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Native Hawaiians Still Waiting for Land Promised to Them in 1920

Native Hawaiians Still Waiting for Land Promised to Them in 1920

Thousands of Native Hawaiians have been waiting to receive land grants that they were promised by Congress in the 1920s

When Congress passed the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act in 1920, it seemed like the decades of mistreatment of native Hawaiians was finally nearing an end. The Act created a 200,000 acre land trust that was to be allocated to native Hawaiians for farms, ranches, and homes, giving them freedom from the crowded dirty tenements many had been essentially forced into following the US annexation of Hawaii.

Now, 95 years after the act was passed, about half of the land remains empty while some 29,000 Hawaiians remain on the waitlist. Many have been on the waitlist for decades, dreaming of the day they would finally be able to settle the lands they were promised. Complicating matters, much of the land that was developed was leased to non-hawaiians and developers, who in one instance are building a 1.4 million square-foot megamall. The Department of Hawaiian Homeland (DHHL), which manages the land trust, cites a lack of infrastructure as the primary reason for the slow land allocation, and officials insist they only sell land to raise money to build roads and electricity wires. Many are skeptical as allocations haven’t sped up since the sales, and it’s not as if they would be unable to build these amenities themselves if they were given the land.

At this point, many Hawaiians believe they will never receive access to the lands, and moreover, that the federal and state governments do not care about their plight. This disillusionment is understandable, despite some movement on state and federal levels to enforce the rules as written. Follow the link below for more information and stories from people directly affected by this injustice.

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