Policy Center Pivots to Ratification of Native Hawaiian Constitution

Contact:  Michelle Kauhane, CNHA President



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  November 28, 2016

Policy Center Pivots to Ratification of Native Hawaiian Constitution

Honolulu, Hawaii – The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) and its Policy Center leadership have launched a concentrated effort for 2017 on educating residents of Hawaii on the Unicameral Democracy embodied in the Draft Native Hawaiian Constitution.  In addition, the Policy Center will join others in raising private capital dedicated to holding a ratification vote on the constitution by Native Hawaiians voluntarily enrolled to participate in such a vote.

“CNHA has spent the last 3 years working on and participating in the federal government rule-making process, to finalize federal regulations that create a pathway some day for a federally recognized Native Hawaiian government,” said Michelle Kauhane, CNHA President and CEO.  “With the final approval of federal regulations commonly referred to as Part 50 completed, and not requiring any further action, we will turn our attention to educating our community on the content of the Native Hawaiian constitution drafted earlier this year.”

In February 2016, a diverse group of Native Hawaiians spent 20 days debating, drafting and contemplating a modern government structure to serve the cultural and socio-economic well-being of Native Hawaiians.  The draft constitution calls for three branches of government including a single legislative body, and an executive and judicial branch.

Before the end of the year, CNHA will publish a list of symposium dates to be held on every island and on the continent that lays out the content of the Native Hawaiian constitution, the type of government embodied in the document, and the powers as a Unicameral Democracy included to impact the well-being of Native Hawaiians as its focus.

“The work of meaningful self-governance continues,” said CNHA Policy Center chair, Robin Puanani Danner.  “While the long road that began with the tireless work of Senator Daniel Akaka to confirm federal policy that embraces a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians is now in place, we must turn our efforts to raising the awareness of the draft constitution in preparation for a national vote on whether to adopt the constitution or not.”

CNHA will partner with major Native Hawaiian advocacy organizations locally and nationally, to deliver Native Hawaiian Constitutional Symposiums to share broadly, the content of the Unicameral Democracy envisioned by the draft constitution penned by Native Hawaiian leaders young and old, in February 2016.

Kauhane remarked, “On the policy issue of self-governance, our focus in 2017 will pivot to engage directly with our Native Hawaiian community in the islands and on the continent.  Our engagement with the federal government will now double our efforts around the issues of worker housing, economic opportunities and education policy.  With federal recognition embedded in the Code of Federal Regulations, it will be up to future leaders over the next decade to pursue or leave on the table.  For the next year, our priority is getting information out into the community on the content of the Native Hawaiian constitution.”

CNHA is a national association of more than 100 Native Hawaiian organizations delivering capacity building, access to capital, public policy advocacy and convening of Native Hawaiian community leaders.  For more information see www.hawaiiancouncil.org or email policy@hawaiiancouncil.org.

Download the PDF Here: 112816cnhaconstitutionalsymposiumsfin