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Schatz Statement on Department of Interior Announcement on Native Hawaiian Rule

HONOLULU – Today, the Department of the Interior released a final rule on the administrative procedure and criteria for establishing a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community.  U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, issued the following statement.

“This is an historic step towards doing what is right and just for Native Hawaiians.  For far too long, Native Hawaiians have been the only federally recognized native people without a government-to-government relationship with the United States.  Generations of Hawaiians and allies have worked to restore this relationship, and this rule is one of the most significant developments in making this a real possibility.

“Although the rule establishes formal procedures for a Native Hawaiian government to establish its governmental relationship with the United States, it leaves the Hawaiian community with the authority and responsibility to reorganize its governing entity. 

“President Obama’s leadership and personal commitment to Hawai‘i was evident in the level of community engagement conducted by his administration and essential to ensuring this path forward for Native Hawaiians.”