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Governor Signs Landmark Native Hawaiian Rights Law

State Senate News Release

A 118-year-old deep-rooted obligation to formally recognize Native Hawaiians as “the only indigenous, aboriginal, maoli people of Hawaii” will take a major step forward when Gov. Neil Abercrombie signs Senate Bill 1520 into law on Wednesday, July 6, 2011.

The law will significantly improve protection of cultural rights, ceded lands and other entitlements, advance self-governance and heal the “kaumaha” – the heaviness or sorrow. When signed into law, the measure adds a new chapter to the Hawaii Revised Statutes, which would establish a process for Native Hawaiians to organize themselves.

“This new law recognizes Hawaiians as equal partners and sets out a procedure to organize ourselves that is very grassroots driven,” said Sen. Malama Solomon, who was the bill’s chief negotiator in securing passage. “The power will percolate up from the community, not top down. It establishes a process to let Hawaiians set forth their goals and desires to define themselves…This is what ‘sovereignty’ means.”
Solomon worked closely with Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz and members of the joint conference committee to finalize the measure.  Members of the joint conference committee on Hawaiian Affairs included:  Senate Chair Brickwood Galuteria, co-chairs Sen. Clayton Hee and Sen. David Y. Ige, Sen. Gil Kahele, Sen. Malama Solomon, House co-chairs Rep. Faye Hanohano and Rep. Gilbert Keith-Agaran, Rep. Chris Lee and Rep. Blake Oshiro.

“Every generation of Native Hawaiians since the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893 has struggled with not legally being recognized as equals,” Solomon said. “So many have given so much; many have fought in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam – some losing their lives – for a country that doesn’t recognize them. While much has been done including the creation of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act in 1921, formation of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in 1978, and the signing of the  ‘Apology Resolution’ by President William Clinton in 1993, we are still not equals in our own land,” she said.

It is intended to move in concert with the efforts by Senator Akaka and Hawaii‘s Congressional delegation to achieve federal recognition of Native Hawaiians.  It is a commitment to acknowledging and recognizing the first people of Hawaii, while preserving the diversity that has made Hawaii home to so many.

“Hawaiians are very different from the American tribes; we had a kingdom that was recognized by the United States and many other nations around the world before the overthrow,” Solomon continued. “Many of us today are directly connected to this history and heritage through our parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  This new law will begin the healing.”
The new law will require the governor within 180 days to appoint a five-member Native Hawaiian Roll Commission within the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for administrative purposes. Funding to facilitate the activities of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission will be provided by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. 
“We are deeply grateful to Gov. Abercrombie for his courage and commitment to empower the Kanaka Maoli to fulfill their hopes and dreams for self-governance,” Solomon said.


2 Responses to “Governor Signs Landmark Native Hawaiian Rights Law”

  1. Ululani says:

    This is NOT a landmark Hawaiian Rights Law.

    What SB 1520 does is reorganize the land thus title thus
    strips Hawaiians and their legal heirs of their property rights so that the politrickans can steal more Hawaiian lands so that they can give it to their puppet masters and other corrupt people.

    This is NOT a cause for celebration.

    Stealing is WRONG.

    SB 1520 also includes verbage from the DemocRAT politrickans that has them tell US if we are Hawaiian or not.

    Who the hell do they think they are to tell US if we are Hawaiian or not.

    They have NO authority over Hawaiian Nationals.

    Hawaiian NATIONALS and their legal heirs reserve their property rights now and forever.

    This shall also serve as a PUBLIC NOTICE.

  2. Vlad says:

    I’d like to feel good about the native Hawaiian recognition act signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, but it’s getting difficult to muster optimism as thorny issues of Hawaiian rights drag out. The measure forms a commission to establish a roll of qualified Hawaiians, with the hope of eventually leading Hawai‘i’s indigenous people to some form of sovereign self-government. The problem is that sovereignty implies a measure of independence from the state government, and it’s inherently contradictory for the state to organize the effort after Hawaiians have failed to organize themselves or even agree on a definition of sovereignty in the more than 30 years since the movement began. So unfortunately I have to agree with the author of the article.

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