By the time Hawaii became a state, in 1959, the Hawaiian language had lost a critical mass of native speakers. According to one study, fewer than 30 students were studying Hawaiian at the University of Hawai‘i’s flagship campus during the school year that began in 1960. Other indigenous languages were undergoing their own protracted deaths—roughly 230 of them went extinct at some point between 1950 and 2010. In the ’60s, estimates suggest that fewer than 2,000 people could speak Hawaiian fluently, and just a few dozen of them were children. But then something remarkable happened. An unlikely Hawaiian renaissance blossomed in the ’60s and into the ’70s, initially driven by artists who sought to reclaim traditional music and dance.