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We are living in a time when diversity of interests, backgrounds, and cultures is far more tolerated in the United States and other parts of the world than it was since the time of western contact here through the Second World War. There have been terrible injustices and inequities carried out against minority populations — ethnic, religious, and socio-economic. Perhaps the Hawaiians were dealt a harsh hand in the past but the modern public educational system in Hawaii is now striving to promote not only Hawaiian culture but excellence in education for our Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian children and for this we need the kokua and support of the leaders in all areas of the Hawaiian community. 24/


Hawaiian Studies Program

In the 1960's and 1970's, there was renewed interest in the Hawaiian culture — music, religion, and language. Support for this renewed interest grew and:

As the elements of this renaissance became more focused and as Americans in general became more interested in their cultural roots, Hawaiians and others in the community began calling for more Hawaii-oriented courses of study in schools and colleges. The projection that the Hawaiian language will be lost with the passing of the existing native speakers became of major concern in view of belief that understanding of the language is the key to understanding more fully the whole culture of the Hawaiian people. 25/

A key aspect of this belief in the importance of preserving the Hawaiian culture is that it will benefit not only the native Hawaiians, but all the residents of the State . According to the State Department of Education:

We intend for all of our students, Hawaiian and non- Hawaiian, in all grades from Kindergarten to Twelve to have the opportunity to learn about the early Polynesian immigrants, the native Hawaiians and all of the other immigrant groups, and their interrelationships which have resulted in the Hawaii which we know today. We also believe that it is important for our students to recognize that we live in an island environment with its physical and metaphysical aspects, limitations, and possibilities. 26/

Responding to this impetus, in 1978 a State Constitutional Amendment was adopted to create a Hawaiian Studies Program 27/ that mandates the State to:

...promote the study of Hawaiian culture, history and language. The State shall provide for a Hawaiian education program consisting of language, culture and history in the public schools. 28/

To carry out this program, the State instituted the Hawaiian Studies Program to "develop knowledge, understanding, appreciation and internalization of fundamental aspects of Hawaiian culture, including values, concepts, practices, history, and language." 29/ Students are introduced to the various aspects of Hawaiian culture through ten areas of study (language, food, health, music, games, numbers and mathematics, history, etc.).


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