'i, "move in a procession," in contrast to kai, "sea"). 22/ These practices became more frequent in publications by Hawaiians as time went on, and the inaccuracy of the original spelling system lost some of its force. It was not until 1957, however, with the publication of the Puku'i-Elbert dictionary, that a systematic and accurate recording of long vowels and 'okina in the lexicon of Hawaiian occurred. The Puku'i-Elbert dictionary, now the standard reference for the Hawaiian language, marks the 'okina with a sinqle open quote (also described as an inverted comma) and long vowels with a macron, following standard practice adopted previously in other parts of Polynesia. Table 64 illustrates some words always distinguished in Hawaiian pronunciation, but only consistently distinguished in Hawaiian writing since 1957.

The inclusion of the 'okina and kahako (macron) into the Hawaiian writing system improved the missionaries' original alphabet. Unfortunately, it arrived too late to impact a good number of old Hawaiian names and archaic terms. Hawaiians today can only guess at the correct pronunciation of these, due to the loss of authoritative knowledge prior to recordation in the improved spelling system. Hawaiians are also losing the pronunciation of words and even family names, since those who are knowledgeable about them are not taught to record them in the modern spelling system.

Although the addition of the 'okina and the kahako have greatly improved the missionary orthography, much work remains to be done in the area of Hawaiian spelling. The missionaries established a basic alphabet, while questions of word divisions, capitalization, punctuation, and related matters were never adequately addressed. Standardization is still needed in these areas as the assignment of the 'okina and kahako has varied even within editions cf the Puku'i-Elbert dictionary. The use of 'okina and kahako is becoming standard in published material today, although many older speakers are still more familiar with the unmarked missionary alphabet. Within the English language publications, the use of the 'okina and kahako is a sign of accuracy and positive respect towards Hawaiian culture. Unfortunately, many Ehqlish speakers have a very poor attitude toward the importance of spelling Hawaiian words with anything resembling the care they give to the spelling of English, and this attitude has even rubbed off on many younger English-speaking Hawaiians. 23/

As the Hawaiian writing system expanded from the time of the first missionary contact, so too Hawaiian vocabulary has continued to expand. The Hawaiian medium schools served as a stimulus for the development of terminology useful in discussing topics such as biology and mathematics, while the civic life of Hawaiians resulted in a large body cf vocabulary related to law and politics. The expanded vocabulary of Hawaiian included terms developed by Hawaiian newspapermen in reporting World War I and World War II, linguistic terminology developed in modern monolingual language classes at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo, and expanded terms for modern gadgetry developed by the Ni'ihau community.


Hawaiian language is handicapped today for lack of a strong Hawaiian-language media and an official language planning office (as exists in many other parts of the Pacific Basin) that can disseminate new vocabulary developments. The secular Hawaiian newspapers went out of business after World War II and neither the potential of radio nor of television has ever been fully applied toward benefiting the Hawaiian-speaking community. Without the dissemination of vocabulary, those speakers of Hawaiian still active today are linguistically deprived. The reason for this situation is the development of English dominance at the expense of Hawaiian.

The English dominance of Hawaiian parallels Norman French subjection of English between 1066 and 1200. Whether Hawaiian can be revived, as was English, after the current trial period is a matter of conjecture. At present, the language has a single native-speaking community of some 150 individuals located on the island of Ni'ihau. There are less than 2,000 native speakers, all above the age of 60, scattered throughout the other six inhabited islands, who must function within an English-speaking environment. Another one thousand or so English speakers are actively trying to learn Hawaiian. There are also many in the community who can understand some Hawaiian, but cannot speak it, and the majority of Hawaiians who speak a form of English heavily influenced by Hawaiian. The life and death of the Hawaiian language rests primarily with these people, but the success of their efforts to assure the life of their language depends in large part on the cessation of hostile and senseless measures emanating from the dominant English-speaking groups. Perhaps if the English speakers were more aware of how their own language almost suffered death at the hands of the Normans, who considered English primitive and inferior, their attitudes and actions presently so detrimental to the survival of Hawaiian would change.

The Rise of English

Much of the early communication in Hawai'i between Hawaiians and foreigners from various linguistic groups was through a form of broken or simplified Hawaiian. This broken Hawaiian was carried by Hawaiian sailors aboard Western vessels and traces of it are found in Eskimo trading language and a Kamchatka trading language of the Asian Soviet Union. Simplified Hawaiian survived as a means of communicating with foreigners and gradually developed in to what is called pidgin English, in the early twentieth century.

The existence of a form of broken Hawaiian is testimony of the cultural and linguistic strength of the language at the early period of contact with other cultures. From earliest contact, however, there were also Hawaiians who learned foreign languages by working around foreigners, especially aboard their vessels, and through extended stays in foreign ports. Hawaiians were reputed to be quick language learners and were hired to serve as interpreters in the Northwest coast of the North American continent. Bilingual Hawaiians were important to all the Hawaiian people as a direct means of understanding other cultures and introducing new ideas at home. One strength of the early Hawaiian government lay in the fact that there were a number of Hawaiians and assimilated Europeans who understood foreign languages and thinking well enough to assist the country in avoiding early loss of sovereignty.


From first contact with the West, the English language in both its British and American forms was the principle foreign tongue in Hawaii, although French, Spanish, and Russian were also present. The arrival of the American missionaries in 1820 brought a new future for the English language in Hawai'i beyond the simple use of conducting trade. The missionaries established a community of some permanence. They eventually disregarded, however, their own goals of teaching the community in the native tongue.

Although the missionaries espoused a new order among the early foreign residents, they could not envision themselves and their children as truly part of the community. Missionary children were not allowed to learn the Hawaiian language, missionaries maintained their own church congregations and schools, and even punished members for marrying into Hawaiian families. Thus the American missionaries and their families created the nucleus of the first permanent non-Hawaiian-speaking community in Hawai'i.

This English-speaking community at first derived it subsistence from religious and academic instruction of Hawaiians. These occupations, however, were supplanted by Hawaiians who were better able to communicate with fellow natives. Consequently, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM, which financed the Hawaiian mission) officially declared the Christianization of Hawai'i a success. This ended their support and contributions to the livelihood of the missionaries, their children, and their associates. Some missionaries returned to New England, others journeyed to other parts of the Pacific to continue their calling, but many stayed in Hawai'i. Because the missionaries had remained aloof from the general English-speaking community, they became trapped by the remnants of their own arrogance when the ABCFM withdrew support. In order to continue in their accustomed lifestyle and survive as a separate group, they began to wrest control of the land from the Hawaiians. The missionaries started to come into conflict with the very principles that had originally inspired the ABCFM ministry.

Hawaiian culture stresses sympathy for individuals in need and the Hawaiian people had developed considerable aloha for the early altruistic efforts of the missionaries. The people expected ruling ali'i to care for the missionaries and their families according to Hawaiian culture, and the ali'i did so generously. Some missionaries were granted the use of large tracts of land and others were incorporated into government service (that is, the court) to utilize their expertise in dealing with foreiomers and new concepts entering Hawai'i.

Incorporation of English-speaking members of the community into government service represented a departure from the earlier practice. As a result, in conflicting matters, the small groups of English speakers in government favored their own interests over that of the Hawaiian community.

They supported dismantling the Hawaiian common property ownership tradition, the repeal of the voting rights of Hawaiian women, and other similar programs that benefited their own linguistic community at the expense of the entire nation. The necessity existed because without such change, the English-speaking community could not expand in Hawai'i, and the


general American philosophy represented by these people did not support the thought of traditional Hawaiian political, economic, or linguistic systems. Those who had been incorporated into government service believed that the country owed them something, rather than the other way around. They made little attempt to use Hawaiian in carrying out their duties, and instead complained about the lack of English- speaking abilities of Hawaiians who served with then in government. Again, there was direct conflict with the originally expressed goals of the mission to retain the indigenous language, while encouraging the indigenous people to develop a Western lifestyle. The insistence that English was more suited to high government service and recordkeeping (which it actually was not) removed much authority from Hawaiian control and opened government for a greater expansion by the tiny English-speaking community.

A situation thus developed in which Hawaiian was the language of the sovereign, low-order government service and the courts, local church systems, the public education system, law enforcement, low-order internal business, blue collar jobs, and the subsistence life of the country districts, while English was the language of high-paying, upperadministration jobs, and big business. The Hawaiian reaction to this development was deep resentment toward the English speakers (who had received their positions in the first place due to the largess of the nation) and a strong movement to learn English in order to better compete with the intrusive group.

Although the missionary-centered community had overstressed the importance of English as a means to maintain their power, the importance of developing English and other foreign language skills in order to secure occupations dealing with the outside world soon became clear to Hawaiians. As early as 1839, even before the missionary community had organized its own English language school at Punahou, young ali'i were educated exclusively in English at a school designed for that purpose called the Chiefs' Children's School (new Royal Elementary). It was not until 1851, however, that a government-sponsored school in a medium other than Hawaiian was established. Even this school, the Honolulu Free School, catered primarily to mixed-blood children, many of whom already had exposure to foreign languages through one non-Hawaiian parent. By 1854, regular government schools taught through the medium of English were opened and began to compete with the Hawaiian medium schools for the Department of Education's attention. Several private schools enrolling Hawaiian students, and often employing British teachers, also appeared after mid-century. By the late 1880's, the government had sent academically talented Hawaiian youth abroad to receive educations in England, Germany, Japan, and Italy.

