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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Native Hawaiian practitioner Kaleikoa Kaʻeo at East Maui Kalo Fest in 2016.

OHA statement on judge’s recall of bench warrant in Maui court hearing

STATEMENT OF OHA CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER KAMANAʻOPONO CRABBE

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is relieved that the Maui District judge has recalled the bench warrant for University of Hawaiʻi professor Kaleikoa Kaʻeo and appreciates that the State Judiciary will be reviewing its policies regarding Hawaiian language interpreters.

While this incident should have never occurred, it was a wake-up call for many in our community. That a Native Hawaiian was nearly arrested for speaking his mother tongue in 2018 indicates that despite the substantial progress made to revive the Hawaiian language over the years, we still have much further to go.

The prohibition on speaking ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi in schools nearly led to the loss of our native language. The only way for the Hawaiian language to fully thrive once again is by ensuring that it can be spoken in as many spaces as possible, not just at home, but also in schools, in businesses, and, especially, in the courtroom.

 

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