Left to right: Malie Foundation’s Kahanu Smith, Ni‘ihau Manaleo Kuuipolani Kanahele Wong, County of Kaua‘i Economic Development Specialist Nalani Brun, Ni‘ihau Manaleo Kahea Kaohelaulii Faria, and Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. Missing in photo is Ni‘ihau Manaleo Leiana Pahulehua.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the County of Kaua‘i and the Malie Foundation to facilitate the support of the preservation of the Ni‘ihau language, according to county news release.

“I am very excited about this agreement because with each generation, the Ni‘ihau language is becoming more and more at risk of extinction,” Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said. “The only native speakers of Hawaiian remaining are living on Ni‘ihau and on the west side towns of Kaua‘i, with a few families in Anahola.”

Through this MOU, the County of Kaua‘i agrees to provide support to the Malie Foundation and their experts to locate and secure funding for projects that will help with the support of preserving the Ni‘ihau language.

In addition, the Malie Foundation and their experts agree to formulate programs and initiatives such as a school curriculum, workshops, educational tools, and provide support for Ni‘ihau people as Manaleo and community members. The Malie Foundation will also advise the county regarding innovative ideas to preserve the Ni‘ihau language.

“With approximately 300 native speakers of Hawaiian left in the world, it is in the best interest of all to support the revitalization and normalization of olelo Kanaka,” Carvalho said. “I’m proud to support this initiative which could set a global precedence in language revitalization all around the world.”