After the U.S. supported the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, the population of Native Hawaiians living on the islands began to decline. Within a couple of decades, many were suffering from disease and poverty, and most, displaced from their ancestral land, lived in slum-like tenements in Honolulu.
In 1921, Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana’ole, a non-voting delegate to the U.S. Congress, successfully lobbied for the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. It established a homesteading program that aimed to return Native Hawaiians to their land.
One hundred years later, the homesteading program has been through various iterations, but in large part has failed to achieve its goals. Many of the Native Hawaiians most in need have been unable to access land.