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Man's traffic case highlights lack of services in Hawaiian

LAST UPDATED: 01:32 a.m. HST, Aug 11, 2013

A man who speaks and writes Hawaiian wants to be able to use the language to take his driver's license exam and says that his inability to do so is a form of discrimination that goes against the state Constitution.

Hawaiian is considered one of the state's two official languages, yet Daniel Anthony says he's unable to use it to conduct business with state agencies.

"Anytime I go to a state office or federal office, I introduce myself in Hawaiian," he said Monday in English. "I have yet to receive services in Hawaiian."

Anthony, 35, of Kaneohe, describes himself as "conversational" in the language, having heard his great-grandparents speak it while growing up. After dropping out of Waianae High School, he began formally learning Hawaiian while studying at Leeward Community College.

Anthony said he often works to highlight how the language isn't used in an official capacity, but getting stopped for speeding on Jan. 25 wasn't intentional.

He was pulled over for going 41 mph in a 25 mph zone and was cited for driving without a license, according to court records. Anthony acknowledged not having a state-issued driver's license because the test isn't offered in Hawaiian.

"I'm not contesting I was speeding," he said. "I'm unable under the state of Hawaii Constitution to get a license because of my choice to speak Hawaiian."

A spokeswoman for the state judiciary said her department was preparing a statement about the case, but noted that Anthony was provided a Hawaiian interpreter for court hearings. Court records show he received a Hawaiian interpreter for a March hearing, where he pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor. A Hawaiian interpreter was present for an April hearing, but Anthony didn't attend.

State transportation officials who handle driver's license regulations weren't immediately available for comment.

His attorney, Dexter Kai­ama, filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that the state Constitution upholds the use of Hawaiian, and the state's courts don't have jurisdiction over Native Hawaiians, KITV reported.

While the state has recognized Hawaiian as an official language since 1978, "I think the state has been very slow to implement that in a meaningful way," said Trisha Kehaulani Watson, owner of Honua Consulting, a group of contractors who provide consulting services in Hawaiian culture, education, community relations and environmental issues.

"It's inevitable that we will move toward a bilingual community."

Anthony said that's happening with the younger generation, describing how his three children are fluent in Hawaiian and attend language immersion schools.

"I'm very blessed that I have the opportunity to live a cultural lifestyle," he said. "It's the responsibility of my generation to follow through on the promises of the past generation."

Anthony's family is not unique, Watson said.

"Many families are committed to bringing back the use of Hawaiian language," she said.

