Kanaka Maoli, more commonly referred to as Native Hawaiians, are the indigenous Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands.
As noted in ‘Oiwi, an Indigenous Journal from Hawai’i, “Hawaiians for centuries were master orators and chanters, articulate historians, prolific songwriters, and eloquent storytellers. In the 1800s, the rate of literacy in Hawai‘i was higher than in any other part of the world and writings by Hawaiians appeared in numerous newspapers produced in the islands. But the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, the banning of the Hawaiian language from all public schools, the systematic disenfranchisement of Hawaiians from our land, and the decimation of the Hawaiian population through foreign disease nearly put an end to the Hawaiian people and culture.”
Despite the all-too-familiar burden of colonialism, and the subsequent take over of vast land areas for military, residential and commercial use by the United States and its citizenry, the language and culture of the Kanaka Maoli continues to thrive today.