Leadership within the Department of Education interpreted Hawaiian interest in learning English as indicative of a desire to abandon Hawaiian altogether. This coincided with the opinion of many younger individuals in the manifest destiny of Northern European races, the rising tide of Euro-American dominance, and the inferiority and ultimate doom of Asian and Pacific cultures. Suggestions to abandon Hawaiian language in favor of English came from the English-speaking community, but not all of them agreed with the idea. There were a few left who held to the original missionary ideals, as witnessed by Reverend Lorenzo Lyons'


entry in the missionary journal The Friend, September, 1878:

I've studied Hawaiian for 46 years but am by no means perfect...it is an interminable language...it is one of the oldest living languages of the earth, as some conjecture, and may well be classed among the best...the thought to displace it, or to doom it to oblivion by substituting the English language, ought not for a momemt be indulged. Long live the grand old, sonorous, poetical Hawaiian language! 24/

Strong support from the English-speaking leadership of the Department of Education for the English medium schools had a negative financial impact on the Hawaiian medium schools and school teachers. Appropriations given the English medium schools were considerably higher, as were the salaries paid teachers in those schools. Loss of pupils to the better-supplied English medium schools resulted in loss of jobs for many Hawaiian teachers, and increased job opportunities for the English-speaking community.

Hawaiian interest in English was primarily economic. The period of greatest interest occurred during the reign of King Kalakaua (1874 to 1891). There was also at this time, however, a correspondingly high interest in restoring Hawaiian poetry, dance, and traditional culture among all Hawaiians, including Kalakaua. The expanding establishment of English medium schools intensified the study of English and foreign languages and took a serious toll on the Hawaiian language. The prestige of Hawaiian language diminished, as did teaching in Hawaiian, as a result of poor salaries and facilities associated with Hawaiian schools. The English medium schools further removed Hawaiian vocabulary for technical and academic matters relating to the Western aspects of life in Hawai'i, hence employment alternatives. The schools affected the status of Hawaiian as a means for bringing different races together by removing the growing immigrant children population from an atmosphere in which their command of the national language could be improved. Hawaiian language lost an opportunity to act as a racial catalyst when the growing population of immigrant children was denied improvement in the national language. Also destructive was the direct exposure to Euro-American philosophy (in a way, propaganda) of that era, which proposed that non-Western peoples were inferior, further weakening confidence of Hawaiian children in themselves, their native language, and their culture.

To credit the English Schools of the monarchy, a good number of Hawaiians became bilingual and very fluent in an English that was characterized by a certain British flavor, due to a preference for the British by upper-class Hawaiians. This competence in a high-value, prestige dialect of English was exactly what the Hawaiians needed to regain control of the positions that had been overtaken by an English-speaking group claiming that they alone could serve the nation in this capacity. Further strengthening the Hawaiian speakers in this area was the group of talented Hawaiian youth who had been sent abroad to Japan, Italy, Germany, and England to be educated. They returned with broadened perspectives and languages to better serve Hawai'i in dealing with foreign nations. 25/

Growing Hawaiian competence in what the English-speaking community had


established as their own area of influence and control led to uneasiness and greater militancy and radicalism among the English speakers. It is significant that acts, such as the Bayonet Constitution of 1887 and the overthrow of the monarchy, came at times when the goals of an independent nation based on a Western model, as espoused by the original missionaries, were seriously being pursued by Hawaiians and deliberately being defrayed by the missionary community.

The Hawaiian movement to expand the people's economic and political control through skills in English and other foreign languages never saw fruition because whenever there was a threat of success, violence was used to prevent it. The establishment of English medium schools actually backfired on the Hawaiian people during the Republic when the English speakers legislated their personal biases that English should completely replace Hawaiian, and it became official policy to do away with the Hawaiian language completely. The few Hawaiian medium schools remaining at the time of the overthrow were abolished by law, and English became even more pervasive as its official status formed a means for English speakers to move into occupations, such as lower-civil service, that formerly required skill in Hawaiian rather than English. Long after annexation and well into the territorial period, increased erosion of the Hawaiian language and growth of an English-speaking population led not to an increase in the political, social, and economic position of Hawaiians, but to a decrease in these areas proportionate to the loss of skill in Hawaiian.

The government continued to use the language in all business that dealt with the general population, and Hawaiian was secure in the churches, in its role as the lingua franca of the country even between non-Hawaiian residents of different language backgrounds. In 1888, when 84 percent of the nation's 8,770 school children were instructed through the medium of English, and only 15 percent received their education in Hawaiian, the vast majority of the children had Hawaiian as their dominant tongue. Over 75 percent of these children were of Hawaiian ancestry and certainly native speakers of Hawaiian. Queen Kapi'olani in that year is described by a personal servant as always speaking Hawaiian and requesting a translator when English was used. Another 20 percent of the school enrollment consisted of children of plantation workers of various non-English-speaking groups who were certainly familiar with some Hawaiian. Children of pure English and American ethnic parentage made up less than 5 percent of the entire school enrollment at the time and even in this group it is certain that some of them spoke Hawaiian. There are in fact haole plantation families with a history of children growing up speaking Hawaiian before English during the monarchical period. Hawaiian remained the normal vernacular of Hawai'i and the language of the street in Hawai'i until between 1910 and 1920, when it was replaced by pidgin English.

Hawaiian was still the dominant language in terms of numbers of speakers at the time of American annexation in 1898, despite official legislative policy replacing Hawaiian with English. Since Hawaiian was the language understood by the majority of the electorate and citizens of the new territory, it was the language used by politicians, including non-Hawaiians. The language was also used in the legislature, and a provision of the Organic Act (Section


44) requiring debates in the legislature to be in English resulted in the need for interpreters and translators for the Territorial House and Senate (until 1907) just to conply with the law for those legislators not fluent in English. The laws were disseminated to the general electorate through the Hawaiian press, and ballots remained in Hawaiian until the 1960's. At the beginning of the territorial period, English speakers in government not fluent in Hawaiian were often closed out of political discussion.

While the Hawaiian language was still quite strong in public life in the early days of the Territory, the main loss of language came through the school system, which attacked the language at its most vulnerable and important point, the children from Hawaiian-speaking homes. During the Republic and Territory, Hawaiian was strictly forbidden anywhere within school yards or buildings, and physical punishment for using it could be harsh. Teachers who were native speakers of Hawaiian (many were in the first three decades of the Territory) were threatened with dismissal for using Hawaiian in school. Some were even a bit leery of using Hawaiian place names in class. Teachers were sent to Hawaiian-speaking homes to reprimand parents for speaking Hawaiian to their children. Most subtle of all, but most effective, was a psychological approach emphasizing a European view of precontact Hawai'i as a simple world that alternated between paradise and hell; a world whose original language had no relevance as a first language in modern or future Hawai'i. The reference to Hawaiian as an obsolete language is especically audacious in light of modern use of Hawaiian to conduct monarchical business, the legislature, and other Western activities.

This psychological approach stemmed from an ideological belief in the superiority of the American ethnic group and its culture by the administration of the Department of Education. This department was controlled, not by the popularly-elected legislature, but by the appointed governor, who was part of the Engish-speaking community. The administrative bias against Hawaiian language was so powerful that the Department of Education effectively ignored both the letter and spirit of laws emanating from the legislature tc ensure the survival of the Hawaiian language through the school system. The major laws referred to here are the act of 1919 requiring that Hawaiian be taught in high schools and teachers' colleges, and a 1935 provision requiring daily instruction in the language in schools serving Hawaiian Home areas. Both provisions were deleted from the law in 1968, but a new requirement was revived in the form of an amendment to the Hawai'i Constitution in 1978.

Resistance to English usage was steadfast in Hawaiian churches, where reading and writing Hawaiian language was incorporated into the Sunday school curriculum. It has only been in the past two decades that English services have predominated in many Hawaiian churches, and this has occurred primarily because most native-speaking Hawaiian ministers have died. While other Hawaiian churches go to considerable efforts to include Hawaiian readings, lessons, and hymns in the predominantly English services today, there are still congregations that conduct their services entirely in Hawaiian. Like the churches, Hawaiian benevolent organizations strictly maintain the Hawaiian language.


However, these organizations face extinction unless they begin to accommodate younger English-speaking Hawaiians.

The Hawaiian press also continued, in spite of the policy to replace it with English. In the initial years of the territory the press moved into new areas such as the printing of traditional stories and modern, locally-produced nonfiction about the history of folk heroes who defended Hawaiian sovereignty. Hawaiian-language publications gradually decreased with the passing of readers who could understand the language. The last secular paper went out of business after World War II; and the last Hawaiian-language church periodical in the 1970's. There are still occasional Hawaiian columns in publications read primarily by Hawaiians.

Hawaiian language groups occasionally publish newsletters and other material in Hawaiian. There is a weekly, one-hour radio talk show in the language (since 1973), and another weekly bilingual program featuring Hawaiian music. The most important response, and the one that is responsible for the existence of many of the native speakers of Hawaiian living today, was the refusal of many parents and grandparents to speak English to their children in spite of discouragement by teachers. In many cases families refused to allow children to speak any English to them at all, because they believed that Hawaiians should speak to one another in their own language. This attitude was especially strong when individuals raised during the monarchy were dominant in the territory, and it has not died out entirely. There still exist some very few individuals on the major islands who raise their children to speak Hawaiian at home, as well as the residents of Ni'ihau, who speak only Hawaiian.

