SUMMARY OF CONTENTS, IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER FOR SEPTEMBER 16-30, 2005
SEPTEMBER 16: SENATOR AKAKA ANNOUNCED THAT AGREEMENT HAS BEEN REACHED AMONG THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, SENATORS AKAKA AND INOUYE, AND OFFICIALS OF THE STATE OF HAWAI'I. THE AKAKA BILL WILL BE AMENDED TO INCORPORATE THE AGREEMENT. Summary of new version of the bill by Senator Akaka, text of new version available for download, comments by Hawai'i Senators and Representatives. Also a news report about obstruction by OHA and other state agencies stonewalling a freedom of information demand to disclose how much money has been spent lobbying the Akaka bill.
September 17: Advertiser and Star-Bulletin describe the new version of the Akaka bill.
** Note that the substitute bill has not yet been formally introduced in the Senate. That might not happen for quite a while. This could be a "trial balloon." FURTHER CHANGES ARE POSSIBLE BEFORE THE AMENDED BILL IS FORMALLY INTRODUCED.
September 18: Commentary in The Washington Times by Rubellite Kawena Kinney Johnson, Professor of Hawaiian Language and Literature, and a Living Treasure of Hawai'i. Also, editorial cartoon showing Senator Akaka having cut many pieces off his bill and wondering whether the small portion remaining is now ready to be passed.
September 19: Commentary entitled "Akaka bill -- Failure in Congress may spell violence" by Rod Ferreira. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, the umbrella organization of powerful racially exclusionary institutions seeking passage of the Akaka bill to protect their organizations against 14th Amendment equal protection lawsuits. He is a frequent contributor of columns and news reports in "Ka Wai Ola O OHA", the monthly newspaper of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. He is also President of the I Mua Group of Kamehameha Schools Alumni Associations. Ferreira's commentary is a thinly-veiled threat. Give us what we want "or else." The threat must be taken seriously because it is made by someone so highly placed among the Hawaiian racialists; but it also shows that Akaka bill supporters sense defeat and are getting desperate.
About 30 pages of details for September 16-19
September 20: Honolulu Advertiser editorial "Akaka amendments preserve bill's intent" The Maui News editorial: Akaka bill is a reasonable compromise, and "Once the Akaka Bill is passed, and signed by the president, it can always be amended in the future." Advertiser columnist Lee Cataluna deplores the fact that supporters of Kamehameha Schools and of the Akaka bill feel compelled to stereotype ethnic Hawaiians as the dregs of society in order to solicit sympathy and political support for race-based programs.
September 21: Alfred "Chip" Pili'aloha, GS-11, DAF, who is with the 835th CS/SCXI RMTP Office at Ramstein U.S. Air Force Base (Germany), asks: "If Hawaii Suceeds from the Union, So What? What are the Akaka Bill opponents afraid of?" Well-known conservative writer Phyllis Schlafly published an article in "Human Events" entitled, "With Racist Proposal, Does Hawaii Plan to Secede from U.S.?"
September 22: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ISSUES A STATEMENT THAT IT CONTINUES TO HAVE MAJOR CONCERNS OVER THE (UN)CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE AKAKA BILL. "The administration appreciates the work of the Hawai'i delegation to address some of the concerns raised by the Justice Department but there are substantial, unresolved constitutional concerns regarding whether Congress may treat Native Hawaiians as it does the Indian tribes, and whether Congress may establish and recognize a Native Hawaiian governing entity," said John Nowacki, a Justice Department spokesman. "As the Supreme Court has stated, whether Native Hawaiians are eligible for tribal status is 'a matter of some dispute' and 'of considerable moment and difficulty.' "
Also September 22: IMPORTANT ARTICLE BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN, EDITOR, "HAWAII REPORTER" entitled: "DOJ Blows Hole in Akaka Bill Public Relations Campaign -- Justice Department Still Not Convinced Akaka Bill is Constitutional; Momentum Turning Against Akaka Bill Passage." The article shows that the Hawaii Delegation was lying when they said agreement has been reached with the Department of Justice; and the article reviews some important publications showing that momentum is turning against the bill.
September 23: Cartoon in Honolulu Advertiser shows the Akaka bill in a rowboat sinking in floodwaters surrounding the U.S. Capitol.
