Senator Daniel Inouye Remembered As A Hawaiian Language Champion

HILO, HAWAIʻI – Hāloʻiloʻi ka waimaka, ua hala honua iho nei nō ke kupa o Hawaiʻi, ʻo Kenekoa Daniel Ken Inouye.

The Board of Directors, administration and staff, and the entire ʻohana of ʻAha Pūnana Leo extend their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Senator Daniel Ken Inouye.

A longtime advocate of the rights of indigenous people to be educated in their native language, Senator Daniel Inouye was instrumental in passing the 1988 Native Hawaiian Education Act. It was under grants from this program that the ʻAha Pūnana Leo established Pūnana Leo preschools statewide and developed curriculum materials that continue to support the public Kaiapuni Hawaiʻi schools.

Also under the Native Hawaiian Education Act, from 1996 to 2009 the ʻAha Pūnana Leo received funding to provide higher education tuition assistance to Native Hawaiians through the Lamakū program. Many of the recipients of Lamakū are now teachers in Hawaiian immersion and Hawaiian medium schools throughout the state, investing in a new generation of Native Hawaiians and perpetuating the legacy of Senator Inouye and his passion for education.

In 1990, Senator Daniel Inouye sponsored the Native American Languages Act in order to preserve, protect, and promote the rights and freedoms of Native people in America to practice, develop and conduct business in their native language. This Act reversed over 200 years of American policy that would have otherwise eliminated the indigenous languages of the United States including the Hawaiian language.

In 2003 at the first Neʻepapa I Ke Ō Mau fundraiser, ʻAha Pūnana Leo honored both Senator Daniel Inouye and Senator Daniel Akaka for their staunch advocacy and unwavering commitment to the ʻAha Pūnana Leo and the perpetuation of the Hawaiian language.

The legacy of Senator Daniel Inouye resounds in the classrooms of each Pūnana Leo throughout the State of Hawaiʻi, in the homes of families who have reestablished Hawaiian as their primary language of daily life, and in the hearts of everyone who cherishes Hawaiʻi and embraces aloha.

Ke mau nei kēia mau mea ʻekolu, ʻo ka manaoʻiʻo, ʻo ka manaʻolana, a me ke aloha. ʻO ke aloha naʻe kai ʻoi aʻe.

Aloha nō.