In response to the move to replace the Hawaiian language with English, organized grassroots efforts specifically directed towards strengthening the Hawaiian language and culture appeared under the American administration. A Hawaiian Language League based on the Gaelic League was organized in the 1930's, and a Hawaiian language school was also organized. In the 1950's, Lalani Hawaiian Village was created for the purpose of teaching Hawaiian language and culture. Ulu Mau Village was created in the 1960's with a similar goal. Both attempts met with an early demise. The 1970's saw the creation of the 'Ahahui 'Olelo Hawai'i, an organization established through assistance from the Kamehameha Schools to promote the Hawaiian language. This group is still actively pursuing its goal.

Hawaiian language then, continues the fight to survive. There is considerable resiliency among those involved with the language. The effort to continue and strengthen the language has a solid core of support in the general population, among the Hawaiians as well as non-Hawaiians. 26/

Hawaiian would certainly have remained the first language of the majority of the native Hawaiian population and a likely number of locally-born non-Hawaiians if it were not for the rigorously pursued policy of the territorial administration to replace Hawaiian with English. The efforts of early local legislators to ensure the language's survival through legislative support would certainly have been more successful with a fair-minded administration. A reversal of the trend towards English medium schools might have even occurred around 1920 once the formation of the Hawaiian Language League showed that Hawaiians were


aware and anxious to participate in a worldwide language revival movement. As history developed, however, the schools eliminated their language from the lives of several generations of Hawaiians.

The Role of Pidgin

In the previous section, a form of broken Hawaiian used with foreigners is described. This language, which originated before the missionaries established the English-speaking community in Hawai'i, has as its descendant, "pigdin," the language that has been used in an attempt to fill the void caused by the eradication of Hawaiian. The replacement is hardly equal to Hawaiian in the realm of aesthetic culture, but it serves well the primary role of any language in the base culture: the identification of a people as a unique and cohesive entity, with continuity of basic family values.

Pidgin as we know it today is termed "Hawai'i Creole English" by linguists who have shown great interest in its development as proof of the language-generating ability of the brain in filling a language void. Pidgin, like Hawaiian at the time of annexation, is identified with locals; that is, people whose primary cultural identification is with Hawai'i. This includes all Hawaiians and the majority of plantation descendants, but not the descendants of the original English-speaking community. The term is not truly racial, since "local" includes descendants of Portuguese, Russian, Scandinavian, and German plantation laborers, as well as the Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Okinawan, Puerto Rican, Gilbertese, and other ethnic groups that were brought to Hawai'i to supplement the Hawaiian group.

Besides the primary cultural identification, there is also a class identification, growing out of the fact that the English speakers tended (and still tend) to hold better-paying and more prestigious jobs. Linguistically, pidgin is a full and complicated language, but sociologically it is identified by negatives—that is, not being North American English. There are certainly many differences between the local pidgin and North American English. These include:

  • Pronunciation (for example, pronouncing rotten as raten rather than the general American ra'n);
  • Intonation (for example, the use of the question intonation of the Hawaiian language rather than of English);
  • Vocabulary (for example, using soda for American pop, and funny kind for American weird);
  • Stress (that is, following the Hawaiian rule of penultimate stress rather than an American tendency towards antepenultimate stress, as in local strawberry versus American strawberry); and
  • Grammar (for example, use of the Hawaiian calque "Long time, I never go," where American English would use "I haven't gone for a long time.")

The examples below give further illustration of the nature of pidgin, showing the strong Hawaiian language origins of pidgin, combined with the genius for language creation exhibited by the children who first made it their own language.

I no more money.
(I don't have any money.)
You go come on your pickup.
(Come in your pickup.)
John guys like help.
(John and his friends want to help.)
Funny kind this fish.
(This fish is unusual.)
The wahine stay hapai.
(The lady is pregnant.)

Pidgin was not spoken as a first and native language by anyone until about 1910. Much of the popular English press and initial study of the language in the 1930s attributed it to a simple mixture of English and the languages spoken on the plantations. This simplistic explanation cannot explain the strong Hawaiian flavor of the language in terms of grammar, intonation, stress, and vocabulary, when Hawaiians were such a tiny minority in the plantation work force. Recent research 27/ has shown what even the haole plantation owners of the monarchy period recorded: that broken Hawaiian, not broken English, was the language of the plantations; and pidgin was originally a form of Hawaiian. Broken Hawaiian was used not only on the plantations, but to speak with anyone who had a poor command of Hawaiian, including haole residents of Hawai'i. There were of course many non-Hawaiians who spoke Hawaiian well during the monarchy through the turn of the century, and there were even non-Hawaiians who spoke Hawaiian better than their ancestral languages, because Hawaiian was the language of the community in which they were raised. The broken or pidgin language was quite common, however, due to the great influx of immigrants with the rise of the sugar industry.

At the turn of the century, English and Hawaiian words started to become interchanged more frequently in pidgin and, as the twentieth century progressed, English vocabulary came to predominate. Much of the structure and pronunciation of the basic broken Hawaiian remained, along with much Hawaiian vocabulary, some of it restricted to use in broken Hawaiian (for example, kaukau—"food", "eat," versus normal Hawaiian mea'ai— "food," and 'ai-- "eat"). About 1910, children started to use this language among themselves, and developed greater strength in it than they had in their parents' languages or the proper English language that was taught in school. This process, termed creolization, involved all Hawaiian children (except those of Ni'ihau) by 1920, as well as the children of the immigrant plantation workers. 28/ Creolization resulted in a pidgin that grew more complex in its grammar, sound system, speed of delivery, and ingenuity of slang.

Creolization of pidgin was the perfect tool for local children to resist the campaign to force them to speak English. Pidgin is English, and yet it really is not. Thus, the children were able to comply with the heavy campaign to make English the language of the territory and still not truly cooperate with what Hawaiians saw as persecution of their own language, nor identify linguistically with the haole group who were viewed as more concerned with their own power than with the rest of the population on human terms.

Pidgin is also Hawaiian, and yet not really Hawaiian. This also suited the children. The identity with Hawai'i and the Hawaiian people was a very positive thing not only for the Hawaiian children themselves, but also for the immigrant children who saw themselves as different from their foreign parents. The fact that the language was not really Hawaiian was important in that it distanced Hawaiian and immigrant child alike from the picture of a primitive stone age race doomed to die, which was


presented in the school system in accordance with the ideology espoused by the English speakers controlling the department.

The development of pidgin assured the cultural survival of Hawaiians and those who chose to identify with them as locals, when the only alternative seened to be to completely give up a cohesive Hawaiian identity that relied on the existence of a unifying language. Pidgin assured a Hawaiian identity, but it was used against local people by the English speakers in the same way that Hawaiian had been. Individuals were chosen for jobs based on their skills in English, not pidgin, although the majority of those with whom one might deal in the position might speak pidgin. Just as had been done earlier in distinguishing between English language schools and Hawaiian language schools during the monarchy, government English Standard schools for those speaking Standard English were established during the 1920's by the territorial government for those who aspired to higher positions. (See chapter on "Education," above). Entrance to these schools was by a test of English ability. Very few Hawaiians could pass the test, and it was even more difficult for most plantation .children, whose parents had absolutely no formal contact with English. Most of those who passed were the more middle-class Americans who had migrated to Hawai'i to fill new white collar jobs in the territory when these were vacated by the Hawaiian speakers. The older, more well-to-do American families, however, sent their children to the prestigious private schools.

Although the development of pidgin saved the Hawaiian identity from eradication, the replacement of Hawaiian with pidgin added fuel to the philosophy that things Hawaiian are primitive and have no place in the modern world. Without a knowledge of Hawaiian, students cannot examine Hawaiian literature and records of modern Hawaiians functioning within their own indigenous language and culture. Their knowledge of themselves had to be filtered through an English viewpoint, which is strongly prejudiced towards itself an against Hawaiian culture. Thus, pidgin cuts Hawaiians off from their ancestral roots and aesthetic culture, along with the adaptive tradition to technological society that is also their heritage.

Pidgin also handicaps local children's social standing, because it is viewed as an inferior version of English. Hawaiian can never be viewed as an inferior form of English and to speak Hawaiian using Enaish rules is to speak inferior Hawaiian. Because it is its own full languaqe, Hawaiian determines its own boundaries and contains its own gradations of language use within itself. There is no anomaly to having an opera in Hawaiian, formal debates in Hawaiian, written literature in Hawaiian, or high church services in Hawaiian, and all of these have been done in the language. There is even a certain preference for Hawaiian over English for the ceremonial opening of the legislature or new buildings, for example. Pidgin would never be seriously used in today's social context for any of these purposes. The only time that pidgin is consciously used in print or on,stage is for a comical effect; otherwise listeners interpret it as speaking down to them.