About 60 pages of details for September 16-23
Sunday September 25, 2005: Honolulu Advertiser editorial urges Akaka bill supporters to develop a backup plan to protect ethic Hawaiian race-based benefits in case the Akaka bill fails. Advertiser commentary by Charles Wilkinson (mainland Indian law expert hired by OHA) says the proposed amendments to Akaka bill, acknowledging sovereign immunity for the federal and state governments, will not interfere with negotiating a settlement of land and money. Honolulu Star-Bulletin features two commentaries: Tom Coffman (historian who researched overthrow and annexation and helped produce propaganda films favoring independence) says proposed amendments make Akaka bill even worse than before and warrant junking the bill; William Meheula (attorney representing OHA on ceded land issues) says proposed amended Akaka bill allows negotiations over land and jurisdiction and is therefore better than the current status quo. Maui News editorial says "It appears it will take the second President Bush to clear away nettlesome objections from the Justice Department and get the Akaka Bill passed for the benefit of everyone who lives in Hawaii." New webpage: Akaka Bill Controversy Draws Congressional Attention to Illegal "Native Hawaiian" Entitlements -- House Republican Study Committee Proposes Killing $40 Million Per Year
September 27: Article in "Indian Country Today" summarizes changes in Akaka bill language which Senator Akaka said he negotiated with Department of Justice (but has not yet actually introduced in the Senate).
September 28: Honolulu Advertiser article says "Native Hawaiian" population expected to more than double by year 2050. Published analysis by Ken Conklin notes that if Akaka bill passes, the U.S. will therefore be stuck with an Indian tribe having nearly a million members dependent on the federal dole. Article quotes Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa urging "Native Hawaiians" to double their population in only 20 years instead of 50, in order to become an absolute majority sooner. Webpage contains extended analysis, noting the Nazi "Lebensborn" program under which Aryan women were expected to make babies with SS men, the pregnant women then living in special buildings and their babies adopted by Nazi political operatives.
Also September 28: An amendment to the Akaka bill was formally introduced on the floor of the Senate by conservative Republican Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas. But why did media ignore this for a week? Why did Senator Akaka not yet officially introduce his own alleged revision of Akaka bill published on his Senate website 3 weeks previously accompanied by great publicity? An article published in Hawaii Reporter by Ken Conklin on October 5 (a week later) was the first publication to take note of the amendment. Conklin's article discusses these questions, and includes the text of Senator Brownback's proposed amendment. See:
September 29: Honolulu Star-Bulletin commentary by retired federal magistrate judge Joseph Gedan opposing Akaka bill. Maui News letter to editor by Ken Conklin pointing out that Akaka, Inouye, and Lingle have been derelict in their duty to protect the State of Hawai'i when they originally failed to put into the Akaka bill the protections later demanded by Department of Justice regarding civil and criminal jurisdiction and non-interference by the tribe with military activities.
Also September 29: A Hawaii Reporter review of state campaign spending records reveals Oklahoma Republican congressman Tom Cole lobbying for the Akaka Bill in the U.S. House on Gov. Linda Lingle’s behalf is a partner in a political consulting firm that was paid more than $150,000 by Lingle during her past two campaigns for governor.
Also September 29: An apology for the overthrow of the monarchy by the United Church of Christ, which was then used as a basis for the apology resolution passed by Congress in 1993, was based on a false premise that the church was a co-conspirator in the overthrow. So says James I. Kuroiwa, Jr. , a former Moderator of a United Church of Christ Church in Honolulu Hawaii, who provides evidence of the deceptive way the church's apology was engineered.
DETAILS OF NEWS REPORTS AND COMMENTARY FOR SEPTEMBER 16-30. (About 90 pages for September 16 - 29)
Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, September 16, 2005
Compromise reached on Akaka bill, senator says
Hawai'i's Congressional delegation, state officials and the White House have worked out changes to the so-called "Akaka bill" that could allay opponents' concerns and ease its passage, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka's office said today.
The language addresses liability of the United States, military readiness, civil and criminal jurisdiction, and gaming, it said in a news release.
Akaka will introduce an amendment to S. 147 when the U.S. Senate begins consideration of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005. That date has not been set.
The Executive Branch had sought stronger language on the prohibition of gaming by the Native Hawaiian governing entity.
The substitute amendment includes language that prohibits gaming by the Native Hawaiians under any federal law in Hawai'i or in any other State or Territory, the news release said.
The substitute amendment also includes language that makes clear that civil and criminal jurisdiction currently held by the state and federal governments will remain with the state and federal governments until otherwise negotiated with the Native Hawaiian governing entity, it said.
With respect to military readiness, the Department of Defense already adheres to consultation requirements with Native Hawaiians under litigation agreements as well as the Native American Graves Repatriation Act and National Historic Preservation Act.
The substitute amendment exempts the Department of Defense from the consultation requirements facilitated by the Office of Native Hawaiian Relations in the Department of the Interior and the Native Hawaiian Interagency Coordinating Group.
As of yet, a vote on a motion to proceed to S. 147 has not been rescheduled by the Majority Leader, it said.
The substitute amendment reflects the successful negotiations between Hawai'i's Congressional delegation, Hawai'i's Attorney General, and officials from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Management and Budget, and White House.
