E Ola Ka Olelo Hawaii The Hawaiian language Shall Live

It took place slowly, over years. It was well-organized and had a very lofty goal in mind. It took schemes that made it look like they were your most trusted friend. In the end it worked. January 17, 1893 Queen Liliuokalani the last reigning monarch of Hawaii had been removed from her throne, the islands of Hawaii had been annexed to the United States and with much sorrow and grieving the Hawaiian flag had been lowered and the Stars and Stripes raised to take its place.

To make sure that the future of Hawaii did not remain Hawaiian the language was banned in 1896. Now this was not to say it was banned at home or the streets but it was banned in the schools. Children were punished if they spoke their native language in class or were caught speaking it on the playground.

Some say the parents refused to speak the Hawaiian language to the children because they wanted them to learn how to become a part of the new society that was taking over the islands. I can only speak from my experience with my parents. My parents spoke Spanish. In the 1950’s there was much prejudice against the Spanish and others in San Francisco where I lived. My parents fear of me experiencing any type of physical backlash for my ethnicity  caused them to only speak Spanish to each other. I was not allowed to talk about anything that was not American, such as what we ate or celebrated. My mother wanted me to be American so that I would be safe.

I believe this would have been true also of the Hawaiian families in the past. One of the drawbacks of doing this is a sense of shame. I felt this all through my younger years because of this ban my mother had put on me and many Hawaiians had felt this too. The Americans were successful in making their way of life to seem the superior.

Through much work a group of Hawaiian people were successful in the 1970’s to get that ban taken off the books. Of course by then there were very few people who spoke the Hawaiian language. But by 1978 it was now made the official language of the state. In 1995 Hawaiian Immersion schools started to spring up. Children started from preschool and now can go all the way into college speaking and learning the language and culture.

I’m very happy to say that two of my grandchildren are in a Hawaiian Immersion school and once a year I look forward to the opportunity to attend what is called  “La Kupuna Day” where all of the elders in the students families are honored. This is in keeping with the Hawaiian tradition that looks on the elders as very valuable educators. The Hawaiians did not look on their older people as doddering old fools or always giving unwanted advise. They looked to them as those who could draw from their years of experience and impart wise advise. Hence La Kupuna Day.

And so the day begins.


In the Valley of Palolo in Honolulu is one of the Hawaiian Immersion schools called Ke Kula Kaiapuni O Anuenue. (Hawaiian Surrounding Environment School of the Rainbow.)

According to the school guidelines; “The school serves two important missions. First is to help the students learn to the best of their ability. Second is to preserve the Hawaiian language and culture and to maintain those things that make Hawai’i, Hawai’i.”

The students are all seated in their chairs outside waiting for their Kupuna to arrive. The program begins with the honoring of the family by giving them leis. Each studentʻs Kupuna is named and the student then goes and gives us leis.

Isn’t he adorable? I just had to have his photo

Here he is giving his grandmother a lei

We have just received leis from our grandchildren

Then the children entertained us with dance and music

Even my grandson and his class danced hula for us

The Hawaiian language is everywhere throughout the school. This sign tells the children what is proper when using the bathroom. At the top of the list is to remember to speak Hawaiian.

As well as the language the culture is being revived. This is called a Loʻi. Taro, the main staple of the Hawaiian people is grown here by the children who then make poi from it. And let me tell you, tasting fresh made poi makes all the difference in the world.

The Taro Plant

The taro plant was not just a root that the Hawaiians ate. It was their family. It gave them life. Indeed poi has just about every thing you need to maintain perfect health. The plant was also planted in groupings like a family. When planted in this way the leaves grow big and strong. When planted by itself they are smaller.

It is such an honor to be a part of this “family” in this school. To be thought of so highly and honored this way. My only hope is that these children will be able to bring their culture back. Then and only then will the world know what the “Aloha Spirit” really is.

May these schools thrive and prosper.