Pidgin puts local people at the bottom of the English-language status structure, which is somewhat ironic in view of the fact that English itself


has a pidgin-like history. 29/ This status has nothing to do with the structure of the language, which is in some ways more intricate than Standard English (particularly in its tense structure), but with its historical connection with broken English. Since the position of one's language in the hierarchy of English dialects affects the impression one gives in both the educational and employment fields, pidgin labels its speakers as unqualified, no matter what their intellect. Also, since the pidgin culture is a subculture of the larger American English-speaking culture, its nenbers geneially accept the status hierarchy and apply it themselves! An amazing example of this is the fact that as Hawaiian-speaking ministers die off, Hawaiian congregations are replacing them, not from their own pidgin-speaking ranks, but with mainland, Standard American English speakers. Thus, the replacement of Hawaiian with pidgin has taken Hawaiians (except those of Ni'ihau) to the final point of loss of control over themselves, which first occurred when the decision was made that members of the English-speaking missionary community would be appropriate in high government service, performing duties formerly handled by members of the Hawaiian-speaking community.

Present thinking in Hawai'i is that elimination of pidgin in favor of Standard American English will solve many educational and occupational problems for local people. The history of what has happened with the replacement of Hawaiian by English does not support this thinking. The worst scenario (with the elimination of this last true linguistic unifying factor of Hawaiians) is that Hawaiians would be considered completely assimilated and the term "Hawaiian" would be applied to anyone resident or born in Hawai'i. This would open up the loss of rights that accompany the Hawaiian identity, and the dispersal of Hawaiians for economic reasons from their traditional homeland to lower economic areas on the North American continent.

Even if it were desirable to replace pidgin with American English (because of the fact that any slight non-North American feature can be used to label a person a speaker of "pidgin"), it will never be completely possible to eliminate the local sound, and the accompanying negative reaction it evinces in speakers of Standard American English. Just as it will never be possible for New Yorkers to all sound like Texans, it will never be possible for all local people to speak like Nebraskans, for the simple reason of demographics. Another reason that pidgin cannot be replaced altogether by Standard American English is that it carries a very positive and highly-valued association with the local Hawai'i identity. For non-Hawaiian, immigrant-descended "locals," whose ancestors may have spoken good Hawaiian and who certainly spoke the broken plantation language, abandonment of pidgin is a possibility if they wish to give up their local identity. Most do not, and there is ample evidence for non-Hawaiian locals emphasizing their localness over their own ethnic background, as well as over any identity with Standard American English.

For Hawaiians, however, localness is included in their Hawaiian blood and appearance. They have no choice of becoming a Japanese-American or Filipino-American (versus a local Hawai'i-Japanese or a local Hawai'i-Filipino), with an identity that does not include Hawai'i. A Hawaiian must always be identified


with Hawai'i and even emigration will not change that. A consequence of this obligatory local identification that Hawaiians carry is a stronger attachment to pidgin among Hawaiians than among other ethnic groups. This attachment has been observed by linguists who have noticed an increase rather than a decrease of pidgin features in the speech of Hawaiians in recent years.

One of the ironies of pidgin is that the present pidgin-speaking generation is often observed as speaking poorer English than the native Hawaiian speakers educated in English at the turn of the century. It has also been observed that with all the exposure of modern-day Hawaiians to Standard English on television, newspapers, and in the American school system, citizens of small Pacific Island nations preserving their indigenous languages often speak better English than the "civilized" Hawaiians. Something is clearly wrong when the Hawaiian language has been sacrificed in the name of the English language and instead of a great leap forward in terms of benefits in English, there appears to be a regression.

One explanation for this situation is the fact that the Hawaiian-speaking Hawaiians and indigenous language-conserving Pacific Islanders look upon learning English in a different way than pidgin speakers do. For speakers of full Polynesian languages, learning English is simply a skill. For the pidgin speaker, learning Standard English represents a threat to his identity and the identity of the group, because that identity is maintained by not using Standard English pronunciation, vocabulary, intonation, and so forth.

A second explanation for the impressive English of Hawaiians of the monarchy period and citizens of several modern South Pacific nations is that the British English favored by them for their schools has greater status than the American English taught in contemporary Hawai'i schools. Although not generally considered by educators in Hawai'i, American English has less prestige than British English internationally, and although the difference in status is not as great as between pidgin and Standard English, the added status of British English can make a South Pacific Islander of equal intelligence to an ordinary American appear more intelligent, even to other Americans. For the same reasons that pidgin speakers feel attached to their dialect of English, American speakers are attached to their dialect of English and have not adopted the higher status British form of the language. Speakers of Hawaiian during the monarchy had no allegiance to any dialect of English, be it American, British, or Australian. It was only natural for them to feel that if they were going to learn the English language, they should learn the dialect that would give them the most prestige, and therefore serve them the best. From that point of view, their choice of British English as their dialect of English was a logical one.

Perhaps the strangest feature of the replacement of Hawaiian with pidgin is how it has been reflected in Hawaiian behavior. This feature really has nothing to do with pidgin per se, but with the image of Hawaiians as depicted through the medium of English. In an attempt to assert their distinct identity from the English speakers, some Hawaiians have consciously or subconsciously tried to live up to what the English-language literature describes


as "Hawaiian," and also be the opposite of what English-language literature describes as "American." Neither of these things really has anything to do with what is a Hawaiian view of Hawaiian-ness, which, of course, is recorded in Hawaiian. This method of self-identification has caused great trauma in the Hawaiian community because the English-speaking community and media immediately recognize it as "Hawaiian" by their own definition, even when it is in direct conflict with traditional Hawaiian values.

The negative features of pidgin and lack of status are obvious. The fact that pidgin is most decried by the English-speaking group should serve as notice that eliminating pidgin in favor of Standard American English would probably not be in the best interests of the Hawaiian people. The positive features of pidgin must always be recognized: maintenance of the unity and identity of Hawaiians in the face of the elimination of the ancestral tongue for so many; and a means for continuing in large part the traditional base culture of the Hawaiian people referred to above, for which purpose Standard English is not overly-well suited.

Creolization of pidgin was really the only solution that local children had in order to retain that distinct and primary Hawaiian cultural identity within the context of compulsory education in English. This education deprived them of a full Hawaiian language education, and even deprived them of time with their families, important in developing full control of the entire spectrum of the Hawaiian language. The same forces that created pidgin initially are presently with us, and work against ever replacing it with Standard American English, or even making such a replacement in the best interest of Hawaiians. What then is the alternative? The revival of Hawaiian as a primary language for local people is a natural proposal for anyone at all familiar with the achievements of Hawaiians in their own language and with similar situations in other parts of the world where language revival had made a considerable difference in people's lives. 30/



Title I of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to expand and maintain a National Register of Historic Places "composed of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture." 31/

Historic preservation is basically a citizen, not a government, movement. Action by the private sector is supported, not initiated, in Hawaii by the County, State, and Federal Governments. The Hawaii State Historic Preservation Plan defines the roles of these respective sectors in the following way:

Private Sector: Increasing numbers of people from all walks of life are beginning to realize that action is needed to protect the rapidly diminishing treasure of historic resources and that private efforts are often the most cost-effective.
County Governments: Counties are the level of government where the average citizen can most effectively be involved in the decision-making process. It is through the County government that community preservation priorities can be voiced and action best tailored to those priorities can be initiated.
State Government: The lead agencies in the State of Hawaii for historic preservation are the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Department of Accounting and General Services, the Department of Education, and the University of Hawaii.
Federal Government: The primary role of the Federal Government in historic preservation is one of guidance and assistance. Guidance is provided in the form of setting criteria for evaluating resources, and in determining the requirement for grant programs. Assistance is in the form of grants, technical assistance, and leadership in the formation of policy and standards for historic preservation. The two federal agencies primarily responsible for historic preservation are the Department of the Interior and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, an independent agency of the Executive Branch. 32/

Federal Government Involvement

The Federal Government greatly influences the administration of State and local historic preservation programs. Part of the duties of the Hawaii State Historic Preservation Officer, who is appointed by the Governor to serve as a liaison to the Federal Government, is to coordinate these diverse Federal activities. Federal involvement in the State and local management of historic preservation programs can be summarized as follows:

  • Identification and evaluation: survey programs (Historic American Buildings Survey, Historic American Engineering Record); availability of grants for State, local, or private surveys; National Register and National Historic Landmark programs; and requirements for Federal projects to undertake surveys and authorization to Use funds for that purpose (Archeology and Historic Preservation Act of 1974, Department of Transportation acts).
  • Protection: requirement that any activity on Federal land on licensed, funded, or certified by the Federal Government must be reviewed by the Advisory Council for adverse effects (National Environmental Policy Act, National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended).
  • Preservation and enhancement: National Parks; authorization to transfer surplus property to State or local government for historic preservation purposes; availability of technical services on preservation technology; tax incentives; and availability of grants and loans.
  • Overall planning and administration: availability of grants for planning; requirement to have a State Historic Preservation Officer (by mandate of National Historic Preservation Act of 1966); and national policies embodied primarily in the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and Historic Sites Act of 1953. 33/

State Historic Preservation Plan

The State Historic Preservation Plan of the State of Hawaii was prepared as one of twelve functional plans detailing the overall Hawaii State Plan. Based on the priorities of the Hawaii State Plan, the following are the priorities identified for historic preservation in Hawaii:

1. Develop a comprehensive inventory of historic properties, including areas possessing rural character and lifestyle.
2. Identify from the inventory those areas that are "critical."
3. Develop protective mechanisms so that urban development can either be directed away from critical areas or mitigating measures can be imposed to minimize negative impacts.
4. Develop a program to preserve and enhance the significant historic properties, especially those along the shoreline.
5. Particular emphasis should be given to rehabilitation of existing areas; this action serves a double function in terms of directing urban growth to existing areas and preserving historic properties. 34/

The State Historic Preservation Plan discusses six major activities within historic preservation: the collection and conservation of records; the collection and conservation of oral histories; the collection and conservation of artifacts; the perpetuation of traditional arts and skills; the preservation of archeological and historic properties; and the presentation of information to the public. The Plan sets forth policies, proposes implementation measures, and identifies problem areas for each of these activities.

