September 29, 2015

Hawaii Congressional Delegation Statements On Department Of Interior Native Hawaiian Rulemaking Process

Today, the Department of the Interior released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding “Procedures for Reestablishing a Government-to-Government Relationship with the Native Hawaiian Community.” This Proposed Rule is a culmination of years of work by the Hawaii Congressional Delegation, the Native Hawaiian community, the State of Hawaii, and the Obama administration to establish an avenue for a reorganized Native Hawaiian government to reestablish a government-to-government relationship with the United States.

“The Native Hawaiian community’s ongoing work toward self-determination takes a significant step forward today, and I applaud the Obama administration for its commitment to this effort,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono. “Many in Hawaii have persevered for decades to reach this point. I think of those with whom I’ve worked tirelessly, both as Hawaii’s lieutenant governor and during my time in Congress, to achieve recognition for Native Hawaiians that is on par with the relationships the Federal government has established with Alaska Natives and Native Americans. I will continue to call for forward momentum on this issue until that final step is achieved.”

“Native Hawaiians have the right to reorganize a government that they determine is best for them,” said Senator Brian Schatz. “With today’s publication of proposed rules from the Department of the Interior, I urge Native Hawaiians and other interested individuals to stay engaged and to contribute their comments and concerns as the process moves forward.  I will continue working with the Department of the Interior, my colleagues in the Hawaii congressional delegation, and the Native Hawaiian community to review the draft rules.” 

“Many indigenous groups in the U.S. have the right of self-determination, and today’s announcement acknowledges that that right also belongs to the Native Hawaiian people, one of the largest native communities in the country,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02). “These rules incorporate over 5,000 public comments submitted to the Department of Interior (DOI), and should they be adopted, the Native Hawaiian community will have the option to re-establish a unified government and self-determine their future relationship with the federal government. I encourage all interested parties to submit their comments to DOI during the 90-day public review period to ensure a collaborative final ruling.” 

“I would like to thank the Obama Administration and the Department of the Interior for strengthening the U.S. government’s relationship with the Native Hawaiian people,” said Congressman Mark Takai (HI-01). “I have always supported Native Hawaiians and will continue to make sure the community’s consensus is implemented in Washington at the federal level so that they may have more ownership of their own destiny at home.”

The Proposed Rule expressly states the trust relationship that the Federal government has with the Native Hawaiian people, and provides a framework for a Native Hawaiian governing entity to enter into a government-to-government relationship with the United States.

The Department of Interior rulemaking process began in July 2014 when the Department of the Interior announced an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, followed by 25 public meetings held across Hawaii and Indian Country. After taking into consideration feedback from thousands of interested parties, the Department of the Interior published today’s Proposed Rule. Today marks the beginning of a 90-day open comment period.

Click here to review this Proposed Rule. Public comments will be accepted by visiting (Docket ID DOI-2015-0005), through email at (include the number 1090-AB05 in the subject line), or through U.S. mail to: Office of the Secretary, Department of the Interior, Room 7228, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20240.