PAPAKOLEA – A Story of Hawaiian Land

In this fascinating and meticulously researched documentary, kupuna (elders) recall their fierce struggle to establish a native homestead, real estate now valued in the millions… where residents must maintain fifty percent Native Hawaiians blood quantum to retain their ninety-nine year leases.

TRT:                          56 min.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting Silver Award for
Independent Programming, Chicago Intl Film Festival Merit Award Arts & Humanities, National Education Silver Apple,  International CINE Golden Eagle.


Under constant threat of losing their land to corporate agriculture and federal government control, Native Hawaiians in a small rocky corner of land called “Papakolea” petitioned Congress to protect their homesteads under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (1920). Their appeal, initiated by the women of this small squatters community, struggled against poverty and racism to win the support of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the U.S. Congress. The film introduces us to the elders who made this homestead possible, shared in the most authentic personalized style befitting their quiet struggle and determination. Lee connects events of the past with the political and social conflicts of today’s Native Hawaiians who continue to fight for rights to their lands. 


Hawaii, history, culture

Documentary, history, culture

Tribute, educational, history

Educational, history, culture