Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2024

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Ronald Steiner


The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA) of 1920 is a crucial legislation for Native Hawaiian rights. The HHCA addresses the socio-economic disparities that Native Hawaiians face, especially after the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy by the United States in 1893. The HHCA entails over 200,000 acres of land for homesteading to Native Hawaiians to preserve Native Hawaiian culture and self-sufficiency. Despite the purpose of the HHCA, multiple challenges have accumulated over the years - precisely the landmark case of Kalima v. State of Hawaii. Kalima v. State of Hawaii brought forth issues from 1959 through 1988 but became a civil lawsuit in 1991- 2023. The problems highlighted in the cases involved land ownership rights and the lack of fulfillment by government obligations towards the Native Hawaiian population. Our research methodology entails interviewing Native Hawaiians deprived of their land ownership rights and conducting an extensive meta-analysis of court documents and published articles. In our research, we hope to uncover the systemic issues that have prevented Native Hawaiians from fully benefiting from the HHCA. We aim to identify the root causes of these challenges and understand how structural barriers such as bureaucratic inefficiencies, lack of resources, and discriminatory practices have contributed to the failure of the Hawaiian Homelands program. By shedding light on these issues, we seek to address and ensure Native Hawaiians can access their rightful land ownership benefits. We aim to amplify the voices of those directly impacted by these injustices and empower them to advocate for their rights within the legal system. Ultimately, our research is driven by a commitment to social justice and equity for Native Hawaiians. By exposing and addressing the structural barriers to accessing their land rights, we can contribute to a more just society where Native Hawaiians can thrive and preserve their cultural heritage.


Presented at the Spring 2024 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.