Highlights Historical Research Presented in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian) Language

June 8, 2023, College Park, Maryland—National History Day® (NHD), with the support of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, are pleased to announce the exhibition of six student historical research projects presented in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian) language, to be featured in at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, June 13.

In this special “In Language There Is Life: I ka ‘ōlelo nō ke ola” Showcase, middle and high school students from Hawai‘i who completed a National History Day project in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and qualified at the Hawaiʻi affiliate contest, were invited to Washington, D.C. to share their work with a national audience. These projects show perspectives and understanding vital to their culture and support larger community efforts that perpetuate and give life to indigenous languages. These student projects also reflect the 2023 NHD theme, Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas. This is the first live Language Revitalization Showcase and joins the roster of student websites, performances, papers, exhibits, and documentaries showcased in cultural institutions in Washington, D.C.

“We are excited to share these NHD projects in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi with visitors at the National Museum of the American Indian,” shares Executive Director Cathy Gorn. “We appreciate the collaborative effort to showcase the stellar work of these history students.”

“All languages enact a worldview, and some stories and concepts can only be conveyed in the Hawaiian language. These student projects that utilize Hawaiian-language archives and sources are so special because they help us connect with and understand the nuances of the ways our ancestors understood the world. These stories have great wisdom for the present and future,” shares Aiko Yamashiro, Executive Director of Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities.

“This is such an exciting opportunity for our Hawaiian-language speaking youth to share their academic work in the language of Hawaiʻi with a broader audience. It’s inspiring to see the ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi category grow like this, and is a sign that the endangered Hawaiian language is undergoing the process of renormalization,” says Bruce Torres Fischer, Hawaiian-language scholar and historian.

The projects will be available to view at the National Museum of the American Indian on Tuesday, June 13, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. as well as on Monday, June 12, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the Stamp Union Building on the University of Maryland College Park campus.

The following projects and students have been selected for this showcase:

Title: He ʻŌnaehana no nā Ululāʻau o Hawaiʻi
Student: Lucia Lozar
Teacher: Māhealani Lono
School: Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo Public Charter School (Hilo)
Title: Paniolo: Ka Nohona & Moʻomeheu
Student: Kealohi Holomalia
Teacher: Māhealani Lono
School: Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo Public Charter School (Hilo)
Title: Hoʻokele i ka Waʻa ʻŌiwi: Ka Hanana ʻo ka Hōkūleʻa
Student: Mahealani Figueroa-Lee
Teacher: Māhealani Lono
School: Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo Public Charter School (Hilo)
Title: Nā Nūpepa i Kākoʻo i ka Hoʻihoʻi Ea o Hawaiʻi
Student: Kaʻie Naboa-Cordy
Teacher: Sarah Razee
School: Kamehameha Schools – Kapālama Campus (Honolulu)
Title: Ka Hui “Plus Two” o 1976
Student: Kolohaiaheahe Kuhaulua
Teacher: Pat Gegen
School: Island School (Lihuʻe)
Title: He Wahine ʻAʻa ʻo Edith Kanakaʻole
Student: Luka Hikiola Kanahele
Teacher: Māhealani Lono
School: Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo Public Charter School (Hilo)

About National History Day® (NHD)

NHD is a non-profit organization based in College Park, Maryland, that seeks to improve the teaching and learning of history. The National History Day Contest was established in 1974 and currently engages more than half a million students every year in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. Students present their research as a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. Projects compete first at the local and affiliate levels, where the top entries are invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD is sponsored in part by HISTORY®, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, The Better Angels Society, and the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation. For more information, visit nhd.org.

About Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities (HIHumanities)

Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is dedicated to connecting people with ideas that enrich lives, broaden perspectives, and strengthen communities. HIHumanities has been proudly running Hawaiʻi History Day for 35 years, and began building an Indigenous language NHD contest in 2019. Learn more at hihumanities.org or @hihumanities.

About the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI)

In partnership with Native peoples and their allies, the National Museum of the American Indian fosters a richer shared human experience through a more informed understanding of Native peoples. The museum strives toward equity and social justice for the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere through education, inspiration and empowerment. Through two locations, it features exhibitions and programs in New York City and the National Mall in Washington, D.C. For additional information, including hours and directions, visit AmericanIndian.si.edu. Follow the museum via social media on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


June 6, 2023 •

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