From GrassrootWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Previous Page Next Page


Text Only

was distributed among the islands in proportion to the land mass and available food resources. The increase in trade after the arrival of foreigners upset this balance and caused a movement toward port areas. This trend has continued with the general movement of the population toward Oahu in the middle of the twentieth century. Recent years have witnessed an even greater concentration of Hawaii's population in and around Honolulu, the principal commercial and tourist center. Although there are many pockets of native Hawaiians located in economically deprived rural areas on many islands, the native Hawaiians have not been immune to the drift of the overall population toward Oahu and Honolulu, and the majority of them now live there.


Education in pre-contact Hawaii was a formalized learning process according to social rank and function. Because there was no written language, all knowledge was carried and transmitted from generation to generation by practice, ritual, and memorization. Training in professions, such as canoe-building and fishing, was accomplished in this same manner. Similar practices were used to train the ali'i in the religious and chiefly arts to ensure their competency to rule. This system served the Hawaiians well as they developed "the finest navigators, agriculturalists, and fishermen in the Pacific" and their culture flourished for over 1,500 years. 24/


A written form of the Hawaiian language and Western modes of learning were first introduced in Hawaii by American missionaries after their arrival in 1820. Reflecting the Protestant emphasis on knowing and understanding the Bible, proselytizing efforts were combined with teaching the rudiments of reading and writing. The missionaries began by teaching the ali'i, whose attitude seems to have been: "Teach us first and we will see if it is good. If it is, you may teach the people." 25/ The natives enthusiastically embraced the instruction offered by the missionaries after the chiefs agreed that schools should be set up for the maka'ainana, or common people. By 1831, the schools for commoners numbered 1,000 with a total enrollment of 52,000, or approximately two-fifths of the population. The preponderance of these students were adults. 26/ However, concerted attention was beginning to be given to instructing children by the end of 1820's and by the end of the 1830's, the majority of pupils in the schools were children, in numbers as high as 12,000 or 15,000. 27/

Kingdom Education System

In 1840, the kingdom of Hawaii took over the support of the schools, using the missionary schools as the nucleus of the new public school system. In that same year, literacy became a requirement for obtaining a marriage license. By 1896, 84 percent of the Hawaiians and part-Hawaiians over the age of ten were considered literate— able to read and write in either Hawaiian or English. This percentage continued to improve through 1930 (see Table 12). 28/


Lind notes that the response to opportunities for formal education reflects interests and aspirations of the individual groups, especially insofar as the values of the


Previous Page Next Page