The Native Hawaiian Rights Movement

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From 1941 to 1990, the entire island of Kaho’olawe was used as an arena for US military bombing practice and battle training ( These decades of bombing practice deteriorated the entire island, rendering it uninhabitable and deprived of vegetation. Kaho’olawe, once a thriving island with a diverse ecosystem, became a desecrated mass of land that native Hawaiians continue to struggle to restore today. In response to these issues, native Hawaiian scholars and activists began to generate advocacy groups that strived to revive their language and restore desecrated lands.
In 1983, Hawaiian language professors and specialists formed the ‘Aha Punana Leo, an organization dedicated to revitalizing the Hawaiian language and incorporating it in public schools ( These efforts encountered numerous obstacles, yet its success led to the
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Ho’oleia Ka’eo, a student at the Universit of Hawai’i at Manoa and student representative from the Hui Aloha ‘Aina Tuahine student advocacy group said in a speech, “It’s really each and everyone of us, individually but collectively organized and united that will move this movement forward...It’s important to recognize the issues then act upon them…” ( The process of native Hawaiian movements are similar to that of liberation theology as explained by Leonardo and Clodovis Boff because they both begin from experiencing oppression, are dedicated to promoting social justice, and are inclusive of the efforts of every member of the community. According to Leonardo and Clodovis Boff, “So it is not enough here only to reflect on what is being practiced. Rather, we need to establish a living link with living practice” (Boff, Leonardo, and Clodovis Boff,

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