BackgroundThe Office of Native Hawaiian Relations’ (ONHR) Heritage (Tourism) Opportunities in Hawaiʻi (HŌʻIHI) Grant Program serves to implement the Native Hawaiian Organization NATIVE Act Grants under CFDA 1 5. 068 and the provisions of the Native American Tourism and Improving
Visitor Experience Act (NATIVE Act), 25 U.S.C.
4351 et seq.
The purposes of the NATIVE Act are to establish a more inclusive national travel and tourism strategy and has the potential to deliver significant benefits for Native Hawaiian organizations (NHO) as distinctly defined in the NATIVE Act, including job creation, elevated living standards and expanded economic opportunities.
PurposeTourism in Hawaiʻi has increasingly grown over the last century as visitor arrivals surpassed 10 million in 2020 and has seen a recovery since the drop in arrivals during the pandemic with 9. 4 million visitor arrivals in 2022 in a State whose population is less than 1. 5 million people.
This volume of visitors has led to excessive pressure on the natural and cultural resources, including many long held sacred by members of the Native Hawaiian Community.
Tourism in Hawaiʻi relies heavily on the Native Hawaiian culture as its overarching theme and draw and has operated as an extractive industry, depleting resources and often displacing Native Hawaiian Community members from their traditional lands, homes, and places of worship.
Frustration amongst Native Hawaiian Community members have resulted in urgent calls to reevaluate priorities and to transform tourism into a regenerative industry, one that invests back into restoring and sustaining resources, including human resources, in Hawaiʻi.
Given that tourism will remain a major economic driver for many states, including Hawaiʻi, the NATIVE Act plays an important role in promoting heritage and cultural tourism opportunities through the self-determining participation of Native American communities, including the Native Hawaiian Community, in the visitor industry.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 ONHR’s HŌʻIHI Grant Program.
Through showing respect, visitors (tourists) can then be welcomed as guests with a shared kuleana (responsibility) in perpetuating the values and importance of Native Hawaiian traditional knowledge and cultural practices.
This ʻōlelo noʻeau serves as a foundational guide for ONHR’s HŌʻIHI Grant Program to aide in actions that:Showcase the heritage, places, art, foods, traditions, history and continuing vitality of the Native Hawaiian Community;Identify, enhance, revive, or maintain lōea (cultural traditions and practices), wahi kūpuna (ancestral spaces) and wahi pana (sacred spaces) that are important to sustain the distinctiveness of the Native Hawaiian Community; andProvide for authentic and respectful visitor experiences in Hawaiʻi;These grants and subsequent actions by NHOs are also expected to facilitate job creation, stimulate economic activity, and contribute to elevating the living standards in the Native Hawaiian Community.
Program Priorities for 2023For fiscal year 2023, ONHR will fulfill the core principles of the HŌʻIHI Program by providing grant funding to successful NHO applicants who meet the criteria for one or more of the following priorities:Uplift, perpetuate, and in some cases revive, traditional Native Hawaiian practices (e.g., ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, kapa making, lauhala and kaula weaving, hula, amongst many others including lesser known practices) by creating opportunities for demonstrations, visitor education on history, usage, and protocols, or hands-on visitor participation experiences in the cultural practice;Support the maintenance, enhancement, and protection of Hawaiʻi’s natural resources, wahi kūpuna, and wahi pana at areas impacted by tourism;Enhance the entrepreneurial capacity for the Native Hawaiian Community by helping create business opportunities in the visitor industry, offering business development training, or stimulating economic activity; ORUndertake related activities with visitors that convey respect and reaffirm the principle of reciprocation to the place, resources, and traditional knowledge holders and practitioners.For the purposes of this solicitation, Native Hawaiian cultural practices may include, but are not limited to, traditional:
farming practices, food preparation, material gathering and production of implements, products, and adornments, and cultural activities such as dance, chant, song, arts, construction, and recreation.