HONOLULU (AP) — A man who speaks Hawaiian wants to be able to use the language to take his driver's license exam.
Hawaiian is considered one of the state's official languages, yet Daniel Anthony says he's unable to use Hawaiian to conduct business with state agencies. The language is often spoken at many official ceremonies and state events.
His attorney filed a motion to dismiss Anthony's traffic case of driving without a license, KITV reported. Attorney Dexter Kaiama claims Hawaii's courts don't have jurisdiction over native Hawaiians and that the state constitution upholds the Hawaiian language.
"The extreme disrespect and discrimination from the state was appalling," he said.
State and Honolulu officials didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.
He is using his court battle to encourage other Native Hawaiians to stand up for more frequent use of the language.
Anthony said he introduced himself in Hawaiian recently at a Department of Motor Vehicles branch and asked whether could take the driver's license exam in that language.
"I was laughed at, told I had to speak English, then told to leave," he told the TV station.
He said his request was dined five times.
His traffic case has been continued until later this month.
Anthony's children attend Hawaiian language schools and he successfully pushed for traditional poi practices to be allowed by the state health department.
"Why would we have children spend 12 years in Hawaiian language schools and then not be able to apply what they have learned?" he said. "All this in same state that funds the school. Our charter school movement is creating graduates each year with no place in our society. Students have an important skill that is not deemed valuable by the state."
Information from: KITV-TV, http://www.kitv.com/index.html