Posts Tagged Hawaiian language

Hawaiian names for Honolulu train stations — weaponizing Hawaiian language to assert racial dominance

To:
Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit
info@honolulutransit.org

From:
Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
46-255 Kahuhipa St. Apt. 1205
Kane’ohe, HI 96744-6083
tel (808) 247-7942
e-mail Ken_Conklin@yahoo.com

Re: Hawaiian names for train stations

Date: November 28, 2017

Responding to the mission statement of the Hawaiian Station Naming Program
http://hartdocs.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-21439/20171122-hawaiian-station-naming-program.pdf
and the media news release of November 22, 2017
http://hartdocs.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-21438/20171122-nr-station-hawaiian-naming.pdf

Those documents try to make it appear that it has already been decided that the train stations must have Hawaiian-language names, and that the only question remaining is what particular name each station should have.

But no! There are good reasons why Hawaiian names should not be the primary names displayed or announced; and even more good reasons why Hawaiian names should not be given any official role at all.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann said we must keep in mind the difference between “need to have” and “nice to have.” And I am adding here: considering how Hawaiian language is being used as a political weapon, Hawaiian station names might not be nice to have at all.

Here are 5 points which the HART board of directors should consider before proceeding to adopt Hawaiian-language names:

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1. APPLY THE LEGAL CONCEPT OF “LACHES”: THE CITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 09-158, NOT IMPLEMENTED FOR ALMOST 9 YEARS, SHOULD BE REGARDED AS EXPIRED AND IS NOW MOOT IN VIEW OF TURNOVER OF COUNCIL MEMBERS, AND NO LONGER IMPOSES ANY LEGAL OR MORAL OBLIGATION ON TODAY’S COUNCIL.

Resolution 09-158, calling for Hawaiian-language station names, was adopted on April 29, 2009 — nearly 9 years ago! There was hardly any publicity back then despite its potentially controversial nature.

The membership of City Council has turned over many times between then and now. Council Member Ann Kobayashi might be the only current member who was on the Council when the resolution was adopted. Perhaps she will recall the large controversy that erupted in 2009, at the same time when this resolution was adopted — Hawaiian activists were trying to get the Council to take away all the existing street names in the former Barbers Point military base (which had recently been turned over to Honolulu as surplus federal lands) and replace them with Hawaiian names. Old-time residents of the area, including military veterans, sent written testimony and appeared at several hearings to demand that the military heritage names be kept; and the Council decided to keep the names. It seems plausible that Resolution 09-158 was adopted merely as a ploy to mollify or calm the activists in view of the rejection of their demands to abolish military/English-language heritage names. One of the Hawaiian activists in that controversy, Shad Kane, is now a member of the current Station Naming Working Group, thus showing that his primary motivation is probably related to the politics of Hawaiian sovereignty. Furthermore, one of the proposed station names now (Kualakai) is the same as one of the proposed replacement street names from 2009, despite being a considerable distance away; which raises doubts about cultural/historical authenticity of a name that should be uniquely specific to the station’s location. See topics #4 and #5 below for more information about the old street name controversy and how it illustrates the use of Hawaiian language as a political weapon — naming something is an assertion of power or ownership.

It is inappropriate to expect today’s members to feel bound by such an old stealth or “sleeper” resolution. We’ve all seen science fiction horror movies where a long-dormant mummy, zombie, or vampire is awakened and wreaks chaos upon a hapless community. We would do well to let it remain asleep — or better yet drive a stake through its hart (pun — intentional misspelling!)

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2. THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF A TRANSIT STATION’S NAME IS TO QUICKLY INFORM PASSENGERS WHERE THEY ARE SO THEY WILL KNOW WHEN TO GET OFF. THE NAME SHOULD BE IMMEDIATELY RECOGNIZABLE UPON A SINGLE GLANCE AT A SIGN OR UPON HEARING A VERBAL ANNOUNCEMENT. HAWAIIAN-LANGUAGE NAMES WOULD BE UNHELPFUL AND CONFUSING TO BOTH TOURISTS AND LOCALS.

