INTRODUCTION -- WHY NOT PUT THE AKAKA BILL TO A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE?
The purpose of this webpage is to show that most of Hawai'i's people, as well as most people of Hawaiian native ancestry, are opposed to the Akaka bill. Unfortunately the only way to do that is to "read the tea leaves" by assembling a collection of scientific surveys, informal polls, and commentary by neutral observers.
The best way to know whether people support or oppose the bill would be to put a referendum question on the ballot at the next general election, asking people to vote "Yes" or "No" to a question posed with direct and neutral language such as: "Do you support the enactment by Congress of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill, commonly known as the Akaka bill?"
However, the laws of the State of Hawai'i do not allow any referendum question to be placed on the ballot unless the Legislature passes a bill to put it there. There is no provision for "initiative" petitions to force a question to be placed on the ballot.
Hawai'i politicians realize that about 20% of the people have at least one ancestor who was native Hawaiian. Politicians mistakenly stereotype ethnic Hawaiians, viewing them as a monolithic voting bloc. Politicians dare not do anything to offend what they regard as a 20% swing vote. The largest, most wealthy and powerful institutions in Hawai'i are focused on providing racially exclusionary benefits to ethnic Hawaiians. One example is Kamehameha School, the largest private landowner in Hawai'i, whose assets probably exceed $10 Billion. Another example is the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a government agency whose $400 Million in public money is allowed by law to be used for political advertising and lobbying.
Thus the Legislature repeatedly passed resolutions unanimously asking Congress to pass the Akaka bill. The large institutions pushing the Akaka bill insist that there should be no referendum allowing voters to express an opinion, and the Legislature meekly obeys that command.
Finally, in 2005 one very brave Legislator, Senator Sam Slom (R, Diamond Head-Hawaii Kai) voted against the resolution that asked Congress to support the Akaka bill. Later, on March 15, 2006, Senator Slom and Senator
Gordon Trimble (R, Downtown-Waikiki) introduced a resolution whose title is REQUESTING THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO STRONGLY OPPOSE S. 147, COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE "AKAKA BILL", UNTIL THE BILL IS APPROPRIATELY AMENDED TO INCLUDE A VOTE BY THE PEOPLE OF HAWAII TO APPROVE ENACTMENT OF THE MEASURE.
The resolution contains powerful language opposing the Akaka bill and demanding a vote by Hawai'i's people before Congress enacts it. Full text of Senate Concurrent Resolution SCR 78 is at:
The resolution was introduced on March 15, 2006. It was immediately referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs, whose chair, Colleen Hanabusa (D, Wai'anae), is one of the most radical supporters of Hawaiian race-based legislation. Of course she never held a hearing. She killed the resolution the day it was born.
SCIENTIFIC SURVEYS AND POLLS DIRECTLY FOCUSED ON THE AKAKA BILL
67% of respondents opposed the Akaka bill in a scientific survey of all 290,000 households having telephones, commissioned by the Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i and conducted in Summer 2005. Furthermore, 45% feel strongly enough about this issue that they are less likely to vote for any politician who supports the bill. (An initial scientific sample of 10,000 households was broadened to cover all 290,000 after Akaka bill supporters complained that 10,000 households was too small a sample.) For details, including the actual questions that were asked, see:
A new survey on the Akaka bill was released by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii on May 23, 2006. Phone calls were made to all households in Hawai'i, and confirmed the 2-1 opposition to the Akaka bill found in the earlier survey. In addition, the new survey showed that large majorities want a vote of all Hawai'i's people before Congress considers the bill. Even a majority of the minority who support the Akaka bill want a vote in Hawai'i first. Other issues include racial preferences (most people oppose them), and whether people would vote in favor of Statehood for Hawai'i if it were on the ballot. Opponents of the Akaka bill are strongly in favor of Statehood, but supporters of the Akaka bill are far less supportive of Statehood (thus confirming the impression that the Akaka bill is a step toward secession). People who support President Bush are far more opposed to the Akaka bill than people who oppose President Bush. View the survey questions, and spreadsheets showing raw totals and percentages, at:
75% of respondents opposed the Akaka bill in an on-line poll conducted by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin newspaper. In March 2005 the Honolulu Star-Bulletin asked the question "Would you like to see the Akaka bill become law?" When the poll ended, the votes were "Yes" 436 and "No" 1301. This poll is especially significant because the Star-Bulletin has repeatedly editorialized in favor of the Akaka bill for several years. Although this poll was neither a scientific sample like the initial Grassroot Institute survey, nor a comprehensive survey like the final Grassroot survey that contacted all 290,000 households with telephones; it nevertheless measures the opinions of people who feel strongly enough about the issue to take the time to respond to the poll (the newspaper eliminated multiple votes from the same computer). For details of the Star-Bulletin poll, see:
The Maui News took an an online poll open for about two weeks in July 2005. The question was: "The Akaka Bill granting Native Hawaiians federal recognition has been held up in Congress by a group of Republican senators. What do you think Congress should do?" When the poll closed on July 28, 8075 votes had been cast with the following results: Pass the Akaka Bill. (36.2 %) Reject the Akaka Bill. (58.2 %) Revise and pass the Akaka Bill. (0.7 %) Don't know. (5.0 %) The Maui News has conducted many polls on many topics, and there seems to be no permanent URL to preserve the results of any particular poll once the next poll has started.
SCIENTIFIC SURVEYS MEASURING PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF "HAWAIIAN NATIONHOOD" COMPARED WITH OTHER ISSUES
In 2003 two different scientific surveys were done to discover the relative importance of various priorities as ranked by the people of Hawai'i in general, and by ethnic Hawaiians in particular. One survey was paid for by the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper, and conducted by the professional data-gathering and analysis company Ward Research. The other survey was paid for by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs -- it included data gathered both at public long-range planning meetings hosted by OHA in numerous neighborhoods, and also a survey conducted by the professional data-gathering and analysis company SMS Research which is frequently hired by OHA to do in-house surveys.
Both surveys produced remarkably similar results. It is also interesting that the results were nearly the same for ethnic Hawaiians as for the general public. Top priorities are education, healthcare, housing, the environment, and traffic. The lowest priorities are Native Hawaiian rights, race-based handouts -- and, lowest of all -- ethnic Hawaiian "nationhood" (i.e., the Akaka bill).
For complete details, see:
INDEPENDENT REPORTER BOB REES, WHO ATTENDED ALL 5 DAYS OF CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON AKAKA BILL IN HONOLULU IN SUMMER 2000, REPORTED THAT OPPONENTS OUTNUMBERED SUPPORTERS BY 9-1 AND THAT THE HAWAII DELEGATION LIED ABOUT THAT WHEN REPORTING RESULTS TO CONGRESS
On September 6, 2000 "Honolulu Weekly" columnist Robert M. Rees wrote an article he entitled "Hearings Theft." He said that "If the U.S. Congress gets accurate reports about the Aug. 28-Sept. 1 Akaka Bill hearings -- that Hawaiians who testified seemed mostly opposed, by 9 to 1 according
to some accounts, to federal recognition -- it could damage the bill's chances." For the full article see:
On January 17, 2001 "Honolulu Weekly" columnist Robert M. Rees wrote an article he entitled "Road to Nowhere." He said "During the Aug. 28-Sept. 1 hearings, based on testimony actually delivered, opponents outnumbered proponents by 9 to 1. Even the testimony in favor came hedged with pleas for substantial changes in the bill. However, the official version of the hearings, as Rep. Neal Abercrombie spun it after just the first day of hearings, was that 'Phone calls and letters to the delegation are overwhelmingly supportive.' The report taken back to Congress indicated there had been almost no opposition." For the full article see:
ETHNIC HAWAIIAN APATHY OR HOSTILITY TO "NATION-BUILDING" SHOWN BY POOR RESPONSE TO PROLONGED SIGNUP CAMPAIGN FOR A RACIAL REGISTRY
On January 17, 2004 (the 111th anniversary of the Hawaiian revolution that overthrew the monarchy) The Office of Hawaiian Affairs publicly launched a campaign called "Kau Inoa." Any person anywhere in the world who has at least one drop of Hawaiian native blood (the Akaka bill definition of "Native Hawaiian") may fill out an application, accompanied by proof of Hawaiian native ancestry. Thereby they "place their name" on a racial registry. Applicants are offered checkboxes to indicate whether they wish only to be listed on the registry, or whether they also wish to participate in nation-building activities.
17 months later, on May 30, 2005 a newspaper article announced that 18,000 names were on the list (including children whose parents signed them up).
However, in Census 2000, more than 400,000 people checked the box for "Native Hawaiian."
Thus, after 17 months of TV and newspaper commercials, free T-shirts, plate-lunches and sign-up tables at shopping malls and community events throughout Hawai'i and the United States, 18,000 signatures represented fewer than 5% of those eligible.
By the end of March 2006, OHA chair Haunani Apoliona announced that the Kau Inoa campaign was approaching 50,000 signatures.
However, even 50,000 is still only 12% of those eligible, after 26 months of intensive outreach including probably several million dollars spent on TV, radio, and newspaper advertising, postage, travel in Hawai'i and throughout the U.S., salaries paid to staffers for attending events and processing paperwork, etc.
The figure of 50,000 includes many thousands of children registered by their parents. It includes ethnic Hawaiians from throughout the United States and the world. It represents only about twelve percent of the number of people in the United States who identified themselves in Census 2000 as being "Native Hawaiian." Note that according to the definition used in the Akaka bill, a "Native Hawaiian" is anyone who has at least one drop of Hawaiian native blood. Thus there are probably hundreds of thousands of additional people in the U.S. (and more throughout the world) who would be eligible to sign up for Kau Inoa and join the Akaka tribe, even though they didn't consider their Hawaiian native ancestry sufficiently important to check the box in Census 2000, where they were allowed to check as many boxes as they chose to identify themselves with. If the Akaka bill passes, these additional hundreds of thousands of people are likely to sign up and and demand government handouts as soon as they become aware they are eligible for them.
Furthermore, the signup program for Kau Inoa has been advertised as being unrelated to the Akaka bill, so that even people who do not support the Akaka bill have been encouraged to sign up on the racial registry
Reporting the launch of the Kau Inoa project on January 17, 2004, the OHA website noted: "Community activist Lela Hubbard — considered one of the OHA's fiercest critics — also participated in the registration launch, and urged members of other "dissident groups" to sign up as well. "I think that the dissident groups — and I'm part of the loyal opposition to the Akaka Bill — need to sign on to this enrollment," Hubbard said. "Because that will bring us to where we can kukakuka, we can argue our issues among ourselves, and that is what will build a strong nation."
Seventeen months later Lela Hbbard was featured in a TV report, once again stressing that people should sign up on the racial registry even if they oppose the Akaka bill:
KHON TV, Posted: June 12, 2005; *excerpts*
Native Hawaiian registry still unfamiliar to most
by Gina Mangieri
"A Native Hawaiian registry effort aims to enlist at least 50,000 names. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs launched the registry drive -- called Kau Inoa -- a year and a half ago. But lots of Hawaiians still haven't heard about it. Most people at an Aiea baseball game we visited Sunday didn't know about Kau Inoa -- OHA's Hawaiian governance registry. But Hawaiian activist Lela Hubbard was batting 1,000. She signed up every Hawaiian she met. ... Dad even put 2-year-old Kalani Fuellas on the list. ... "We do need to unite in a movement toward nationhood," said Hubbard, who has been a strong critic of OHA on most other issues, and who opposed federal recognition legislation for Native Hawaiians. Since the list-building began in January 2004, 18,000 have signed up -- about a third of what OHA hoped to have by the end of last year. ... To Hubbard and other sovereignty activists, the larger the Hawaiian governance registry, the more say Hawaiians can have in native issues. She was opposed to passage of the federal native Hawaiian recognition legislation known as the Akaka Bill. Though the registry is OHA sponsored -- and OHA favored the legislation -- Hubbard still feels uniting Hawaiians at least on a list for future voting or feedback is one way to move toward a unified voice for self-determination. "The Native Americans have told us not to walk in their moccasins, and I take them at their word," Hubbard said. There are a handful of other Native Hawaiian lists - OHA voting rolls before Rice v. Cayetano, Hawaiian Homelands, Department of Health. Some say Kamehameha Schools has the most extensive database, and Kamehameha has already sent Kau Inoa information to folks on its own list."
Thus the following conclusions: After 27 months of massive advertising and community outreach throughout the United States, and probably millions of dollars in expenditures, fewer than 12% of those eligible have signed up for OHA's racial registry, including children. Considering that the number of ethnic Hawaiians is probably much greater than the 400,000 who identified themselves that way in Census 2000, the signup rate may be closer to 5% or 6%. And if Lela Hubbard is any indication, a substantial portion of these are people who do not support the Akaka bill and who signed up with the clear understanding that the racial registry is not intended to become a membership roll for an Akaka tribe.
IMPORTANT PUBLISHED ARTICLES AND TESTIMONY OPPOSING THE AKAKA BILL
About 200 pages of major articles opposing the Akaka bill, published in newspapers and magazines from 2000 - 2006. About 90% were published in 2005, because of the debate and vote expected on the Senate floor which never took place.
About 80 pages of actual articles, and links to articles, in which Native Hawaiians oppose the Native Hawaiian recognition bill; from 1999 to 2004.
Important Testimony in Opposition to the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill in the 109th Congress (S.147 and H.R.309), including a roundup of testimony from previous years, and published articles opposing the bill
For Media and the Public: Up-to-Date, Basic, Quick Information About The Hawaiian Government Reorganization Bill. Includes links to important articles by Constitutional law expert Bruce Fein, news reports about opposition by the Department of Justice, hearing by the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution, letter to Speaker Hastert by group of Congressmembers, article by former Senators Gorton and Brown complaining that Senator Inouye misled them regarding the 1993 apology resolution, and much more.
Improving the Akaka Bill To Leave No Hawaiian Behind (proposing some serious amendments to make the bill less awful, consistent with its purpose of creating racial separatism). To avoid allowing a small minority of ethnic Hawaiians to create a "nation" speaking on behalf of all, the bill should be amended to require a quorum of 50% of all adult ethnic Hawaiians to sign up on a tribal membership roll before the tribe can be recognized. The bill should also be amended to require that no "settlement" among the tribe, the State of Hawai'i, and the federal government can be approved unless a majority of enrolled tribal members approve it and unless a majority of State voters approve it in a referendum. The bill should also be amended to require that all issues arising throughout history before the tribe is recognized must be resolved in a global settlement within 5 years after recognition or through lawsuits filed before that 5 year time limit. See:
Send comments or questions to:
SEE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE AKAKA BILL
SEE WEBPAGES ABOUT HAWAIIAN SOVEREIGNTY ISSUES IN ADDITION TO THIS BILL