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H.R. 15226, A Bill making both English and Hawaiian languages official languages in legislative proceedings of the Territory of Hawaii, April 19, 1904

Language was an issue affecting many people during Hawaii’s transition from an independent nation to a U.S. territory. Delegate Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole proposed making both Hawaiian and English official languages of Hawaii’s legislature for 10 years. He explained that since younger Hawaiians were educated in English, it could become the sole official language within a decade.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration

That for the period of ten years from and after the passage of this Act both the English and Hawaiian languages may be used as official languages in the legislative proceedings of said Territory

H.R. 15226, A Bill making both English and Hawaiian languages official languages in legislative proceedings of the Territory of Hawaii, April 19, 1904 That for the period of ten years from and after the passage of this Act both the English and Hawaiian languages may be used as official languages in the legislative proceedings of said Territory

Hawaii’s Second Delegate to Congress

Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, a Hawaiian prince, was the territory’s second delegate to Congress. Had an American coup not overthrown the monarchy in 1898, he likely would have become king. Instead, like his predecessor Robert W. Wilcox, he worked to better conditions for Hawaiians though legislative action. During his service from 1903 to 1923 in the U.S. House of Representatives, he helped Hawaii transition toward statehood. In 1919 Kalanianaole sponsored the first of many Hawaiian statehood bills. Hawaii became the fiftieth state of the Union in 1959.