New Association Forms to Serve Beneficiaries of Homestead Act

Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands

1050 Queen Street, Suite 200 Honolulu, Hawai`i 96814

info@ahhl.org www.hawaiiansforhomesteadlands.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

January 20, 2011

Honolulu, Hawaii – A new homestead association formed this month, the Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands (AHHL).  Blossom Feiteira, Richard Nelson and Robin Danner are the founding officers; AHHL will advocate and deliver services to native Hawaiians that are waiting to receive a homestead under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA).

“We are very excited to be working on behalf of beneficiaries waiting for a residential, agricultural or pastoral homestead lease,” said Blossom Feiteira, a Native Hawaiian leader from Maui.  “AHHL has great energy, and we intend to add to the efforts of nonprofits like Hui Kako‘o that also works to advance the interest of waitlist Hawaiians.”

Feiteira has a long history of community advocacy, as a co-founder of Hawaiian Community Assets, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting Hawaiians to qualify for home loans to be able to accept lease awards from the state of Hawaii Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL). Feiteira is also a former President of Hui Kako‘o saying, “Given the tremendous demand and needs in the waitlist community, AHHL is definitely needed to add energy to the work of other organizations.”

Richard Nelson, Hawaii Island, is also a long time community activist and advocate promoting the rights of native Hawaiians on the waiting list, as well as fair and adequate funding by state government to the DHHL to fulfill the mission of the HHCA.

“Founding AHHL is not only a privilege, but also a responsibility,” said Nelson from his Hawaii Island home.  “After 80 plus years as a land trust, a state government that has had 50 years of free land from the ceded land inventory transferred to it under the Statehood Act in exchange for administering the Hawaiian Home Land trust, yet only 8,000 land awards made to Hawaiians.  We really see AHHL as an additional partner to the work of so many great beneficiary serving organizations.  There is work to do, and AHHL will most definitely begin immediately in serving our stated constituency of native Hawaiians on the waitlist of DHHL.  These are exciting times.”

AHHL has developed its strategic plan, which will focus on delivering information to eligible families for homestead awards, working with DHHL to advance homesteading, and partnerships on projects that assist waitlist families to successfully homestead their lands, in particular, accessing resources to farm or ranch Hawaiian Home Lands.  AHHL will be applying to become a member of the Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homeland Assembly (SCHHA) next month, to join nearly 30 homestead associations located statewide that are entirely focused on homestead land issues.

Robin Danner, the third founding incorporator of AHHL is from Kauai, and the President of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, a 10-year community development nonprofit operating a policy center, a community loan fund and asset building initiatives for native Hawaiians.  “Forming AHHL with Uncle Dickie and Blossom is really an exciting endeavor,” said Danner.  “We are looking forward to working with DHHL, with the SCHHA, and most definitely engaging the priorities of AHHL at the CNHA policy center.”

The Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands is a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the tenets of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and serving families to prosper on Hawaiian home lands.  To inquire or join AHHL, email info@ahhl.org.

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