Olelo – Why It Is Important To Me

As I download the olelo lessons given by Kumu Crozier on Kulaiwi.org I listen and catch what I can as she interviews people.

She hits on some key points that hit me hard and it hurts.

She tells of kupuna and the hard times they had speaking olelo. When the school’s banned speaking olelo and the harsh punishments and ridicule they experienced. She also tells of how we were told that speaking our language would hinder our progress in the world.

Interestingly I found a study that disproves this primitive belief that if a person is bilingual it somehow impairs their cognitive abilities. If you’d like to take the time to read it here it is:

bilingualism and its effects on people

What I was really looking for is scholarly articles that study the ease of learning other languages when one knows ones ethnic language. Not just the ease of learning other languages (this may explain why we learned English so fast) but the ease in learning period (which may also explain why we were able to learn to read and write so quickly as well).

To me, our language is like the mana that flows unseen through us and is expressed as best as possible through our words.

Our words are circular not abrupt. You can say a word and it just isn’t the word it’s the total of all this is and is understood by us.

There was a massive attempt to cut this from us but thankfully our ancestors and kupuna kept our language alive and now we have olelo being taught in schools, colleges, and online as well.

I believe, and this is just me, that all Kanaka should go back to their original language, not the aboriginal (not original) English language. Our language is our identity that is tied to our culture, our hula, our chants, everything. This is just what I think and there may be some that disagree and that’s alright.

But, if you are interested in learning olelo and you can’t afford classes, don’t have someone that can teach you for free, or no time to go to classes then you can take advantage of the free online classes given by Kumu Ekela Kaniaupio-Crozier through Kulaiwi.org. Here’s the URL:

http://ksdl.ksbe.edu/kulaiwi/

What I’ve done is downloaded all the videos and print out the workbook. I transferred the videos to my iPod and bought speakers for my iPod now me and my children can also listen to the videos in the car and anywhere we go we can study…Wow! I’m really happy about this!

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