FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 24, 2015
Contact: Mary Tablante;
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Supports Federal Recognition of Native Hawaiians
Today, the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Interior supporting its proposed rule for a federal process to recognize a federal pathway for a government-to-government relationship between Native Hawaiians and the United States.
“NCAPA strongly supports a pathway for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians, and we applaud the Department of Interior for taking this step to help establish parity for Native Hawaiians,” said Christopher Kang, NCAPA National Director. “Federal recognition will help give Native Hawaiians access to resources to address disparities in access to education, health care, economic development, and housing.”
“The Obama administration fully embraces that Native Hawaiians must be part of the solution to problems facing our people. The proposed rule creates an opportunity for a Native Hawaiian government to be recognized by the United States and ultimately gives us a seat at the table,” said Michelle Kauhane, President and CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) and NCAPA Executive Committee member.
In May 2013, members of NCAPA, including CNHA, met with President Obama and discussed three of our national priorities—one of which was federal recognition for Native Hawaiians. NCAPA recognizes the unique relationship between the federal government and Native people who pre-existed the United States—specifically Native Hawaiians, American Indians and Alaska Natives. Unlike other indigenous peoples, Native Hawaiians have not been afforded a federal process to implement a government-to-government relationship that emanates from the federal trust responsibility acknowledged by the U.S. Congress. Therefore, we support the implementation of a federal process specifically for Native Hawaiians and for the federal government to fulfill its trust responsibility.
We thank President Obama and Secretary Jewell for their commitment to addressing issues important to the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. We also thank the U.S. Department of Interior for providing this opportunity to submit our input for the finalization of this rule that would facilitate a formal government-to-government relationship.
Our country must correct the disparity in federal law and allow Native Hawaiians to exercise their inherent right to self-determination and self-governance.
NCAPA also encourages individuals to support this proposed federal rule through the following supporter card campaign: http://imuahawaii.org/sign-the-supporter-card/
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.