People must be told the easily recognizable English name of a currently-existing building or shopping center or neighborhood — not the ancient Hawaiian name of a long-forgotten chief who lived there once upon a time — not the ancient Hawaiian name of a geological feature which is no longer visible because of large buildings now in the way.

99% of local residents, and 100% of visitors from the mainland, will have no clue whether to get off when they see or hear some of the Hawaiian-language place-names under consideration.

Some of the names actually proposed by the Committee are extremely confusing even to local residents, because the names are contrary to actual place names already in use. One anonymous commenter to a newspaper report said the following: “So the “placeholder names” that future riders can actually associate with locations they know “now will be replaced” with these new names. Hence there will be no Pearlridge Center Station but instead there will be a Pu’uloa station that is next to Pearlridge Center but miles away from Pu’uloa Road. Really? And the station smack dab in the center of the new Ho’opili subdivision will no longer be called the Ho’opili station but instead will be called the Honouliuli station, even though the Honouliuli neighborhood is actually more directly accessible from the West Loch station, which itself will be renamed the Ho’ae’ae station. Hmmm…”

Consider how The Bus currently announces each stop. Suppose you change Puakea Nogelmeier’s recorded announcement “Kane’ohe Library and Kane’ohe Police Station” to “Hale Waihona Puke o Kane’ohe a me Hale Maka’i o Kane’ohe”? Huh? Wat dat? Wah choo sane?

Recently a half-mile-long object from outside our solar system passed by at high speed — the first such interstellar visitor known to humans. News media reported that a committee of Hawaiian language experts held meetings to figure out what name to give it, because the right to name it belongs to the astronomical observatory on Mauna Kea that discovered it. The committee dredged up the word “‘Oumuamua” which, they tell us, means leader or scout. Does that word have kaona (hidden meaning) intended to imply that creatures from outer space will soon be invading and have sent an advance party to scout our defenses? How many people, even in the community of Hawaiian-language experts, ever heard that word before now? Why not choose the somewhat more commonly heard name “‘Elele” (messenger), as in the ‘olelo no’eau “He ‘elele ka moe na ke kanaka.” (A dream is a messenger to a person) Or choose even the very commonly heard name “malihini” (visitor or guest), which also does not carry any of the hopohopo-inducing ominous kaona associated with “scout” or “messenger.” What we had with “‘Oumuamua” was a gang of language experts dredging an obscure word out of the same abyss from whence came the interstellar object. That process resembles what is being done by the transit station naming committee. Neither local residents nor tourists will have a clue what the name means when the initial publicity fades away after a few weeks. Eventually those names would make good questions in the game “Trivial Pursuit” or perhaps a Hawaiian version of “Jeapordy.”

Consider how transit stations should be (re)named in other parts of America to evoke their Native American heritages, following the lead of the committee in Honolulu:

The transit station at the bottom of Manhattan, and/or the embarkation point for the ferry boat, should be (re)named “Kioshk” which was the Indian name of what is now called Ellis Island.

The bus stop nearest to Lake Superior in Duluth Minnesota should be (re)named GitcheGumee which is the Indian name for the lake, as we know from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem “Song of Hiawatha” (“By the shores of Gitche Gumee, By the shining Big-Sea-Water, Stood the wigwam of Nokomis, Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis. …”)

In Chicago, “Navy Pier” juts out into Lake Michigan; therefore the transit station serving it should be (re)named “Mishigami” from that lake’s Indian name (Ojibwa or Algonquin).

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3. ENGLISH LANGUAGE PLACE NAMES OF CURRENT BUILDINGS OR USES SHOULD BE PRIMARY, WHILE HAWAIIAN-LANGUAGE REMINDERS OF CULTURAL OR HISTORICAL FEATURES SHOULD BE SECONDARY. IF IT IS DESIRED TO “EDUCATE THE PUBLIC” OR TO CONVEY A FEELING OF RESPECT FOR HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE OR FOR ANCIENT PLACE-NAMES, THAT OBJECTIVE COULD BE ACHIEVED BY PLACING A SEPARATE EXPLANATORY PLAQUE ON THE STATION WALL; OR PLACING THE HAWAIIAN NAME IN SMALLER LETTERING BELOW THE COMMONLY USED ENGLISH NAME IN A SIGN, OR FOLLOWING IT IN A VERBAL ANNOUNCEMENT.

