Did you see the latest Nūhou Monday post from Bishop Museum? It mentions Ka Nūhou, the Hawaiian language newsletter put out by the club, Hui Aloha ʻĀina Tuahine at University of Hawaii at Mānoa. That was 49 years ago! Click here for the Nūhou Monday post from He Aupuni Palapala!
E na makua Hawaiʻi me na kupuna Hawaiʻi
…ʻO ʻoukou no na kumu helu ekahi o ka ʻolelo Hawaiʻi. Ka ʻolelo i aʻo ʻia mai ka puke mai, oʻohe no e like me ka ʻolelo mai koʻoukou waha mai.
Hawaiian parents and grandparents, you are the best teachers of the Hawaiian language.
The language taught from books is not like the language that comes from your mouths.
—A plea written by Haunani Bernardino, editor of Ka Nuhou, an English-Hawaiian newsletter.
By Arlene Lum
Hawaiian is a living language and NOT a foreign one. And if a group of University of Hawaii students had their way, Hawaiian youngsters would be bilingual.
There are only 5,000 people in the State now who can speak the beautiful, musical language and only 150 at the University are trying to learn.
“We were brought up feeling ashamed of our heritage,” according to Nuulani Atkins, a senior in his third year of language study. “I hated myself. I hated the Hawaiians. I felt inferior.”
His study of Hawaiian has helped change his self image in such a positive way that encouraging the learning of the language has become a cause for him and some of his classmates, youngsters from all ethnic groups.
The club publishes a biweekly newsletter in Hawaiian and English and sponsors an hour-long radio show in Hawaiian every other Tuesday on station KCCN.
The newsletter is edited by Haunani Bernardino, a graduate student in Teaching English as a Second Language who decided to study the Hawaiian “as a matter of pride”. About 200 copies of the newsletter are distributed to interested people, but the students need more money to continue. They would welcome community donations.
Their radio program features an explanation of Hawaiian customs and an interview with a Hawaiian. Audience participation is encouraged, and the students are boosted by the fact that older Hawaiians call in to share their views and knowledge with the youngsters.
“Itʻs a good feeling to be able to talk to your elders and relatives in Hawaiian, even though you’re a little bit awkward,” said Lurline Naone, a club member and a University senior in her fourth year of studying the language. “They trust you more.”
“My father was raised as a Hawaiian,” Lurline said, “but when he went to school, he was taught it was wrong to speak, think, act Hawaiian, so he forgot it.”
But now that she is so engrossed in the language, some of it is “coming back to my father.”
The students want their parents’ help, for despite the rich oral history of Hawaiians, there are many old Hawaiians who will not tell the stories they know except to their own families because they fear being exploited yet another time.
Lurline said her Hawaiian speaking grandfather was born in Kaaawa and knows all the old names and places and the rich lore of the area. One day, she recalled, her grandfather took her on a hike but did not want her to take a pencil or paper along. To the elder Hawaiians, this oral history is “something dear to them,” the only thing they can really call their own, she explained.
So that at least some other Hawaiian youngsters don’t feel inferior and rootless, Lurline teaches the language to a group of Roosevelt High School students three times a week. She encouraged them last fall to greet each other in Hawaiian. Initially, her students balked, saying, “Peo-…
(Star-Bulletin, 4/4/1972, p. B-1)
…ple will stare at us.” Now, they shout their greetings, Lurline said.
Many of her Roosevelt students, she said, had not identified with anything at the school. She said that the students had a fund raising project recently, and when she asked them whether they wanted to go on a trip or hold a luau with the money the students had a third alternative. They wanted uniforms—”They want to identify as belonging to something.”
Language was a beginning for the Roosevelt students, Lurline said, because they became curious about their heritage and “go back to their parents go get information. This gets the parents involved and interested. They’re proud now that they’re Hawaiian.”
Another club member, Bill Wilson, went back to his alma mater, Punahou, where he started with 200 students in a free-time course. The enrollment has dwindled to 20, but Bill is teaching this group to read, write and speak Hawaiian.”
Bill’s trying to make the students aware that they are losers if they don’t study their heritage now instead of waiting until they get to college to petition Hawaiian studies courses as a group did at Stanford University.
He marveled, “Look how successful the missionaries were. They got people psychologically interested in what they (missionaries) said was a better thing. Maybe you think it was wrong, but you have to admire them for that. They psyched us into thinking non-haoles were inferior.
“If they could do it, why can’t we,” he asked, continuing that Hawaiians don’t have a dead language—if they can believe it and live with it.
(Star-Bulletin, 4/4/1972, p. B-2)