Schatz: "It is Long Past Time for the Native Hawaiian People to Regain Their Right to Self-Governance"

WASHINGTON- Senator Brian Schatz delivered a major address on the floor of the United States Senate on the need for the federal government to treat Native Hawaiians fairly, and apply to them the same federal policy of self-determination available to other Native groups in the United States.  

“The reason that I have chosen to carry forward this fight on behalf of Native Hawaiians is simple:  it’s right to seek justice,” said Senator Brian Schatz. “It is long past time for Native Hawaiian people to regain their right to self-governance, and that’s why we must all work together and join in the fight for justice for Native Hawaiians.”

Following his remarks, several of his Senate colleagues voiced their support for his efforts on behalf of Native Hawaiians.

“Senator Schatz is already providing immediate leadership on Native Hawaiian issues in his role on the Indian Affairs Committee.  His knowledge and enthusiasm will be a key asset in getting laws passed to benefit Native Hawaiians. As Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I look forward to working with Senator Schatz and the Hawaii delegation to support opportunity and economic growth for Native Hawaiians and across Indian Country," said Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

“The relationship between the Alaska and Hawaii delegations represent a special bond between two states whose histories are intertwined,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the senior member of the Alaska-Hawaii Senate coalition. “The Alaska delegation has always stood shoulder to shoulder with the Hawaii delegation on establishing a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians and the United States. We will continue to support our Hawaii colleagues until justice for Native Hawaiians has been achieved.”

“It’s a well-known fact in the Senate that the Alaska and Hawaii delegations have a special bond as the country’s two youngest states. We have a long tradition of working together specifically to advance the unique needs of our Native populations.  I’m grateful to Sen. Schatz for highlighting some of these issues during his first Senate floor speech today and I look forward to working with him on Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian issues in the future,” said Senator Mark Begich (D-AK).

“As we address the disparities faced by indigenous populations across the country, I'm glad Sen. Schatz is making the strong case that we must remember to include Native Hawaiians,” said Senator Al Franken (D-MN). “As a member of the Indian Affairs Committee, I have worked with Senator Schatz on a number of issues to ensure that all Native peoples are treated equally and benefit from the federal policy of self-determination.”

Click here for full text of the speech.