Federal and State Registers

Because of its importance in protecting native Hawaiian archeological and historic sites, this section focuses on State and Federal activities related to the National Register of Historic Places. 35/ The National Register of Historic Places was designed to be a planning tool. It is an authoritative guide to be used by Federal, State, and local governments, as well as by private groups and citizens, to identify the nation's cultural resources and to indicate what properties should be considered for protection from destruction or impairment.

There are several effects of being listed in the National Register. Included in these effects are the following:

  • Listing in the National Register makes property owners eligible to be considered for Federal grants-in-aid for historic preservation;
  • If a property is listed, certain provisions in tax laws encourage the preservation of depreciable historic structures by allowing favorable tax treatments for rehabilitation; and
  • Other tax provisions discourage destruction of historic buildings by eliminating certain otherwise available Federal tax provisions both for demolition of historic structures and for new construction on the site of demolished historic buildings.

The National Register listing does not always prevent a federal activity from adversely impacting an historic property. It does require, however, that serious consideration be given to the impact and that it be fully justified before beginning the activity.

The State of Hawaii also has a Hawaii Register. The Hawaii Register is a planning tool that assists in the assessment of the impact of any action, be it public or private, on historic properties located in the State. Likewise, Hawaii Register listing does not prevent an activity from adversely affecting an historic property, but it does require that some consideration of the impact be taken before the action occurs. In addition to the State Register, there are also several evaluative lists that exist on. the county level in Hawaii.

Criteria for Evaluation

The criteria for evaluation are used: to evaluate properties for nomination to the National Register; by the National Park Service in reviewing nominations; and for evaluating National Register eligibility of properties. The criteria are:

The quality of significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association and
(a) that are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
(b) that are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or
(c) that embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
(d) that have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history. 36/

These criteria emphasize the "tangible" aspects of historical sites such as buildings and objects, rather than the "intangible" aspects of culture. The significance of this distinction is particularly important for protection of historical religious sites. Unless there is some tangible structure (a heiau, for example), such sites are not usually considered eligible for inclusion in the National Register. In order to be eligible, these sites must be documented as having historical cultural, political, or religious value. Sites having current or contemporary religious value are not deemed eligible for protection.

This is, of course, a difficult distinction to make. In the case of native Hawaiians, the situation is complicated even more because of the necessity of scholarly documentation of historical value. The oral tradition in transmitting Hawaiian culture and history means that documentation is more often contained in chants and legends handed down orally, than in scholarly works of historians.

The State of Hawaii has additional criteria used by the Review Board in evaluating properties for listing in the Hawaii Register. These criteria are:

1) Structures and sites closely related to events, ideas, groups, persons, or cultural patterns that have contributed significantly to Hawaii's history or to the broad patterns of the Pacific area or national history;
2) Structures that embody characteristics valuable for the study of a period, style, method of construction, an architectural curiosity or picturesque work, representative structures of a master builder, designer, or architect, or eastern or western styles adapted to Hawaii's climate or way of life;
3) Districts, large or small, comprising an ensemble of structures or features that individually may not have a particular merit but collectively have significant historical, cultural, or architectural or environmental importance;
4) Objects associated with significant events, persons, ideas or that are valuable for high artistic merit or as a study specimen of a period, style or method of construction, or a notable representative work of a master craftsman or designer;
5) Properties that have yielded, or are likely to yield, information in prehistory or history;
6) Quality, of which integrity is the essence. Integrity is composite derived from original workmanship, original location and intangible elements of feelings and association;
7) Environmental impact, the preservation of this site, structure, district or object significantly enhances the environmental quality of the State;
8) Social, educational, and recreation value of the site, structure, district, or object preserved, presented or interpreted contributes significantly to understanding and enjoying Hawaii, the Pacific area or the nation's history and culture. 37/

Processes for Nomination

A property can be added to the National Register through one of five processes:

1) Those Acts of Congress and Executive orders that create historic areas of the National Park System administered by the National Park Service, all or portions of which may be determined to be of historic significance consistent with the intent of Congress;
2) Properties declared by the Secretary of the Interior to be of national significance and designated as National Historic Landmarks;
3) Nominations prepared under approved State Historic Preservation Programs, submitted by the State Historic Preservation officer and approved by the National Park Service (the nominations may be generated by the State Historic Preservation Program itself, or by any citizen or group within the State that wishes to make a nomination);
4) Nominations from any person or local government (only if such property is located in a State with no approved State Historic Preservation Program) approved by the National Park Service; and
5) Nominations of Federal properties prepared by Federal agencies, submitted by the Federal Preservation Officer, and approved by the National Park Service.

The most relevant process for the purposes of the Native Hawaiians Study Commission are those involving the State Historic Preservation Programs and Federal agencies. On the State level, the State Historic Preservation Plan details the implementation of the registration process in Hawaii and recent problems in that process:

The Registration of Hawaii's historic properties commenced in 1971 when the Hawaii Historic Places Review Board was formed. The Review Board is comprised of professionals in the fields of archaeology, history, architecture, sociology and Hawaiiana...
In 1980, 579 sites were removed from the State Register because of a procedural error in notifying the property owners. Although the sites on State property have been placed back on the Register, very few privately owned sites have been resubmitted. Many extremely valuable archaeological sites are not on the Register because [the Department of Land and Natural Resources'] staff is limited in size, and the review of development projects is its highest priority. 38/

State Nomination Process: For any State, the State Historic Preservation Officer has the responsibility for making the first determination of which properties meet the criteria for evaluations. To ensure high professional standards, the National Park Service requires that each State


develop expertise in the disciplines of history, architectural history, archeology, and historical architecture, on the State staff and State Review Board. Nominations are prepared under the supervision of the State Historic Preservation Officer and his or her professional staff in accordance with the approved State historic preservation plan.

The State Historic Preservation Officer submits nominations to the State Review Board where they are reviewed and a recommendation concerning whether or not the property meets the National Register criteria for evaluation is made. The State Historic Preservation Officer again reviews the nomination after its consideration by the Review Board, signs it, and forwards it to the National Park Service.

As part of the nomination process, the State is required to notify in writing the property owner(s) of the State's intent to bring the nomination before the State Review Board. Upon notification, any owner or owners of a private property who wish to object to listing the property in the National Register can submit a statement to that effect to the State Historic Preservation Officer. If the sole owner of a property (or a majority of owners in the case of multiple ownership) object to the listing, the property will not be listed in the National Register. Rather, if the nomination is subsequently submitted by the State Historic Preservation Officer, the Keeper of the National Register will make only a determination of eligibility. Once the objection of the owners is lifted, the property will be automatically listed on the National Register.

Nomination may also be made by individuals and organizations by submitting an adequately documented National Register nomination form to the State Historic Preservation Officer (or Federal Preservation Officer). If the nomination form is in order and if the property appears to meet the National Register's criteria for evaluation, the nomination must be scheduled for presentation at the earliest possible State Review Board meeting. This scheduling must take into account, however, the State's established priorities for nomination.

Federal Agency Nomination Process: The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 requires each Federal agency to establish a program to locate, inventory, and nominate to the Secretary of the Interior all properties under the agency's ownership or control that appear to qualify for inclusion on the National Register. In addition, Executive Order 11593 provides that Federal agencies shall locate, inventory, and nominate to the Secretary of the Interior all sites, buildings, districts, and objects under their jurisdiction or control that appear to qualify for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Nomination forms are prepared under the supervision of the Federal Preservation Officer designated by the head of each Federal Agency. Completed nominations are submitted to the appropriate State Historic Preservation Officer for review and, comment regarding the adequacy of the nomination, the significance of the property, and its eligibility for the National Register. The chief elected local officials of the county in which


the property is located are notified and given 45 days in which to comment.

After receiving the comments of the State Historic Preservation Officer and chief elected official, or if there has been no response within 45 days, the Federal Preservation Officer may approve the nomination and forward it to the Keeper of the National Register.

Determination of Eligibility: Many Federal agencies have not completed the inventory of all properties under their ownership that appear to qualify for inclusion on the National Register. In the absence of such inventories, and before any projects are undertaken that may harm possible historical sites, Federal agencies are required to request the opinion of the Secretary of the Interior regarding properties that may be eligible for inclusion on the Register. Thus, the Keeper of the National Register will make a "determination of eligibility" regarding such properties.

