ENGLISH IS SHUT OUT
MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE PREFER THE HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE AND HAVE TAKEN TO DEBATING IN THAT TONGUE WITHOUT ANY INTERPRETATION—LONG DISCUSSION MEANINGLESS TO THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING PUBLIC.
The House oral proceedings this morning were nearly all in Hawaiian. Since the opening of the session there has been a gradual movement toward less and less interpretation, and today the speeches of the native members, who did most of the talking, were not given in English at all, and there was a long debate which no one in the house or lobby who did not understand Hawaiian could know anything about.
Interpreter Coelho stood close to the stenographer and whispered into his ear the English of the native and saved time, for Coelho got through with the speeches at the same time as the speakers, but it made the proceedings all native.
The new rule made little difference as far as the members of the House are concerned. All the members understand the Hawaiian language and all but one understand English at least fairly, but the English-speaking public of the Territory is shut out from the debates of the representatives under such a system.
The measure on which the new method was adopted was the bill to provide that anyone may gather maile, ferns, etc., on the public lands. The debate was quite lively, Chillingworth leading the opposition to the bill by an address in which he predicted great destruction of forests if the existing restrictions were removed. Knudsen took the same view, mentioning cases of wanton destruction of ferns and trees, tending to affect the rainfall and water supply. Kaniho, Aylett, Pali, Kealawaa and Kumalae supported the bill. Greenwell rose to question Kumalae about a statement he said the latter had made, but Kumalae disavowed it, and the vote was taken. The bill passed second reading by a general vote of natives.
(Hawaiian Star, 4/7/1903, p. 1)