Posted: Friday, September 16th, 2005 11:18 AM HST
Akaka to file compromise version of Hawaiian Recognition bill
By Associated Press
HONOLULU (AP) _ Senator Daniel Akaka has a new version of his Hawaiian recognition bill.
The so-called Akaka bill now addresses concerns raised by some opponents and the Bush administration over gambling, criminal jurisdiction, military readiness and federal liability.
Akaka says the compromises preserve the intent and purpose of the bill.
Federal objections and a swell of mostly Republican opposition have stalled the bill for years.
The Senate was supposed to take up the bill earlier this month, but that was set aside for Hurricane Katrina legislation.
Akaka's office says he remains steadfast in his determination to bring the bill to the Senate floor.
A new key provision would prevent Native Hawaiians from using the bill to settle claims against the federal or state government. It does not end any claims but keeps them out of the courts.
The new language explicitly prohibits gambling operations by Native Hawaiians in the state.
** Summary by Senator Akaka on his own official website of new Akaka bill language to be introduced in the Senate in the near future as an amended version of S.147 **
September 16, 2005
S. 147, Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005
Facts on Substitute Amendment
Discussions between Hawaii’s Congressional delegation, Hawaii’s Attorney General, and
officials from the Department of Justice, Office of Management and Budget, and the White
House have resulted in legislative language which maintains the intent and purpose of
S. 147/H.R. 309, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, while at the
same time addressing policy concerns identified by the Executive Branch in July 2005. In a letter
sent to Senator John McCain, Chairman, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the Department of
Justice outlined four policy issues of concern: liability of the United States related to land claims,
impact of the bill on military readiness, gaming, and civil and criminal jurisdiction. Throughout
the negotiations process, Hawaii’s Congressional delegation and Governor remained steadfast in
their commitment in maintaining the intent and purpose of this bill which is to extend the federal
policy of self-governance and self-determination to Native Hawaiians for the purposes of a
federally recognized government-to-government relationship.
Liability of the United States
With respect to liability of the United States as it relates to land claims, Senator Akaka, as the
author of the Apology Resolution as well as S. 147, has always maintained that his legislation is
not intended to serve as a settlement of any claims nor as a cause of action for any claims.
Administration officials sought to extinguish any existing claims by Native Hawaiians related to
breach of trust, land claims and resource-management or resource-protection claims. The
Congressional delegation and Governor prevailed in preventing the extinguishment of claims.
The substitute amendment makes clear that any grievances regarding historical wrongs
committed against Native Hawaiians by the United States or by the State of Hawaii are to be
addressed in the negotiations process between the Native Hawaiian governing entity and Federal
and State governments.
The substitute amendment clearly states that the Act does not serve to create a cause of action, alter existing law or create additional obligations with respect to claims. The substitute
amendment allows the federal government to assert sovereign immunity against any claims
against the United States related to breach of trust, land claims, resource-management and
resource protection claims by Native Hawaiians. The effect of this language is that the claims
become non-justiciable in a court of law. The claims, therefore, may not be heard in a court of
law, but may be resolved in the negotiations process between the Native Hawaiian governing
entity and federal and state governments.
The Department of Defense currently consults with Native Hawaiians under the Native Graves
Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).
The Department objected to the consultation requirements expected to be facilitated by the Office of Native Hawaiian Relations in the Department of the Interior. The substitute amendment
exempts the Department of Defense from these consultation requirements. In addition, the
Department of Defense objected to the coordination and consultation requirements to be
facilitated by the Native Hawaiian Interagency Coordinating Group. The substitute amendment
therefore exempts the Department of Defense from the requirements associated with the Native Hawaiian Interagency Coordinating Group.
S. 147 as reported makes clear that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the federal law which
governs gaming by Indian tribes on Indian lands in the United States, does not apply to the
Native Hawaiian governing entity. The Executive Branch officials pursued stronger language to
clarify the fact that the bill did not authorize gaming by the Native Hawaiian governing entity.
The substitute amendment includes language which states that gaming may not be conducted by
Native Hawaiians or the Native Hawaiian governing entity as a matter of claimed inherent
authority or under the authority of any federal laws or regulations promulgated by the Secretary
of the Interior or the National Indian Gaming Commission. The substitute amendment also
makes clear that the prohibition applies to any efforts to establish gaming by Native Hawaiians
and the Native Hawaiian governing entity in Hawaii and in any other State or territory. This
language only applies to efforts to establish gaming operations as a matter of inherent authority
as indigenous peoples or under federal laws pertaining to gaming by native peoples.
Civil and Criminal Jurisdiction
The substitute amendment includes language which makes clear that civil and criminal
jurisdiction currently held by the federal and state governments remain with the federal and state governments unless otherwise negotiated and implementing legislation is enacted.
