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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

DOI rule to strengthen lāhui opportunities

A DOI rule that a Native Hawaiian government could use to create a formal government-to-government relationship with the U.S. would offer our lāhui a greater role in determining our future—for our lands, our people, our culture.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs STRONGLY SUPPORTS the rule, with amendments (see document below)

How would establishing a government-to-government relationship with the U.S. create positive opportunities for our lāhui?

1. A Native Hawaiian government can use the rule to establish itself in an authoritative position that the U.S. must take seriously.

  • Our government will be the official voice of our lāhui (as compared to being viewed as a Native Hawaiian Organization [NHO]).
  • The U.S. will be compelled to address the issues brought forth by Native Hawaiians on a government-to-government basis.

2. The DOI rule provides our government—if it chooses—an opportunity to use its authoritative role to seek improved:

  • Natural resource stewardship
  • Health and well-being
  • Educational outcomes
  • Political influence
  • Economic opportunities
  • Cultural vibrancy
  • Progress in seeking redress in international venues for Native Hawaiian claims

What positive results would come from simply establishing a DOI rule for Native Hawaiians (regardless of whether our Native Hawaiian government chooses to utilize that pathway)?

1.  A rule would reaffirm that Native Hawaiians are a political (not racial) community that has a special legal and political status. Such reaffirmation would strengthen protections against legal threats to programs and entitlements that benefit Native Hawaiians.

2. The establishment of a DOI rule would offer Native Hawaiians what every major group of people indigenous to the U.S. enjoy: A means to establish a government-to-government relationship with the U.S.

What can the DOI rule NOT do?

The draft rule does NOT harm the claims of the Native Hawaiian people. The draft rule clarifies the U.S.’ commitment that the rule “would not undermine the fundamental, retained inherent sovereign powers of a reorganized Native Hawaiian government” (p. 31).

What can YOU do?

1. Provide comments on the DOI website in support of the draft DOI rule with amendments for improvements as being forwarded by numerous Hawaiian leaders. View OHA’s official comments on the rule.

2. Or show your support by filling out the form below:

For more information on the rule and the process, visit: www.doi.gov

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