POSTED: 06:16 p.m. HST, Apr 29, 2011
The foundation for a Native Hawaiian government within the state is being laid under legislation moving toward approval.
Lawmakers passed a bill out of committee today that starts the process of registering Hawaiians for their future government and recognizing them as the indigenous people of the state.
Native Hawaiians are the last remaining indigenous people in the United States who haven’t been allowed to establish their own government, a right already extended to Alaska Natives and Native American tribes.
The measure calls for creating a five-person commission charged with forming a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians who want to participate in the future governing entity.
State recognition of Native Hawaiians could help encourage the federal government to pass long-sought legislation recognizing their right to self-government.