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Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, Prince of the People

Today is a state holiday in Hawai’i commemorating the birthday of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole Piʻikoi. As an adult, he was frequently called Ke Ali‘i Maka‘āinana (Prince of the People), for the services he gave to the Hawaiian people.

Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana’ole, often called simply Prince Kūhiō, was born in Kōloa, Kaua’i, Hawai’i, on March 26, 1871. His parents were ali’i (of chiefly status) and when he was 13, his uncle King Kalākaua made a royal proclamation naming him a prince. He attended the best schools on the island and also in California and England. When he finished his education, his uncle sent him to Japan for a year in hopes that he would make an alliance by marriage while there. However, he returned unmarried and took a position as minister of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s Department of the Interior. After the sovereign Hawaiian Kingdom was overthrown and Queen Lili‘uokalani imprisoned in 1893, Robert William Kalanihiapo Wilcox led a rebellion in 1895 to overthrow the “Reform Government.” Prince Kūhiō joined Wilcox’s rebellion and after it failed, was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for misprision of treason. While he was serving his sentence, Elizabeth Kahanu Ka‘auwa came to visit him daily and they married after his release. Feeling that native Hawaiians were unwelcome in Hawai’i, the couple traveled throughout Europe and spent some time in South Africa, not returning home until fall 1901 when he first ran to be the non-voting delegate from Hawai‘i to the House of Representatives. He won and continued to serve Hawai’i as a delegate from 1902 to 1921.

J. Kuhio Kalamanole [sic], Hawaii [Congressional delegate Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana’ole] [between 1918 and 1921] Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.20812

While in office, Prince Kūhiō worked tirelessly to promote policies that benefited and advanced the Hawaiian people. He found early in his service in Washington, D.C. that people knew little about Hawai’i and he worked to educate them about Hawai’i, its culture, and people, by sponsoring trips to the islands for legislators out of his own pocket, so they could better understand the issues involved. During his tenure as delegate, he restored the Royal Order of Kamehameha I in 1903; introduced the first bill for Hawai‘i statehood (1919); introduced the Hawaiʻi National Park bill in 1916, which sought to establish a Hawaiʻi National Park covering land on Kilauea, Mauna Loa, and Haleakala; the establishment of the Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse; and worked to get funds for the construction of the Pearl Harbor naval base. His landmark achievement was working to introduce the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (1920), a homesteading program for native Hawaiian people sponsored by the government. Last July, Hawai’i celebrated the centennial of the program, which continues today; more than 10,000 Hawaiian families live on homestead lands administered by the commission.

Prince Kūhiō’s most important legislative achievement was his last. The Hawaiian Home Commission Act passed on July 9, 1921; he died of a heart attack and exhaustion in Wakīkī on January 7, 1922. He was given the last state funeral for an ali’i with full military honors at home in Hawai’i.


HD1121.H3 F7 Kalanianaole, Jonah Kuhio. The complaint of Hon. Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole.

KF26.T38 1920 United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Territories. Hawaiian homes commission act, 1920. Hearings before the Committee on Territories, United States Senate, Sixty-sixth Congress, third session, on H. R. 13500, a bill to amend an act entitled “An act to provide a government for the territory of Hawaii,” approved April 30, 1900, as amended, to establish an Hawaiian homes commission, and for other purposes…

KF27.T4 1920 United States. Congress. House. Committee on the Territories. Proposed amendments to the Organic act of the territory of Hawaii. Hearings before the Committee on the Territories, House of representatives, Sixty-sixth Congress, second session, on the rehabilitation and colonization of Hawaiians, and other proposed amendments to the Organic act of the territory of Hawaii and on the proposed transfer of the buildings of the Federal leprosy investigation station at Kalawao on the island of Molohai, to the territory of Hawaii. February 3, 4, 5, 7, and 10, 1920.

KF35 v. 59 Congressional Record 7455 (May 21, 1920)

Draft of Hawaiian Homes Commission Act amended by George McClellan, December 1920, William E. Borah Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.

KVJ1682 .A6 1841 Constitution and Laws of Hawaii (Sandwich Islands), 1841. In Hawaiian. Ke kumu kanawai, a me na kanawai o ko Hawaii pae aina. Ua kauia i ke kau ia Kamehameha III.

KVJ170.A311859 A4 1859  O na kanawai kivila o ko Hawaii pae aina, hooholoia i ka makahiki 1859 : a ua huiia me ka hope, kahi i paiia’i na kanawai i hoopau ole ia ma ke kanawai kivila, me na kuikahi me na aupuni e, a me na kanawai i hooholoia iloko o 1858-9.

KF32.T4 1940 United States. Congress.  House. Committee on the Territories. Amending section 73 of the Hawaiian organic act, approved April 30, 1900, as ammended … : report.

KF32.T4 1932 United States. Congress. House. Committee on the Territories. To amend the Hawaiian organic act … report.

KF32 .T4 1910 United States. Congress. House. Committee on the Territories. Report of the subcommittee on Senate bill 3360, amending the organic act of Hawaii …

KF32 .T4 1910a United States. Congress. House. Committee on the Territories. Amending organic act of Hawaii … Report.

KF27 .T4 1910e United States. Congress. House. Committee on the Territories. Amending the Organic act of Hawaii. Committee on the territories. Tuesday, March 15, 1910.

KFH401.5 .M33 1910  McCandless, Lincoln Loy. Amendment of Organic act of Hawaii, H.R. 13426. Supplemental statement of Mr. Lincoln L. McCandless … filed February 28, 1910 …

KF27.T4 1903b United States. Congress. House. Committee on the Territories. Hearings on House bill No. 6786 relating to territory of Hawaii. Sessions of Tuesday, December 15, 1903 and Wednesday, December 16, 1903.

KF27.P76 1916h United States. Congress. House. Committee on the Public Lands. National park in the territory of Hawaii: hearings …

LAW US Hawaii 3 1859 Hawaii. The civil code of the Hawaiian islands, passed in the year of our lord 1859: to which is added an appendix, containing laws not expressly repealed by the civil code; the session laws of 1858-9; and treaties with foreign nations.

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