After almost 100 years since the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, ~9,700 leases given, and over 27,000 on the waitlist, Representative Gene Ward formed a study group to look into why there has been so little progress and what, if anything, could be done about it to fulfill the Congress's and the Prince's promise of resettling Hawaiians on the 203,000 acres that were provided.
Ward's office interviewed every living former director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, past and present trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and stakeholders in the Hawaiian and real estate communities.
The goal of this project is the fulfillment of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921. To do this will require many voices, sound reasoning, and a demand for fairness with persuasive voices. Our hope is to create the grassroots support and political will necessary to bring about real change in how the Act of Congress is perceived and implemented that can bring about a robust State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, ultimately leading to the fulfillment of returning eligible Hawaiians to their lands dedicated for them by Prince Kūhiō's actions over 100 years ago.
Lastly, this project is of the view that the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act is as relevant today as it was when first passed, and perhaps even more so given the housing crisis in Hawaii and that Native Hawaiians comprise the largest homeless population in the islands.
Implementing this Act of Congress of 1921 can thus have a tremendous impact if fulfilled. That is the hope, that is the vision of this project.
Below you will find an 8-minute short film and full, 26-minute documentary. A big mahalo to Dennis Lee and Cornerstone Media for producing this project and to Mr. Oz Stender, OHA Trustee Peter Apo, and Peter Savio for their participation!
Would you like to circulate the Broken Promises video and research paper to your family, friends, or organization? Present and discuss in your organization, club, church, or hold a town hall meeting?
This is a small group of people who will create the ongoing strategy and action plans to build more Hawaiian Homes.
Many Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians have asked Representative Ward why he is doing this multimedia research project about Hawaiian Homes.
His response has always been the same: He starts by saying he has no hidden agenda, no dog in this race, and no political constituency of Hawaiians in his district of Hawaii Kai and he is not running for higher office. He then cites his time in the Peace Corps, experience in the legislature, and his 12 years as Dr. George Kanahele’s business partner training Hawaiians in business while he was writing Ku Kanaka, and Ward was writing his Ph.D. dissertation at UH about Native Hawaiians in business.
He usually ends a discussion of his involvement in this 18-month project by paraphrasing President John F. Kennedy upon his establishment of the Peace Corps, “We are not in the remote villages of the world because the Russians are there, or because we’re seeking friends for America, we’re there because it is right!” Can there be anything more right than fulfilling a promise to the Hawaiian people that was made 100 years ago-just 30 years after they surrendered the Hawaiian Kingdom?
This project was designed and structured to focus only on the implementation of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921 and has nothing to do with other Hawaiian issues, such as sovereignty, OHA, lineal succession, or the TMT. It is only about building the Hawaiian Homes that were mandated by the Act of 1921 and how given the facts of this research project, we should be doing a much better job than we have done for the last 100 years. Bottom Line: Representative Ward is just a messenger.