SUMMARY OF CONTENTS, IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER FOR NOVEMBER 1 TO DECEMBER 31, 2005
November 1: Honolulu Advertiser commentary by attorneys H. Christopher Bartolomucci and Viet Dinh arguing that Congress does have jurisdiction under the Constitution to create a government for ethnic Hawaiians. Hawaii Reporter article by Ken Conklin reporting on 8 joint hearings on 5 islands in 9 days by two committees of the state Legislature to discuss how the Legislature might circumvent the Arakaki and Kamehameha decisions by the 9th Circuit Court, while waiting for the Akaka bill to pass.
November2: Two Hawaiian Civic Clubs proposed a resolution opposing the Akaka bill, but by a vote of 146 to 39 the parent Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs voted to continue its support of the bill.
November 12: Honolulu Advertiser reports that Governor Lingle and several OHA trustees will be in Washington D.C. lobbying for the Akaka bill with leaders of the House of Representatives around November 16-18. They hope the bill can pass the Senate this year, possibly through the use of a cloture petition around the time of their visit. But it's very unlikely there would then be time to pass it in the House.
** Note from Ken Conklin: The article says (incorrectly) that a bill must pass both chambers during the same calendar year to be enacted. (Advertiser published a correction on the following day. See November 19 for further discussion of this point) But if that theory were true, then the obvious reason for lobbying the House when time is running out would be to ask the House leadership to pass the bill on a voice vote without debate, perhaps on the calendar of non-controversial legislation as was done in a stealth maneuver by Representative Abercrombie on September 26, 2000. For an analysis of what might be happening behind the scenes, see:
November 13: Hawaii Reporter article by Ken Conklin says the remainder of year 2005 is a very dangerous time for opponents of the Akaka bill. Article reviews stealth tactics of previous end-of-year times, and offers conspiracy scenario for 2005.
November 14: Two letters to editor in Honolulu Advertiser eloquently put forward the independence activist view that Hawai'i is currently under U.S. (hostile) occupation. Hawai'i remains sovereign and independent because annexation never took place; hence Akaka bill is bad because it would turn citizens of sovereign independent nation into an Indian tribe under U.S. occupation.
November 16: Samantha Young, of the Stephens Media Group, has an article in West Hawaii Today newspaper reporting Governor Lingle and OHA trustees visit to Washington. Young says Senator Ensign of Nevada (who placed a hold on the bill in July over concerns about gambling) feels the gambling issue still is not resolved, even with the new language allegedly to be offered by Senator Akaka. Senator Frist, majority leader, could not be reached for comment regarding Senator Inouye and Akaka statements that they constantly press him and other Republicans for a vote on the bill.
November 18: Honolulu Advertiser quotes Senator Akaka saying that a vote on the Akaka bill is unlikely before the end of 2005, but he constantly pressures Majority Leader Frist to schedule it.
Also November 18: A nationally syndicated article by Victor Davis Hanson explains that the recent rioting in France by ethnic Arabs from France's former North African colonies can be explained by French racial exclusivity in social, economic, and political realms, resulting in ethnic balkanization and actual inequality despite claims of a colorblind society. By contrast, the U.S. takes equality seriously. But tensions exaccerbated by Hispanic and Black identity politics in America threaten to balkanize our society, leading us toward a social breakdown comparable to France, unless we return to our root policy of aggressive assimilation and inclusiveness. An addendum by Ken Conklin links to a webpage discussing the same issue in relation to Hawaiian racial separatism and ethnic nationalism, and the Akaka bill.
November 19: Honolulu Star-Bulletin publishes a news note closely similar to the one in the Advertiser of November 12, including the same false concept that a bill must pass both the House and Senate during the same calendar year in order to be enacted. Ken Conklin not-for-publication letter to Star-Bulletin editors notes that both newspapers published the same error, presumably from the same biased source, and need to strengthen their journalistic standards.
November 23: Honolulu Advertiser columnist Dave Shapiro takes note of an award of house lot leases by the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, and argues that the Akaka bill is necessary to protect that program against court challenges.
November 28 issue of "Newsweek" contains an article linking White House chief of staff Karl Rove to Washington lobbying firm Patton Boggs and the payment of $400,000 by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to Patton Boggs to lobby for the Akaka bill. The implication is that Rove may be improperly using his influence with the President to lobby on behalf of Patton Boggs clients, including lobbying for the Akaka bill, in return for money and legal representation for himself regarding the investigation of CIA leaks involving Lewis "Scooter" Libby. The "Newsweek" article, and Ken Conklin's comments about it, are on the following webpage:
November 29: Non-ethnic-Hawaiian writes letter to editor saying "Hawaiians on both sides of the Akaka bill discussion ultimately want the same thing they want their kingdom back. From what I have observed of politically active descendants of Hawaiian citizens, they look forward to the day when they can elect a king or queen again. Some see the Akaka bill as a step in that direction; others fear that it will impede progress toward their goal, but, make no mistake, that goal is independence. This is a political issue, not a racial issue.
December 4: Honolulu Advertiser publishes a news report about lawsuits by foreign governments demanding repatriation of ancient artifacts from American museums. Advertiser editorial board member publishes commentary connecting that news report to NAGPRA issues in Hawai'i. One unstated implication is that passing the Akaka bill would allow ethnic Hawaiians to establish a governing entity to resolve disputes among members and then speak with one voice on behalf of the tribe as a whole. Thus, an Akaka tribe could operate with legal standing comparable to like foreign governments, filing lawsuits against museums to demand repatriation of artifacts.
December 5: Beltway Blogroll (a web log devoted to reporting on other blogs and the role they are playing in politics) published an essay describing the Akaka bill and the influence of various blogs in bringing attention to it.
December 8: Haunani Apoliona gives annual speech "The State of OHA and the [ethnic] Hawaiian Community" to an audience of 300 at Kawaiaha'o Church. She says there's a conspiracy to demolish racial entitlements through lawsuits; the lawsuits are headed for success; OHA has been doing great work helping ethnic Hawaiians; and the only way to save the entitlement programs is through "nation building" and the Akaka bill.
On December 22, 2005, as the Senate was preparing to go on recess until January 18, Senator Akaka issued a statement saying that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid have pledged to work to bring the Akaka bill to the Senate floor in 2006.
December 30, 2005: Hawaii Reporter article says the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold a hearing on January 20, 2006 in Washington D.C. to hear testimony supporting and opposing the Akaka bill. A note by Ken Conklin reviews the report of the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the USCCR from the forum held in Honolulu in September 2000 -- the report favored the Akaka bill and also favored the concept that ethnic Hawaiians have a right to force the secession of Hawai'i from the United States.
DETAILS OF NEWS REPORTS AND COMMENTARY FOR NOVEMBER 1 TO DECEMBER 31, 2005
Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, November 1, 2005
Congress has jurisdiction on Hawaiians
By H. Christopher Bartolomucci and Viet Dinh
Does Congress have the authority to treat Native Hawaiians as it does American Indians and Native Alaskans? That is the legal question raised by legislation now pending before Congress.
Constitutional text, Supreme Court precedent and historical events provide the answer: Congress' broad power in regard to Indian tribes allows Congress to recognize that Native Hawaiians have the same sovereign status as this country's other indigenous peoples.
The proposed Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act would establish a process by which Native Hawaiians would reconstitute their aboriginal government. Before Hawai'i became a state, the kingdom of Hawai'i was a sovereign nation recognized as such by the United States.
In 1893, American officials and the U.S. military aided in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. A century later, in 1993, Congress formally apologized to the Hawaiian people for the U.S. involvement in this regime change.
Congress has ample authority to reaffirm the government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians and their current effort to reorganize their governing entity. Congress' broadest constitutional power the power to regulate commerce specifically encompasses the power to regulate commerce "with the Indian tribes."
Based upon the commerce clause and other constitutional provisions, the Supreme Court has acknowledged Congress' plenary power to legislate regarding Indian affairs. In the 1998 Venetie case, the court did not question Congress' power to enact legislation for Native Alaskans.
Congress has used that power in the past to restore the relationship with tribal governments terminated by the United States. In 1954, Congress terminated the Menominee tribe in Wisconsin. In 1973, Congress reversed course and enacted a law restoring the federal relationship with the Menominee and assisted in its reorganization. The bill before Congress is patterned after that law and would do for Native Hawaiians what Congress did for the Menominee and for Alaska's natives.
The bill does not run afoul of Rice v. Cayetano, a 2000 Supreme Court opinion often touted by the bill's opponents. In Rice, the court ruled that the state of Hawai'i could not limit the right to vote in a state election to Native Hawaiians. But Rice did not address whether Congress may treat Native Hawaiians as it does its other indigenous groups Indian tribes and Alaska natives.
Indeed, the court's opinion clearly left open the possibility that Congress could so treat Native Hawaiians. The Supreme Court has long held that congressional legislation dealing with indigenous groups is political, not racial, in character and therefore is neither discrimination nor unconstitutional.
Likewise, the constitutionality of the bill is not affected by the recent lower federal court decision that the prestigious Kamehameha Schools in Hawai'i cannot completely bar admission by non-Native Hawaiians. That case involved the obligations of a private school under the civil rights statutes. The question here is whether Congress has the constitutional authority to restore the government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians.
The answer to that legal question is yes.
When Congress enacts laws for indigenous peoples, it does so on a government-to-government basis. Scores of federal laws and regulations exist relating to American Indians, Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians, and none has ever been struck down as racially discriminatory. Indeed, a review of the current state of the law makes clear that laws focused upon any of these indigenous peoples are within Congress' powers.
At the end of the day, a decision by Congress to treat Native Hawaiians like other native groups is a political decision, one that courts are not likely to second-guess. In a 1913 case involving the New Mexico Pueblos, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress could treat the Pueblos as Indians, even though their culture, customs and assimilation into the community differed from that of other Indian tribes.
