Akaka sponsors bill supporting native languages
U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka has introduced the Native American Language Amendments Act, saying he wants to ensure that families across the country are never forced to relinquish their language or culture.
"This bill is of particular importance to me because as a young child, I was discouraged from speaking Hawaiian and practicing Hawaiian customs and traditions because I was told that it would not allow me to succeed in the Western world," Akaka said in a news release issued by his Washington office.
Under his bill, the secretary of education would provide funds for the establishment of native American language nests and language survival school programs. A nest is a language immersion program for the youngest members of a native population.
The bill would also provide nests and survival schools with alternative methods of achieving national education standards.
"Language is the heart of all cultures," said Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii. "When a language withers, so, too, does its culture. Hawaii has shown that when there is renewed interest in the native language, the native culture flourishes.
"This legislation will ensure that native languages and native cultures will have the opportunity to thrive and flourish. It also encourages elders to teach our future leaders about their unique cultures."
Akaka, 82, is running for a fourth term this year and has been challenged in the primary by a fellow Hawaii Democrat, Rep. Ed Case, 53, who says it is time to pass along the seat to a new generation.
Case creating podcasts
U.S. Rep. Ed Case is coming to your iPod or MP3 player.
Saying that there is a need to increase the ways he communicates with his constituents, Case is putting podcasts of various speeches and press releases on his official Web site, www.house.gov/case.
The first reports will be on the environmental and immigration issues.
Case says he will follow up his initial podcasts with others that will cover a variety of topics. "The podcasts will augment my current efforts to communicate with the people of Hawaii throughout my district via my e-newsletters and surveys, a statewide public access television series ('Congressman Ed Case Reports'), weekly radio shows and regular Talk Story community meetings," Case said.
Inouye to christen ship
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye has been tapped to christen the cruise ship Pride of Hawaii next month in Los Angeles.
In making the announcement Tuesday, Norwegian Cruise Lines noted ships are traditionally christened by women.
The company quoted a spokesman for the Cruise Lines International Association as saying having a man do the honors will be a first in modern cruise history.
Inouye's late wife, Maggie, christened the cruise ship Pride of Aloha in 2004. She died last month.
"Sen. Inouye is the father of this project and its most steadfast supporter, and the introduction of Pride of Hawaii is its crowning event. So there can be no one more fitting than he to name our newest U.S. flagship," said Colin Veitch, NCL's president and CEO.
The Pride of Hawaii is the largest and most expensive U.S.-flagged passenger ship ever built.
The 93,500-ton vessel has room for 2,400 passengers and 1,000 crew members. It is slated to join Norwegian Cruise Lines' interisland fleet June 5.