Department of the Interior releases new guidance to honor, elevate Hawaiian language
In commemoration of Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, or Hawaiian Language Month, the Department of the Interior has released new guidance on the use of the Hawaiian language.
A comprehensive new Departmental Manual chapter underscores the Department’s commitment to further integrating Indigenous Knowledge and cultural practices into conservation stewardship.
Department bureaus and offices that engage in communication with the Native Hawaiian Community or produce documentation addressing places, resources, actions or interests in Hawaiʻi will use the new guidance on ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) for various identifications and references, including flora and fauna, cultural sites, geographic place names and government units within the state.
The guidance recognizes the evolving nature of ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi and acknowledges the absence of a single authoritative source. While the “Hawaiian Dictionary” (Pukui & Elbert 2003) is designated as the baseline standard for non-geographic words and place names, Department bureaus and offices are encouraged to consult other standard works, as well as the Board on Geographic Names database.
Developed collaboratively and informed by ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi practitioners, instructors and advocates, the new guidance emerged from virtual consultation sessions and public comment in 2023 with the Native Hawaiian Community.
For more information, visit the Office of Native Hawaiian Relations’ website.