Federal Recognition

DOI considers regulation to address status of Native Hawaiians





The Obama administration is considering a regulation to address the status of Native Hawaiians.

Congress has considered legislation to extend the policy of self-determination to Native Hawaiians. The bills have failed to become law but the Interior Department might be able to step in and clarify the status of the island's first inhabitants.

"The Secretary of the Interior is considering whether to propose an administrative rule that would facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community, to more effectively implement the special political and trust relationship that Congress has established between that community and the United States," DOI said in the
Spring 2014 Unified Agenda.

The Unified Agenda is generally published twice a year. It contains all "final rule," "proposed rule" and "prerule" efforts among all federal agencies.

The Native Hawaiian proposal falls in the "prerule" category. That means there is no actual rule that has been proposed, contrary to statements made in the news reports linked below.

Additionally, the Native Hawaiian proposal has been listed in the Unified Agenda as far back as 2012. So it hasn't advanced to the "proposed rule" in two years.

Get the Story:
Obama administration proposes race-based legal system in Hawaii (Fox News 5/27)
Obama administration offers path to federal recognition (Hawaii News Now 5/28)

An Opinion:
Michael Barone: Obama Interior Department reviving a truly bad policy Congress has rejected (The Washington Examiner 5/24)

Relevant Documents:
Procedures for Reestablishing a Government-to-Government Relationship With the Native Hawaiian Community | Oversight of Hawaiian Home Lands