Waitlist Association registers with the Department of Interior

(Photo: Grant Maloy Smith, Pixabay)

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Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands to register as a self-governing organization serving the interests of thousands of native Hawaiians

News Release

Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands

The Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands (AHHL), founded in 2009, held its regular Board of Directors meeting last week and unanimously approved an application to register with the federal government as a self-governing organization serving the interests of thousands of native Hawaiians on the waitlist for a homestead land award under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.

“In 2016, President Obama’s administration completed regulations over the state of Hawaii on 2 significant areas of our land trust,” said Mike Kahikina, Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands board member. “At the SCHHA’s urging, the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations, we requested the federal regulations include a federal definition for homestead associations, governed by and for beneficiaries, many of which are several decades old. The Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands board action registers our national waitlist association to the federal list of Hawaiian Beneficiary Associations as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations.”

In 2009, Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations leaders recognized that most beneficiaries on the land had access to local homestead associations, but the growing list of thousands of beneficiaries on the waitlist had no organized homestead association. With the founding of Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands, initially led by Uncle Dickie Nelson from Hawaii Island, Blossom Feiteira from Maui and Robin Danner from Kauai, Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands reorganized in 2020 to a 6-person board including Kahikina, Vanessa Garcia-Phillips, Sharon Pua Freitas, Cora Schnakenberg, Liberta Albao, and Kainoa MacDonald, all on the waitlist for a homestead award.

“This is a great waitlist leadership team,” said Robin Danner, elected Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations Chairwoman. “They are driven and knowledgeable about the plight of being on the waitlist, working on meaningful solutions with the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations to remove barriers to waitlist beneficiaries, that frankly shouldn’t be there in the first place.”

In 2019, Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands and Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations partnered on the incorporation of Hawaiian Lending & Investments (HLI), a native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), similar to a tribal Community Development Financial Institution, receiving $150,000 from the US Treasury Department to begin designing access to capital products for those on the waitlist, but also to help existing lessees stay on the land rather than be returned to the waitlist by state government. HLI also partnered with 1st Tribal Lending to assist waitlist Hawaiians to qualify for and access mortgage loan capital to build or buy homes on homesteads.

“Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands and Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations know how to bring our own solutions, and not just wait for the state of Hawaii to figure everything out,” said Vanessa Garcia-Phillips, Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands board member. “Submitting our registration to the Department of Interior is a big step in claiming our rightful place of representing ourselves to make sure the Hawaiian Homes program promise by Congress is fulfilled.”

Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands is a national waitlist governed association founded in 2009, a member of the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations, dedicated to Ending the Hawaiian Home Land Waitlist by pursuing reforms and delivering services that create success for native Hawaiians to homestead and build mercantile businesses. For more information, contact info@hawaiianhomesteads.org.

About Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands

Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands is a national waitlist governed association founded in 2009, a member of the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations, dedicated to Ending the Hawaiian Home Land Waitlist by pursuing reforms and delivering services that create success for native Hawaiians to homestead and build mercantile businesses. For more information, contact info@hawaiianhomesteads.org.

Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands is a national waitlist governed association founded in 2009, a member of the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations, dedicated to Ending the Hawaiian Home Land Waitlist by pursuing reforms and delivering services that create success for native Hawaiians to homestead and build mercantile businesses.

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(Image: Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Land)
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