Native Hawaiians residing in Kalama Valley resist eviction and oppose the plan of redeveloping land for residential and commercial use. Many farmers were using the land for housing and agricultural use, but being evicted meant that they would lose their home. Many evicted residents were pig farmers, vegetable farmers, and even construction workers. The protest fought for Hawaiian recognition, land and rights, also serving as the beginning of the Hawaiian renaissance.
After World War II, the United States declared martial law on the island of Kahoolawe, with the intention of using a sacred place as a bombing range until the late 1980’s. In this time, the title was transferred to the US Navy with the conditions that it was managed as a suitable habitation when they were not using it, with the eventual return of the land. An organization called Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana (PKO) filed a lawsuit to halt bombing, however the Navy argued against returning the island to the state. They argued that the island was not only crucial to national security, but unrecoverable due to the leftover explosives on land that had not exploded yet. Protesters argued that the Navy did not fulfill their responsibilities of controlling the erosion and preparing for eventual return of the land. In 1977, five men traveled to Kahoolawe, hoping to stop the current bombing and eventually get the navy to stop the bombing altogether. They had plans to leave two men there to prohibit the navy from resuming bombing, however the Navy still resumed with the bombing. In the process, some men were intercepted in the water and sent back, some made it to Kahoolawe and were shortly detained, escorted back, and charged with trespassing. George Helm and Kimo Mitchell decided to travel to Kahoolawe to rescue the remaining two men who stayed on Kahoolawe but never made it back, signaling the disappearance and unsolved mystery of George and Kimi.
In 1977, warning horns were blown, signaling that the police were coming to evict the people living in the Waiāhole/Waiākane area. Supporters camped out to defend the valleys, human barricades even forming across Kamehameha highway. In the mid 1995’s, farmers found out that millions of gallons of water was diverted from valleys to the sugar plantations. The water was transported through a ditch, now known as the Waiāhole Ditch.This meant that the farmers were deprived of the fresh waters used to grow taro and other crops. In 1994, American Factors (AMFAC) was found dumping unused diverted water and the Waiāhole-Waikāne Community Association (WWCA) public outcry forced temporary return of dumped water to the windward streams. AMFAC had threatened to reclaim the water but led to the community staging a blockade, effectively dissuading from the retake of the stream waters.
The Hilo International Airport was built on General Lyman Field, and was known to have occupied the use of ceded lands and state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) for airports. On Sept. 4 1978, 51 native Hawaiian community members, news reporters and cameramen participated in a protest against letting the state occupy Hawaiian Home lands for airports. They blocked airport access roads that caused traffic to occur, passengers to miss flights, etc. Amidst their protest, they entered restricted areas in the airport, causing the airport to close down and eventually were arrested. This protest lasted for more than four hours.
In Hawaiian, Hale Mohalu translates to “the house of comfort.”
Ever since Captain Cookʻs arrival on the Hawaiian islands, there were a lot of foreign diseases introduced to the Hawaiians, such as syphilis, influenza, smallpox, measles, leprosy, etc. Leprosy which is also known as hansenʻs disease eventually became a huge problem and ended up affecting the Hawaiians a lot. Those who had leprosy were first isolated in Kalaupapa in Molokai. Hale Mohalu was established in 1949 as an alternative to Kalaupapa for those with Hansenʻs Disease on Oahu, specifically built so that these patients could have closer access to medical care. The federal government who had initial ownership decided to slowly give it up to the state with the same intention that the state would use it to care for and give comfort to, for these patients. In 1978, when the state got full control or ownership, they evicted the patients over the course of several years. Eventually in 1983, Hale Mohalu was demolished and the remaining patients were also evicted. Patients and supporters fought against eviction when forcefully removed by holding signs with sayings “We are human beings and not property.” Arrests were made multiple times, about 18 Hale Mohalu defendants and protestors were charged with “obstructing government operations.”
Sand island was originally a place for storing industrial waste. In the 1970s, Native Hawaiians decided to clean up any garbage or waste residing on the island and build their new homes there. However, in the 1980s, the State of Hawaii wanted to reclaim the island for industrial purposes, to build a 180 acre public park and decided to evict the Native Hawaiians who were living there. The Native Hawaiians were legally named “the Squatters,” but despite being called this, strongly believed that it was Hawaiian land that they were residing on. In the end, they had asked for just a small portion of the island in order to build a cultural village. This cultural village would be a place to teach the younger generation knowledge of the ocean and shoreline. In the end, their efforts failed and they were arrested and evicted, all without compensation.
In the process of planning the H-3 Highway and where it would run, the original intention was to be used for quick military transportation, running from Kaneohe to Pearl Harbor and Hickam Air Force Base. However, the highway ended up running from North Halawa Valley through Ha’iku Valley. These valleys were considered areas of cultural significance and having the highway run through them would impact a lot of historic sites, such as Ha’iku valley, Luluku banana patch area, Halawa Valley, Moanalua Valley, etc. There was a lot of controversy behind the highway development, Halawa Valley and Hoʻomaluhia Park and Pali Golf Course being the most impacted. Halawa Valley is a historic site, and in the planning of the highway, it was said that it would pass through a major heiau site, Hale o Papa and Luakini. For Hoʻomaluhia Park and Pali Golf Course, a lawsuit “Stop H-3” was filed to prohibit the highway from running through the area. Amidst the controversy and development, many Heiaus such as Hale o Papa, House of the Mother of Creation, and Ali’i temple were destroyed and different associations such as Stop H-3 Association were formed.
