FACT CHECK: No, Hawaiians Are Not Being Evicted From Their Properties Following The Maui Wildfires

September 18th, 2023
TOPSHOT - Search and recovery team members check charred buildings and cars in the aftermath of the Maui wildfires in Lahaina, Hawaii, on August 18, 2023. At least 111 people are known to have died in what was the deadliest wildfire in the US in over a century. The final toll is expected to be considerably higher. (Photo by Yuki IWAMURA / AFP) (Photo by YUKI IWAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)

A video shared on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter, purports to show Hawaiians being evicted from their properties following the recent wildfires in Lahaina.


Verdict: Misleading

The video clip stems from a trailer for the 1985 documentary “Waimanalo Eviction.” Joan Lander, who produced “Waimanalo Eviction,” confirmed the clip stemmed from the documentary in an email to Check Your Fact.

Fact Check:

A total of 61 individuals who died as a result of the recent wildfires in Lahaina have been identified, according to Maui Now. A combination of high winds, downed power lines, and dry conditions are believed to have played a role in the wildfires that struck Hawaii last month, CBS News reported.

“Lahaina, Maui Cover-Up. Heartbreaking‼️ This isn’t the way to treat victims of a disaster…in your own country…even worse,” the X video, viewed over 8,000 times, purports. In the video, a large group of Hawaiians can be seen pleading with police for answers about where they’ll go now that they’ve been evicted.

The video is not linked to the recent wildfires in Lahaina, however. The video clip shared via the X video originally stems from a trailer for the 1985 documentary, “Waimanalo Eviction.” (RELATED: No, Video Does Not Show Lights In Maui Sky Before The Wildfires)

“In 1985, a group of houseless native Hawaiians took a stand for their right to live at Waimanalo Beach Park, an area set aside as Hawaiian Home Lands,” the video’s description reads. The trailer, which was shared via YouTube, includes a link to the website, “Hawaiian Voice,” where DVD copies of the documentary are available for purchase.


Likewise, Hawaii Democratic Gov. Josh Green proposed a ban on land sales following the recent wildfires, according to Reuters. Green also said he would work to ensure the land would not fall into outside hands in response to the disaster, the outlet reported. Green appears to have made these comments after Hawaii residents received unsolicited proposals to buy their land.

In addition, Check Your Fact found no credible news reports that explicitly state Hawaiian residents are facing eviction following the fires in Lahaina.

Lander, who produced “Waimanalo Eviction,” confirmed the clip stemmed from the documentary in an email to Check Your Fact.

“My partner Puhipau (who passed away in 2016) and I are the producers, videographers and copyright holders of ‘Waimanalo Eviction,'” Lander said.

“We covered the 1985 eviction as independent filmmakers. It originally played on the cable public access stations of Hawai’i and then aired on the local PBS station. But since then, many other producers have used the footage in their own productions,” she added.

Check Your Fact has also contacted Green’s office for comment and a spokesperson directed us to the Governor’s website, where two recent emergency proclamations prohibit unsolicited offers from being made to property owners.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter