Big Island Now: 100th Anniversary of Hawaiian Homes Commission Act
Native Hawaiians came together in Washington, DC to mark a milestone this weekend—the centennial of the signing of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA). Leaders from the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) joined in the celebrations with members of Hawaiʻi’s Congressional delegation and other Native Hawaiian organizations.
The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920 is the legacy of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole who served two decades as Hawaiʻi’s delegate to the U.S. Congress. It was signed into law on July 9, 1921 and set aside 203,000 acres of land to create a permanent homeland for Native Hawaiians where they could build homes and businesses and a future for their families.
“Prince Kūhiō was known as a prince for the people because of his tireless work for his lāhui at home and abroad,” said CNHA President & CEO Kūhiō Lewis. “It is an honor to continue his legacy in the work we do every day to provide opportunities and a voice for our people.”
To mark the law’s 100th anniversary, Lewis and CNHA Senior Vice President Mehanaokala Hind were among about 100 people who participated in a weekend long commemoration—including an opening ceremony Friday morning, a visit to Prince Kūhiō’s office, a lei draping at the King Kamehameha Statue at the U.S. Capitol, and blessings of the offices of Congressmen Kaialiʻi Kahele and Ed Case.
Hind provided the opening ʻoli as U.S. Secretary to the Department of the Interior Deb Haaland arrived for a special reception at the Library of Congress Friday evening. Haaland is the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary.
The weekend celebration wrapped up with a breakfast hosted by CNHA and a lūʻau reception at George Washington University on Saturday.