The court decided that Congress' judgment was not arbitrary and that judicial review should end there. The legislation now before the Senate concerning Native Hawaiians easily passes that legal test.
H. Christopher Bartolomucci, a lawyer in Washington, D.C., and Viet D. Dinh, a Georgetown law professor, are consultants to the state of Hawai'i. They wrote this commentary for The Advertiser.
Hawaii Reporter, November 1, 2005
State Legislature Hearings on How to Circumvent Court Decisions Unfavorable to OHA and Kamehameha Schools
By Kenneth R. Conklin
Two state of Hawaii legislative committees primarily focused on ethnic Hawaiians held a series of eight public hearings on five islands during a 9-day period at the end of October 2005.
The purpose of the hearings was to get public input regarding two decisions of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In Doe v. Kamehameha, the Court ruled that Kamehameha Schools' racially exclusionary admissions policy (ethnic Hawaiians only) is illegal.
In Arakaki v. Lingle, the Court ruled that state taxpayer plaintiffs have standing to sue the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to stop the spending of tax dollars for a racially exclusionary group of beneficiaries (ethnic Hawaiians only). Complete coverage of the Arakaki lawsuit, including all legal briefs by plaintiffs and all 5 defendants, can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/3pkgg
This article describes the Legislature's hearings; including my testimony, and discussion of legal issues by attorneys and Legislators, at the hearing in Kahaluu, Oahu on Oct. 28.
The intention of the hearings was to help the Legislature figure out what state laws might be passed to overcome or circumvent the federal Court decisions.
The schedule of hearings (intentionally set in communities with high percentages of ethnic Hawaiians), and comments by the committee chairs encouraging ethnic Hawaiians to attend (what about everyone else?), were published by the Honolulu Advertiser ahead of time (in effect, a free advertisement encouraging identity politics) at: http://tinyurl.com/c6kqh
Only about 50 people attended a hearing at Nanakuli High School on Monday night Oct. 24, despite the advance publicity and large numbers of ethnic Hawaiians living in that area.
The Honolulu Advertiser reported that "Kamehameha Schools and the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs were bashed for failing to address the needs of the Wai'anae Coast communities" and "Six of the first nine public speakers were critical of Kamehameha." What was probably expected to be a stage-managed propaganda exhibition turned out to be quite the opposite. http://tinyurl.com/83mgx
The hearing on Friday night Oct. 28 at the Key Project on Waihee Road in Kahaluu had chairs set up to accommodate about 100 people. But only 16 people showed up, including four Legislators, official representatives of two government agencies and Kamehameha Schools, and the author of this article.
The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs was represented by Chair Colleen Hanabusa, Vice-Chair Clayton Hee (who is also the former long-term chairman of OHA), and member Kalani English (Maui). The House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs was represented by Chair Scott Saiki.
Testimony was presented first by Assistant Attorney General Girard Lau; followed by OHA attorney Ernie Kimoto; and then two spokespeople for Kamehameha Schools, Kekoa Paulsen and Crystal Rose. Then three members of the public testified including myself and two kupuna (elders) from Waimanalo Hawaiian Homestead. Former Sen. Bob Nakata (an active supporter of Hawaiian race-based programs) showed face but remained silent. A representative of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands was expected to testify but did not appear.
Here's my testimony:
The question posed by the Senate and House committees is: What legislation, if any, should be introduced to deal with the decisions by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Arakaki and Kamehameha lawsuits?
My answer is: The Legislature should not in any way attempt to override or circumvent those court decisions. The Legislature has an obligation to respect court decisions, just as the Legislature expects the courts to respect legislative decisions on political questions.
District Court Judge Mollway gave extraordinary deference to Congress (the national Legislature) when she finally dismissed the Arakaki lawsuit on grounds that it focuses on a political question -- merely because the Akaka bill has been introduced in Congress (not passed). That's silly, of course, because that theory would allow any illegal government policy or program to be insulated from Court scrutiny merely by introducing a bill. But Judge Mollway's rationale illustrates the great deference shown by the courts to the legislative process. So now it's time for the Legislature to show the same respect to the Court.
Instead of trying to undercut the Court, the Legislature should place two questions on the ballot for the 2006 general election so that the people of Hawaii can exercise their democratic right to make important decisions.
* 1. Should the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill, S.147, commonly known as the Akaka bill, be enacted by Congress?
* 2. Should the Office of Hawaiian Affairs be abolished?
The second question, if answered "yes," would require a Constitutional amendment.
Which reminds me. Fortunately, the 10-year period is rapidly coming to maturity, when the Legislature will be forced to place on the ballot a question whether there should be a Constitutional Convention. Such a con-con would provide Hawaii's people a wonderful opportunity to finally correct the errors of the 1878 con-con -- to put an end to OHA; to convert Hawaiian Homestead leases to fee-simple and abolish the no-longer-needed DHHL; to make clear that the ceded lands are the property of all Hawaii's people without racial restriction or encumbrance; and that shoreline access, water allocation and gathering rights are not based on race and must respect the rights of property owners.
It would be an abomination for the Legislature to try to defend racial separatism in government programs under the auspices of OHA or the Akaka bill, or to defend racial segregation at Kamehameha Schools.
I recently saw a televised panel discussion, including Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, discussing how the Legislature can help ensure the independence of the Judiciary, to guarantee that judges can make correct legal decisions without being intimidated by political pressure. Yet here is Sen. Hanabusa, as chair of the Judiciary committee, leading a political process to figure out how the Legislature can interfere with Court decisions in the Arakaki and Kamehameha lawsuits. The Legislature needs to back off.
In February 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Rice v. Cayetano. Immediately there was an uproar in the Legislature, as everyone scrambled to figure out how to undercut that decision.
How about letting OHA pay for its own elections? How about privatizing OHA? Etc. Exactly the way politicians in the Southern states behaved 50 years ago after the Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision.
It's time to move into the 21st Century, and stop looking like Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas of 1950s.
Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D., is an independent scholar in Kaneohe, Hawaii. His Web site on Hawaiian Sovereignty is at:
He can be contacted at:
** Note: A more detailed version of this report can be found at:
Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, November 2, 2005
Hawaiian association still backs Akaka bill
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs reaffirmed its endorsement of the Akaka bill at its annual convention over the weekend, but not before two member organizations sought to have that support withdrawn.
In the end, those association members attending their annual convention in West Hawai'i voted 146 to 39 to continue supporting the Akaka bill, formally known as the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005.
The Akaka bill would establish a process for the United States to formally recognize the nation's 400,000 Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people. Native Hawaiians would then decide whether to pursue a sovereign government that could negotiate with the United States and the state over land use and other rights.
The bill has been stalled in the Senate, although proponents hope it will move out before the end of this year's Congress.
Ka Lei Maile Ali'i Hawaiian Civic Club and the Queen Emma Hawaiian Civic Club jointly introduced a resolution urging the association to withdraw its support of the bill.
The two clubs are among the 47 organizations from Hawai'i and the Mainland that make up the 87-year-old association, which strives to support programs and other efforts that benefit the Hawaiian community.
Keoni Agard, vice president for the Queen Emma group, said proposed amendments designed to address concerns raised by the Department of Justice preclude Native Hawaiians from filing claims against either the state or federal government without their consent.
"We feel that we have land claims to the ceded lands that won't even get to first base because no one's going to consent," he said.
Agard, an attorney, said he and others also are disturbed by new language that would allow the U.S. military to conduct operations in Hawai'i without consulting Native Hawaiian interests.
Ipolani Tano, corresponding secretary for the Lanihuli Hawaiian Civic Club, was among those who spoke in favor of the Akaka bill.
"The Supreme Court has acknowledged that Congress has plenary power over Indian affairs, including the authority to organize a formerly sovereign indigenous people, and that happens to be the Hawaiians."
Toni Lee, president of Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, said the matter was discussed fully both before the Benefits and Trusts Committee on Thursday, as well as before the full delegation on Saturday.
Lee said she takes exception to the argument by one Akaka bill opponent who charged that debate was cut off on the issue Saturday, noting that at least two hours were devoted to discussing pros and cons of the bill.
Lynette Cruz, president of the Ka Lei Maile Ali'i organization, said she was not surprised at the outcome of the discussion, given the Hawaiian civic clubs' longstanding support of the Akaka bill.
Nonetheless, she said, the debate that took place was "a good and healthy thing to do" for the delegates.
"We knew when we went in there that it was overwhelmingly in their favor and not ours," Cruz said. "Our primary goal is education."
Tano agreed that the exchange was healthy. "It's good to understand what their concerns are."
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, November 12, 2005
Akaka bill allies keep hope alive for '05 vote
By Gordon Y.K. Pang and Dennis Camire
Local officials remain optimistic the Akaka bill can move out of the U.S. Senate this year, and they will travel to Washington, D.C., next week to lobby members of the House of Representatives.
"We are still hopeful, based on information provided to us by our legal advocates in Washington, D.C., that the bill will come up in the Senate before they adjourn this year," said Clyde Namu'o, administrator for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
But Congressman Ed Case, D-Hawai'i, said that even if the Senate passes the bill in the next month and a half, time constraints would make it difficult to move the bill out of the House before the new year.
Gov. Linda Lingle and likely four of the nine OHA trustees will meet Thursday with House leadership and members of its Resources Committee "in anticipation of the bill moving from the Senate to the House," Namu'o said.
"There's a feeling that if it's going to come up in the Senate, there's nothing more we can do, so our focus is looking forward to the House, said Namu'o, adding that he hoped Hawai'i Sens. Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel Akaka can persuade Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to allot time for the Akaka bill on the Senate agenda.
Both chambers of Congress must approve the bill in the same session or it does not become law. If just one chamber approves, that vote cannot be carried over to the new year.
Making the trip to Washington will be OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona and board members Rowena Akana, Colette Machado and Oswald Stender.
