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United States Transfers Federal Ownership of Land of Hawaiian Origin | News, Sports, Jobs

By on June 16, 2021 0



FILE – In this December 30, 2004 file photo of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center building in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, where geophysicists from the National Weather Service Pacific Tsunami Warning Center monitor computer tracking systems monitoring tsunami activity or tidal waves in the Pacific Ocean. The United States gives the native Hawaiians surplus land in compensation for acres that were intended for homestead but used instead by the government. On Monday, June 14, 2021, officials said the transfer was an attempt to help right the harm done to the indigenous peoples of Hawaii. It includes the Ewa Beach lands and helps fulfill the terms of a settlement agreement authorized by Congress in 1995. (AP Photo / Ronen Zilberman, File)

HONOLULU (AP) – The United States is giving excess land to native Hawaiians in compensation for acres that were intended for homestead but used instead by the federal government. The land transfer also attempts to help right the wrongs done to Hawaii’s indigenous people, officials said on Monday.

The 80 acres (32 hectares) of Ewa Beach, formerly used for the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, will eventually provide up to 400 homes while helping to meet the conditions of a settlement authorized by Congress in 1995 to compensate native people. Hawaiians for 1,500 acres (607 hectares) that were set aside for homelands but subsequently acquired and used by the federal government for other purposes, officials said.

US Home Secretary Deb Haaland’s voice choked with emotion during the announcement on Monday.

“Yes, it is a happy day, but it is also a sad day because we remember the tragedy that has befallen Native Hawaiians throughout their tumultuous history.” said Haaland, the first Native American woman to head a U.S. Cabinet agency. “Since that time our country has learned a lot. And now we are in a time when we recognize the importance of healing the generational traumas that have caused pain and grief. “

The Hawaiian House Commission Act of 1920 was designed to ensure economic self-sufficiency for Hawaiians by allowing them to use land for a living. Those with at least 50% Hawaiian blood can apply for a 99-year lease for $ 1 per year.

The transfer of land to Hawaii’s Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is a step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go, US Representative KaialiÊ»i Kahele said, noting that around 11,000 people are waiting for residential homes. in Oahu. Statewide, there are 28,788 on a waiting list for land, according to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

It’s exciting to see Haaland leading the department, said Kahele, who is of Hawaiian descent.

“You hear the passion in his voice” he said. “She understands the generational trauma caused to Indigenous peoples in this country by the federal government over the past 100 to 200 years. “

The transfer “Helps to repair the wrongs of past policy”, US Under Secretary of Commerce Don Graves said.

There is no timeline for the development of the properties yet.