Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin) discuss efforts to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act, also known as NAHASDA.

NAHASDA expired in 2013. Young, the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives, pointed out that his chamber has repeatedly passed bill to renew the law.

But those measure have never passed the U.S. Senate. Young said that’s because some lawmakers have been trying to throw one group of Native people “under the bus.”

“They wanted me to give up on the Hawaiian Natives,” Young said in reference to those lawmakers’ efforts.

Young said he refused to go along with the effort to remove Native Hawaiians from NAHASDA.

“I’m not gonna give up on any Natives,” he said, warning that it could lead to further efforts to diminish the trust and treaty responsibilities of the U.S. government.

“Once you throw one group under the bus, they’ll throw another group under the bus,” Young added.

Moore, who also has been working to reauthorize NAHASDA, offered additional context to the long-running debate. She said Republicans are behind the attempts to exclude Native Hawaiians from the legislation.

“We are not separating Native peoples and allowing other people to define who’s Native and who’s not,” said Moore, who credited Young with fending off the Republican effort.

“I think that’s the importance of bipartisanship,” Moore added.

The discussion took place during the National Congress of American Indians executive council winter session on February 14, 2022. The meeting was held virtually due to COVID-19.

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