WASHINGTON, DC – Improving consultations on unique issues involving Native Hawaiian organizations is the purpose of a new interagency working group established by the Department of the Interior (DOI), Department of Defense (DOD), and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP).
Federal agencies are required to consult with Native Hawaiian organizations before taking any action with the potential to significantly affect Native Hawaiian resources, rights or lands. The new working group will establish processes to help federal agencies identify impediments to regular, meaningful and appropriate consultations required by law, regulation and/or policy. It will also assist federal agencies with compliance activities in regard to Native Hawaiian organizations.
On Feb. 17, ACHP Chairman Milford Wayne Donaldson, DoD Deputy Under Secretary Dorothy Robyn, and DOI Acting Assistant Secretary Christopher Henderson signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish an interagency working group which will focus on Native Hawaiian consultation issues. The group’s initial members are DOI, DoD and the ACHP. These agencies have been meeting informally for several years and have now formalized the relationship through this MOU.
"The working group will bring together the expertise within these three agencies to assist other federal departments and offices to improve consultations with Native Hawaiian organizations," Donaldson said. "For the ACHP, participation in the working group fulfills some of its Native Hawaiian policy commitments that were adopted in 2008. It also alerts other federal agencies to the unique requirements of consultations with Native Hawaiian organizations."
Robyn said, "The Department is pleased to partner with the Department of Interior and the Advisory Council in this important effort to improve consultations with Native Hawaiians. This agreement further reinforces the Department’s commitment to meaningful consultation with Native Hawaiian organizations as laid out in a policy memorandum signed by Deputy Secretary William J. Lynn, III earlier this month."
A copy of the entire MOU as well as DoD’s consultation policy can be found here. Persons wishing to learn more about this initiative should contact Valerie Hauser, director of the ACHP Office of Native American Affairs, at 202-606-8530 or firstname.lastname@example.org.