The primary purpose should be to give people practical information quickly and accurately in terms they can understand to get to their destination; but it is only a secondary purpose to educate them about historical or cultural factors which are not immediately necessary and might be of little interest to them.

If you have cancer and go to a doctor for treatment, you need to know where to go for surgery or radiation; or get a prescription for drugs. You do not need a lecture on the history of improvement in the design of scalpels, or how Marie Curie extracted radium from pitchblende, or how tamoxifen gets processed by the liver; although you should certainly be helped to get that information if you want it.

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4. A GENERAL PHILOSOPHICAL ANALYSIS EXPLAINING THAT THE DEMAND FOR HAWAIIAN-LANGUAGE NAMES IS THE WEAPONIZING OF HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE TO GAIN PUBLICITY AND POLITICAL POWER IN A STRUGGLE FOR RACIAL DOMINANCE. IMPOSING A NAME UPON A PERSON, PLACE, CREATURE OR OBJECT IS A POLITICAL ACT — AN ASSERTION OF DOMINANCE. SEE A LARGE, DETAILED WEBPAGE “HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE AS A POLITICAL WEAPON” AT
HTTP://TINYURL.COM/668VQYZ

It is a political act — an assertion of power or dominance — to impose a name upon a person, place, creature, or object. According to the Bible, God gave man dominion over all the creatures of the Earth, including the right to name them as a sign of man’s dominion over them. Parents who adopt a baby have a right to (re)name the baby and to get a new birth certificate reflecting the chosen name. Owners have the right to impose a name on any property they own; conversely, imposing a name is an assertion of ownership, authority, and power.

Black activists Malcolm Little, Cassius Clay, and Lou Alcindor discarded their “slave names” to become Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar; while Hawaiian activist Lily Dorton gave herself the heroic name Lilikala Kame’eleihiwa. The boy Collin Kwai Kong Wong who graduated from Kamehameha School in 1990 gave himself the powerful female name Hinaleimoana when transitioning to the woman Hinaleimoana Kwai Kong Wong-Kalu, chairperson of the HART Hawaiian Station Naming Working Group.

Racial activists and transgenders, like those on this committee, understand very well that choosing a new name is an intensely political action, an exercise of power, and a way of converting an aspiration into an apparent reality. Owners have the right to impose a name on any property they own; conversely, imposing a name is an assertion of ownership, authority, and power. The race-nationalist political motive of the HART Hawaiian Station Naming Working Group is clear from their backgrounds.

“He who pays the piper calls the tune.” Thus corporations pay megabucks for the naming rights to a sports stadium. Medical buildings and university buildings are named after the donors who endowed them. The many Billions of dollars for the Honolulu train system come from the taxpayers, not from an ethnic group claiming victimhood status reflected in allegedly low incomes and therefore low contributions to the taxes that finance the project. Seizing the naming rights to the buildings in the Honolulu rail project is a theft of the property rights of all the taxpayers in general.

According to a Hawaiian proverb: “I ka ‘olelo no ke ola, i ka ‘olelo no ka make” which means: In language there is life, in language there is death. Thus naming streets or train stations is a way of asserting ownership and authority over them through an act of political power. Streets, places, or buildings with haole or Hawaiian names mark the territory as being haole or Hawaiian in the same way as an animal urinates on a place to leave a scent mark asserting control of it, or a graffiti artist paints his indecipherable tag on a wall.

