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Input Sought on Native Hawaiian Governing Entity

Native Hawaiians have a two-and-a-half-year window to achieve a form of federal recognition.

July 17, 2014
Kekoa Enomoto | Waiohuli, Kula , Maui Weekly

In the absence of Akaka Bill passage, Native Hawaiians have a two-and-a-half-year window under island-born President Barack Obama to achieve a form of federal recognition.

Therefore, I urge interested Maui residents, especially Native Hawaiians, to provide input on a proposed rulemaking process for a government-to-government relationship between the United States and a future Native Hawaiian governing entity.

The federal departments of the Interior and of Justice hosted a recent series of Valley Isle hearings from July 5 to 8 in Hana, Lahaina and Kahului. The sessions laid a groundwork for such a government-to-government relationship that 566 sovereign Native American Indian nations already have with the U.S. Indeed, Native Hawaiians compose the largest indigenous group in America without such a relationship, officials said. If and when Native Hawaiians should decide to have a government-to-government relationship, administrative rules would be in place to do so.

At the hearings, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) sought input on 19 questions led by several key issues: Should the DOI propose rules for a process to create a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians? Should the DOI or the State of Hawai'i provide support to Native Hawaiians in forming a sovereign governing entity and a constitution? If so, how? Note: DOI respects Native Hawaiians' sovereignty and, therefore, seeks no input on the possible structure, powers or constitution of a future Native Hawaiian governing entity.

Although O`ahu hearings were contentious, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) officials confirmed that proposed rulemaking for a government-to-government relationship will not preempt activism by advocates of cessation or of reinstatement of the Hawaiian kingdom. Thus, advocates of all three movements may holomua, or move forward, without precluding one another. Moreover, advocates of cessation and/or reinstatement of the Hawaiian kingdom should present their mana'o, or opinions/grievances, to the U.S. Department of State instead of at the hearings, officials said.

To take advantage of the two-and-a-half-year window under President Obama, submit specific, substantive comments and explanations online or by mail by Aug. 19. Add Regulation Identifier No. 1090-AB05 to all comments.

Go to the federal eRulemaking Portal at (or write "government to government relationship" in the advanced-search engine). Or send comments to: Office of the Secretary, Department of the Interior, Room 7329, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20240.

For more information, go to and input "government to government Hawaiian" in the Website search engine. Or contact John Strylowski at (202) 208-3071 or email john_strylowski@ios.



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