by Andrew Walden
In spite of overwhelming opposition from Hawaiians at last year's DoI hearings, the Obama Administration is preparing to bypass Congress and administratively recognize a fake Hawaiian Indian tribe, if OHA cronies can create one in time.
Civil Beat today quotes Jessica Kershaw, press secretary for the Interior Department:
“I will confirm for you that in response to an extensive public comment period with public meetings, as you are aware, in Hawaii and also Indian country in the continental United States and requests from congressional states and Native Hawaiian community leaders, the Department of Interior will propose a rule that establishes an administrative procedure that the secretary would use if the Native Hawaiian community forms a unified government that seeks a formal government-to-government relationship with the United States.”
No proposed rule designed to bypass Congressional authority over tribal recognition has yet been posted. This article will be updated if and when this changes.
UPDATE August 15, 2015—a DoI source informs Hawai’i Free Press the Department submitted a draft proposed rule to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review. Once the proposed rule is published, the Department will hold public meetings in Hawaii and on the mainland.
Separately, in response to a query from Hawai’i Free Press, DoI spokesperson Jessica Kershaw issued the following statement:
“In response to an extensive public comment period, coupled with public meetings in Hawaii and Indian Country and requests from congressional, state and Native Hawaiian community leaders, the Department of the Interior will propose a rule that establishes an administrative procedure that the Secretary would use if the Native Hawaiian community forms a unified government that then seeks a formal government-to-government relationship with the United States.
“Consistent with the Federal policy of indigenous self-determination and Native self-governance, the proposed rule will not attempt to reorganize a Native Hawaiian government or dictate the form of structure of that government. The Native Hawaiian community would determine whether and how to reorganize its government.”--END UPDATE
The Interior Department move is pursuant to "RIN: 1090-AB05 Procedures for Reorganizing the Native Hawaiian Community as an Indian Tribe" later retitled: "Procedures for Reestablishing a Government-to-Government Relationship With the Native Hawaiian Community." DoI has apparently taken down all of its on-line pages covering the progress of RIN: 1090-AB05 (we have provided links to cache) but the webcache of one page indicates some type of action yesterday -- "Received Date: 08/13/2015."
The move comes amidst a flurry of activity related to federal recognition:
The Interior Department moves parallel a proposed Obama Admin rewrite of Indian Law which would illegally take away Congress' constitutionally mandated power to recognize Indian tribes. This proposal,#RIN 1076-AF18 "Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes," is vigorously opposed by House members. The webpage for #RIN 1076-AF18 has also been removed, but can still be seen in cache.
Obama's last day in office in January 20, 2017.
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