An important role in this process is played by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The Council has regulations whose purpose is to protect properties included in, or eligible for inclusion in, the National Register. This protection is afforded through review and comment by the Council on Federal undertakings that affect such properties. The process of consultation is designed to ensure that alternatives to avoid or mitigate an adverse effect on a National Register or eligible property are adequately considered in the Federal agency's planning process. It should be noted, however, that ultimately the decision lies with the Federal agency on whether or not to change its plans.

Determination of eligibility does not constitute listing in the National Register. However, properties determined eligible receive the same governmental protection from harm and destruction as those on the Register. Private owners of property on the eligible list are not eligible for benefits such as grants, loans, or tax incentives that have listing on the National Register as a prerequisite. Determination of eligibility may be made with or without the request of the Federal agency involved. After the determination, written notice is given to the Federal agency and the State Historic Preservation Officer. In addition, public notice of properties determined eligible is published in the Federal Register.

Differences in Review Processes: There are several differences between the review procedures for Federal and State/County projects. The Hawaii State Historic Preservation Plan summarizes them as follows:

  • Differences in legal authority: Legal authority mandating review of federal projects stems primarily from Sec. 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, Executive Order 11593, the National Environmental Policy Act, and Sec. 4F of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966. Legal authority mandating review of the State/County projects stems from Sec. 6E-8, [Hawaii Revised Statutes].
  • Differences in reviewing agencies: The primary reviewing agencies for federal projects are the State Historic Preservation.
Officer and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. For State/County projects the reviewing agency is the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
  • Differences in review procedures: There are two major differences. One difference between Federal and State/County review procedures is that Federal projects must consider effects to properties eligible for the National Register, as well as those already listed on the Register. The provision to consider eligibility is very important in that it requires, an identification and evaluation of historic resources in unsurveyed areas. State/County projects must also consider unregistered properties; however, the determination of eligibility procedures are not formulated...The second major difference is the availability at the Federal level of a conflict resolution mechanism if there is disagreement over appropriate mitigative measures. The mechanism is the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. There is authority already established at the State level to implement a similar advisory council to advise the governor when conflicts arise between State agencies (Sec. 6E-8); however, the provision has not been implemented. 39/

Acceptance on the National Register

Generally, the National Park Service relies on States and Federal agencies to identify historic properties for National Register listing. Because of the experience and ability of the States and Federal agencies in identifying and evaluating historic and cultural properties, the National Park Service will, in most instances, list nominations by States with approved State programs and by Federal agencies without substantive review. This acceptance requires that the Federal agency or State certify that the procedures for making nominations have been properly followed, the documentation is sufficient, and the nomination meets the National Register criteria for evaluation.

Appeals for Nomination=

The Department of the Interior is in the process of establishing procedures for appealing nominations. Under these procedures, any person or local government may appeal to the Keeper of the National Register the failure or refusal of a nominating authority to nominate a property that they consider to meet the National Register criteria for evaluation.

An applicant seeking to have property nominated to the National Register may appeal directly to the Keeper under the following circumstances:

Where the applicant—
1) Disagrees with the decision of the State Historic Preservation
Officer or the Federal Preservation Officer not to submit an adequately-documented nomination form to the National Park Service after it has been processed by the State or Federal agency;
2) Disagrees with a decision of the State Historic Preservation Officer not to submit an adequately-documented nomination form to the State Review Board;
3) Believes that the State Historic Preservation Officer has not scheduled an adequately-documented nomination form for State Review Board consideration within a reasonable period of time consistent with the State's priorities for nominations.

The Keeper will respond in writing to the request within 30 days. The decision may:

  • Deny the appeal;
  • Recommend that the State Historic Preservation Office submit the nomination form to the State Review Board;
  • Recommend that the State Historic Preservation Officer submit the nomination form to the State Review Board for consideration at an earlier date than scheduled;
  • Provide notice that the Keeper will consider for listing a nomination form previously approved or disapproved by the State Review Board or a Federal agency nomination form.

Current Historic Preservation Issues

The preceding sections have concentrated on existing State and Federal laws on historic preservation. However, as pointed out in comments received by the Commission, 40/ there are numerous practical problems in the implementation and enforcement of these regulations.

Native Hawaiians are concerned about protection of ancient religious sites—a concern that was voiced to the Commission not only in the written comments cited above, but in public testimony before the Commission in January 1982. 41/ At the State level, a comment from Kenneth Chan notes that "the State Historic Preservation Plan has not even been adopted into law, and has in fact been shelved for the past three years. There is no comprehensive plan adopted and utilized by the State at this time." 42/

Another problem already mentioned above is the removal of 579 sites from the State Register because they were not properly registered. In addition, staffing and funding difficulties also plague the State's historic preservation program.

The problems of protecting historic sites of importance to native Hawaiians are not totally administrative, however. An even greater difficulty may be that criteria for eligibility as they now exist do not always address the religious and cultural significance of land regarded as sacred by native Hawaiians. According to one native Hawaiian:

The concerns of Hawaiians...are different from the concerns of archaeologists. We are trained in the Western scientific tradition. We see archaeologic sites primarily as repositories of information. This is in
contrast to the view of Hawaiians of archaeologic sites as areas of cultural and religious significance. Insufficient concern is exhibited at all levels of government to the views and opinions of Hawaiians about archaeologic sites. The very structure of the mechanisms designed to protect sites which meet Western criteria of significance, neglect sites significant to Hawaiians which don't meet these criteria...Sites without significant research value or which do not meet the historic criteria are ineligible for protection [by the National Register of Historic Places]. A sacred site of extreme importance to Hawaiians may quite easily be ineligible for protection. Mechanisms must be designed to protect sites of this type. 43/

The most publicized problem of historic preservation in Hawaii, however, involves the island of Kahoolawe. 44/ The U.S. Navy continues to utilize the island as a target for bombing practice, even though it is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Several years ago native Hawaiian groups began protesting the bombing of Kahoolawe because it is regarded as sacred and contains numerous archaeological sites. At present, the U.S. Navy does allow native Hawaiian groups access to the island on a limited basis.







1/ I [Larry Kimura] would like to acknowledge the contributions of Dr. William H. Wilson, Assistant Professor of Hawaiian, University of Hawai'i at Hilo, to this paper. He and I assembled this paper after I was approached by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to produce something for the Native Hawaiians Study Commission. We both regret that we did not have the time to make a more thorough contribution ("He wahi ma 'u n_C na'e keia"). We are grateful to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for their interest in seeing that Hawaiian language concerns be addressed in some fashion by the Commission.

2/ Haole originally meant any foreigner, and is clearly an old precontact word, since it occurs in old chants. Marquesan has a cognate, Hao'e, with a similar meaning. Captain Cook and even early Chinese visitors were termed haole. With the preponderance of foreigners of European descent, haole came to mean individuals of European cultures, and new terms came to be applied to the Chinese and other non-Western ethnic groups. As greater distinctions came to be made in European groups, haole was applied more and more to Americans, including American Blacks, termed haole 'ele'ele, "black haole." Today, haole is used in both Hawaiian and local English to refer to the mainstream American ethnic group and culture alone. It is not uncommon for local people to make statements like, "He isn't a haole, he's German" (or Italian, or English, etc.) in describing a person from Europe or an American citizen with a strong ethnic background. Similarly, it is not uncommon for persons who are not of purely WASP [white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant] background to be referred to as haole because of their cultural and linguistic background (Standard American English). Although some haole people new to Hawai'i immediately jump to the conclusion that haole is a derogatory term, it is not, and is used by haole raised in Hawai'i to describe themselves. English alternatives (white, Caucasian, and American) are all either too broad or too narrow. White is used for people who do not go to the beach; Caucasian includes local Portuguese and Europeans who differ culturally from the haole group; and American is used to refer to citizenship. The quoted passage is from Abraham Fornander, An Account of the Polynesian Race: Its Origins and Migrations (Rutland, Vermont and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1969), p. 285.

3/ Note, for example that the outline given in the Draft Report of the Native Hawaiians Study Commission on language (p. 130) erroneously states that Hawaiian, Tahitian, Samoan, and Maori are dialects of one language called Proto Polynesian. This is equivalent to saying that English, German, Russian, and French are dialects of one language called Proto Indo-European. Although English speakers may recognize related words in European languages, they are not mutually intelligible dialects of the same language. Furthermore, Proto Indo-European, the ancestor of these European languages and many of those of India, ceased to be a unified single language in the far distant past. The same applied to Polynesian languages and Proto Polynesian.


4/ Fornander, pp. 67-68.

5/ It is a common claim of individuals who do not speak the Hawaiian language (and who are unfamiliar with Hawaiian as it is spoken today) that the pronunciation of the language was radically changed when it was committed to writing. This is not true. The language has continued to be pronounced in the same regional ways up to today, with any reduction in certain regional pronunciation habits due to the movement of people between islands, rather than the effect of the writing system. For speakers of Hawaiian in the nineteenth century who did not speak English, there was no way for them to know the symbolic value of the letters in English and, furthermore, people are usually not aware of the different pronunciations that they give phonemes (or letters in writing) in any language. An example from English is the phoneme t, which has variable pronunciations between dialects and even between different positions in words in the same dialect. In many North American dialects of English, t is pronounced like a d or Japanese r between vowels, e.g., writer (rider); as a glottal stop before a vowel followed by n, e.g., button (ba'n); and as a simple t (with slight aspiration) at the beginning of a word, e.g., toad (thoad). British and (local Hawai'i) English speakers have different patterns for pronouncing t and most speakers of the language do not notice their own pronunciations of the phoneme t. Similarly, it is often easier to imitate a dialect that is different from one's own than to tell exactly how it is different.

