Kaua‘i Mayor Supports Niihau Language Preservation

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January 31, 2019
Kahanu Smith, Kuuipolani Kanahele Wong, Nalani Brun, Kahea Kaohelaulii Faria, and Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.

On November 27, 2018, Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in support of Niihau language preservation. According to the agreement, the County of Kaua‘i will provide support to the Malie Foundation and their experts to locate and secure funding for projects that will help with preserving the Niihau language.

COE Assistant Specialist and native speaker from Niihau, Kahea Kaohelaulii Faria, said, “This initiative is a means to revitalize and normalize olelo Kanaka throughout Hawaii. The mayor is excited and looking forward to this plan coming to fruition.”

Part of the plan includes training native speakers to be teachers through a future partnership with Kaua‘i Community College since the last remaining native speaking community outside of Niihau resides within the County of Kaua‘i. “I’m proud to support this initiative which could set a global precedence in language revitalization all around the world,” concluded Mayor Carvalho in a Kaua‘i press release.

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