FROM THE ARCHIVE
Final Hawaiian report released
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OCTOBER 24, 2000

On Monday, the Department of Interior and the Department of Justice released their final report on Native Hawaiian reconciliation, with little changes made to their first draft released in August.

The Departments held a one-month comment period on the draft report, seeking input primarily on its main recommendations. But yesterday, they said none of the comments they received "warranted substantive changes."

According to the Departments, they received both positive and negative comments on the draft. Some supported the report's recommendations, calling for recognition of Native Hawaiian sovereignty, while others who said Native Hawaiians should not receive any special treatment or acknowledgment.

A few, the Departments said, opposed the report because it didn't address the standing of Hawaii in international law. But John Berry, Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, Department of the Interior, said the report only addresses Native Hawaiians on a domestic level.

"It is not intended to have any implications for any right or duty under international law," said Berry.

The reports main recommendations include a call on Congress to create a government-to-government relationship with a Native Hawaiian government. The House has passed a federal recognition bill which would do that, while the Senate has yet to vote on it.

Despite the federal government's seemingly uncontroversial support of recognition, Native Hawaiian affairs back at home have undergone many changes in the past few months. One of the most important changes has its first test on November 7, when elections for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) will be held.

In response to a federal lawsuit and the Rice v. Cayetano Supreme Court decision, the elections are the first time non-Native Hawaiians have been allowed to run for trustee. About a dozen non-Natives are running for seats on the nine-member OHA board, including a candidate who opposes the federal recognition bill and any recognition of Native Hawaiians as a political entity.

The Department of Interior and the Department of Justice plans to post the comments they received on the draft report at the Native Hawaiian website.

Get the Senate Bill:
A bill to express the policy of the United States regarding the United States' relationship with Native Hawaiians, and for other purposes (S.2899)

Relevant Links:
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, includes a list of candidates and bios - www.oha.org
Native Hawaiians, Department of Interior - www.doi.gov/nativehawaiians/
More on Rice v. Cayetano - www.nativehawaiians.com

Related Stories:
Native Hawaiian bill passes House (Tribal Law 09/27)
Hawaiian affairs still controversial (Tribal Law 09/13)
US recommends Hawaiian sovereignty (Tribal Law 08/24)
Native Hawaiian report (Tribal Law 08/24)
Non-Natives win battle in suit (Tribal Law 08/17)
March raises sovereignty awareness (The Talking Circle 8/14)
Group challenges Hawaii (Tribal Law 07/07)
Hawaiians march for sovereignty (The Talking Circle 07/05)
Sovereignty protests aim to educate (The Talking Circle 07/03)

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