FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 26, 2015
NELSON V. HAWAIIAN HOMES COMMISSION TRIAL BEGINS MONDAY JUNE 29TH
(Honolulu, HI) – On June 29, 2015 starting at 8:30 a.m., circuit judge Jeannette Castagnetti will hear evidence regarding whether the State of Hawai‘i has failed to fulfill its constitutional mandate to provide the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands with sufficient funding for its operations.
In 2007, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, on behalf of six Native Hawaiian beneficiaries, sued the State of Hawaiʻi over its failure to sufficiently fund the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), and the DHHL for its failure to seek sufficient funding from the State. By the time the lawsuit, known as Nelson v. Hawaiian Homes Commission, reached the Hawai‘i Supreme Court in 2012, two of the original six plaintiffs had passed away.
“In 1978 the waiting list was at 5,700. By the end of 2013, it was over 26,000. Without adequate funding, the DHHL is unable to fulfill its purpose: to return Native Hawaiians to the land.” said Moses Haia, Executive Director for the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation. Haia continued “Our clients and the community have been waiting a long time for the State to fulfill its responsibility, the time is now.”
Judge Castagnetti’s courtroom is on the fifth floor of Kauikeaouli Hale, 1111 Alakea Street.
About the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation:
Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, public-interest law firm concentrating in the unique area of Native Hawaiian Rights law. NHLC provides legal assistance to families and communities engaged in perpetuating the culture and traditions of Hawai`i’s indigenous people. Founded by several grass roots leaders in 1974, NHLC was initially a volunteer-run referral service. The high demand for direct help, especially from families in need of legal assistance to protect their ancestral lands, transformed NHLC into a law firm that now provides legal help to approximately 400 clients annually. For more information, visit www.nhlchi.org