Case said he and U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawai'i, encouraged Lingle to meet with the House leadership.
The four members of Hawai'i's congressional delegation met Wednesday afternoon and agreed "the strategy and the plan still is to get it out of the Senate and then take it up in the House," Case said.
Both Namu'o and Lingle said they had heard that the Senate next week could hear a cloture petition that, if passed, would force a debate and vote on the Akaka bill, which would grant federal recognition to Native Hawaiians.
But representatives for both Hawai'i senators said they had no information to substantiate that.
Akaka has been continuing lobbying efforts with GOP leaders, said Donalyn Dela Cruz, Akaka's spokeswoman.
"But there is no date set and (Frist) has yet to even give any attention to it in regards to scheduling or bringing it to the floor," Dela Cruz said. "Anything could happen. It would be wonderful if things happened next week."
Mike Yuen, spokesman for Inouye, echoed Dela Cruz's comments. "As far as we know, nothing is circulating," he said.
Adding to the uncertainty is that it's still unknown when Congress will break for the year.
At the end of next week, Congress is expected to break for two weeks in conjunction with the Thanksgiving holiday, Case said. There has even been discussion in the Senate about not coming back for the year, but some in the House believe it's more likely Congress will come back for up to two more weeks after the Thanksgiving break, then adjourn for the year.
Asked if the bill could be approved by both houses before the end of the year, Case said: "I think it's unlikely just because that's a lot to pull off inside of somewhere of one or two weeks. We have a minimum of one week in this calendar year, and a maximum of three weeks to transact our business. My guess is it's going to be two weeks one week before Thanksgiving and probably one week in December."
Namu'o acknowledged that moving the bill out of both houses would be difficult given the timing. Nonetheless, he said, "there's a real remote possibility of getting it through the House and the Senate."
Lingle said she did not have any set plans to meet with people in Washington next week about the Akaka bill outside of the Thursday gathering organized by the Hawai'i delegation and OHA.
The governor noted that the main purpose of her trip is to accept an award from Diversity Best Practices and the Business Women's Network, two Washington, D.C.-based organizations.
** Note from Ken Conklin: The article says (incorrectly) that a bill must pass both chambers during the same calendar year to be enacted. But if that theory were true, then the obvious reason for lobbying the House when time is running out would be to ask the House leadership to pass the bill on a voice vote without debate, perhaps on the calendar of non-controversial legislation as was done in a stealth maneuver by Representative Abercrombie on September 26, 2000. For an analysis of what might be happening behind the scenes, see:
Hawaii Reporter, November 13, 2005
Dangerous Times Ahead for Opponents of Akaka Bill
By Kenneth R. Conklin
As of Veterans Day 2005, the Akaka bill appears to be in limbo. But appearances can be deceiving. This is a very dangerous time for opponents of the bill. First a quick review of the bill's recent history. Then some speculation on what could happen in the next few weeks.
On March 11 the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approved the Akaka bill (S.147) with an amendment regarding tribal gambling, and sent it to the floor. Since then there has been loud noise but no action. Several Republican Senators blocked the bill for various reasons, and Hurricane Katrina blew Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka's cloture petition off the calendar. In the House of Representatives the bill (H.R.309) has not yet had a hearing in the Resources Committee (which has jurisdiction over Indian legislation). For a detailed history of the Akaka bill during all of 2005 see http://tinyurl.com/6rnts
On Nov. 12, The Honolulu Advertiser reported that Gov. Linda Lingle, accompanied by probably four OHA trustees, will be in Washington on Nov. 17, 2005, to lobby the House Resources Committee chairman and the House Republican leadership. http://tinyurl.com/af66k
The Honolulu Advertiser also reported that there is still "hope" the Senate will pass the bill, perhaps through a cloture petition, perhaps at the time the governor is in Washington; and there is also a chance the bill could then pass the House before the end of this year.
The Honolulu Advertiser article says that a bill must pass both chambers during the same calendar year (session) in order to be enacted -- a statement which is probably false (ask your Congressman). The 109th Congress continues with a second session through the end of 2006, and bills do carry over. But bill supporters are trying to drum up a sense of urgency.
Legislators at both the state and federal level greatly love the pressure of time at the end of a session. That's when hastily scheduled events move faster than the speed of news, letting them pull outrageous shenanigans hidden from public view.
Let's see if we can envision the scenario our politicians might be dreaming of:
(1) a cloture vote in the Senate for a bill whose contents will have just been changed with no time for substantial debate; or else inserting the Akaka bill hidden inside another "must-pass" bill;
(2) passage in the House by unanimous consent under suspension of the rules on the calendar of non-controversial legislation when hardly anybody is present.
Sen. Akaka announced in early September that he had reached agreement with the Department of Justice on changes to the bill to satisfy DOJ objections. Isn't it interesting that Gov. Lingle and our Legislature were trying hard to pass the bill without these changes, before DOJ stepped in? Our local politicians have no interest in protecting us against the bad consequences of the Akaka bill -- just give that 20 percent swing vote (ethnic Hawaiians viewed monolithically) whatever they want.
A few days after both our Senators and both Representatives loudly proclaimed the new bill language had resolved DOJ objections, DOJ issued a public statement in which they not only failed to endorse the new language, but clearly said there are still important objections. None of these efforts by outsiders to protect us against our own politicians could have happened if the bill were being rushed through under end-of-session time pressure.
Akaka posted the new "negotiated" version of his bill on his official Senate Web site, purporting to be the bill agreed to by DOJ.
But now, eight weeks after Akaka posted his alleged new bill on his Web site, he has not yet formally introduced it in the Senate. Why is he waiting? Especially when he complains time is running out.
Remember the attempted cloture petition? It would be oh so clever to formally introduce a revised Akaka bill (perhaps with language nobody has yet seen) at the same time as a cloture petition; perhaps around November 15 when Hawaii politicians are there to lobby for it. That way there would be no time for opponents to analyze the bill before it comes up for a vote, and almost no time for additional (hostile) amendments to be considered under the restrictive rules governing debate after cloture has been invoked.
If cloture fails or time is too short, then the bill might still get through the Senate (and be veto-proof) by including it inside a different bill important to our nation.
For example, on December 15 2000 -- the last day of the 106th Congress -- an eagle-eyed Senate staffer discovered that Sen. Daniel Inouye had hidden the Akaka bill by reference (as a single sentence naming it) deep inside an enormous appropriations bill which had actually passed; and it was then necessary for both the House and Senate to immediately pass a special resolution to remove the Akaka bill. See: http://tinyurl.com/6e4ph
In December 2001, the Akaka bill was again hidden inside another huge bill in the form of a single sentence, in the hope that it might slip through without anyone noticing. Here is that sentence, buried in section 8,132 of the massive Defense Appropriations bill HR.3338:
"SEC. 8132. The provisions of S. 746 of the 107th Congress, as reported to the Senate on September 21, 2001, are hereby enacted into law."
Inouye's repeated sneak attack on the people of Hawaii blew up in the Senate on Dec. 7, 2001, exactly 60 years after "a day that shall live in infamy." Republicans stopped the Senate dead in its tracks for ten minutes and took Senator Inouye to the woodshed (cloakroom), after which he came back on the Senate floor to withdraw the offending sentence. See: http://tinyurl.com/628zm
If the bill somehow manages to get through the Senate this year, there is a fast way to push it through the House before anybody has time to notice.
The only time the Akaka bill ever passed either chamber of Congress was Sept. 26, 2000. It passed on a voice vote by unanimous consent under suspension of the rules on the calendar of non-controversial legislation at dinner time when only about 10 people were present (I watched it live on C-SPAN). All the other bills being passed at the same time were truly non-controversial, such as the transfer of a small parcel of land to the Gettysburg National Park. For details about what happened then, see: http://tinyurl.com/7yclb
Of course, such skullduggery requires the cooperation of at least one Republican co-conspirator (since they are in the majority) who has sufficient power to control the floor of the House for a few minutes without anyone objecting.
So, perhaps now we know why Governor Lingle and several OHA trustees are going to Washington to lobby the House Republican leadership.
Let's hope those House Republican leaders have seen the testimony on the Akaka bill's unconstitutionality presented to their own House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, on July 19, 2005. See: http://tinyurl.com/c3kg9
Once we get past Christmas, nobody will be able to claim time is running out. Year 2006 stretches ahead of us. As it happens, Nov. 7, 2006, is election day -- a perfect opportunity for Hawaii politicians to finally allow us to vote on whether we want the Akaka bill. They previously let us vote on whether to legalize same-sex marriage. Why not let us vote on whether to legalize apartheid? And when the election is over, there will be more time remaining in 2006 than there is now in 2005, for Congress to finally vote the Akaka bill up or down with full and accurate knowledge of what Hawaii's people want.
Honolulu Advertiser, November 14, 2005, Letters to the Editor
HAWAIIAN SOVEREIGNTY HAS NEVER BEEN CEDED
Is it possible to make sound decisions in matters of great public importance based upon a mistaken understanding of history? I don't think so. H. Christopher Bartolomucci and Viet D. Dinh seem to (Island Voices, "Congress has jurisdiction on Hawaiians," Nov. 1).
If one internationally recognized state: (1) invades another internationally recognized state in violation of a treaty between the two states and in violation of international law; (2) deposes the lawful government of the invaded state; (3) installs a puppet government in the invaded state; and, (4) annexes the invaded state, then, applying international law, the invaded state is "occupied." Its citizens and subjects have not been turned into members of a tribe.
"Sovereignty" never simply "ceases." Governments can be altered through constitutional means, internal revolt or by foreign intervention, but "sovereignty" of a recognized state may only be affected through merger with another sovereign state (for example, the United States in 1787), or dismemberment (for example, Yugoslavia in the 1990s).
