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Conclusions And Recommendations

During the past 18 months, the Native Hawaiians Study Commission has learned a great deal about the culture, needs, and concerns of native Hawaiians. This education has come through study by the Commission and its staff of expert resource documents and data, public testimony from hundreds of native Hawaiians during dozens of hours of public hearings, and close to 100 written comments from individual citizens, private organizations in Hawaii, and State and Federal government agencies on the Commission's Draft Report of Findings. From these contributions, the Commission has compiled what we believe to be the most extensive and up-to-date summary available on the socioeconomic and cultural conditions of native Hawaiians. In addition, the Commission has collected and analyzed important material on key legal and historical factors that may affect matters of concern to many native Hawaiians, such as reparations and land ownership. We also believe that our report to Congress is an important step toward increasing public awareness of native Hawaiians, their history, culture, and special needs.


1. Social, Economic, and Cultural Concerns

The detailed report of the Commission includes extensive data on social, cultural, and economic conditions. This information, in summary, supports the following conclusions:

  • After the arrival of foreigners in Hawaii in 1778, the native population drastically declined, both as a percentage of the population and in absolute numbers. This trend was reversed in the beginning of this century when the part-Hawaiian population began a rapid increase, a trend that continues today.
  • The native Hawaiian population now constitutes about 19 percent of the State of Hawaii's total population. The population is the youngest, in terms of median age, among Hawaii's ethnic groups and this fact has important implications for education and employment not only today, but in the future as well.
  • Native Hawaiians have followed the statewide trend in moving toward the island of Oahu. The Hawaiian Homes program has not alleviated this movement since the majority of applicants desire residential homesteads on Oahu. The reason is obvious: employment opportunities on Oahu are more numerous than on the other islands.
  • Although education for native Hawaiians has improved, many problems still remain. Educational data show that native Hawaiian students have high absenteeism and drop-out rates, score lower in some standardized tests, and many do not go on to college. Thus, there are fewer native Hawaiians enrolled at the University of Hawaii and fewer native Hawaiians in the educational workforce. These educational data explain to some degree the problems of native Hawaiians in the employment and income areas.

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