U.S. agency works on Hawaiian list
The U.S. Department of the Interior aims to inform the groups of federal actions in Hawaii
The U.S. Department of the Interior is establishing a contact list of native Hawaiian groups to keep them better informed of proposed federal actions in Hawaii, the agency announced this week.
Officials said the list will assist the government in working with and notifying Hawaiian groups on issues such as reburying native Hawaiian remains, cleaning up contaminated lands and protecting historic properties.
Notice of the Native Hawaiian Organization Notification List was posted yesterday on the Federal Register, and the list is expected to become active by the end of November.
The timing is not indicative of any upcoming action in Hawaii, said Ka'i'ini K. Kaloi, director of the Interior Department's Office of Native Hawaiian Relations, which will maintain the list.
"This is not tied to any upcoming activity by the federal government," Kaloi said by telephone from Washington, D.C.
Antoinette "Toni" Lee, immediate past president of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, said communication is important, adding that she hopes the federal government will work closely with the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
"I think that lines of communication should be open to the Hawaiian people at all times, and it should be to all organizations," Lee said.
OHA officials did not return messages seeking comment.
Kaloi said the primary purpose of the list is to have contact information to keep groups better informed of government activity.
"You don't want the first notification received by native Hawaiian organizations to be bulldozers going through a property," he said.
An organization must request to be placed on the list and certify in writing to the Office of Hawaiian Relations that it represents the interests of native Hawaiians and provides services toward that end. A group also must have some expertise in native Hawaiian affairs and may specify topical and geographic areas of interest.
Kaloi noted that all groups dedicated to advancing native Hawaiian interests are eligible and that they are not required to have nonprofit status.
In addition to contact information, requests must be signed by the organization's governing body and include a valid U.S. mailing address.
After five years, groups wishing to stay on the list would have to make another formal request.
The Interior Department's Office of Native Hawaiian Relations was established by Congress in 2004 to help bring about and coordinate a native Hawaiian governing entity. If a native Hawaiian governing entity were established by Congress, the office would serve as a liaison between that entity and the U.S. government.