new state law officially recognizes native hawaiians

Last week, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie signed a bill into law officially recognizing Native Hawaiians as the "only indigenous, aboriginal, maoli population" of the islands: New law gives recognition to Native Hawaiians.

This was quite a long time coming. The law is seen as an important step for Native Hawaiians in the movement for self-governance. The law supports efforts in Congress to gain federal recognition of native Hawaiians similar to that offered to American Indians and native Alaskans.
"This is an important step for the future of Native Hawaiian self-determination and the ability for Native Hawaiians to decide their own future," Abercrombie said.

"What this bill does is it helps to formally organize the Hawaiian people so they in fact, and we're hoping through convention or whatever other form they may choose, that they organize themselves for the purpose of creating their own self governance and also to determine their own self determination," added state Senator Malama Solomon, who ushered the bill through the legislature.
The governor now has 180 days to appoint a five member Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, which will be responsible for preparing and maintaining a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians. The roll is to be used as the basis for participation in the organization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity. More here: Governor enacts bill to further self-determination for Native Hawaiians.

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