Native Hawaiian Issues

Hawai‘i’s rich culture stems from its people and is centered on family values that include respect for our seniors and a responsibility to care for the needs of our children.  Strong multi-generational bonds connect family members, enrich our communities and unite our state.  Our culture places a significant value on the place and people that make Hawai‘i our home.

Native Hawaiians continue to make invaluable contributions to our state and to the nation, sharing their traditional knowledge and understanding of biodiversity and sustainability; creating unique and vibrant art forms that define Hawai`i and are enjoyed globally;  and preserving and revitalizing the Hawaiian language and creating native language education programs that serve as aspirational models worldwide.  The greatest and most enduring gift, however, remains the legacy and power of aloha.

Senator Schatz is working hard to maintain federal funding for Native Hawaiian programs designed to reverse persistent education, health and housing disparities.   He has introduced legislation to address unmet housing needs, promote Native Hawaiian homeownership, empower Native Hawaiian homesteaders to plan for their families, honor Native Hawaiian military veterans and expand opportunities for Native Hawaiian small business concerns.

Senator Schatz chose to deliver his maiden Senate floor speech on King Kamehameha Day and lamented that 20 years after the enactment of the Apology Resolution, the federal government has not yet acted to provide a process for reorganizing a Native Hawaiian governing entity.  He stressed that this inaction has put Native Hawaiians at a unique disadvantage.  Of the three major groups of Native people indigenous to what is now the United States—American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians— only Native Hawaiians currently lack the right of self-determination.  Senator Schatz will continue to build upon the accomplishments of his predecessors to fight this great injustice.

Senator Schatz is committed to improving the lives of Native Hawaiian families, advancing Native Hawaiian community prosperity and working to create a better future for all who call Hawai‘i home.