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Interior eyes reestablishing government-to-government Native Hawaiian relationship

MEDIA RELEASE

In response to requests from the Native Hawaiian community, Hawaii’s congressional delegation and state leaders, the U.S. Department of the Interior has announced a first step to consider reestablishing a government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian community.

The purpose of such a relationship would be to more effectively implement the special political and trust relationship that currently exists between the Federal government and the Native Hawaiian community.

The action, known as an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), provides for an extensive series of public meetings and consultations in Hawaii and Indian Country to solicit comments that could help determine whether the Department develops a formal, administrative procedure for reestablishing an official government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community and if so, what that procedure should be.

“When I met with members of the Native Hawaiian community last year during my visit to the state, I learned first-hand about Hawaii’s unique history and the importance of the special trust relationship that exists between the Federal government and the Native Hawaiian community,” said Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell.

“Through the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making, the Department is responding to requests from not only the Native Hawaiian community but also state and local leaders and interested parties who recognize that we need to begin a conversation of diverse voices to help determine the best path forward for honoring the trust relationship that Congress has created specifically to benefit Native Hawaiians,” Jewell said.

Over many decades, Congress has enacted more than 150 statutes that specifically recognize and implement this trust relationship with the Native Hawaiian community, including the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the Native Hawaiian Education Act, and the Native Hawaiian Health Care Act.

The Native Hawaiian community, however, has not had a formal governing entity since the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893.

In 1993, Congress enacted the Apology Resolution which offered an apology to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the United States for its role in the overthrow and committed the U.S. government to a process of reconciliation.

In 2000, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice jointly issued a report on the reconciliation process that identified self-determination for Native Hawaiians under Federal law as their leading recommendation.

The ANPRM, available tomorrow on the Federal Register, outlines the following five threshold questions that will be the subject of the forthcoming public meetings regarding whether the Federal Government should reestablish a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community:

* Should the Secretary propose an administrative rule that would facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community?

* Should the Secretary assist the Native Hawaiian community in reorganizing its government, with which the United States could reestablish a government-to-government relationship?

* If so, what process should be established for drafting and ratifying a reorganized Native Hawaiian government’s constitution or other governing document?

* Should the Secretary instead rely on the reorganization of a Native Hawaiian government through a process established by the Native Hawaiian community and facilitated by the State of Hawaii, to the extent such a process is consistent with Federal law?

* If so, what conditions should the Secretary establish as prerequisites to Federal acknowledgment of a government-to-government relationship with the reorganized Native Hawaiian government?

The Department will be engaging in an extensive series of public meetings throughout the State of Hawaii and in Indian Country to solicit comments and feedback on whether and how the process of reestablishing a government-to-government relationship should move forward.

These meetings will be held in Hawaii and the continental United States as follows:

Public Meetings in Hawaii – June 23 through July 8

Oahu

Monday, June 23 — Honolulu – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Hawaii State Capitol Auditorium

Monday, June 23 — Waimanalo – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School

Tuesday, June 24 — Waianae Coast – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Nanaikapono Elementary School

Wednesday, June 25 — Kaneohe – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Heeia Elementary School

Thursday, June 26 — Kapolei – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Makakilo Elementary School

Lanai

Friday, June 27 – Lanai City – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Lanai Senior Center

Molokai

Saturday, June 28 – Kaunakakai – 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Kaunakakai Elementary School

Kauai

Monday, June 30 – Waimea – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Waimea Neighborhood Center

Tuesday, July 1 — Kapaa – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Kapaa Elementary School

Hawaii Island

Wednesday, July 2 — Hilo – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Keaukaha Elementary School

Thursday, July 3 — Waimea – 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Waimea Community Center

Thursday, July 3 — Kona – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Kealakehe High School

Maui

Saturday, July 5 — Hana – 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Hana High and Elementary School

Monday, July 7 — Lahaina – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
King Kamehameha III Elementary School

Tuesday, July 8 — Kahului – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Pomaikai Elementary School

Indian Country Consultations – July 29 through August 7

Tuesday, July 29 – Minnesota – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Prior Lake, MN

Wednesday, July 30 – South Dakota – 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Rushmore Civic Center, Rapid City, SD

Friday, August 1 – Washington – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Tulalip Resort, Seattle, WA

Tuesday, August 5 – Arizona – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Talking Stick Resort, Scottsdale, AZ

Thursday, August 7 – Connecticut – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT

As set forth in the ANPRM, the Department welcomes comments from leaders and members of the Native Hawaiian community and federally recognized Indian tribes, as well as the State of Hawaii, its agencies, other state agencies, and the general public.

Attendance at the above-listed consultation meetings is not required for public comment.

In addition to the public meetings, comments can be submitted online through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.Regulations.gov

U.S. mail, courier, or hand delivery to: Office of the Secretary, Department of the Interior, Room 7329, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240 (Use Regulation Identifier Number 1090-AB05 in your message).

The public will have 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register to provide comments on this action.

HAWAII DELEGATION STATEMENT

The Department of the Interior released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding “Procedures for Reestablishing a Government-to-Government Relationship with the Native Hawaiian Community.”

The purpose of this ANPRM is to solicit public comments on whether and how the Department of the Interior should take administrative action regarding Native Hawaiian government recognition. The Hawaii delegation issued the following statement on the ANPRM.

This statement is from Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, Sen. Brian Schatz, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

“We applaud the Administration’s commitment to an open dialogue, starting with listening sessions in Hawaii to provide ample opportunity for Native Hawaiians and the general public to contribute their comments and concerns. This notice represents an historic opportunity to address years of injustice and marks a positive step forward in the push for Native Hawaiian self-determination.”

GOVERNOR’S STATEMENT

Gov. Neil Abercrombie released the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of the Interior’s procedures to reestablish a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community:

“We look forward to welcoming representatives of the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Justice to discuss ideas for updating federal policy on Native Hawaiian self-determination.

“I commend the Obama Administration for recognizing and supporting Native Hawaiians as it works to reconcile its relationship with Native Hawaiians at the federal level.”

OFFICE OF HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS STATEMENTS

Colette Machado, Chairperson, OHA Board of Trustees:

“We commend this initial effort by the Obama Administration to engage our people in a discussion about reestablishing a government-to-government relationship with the United States. This effort is an important step toward ensuring that millions of dollars for Native Hawaiian education, health and other programs will continue to flow to our people and that our Hawaiian trusts and programs will be protected from further legal challenges. Trustees have vowed to protect these programs in perpetuity.

“We ask all Hawaiians to make their voices heard at the public meetings, and we also urge that we respect and aloha each other as we engage with the United States government on this complex but urgent question.”

Kamanaopono Crabbe, Ka Pouhana, CEO of OHA:

“We appreciate the Obama Administration’s historic affirmation that Congress has long recognized our community’s special political status as Kanaka Maoli, the aboriginal indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands. And we support the Department of the Interior’s decision to come to Hawaii to speak directly with our people.

“While a rulemaking process proposed by the DOI is designed to open the door to a government-to-government relationship between the United States and our people, we see this as only one option for consideration. The decision of whether to walk through the federal door or another will be made by delegates to a Native Hawaiian aha and ultimately by our people. We are committed to keeping all doors open so our people can have a full breadth of options from which to choose what is best for themselves and everyone in Hawaii.”

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