Hawaii state agencies fail to collect and track accurate data about Native Hawaiians and programs that are supposed to help them, according to a report released by Papa Ola Lokahi, a Native Hawaiian health advocacy organization, and the Hawaii Budget & Policy Center. Native Hawaiians face disproportionate impacts in numerous areas, including health and economics, according to the joint report. But data about the community is often obscure and lacks Native Hawaiian input, whether during the collection process or in determining how the data is used, the authors say.
The Hawaii Legislature was considering a resolution backed by the Office of Hawaiian affairs this year that would urge several public agencies, including county police departments, to release disaggregated data on Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders. The proposal also sought a task force to analyze and provide recommendations on how the state collects, processes, retains, and shares demographic data.
One of the chief complaints was that Native Hawaiians are often lumped together with Pacific Islanders and even Asians, which obscures the complex nuances, as well as the unique strengths and weaknesses of Hawaii’s Indigenous people.
The authors noted that Hawaii’s State Judiciary does not collect any ethnic or racial data. State programs funded to help Native Hawaiians also aren’t adequately tracked to see if funds are actually being used for that purpose, the report said. It also recommended that organizations seek the counsel of the Native Hawaiian community in developing programs for the community.
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