E neʻeneʻe iki iho no ka heluhelu ʻana ma ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.
On a crisp morning on the island of Oʻahu, fidgeting students at Pū‘ōhala Elementary gather on a field as lush mountains behind them peek out from the mist. Their day starts with chants in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, the islands’ Native language, reiterating values of respect and justice that their teachers hope will guide them through their education, and throughout their lives.
Like most kids their age, they’re not concerned with their grand legacy or the significance of the language they’re learning. Still, they have a weighty charge: to receive the torch and ensure the security of ‘ōlelo for future generations.
It was only 50 years ago that the language peered over the edge of extinction. Though the situation is much improved, in many