The federal government says it will take a first step toward possibly recognizing and working with a separate government of Native Hawaiians.
A series of public meetings will be held during the next 60 days with Native Hawaiians, other members of the public and Native American tribes in the continental U.S. to discuss the complex issue.
A U.S. Interior Department official told reporters in a conference call Wednesday that they are not yet proposing a formal policy.
Hawaii's four-member congressional delegation issued a joint statement applauding President Barack Obama's administration for its commitment to open dialogue and its decision to start the process with listening sessions in Hawaii.
A spokesman for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"We look forward to welcoming representatives of the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Justice to discuss ideas for updating federal policy on Native Hawaiian self-determination," said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. "I commend the Obama Administration for recognizing and supporting Native Hawaiians as it works to reconcile its relationship with Native Hawaiians at the federal level."
Public Meetings in Hawaii – June 23 through July 8
Monday, June 23 -- Honolulu – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Hawaii State Capitol Auditorium
Monday, June 23 -- Waimanalo – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School
Tuesday, June 24 -- Waianae Coast – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Nanaikapono Elementary School
Wednesday, June 25 -- Kaneohe – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Heeia Elementary School
Thursday, June 26 -- Kapolei – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Makakilo Elementary School
Friday, June 27 – Lanai City – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Lanai Senior Center
Saturday, June 28 – Kaunakakai – 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Kaunakakai Elementary School
Monday, June 30 – Waimea – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Waimea Neighborhood Center
Tuesday, July 1 -- Kapaa – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Kapaa Elementary School
Wednesday, July 2 -- Hilo – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Keaukaha Elementary School
Thursday, July 3 -- Waimea – 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Waimea Community Center
Thursday, July 3 -- Kona – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Kealakehe High School
Saturday, July 5 -- Hana – 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Hana High and Elementary School
Monday, July 7 -- Lahaina – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
King Kamehameha III Elementary School
Tuesday, July 8 -- Kahului – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Pomaikai Elementary School