Procedures for Reestablishing a Formal Government-to-Government Relationship with the Native Hawaiian Community
AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, Department of the Interior.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: This final rule establishes the Secretary of the Interior’s (Secretary) administrative process for reestablishing a formal government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community to more effectively implement the special political and trust relationship that Congress established between that community and the United States. The rule does not attempt to reorganize a Native Hawaiian government or draft its constitution, nor does it dictate the form or structure of that government. Rather, the rule establishes an administrative procedure and criteria that the Secretary would use if the Native Hawaiian community forms a unified government that then seeks a formal government-to-government relationship with the United States. Consistent with the Federal policy of self-determination and self-governance for indigenous communities, the Native Hawaiian community itself would determine whether and how to reorganize its government.
DATES: This rule is effective [INSERT DATE 30 days AFTER DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE Federal Register]
PDF: FULL TEXT (172 pages)
* * * * *
* * * * *
Interior Department Finalizes Pathway to Reestablish a Formal Government-to-Government Relationship with the Native Hawaiian Community
News Release from US Department of the Interior September 23, 2016
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Interior announced today a final rule to create a pathway for reestablishing a formal government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community. The final rule sets out an administrative procedure and criteria that the U.S. Secretary of the Interior would use if the Native Hawaiian community forms a unified government that then seeks a formal government-to-government relationship with the United States.
“This final rule provides the Native Hawaiian community with the opportunity to exercise self-determination by reestablishing a formal government-to-government relationship with the United States,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “Throughout this two-year rulemaking process, thousands of voices from the Native Hawaiian community and the public testified passionately about the proposal. Today is a major step forward in the reconciliation process between Native Hawaiians and the United States that began over 20 years ago. We are proud to announce this final rule that respects and supports self-governance for Native Hawaiians, one of our nation’s largest indigenous communities.”
The final rule builds on more than 150 Federal statutes that Congress enacted over the last century to recognize and implement the special political and trust relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian community. It also considered and addressed extensive public comments during the rulemaking process, which included public meetings in Hawaii and the mainland United States.
Native Hawaiians have not had a formal unified government since the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893. In 1993, Congress enacted the Apology Resolution which offered an apology to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the United States for its role in the overthrow and committed the Federal government to a process of reconciliation. As part of that reconciliation process, in 2000 the Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice jointly issued a report identifying as its lead recommendation the need to foster self-determination for Native Hawaiians under Federal law.
“We heard from the Native Hawaiian community about the importance of this rule to preserving its culture and traditions,” said Kristen Sarri, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget. “This historic rule provides an opportunity for a Native Hawaiian government to exercise its inherent powers of self-government, self-determination, and economic self-sufficiency. It recognizes the special political and trust relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian community and will help to more effectively implement the laws that Congress passed.”
The decision to reorganize a Native Hawaiian government is one for the Native Hawaiian community — not the Federal government — to make as an exercise of self-determination. If a formal government-to-government relationship is reestablished, it could provide the community with greater flexibility to preserve its distinct culture and traditions. It could also enhance their ability to affect its special status under Federal law by exercising powers of self-government over many issues directly impacting community members.
The final rule, along with Frequently Asked Questions and other supporting documents, is available for review at www.doi.gov/hawaiian.
* * * * *
Grassroot Institute Criticizes DOI Rule for Subverting Will of Native Hawaiians
Watchdog group cites overwhelming Native Hawaiian opposition to federal recognition
News Release from Grassroot Institute
HONOLULU, HAWAII -- (Sept. 23, 2016) -- Today, the Grassroot Institute criticized the Department of the Interior for subverting the will of Native Hawaiians on the issue of federal recognition. With the announcement of the DOI's rule to facilitate the reestablishment of a formal government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community, the President has reignited a controversy that had begun to wane in the wake of Na'i Aupuni's dissolution.
"Native Hawaiians are on record as overwhelmingly opposed to efforts by the Department of Interior to recognize or establish a Hawaiian tribe or government," stated Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute. "Every survey by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, from 1978 to the present, shows that Native Hawaiians want OHA to stop wasting money on federal recognition and, instead, to spend those millions on meeting the real needs of Hawaiians for housing, jobs, education, and healthcare. OHA and the DOI are on a crash course in their rejection of the will of the Hawaiian people."
