Homestead Leaders Opinions Matter for Hawaiian Land Management
Who better to make decisions on laws affecting Native Hawaiians than those closest to the community. That’s the thinking behind a series that has begun from the Native Hawaiian Policy Center to engage homestead leadership discussions.
The discussions will encompass processes and procedures for Hawaii to follow in the implementation of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA) and the Hawaiian Home Land Recovery Act (HHLRA).
“One of the vital aspects of the enactment of any federal law is rule making that clarifies policies to implement a particular law,” said Robin Danner, President of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. “With the HHCA enacted in 1920 and the HHLRA in 1995, very few if any rules have been established by the federal government to guide the state of Hawaii and its Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) to follow. We will be discussing the process of federal rule making and how it relates to improving how the state administers our land trust.”
The series is in hopes that the Policy Center can gather information from homestead leaders that will help lay out how federal agencies promulgate rules as a regular course of business when it comes to enacting laws by congress.
“Rule making, especially when it engages the actual people impacted, in this case our homestead communities, can be an excellent tool to streamlining processes,” Danner remarked. “For example if the federal law says that land exchanges made by DHHL require federal approval, it would be beneficial for everyone to know what information should be considered to obtain federal approval. The discussions we'll be having is to identify what kind of rules should be followed by DHHL, and perhaps most important of all, what role homestead beneficiary leaders have.”
The discussions, scheduled for a 5-month period, will educate and train the homestead leaders on the process of rule making and to begin dialogue. They will include homestead leaders democratically elected, DHHL officials, island commissioners and policy experts in the area of homestead laws.
The focus of the discussions will educate and train homestead leaders on the federal rule making process, and then begin dialogue on areas of the HHCA and HHLRA that are most important for the Obama administration to implement a rules process.