What would a Native Hawaiian government look like?
No one knows. But as of Monday morning, federal officials are gathering public input on whether the United States should establish a government-to-government relationship with Hawaii’s indigenous community, starting with a hearing at the State Capitol.
It’s been more than a century since the U.S. overthrew the Hawaiian Kingdom, and many Native Hawaiians and their supporters say some kind of federal recognition is long overdue.
How We Got to This Point
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has been advocating for the Interior Department to consider acknowledging the Native Hawaiian community as a governing entity since 2011, after a decade of failed efforts by former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka to push the issue through Congress.
Akaka’s efforts coincided with a 2000 report by the Department of Interior and Department of Justice acknowledging Native Hawaiians as an aboriginal people whose government was overthrown without their consent.
In the report, the departments urged the creation of a government-to-government relationship, noting the federal government had acknowledged its wrongdoing in a 1993 Apology Resolution.
Many in the Native Hawaiian community