Just like English speakers, Hawaiian speakers are not usually aware of how they pronounce each letter in the written language, and regional pronunciations have continued.

For English speakers to assume that the form of the letters in the written Hawaiian alphabet would affect the native speakers' pronunciation of Hawaiian is as silly as expecting the same thing to have occurred in English where the values given to many letters are different from the usual usage in other European languages; e.g., a as in cat, e as in beet and late, etc.

6/ The lyrics to English songs and even English rhyming schemes appear very dull to traditional Hawaiian ears because they are so predictable and often overly repetitive. The most bothersome thing is the way in which English songs lay bare for any old stranger to hear and comment on the composer's (and honoree's) "undying love" (popular songs), "sexual arousal" (rock songs), "public love of Jesus" (gospel songs), etc.

7/ Lest one think that Hawaiian culture is the only one in which a fundamental concept can be applied to extremes, it should be pointed out that similar situations exist in American culture. The American concept of the power of law (that is, sentences of words set down by agreed-upon procedures) is very strong. If, for example, a confessed mass murderer is able to find even the tiniest loophole in the written law intended to punish his crime, he can go free even if he openly declares his intention to do more killings. Similarly, a law that required death for stealing a horse could theoretically result in the execution of someone who stole a horse in order to save someone else's life.

In Hawaiian culture, the extremes that resulted from full application of certain concepts (e.g., the elevation of the group's lineage through impressive kapu applied to the group's senior line) were tempered by the concept of aloha that allowed ali'i to


let violations pass. This occurred even during the late period of the monarchy when custom required the death of a child defiling an ali'i with urine unless the child belonged to the ali'i. A story is told of a turn of the century ali'i holding a child while visiting a country area and the child urinating on her. The immediate reaction of the ali'i was to claim the child as her own and then give it back to the parent "to raise for her" with a special commemorative name from the visit.

8/ An example of confusion between the Western concept of etymology and the Hawaiian concept of word power can be seen in the two volume set of Nana I Ke Kumu, one of the most important Hawaiian cultural resources in English, but edited with some English-speaking preconceptions. The author, the venerable and strongly traditional Mary K. Puxu'i, applies the concept of word power to each term described in the volumes. This is firmly part of the Hawaiian tradition and is used beautifully to draw attention to different aspects of various Hawaiian practices. For example, the word 'ohana (family) is related by Puku'i to the somewhat similar sounding 'oha (side shoots of the taro). This she poetically develops" into a beautiful expression of word power stressing the genealogical links of Hawaiian nuclear and extended families and the connection with Haloalaukapalili, a taro plant who was the older brother of the first Hawaiian in traditional genealogies. This explanation is a tribute to the poetic genius of Puku'i and not an etymology, as it is treated by the editor, or even a poetic image that has been recorded from other traditional Hawaiians. By presenting Puku'i's use of word power in such a way as to suggest that it is the same as etymology in the Western sense, these influential volumes actually stifle the creative use of word power in Hawaiian culture. Thus, a native speaker of Hawaiian who wanted to use the word 'ohana to strengthen the concept of working together with hana (work) could be subject to criticism for not knowing the "true" origin of the word 'ohana as shown in Nana I Ke Kumu; this certainly not being the intention of the author.

Another unfortunate aspect of the editing in Nana I Ke Kumu is the spelling of the Hawaiian words. Rather than follow the spelling used in the Hawaiian Dictionary that Puku'i herself authored, the editor haphazardly spelled Hawaiian words, possibly because the spelling of words used together by Puku'i within the Hawaiian concept of word power differed subtly from each other, as in fact they do in pronunciation, e.g., 'ohana and 'oha. The unfortunate result of the sloppy spelling is that those who do not know the Hawaiian language well will try to pronounce words as they are written in the books, thus again weakening the Hawaiian language and culture.

There are numerous other cases especially involving place names, in which a Hawaiian speaker using the concept of word power has been interpreted as giving an etymological derivation, or worse yet an actual "correct" pronunciation of the name. An example is the pronunciation of the island Kaua'i in normal Hawaiian conversation by all native speakers of the language. It has been claimed as "correctly" pronounced Kau'ai (related to the word 'ai, "food") or Kau'a'i (related to the word 'a'l, "neck") by individuals who assumed that a Hawaiian speaker making a point about the island using word power actually meant that these were pronunciations that had been used for generations by Hawaiian speakers.


9/ Tape of radio program "Ka Leo Hawai'i," Catalog no. 24.65A, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Language Laboratory. [Mr. Kimura also submitted a tape recording and transcripts of Hawaiian language and interviews. The transcripts appear in the Appendix of this Report.]

10/ In Hawaiian you do not speak of coming from a place, but belonging to it, much as you belong to a family. The same word no (belong to) used to mean one is from a place is also used to say one "owns" land, as illustrated below:

No Hanalei 'o Kaleiheana.
(Kaleiheana is from Hanalei.)
belongs to - Hanalei - name
marker - Kaleiheana
No Kaleiheana 'o Hanalei.
(Kaleiheana "owns" Hanalei.)
belongs to - Kaleiheana - name
marker - Hanalei

The word no is technically a preposition in Hawaiian and there is no real word for "own." The word no is also one of a pair of prepositions, na being the other. Both these prepositions translate as "belonging to" in English. The preposition na is used for things that are more like disposable belongings such as tools, bowls, food, and even spouses. The preposition no is used for more intimate things that one cannot dispose of such as parts of one's body, one's name, one's parents, and things that envelope one like clothing. The contrast between the use of the two possessive prepositions no and na is part of a contrast between O-class or intimate and inalienable possessive terms and A-class or dominated alienable possessed terms. Then, the grammar of the language supports the contention held by some that ownership of land similar to ownership of cattle in the Western sense is not a Hawaiian concept and is foreign to Hawaiian speakers. Conversely, however, the concept of land as inalienable, enveloping, and, even as kin, is foreign to American thinking.

11/ Ke Aloha 'Aina (March 18, 1899): 2.

12/ Hawaiian tradition requires that one release one's attachment to a person who has died by urging him to pass on to join with others in the next world. One shows one's attachment, however, in recalling before the body shared experiences, joys, and sorrows, and even by chiding the person for leaving when so much remains to be done and enjoyed.

13/ Produced by the Bishop Museum, 1981.

14/ Almost all Hawaiians profess Christianity today and there is a strong Christian tradition in Hawai'i. This is not to say that there have not continued to be individuals who have rejected Christianity in favor of traditional Hawaiian religion, from the time of the arrival of the missionaries until today. The Hawaiian Christian tradition, however, coexists and has been blended with traditional Hawaiian beliefs, much like Buddhism and Shintoism are blended in Japan. Christianity and traditional Hawaiian beliefs can coexist quite well because traditionally Hawaiians recognize, the spiritual world to consist of beings of human-like natures connected to man and nature by genealogical links. The Christian deity, however, is not genealogically linked to mankind in the Christian tradition, but is representative of ultimate perfection. Traditional Hawaiian spirituality then fits into a Christian Hawaiian life,


something like saints, angels, and deceased family members in heaven do in the European version of Christianity. (European versions of Christianity themselves take much from pre-Christian European cultural practices; the Christmas tree, Easter bunny, and Halloween are obvious examples, but more subtle influences also exist.) [See also, chapter below on "Native Hawaiian Religion."]

15/ E. S. Craighill Handy and Mary K. Puku'i, The Polynesian Family System in Ka'u, Hawaii (Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1972), p. 199.

16/ See Note 10, above.

17/ According to Hawaiian tradition, all Hawaiian ali'i and maka'ainana descend through Haloa from Papa and Wakea who were superhuman/supernatural beings. Haloa was second-born after a miscarriage that developed into the taro plant, thus elevating the lineage of this staff of Hawaiian life above man himself, who derives his strength from the plant. Papa and Wakea also gave birth to the Hawaiian Islands before the birth of Haloa, thus making the Hawaiian people genetically-related to their land and subservient to it by Hawaiian concepts of ranking by birth. Significantly, the name of the first-born island, Hawai'i, is applied to all junior members of the family, giving ka pae'aina Hawai'i ("the Hawai'i cluster of lands" or Hawai'i in the sense of the archipelago) and ka po'e Hawai'i ("the Hawai'i people" or the Hawaiians).

Voyagers mentioned in precontact traditions include Pili, Pa'ao, 'Aukelenuia'lku and others who married into the original Hawai'i lineage. Of course, since Western and Eastern contact many other people have married into the Hawai'i lineage, but its unity has been maintained by recognition of the common lineage at the same time that pride in the other contributing lineages is expressed.

18/ The history of education in most parts of the United States starts considerably later than in Hawai'i. Many people in Hawai'i take pride in noting that Lahainaluna is the first American high school established west of the Rocky Mountains, although this is technically incorrect since Lahainaluna was not politically under the flag of the United States until 1899. It cannot even be counted geographically American because Hawai'i is not geographically part of North or South America. The early establishment of secondary education in Hawai'i speaks well for the academic interests and capabilities of Hawaiians.

