• Hawaiian Native Title. Restoring Legitimacy to Hawai'i's Crown and Government Lands

Lambert Academic Publishing
Publication date:

(R. Hokulei Lindsey is Assistant Professor of Law at Southern Illinois University School of Law where she teaches real property law. Professor Lindsey specializes in and has published several articles on Native Hawaiian land rights and self-determination.)


Hawaiian Native Title, addresses the question: how is the ceded lands trust and the rights of the Native Hawaiian peoples in the trust perceived? Lindsey argues that the way this question is answered affects the fate of Native Hawaiian peoples. If the current paradigm of the State of Hawai‘i as trustee and Native Hawaiians as wards is accepted, the status quo of mismanagement and distrust is maintained. If ceded lands continue to be perceived as a public trust, their purpose “for the betterment of the conditions of native Hawaiians” may be frustrated by constitutional challenges. Moreover, the legitimacy of Native Hawaiian self-definition will be denied and the continuity of Hawaiian cultural rights and responsibilities will be shaped by others. If, however, trust is understood in terms of Hawaiian Native Title, it is removed from constitutional scrutiny, the protection and perpetuation of Hawaiian traditional and customary rights is promoted, and Native Hawaiian self-determination and sovereignty is facilitated. Lindsey concludes that reconceptualizing “ceded” lands in terms of Hawaiian Native Title provides the position necessary to structure justice on Native Hawaiian terms.

MATERIAS: Native Hawaiians, Aboriginal Title, crown lands, government lands, ceded lands trust, Hawaiian sovereignty, Hawaiian self-determination