Mākua Valley was originally a place for healing or pu’uhonua (refuge) for Kanaka Maoli. At the time the valley was considered an underdeveloped valley, therefore the valley became a place for houseless, unemployed, or those who wanted to live a more traditional Hawaiian lifestyle. In these spaces, residents survived living in Makua valley by building their own space and sharing any labor. For more than two decades, residents have been constantly evicted and the place was used for different commercial purposes. In 1977, a major eviction event occurred because the US military wanted to take over for their military security and training operations. Protests occurred where Kanaka Maoli wanted to claim Mākua back for the people. In 1982, following Hurricane Iwa that destroyed the homes of people living at Makua Beach, the State stopped residents from rebuilding their homes and even bulldozed remaining homes, to demolish whatever was left.People were arrested under the claim of “obstructing governmental operations.” However, many argued that the land belonged to the Hawaiian nation and that they had the right to perform traditional Hawaiian practices. Throughout these protests, there were several hundred people who rallied in support for Makua residents.
In the East Maui Water Struggle, it was a struggle between the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation against the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) and Alexander & Baldwin and Maui County (A&B). A&B is one of the big five companies focusing on land and agriculture development and to do so, they needed East Maui’s water. Hence, diverting East Mauiʻs waters for sugar plantations, commercial use and diverse agriculture use. In order to do so, they needed a permit and environmental analysis to ensure that this process would not affect the land or the people. Later, the Hawaii supreme court permitted A&B to divert millions of gallons of water per day from land, but A&B eventually violated the state law and ever since their lease had ended, they reverted to using temporary permits to continue the water diversion process. Over many years, this has been affecting kalo farmers because this results in reducing farming land and deprives the people and farmers the access and right to live on ancestral lands. This heavily impacted traditional Hawaiian practices such as kalo farming, hurting native ecosystems, etc.
Hawaiians believe that the taro is an ancestor of the Hawaiian people and should not be altered, however to researchers, they want to find a way to protect traditional taro. Their means would be to insert disease resistant genes that come from rice, wheat and any other related crops into the taro to prevent any modern plant diseases. In 2007, protestors who did not support this research project gathered at the State Capitol for a rally. They claimed that they do not want help because they worry that the modified crops will contaminate traditional Hawaiian taro breeds. The main issue of this research is about preserving the purity of the taro because any genetic engineering could cause allergies and create new toxins in foods or could cause any unintended effects. Originally, the state had stalled on a bill that Hawaiians were supporting to place a statewide temporary prohibition on taro genetic modification.
In 2015, Governor David Ige announced that the Thirty Meter Telescope would be built on Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea is known to be one of the most sacred volcanos full of Native Hawaiian religion and culture, and is a sacred place for Native Hawaiians to indulge in worshiping the Hawaiian gods. In hopes of ending the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope and for any future developments on Mauna Kea, there have been peaceful protests by Mauna Kea protectors on both Mauna Kea and on Oahu. Additionally, a petition opposing the telescope was signed by more than 53,000 protectors.
In 2014 and again in 2022, the fuel storage tanks at Red Hill in Moanalua leaked fuel into the water systems, affecting residents who were living in the area. Families who unknowingly consumed the contaminated water were affected by serious illnesses and symptoms. Numerous organizations and families came out to protest for the closing of Red Hill and for the Navy to take responsibility for what had happened. Many organizations came together to show support with the intention of closing Red Hill, for example Sierra Club of Hawaii, Oahu Water Protectors, and especially military families who were impacted the most by the incident. For Hawaiians, this incident was considered harming the elements of their culture because of the effects in harming both the land and the ability of people to survive in their homes.
In 2022, Mayor Ritch Roth made an emergency proclamation to close off Waipio Valley but only allow certain valley residents and farmers to access the road. Waipio Valley has been a popular place for many Hawaiʻi residents, especially for cultural practitioners, fishermen, surfers, and more. There have been debates in the past for Waipio Valley to be closed off to tour operators, but to be kept open for residents and individuals who “give back to Waipio” through their services. In response to this emergency proclamation, many individuals protested by blocking the county road leading to Waipio Valley, completely blocking any potential access.
Kākuhihewa is the 15th aliʻi ‘aimoku (ruling chief) of O‘ahu famously named in the mele “Kaulana Nā Pua.” Kākuhihewa was a kind and friendly chief who was born in Kūkaniloko and raised in the ‘Ewa moku. His primary endeavor was farming, and it is said that his abundant harvests on O‘ahu could be smelled from Kaua‘i.
Today, there is a state office building named after him in Kapolei.