A lot of us have been blessed to own a home and live on what many (like we do) feel is really Hawaiian land. The lands of these islands were illegally taken from the Hawaiian people so many years ago. The state and local governments are not doing right by Hawaiian interests and never will, as so many recent and past injustices have shown.
I believe that the majority of us love these islands for all the right reasons. I would like to propose a little something that may help perpetuate Hawaiian studies and traditions for everyone to learn about, enjoy and respect.
I propose that the private sector can do better for these islands than the short-sighted government agencies. I hope that what I’m proposing and what I am doing personally will catch on. I have always said that I am just looking after the Hawaiian land I have the great pleasure of living on. So, when we pass away or sell our hale, a percentage of the sale price (or profit) will be set aside to give back to further Hawaiian culture.
I only own the lumber, nails, roof and all the materials that built my house and the sweat equity and hard work I put into building it, but not the land. When I or my ohana decide to sell the property, a percentage of the profit that reflects the land’s worth will be diverted directly from our family trust to a local Hawaiian nonprofit charter school or a local institution that teaches Hawaiian traditions as a part of their studies, keeping it out of the state and local governments corrupt, inept and wasteful hands.
I take this action not as a charity, but out of pure respect and love for Hawaii, Hawaiian traditions and the Hawaiian people, what Hawaii and her people have been through, and also for how blessed I am to be here. It just seems right.
To anyone who can, I would encourage you to join me by including something like this in your last will and testament or sale plans. It doesn’t matter how small or large — I hope you choose to pay your respects to this great land, its traditions and its indigenous people.
Every homeowner with equity in their property could do something, no matter how large or small. It can be done easily by including it in the sale of your hale as a donation or in your final wishes. Take care of your ohana to be sure, but I urge you to consider to do what you can, large or small, to pay back for the great chance we have to live here.
If you don’t already know, take a moment to learn the Hawaiian history regarding land use, how it was governed, and also study our sordid history that allows us to be on it. It is something that is not taught in our schools. We certainly had no idea.
We can’t reverse the pain and anguish caused by both past injustices and current ones. There is no way that I can understand the pain; I’ve never walked in those shoes. I think this is something all of us homeowners can do, big or small, to honor the Kanaka Maoli.
Let’s all volunteer our time to help in any way we can to give back and keep Hawaii Hawaiian!
Dan and Melanie Lewis are residents of South Kona