The spending practices of the Hawaiian Home Lands program have come under scrutiny and sparked concerns about race, according to a report by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
The program, created in 1920, was established to provide homesteads to indigenous Hawaiians, but the spending practices have raised concerns and sparked debate.
Some have accused the program of mismanaging funds, while others have pointed to the lack of progress in providing homesteads to eligible Hawaiians. The controversy has led to calls for increased transparency and accountability, with many calling for a thorough investigation into the spending practices of the program.
The issue has also taken on a racial dimension, with state Sen. Kurt Fevella telling the Hawaiian Home Lands Commission that Gov. Josh Green’s pick to lead Hawaii’s housing efforts lacks “passion” for Hawaiians.
Fevella said Nani Medeiros, who is Hawaiian, has “nothing, or no knowledge, about our Hawaiian people. I don’t care if she says she’s Hawaiian. Just remember now, the devil also was an angel. Remember that. So just because you’re Hawaiian doesn’t mean you have the passion for the people.”
“I found it highly offensive that he brought my race into question, my Hawaiian-ness, and not knowing anything about Hawaiians,” Medeiros told the Star-Advertiser. “He said, ‘Remember, the devil was also an angel. Remember that.’ Who else was he talking about? His point was I had no business being at the table because I’m not qualified and I’m the devil.”
As the debate continues, many are calling for a resolution that prioritizes the needs of indigenous Hawaiians and addresses the underlying issues affecting the program. The situation highlights the ongoing challenges and inequalities faced by native Hawaiians, and the need for a more equitable and just solution.