POLICY BLUEPRINT

FOR ACTION

OUR COMMUNITIES. OUR PRIORITIES. OUR COUNTRY.

ADVANCING THE INTERESTS OF NATIVE HAWAIIANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS

Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders trace their ancestry to the original peoples of Hawaii; the U.S. Territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI); and other Pacific Islands. Like Alaska Natives and American Indians, Native Hawaiians have a special political and legal relationship with the federal government due to their status as indigenous peoples who once exercised full sovereignty in areas that are now part of the U.S. As such, Native Hawaiians are treated by the federal government as not only a racial class of peoples, but also as a political classification with the right to self-determination and self-governance.

The U.S. also has a special historical and political relationship with other jurisdictions in the Pacific – namely the U.S. Territories and the Freely Associated States. Over the years, federal policies and programs have been designed or changed to take into consideration the unique circumstances of Native Hawaiians and residents of the Pacific Islander jurisdictions. The following recommendations are a few of the many policy solutions that should be put in place in order to advance the well-being of NHPI communities.

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS:

Federal Recognition of Native Hawaiian Governance:

Support self-governance by administratively or legislatively implementing federal recognition afforded to other indigenous peoples, including American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Trust Relationship in Federal Programs:

Support the reauthorization of the Native Hawaiian Home Ownership Act and, the Native Hawaiian Education Act. Support the expansion of the Native Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development Program to include support for eligible Native Hawaiian organizations. Advocate for the inclusion of the eligible geographic definition of the Substantially Under Served Trust Areas (SUTA) in key federal capital programs such as the U.S. Treasury New Market Tax Credits, and Department of Energy renewable energy programs.

Equitable Treatment and Support for U.S. Affiliated Pacific Island Jurisdictions:

Support legislation that includes funding eligibility for American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas in key federal programs such as the Workforce Investment Act and the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Program. Restore Medicaid eligibility for Compacts of Free Association Migrants and lifting of Medicaid limitations for Pacific Island territories. Implement the recommendations of the Guam War Claims Review Commission Report.