Applying international law to the historical facts, there was no merger of Hawaiian sovereignty to U.S. sovereignty. A unilateral annexation by Congress is not a bilateral "merger" of sovereignty. Hawaiian nationals are not in the same situation as "Native Americans" or "Native Alaskans." Hawaiians are subjects of a sovereign state that has been occupied.
Bartolomucci and Dinh flat-out misread the facts and that, inevitably, makes their legal opinion as weak as their history.
Editor, Hawaiian Journal of Law and Politics
CLEVELAND DECRIED 1893 OVERTHROW
Thurston Twigg-Smith continues his own revisionist history in his Nov. 3 letter, claiming that "Any student of Hawaiian history knows the revolution was instigated and carried out by a group of subjects of the kingdom, not the United States."
Twigg-Smith is actually correct in pointing out that there are factual errors with the 1993 Apology resolution, but these have to do not with the U.S. role but with the apology being made exclusively to Native Hawaiians, when in fact the entire multiracial citizenry of the Hawaiian kingdom was affected by the United States' unlawful intervention in their country.
Twigg-Smith has the temerity to cite President Cleveland to support his claim, but let's look at what Cleveland actually said, in his Dec. 18, 1893, address to Congress, calling for the restoration of the legitimate government of Hawai'i:
"The lawful government of Hawai'i was overthrown without the drawing of a sword or the firing of a shot by a process every step of which, it may be safely asserted, is directly traceable to and dependent for its success upon the agency of the United States acting through its diplomatic and naval representatives.
"But for the notorious predilections of the United States minister for annexation, the Committee of Safety, which should be called the Committee of Annexation, would never have existed.
"But for the landing of the United States forces upon false pretexts respecting the danger to life and property, the committee would never have exposed themselves to the pains and penalties of treason by undertaking the subversion of the queen's government.
"But for the presence of the United States forces in the immediate vicinity and in position to afford all needed protection and support, the committee would not have proclaimed the provisional government from the steps of the government building.
"And finally, but for the lawless occupation of Honolulu under false pretexts by the United States forces, and but for Minister Stevens' recognition of the provisional government when the United States forces were its sole support and constituted its only military strength, the queen and her government would never have yielded to the provisional government, even for a time and for the sole purpose of submitting her case to the enlightened justice of the United States.
"By an act of war, committed with the participation of a diplomatic representative of the United States and without authority of Congress, the government of a feeble but friendly and confiding people has been overthrown. A substantial wrong has thus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair."
West Hawaii Today (Kona), November 16, 2005
Akaka Bill hangs in political limbo -- no vote is scheduled
by Samantha Young
Stephens Media Group
WASHINGTON -- As the calendar moves toward the end of 2005, Native Hawaiians once again face the prospect of having to wait another year for Congress to decide on granting them self-rule.
Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye, both D-Hawaii, have spent the last month lobbying Republican leaders, in person and in writing, seeking a vote on Hawaiian sovereignty legislation.
No vote has been scheduled and Congress may have as little as two and a half weeks left in its session this year.
"The clock is ticking and so far we haven't received any definitive word," Inouye said Tuesday.
Last year, Hawaii lawmakers were promised by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., that the Senate would vote on a Native Hawaiian bill in August of 2005.
That vote was delayed and another scheduled vote in September was called off as Congress worked to respond to Hurricane Katrina. The vote has not been rescheduled.
A Frist spokeswoman did not respond Tuesday to requests about the bill.
"Sen. Inouye and I have been pressing and writing letters but still have not heard back," Akaka said.
Trustees from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs returned to Capitol Hill this week to make one last pitch for the measure, which would allow Hawaiians to form their own government with the blessing of the federal government.
Trustees plan to meet Wednesday and Thursday with lawmakers from Hawaii and other states.
Gov. Linda Lingle, who will be in Washington to receive an award, plans to attend an OHA luncheon Thursday to discuss the bill. Republican leaders also have been invited.
Frist last year committed to bring the Native Hawaiian bill to the Senate floor by August but he was thwarted by conservatives who had objections to the bill.
Among the concerns was one voiced by Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., that the measure would allow Native Hawaiian to open casinos around the country similar to Indian casinos which are exempt from state laws.
Akaka agreed to changes but Ensign said Tuesday the issue has yet to be resolved.
The Justice Department also has raised questions about whether Congress has the constitutional authority to recognize Native Hawaiians in the same way it recognized American Indians and Native Alaskans. The White House has remained silent on the issue.
Inouye indicated that Native Hawaiian recognition has become a partisan issue.
"I think (Frist) realizes that this will become an issue and when the issue is analyzed, even if we don't bring it up, it will be a partisan issue," Inouye said. "The president of the United States, all he has to do is issue one friendly word."
Democrats have unanimously backed the bill in the Senate, along with a handful of Republicans. But a bloc of Republicans have criticized the bill for endorsing an exclusive race-based government of Native Hawaiians.
Hawaii senators have renewed calls for help by their allies among Senate Republicans. One ally, Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, could not say whether the bill would get a vote this year.
"The trouble is with these delays," Stevens said. "It's hard to get it done."
At one point this summer, Inouye and Akaka toyed with the idea of forcing a vote through procedural maneuvers. But they withdrew upon Frist's word he would bring the bill in September.
Inouye said Tuesday he does not plan further legislative maneuvers.
"I am relying on the word of the majority leader. If you can't take a gentleman's word .. what can you do?" Inouye said.
"We're still putting the pressure on the leader and trying to remind him that he promised us," Akaka added. "I know he's under a lot of stress but we are too. So, we haven't given up."
Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, November 18, 2005
Vote on Akaka bill unlikely
By Dennis Camire
Gannett News Service
WASHINGTON Chances are slim that the Senate will vote on the Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill before the end of the year, U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka said yesterday.
Akaka, D-Hawai'i, sponsor of the bill, said he and U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawai'i, were still pressuring Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., to follow through on his promise for a vote, but the year-end crush of legislative business may keep the bill off the floor.
"Frist is sincere, but you know how tough it is when time is running out," Akaka said.
Akaka's comments came during a briefing on the bill's status to Gov. Linda Lingle, four trustees of the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the state's two congressmen and other House members.
"It's been such a disappointment," Oswald Stender, a trustee with OHA, said about the continued delay in a Senate vote.
Collette Machado, another trustee, said she believes Native Hawaiians have been waiting too long for recognition from the federal government.
"I'm very disappointed," she said.
Stender, Machado, OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona and Rowena Akana, another trustee, were in Washington lobbying for the bill.
But Apoliona said the group "continued to be optimistic" about an eventual vote on the bill and its passage.
"We're hopeful for that to occur," she said. "We will persevere."
The bill, which is being blocked by a group of conservative Senate Republicans, would allow Native Hawaiians to form their own government.
Opponents say such an idea is unconstitutional because it would create a race-based government.
In the summer, Frist committed to bring the bill to the floor for a vote in early September. Dealing with the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita as well as nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court forced an indefinite delay.
Akaka said he and Inouye have been working "diligently every day" to get Frist to follow through and schedule a vote on the measure, "but we're not there yet."
"Every day, we've been talking to him (Frist)," Akaka said. "I think he is looking for a place (on the Senate calendar) to try to put it."
Akaka said the Senate now is tentatively scheduled to work through today, maybe into the weekend, and then return Dec. 5 or Dec. 12 for another week of work.
He said he also has asked Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, a co-sponsor of the bill, to help by speaking with Frist about scheduling a vote.
"He said he would," Akaka said. "I'm banking on that and his status within the Republican Party. I haven't heard back from him yet."
** Note from Ken Conklin: The following nationally syndicated article says nothing directly about Hawai'i or the Akaka bill. However, the relevance should be obvious. Following the article is a link to a webpage about Hawai'i that makes the relevance clear. **
Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, November 18, 2005
French rioting a wake-up call for the U.S.
By Victor Davis Hanson
If the controlled French economy grew at a rate comparable to America's, then most of the rioting youths of the Paris suburbs would probably have otherwise been too tired after coming home from work.
If France tried to be a multiracial society more like the United States, whose secretary of state and attorney general are minorities then there would not have been such a racial component to the class resentment.
If the rioters were not almost exclusively from Muslim backgrounds, then there would not have been yet another extremist dimension to the sectarian tension.
If France were not a post-colonial nation, then there would not be the resentment of third-class immigrants from its former provinces.
Sadly, those are too many ifs even for what Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin calls France's "Gallic genius." In truth, the rioting was a perfect storm whose remedy requires restructuring of the French economy, racial enlightenment, honesty about radical Islam and tough new immigration policies.
Yet we Americans should not console ourselves that we are entirely immune from such failures, as if the rioting in South-Central Los Angeles is now ancient history. In fact, the United States is also vulnerable to at least some of the same types of French economic and social precursors to violence.
So we should consider the French disaster a wake-up call. A nation cannot exist without shared values and a sense of common mission. We forgot about that in the 1960s when we encouraged racial separatism as a means of rectifying past discrimination. That kind of identity politics has proven a near-disaster. A salad bowl in place of the melting pot will, at the worst, turn America into something like the Balkans, and at best ensure separatism along the lines of Quebec or France.
Instead, the United States should return to its former ideal of a multiracial society under the inclusive aegis of Western culture. True, Americans are enriched by cultural diversity in food, fashion and the arts. Yet our core American values of democracy, human rights, private property, a free economy, an unfettered press and unbridled inquiry are not optional or up for discussion. In others words, we succeed precisely because we are the antithesis of a tribal Mexico, unfree China, intolerant Islamic Middle East or socialist and statist France.
Yet large areas of central Los Angeles, rural California, New Orleans and Washington, D.C., have become de facto apartheid communities like the French suburbs, with segregated concentrations of either illegal aliens from Mexico, unassimilated first-generation Hispanics or impoverished African-Americans.