For a bit more information on the language and overthrow (http://coffeetimes.com/language.htm)


Fight Over Genetically Modified Organisms Food Labeling – Video from KITV Honolulu

I’m enclosing a clip from our local news about how we are fighting to have our foods labeled to let people know if there are any GMO ingredients in the package. The Hawaiian people fought to keep Monsanto and University of Hawaii from trying to Change the Taro plant into a GMO (Genetically Modified) plant and the Hawaiians won. Thank goodness.

But right now Monsanto is paying off many, many people and feeding them false information about the foods being safe. So it has been a long hard fight to get any of the representatives or senators who are not receiving anything from Monsanto to introduce this bill.

So the Hawaiians who were involved in the fight to save their taro are back to help those of us trying to keep our food from being contaminated. So they brought their statue of Haloa. Legend has it that Haloa (http://honoluluweekly.com/cover/story-continued/2006/03/food-for-life/) was born to two major gods. He was misshapen and died. When he was buried the Taro plant grew from him. His brother born after him took care of the plant and in turn the plant fed him and his family and all the nation of Hawaii.

So the taro plant is more than a plant it is family and treated with respect and honored. So with that background you can now take a look at the news clipping and understand a little more.

Hawaiian Activists Fight Over Genetically Modified Organisms Food Labeling – Video – KITV Honolulu.



Taro Festival Part Three

Martha Stewart Does Not Have A Monopoly On A “Good Thing”

I had been in a hurry to get to the festival that morning. I quickly had a cup of coffee and off I drove. If this was a true festival I knew there would be lots of food to buy so I wasn’t going to waste time eating breakfast.

The very first thing that they offered were, free samples of Poi. Of course. What would a Taro Festival be without poi? I picked up a sample and was tempted to just stay there and eat each one but not wanting to look like a glutton I moved on.

Poi Samples

As I started to move through the crowd I noticed a tent full of plants. I can’t help but check out plants where ever I go. I love gardening but lately with taking care of the new puppy all my plants are suffering as I have not even been able to water them. But I could not help myself so I went over to the tent to see what their offerings were.

Indigenous plant of Hawaii

It was filled with indigenous plants of Hawaii. I was delighted. I have been reading about the state trying to encourage planting Hawaiian plants as they are much better for the environment and grow well, of course, in our weather conditions. I’ve slowly been adding them to the garden but they can be quite expensive so I have not bought to many of them.

But here at this festival they were quite reasonable. So I picked up a few stocks of sugar cane. This is quite a weedy looking plant when full grown but I thought it would look nice as  a nice tall grass if I can find the right spot in the garden. Of course my garden is so overgrown there never is the right spot. But none the less I was optimistic.

Sugar Cane

I also picked up a Hilieʻe or Hawaiian White Plumbago commonly know as White Lead-wort. I was ecstatic when the plant seller offered me a free Hawaiian Ginger plant too. So this was turning out to be a great morning. I asked her to hold on to the plants until I was finished walking around. She secured them in the back of her tent and off I went. Here is a site to go to if you would like to see what the White Plumbago looks like Native Plants Hawaii – Viewing Plant : Plumbago zeylanica.

Of course their were the loose flowers being sold. The orchids are always my favorite to photograph.Red Ginger and Yellow Heliconia (I think)


A variety of Orchids

I just thought these eggplant were colorful so I took a photo of them

After taking in all the flowers I found a food booth. I chose the fresh Ono (fish) otherwise known as Wahoo. The fish was fried in a cornmeal batter. It was accompanied by a very good salad with homemade Pesto dressing.

These were the choice of Lunch plates. I chose the fried fish w/ brown rice ( in the middle)

After I picked up my plate lunch I went and sat under the entertainment tent. Usually I don’t like to go where ever music is playing in a public place. It seems that  the groups always compensate for whatever they are lacking in talent by turning up the speakers to loud.

But this group, called Kupaʻaina, were such a pleasant, well blending  and entertaining group. They sang many of the old Hawaiian songs that I enjoy. It was a wonderful way to enjoy a meal.

Kupaʻaina My lunch time entertainment

I had been at the festival for almost four hours. Reluctently I had to start to head home. My daughter had given me the morning off from taking care of the puppy. But as they say all good things must come to an end. I picked up my plants and started to head back to the car.

Yes, I must say that  my morning had definitely  been a good thing.