Bill Lowers Blood Quantum for Some Hawaiian Home Lands Successors
The descendants of the first Hawaiian Homestead Community of Kalamaula on the Island of Molokaʻi are set to welcome Governor David Ige, Hawaiʻi State Representative Lynn DeCoite and Department of Hawaiian Home Land Chairman Jobie Masagatani for the signing of House Bill 451 on Wednesday.
The legislation of HB451 affects certain successors to lessees of Hawaiian Home Lands. Currently, Lessees of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act can only designate a spouse, child, grandchild, brother or sister who have a blood quantum of one-quarter Hawaiian as a successor to their lease. The change that HB451 proposes would allow a Lessee to designate a spouse, child, grandchild, brother or sister with a blood quantum of one thirty-second Hawaiian as a successor to the lease.
“I am honored to share such a special moment with Hawaiian homesteaders on the island of Molokaʻi and particularly with the community of Kalamaula which was chosen as the very first Hawaiian homestead community back in 1923,” said Governor Ige. “This historic piece of legislation would not have been possible without Representative DeCoite, Chairman Masagatani and the Hawaiian Home Land beneficiaries who supported the bill.”
“I am very grateful to my colleagues in the legislature, to DHHL, along with all of the beneficiaries that took the time to travel to the capitol to testify and send in written testimony. HB 451 is the product of all of our hard work.” said Rep. Lynn DeCoite. “While we are celebrating today, our work is not over, we all still need to work with our Congressional delegation to get the congressional consent needed to make this change to happen. I am hopeful, we just need to stay focused, and keep our eyes on the final goal – to keep Hawaiians on the land as was the original intent of Prince Kuhio.”
Over the years, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Lessees in the older homestead communities have been requesting a reduction in the blood quantum requirement for successors, or rather, individuals who can succeed to a homestead lease upon the death of a Lessee. The reason Lessees have been asking for this blood quantum reduction for successorship is their descendants are lacking the required one-quarter blood quantum.
“There are many factors that our Hawaiian Homestead communities are experiencing such as aging and inter-racial marriages which are resulting in the dilution of their native Hawaiian blood quantum,” said DHHL Chairperson Jobie Masagatani. “This legislative amendment will provide Lessees the ability to keep homestead leases within their families which is the founding principle that the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and Prince Kuhio’s mission are based upon…returning native Hawaiians to the land.”
Governor Ige will sign House Bill into law at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 5, during a ceremony at Kulana Oiwi Hālau on Molokaʻi.