One remedy is a return to the assimilation, integration and intermarriage of the past that once characterized the success of most immigrants who arrived in the United States prior to the rise of ethnic separatism of the 1960s. Unfortunately, abstract deference in white America to racial tribalism often serves as psychological cover for an unwillingness to live among, or send one's children to school with, the "other."
In turn, racialist groups like La Raza, the Chicano group MEChA ("Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada.") and the Congressional Black Caucus go well beyond ethnic pride to polarize Americans of all backgrounds. Their heyday of 1960s ethnic triumphalism as a remedy for the old white racism has come and gone and we should say goodbye to both for good.
The English language is our common bond. More than ever it is the first bridge between widely diverse immigrants. Bilingual education and a multiplicity of languages in official documents have not only proved wasteful but also eroded first-generation immigrants' facility in English, the sole language that can guarantee them economic security.
Guest workers are yet another bad idea. We see that from the bitter experience of helots in France and Germany and our own past. Modern "bracero" temporary laborers will only breed lasting resentment "good enough to work here, but not enough to stay"- and depress the wages of poorer citizens.
Our immigration policy is in chaos. We have millions of illegal aliens, thousands of whom are in our penal system. Our borders are less secure than France's. There is not even a Mediterranean Sea between America and the source of most illegal entrants.
Instead of allowing in so many illegally, and then ignoring them as they fend for themselves, America should take in far fewer immigrants, ensure that all come legally, and with rudimentary English and knowledge of the United States. And then we must all work together at rapidly making them into full-fledged fellow citizens.
There is a final lesson from France. Paris might proclaim itself a beacon of global liberality, but beneath that veneer it has been exposed as a simmering apartheid city. So take note: Everyday behavior toward one another not utopian rhetoric or sloganeering about "diversity" is all that matters in the end.
The United States is hardly France. But as a similarly affluent Western country where immigrants flock, sometimes fail and then often brood, we run the risk of becoming more like France if we don't return to the inclusivity that once worked and abandon the separatism that increasingly has not.
** Webpage explaining the relevance of identity politics and ethnic balkanization to Hawai'i and the Akaka bill **
TITLE: Hawaiian Nationalism, Chicano Nationalism, Black Nationalism, Indian Tribes, and Reparations -- Akaka Bill Sets a Precedent for the Balkanization of America (109th Congress, S.147 and H.R.309)
SECTION 1 begins: A VIEW OF HISTORY SHARED BY HAWAIIAN AND CHICANO ACTIVISTS
The following three paragraphs may sound to people in the Southwestern U.S. like the viewpoint of MEChA or Nation of Aztlan; and they may sound to people of Hawai'i like the viewpoint of Hawaiian sovereignty activists. Actually these are the views of both groups, and are similar to the views of other ethnic nationalist movements in America.
The activists claim to be indigenous to a certain area because they have at least one ancestor who lived somewhere in that area (in a range of hundreds of miles) prior to Western contact. Although someone's percentage of native blood may be very small, he nevertheless claims to be an aboriginal, indigenous, native person of that area.
The history of that area following Western contact goes something like this: Natives suffer extreme population decline (some call it genocide) because of newly introduced Western diseases. Gradually white people of European and American ancestry arrive in increasing numbers, and "impose" their culture, religion, language, legal system, money economy, and private property ownership, "forcing" the native people to assimilate to this strange new way of life. The white people bring in other non-natives, from Asia and Africa, as laborers. Eventually white people end up owning most of the property and running most of the government. Other non-white immigrants also get well-established. Natives end up at the bottom of society. At some point the U.S. stages an armed invasion to support a total takeover by the white oligarchy. After a few years or a few decades the area is officially annexed by the United States and sooner or later becomes a state.
But in recent years a growing awareness of historical heritage produces special pride in people who have any degree of native ancestry. Some people of native ancestry choose to identify more closely with their native ancestors than with their other ancestors, even when their native blood quantum is very small. An activist's pride in his native ancestry is accompanied by anger at historical injustices committed by his own white, Asian, or African ancestors against his native ancestors. The newly self-proclaimed indigenous people demand the right to self-determination, nationhood, and reparations from the United States for the "crimes" committed against them more than a century ago.
** FOR COMPLETE ANALYSIS, SEE:
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 19, 2005
Star-Bulletin staff and wire
Akaka Bill timing still considered uncertain
Sen. Daniel Akaka said yesterday he was confident the native Hawaiian recognition bill would be voted on by the current members of Congress, but indicated it might not happen this year.
Akaka, D-Hawaii, said he continues to meet with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., to find time on the Senate schedule for the measure.
"I remain confident that the bill will be considered prior to the end of the 109th Congress," Akaka said.
Even if the bill passes the Senate, U.S. Rep. Ed Case has said there might not be enough time for the House to act on the bill before the end of the year.
To become law, a bill must pass the House and Senate in the same session. The bill would grant federal recognition to native Hawaiians similar to that afforded American Indians and Alaska natives.
** After reading the above news note in the Star-Bulletin, Ken Conklin sent the following e-mail to the newspaper's editors **
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Star-Bulletin editors,
This is NOT a letter-to-editor which I am writing for publication. It is an actual letter to the editors to call your attention to a problem with your journalistic sources and standards.
Your article of Saturday November 19
is astonishingly similar to an article published by your cross-town rival the Honolulu Advertiser, a full week earlier, on November 12:
In particular, both articles contain an absolutely false statement that expresses the same concept in slightly rewritten wording:
To become law, a bill must pass the House and Senate in the same session.
Both chambers of Congress must approve the bill in the same session or it does not become law. If just one chamber approves, that vote cannot be carried over to the new year.
It is very clear that both newspapers have taken the same press release from OHA, or perhaps from Senator Akaka/Inouye's public relations crew; and both of you have published the same factually wrong concept in closely similar words (except Star-Bulletin is a week behind the curve).
Whatever source sent you that false material, I hope you will let them know you are disappointed in the inaccuracy of their information. More importantly, I hope that in the future you will not accept anything they say without first checking it for accuracy.
Advertiser issued a correction the day after the false statement was published. There is no permanent URL for a dated correction. But on Sunday November 13, page A4, the Advertiser "Getting it straight" zone said: "The Akaka bill must pass both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives in the same two-year session of Congress for it to become law. The current session runs until the end of 2006. A page 1 story yesterday contained incorrect information."
Well, actually, the Advertiser STILL got it wrong even in their correction. The Congress that is currently underway is correctly called the 109th Congress. A Congress runs for 2 years (because all members of the House and 1/3 of the members of the Senate are elected in November of every even-numbered year). Each year of any particular Congress is called a "session." We are now finishing up the first session of the 109th Congress; and the second session of the 109th Congress will run from January through December of 2006. Thus both newspapers used the word "session" incorrectly (Advertiser repeating the incorrect use of "session" in an effort to save face).
THE MOST IMPORTANT CORRECTION is that every bill has a 2-year period to be introduced and pass both chambers in identical wording, or else that bill dies. A bill carries over from one session to the next, but not from one Congress to the next.
The same concept is true for the Hawai'i Legislature.
THE MOST IMPORTANT CONCEPT IN THE CASE OF THE AKAKA BILL'S PRESENT SITUATION IS THIS: There is absolutely no hurry to pass it before the end of 2005. There is no difference whatsoever between November 2005 and January 2006 (or December 2006) regarding whether the bill passes any particular chamber and is then passed by the other chamber.
And then, of course, in January of 2007, our dearly beloved Senators and Representatives will once again introduce the Akaka bill to start the process all over again, so there is still no do-or-die urgency. The Akaka bill has been making the rounds continuously from July 20, 2000 through the present, with only brief interludes between death in December of 2000, 2002, and 2004, and re-starts in January or February of 2001, 2003, and 2005. And by the way, while we're on the topic, please note that the Akaka bill only passed one chamber one time -- both newspapers in the past have believed the false propaganda from OHA by publishing statements that the bill has passed the House 2 or 3 times before. That false information was probably circulated by the same propagandist who sold you the bill of goods about a bill being required to pass both chambers in the same calendar year. The bill passed the House on Tuesday, September 26, 2000 on a voice vote by unanimous consent under suspension of the rules at dinner time on the calendar of non-controversial legislation when only about ten people were present on the House floor. That stealth maneuver was highly dishonorable.
Supporters of the Akaka bill are like used-car or door-to-door salesmen, who want you to think it is urgent to buy right now. Nonsense.
This end-of-session rush-rush is greatly loved by politicians who try to use stealth tactics to pass bills without public scrutiny. On November 13, I published an article about this snow-job on the Akaka bill and how it was also done in previous years.
Dangerous Times Ahead for Opponents of Akaka Bill
also available on my own webpage at
I'm very sad that your newspaper has been a victim of the con artists who sent you that press release, and also sad that you simply took their word as being gospel.
Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Akaka bill importance shown in house lots
By David Shapiro
A defining mark of Gov. Linda Lingle's first term has been her steady commitment to advancing the rights of Native Hawaiians.
It's been most visible in her persistent lobbying in Washington for the Akaka bill, which would grant federal political recognition to Hawaiians.
As important is her administration's initiative at home to significantly increase the number of house lots and other leasehold lands made available to qualifying Hawaiians by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
This worthy program to put Hawaiians of at least 50 percent native blood back on the land was steered through Congress by Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana'ole in 1921.
Since then, however, poor management by administrations representing both political parties has drawn sharp criticism locally and nationally as the Hawaiian Homes waiting list has grown to 18,000 people.
Lingle started her political career on Moloka'i, the most Hawaiian of the islands, and made ambitious promises to Hawaiian voters in her 2002 campaign for governor.
"It is the Hawaiian people and their culture that make Hawai'i Hawai'i," she said. "If the indigenous people do not feel that things are pono, Hawai'i cannot prosper."
Lingle has delivered mixed results, but political opponents can't credibly question the sincerity of her commitment.
