In Honor of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole’s 136th Birthday
The Prince turned Congressman’s Legacy is still strong today.
Prince Jonah was born in 1871 on Kaua`I, and was educated on Oahu, in California, and finally in England. The Prince traveled widely in Europe and even joined the British Army to fight in the Second Boer War between 1899-1902.
In 1903, he was elected to US Congress, where he served until his death until 1922. It was in Congress that Kuhio had his biggest impact on the history of Hawaii; he was able to implement several laws which have given Hawaii its present-day identity, including the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act which passed congress and made into law in 1921.
The avowed purpose of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act was to rehabilitate Native Hawaiians, particularly in returning them to the land in order to enable the maintenance traditional ties to the land. The Hawaiian politicians who testified in favor of the act specifically referred to the devastation of the Hawaiian population and the loss of the land, and the need for Hawaiians to be able to grow and eat kalo (taro).
The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act included a controversial definition of "Native Hawaiians" as persons with 50 % or more Hawaiian blood (Prince Kuhio, Hawaii's non-voting delegate to Congress, had wanted a blood quantum of no less than 1/32)
After Hawaii officially became a State in the Union in 1959, the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL), a state agency, was created to so the State of Hawaii could self-govern homestead lands, though the Federal Government still retains a “rubber stamp” authority on any legal changes made by the DHHL.
K?hi? died on 7 January 1922. His body was laid to rest with the rest of his royal family at the Royal Mausoleum in Nu?uanu on the island of O?ahu. His life and work will be honored on Molokai on March 24 with a ceremony at Kulana O`iwi.