3 telescope protesters want to testify at trials in Hawaiian
File image of an arrest atop Mauna Kea
By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER Associated Press
HONOLULU (AP) - Three people arrested for blocking telescope construction crews on a mountain held sacred by Native Hawaiians want to testify in Hawaiian at their upcoming trials.
Even though Hawaiian is one of the state's official languages, court cases are primarily conducted in English, with interpreters provided for those who speak other languages.
The three cases were postponed as the court arranges for Hawaiian interpreters.
For one of them, Kahookahi Kanuha, it's about defending himself in the language he's most comfortable speaking. He says it's also about connecting the essence of his protest, which he describes as the "suppression of the Hawaiian identity."
University of Hawaii professor Puakea Nogelmeier says it also represents the revitalization of the language, which wasn't allowed in schools until the mid-1980s.
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