Congratulations to former Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Deputy Director and current President and CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), Michelle Ka’uhane on the success of their annual convention which ended earlier this week.
The department also appreciates the comments and remarks provided by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Assistant Secretary Rhea Suh with regard to how we can improve our partnerships to become more effective and efficient for the people we serve. We look forward to their next visit when we can give them a full introduction and tour of our homestead communities.
The discussions that took place during the conference as well as those being submitted by other beneficiary organizations will be helpful in assisting the Department in better serving our native Hawaiian beneficiaries.
Regarding Funding Sponsorships, and
Meeting regularly with the Department of the Interior
Sep. 6, 2013
KAPOLEI, HI – Recently there has been much ado about recent media reports concerning DHHL’s diminished participation in this year’s Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement’s (CNHA) annual Native Hawaiian Convention. We want to take this opportunity to set the record straight.
In January 2012, the Hawaiian Homes Commission adopted a balanced budget rule for its Native Hawaiian Development Program Plan. This balanced budget rule resulted in more than $1 million being stripped from its biennial allocation for support services and programs. One of the outcomes of this action was that many of the department’s community development grant programs such as non-competitive grants for the SCHHA and CNHA conferences, support for bringing and housing homestead community leaders for these conferences, as well as scholarships were eliminated.
Early this June, as a courtesy and reminder to them, all organizations that were affected by this diminished funding decision made in 2012 were again notified by the Department of our lack of funding support so that they could make alternate plans for their events.
Without knowing that there were no funds available to support these events, some convention attendees also opined that the reason DHHL wasn’t present was that it was avoiding meeting with the Department of the Interior. That couldn’t be further from the case. Prior to the start of the CNHA convention on Tuesday, Chair Jobie Masagatani was meeting with Assistant Secretary Rhea Suh and other officials from the Department of the Interior to discuss matters that were shared at the Convention by Assistant Secretary Suh.
Topics of their discussion included:
1) An update on the impacts the proposed Critical Habitat designations may have on DHHL lands on the Island of Hawaii
2) Additional follow up from the July meeting between DOI and DHHL regarding how homesteads could best qualify for Promise Zone designations and benefits through the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
3) DHHL’s role in homestead economic development projects and energy projects, and
4) An update on the DOI’s Rulemaking efforts
In addition to Assistant Secretary Suh, other staff members from the Department of the Interior included Kimo Kaloi, and Kiran Ahuja from the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Said Chair Masagatani, “These regular meetings with DOI helps us to better clarify how we can support each other more effectively and efficiently so that we can service our beneficiaries greater. I am especially appreciative of Rhea and her team always making the time available to meet with me to discuss various issues and concerns.”
Public Information Officer
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
(808) 620-9591 / 282-9031 cell