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toomuchpilikia wrote:
Are you kidding me? What the heck ever happened to "Assimilating"? Statehood was in 1959!
on August 11,2013 | 03:57AM
holokanaka wrote:
there is not such thing as statehood in Hawaii. read Nation Within by Tom Coffman, Aloha Betrayed by Noe Noe Silva, google hawaiiankingdom.org/keanu sai.
on August 11,2013 | 02:15PM
allie wrote:
Those two books are riddled with error and ideology hon.
on August 12,2013 | 04:13PM
oxtail01 wrote:
OK - than why is the guy even driving a vehicle that's a product of imperialistic American on infrastructure that ONLY has signs in English (he accepts and can do fine with English only signs and contracts - guess in what language the contract was when he bought the car?) and for which, I assume, he gladly paid into in taxes to maintain. When he goes to fill up gas on his car guess what the standard of measure is and in what language the pumps are in? He's fine with that, he's fine ordering his meals in English, he's probable fine with collecting welfare benefits in English but he can't take a test in English?
on August 12,2013 | 06:02PM
Ken_Conklin wrote:
"I'm unable under the state of Hawaii Constitution to get a license because of my choice to speak Hawaiian." he said. Well, there you have it. Anthony was perfectly able to get a license because he speaks English, the language used in the license exam. He made a choice to demand Hawaiian language for the license exam. That was his choice. He made a decision not to get a license when he could easily have gotten it. He's guilty of violating the law. Anthony admits that English is his native language. He grew up speaking English, and had to go to school to learn Hawaiian well enough to be able to take the exam in Hawaiian. So Anthony has clearly admitted that his refusal to have a license was not about his inability to speak English, but rather was about his demand to force the State of Hawaii to speak Hawaiian in the state license exam. Anthony and his attorney should be cited for "abuse of process" because they are using a lawsuit not to remedy an injustice against Anthony, but rather to make a political statement. The political essence and motive for the case is shown by attorney Kaiama's statement that "the state's courts don't have jurisdiction over Native Hawaiians." Baloney. Kaiama was allowed to become a lawyer only because he took an oath "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Hawaii." It's time to take away his lawyer license.
on August 11,2013 | 05:03AM
Okoles1 wrote:
That's what's great about this country we have choices! You don't have to agree with one man's choice just that he should have it. If the state in 1978 recognized Hawaiian as an official language then why isn't' it offered for the test? Are the test offered in other languages besides English? And those applicants have no problem taking the test, they can read it in there language.
on August 11,2013 | 06:02AM
lee1957 wrote:
If his choice is to not take the exam, logically his next choice would be not to drive.
on August 11,2013 | 09:45AM
allie wrote:
Translate the exam. The dude is lookign for money and an issue as he is bored with life and loves the shibai way of life
on August 12,2013 | 07:24AM
holokanaka wrote:
"the state courts don't have jurisdiction over Native Hawaiians" is true and you already know that konki (aka ken conklin). maybe others here are not aware of that fact but you in fact know that is true. although most are not aware of the true legal history if these Islands more and more people are becoming aware of that fact. so stop already with playing d*mb and admit the truth.
on August 11,2013 | 02:13PM
Ken_Conklin wrote:
Baloney. Kaiama was allowed to become a lawyer only because he took an oath "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Hawaii." It's time to take away his lawyer license.
on August 11,2013 | 06:35PM
holokanaka wrote:
konki how can a non legal entity (state of Hawaii) not "allow" a person from practicing his trade in his chosen field? how can a non legal entity deny his right to earn a living to support his responsibilities (bills, family,etc)? what has a "license" to do with practicing a chosen trade that Kaiama was educated in? was Kaiama aware of the true legal history of Hawaii when he took the oath?
on August 11,2013 | 09:44PM
allie wrote:
The state is totally legal and Hawaiian begged for statehood for decades. Read your history hon. prince Kuhio was the first to introduce a statehood resolution in Congress. If you would like another statehood vote, let us all vote on it and come in with a 99.9% vote for statehood.
on August 12,2013 | 07:56AM
localguy wrote:
Daniel Anthony is his own worst enemy. His willful failure to learn English, the standard language of the USA is his problem, not taxpayers. Sorry Daniel, everyone else lives in English, you need to join the rest of us. Taxpayer's money will not be wasted just so you can use Hawaiian. What are you thinking? Speak Hawaiian where you can, the rest will have to be in English, island standard. Again, your problem, not ours. As for your attorney, another loser.
on August 11,2013 | 08:12AM
allie wrote:
Monolingual in Hawaiian is a one way pass to oblivion. Become bilingual. Umm..it is 2013. Not 713. AD.
on August 12,2013 | 07:24AM
lumahai wrote:
What is wrong with the SOH Judiciary? Everyone who appears in court and is capable of speaking and understanding English must do so. It is a waste of the taxpayers money to provide this guy with a free-paid-by-the-taxpayers "Hawaiian Interpreter" . The Judiciary should stay out of this political nonsense and abide by its own rules and policies. Just because the Hawaii Constitution makes Hawaiian an official language that does not mean that every time some whacko wants to speak it the State must go to the trouble and expense to accommodate him. If Mr Anthony believes there should be such a law, let him go to the Legislature and see if he can get one passed.
on August 11,2013 | 09:23AM
allie wrote:
He is looking for free money and attention hon. Lot of that around these days.
on August 12,2013 | 07:57AM
Macadamiamac wrote:
Eh Kaniela, dis Amurika. Speak, read, write ENGLISH. Wassamattayou?
on August 11,2013 | 09:24AM
Makua wrote:
A smart Hawaiian would use the Hawaiian Language whenever possible so his audience could be enlightened and impressed with his mastery an eloquence. Demanding the use of the language for his benefit is stupidity because it forces the vast majority of taxpayers to see yet another waste of their funds being spent on a very low priority item needlessly. Just because our street names are in Hawaiian doesn't mean all printed matter has to or needs to be that way. The use of the Hawaiian Language only has currency in Hawaii. It is used by those who voluntarily choose to learn it and to use it amongst themselves to retain that portion of the culture that defines their heritage. Many years ago my mother went to school in Kohala only knowing the Hawaiian Language. She had to learn English to remain in school. I guess she could have refused to learn English , like Anthony refusing to get a drivers license, but she was focused and determined to live a productive life. She excelled in her studies and lived a wonderful life never forgetting where she came from.
on August 11,2013 | 02:14PM
lumahai wrote:
Well said.
on August 11,2013 | 06:24PM
holokanaka wrote:
Hawaiian language by law is one of two "official" languages in these Islands.
on August 11,2013 | 09:47PM
silvangold wrote:
Could not have put this better. I agree, it's HIS problem and NOT the problem of State of Hawaii government! You can't (or won't) take drivers license test in English den catch the bus, taxi or (haha) WAIT for da rail! You need to grow up.
on August 12,2013 | 07:15AM
allie wrote:
Makua is an honest man. Become bilingual folks. No oen is going anywhere with the Hawaiian language, created by the missionaries, alone. I am indigenous Mandan I am bilingual.
on August 12,2013 | 07:58AM
kahu808 wrote:
I surmise he has no intention of renting a car in the mainland or anywhere else.
on August 11,2013 | 09:30PM
allie wrote:
He wants somebody to pay him.
on August 12,2013 | 04:14PM
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