David Y. Ige | DHHL PRESS RELEASE: Ceremony honoring the signing of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act
DHHL PRESS RELEASE: Ceremony honoring the signing of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act
Posted on July 9, 2021 in News, Newsroom
(Kapolei, Oahu) – Dignitaries and leaders of the Homestead Association gathered to commemorate the centenary of the signing of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA) at a ceremony at the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) Hale KalanianaÊ»ole Office in Kapolei, OÊ»ahu on July 9, 2021.
The socially distant event marked the beginning of the 100th year of the law, which was enacted on July 9, 1921 by President Warren G. Harding. The passage of the HHCA changed the Organic Act of 1900 to provide approximately 203,000 acres of former crown and government land of the Hawaiian Kingdom for settlement by Hawaiians with at least half of native Hawaiian ancestors. A homestead package is made available to beneficiaries of the law as a 99-year lease for $ 1 per year.
âHawaiian leaders of the time knew that the indigenous people of Hawaii were dying of disease and displacement from the country. The signing of the law marked a turning point for indigenous Hawaiians, âsaid William J. AilÄ, Jr., chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission was built for thousands of families to practice our language and culture. While there is still much to be done, we must rise to the task and honor the legacy that Prince KÅ«hiÅ left us.
As a condition of statehood, the HHCA was adopted as the provision of the Hawaii State Constitution with responsibility for parts of the compliance with the law that was given to the State of Hawaii. At the time, over 1,700 native Hawaiian families lived on Hawaiian Home Lands and nearly 2,500 applicants were on the waiting list.
â100 years ago this law made approximately 200,000 acres of public land available to provide direct benefits to indigenous Hawaiians by providing land. Today we are helping people meet their home needs with new products, âsaid Governor David Ige. âOn this important anniversary, we take a moment to recognize his efforts and those of other Hawaiian leaders. You have campaigned, negotiated and implemented a unique program that will continue to serve your employees in the 21st century. “
As of June 30, 2021, over 10,000 homestead beneficiaries and 28,792 native Hawaiians were on the waiting list. The ministry built over 4,000 of these homesteads over the past 25 years following multiple lawsuits and settlements that resulted in increased land holdings and funding for infrastructure development. DHHL recently received $ 78 million for capital improvement projects, the largest statutory capital improvement budget in the program’s history. The federal government has also provided millions in rental, utility and broadband aid as part of the COVID-19 recovery financing.
âOver the past 100 years, the HHCA has provided more than 10,000 homesteads for Native Hawaiian families, returned land to rightful owners, and redeemed an injustice committed many years ago. But we all have more work to do to fully realize Prince KÅ«hiÅ’s vision. And that’s what I’m focusing on as chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, âsaid Senator Brian Schatz. “To make this vision a reality, we passed the American rescue plan earlier this year, which included historic funding for Hawaiian Native American programs. And last month we passed bipartisan law to re-approve the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act – or NAHASDA. “
DHHL intends to hold a series of events over the next 12 months that will highlight the efforts of the first Hawaiian Homes Commission and Homesteaders, the success of which allowed the program to be fully established.
For more information on the centenary, visit dhhl.hawaii.gov/hhca100.