She's made numerous trips to Washington to lobby the White House and Congress for passage of the Akaka bill, braving withering attacks from the right wing of her own Republican Party, which wrongly likens indigenous recognition to race-based entitlements.
There's little chance the measure will get a Senate hearing this year, despite promises of GOP leaders to bring it to a vote, and chances in the House are equally dim as the conservative press hammers false claims that the bill could lead to Hawai'i's secession.
The picture is more promising at Hawaiian Homes, where Lingle made a campaign pledge to clear the waiting list of qualified beneficiaries within five years a goal restated by the department in its 2003 mission statement.
Lingle entrusted the job to Micah Kane, one of her most promising young proteges, who has pursued creative ways to partner with other government and private entities to build more homes and open more unimproved lands for use by Hawaiians.
It remains to be seen whether the department will succeed in completely clearing the waiting list, but the effort is off to an encouraging start.
Last weekend, 76 beneficiaries some of whom have been on the waiting list for more than 40 years were awarded lots for moderately priced homes in the Kaupe'a subdivision in Kapolei, the largest project in DHHL history.
** Ken Conklin's note: See news report of November 21 "76 awarded homestead lots at packed event" at
Kaupe'a is being developed in cooperation with other state agencies, the federal government, the City and County of Honolulu, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
An additional 326 lots will be awarded there by next year, part of some 2,100 homes DHHL plans to build in master-planned communities over the next 18 months.
The Hawaiian Homes projects are by far the most impressive efforts by any public agency in the struggle to address Hawai'i's oppressive shortage of affordable housing, and the partnership approach should serve as models for others.
Hawaiian Homes is directly serving a segment of the population hardest hit by the housing crunch, and in doing so, helps others in the community by freeing up affordable housing inventory elsewhere in the market.
But the Hawaiian Homes gains could be in jeopardy if Congress fails to pass the Akaka bill to provide an umbrella of protection over programs that benefit Native Hawaiians.
Without such a shield, Hawaiian Homes and other traditional Hawaiians-only programs are vulnerable to ongoing lawsuits seeking to have them declared unconstitutional.
November 28 issue of "Newsweek" contains an article linking White House chief of staff Karl Rove to Washington lobbying firm Patton Boggs and the payment of $400,000 by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to Patton Boggs to lobby for the Akaka bill. The implication is that Rove may be improperly using his influence with the President to lobby on behalf of Patton Boggs clients, including lobbying for the Akaka bill, in return for money and legal representation for himself regarding the investigation of CIA leaks involving Lewis "Scooter" Libby. The "Newsweek" article, and Ken Conklin's comments about it, are on the following webpage:
Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Letters to the Editor
HAWAIIANS WILL TAKE TIME ON SOVEREIGNTY
Hawaiians on both sides of the Akaka bill discussion ultimately want the same thing they want their kingdom back. From what I have observed of politically active descendants of Hawaiian citizens, they look forward to the day when they can elect a king or queen again.
Some see the Akaka bill as a step in that direction; others fear that it will impede progress toward their goal, but, make no mistake, that goal is independence. This is a political issue, not a racial issue.
"The cause of Hawai'i and independence is larger and dearer than the life of any man connected with it. Love of country is deep-seated in the breast of every Hawaiian, whatever his station." Lili'uokalani, Hawai'i's last queen.
"This is a historical issue, based on a relationship between an independent government and the United States of America, and what has happened since and the steps that we need to take to make things right." Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, January 2003.
"The recovery of Hawaiian self-determination is not only an issue for Hawai'i, but for America. ... Let all of us, Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian, work toward a common goal. Let us resolve ... to advance a plan for Hawaiian sovereignty." Democratic Lt. Gov. Ben Cayetano, 1988.
The United Church of Christ has apologized, the United States of America has apologized. The international community, including nations with whom the kingdom of Hawai'i has treaties have acknowledged that Hawai'i's right to self-determination has never been extinguished.
Descendants of Hawaiian citizens are still considering their options. They have a right to do that and to do so in their own time.
** Note from Ken Conklin: The Honolulu Advertiser has consistently supported Hawaiian sovereignty activism. Reporter Vicki Viotti covered the ethnic Hawaiian "beat" for several years, until she was promoted to the editorial board. In the dispute among Hui Malama, other Forbes Cave claimants, and Bishop Museum, Viotti's news reports were always clearly biased in favor of Hui Malama. Therefore it is no surprise that on Sunday December 4, 2005 the Advertiser chose to publish a lengthy "news" article about the difficulties the Getty Museum (California) and other museums are having with lawsuits from foreign governments demanding the return of undocumented or "stolen" antiquities. And, just in case readers might not "get it" without help, it's also no surprise that Vicki Viotti published a personal commentary on the same page and directly below that article, linking the "news" article with ongoing NAGPRA controversies in Hawai'i. Below are both the article and the commentary. Although Viotti does not explicitly say so, the clear implication is that ancient Hawaiian artifacts in museums should be "repatriated" and reburied as Hui Malama demands.
A further implication (which Viotti herself might not have thought of) is that the NAGPRA law should be construed to give ethnic Hawaiians as a whole a communal legal standing, comparable to that of a foreign government, to demand the return of artifacts or "national treasures", and that passing the Akaka bill would allow ethnic Hawaiians to create a governing entity which could speak on behalf of the entire ethnic group and thereby decide any disputes among competing claimants, as in the Forbes Cave controversy. Using the Akaka tribal council to resolve disputes among ethnic Hawaiians so that the tribe as a whole can speak with one voice would seem to be a great advantage for ethnic Hawaiians. The problem is that a tribal council can make decisions in any way it chooses, without "due process of law" or the protections of the U.S. Constitution. Individuals treated unfairly cannot complain to state or federal courts because tribes have "sovereign immunity." And tribal councils are often corrupt, giving priority to powerful and politically radical leaders whom individual tribal members fear to oppose, lest they lose land or money or even get expelled from the tribe.
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, December 4, 2005
Art deal or art steal?
by Malcolm Bell III (Professor of Art History, University of Virginia; and Vice President for Professional Responsibilities at the Archeological Institute of America)
Paolo Ferri, an Italian prosecutor who is investigating the purchases of antiquities by major American museums, has hit hardest at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, Calif., which in recent decades rapidly built up an impressive collection of Greek and Roman art.
The Getty's troubles compounded last month by legal action from Greece for the recovery of four works offer a useful lesson for museums and collectors. But it is unfortunate that a chief target of the prosecution is the Getty curator who has done the most to clean up the practices of her institution in this murky trade, Marion True.
According to the Italian court, for two decades before 1995 the Getty bought many previously unknown antiquities that had been looted from archaeological sites. Such works were laundered by the antiquities market, and consequently almost nothing is known (at least by the public) about where they came from or what purposes they served.
Some of these are among the most important discoveries of the period, and the loss of information about their origins is painful. The Getty's controversial "Morgantina Aphrodite" is an extremely rare example of the sort of cult statue that once stood within a Greek temple. While, as some have asserted, this remarkable work may come from Morgantina (a site in Sicily where I serve as co-director of excavations), no proof of its origin is known, and its subject is just as uncertain. The market destroyed the evidence.
For this and countless works, many questions remain unanswered: Where were they found? What artists and patrons conceived them? When were they used? Most such works of art were clumsily excavated at night (the Aphrodite was badly damaged in the process, as must have been the spot from which it was taken), then absorbed into the art market stripped of their earlier history, including any record of ownership in antiquity just the sort of information about provenance that museums are expected to go to lengths to preserve.
The recent revelations about the Getty's dubious purchases are old news to archaeologists who worked at classical sites in the Mediterranean in the 1980s and early 1990s; we regarded the museum as a powerful stimulus to the illegal market. For the past decade, however, the Getty has prohibited the purchase or acceptance as a gift of any work whose existence is not documented before 1995.
Undocumented antiquities are very likely to have been pillaged. By adopting a concrete date before which the object had to be known, the Getty has distanced itself from the illicit market, and the distance will increase with time.
The pre-1995 publication rule is vital because dealers often have invented fake pedigrees for the works they sell. The Getty's present acquisitions policy is owed to True, its former curator of Greek and Roman antiquities. The Getty policy is arguably the strongest of any major American museum, and as far as we know, it has not been violated.
Other museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and several major university collections (Princeton's and Harvard's among them), instead follow the policy adopted by the Association of Art Museum Directors, which allows the purchase of undocumented antiquities if the museum believes acquisition is justified. The problem here is that objects newly on the market with no known history are almost certain to have been recently pillaged. If dealers revealed the origins of such works they could not possibly be sold. Photographs seized in a 1995 police raid on the warehouse of one dealer, Giacomo Medici (who already has been convicted through the efforts of Ferri) show Italian soil still clinging to vases now in American collections, including the Metropolitan. Most archaeologists, of course, would prefer an acquisitions policy that is even stronger than the Getty's one that would require proof that the object was documented much earlier than 1995. Some advocate the symbolic date of 1970, when the UNESCO convention on illicit trade in cultural property was approved. A more rigorous choice would be the date of the relevant legislation protecting antiquities in the country of origin (in the case of Italy, June 1, 1939). Either way, choosing a date is essential.
The pillaging of the human past is a problem the world over, hardly limited to the Mediterranean. To reduce it, all countries that have antiquities at risk should police their historical sites effectively and create programs that teach citizens the value and community importance of local remains. The international trade can also be discouraged by import bans. The UNESCO convention allows the United States to sign bilateral agreements with countries where pillaging is rampant, banning entire categories of objects at risk. Nine such agreements are now in force with countries in Central and South America, Africa, the Mediterranean and Asia. (The agreement with Italy is up for renewal.)
In the end, however, the law can do only so much, and as legitimate custodians of human achievement, the museums should adopt higher standards in building collections, cutting their ties with the illegal trade.
