WASHINGTON, June 19, 2014 — Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) announced its consideration to institute procedures to re-establish a government-to-government relationship between the United States federal government and the Native Hawaiian community.

According to a notice issued by DOI, “the Secretary of the Interior is considering whether to propose an administrative rule that would facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community‚ĶThe purpose of this advance notice of proposed rulemaking is to solicit public comments on whether and how the Department of the Interior should facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community.”

“NACA applauds the effort of our elected leaders, the Administration, and Associations that have advocated for the federal recognition of the Native Hawaiian community. We sincerely hope that this first step moves the needle in the right direction,” said NACA Executive Director Kevin Allis.

Since the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893, annexation in 1898, and becoming a territory in 1900, the Native Hawaiian community has been without a governing entity for over 120 years. In recent years the United States government has enacted a number of measures to recognize the Native Hawaiian community, including a 1993 Apology Resolution enacted by Congress, and a joint report in 2000 by the DOI and the Department of Justice that served as a prelude to the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (NHGRA). NHGRA was passed in the House several times; however, it was never considered on the Senate floor.

In a GPO report published in 2012, it is stated that, “Native Hawaiians are the only federally-recognized Native people barred from self-determination and self-governance.” The report goes on to identify that Native Hawaiians suffer the same consequences of negative federal treatment as American Indians and Alaska Natives including socio-economic, education, and health issues.

“Indian Country includes all the indigenous peoples of this Nation,” said Allis. “Whether it’s an issue impacting Native communities in the lower 48 states, Alaska, or Hawai’i, Indian Country as a whole is impacted by any inequities or injustices suffered by any one of our Native communities across the country.”

Over the next 60 days, DOI will be conducting a series of public meetings in the State of Hawai’i and in Indian Country beginning on Monday, June 23, 2014. For more information on meeting dates visit: http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/interior-considers-procedures-to-reestablish-a-government-to-government-relationship-with-the-native-hawaiian-community.cfm.