The Great Mahele

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In 1848, An event called the “Mahele” changed the traditional Hawaiian system of land tenure from communal use to private ownership (Kameeleihiwa 3). Events in the past of Hawaii, like the Mahele of 1848, left a devastating mark in Hawaii’s history; It helped eventually lead to the overthrow of the monarch and still affects today’s problems in Hawaii. To understand the native Hawaiian’s perspective of the Mahele, one must first learn the Hawaiian mentality. In Hawaiian culture it is believed that Wakea (sky-father) and Papahanaumoku (earth-mother) are the parents of the Hawaiian islands. If anything the Hawaiian islands belonged to Wakea and Papa. The islands, being born from an akua (God) was therefore an akua itself. Land in…show more content…
This also allowed the makaainana (commoners) to purchase kuleanas, or small lots in fee simple. The Land Commission made awards to the makaainana and were called kuleana awards.
During this time if the makaainana wanted to legally own the land they had been occupying for generations, they had to register claims. Only a few of the makaainana submitted their claims and fewer were even awarded lands. Less than one percent of the land were awarded to the people whom had actually worked the land. The total of the lands which were awarded to them was 28,658 acres (Andrade 84). Char 4
Till today it is still a mystery as to why there were so little kuleana claims made and why there were less awarded probably because the Land Commissions failed to keep any records of its deliberations. Some question that maybe some of the makaainana wanted to keep depending on the Alii Nui and continue to share a bond with someone who held more power (Kameeleihiwa 296). Most makaainana even if they were awarded a kuleana claim had struggled to produced goods for sale without being granted full access of the resources of their ahupuaa. The Mahele didn’t give the alii the ability to direct labor of the makaainana and that ability was then replaced by a system of taxation. Now it was apparent that fee-simple ownership was the rule (Kester 58).
Most of the kuleana awards were lands that used to be claimed by the Moi, Alii Nui, and konohiki whom had already given up ⅔ of their
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