Ferri's outrage at the looting of Italy's heritage is justified. By laying bare the archives and warehouses of major dealers, he has revealed corruption at the core of the market.
But in prosecuting Marion True, he has used decades-old evidence against a curator who brought needed reform to the Getty Museum, and I can only hope the Italian courts recognize the good she has done.
If there is one major lesson to be learned from Ferri's investigations, it is that collectors and museums, in America and around the world, must take into account not just the aesthetic value of the objects they acquire but also the ethical and legal consequences of their acquisition policies.
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, December 4, 2005
In Hawai'i, illicit trade persists despite efforts to protect ancient burials
By Vicki Viotti
The theft and sale of antiquities has become a potent issue in parts of the world other than Italy, shaped in each case by circumstances distinct from those now affecting California's J. Paul Getty Museum.
This week, the government of Peru warned Yale University that it will be sued unless the institution returns artifacts excavated nearly a century ago from the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.
Famed U.S. explorer Hiram Bingham (who was from Hawai'i by the way) exported nearly 5,000 objects and remains with government permission following his 1911, 1912 and 1914 excavations, but never returned them by the 1916 deadline.
In Hawai'i, the movement to reclaim cultural treasures, burial remains and the possessions placed with the bones arose long after most of these objects ended up in museums and other collections, largely as a result of looting.
The movement was enabled by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, as well as Hawai'i statutes aimed at according respect to Native Hawaiian burials encountered during urban developments where villages once stood.
However, the financial lure of the illicit trade persists. A recent documentary by private investigator and former broadcast journalist Matt Levi and filmmaker Edgy Lee argued for a link between the crystal methamphetamine drug epidemic and thefts of artifacts from Hawaiian burial sites.
And last year, burial objects surfaced on the Big Island market, objects that had been repatriated under the federal law. An investigation ensued but 16 months later, no charges have resulted.
December 05, 2005
A Blogospheric Eruption Over Hawaii's Future
Back in 1893, a small band of U.S. Marines, acting at the behest of a renegade U.S. diplomat and greedy businessmen, staged a successful coup against Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii. President Grover Cleveland fired the diplomat, condemned the "subversion of the queen's government," and urged Congress to seek a solution "consistent with American honor, integrity and morality."
Instead, the United States annexed Hawaii in 1898. And in the century since then -- even after Hawaii voted overwhelmingly to become the 50th state in 1959 -- battles over the sovereignty of the Aloha State have continued to erupt. In 1993, for instance, the U.S. government officially apologized to Hawaiians for the overthrow of their monarchy.
The latest fight is over "the Akaka bill" in Congress, and blogs have become a weapon in the ongoing warfare over that legislation. From Hawaii to Washington, blogs both large and small, with audiences national and regional, have demonstrated the power of their technology to explore a niche topic in great detail and to try to rally opposition to a relatively obscure proposal.
The bill, authored by Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, would recognize native Hawaiians much like the federal government recognizes Indian tribes. That step would make Hawaiians who meet certain ethnic standards eligible for federal aid in education, housing and other arenas.
Although the measure has the support of the state's congressional delegation and its governor, some Hawaiians still want to live in a sovereign nation and see the bill as a threat to that goal. Some conservatives, meanwhile, oppose the measure on racial grounds because it would grant federal aid based on Hawaiians' blood lineage.
Opponents from both angles are blogging against the legislation. Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin's rants are generating the most attention because of her broad readership. She dubbed the measure "the worst bill you've never heard of" and has characterized it as "apartheid in Hawaii."
"[G]iving native Hawaiians Indian tribal-like status and immunity from federal civil rights laws is historically absurd and legally treacherous," she wrote. "At no time in their history have native Hawaiians organized, acted or existed as a tribe."
Scott Crawford of The Hawaiian Independence Blog also opposes the bill but because he is among those advocating the return of Hawaii as a sovereign nation. He has been blogging about the Akaka bill since 2003, with the dual goals of providing a clearinghouse for links and a forum to debate the issues surrounding the legislation.
In addition, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii launched a blog called Akaka Talka about a month ago. Although the group said it is not technically against the bill and is simply trying to inform the public about the issues, the institute's polling has received favorable mentions at MichelleMalkin.com.
Other Hawaii-focused blogs like Poinography also are covering the debate over the Akaka bill.
Malkin's influence on the issue is obvious. She has spurred mini-blogswarms against the legislation, with other blogs linking to her posts and offering criticisms of their own.
Betsy Newmark, for example, wrote this admonition in September: " I have no faith that [President] Bush won't sign this mess or that the Supreme Court won't find it constitutional. ... Don't count on five justices on this one. Better to strangle this bill before it gets to that stage."
But even smaller sites like Crawford's can have influence. "I can't point to one place where I've had some major impact but more just a lot of small impacts in helping to raise awareness and shape the debate," he said in an e-mail interview. "I guess one example would be when I see language I have used show up in someone else's letter to the editor in the Honolulu dailies."
Crawford added that people have told him of journalists who are readers -- and the media report the stories that lobbyists, policymakers and other stakeholders in the debate see. Crawford also said many Hawaiian groups and lobbyists read his blog, post comments, send him e-mails or reference the site in their own blogs.
He further noted that he criticized the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for its "push poll." "Shortly after that, I heard one of the advocates of the bill on [a National Public Radio] program call it a 'push poll' and use very similar language to what I had blogged," Crawford said.
David Keanu Sai, chairman of the pro-independence group The Hawaiian Kingdom, said that while he has not paid much attention to blogging about the Akaka bill in general, he occasionally reads Crawford's blog and considers it "a great forum to discuss these issues.
He cautioned, however, that it "is also apparent that some people who write comments on this blog don't understand certain legal and political frameworks, and it looks like a war of words and emotions [rather] than constructive dialogue of some very technical and complicated issues."
The fate of the Akaka bill remains unclear. The debate has been going for about six years, with a few senators who have placed procedural roadblocks to a floor vote being the chief obstacle to enactment. The Senate appeared to overcome that obstacle last year, when supporters of the measure and the Senate leadership agreed to take a floor vote by this past August. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved an amended version of the legislation in March.
But in September, after Hurricane Katrina altered the legislative agenda in Congress, the Senate reversed course on the Akaka bill by withdrawing a motion to limit debate. The measure has languished since then, and last month, Akaka told the Honolulu Advertiser that a Senate vote is unlikely this year.
That is just fine with bloggers like Malkin, who celebrated when bad weather forced the legislation off the short-term agenda. "Just about the only good thing about Hurricane Katrina," Malkin wrote in a September appeal for readers to call Congress, "is that it delayed a planned vote on cloture for the awful Akaka bill."
Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, December 8, 2005
OHA's Apoliona: Hawaiian unity key
By Mike Gordon
Native Hawaiians must put differences aside and unite if they want to prevail against potentially devastating legal challenges to the programs that benefit them and their community, the chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs said yesterday.
In her 25-minute state of OHA and the Hawaiian community address at Kawaiaha'o Church, Haunani Apoliona said the solution to "well-financed and politically connected special interest" groups is to unite and build a Native Hawaiian nation. It is the best legal and political option available, she said.
"We need to rebuild and reorganize our nation now," Apoliona said in her speech, which marked the 25th anniversary of OHA. "We cannot sit idly by and wait for others to do it for us. We must not let a few disgruntled voices misrepresent our history. Nor can we let loud voices of intimidation attempt to control the process."
She said legal challenges are trying to dismantle OHA, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the missions of the Ali'i trusts the trusts bequeathed by ruling Hawaiians or nobility that finance many current programs.
"These parties intend to continue filing lawsuits until they succeed in dismantling all Native Hawaiian rights and programs," she said.
She cited two adverse decisions this year from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals: one that ruled against Hawaiians-only admission to Kamehameha Schools and one that said taxpayers can challenge direct taxpayer funding of OHA.
"We must challenge these decisions, in court and in Congress, because they seek to undermine all that we are and eliminate all the gains we have made in the past 112 years," Apoliona said.
The crowd of nearly 300 enthusiastically applauded when Apoliona vowed to keep up the fight.
"This is a battle that Native Hawaiians and all who support justice and fairness intend to finish and win," she said.
But Hawaiians must come together or risk failure, she said.
That's why OHA has chosen to support the Native Hawaiian Coalition, the registration of all Native Hawaiians and passage of the Akaka bill, she said.
"We know there is disagreement within the Hawaiian community about (the Akaka bill) and federal recognition," she said. "To that end, we encourage all Native Hawaiians to get involved and find out the facts. Be informed. Don't rely on secondhand or thirdhand information. Read the bill yourself."
Apoliona said that improving the lives of Native Hawaiians has proven to be a daunting task. But the past 12 months have been good to OHA and Native Hawaiians in many ways, she said.
OHA's investment portfolio increased by about $55 million to $369.9 million as of Sept. 30, 2005.
The agency also awarded 22 education grants and 91 scholarships totalling $7.2 million, including more than $5 million for programs in public schools.
OHA also awarded $1.5 million to Habitat for Humanity to help 75 Native Hawaiian families with "no interest" 20-year mortgages.
And OHA distributed $1.5 million for economic development, including loans to 17 Native Hawaiian businesses, 62 personal loans and a dozen grants to community-based organizations.
Apoliona's address drew praise from members of the audience, who filled the church pews with brightly colored mu'umu'u and lei and delivered a heartfelt rendition of "Hawai'i Aloha," hands held in unity.
"I thought it was inspirational," said Jennie Kaleikini of Waimanalo. "It was something that needed to be said. I hope they recruit many, many people to get on the bandwagon."
Doreen Saito of Papakolea agreed. She was there for the generations to come, as were all the kupuna just like her who had made the trip to Kawaiaha'o Church.
"It's not just for me," she said. "I'm looking at this for my grandchildren and great grandchildren."
