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

Last edited 04/04/2024

Date: Thursday, April 4, 2024

HONOLULU — The Department of the Interior’s Office of Native Hawaiian Relations today announced $1 million in funding for Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs) 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 enables Indigenous communities to participate in national tourism goals and strategies.

This is the third year that funding has been made available to NHOs through the HŌʻIHI grant program. 

"The Heritage Opportunities in Hawaiʻi Program seeks to encourage a tourism model that accurately showcases Native Hawaiian culture and traditions while providing protection and awareness for Hawaiʻi’s natural and cultural resources," 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.” 

The HŌʻIHI program establishes a more inclusive national travel and tourism strategy and provides opportunities to NHOs that have the potential to deliver significant benefits, including job creation, elevated living standards and expanded economic opportunities, to the Native Hawaiian Community. 

“We are seeking grant awardees for 2024 who exemplify Hawaiʻi’s overall movement towards regenerative tourism, with projects enhancing Native Hawaiian Community involvement, and presenting culturally mindful education opportunities for kamaʻāina and visitors alike,” said Keʻala Fukuda, Heritage Opportunities in Hawaiʻi Program manager

Under the program, the Department awards grants to applicants to utilize their amassed Indigenous Knowledge and expertise in Native Hawaiian cultural practices to develop and implement a new, or enhance an existing, engagement program that:  

  • Educates visitors on the history, usage, purposes of, and protocols associated with a traditional Native Hawaiian cultural practice; 
  • Engages visitors in the cultural practice such that they develop a first-hand, authentic experience resulting in a greater understanding and appreciation for the Native Hawaiian culture and Hawaiʻi; and as appropriate, tangible products or outputs that reflect their participation in the cultural practice; and 
  • Undertakes related activities with visitors that convey respect and reaffirm the principle of reciprocation to the place, resources, and traditional knowledge holders and practitioners, as well as the sustainability of the cultural practice. 

Native Hawaiian cultural practices may include, but are not limited to, traditional food production and preparation, health and healing, material gathering and production of implements, products and adornments, construction and recreation, and cultural activities such as dance, chant, song and arts.

The Hawaiian value of hōʻihi, meaning respect, reflected in the ʻōlelo noʻeau, or Hawaiian proverb, “E hōʻihi aku, e hōʻihi mai,” meaning “show respect, get respect” represents the core principle of the HŌʻIHI program. Through showing respect, visitors can then be welcomed as guests with a shared kuleana, or responsibility, to perpetuate the values and importance of Native Hawaiian Indigenous Knowledge and cultural practices. 

The Department anticipates awarding 12 grants in 2024, ranging between $75,000 and $200,000, with an anticipated average of $100,000. Depending on their proposals, successful NHOs may use grant funding for up to three years from the date of award.  Eligible applicants must affirm that they are a Native Hawaiian Organization as defined in the NATIVE Act.  More information regarding the NATIVE Act can be found on our website.  

A video conference will take place on Monday, April 15, 2024, at 12 p.m., Hawaiʻi Standard Time for interested applicants to receive an overview of the Heritage Opportunities in Hawaiʻi Program Grant Program and 2024 priorities. Please contact Keʻalapualoke Fukuda for more details about the video conference at  

Grant applications must be submitted electronically to no later than 5:59 p.m., HST, Monday, June 3, 2024. 


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