Earlier this month we reported the sad story of a single mother being evicted from her home in a Hawaiian Homelands development.
She believed that she was 50 percent Native Hawaiian…and had birth certificates to prove it. Her dreams were shattered when the department discovered an error in a 100-year old birth certificate…and determined she didn't meet the blood quantum requirement after all.
Advocates for native Hawaiians say this tragic case is just the beginning. Generation by generation there are fewer and fewer Hawaiians who can meet the 50% threshold. There are also fewer and fewer descendants of Homelands lessees even able to meet the lower thresholds required to inherit their parents' lease.
Of course…we have done many reports about the history of underfunding…mismanagement and corruption at the homelands department…which has broken the promise of the program. But this situation poses an equally ominous threat.
Congress imposed the 50 percent required when it passed the law in 1920. It is now obsolete.
Our congressional delegation needs to make reform of this program a priority…so that it can be available to Native Hawaiians for generations to come.