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No. 2018 – 46


WHEREAS, Hawaiian and English are both official languages of Hawaiʻi, but most government services are available just in English; and

WHEREAS, Hawaiian was made an official State language by an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Hawai‘i in 1978, however, 40 years later, very few State government services are offered in Hawaiian; and

WHEREAS, the Hawaiian Kingdom effectively thrived using the Hawaiian language as the language of function and medium of communication, the Territorial Government honored ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i as the official language of the Territorial Legislature up to the 1940s and operated bilingually (in Hawaiian and English); and

WHEREAS, Hawaiʻi’s Language Access Law, codified in Chapter 321C, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, requires State-funded agencies to take reasonable steps to ensure they provide meaningful access to people with limited proficiency in the English language; and

WHEREAS, in 2015, the Hawai‘i State Legislature passed House Concurrent Resolution 217, House Draft 1, Senate Draft 1 that requested the Judiciary to convene a task force to examine establishing Hawaiian Language resources for the State of Hawai‘i Judiciary; and

WHEREAS, there have been requests in the courts for Hawaiian-English interpreters; and

WHEREAS, the State’s commitment to the perpetuation of a living Hawaiian language requires translation of fundamental public documents into the Hawaiian language as a necessary component, as well as support for increased and regular use of ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi in the media and government; and

WHEREAS, the State of Hawai‘i driver’s license exam is one of the few State services that is currently offered in Hawaiian, and yet, the driver’s license itself does not correctly spell the state name as “Hawai‘i;” and

WHEREAS, Hawai‘i’s population that speaks Hawaiian continues to increase as more students graduate from the state Department of Education Hawaiian Language Immersion Program, and Hawaiian language is also offered as elective courses in almost every high school throughout the State; and

WHEREAS, the number of graduates with Bachelor of Arts degree in Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian Studies from the University of Hawai‘i system also continues to increase; and

WHEREAS, University of Hawai‘i system not only offers certificates, associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees in ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i, but also offers master’s and doctorate’s degrees in ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i; and

WHEREAS, a bachelor’s degree in ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i shows workable proficiency in listening, speaking, writing and reading in the language– which should allow the graduate to function in government offices using Hawaiian; and

WHEREAS, having a qualified person with Hawaiian language proficiency on staff in each State agency, would aid in the transition and provide job opportunities for these Hawaiian Language degree graduates; and

WHEREAS, the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i supports ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i in it’s platform, specifically support for Hawaiian language immersion schools; and

WHEREAS, the Hawai‘i Republican Party recognizes in its platform that “‘ōlelo Hawai’i is an official state language and supports the availability of ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i translation in public affairs.”

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs at its 59th Annual Convention in Kalapaki, Kauaʻi, in the malama of Welehu and the rising of ʻOlepau, this 17th day of November 2018, urging the Governor of the State of Hawai‘i to create a working group to consider a transition to offer more State services in the Hawaiian Language; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this resolution be transmitted to the Governor of the State of Hawai‘i, President of the State Senate, Speaker of the State House of Representatives, Chair of the State Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, Chair of the State House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and all County Mayors.

The undersigned hereby certifies that the foregoing Resolution was duly adopted in the malama of Welehu and the rising of ‘Olepau on the 17th day of November 2018, at the 59th Annual Convention of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs in Kalapaki, Kaua‘i.

Annelle C. Amaral, President