Kuhio’s Homestead Legacy
The Molokai community joined Hawaiian homesteaders in celebrating the birthday of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana`ole last Saturday evening. Held for the first at Mitchell Pauole Center, the annual event is organized by Ahupua`a o Molokai, a nonprofit organization that encompasses all Hawaiian Homestead Associations on Molokai.
“The Prince Kuhio celebration on Molokai is probably the most important event for me,” said Kilia Purdy-Avelino, one of event’s organizers. “As a homesteader, it is an honor and a responsibility to help coordinate an event where we can mahalo Prince Kuhio for advocating for his people, leaving a legacy, seven generations and going. We are blessed to be on this `aina where we can live, truly live, by turning our hands to the soil — huli ka lima i ka lepo, ola!”
Prince Kuhio was born on March 26, 1871, and when he was 21 years old, the Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown before he was called upon to become a successor to the throne. Despite the end of the sovereign rule, he worked tirelessly to better the lives of Hawaii’s people.
Prince Kuhio was elected as one of Hawaii’s delegates to Congress, and he served in public office for two decades. As a result of his efforts, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act was signed into law in 1921, and the state’s first homestead was established in Kalama`ula, Molokai the same year.
Along with honoring Kuhio himself, the event also celebrated Molokai homesteaders, who, without Kuhio, would not be living and working the land today. Homestead individuals and associations sold crafts and food, while attendees enjoyed hula and musical entertainment throughout the evening.