HILO – Earlier this week, we featured an interview with Kaho’okahi Kanuha – a spokesperson for the opposition standing against the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea – and his recent trip to Canada to file a War Crime complaint against the observatory. Today we feature the story of another stand taken by Kanuha in court recently.
As one of the 31 arrested for obstructing traffic – specifically TMT construction crews – on Mauna Kea on April 2, Kanuha is now having his day in court. But he made a controversial decision during his most recent appearance in Waimea. After requesting a court interpreter versed in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, Kanuha refused to address the judge in English, instead speaking only in Hawaiian.
Hawaiian – like English – is considered an official language in the state of Hawaii.
Kanuha says its not the first time this has been done in court. Nor is it the first time the issue has come up elsewhere. Last year at the state capitol, for example, Puna’s then-representative Faye Hanohano caused a stir when she chose to speak only in Hawaiian on the floor of the State House. Hanohano – who was involved in other controversies at the time – flustered a few fellow lawmakers with her actions, even though she was well within her rights to do so.