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Interior Department seeking input on new Hawaiian consultation process

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The Interior Department plans to bring Native Hawaiian communities to the table for government actions affecting them.

The U.S. Department of the Interior plans to hold two meetings — one next week and another in December.

It’s part of the federal government’s plan to require formal consultation with Native Hawaiian communities on issues that impact them. That means Native Hawaiian communities would be brought to the table for government actions affecting their lands, cultural practices and self governance. Those actions could be department rules, policies, legislative proposals and funding.

The new proposal would also require the department to meet biannually with Native Hawaiian community members, organizations and homestead associations. DOI staff would also undergo training.

Several community leaders and organizations, including the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, say the proposal is a step in the right direction.

They say it’s important to include Indigenous voices in the federal government’s decision-making process, and that Native Hawaiian community members have a lot to contribute.

The first meeting to gather feedback on the proposal is next Thursday, Nov. 10, at 9 a.m. Another meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Dec. 5. Both will be held virtually. The department is also accepting written comments.

For more information, click here.

Jayna Omaye was a culture and arts reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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