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The images above are from a contact sheet made by Ed Greevy in 1979 at Kuhio Park. They depict one of the few occasions when the people of Hawai'i struggling with the State government around land rights took their issue to the visitors in Waikiki.

Sand Island was created during World War II when the US government dredged the Keehi Lagoon area to create a seaplane runway. The dredged reef material became Sand Island. The State of Hawai'i claimed ownership of the island. Approx. 135 families were living full and part time in self-constructed homes there at the end of 1979. These homes had easy access to ocean/fishing. Sand Island at that time could be described as one of the few existing Hawaiian fishing villages. The State posted eviction notices on the Sand Island homes late that year.

 

 

 

 

Sand Island residents began to fly many Hawaiian flags upside down (a distress signal) and had erected numerous signs on their houses making early reference to what would become known as Hawaiian Sovereignty demands.

Abe Ahmad (now known as documentary video producer Puhipau) was a part time Sand Island resident and delivered ice to residents. Ahmad, with the help from other activists, Haunani-Kay Trask, Dwight Kondo and Ed Greevy joined together to fight the State. It was felt that because the dredged reef material that was used to create Sand Island was Ceded Lands, the Sand Island residents should draw attention to section (5f.) of the US statute that created Hawai'i as the 50th State. Section 5 f. directs the State to use some revenue generated from Ceded Lands for the betterment of Hawaiians.
But little was known in the community at large about 5.f. as the State had not implemented this section. The Sand Island struggle helped to raise the consciousness about Ceded Lands and the trickery of the US government, including the State of Hawai'i.

The effort to prevent the State from removing the residents did not go well and there were numerous arrests as well as subsequent bulldozing/burning of the homes on Sand Island.