NCAPA and CNHA Welcome Final Pathway to Government-to-Government Relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian Community

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SEPT. 23, 2016

 Contact: Mary Tablante;

 (202) 706-6768;

 

mary@ncapaonline.org

   

NCAPA and CNHA Welcome Final Pathway to Government-to-Government Relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian Community

Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced a final rule to re-establish a formal government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian community. The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), an NCAPA member, applaud this historic rule.

NCAPA recognizes the unique relationship between the federal government and Native people who pre-existed the United States—specifically Native Hawaiians, American Indians and Alaska Natives. Unlike other indigenous peoples, Native Hawaiians had not been afforded a federal process to implement a government-to-government relationship that emanates from the federal trust responsibility acknowledged by the U.S. Congress. This rule will allow the federal government to fulfill its trust responsibility, initiating a process when a Native Hawaiian government submits a written request to the Secretary of the Interior.

“This is momentous news for the Native Hawaiian community, and we are very encouraged that our voices have been heard by the U.S. government,” said CNHA President and CEO Michelle Kauhane, who also serves as an NCAPA Executive Committee member. “This final rule brings us closer to the path of self determination that both recognizes our people and gives us the capability we need to address the issues facing our community.”

"President Obama has often said that no citizen should be invisible to his or her government," said CNHA Policy Chair Robin Danner. "Today, those words came true for Native Hawaiians-- our federal government took action to deliver on its promise to the remaining indigenous peoples of this land, the right to self governance and the right to create our own successes, make our own mistakes, and to perpetuate a culture and homeland that must be fostered in the 50th state."

“Native Hawaiians have waited decades for this announcement, and we thank President Obama, Secretary Sally Jewell, and the Department of the Interior for their leadership in recognizing and supporting self determination for Native Hawaiians,” said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. “Today’s rule is one of the most significant achievements of the Obama Administration on behalf of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community, and it would not have been possible without the efforts of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”

In December 2015, NCAPA submitted a comment letter to DOI to support federal recognition of Native Hawaiians. In May 2013, members of NCAPA, including CNHA, met with President Obama and discussed three of our national priorities—one of which was federal recognition for Native Hawaiians.

To learn more about the final rule, visit www.doi.gov/hawaiian.

 

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Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.


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