Alaska-Hawaii Delegations Continue Tradition of Working Together for Native Peoples

Delegations Discuss Ways to Advance Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Communities

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mark Begich (D-AK), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) today continued the long legacy of two states working together and working for their native populations.

The Senators were joined by roughly 100 Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian business, policy, and community leaders to discuss a range of topics including ways to improve education in Native communities, and how to stimulate Native owned businesses. The roundtable was hosted by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CHNA) and the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN).

“The relationship between Alaska and Hawaii was made strong by the bond between Senator Stevens and Senator Inouye through their partnership, friendship, and brotherhood – men of the greatest generation that led this Senate in truly defining the meaning of non-partisanship,” said Murkowski.  “Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians also share a deep connection that goes back thousands of years to today’s partnerships among indigenous groups and I thank AFN and CHNA for allowing us to continue these special ties that bind us together.”

“As the two youngest states in our country, Alaskans and Hawaiians have a special bond when it comes to addressing our unique needs. I am grateful to AFN and CHNA for pulling together both delegations, including our friends on the House side, to continue this great tradition of working together to build strong, thriving communities and advance the interests of our Native peoples,” Begich said.

"Today’s meeting will continue to build on the legacy of strategic partnerships between Congressional representatives from Alaska and Hawaii.  In these changing times, it is critical that all Native Americans — American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians — continue to stand together, and move forward together, to advance Native self-determination in the United States. Alaska and Hawaii have had a long, successful, supportive relationship working together, both in the halls of Congress - and at home in our communities.  I look forward to working with my colleagues Senators Hirono, Murkowski and Begich to honor the legacy of those who came before us and helping to build a better future for all citizens of Alaska and Hawaii,” said Senator Brian Schatz.

“Our Hawaii and Alaska delegations have a special commitment to supporting Native Hawaiians, Alaska Natives and all the indigenous people of the United States. In the House, I worked closely with Congressman Young to restore funding for Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian education programs after opponents tried to zero them out.  Now, I am working closely with my Senate colleagues to build support for reauthorizing this and other programs. I am proud of the work that Senators Murkowski and Begich, my delegation colleagues and our indigenous leaders have accomplished and look forward to continuing those partnerships,” said Senator Hirono.