OHA News Release
HONOLULU – Molokai native and Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees Chairperson Colette Machado was one of the five featured speakers at a ceremony Gov. Neil Abercrombie hosted July 6 at Washington Place to sign into law a bill that recognizes Native Hawaiians as the only indigenous people of Hawaii.
Speaking to more than 100 people at the bill-signing ceremony, Machado called the landmark legislation the clearest position the state has taken since 2000 to reaffirm Native Hawaiian rights, adding that it should define the state’s position on any future challenges to Native Hawaiian entitlements.
“This law sends a clear message to the federal government to endorse the recognition of Native Hawaiians as the indigenous people of Hawai‘i and to support Native Hawaiian self-governance,” she said. “OHA stands ready to work with the Governor’s Office and the Hawaii Legislature as we continue on this journey toward self-governance.”
Among OHA officials accompanying Machado to the bill-signing ceremony was Chief Executive Officer Clyde Nāmu’o. In a statement to the press after the event, he said: “We commend the governor and state lawmakers for supporting efforts to enable Native Hawaiians to create a better future for themselves. This law is a significant step in our nation building process that will help federal recognition. It demonstrates broad-based support by the state of Hawai‘i for Native Hawaiians.”
The new law establishes a Native Hawaiian Roll Commission to compile and certify a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians who may choose to participate in the reorganization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity. The Governor must appoint five Commissioners, one from each county and one at-large, from a pool of nominated individuals.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs strongly encourages qualified Native Hawaiians and Native Hawaiian membership organizations to submit applications or recommendations for nominees.