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The Hawaiians

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Learning the Language of Aloha
Photograph by Lynn Johnson

With their barefoot teacher looking on, Pu`uwai Kamalu, Ka'ehulani Kanahele, and Kau'ioni'ihau Adams (left to right) work on a science project at Ke Kula Ni`ihau O Kekaha Public Charter School on the west coast of Kaua'i—one of many new Hawaiian-language schools that have sprung up in the islands. The school was founded in 1993 to preserve a distinct dialect of Hawaiian spoken on the nearby island of Ni'ihau, home to a small isolated community of native Hawaiians among whom the first language of the islands never died. Parents, uncles, or aunts often serve as teachers, and school rules are based on cultural as well as local traditions—like no shoes in the house—so kids feel right at home.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Leica M6
Lens: 21mm
Film Type: Kodachrome 200
Speed and F-Stop: 1/60 @ f/2.8

Weather Conditions: Indoors
Time of Day: Midmorning
Lighting Techniques: Natural light

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