Honolulu Advertiser, breaking news Posted at 3:13 p.m., Thursday, December 22, 2005
Akaka bill expected to be added to Senate calendar
Assurances have been given by Senate leaders that they will work to have the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act placed on the calendar when Congress is in session next year, Sen. Dan Akaka said today in a news release.
Better known as the Akaka bill, the legislation establishes a process for the nation's 400,000 Native Hawaiians to be formally recognized by the United States as an indigenous people. Native Hawaiians could then decide to pursue a sovereign government that could negotiate with the U.S. over land use and other rights.
The bill was expected to be aired on the Senate floor during the summer but stalled when Congress diverted its attention to legislation related to Hurricane Katrina.
Akaka said he spoke to both Majority Leader Bill Frist and Minority Leader Harry Field and that both pledged take the appropriate steps.
"I commend the majority leader for his diligent efforts to proceed to consideration of this measure that is so important to the citizens of Hawai'i," Akaka said. "My discussions with the Leaders were very positive. This is welcome news as we break for the holidays."
Congress adjourns for the year this week and returns to a regular schedule Jan. 18.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 23, 2005
Akaka Bill gets promise for calendar spot next year
By B.J. Reyes
Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate have given assurances that they will work on getting the Native Hawaiian Recognition Bill placed on the calendar when Congress resumes its session next year, Sen. Daniel Akaka's office announced yesterday.
"My discussions with the leaders were very positive," Akaka said in a news release. "This is welcome news as we break for the holidays."
He said Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pledged to take the necessary steps needed to bring the measure, S. 147, to the Senate floor next year.
No firm timetable was set, said Akaka spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz. "The senator remains pleased, at this point, on where the bill stands," she said.
Known as the Akaka Bill, the measure would recognize a legal and political relationship between the United States and a native Hawaiian governing entity, giving native Hawaiians self-governing rights similar to those of American Indian tribes.
Earlier this year, congressional leaders agreed that the bill would be brought to the Senate floor on or before Aug. 7, but the measure stalled after concerns were raised by several senators. A vote aimed at forcing action on the bill was then set for Sept. 6 but tabled after lawmakers dealt with emergency measures related to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast.
"The senator remains firm in getting this bill through," Dela Cruz said. "This is the best way to go about it, that is, working with the majority leader.
"The majority leader is the one person who sets the calendar. In terms of strategy, you can't get any better than working with the majority leader."
Hawaii Reporter, December 30, 2005
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to Hold January Hearing on Akaka Bill in D.C.
Vote in the Senate on the Controversial Proposal Not Expected Until Spring of 2006 or Beyond
By Malia Zimmerman
The first hearing on the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act in Washington D.C. in 2006 will not be in the U.S. Senate as proponents had hoped.
Instead, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has scheduled a hearing on the proposed legislation for Jan. 20, 2006, at 9:30 a.m. at its headquarters in Washington D.C.
The commission is composed of eight Commissioners who serve 6-year terms: Four appointed by the president, including the chair and vice chair, and four by Congress.
The commissioners, who research various civil rights issues and complaints and provide critical and analytical expertise in evaluations of those issues, have the power to hold hearings and issue subpoenas. The commission lacks enforcement powers, and so refers the many complaints it receives to the appropriate federal, state, or local government agency or private organization for action.
The commission also maintains state advisory committees. The commission Web site lists the Hawaii Advisory Committee as Charles Maxwell, Sr., (Chair); Helen R. Nagtalon-Miller; Patricia M. Cook; Alan T. Murakami; David Michael Forman; Julianne R. Puzon; Faye Kennedy, Anthony S. Vericella and former Republican lawmaker Quentin K. Kawananakoa . Also on the state commission, according to the Web site, is Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Oswald K. Stender, who is an avid supporter of the Akaka Bill and has actively been lobbying Congress for its passage.
To see the reports the commission has formally received, see
Sources in Congress tell Hawaii Reporter this will likely be the only official government hearing on the bill, also known as the Akaka Bill, in D.C. -- at least until March or April of 2006. The Senate, which convenes Jan. 18, 2006, has a number of issues to address. That includes the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court justice, the War on Terror and fall out from Hurricane Katrina, expected to keep Senators occupied for several weeks or even months of the session.
Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, for whom the bill is named, said in a recent news release that he has been assured by Senate leaders that the bill will be placed on the calendar for 2006. There is no guarantee, however, as the Akaka Bill was scheduled to be aired on the Senate floor on Sept. 6, 2005, but was delayed indefinitely because of Hurricane Katrina and confirmation hearings for the U.S Supreme Court.
Many Republicans and conservatives in the Senate and House are opposed to the Akaka Bill and will likely try to delay its hearing, fight to weaken the bill or kill it all together. They say the bill is unconstitutional and will create a race-based government. They base their assessment partially on an evaluation by the U.S. Justice Department, which cited portions of the bill as potentially being unconstitutional, among other concerns.
Currently, the legislation establishes a process for the nation's 400,000 Native Hawaiians to be formally recognized by the United States as an indigenous people and gives native Hawaiians of any blood quantum rights and priveledges above what Native Americans presently have. The bill would allow Native Hawaiians to pursue a sovereign government that could negotiate with the United States over land use and other rights.
** Note by Ken Conklin:
In June, 2001 was published the Report of the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, following the forum in Honolulu in September, 2000, at which several of the national Commissioners heard all the testimony and cross-examined witnesses. That very lengthy report remains available at:
The national commissioners in attendance at the Hawaii forum were Yvonne Lee, Elsie Meeks, and Cruz Reynoso. Chair of the Commission (not in attendance) was Mary Frances Berry. Commission vice chairman Cruz Reynoso is a former justice of the California Supreme Court, who was removed from office by a recall election. The Chairman of the Hawaii Advisory Committee was, and continues to be, Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell, a Hawaiian activist who supports both the Akaka bill and secession, and who is also executive director of Hui Malama, the controversial group who have "liberated" priceless ancient artifacts from museums, allegedly to bury them in caves.
The forum was held at the request of the Hawaii Advisory Committee, who were distressed by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Rice v. Cayetano. That decision ruled that it is unconstitutional for the State of Hawai'i to impose a racial restriction on the right to vote on the ballot in the general election, for officers of an agency of the state government (Office of Hawaiian Affairs). Ethnic Hawaiian activists believe they have a civil right to operate racially exclusionary government programs to benefit their racial group, and that it is a violation of their civil rights when the courts rule the opposite way.
About halfway down the lengthy report is the section called "Conclusions and Recommendations" (followed by a lengthy collection of footnotes that occupy the entire second half of the report.) The conclusions clearly support the Akaka bill as a way to overturn the Supreme Court decision; and they also support the right of ethnic Hawaiians to force the secession of Hawaii from the United States.
It should be noted that the January 20, 2006 hearing is in Washington D.C. before the entire national commission, whose composition is now more fair and balanced than it was in 2000; whereas the forum in September 2000 was held in Hawai'i under the auspices of the radical pro-sovereignty Hawaii Advisory Committee.
Highlights from the June 2001 report:
"... international resolution would necessarily involve secession, a drastic endeavor over which this nation purportedly fought a civil war ... The principle of self-determination necessarily contemplates the potential choice of forms of governance that may not be authorized by existing domestic law. Whether such a structure is politically or legally possible under the law is secondary, however, to the expression of one's desire for self-determination. ..."
"Conclusions and Recommendations", Longer excerpts showing the context from which the highlights were taken.
"1. The federal government should accelerate efforts to formalize the political relationship between Native Hawaiians and the United States. This recommendation can be accomplished through the formal and direct recognition by Congress of the United States' responsibilities toward Native Hawaiians, by virtue of the unique political history between the United States and the former Kingdom of Hawaii....[T]he Advisory Committee requests that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights urge Congress to pass legislation formally recognizing the political status of Native Hawaiians."
"4. International solutions should be explored as alternatives to the recognition of a Native Hawaiian governing entity.
"The Hawaii Advisory Committee recognizes that the sentiment for an international resolution to restore a sovereign Hawaiian entity is beyond the immediate scope and power of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Nevertheless, that limitation does not preclude the United States from exploring such alternatives as a part of the reconciliation process that the United States committed to pursue in the 1993 Apology Resolution. ... Accordingly, the United States should give due consideration to re-inscribing Hawaii on the United Nations' list of non-self-governing territories, among other possibilities. ...
"The Hawaii Advisory Committee is fully cognizant of the concern expressed by some that international resolution would necessarily involve secession, a drastic endeavor over which this nation purportedly fought a civil war. However, this view ignores the troubled and racist roots of our nation's history. The Civil War was at its core a conflict over the issue of slavery. Moreover, the Civil War Amendments and Civil Rights Acts, upon which the plaintiff in Rice based his claims, were supposed to effect a reconstruction of American society through equality for African Americans.
"The principle of self-determination necessarily contemplates the potential choice of forms of governance that may not be authorized by existing domestic law. Whether such a structure is politically or legally possible under the law is secondary, however, to the expression of one's desire for self-determination. The important proposition is that those who would choose to swear their allegiance to a restored sovereign Hawaiian entity be given that choice after a full and free debate with those who might prefer some form of association with the United States (including, perhaps, the status quo)....
"Those supervising the reconciliation process should provide for an open, free, and democratic plebiscite on all potential options by which Native Hawaiians might express their inherent right to self-determination. The process should allow for international oversight by nonaligned observers of international repute. After a period for organization of that government, the federal government should engage in negotiations with the sovereign Hawaiian entity.
"The Hawaii Advisory Committee believes that these deliberations should take into consideration and protect, or otherwise accommodate, the rights of non-Native Hawaiians. Thereafter, the federal government should provide financial assistance for the educational effort that may be necessary to reconcile conflicts raised by the choices made by Native Hawaiians. If necessary, the United States should engage in continuing negotiations to seek resolution of any outstanding issues with the sovereign Hawaiian entity.
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