Self-determination is most basic of human rights

I am writing to voice my strong support for, and agreement with, the May 11 Viewpoint on the Hawaiian language. The author of this excellent Viewpoint made the argument very well. However, I think more can be said in this area.

One of the most basic of human rights is that of every people to self-determination. Language is basic to that right. Every culture lives in its language, in the nuances of meaning and in the stories by which we educate generations. When the English conquered Ireland they hanged native people for speaking our language, Gaelic, and forbade the education of Irish children. This was in order to destroy the native culture. The result of this, and other actions, was centuries of war and strife.

The education of people in the language of their choice, if an official state language, is a civil rights issue that all should embrace. Americans would be up in arms if another nation attempted to do this to another culture in today’s world. How can we stand by and let this happen to people of this state? There would be no talk of a lottery if there was a need for space for more English-speaking children, why for Hawaiian immersion children?

Education should be available for any child and not decided by a minor appointee.

Of further interest is the overall management of Paia School and state oversight thereof, but that will be examined in due course.

John Grant