19/ Albert C. Baugh, A History of the English Language, 2d ed. (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, Ltd., 1957), p. 80.

20/ Some have argued that the introduction of writing harmed the Hawaiian people, but there is little evidence to support such an idea and much that contradicts it. Many Hawaiian traditions would be lost today if there was no written Hawaiian language because non-Hawaiians wrote very little about Hawaiian culture, compared to the many writings in Hawaiian on the topic by Hawaiian speakers. The introduction of writing did not affect the native sounds cf Hawaiian, and Hawaiian continues to be spoken by native speakers with the 'okina and kahako, although these were not regularly written for over one hundred years. (See also note 5 on the continuation of regional pronunciations of consonants.)

The only area in which writing may have affected Hawaiian culture negatively is that it may have reduced the heavy dependency on


memorization that early visitors considered remarkable. It is also recorded, however, that many Hawaiians applied the traditional attitude towards memorization to reading, and memorized whole sections of books in the form of chants. It is still bad form in Hawaiian culture to hold a script before you when chanting, in the manner of sheet music in Western culture. Therefore, the tradition of using one's memory is still alive today even though writing exists as a means for preserving old chants. The greatest stumbling block to exercising the memory in reciting Hawaiian chants today is not writing, but the inability of chanters to speak Hawaiian.

21/ Mentally, long vowels appear to be actually two adjacent short vowels; e.g., a is a written representation of what is mentally aa. We have evidence for the mental reality of double vowels in the occurrence of long vowels when a word with an initial short vowel is doubled; e.g., awa, "harbor," awawa, "valley." Hawaiians themselves writing in the nineteenth century sometimes wrote awawa as awaawa rather than awawa, as was standard missionary practice. The writing of awawa as awaawa, however, can lead to confusion with the missionary spelling of 'awa'awa (sour), because the missionary orthography does not indicate the 'okina.

22/ The use of the apostrophe to represent an 'okina appears to have grown out of a mistaken etymology in the Bible. In the Bible the elision of an a is indicated by an apostrophe; e.g., e ola ai (by which one is saved) is often written e ola'i in the Bible to indicate a pronunciation e olai in which one a has been elided. First-person singular possessive words like na'u (for me) were always written with an apostrophe in the Bible, apparently based on an idea that they represent an elision (i.e., na, "for," plus au, "I, me," gives na'u). The spelling of these common words with an apostrophe became fixed in Hawaiian speakers' minds and since the apostrophe was located in a place where an 'okina was pronounced in actual speech, the apostrophe came to be associated with the 'okina. As time went by, Hawaiian speakers came to use the apostrophe more and more to represent the 'okina and less and less to represent the predictable elision of a before another vowel.

23/ A lax attitude toward the spelling of Hawaiian words is commonly found among English speakers in Hawai'i and even among Hawaiian speakers who have attended only English medium schools. English speakers often brush aside criticism of their sloppy treatment of Hawaiian spelling in comparison with their insistence on high standards in English spelling with a remark that Hawaiian is an oral language and not a written one like English. This shows ignorance of both the histories of Hawaiian and English. Hawaiian speakers have a history of one of the world's highest literacy rates. English itself has a history of missionary introduction of the Latin alphabet to the British Isles. It is interesting to note that one of the most remote and least-Western-influenced part of Polynesia, the Kingdom of Tonga, is the area in Polynesia with the most careful spellers of an indigenous language. All signs, personal names, and reading material in Tonga is printed with the kahako and 'okina and school children use them consistently, properly, and as easily as any other part of the writing system, just as they are pronounced in the spoken language.


The way a person spells a languaqe indicates his respect for it. Evidently Tongan respect their language more than many people visiting or living in Hawai'i respect Hawaiian.

24/ Among the missionaries in Hawai'i, Reverend Lyons was one who did become very close to the Hawaiian people. His translations of hymns into Hawaiian show an adaptation of Hawaiian poetic thinking and lack the grammatical errors found in the work of some of the other missionaries. His defense of the Hawaiian language is a tribute to his concern for the Hawaiian people and proof that there were some of the missionary group who were true to their higher ideals.

25/ The concept of sending students to different countries was especially apropos for a country such as Hawai'i with its geographic and cultural isolations from the sources of world power. The concept might have also been effectively applied internally by the establishment of a policy of having different schools taught through the medium of different foreign languages. Such a policy would not only have produced a population with increased ability to function within the international sphere, but would also have served to protect the position of the indigenous language, since qraduates from different schools would share Hawaiian as their only common language. This policy could have been implemented in Hawai'i fairly early by encouraging the French Catholics to establish schools using French as alternatives to the American-sponsored schools. Later, when German and Japanese interests in Hawai'i became stronger, they too could have been encouraged to establish schools of this sort in the kingdom.

26/ At this point in Mr. Kimura's text, the following passage appears:

Despite this, it is still Department of Education policy to replace Hawaiian with English for the one remaining native-speaking group of children (on Ni'ihau). The children on this island are the target of this policy which many believed was being underscored by the current head of the Department of Education when she called for the formulation of a plan to "improve" education on the island. Ni'ihau children residing on the nearby island of Kaua'i are already targets of a federally financed SLEP program that specifically aims toward the replacement of Hawaiian with English.

It is included as a footnote because there was not time to receive a response from the head of the Department of Education prior to the Commission's printing deadline.

27/ Derek Bickerton and Carol Odo, General Phonology and Pidgin Syntax--Volume I of Three Volumes of Change and Variation in Hawaiian English, Final Report on National Science Foundation Grant No. GS-39748, Typescript (Honolulu: Social Sciences and Linguistics Institute, University of Hawaii, 1976). See, also, Derek Bickerton and William Wilson, "Pidgin Hawaiian," in Pidgin and Creole Languages: Essays in Memory of John E. Reinecke, ed, by Glenn Gilbert (in press).

28/ Hawaiian has not been the only target of language extermination in Hawai'i. There are no communities anywhere in Hawai'i outside Ni'ihau where children born in the islands grow up speaking a language other than some form of English as their strongest and primary tongue. This includes the native languages of such large immigrant groups as the


Japanese, Chinese, and Portuguese. Speakers of these other languages have the right, however, to return to their ancestral homes to cultivate their languages, a right not available to Hawaiians. The indigenous nature of Hawaiian has always been clear to ethnic groups other than the English speakers in Hawai'i, and non-Hawaiians have a history of supporting and learning Hawaiian, which is one reason for the relative strength of the language given the trying conditions it has had to endure.

29/ Anglo-Saxon, a language of complicated case endings and verb paradigms, lost these complications and much of its traditional vocabulary with subjugation of the English people by the Norman French in 1066. The invading French used their language in all areas of prestige, leaving Anglo-Saxon a despised language of the lower classes. Anglo-Saxon aesthetic culture did not fare well under the French and the weakening of the aesthetic culture resulted in a further lack of support for the base culture language. When the French influence finally ended and the English resumed control of prestige positions, the language that remained was a pidgin-like mixture of simplified Anglo-Saxon structure with an extensive French-derived vocabulary, changed in pronunciation from that used by the French. This once humble and despised broken language, however, has become quite respectable today as the English language and is used as a means of international communication. Hawai'i's pidgin is similar to English in that it derives from a simplified Hawaiian with a massive dose of foreign vocabulary and its origins lie in foreign domination of the Hawaiian people.

30/ A section on strengthening the Hawaiian language, also sent by OHA and written by Larry Kimura, appears in the Appendix of this Report, along with information on legal aspects, transcriptions of Hawaiian interviews, and testimony presented before the Native Hawaiians Study Commission. These documents were sent to the Commission by OHA after the incorporation of the Mr. Kimura's "Language" paper into the Commission's Final Report.

31/ National Historic Preservation Act, as amended, Sec. 101.(a)(1)(A).

32/ State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources, State Historic Preservation Plan, Technical Reference Document (Honolulu: Department of Land and Natural Resources, October 9, 1981), pp. 1-10-12.

33/ Ibid., pp. 11-35-36.

34/ Ibid., p. 11-11.

35/ Public Inquiries for copies of the National Register of Historic Places, or for information on the National Register, should be directed to:

Judy Bullock
National Register of Historic Places
440 G St., N.W.
Room 115
Washington, D.C. 20240

36/ Federal Register, Vol. 46, No. 220 (November 16, 1981), p. 56189.

37/ State Historic Preservation Plan, pp. A-38-39.

38/ Ibid., p. II-43.

39/ Ibid., pp. 11-57-58.

40/ See comments from Kenneth C. "Keneke" Chan and John J. Hall.


41/ Glenn K. Nanod, Testinony Presented to the Native Hawaiians Study Commission, Kaunakakai, Molokai (January 10, 1982).

42/ Comment from Kenneth C. "Keneke" Chan, p. 2. Emphasis in original.

43/ Glenn K. Nanod, Testimony, pp. 2-3.

44/ For a further discussion of Kahoolawe, see paper submitted to the Commission by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs entitled, "The Demise of the Hawaiian Kingdom: Its Psycho-Cultural Impact and Moral Legacy," written by Ramon Lopez-Reyes (February 1983), pages 17-19. This paper is reproduced in full in the Appendix of this Report. {{p|224))