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KHS Hosts Screening of ‘Language of a Nation’

July 28, 2020, 11:20 AM HST
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Kona Historical Society is celebrating Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea, Hawaiian Independence Day, with the July 31 online world premiere of “Language of a Nation,” a historical docuseries produced by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

KHS, a Smithsonian Affiliate, this special online event helps share the important connections to Hawai’i’s rich cultural and political history — a history that KHS said is left out of public-school curricula and even public discussion.

“This historical docuseries was originally conceived two years ago during the UNʻs year of Indigenous Language. The purpose was to show that ‘ōlelo Hawai’i was not just an aboriginal Hawaiian language, but the language of a nation where all ethnicities in Hawai’i spoke that language,” said Smithsonian Curator of Hawai’i and the Pacific Kālewa Correa. “Why this film is important is that it presents Hawai’iʻs history from a Hawaiian National perspective. Generally, the history of Hawai’i has been presented through an external lens, this film remedies those perspectives. I hope that viewers will take away a new understanding of Hawaiian history, one that they may have never been exposed to because of dominant external narratives.”

Following the screening, Hawaiian Filmmaker Conrad Lihilihi and Correa will discuss the four-part docuseries, which examines the Hawaiian Language ban that occurred after the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom by US forces.

“The Hawaiian language was the national language of communication in the Hawaiian Kingdom. It was a language spoken by a vibrant and multiethnic citizenry, not just the aboriginal population of the Hawaiian archipelago,” Correa said. “The 1896 ban of the Hawaiian language from the Department of Education in Hawai’i not only affected the aboriginal population, but it also affected the national consciousness and the true understanding of what the Hawaiian Kingdom was prior to the overthrow.”

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“Episode 1: Birth of a Literate Nation” will be shown at noon on July 31 on Zoom. This is an exclusive screening and virtual discussion only for Kona Historical Society members, who will be admitted for free and sent this event’s link via email. Membership must be current and is required to attend. Anyone can become a member of the Kona Historical Society. New and returning members can join online at https://konahistorical.org/membership.

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For more information about this special event, call the Kona Historical Society at 808-323-3222 or visit www.konahistorical.org. To get the latest updates regarding the Society’s programs, historic sites, and special events, “LIKE” Kona Historical Society on Facebook.

Annual membership fees are $35 for individuals and $55 for families. For an additional $20, Kona Historical Society members can add on a Smithsonian Affiliate membership, which includes subscription to the Smithsonian Magazine and access to all Smithsonian Affiliate Museums.

Kona Historical Society is a community-based, nonprofit organization that has spent the past four decades collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawai’i. Kona Historical Society is also a longstanding Smithsonian Affiliate, meaning it is part of a prestigious network of museums along with other educational and cultural organizations that share the resources of the Smithsonian Institution.

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