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5. SPECIFICALLY: THE HAWAIIAN-LANGUAGE NAMING OF HART TRAIN STATIONS IS PRIMARILY A POLITICAL POWER PLAY RATHER THAN A DISPLAY OF RESPECT FOR CULTURE AND LANGUAGE. A SUBPAGE HAS SPECIAL RELEVANCE TO THE TRAIN STATION-NAMING PROJECT: SEE “USING HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE AS A POLITICAL WEAPON BY DEMANDING THAT THE NAMES OF PLACES AND STREETS MUST BE HAWAIIAN — HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND 5 CASE STUDIES: THURSTON AVE.(KAMAKAEHA), BARBERS POINT (KALAELOA), DILLINGHAM MILITARY RESERVATION (KAWAIHAPAI), FORT BARRETTE ROAD (KUALAKAI), DOLE ST. (KAPAAKEA STREET)” AT
HTTP://TINYURL.COM/39DQN32
SOME MEMBERS OF THE HAWAIIAN STATION NAMING WORKING GROUP HAVE A LONG HISTORY OF WORKING FOR RACE-NATIONALISM AS HAWAIIAN SOVEREIGNTY ACTIVISTS. HART, AND THE TRANSIT PROJECT, SHOULD NOT BE USED AS PAWNS IN SUCH AN ENDEAVOR.

Black activists Malcolm Little, Cassius Clay, and Lou Alcindor discarded their “slave names” to become Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. A Hawaiian activist whose name on her Ph.D. dissertation was Lily Dorton gave herself the heroic name Lilikala Kame’eleihiwa — she speaks with pride about her Hawaiian mother but never her haole father.

The boy Collin Kwai Kong Wong who graduated from Kamehameha School in 1990 gave himself the powerful female name Hinaleimoana when transitioning to the woman Hinaleimoana Kwai Kong Wong-Kalu, who has been head of the O’ahu Island Burial Council and culture director at a Hawaiian-focus charter school noted for the aggressive involvement of its students in lobbying or disrupting city and state government agencies.

Mahealani Cypher (aka Denise DaCosta) has been President of the O’ahu Council of Hawaiian Civic Clubs writing testimony on all sorts of state and federal legislation related to Hawaiian sovereignty. For example, she repeatedly wrote bills introduced in several legislative sessions that would have turned over Ha’iku Valley (Kane’ohe) to a race-based consortium under the jurisdiction of OHA to be then automatically transferred to the Native Hawaiian tribe anticipated to achieve federal recognition. And now here she is, continuing her political activism as chairperson of the HART Hawaiian Station Naming Working Group.

It’s interesting that at least two of the five members of the Working Group — Chairperson Mahealani Cypher and Francine Gora — are residents of Ko’olaupoko and have served as Presidents of the politically aggressive Ko’olaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club, despite the fact that the train will never serve the Ko’olaupoko area and these two women probably have very little knowledge of historical names or cultural usages of the areas where the train stations will be located. Their participation on the station-naming committee is purely political as they do not have cultural or historical expertise on the station areas.

Racial activists and transgenders, like those on this committee, understand very well that choosing a new name is an intensely political action, an exercise of power, and a way of converting an aspiration into an apparent reality. The race-nationalist political motive of the HART Hawaiian Station Naming Working Group is clear from their backgrounds.

City Council, and also some neighborhood boards, have previously considered and rejected efforts to remove English-language street names and replace them with “politically correct” Hawaiian names. There might be one or two Council members who lived through some of those struggles. See details of five case studies: Thurston Ave.(Kamakaeha), Barbers Point (Kalaeloa), Dillingham Military Reservation (Kawaihapai), Fort Barrette Road (Kualakai), Dole St. (Kapaakea Street). Those case studies are on a webpage at
http://tinyurl.com/39dqn32

Note that the name proposed for one of the train stations (Kualakai) is the same name unsuccessfully demanded in 2009, in a bitter battle before City Council, to replace the name of Fort Barrette Road, and was (and still is) the name of another street in that area. Note that Working Group member Shad Kane was one of the activists back then who appears to now be seeking to re-fight that old issue. Interestingly, resolution 09-158, calling for the use of Hawaiian language in naming the train stations, was adopted by City Council on April 29, 2009, at the same time when the battle was underway before the Council to change Fort Barrette Road to Kualaka’i.

