In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

Mokuola Honua: Cultivating collaborative relationships to normalize indigenous languages

Sponsored by Hawaii Tourism Authority

Our ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, or the Hawaiian language, is one of two official languages here in Hawaiʻi. Over the past 35 years, the Hawaiian language movement has become a global model for Native and Indigenous language revitalization and normalization. Joining HI Now Host Jobeth Devera to talk about the progress that has been made and what’s on the horizon for ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi is Amy Kalili, the Director of the Mokuola Honua: Global Center for Indigenous Language Excellence (GCILE).

The GCILE’s mission is to reestablish the prominence of our indigenous perspectives in modern contexts, both in our homelands and globally; doing so from a strong foundation of fluency in our mother tongues. The center will be a gathering place, both physical and virtual, fostering collaborations on a wide range of indigenous issues and strategies, all of which are grounded in strong language fluency. The center provides structure, purpose and space to create a stronger global network supporting indigenous language revitalization globally and is housed in the Hawaiian Language College of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

Started as a grassroots effort in the mid-1980ʻs, the Hawaiian language movement has become a local, national and international model for indigenous language revitalization. The consortium has developed strong relationships with other indigenous communities engaged in language revitalization efforts for the last three decades. These informal collaborative efforts were born out of necessity due to the limited resources that are typically available to indigenous language efforts as well as the small numbers of those actively pursuing such initiatives.

The center’s intent is to perpetuate a traditional understanding of alaka’i a hahai, leading and following, and kaikaina a kaikua’ana, older siblings nurturing younger siblings. As it achieves progress individually and have insight that can be of benefit to others, it has the ability and responsibility to lead and follow in the dynamic of this collective in a manner that promotes efficacious learning and growth, and that capitalizes on collective strengths.

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