Interior Department’s Office of Native Hawaiian Relations Announces $1 Million in NATIVE Act Funding for Native Hawaiian Organizations

Last edited 04/21/2023

Date: Friday, April 21, 2023


HONOLULU – The Department of the Interior’s Office of Native Hawaiian Relations today announced $1 million in funding for Native Hawaiian organizations through the Heritage Opportunities in Hawaiʻi (HŌʻIHI) Grant Program. The funding is made possible by the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act, which has enabled Indigenous communities to participate in national tourism goals and strategies.

“NATIVE Act funding promotes Indigenous heritage and cultural tourism opportunities that support the socio-economic empowerment of Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities,” said Joan Mooney, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget. “These resources provide Indigenous communities with access to resources, technical assistance and grants to build sustainable recreational and cultural travel and tourism infrastructure and capacity, spur economic development and create good jobs.”

This is the second year that funding has been made available to Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHO) through the HŌʻIHI grant program.

Tourism is a major economic driver that has long been experienced by the Native Hawaiian Community as extractive and transactional. NATIVE Act funding equips NHOs across Hawai’i with additional resources to change that experience in ways mutually beneficial to visitors and the islands’ original stewards. A sustainable and equitable tourism model recognizes that an enriching visitor experience depends on thriving local communities with deep pilina (connection) to and aloha (love) for Hawai’i’s natural and cultural resources.

The Hawaiian value of hōʻihi (to treat with reverence or respect), as reflected in the ʻōlelo noʻeau (Hawaiian proverb) “E hōʻihi aku, e hōʻihi mai,” meaning “show respect, get respect,” represents the core principle of the HŌʻIHI grant program.

“The natural and cultural resources visitors experience, many for the first time, are sources of food and nurturing sacred to and revered by Native Hawaiians. The NATIVE Act supports activities that invite visitors to show and receive respect by sharing in the kuleana (responsibility) that accompanies enjoying Hawaiʻi’s unique beauty and bounty.” said Stanton Enomoto, senior program director of Interior’s Office of Native Hawaiian Relations.

ONHR estimates that it will award eight HŌʻIHI grants ranging between $50,000 and $200,000. NHOs may use grant funding for up to three years from the date of award and must affirm they are a NHO as defined in the NATIVE Act.

For fiscal year 2023, applicants must meet one or more of the following priorities:

  • Uplift, perpetuate or revive traditional Native Hawaiian practices (e.g., ʻōlelo Hawai’i, kapa making, lauhala and kaula weaving, hula, amongst many practices) through visitor demonstrations, education or activities;
  • Support the maintenance, enhancement and protection of Hawai’i’s natural and cultural resources, wahi kūpuna, and wahi pana impacted by tourism;
  • Enable Native Hawaiian entrepreneurship by creating business opportunities in the visitor industry, offering tourism business development training or stimulating economic activity that empowers Native Hawaiians to have a stake in tourism development; or
  • Undertake related activities with visitors that convey respect and reaffirm the principle of reciprocation to the place, resources and traditional knowledge holders and practitioners.

A pre-proposal video conference discussing the solicitation will be held for interested applicants on Monday, May 1, 2023. Those who wish to attend are encouraged to RSVP at: with the subject header Hōʻihi 2023. Confirmation of meeting date and time will be emailed to pre-registrants and posted to ONHR’s website listed below.

Applicants must submit their proposals electronically through no later than Wednesday, June 21, 2023. Additional information is available on ONHR’s website at:


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