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Holding the State of Hawaii Department of Education accountable for propagating the lie that Hawaiian language was banned.

by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

The State of Hawaii Department of Education must be held accountable for propagating the lie that Hawaiian language was banned. Dawn Kau’ilani Sang, Director of Hawaiian Studies, is responsible for a two-page webpage entitled “History of Hawaiian Education” which prominently proclaims the lie in three places, and which is cited as authority by news media when they repeat the lie and refuse to correct their publication of it. Thousands of children in the Hawaii Public Schools are undoubtedly being taught this racially inflammatory lie in the Hawaiian Studies curriculum that is compulsory in all grades K-12. Ms. Sang acknowledged receiving a lengthy email in mid-February 2016 filled with proof that the statements are false. The email explained the importance of correcting the falsehoods. But Ms. Sang stonewalled, replying only “The Department appreciates your attention to the information provided on our website. We will review the website and make changes as deemed necessary.” She has not indicated that any progress is being made. Followup inquiries are being pursued. Meanwhile, in mid-March 2016, Director Sang has engineered a resolution in the state legislature authorizing an expansion of her growing Hawaiian Studies empire; and the first “whereas” clause is the assertion that Hawaiian language was banned in the schools after the overthrow of the monarchy. Text of the resolution is provided along with Conklin’s testimony in opposition.

This webpage provides the details of what is summarized above:
http://tinyurl.com/z77ogbq

Table of contents for Conklin’s webpage:

1. Honolulu Star-Advertiser article of Thursday February 18, 2016 whose first sentence mentioned in passing, as an established fact, that Hawaiian language was “… once banned in the public schools …”

2. Thursday February 18 (early morning) email from Ken Conklin to newspaper reporter and editor requesting correction and providing proof of falsehood.

3. Reporter’s very brief Thursday February 18 (late afternoon) reply citing the Department of Education webpage as authority.

4. Full text of detailed email from Ken Conklin to Dawn Kau’ilani Sang, Department of Education Director of Hawaiian Studies on Monday morning February 22, 2016 with copies to DOE Superintendent, DOE Assistant Superintendent, newspaper editor and reporter. This email provided irrefutable proof that it is false to say that Hawaiian language was banned in the schools after the monarchy was overthrown. The proof includes quotations from historical documents and citations to scholarly books published by UH Press.

5. 2-sentence acknowledgment from Dawn Kau’ilani Sang, Department of Education Director of Hawaiian Studies emailed Wednesday night February 24, promising “We will review the website and make changes as deemed necessary.”

6. Followup email from Ken Conklin to Dawn Kau’ilani Sang, on Monday morning March 14, 2016 with copies to DOE Superintendent, DOE Assistant Superintendent, newspaper editor and reporter. The email noted that it is 3 weeks after Ken Conklin’s initial email to her, and 12 working days after her promise to “review the website and make changes as deemed necessary.” The email asked to know what progress has been made, and asked for contact information for any subordinate who might have been assigned the task of reviewing the webpage and making changes.

7. On Thursday March 17 the Hawaii House committee that facilitates legislation focused on ethnic Hawaiian affairs held a hearing on a resolution engineered by DOE Director Sang that would expand her growing Hawaiian Studies empire. Other committees in both House and Senate will hold more hearings if the resolution moves forward. The resolution begins with a “whereas” clause stating as fact that Hawaiian language was banned following the overthrow of the monarchy and was not heard in the schools for 4 generations. Full text of the resolution is provided along with Ken Conklin’s testimony in opposition, and a link to the legislature’s webpage tracking the resolution including files of all testimony in each committee, how each member of each committee voted, and the committee report.

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Governor Abercrombie’s scurrilous and unnecessary lie about Hawaiian language in his “State of the State” speech

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie said something false in his “State of the State” speech on January 24, 2011.