The DOI proposed the rule in 2015, and the Grassroot Institute was among the many who submitted comments in opposition to the creation of a federal Native Hawaiian tribe. Grassroot's comments cited problems with the rule's Constitutionality, its attempt to usurp Congressional authority, and its divisive nature as only a few of the many reasons the rule should have been set aside.
Most of all, Grassroot cited the continual Native Hawaiian opposition to federal recognition, pointing out that by pushing for the creation of a Native Hawaiian polity, the rule would precipitate a legal challenge and fracture any sense of cultural unity among Native Hawaiian groups.
Dr. Akina continued: "With today's announcement, the bureaucrats in Washington have proved that they aren't listening to the Native Hawaiian people. We are still fresh from the disaster that was the Native Hawaiian Roll and the Na'i Aupuni constitutional convention. This rule only encourages OHA and the state to waste more time and resources on a problematic and unconstitutional nation-building effort."
* * * * *
Hawaiians Openly Reject President Obama’s new rule—a DOI invented process to create a Native Hawaiian Tribe
News Release from Protest Na‘i Aupuni, September 22, 2016
Press Conference 12 noon Sept 23, 2016 @ ‘Iolani Palace
As President Obama announces his plans to federalize Hawaiians as a tribe, Hawaiian community leaders and groups who have for many years protested attempts to turn Hawaiians into Native Americans (the Akaka Bill), will hold a press conference Friday, September 23rd at 12 noon in front of‘Iolani Palace. They will restate their opposition to the Obama Administration’s Department of Interior (DOI) rule change.
“This change is intended to circumvent legal, congressional processes, and Hawaiian community input,” said Healani-Sonoda Pale, founding member of the group, Protest Na‘i Aupuni and one of the organizers of the press conference. “President Obama tasked his DOI to come up with a process that will allow him to use his Executive Order privilege and designate federally chosen groups of Hawaiians as recognized. Without any congressional oversight or congressional vetting, President Obama and his successor will confer immense power on a pseudo native government,” Sonoda-Pale said. “And this will allow the DOI to move forward with a process of creating land and resource settlements that typically follow legitimate, congressionally conferred federal recognition.”
Two years in the making, the Obama/DOI rule change was created in response to Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO Kamana’opono Crabbe’s May 5, 2014 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry. In it, he essentially questioned the legitimacy of US jurisdiction in Hawaii by requesting proof of how the Hawaiian Kingdom was legally annexed to the United States.
However, rather than answer the question, President Obama instructed the DOI to hold public hearings in Hawaii to discuss federal recognition. During the summer of 2014, hearings were held for 2 weeks on 5 of the Hawaiian Islands. Thousands of Hawaiians lined up, but only hundreds were able to testify. The overwhelming majority (over 95%) rejected the idea of a DOI Rule change and spoke powerfully in opposition to any Federal or State controlled process for sovereignty.
“It feels like the overthrow all over again,” says Kahalu’u Kupuna and Protest Na’i Aupuni member Kapu Lambert. “The finalization of the DOI Rule forebodes more hardship Hawaiians. Many of our people are homeless and are at the bottom of every socioeconomic statistic in Hawaii. We cannot trust the State and Federal governments and their collaborators to do the right thing on our behalf especially when it comes to Hawaiian sovereignty and lands. I refuse to accept this Rule.”
“After tens of millions of dollars were spent by the state agency Office of Hawaiian Affairs to lobby for federal recognition, after 15 years of resistance to being federalized, we are now going to be saddled with being a fake tribe and federally designated so-called leaders,” said Sonoda-Pale.
Asked why the US would want to federalize Hawaiians when, in fact, hundreds of tribes on the continent have been trying to get federally recognized for many decades, Sonoda-Pale said, “Why? Because they want our land. They want to create a so-called universal land claims settlement of our Crown and Government lands, aka ‘Ceded Lands.’ And further,” she said, the United States of America, who has never been respectful of indigenous peoples—as we are seeing in North Dakota, is trying to dissolve our rights as a people to self-determination as defined by international law, and our human rights as indigenous people that have also been codified by the United Nations.