OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

OHA statement on judge’s denial of ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi use in Maui court hearing

Statement of OHA Chief Executive Officer Kamanaʻopono Crabbe

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is deeply disturbed and offended that Hawaiian studies assistant professor Kaleikoa Kaʻeo was prohibited from defending himself in ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi during his court hearing today and that a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Punishing Native Hawaiians for speaking our native language invokes a disturbing era in Hawaiʻi’s history when ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi was prohibited in schools, a form of cultural suppression that substantially contributed to the near extinction of the Hawaiian language.

It is disappointing that the state government continues to place barriers on ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi, 40 years after Hawaiʻi’s constitution was amended to recognize the Hawaiian language as an official language of the state. We demand that the State Judiciary find an immediate solution to this issue.

Photo: Kaleikoa Kaeo giving testimony

Kaleikoa Kaʻeo speaking at Board of Trustees meeting on Maui.

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