It was not a mistake, and not a normal political lie. His statement was scurrilous because it serves to promote racial hostility. It’s always bad to stir up resentment and anger by one race against another, especially when the grievance has no basis in fact. Following the Tucson political massacre, our President has urged us all to speak with greater civility.

In the written press release of his speech, his falsehood was “In 1896 it was made illegal to teach in the Hawaiian language.” The sentence he actually spoke was even worse: “In 1896 it was made illegal to teach the Hawaiian language.” These are variations of a commonly told lie, which says that In 1896 Hawaiian language was made illegal.

Any of these sentences is usually mentioned in the middle of a long diatribe listing alleged historical grievances to show that Caucasians oppressed and abused ethnic Hawaiians, and Hawaiians are therefore entitled to apologies, repentance, and reparations from Caucasians.

A webpage provides full text of Abercrombie’s written speech, an audio podcast and a video of the speech (with timeline and closed captioning), and further analysis. See
http://tinyurl.com/4l5hdlv

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Hawaiian Language as a Political Weapon

Hawaiian language is a great treasure for Hawaii and the world. But it is also used as a political weapon in ways unlike any other language. The worthy goal of preserving Hawaiian language and helping it thrive has been hijacked by using tax dollars to pay for programs whose hidden intention and practical effect is to foster racial pride, racial separatism, and ethnic nationalism, thereby undermining the sovereignty of the State of Hawaii and of the United States.

A large and heavily documented new webpage explores the following topics, at
http://tinyurl.com/668vqyz

(1) Demanding that the names of places and streets must be Hawaiian — historical background and 4 case studies: Thurston Ave. (Kamakaeha), Barbers Point (Kalaeloa), Dillingham Military Reservation (Kawaihapai), Fort Barrette Road (Kualakai).

(2) Demands that Hawaiian language as an “official language” of Hawaii be taken seriously by requiring that it must be used in government documents and that people must be allowed to use it when filing court documents or giving testimony before boards and commissions, or in court.

(3) How Hawaiian language, and the ancient Hawaiian religion, are used as political weapons in government hearings and political performances.

(4) The essential role of Hawaiian language in Hawaiian religion

(5) Sprinkling Hawaiian words occasionally throughout a speech or essay, to create an appearance of authentic Hawaiian-ness.

(6) The insistence on using Hawaiian grammar or spelling when speaking or writing English. Examples of pluralizing nouns and using ‘okinas.

(7) Hawaiian culture and language are used for political indoctrination in the tax-supported public schools — the Hawaiian Studies component of the general curriculum; the Hawaiian-focus charter schools; the Hawaiian language immersion schools; how Kamehameha Schools has infiltrated the public schools.

(8) Why are there no automated translation programs for Hawaiian, when such programs are easily available for other languages? It appears that Hawaiian language experts want to keep control of the language so it can be used only for “politically correct” purposes, and also to provide job security for a growing cadre of instructors and independent-contractor translators who must be politically correct to keep their jobs.

(9) There are political and emotional implications of using Hawaiian language rather than English, and sometimes those implications depend on the race of the speaker.

(10) How Hawaiian language, culture, and sovereignty are interconnected

(11) The role of the Christian missionaries and their native partners in creating a written Hawaiian language.

(12) A brief history of the dominance of English language in Hawaii — How English became almost exclusively the outside language whose words were incorporated into Hawaiian, and how English gradually replaced Hawaiian as the dominant language among foreigners and natives alike.

(13) The false claim that Hawaiian language was made illegal by the Republic of Hawaii after the monarchy was overthrown, and that this was done for the purpose of destroying Hawaiian culture. How this false claim is used for political purposes, to evoke anger and solidarity among ethnic Hawaiians and sympathy among non-ethnic Hawaiians to support demands for sovereignty.

(14) The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (and its predecessor the Honolulu Star-Bulletin) publishes a column every Saturday in Hawaiian language with no English translation. Often the topics are twisted versions of Hawaiian history intended to stir up anti-American or anti-Caucasian hostility.

For details on all these topics please see
http://tinyurl.com/668vqyz

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