Law School's Ka Huli Ao Center receives $125,000 OHA contract

Contract to fund legal primer and community outreach on Native Hawaiian land issues

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Cynthia D. Quinn, (808) 956-6545
Director of Communications & External Relations, William S Richardson School of Law
Kapua Sproat, (808) 956-8411
Assistant Professor, Ka Huli Ao, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Jun 23, 2011

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) finalized an agreement with Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law to produce a legal primer and support community outreach on Native Hawaiian land issues, with a focus on quiet title law.
OHA has committed $125,000 for Ka Huli Ao to research and publish a legal primer, and to collaborate with grassroots groups on Kaua`i, O`ahu, Maui, Moloka`i, Hawai`i Island, and/or Lana`i, to conduct community outreach meetings; and to distribute copies of the primer. To support this work, Ka Huli Ao will hire a post-JD Fellow and two student research assistants. 
Quiet title actions are a judicial method to secure or determine title to land.  In other words, the courts decide the interests of various parties in a piece of property. Quiet title lawsuits often arise when more than one party claims ownership, if there are boundary disputes, or when questions surface about who owns or should own the property.
Historically, many Native Hawaiians lost title to land via this process.  Native Hawaiians and their extended ʻohana are frequently involved in quiet title and related actions without the help of an attorney. Given the special āina, protecting the interests of those who have title to land is an important aspect of preserving Native Hawaiian rights and entitlements. This project aims to build capacity on this issue by introducing this area of law to those who want to better understand their rights and the overall legal and cultural landscape.
“We are honored to partner with OHA in this endeavor,” explained Ka Huli Ao Assistant Professor Kapua Sproat. “Quiet title and related actions are confusing and complex. We are hopeful that by providing more legal resources for our community, we can help to stem the loss of ancestral lands,” said Sproat.
Established with federal funding in 2005 at the William S. Richardson School of Law, Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law is an academic center that promotes education, scholarship, community outreach, and collaboration on issues of law, culture, and justice for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific and Indigenous peoples.