HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Interior Department has finalized its rule for creating a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians — if they chose to form their own government and if they want such ties.
The rule issued Friday mirrors last year's proposal. Supporters see it as a big step toward giving Native Hawaiians the same rights already extended to many Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
Native Hawaiians haven't had a formal, unified government since the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom in 1893.
Critics say the rule won't right the wrongs of the overthrow and that it's meant to turn Hawaiians into Indian tribes.
Many Native Hawaiians have long been clamoring for self-determination, but opinions vary of what that would look like, including federal recognition, restoring the kingdom or dual citizenship.