Certification Commission Amendment
The bill initially required that members of the certification commission be Native Hawaiian. The
substitute amendment removes the Native Hawaiian requirement and instead requires that the
commissioners have at least 10 years of demonstrated experience in the study and determination of Native Hawaiian genealogy and an ability to read and translate into English documents written in the Hawaiian language. The purpose of the commission is to establish the eligibility criteria for Native Hawaiians who sign up to be on the roll.
The substitute amendment makes clear that the bill authorizes the recognition of a single Native
Hawaiian governing entity.
Special Political and Legal Relationship
The substitute amendment defines the special political and legal relationship between Native
Hawaiians and the United States as the same type of relationship that the United States has with
federally recognized Indian tribes.
Hawaii Reporter, September 16, 2005
Delegation Reaches Agreement With Administration On Native Hawaiian Bill Language [including link to vew version of the bill]
By Hawaii's Congressional Delegation, 9/16/2005 3:23:35 PM
Washington, D.C. -- Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) today released the substitute amendment to S. 147 which he plans to introduce when the U.S. Senate begins consideration of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005. The substitute amendment reflects the successful negotiations between Hawaii's Congressional delegation, Hawaii's Attorney General, and officials from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Management and Budget, and White House. In a letter written to Sen. John McCain, Chairman, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, in July 2005, the DOJ identified four specific areas of concern regarding the legislation: liability of the United States, military readiness, civil and criminal jurisdiction, and gaming.
Sen. Akaka noted, "I am pleased that our negotiations with the White House and Executive Branch officials were successful. The compromises we made preserve the intent and purpose of the bill."
Sen. Daniel Inouye stated, "Our success with the administration reflects a dialog of respect between Native Hawaiians and the White House. From mutual respect grows trust, and with trust as a foundation, we can build a future that recognizes the dignity of Native Hawaiians by allowing them to stand proudly as equals among the other indigenous peoples of America. The amendment marks a significant milestone along the road to federal recognition of Native Hawaiians, and I am proud to join Sen. Akaka in announcing this achievement."
Congressman Neil Abercrombie added, "The substitute language addresses every concern raised by the administration on these key issues. For the bill's prospects in the House, the only question now is whether the president will give his unambiguous endorsement. That will put the goal of Native Hawaiian recognition within reach."
Congressman Ed Case said, "Successful resolution of the administration's technical and policy concerns with S.147/H.R.309 is a major benchmark toward passage of the Akaka bill as well as a testament to good faith negotiations between our delegation, the executive, our state government and Native Hawaiian representatives. It will also go a long way toward refuting the ongoing campaign of misinformation and fear being waged by the bill's opponents. I am hopeful that it will be followed by needed White House endorsement of this nonpartisan initiative."
The bill would clarify the existing political and legal relationship between the United States and Hawaii's indigenous peoples; and provide a process for the reorganization of the Native Hawaiian governing entity for the purposes of a federally recognized government-to-government relationship.
Over the past six years, Senators Akaka and Inouye have fought hard against efforts to use this bill as a settlement of claims. While some have advocated strongly for the extinguishment of claims, Hawaii's Senators fought to prevent the bill from being a settlement of claims and fought to prevent the abrogation of claims. The legislative language agreed to allows the United States and the state of Hawaii to assert sovereign immunity against any claims related to breach of trust, land, resource protection or resource-management claims making such claims non-justiciable in a court of law. The amendment explicitly references historical grievances in the negotiations section of the bill, ensuring that such claims are not extinguished.
Sen. Akaka stated, "The issue of greatest concern to the United States was the issue of liability. I have always said that longstanding issues, including land claims, were to be addressed in the process of reconciliation -- an ongoing dialogue between Native Hawaiians and the United States."
"While I have always sought to protect any claims that may exist, it has never been my intent that this bill be used to create a claim against the United States. Therefore, we agreed to language which states that claims cannot be brought in a court of law but instead must be negotiated in the negotiations process in section 8 of the bill," Sen. Akaka said.
The Executive Branch sought stronger language on the prohibition of gaming by the Native Hawaiian governing entity. The substitute amendment includes language that prohibits gaming by the Native Hawaiians under any federal law in Hawaii or in any other state or territory. The substitute amendment also includes language that makes clear that civil and criminal jurisdiction currently held by the state and federal governments will remain with the state and federal governments until otherwise negotiated with the Native Hawaiian governing entity. With respect to military readiness, the Department of Defense already adheres to consultation requirements with Native Hawaiians under litigation agreements as well as the Native American Graves Repatriation Act and National Historic Preservation Act. The substitute amendment exempts the Department of Defense from the consultation requirements facilitated by the Office of Native Hawaiian Relations in the Department of the Interior and the Native Hawaiian Interagency Coordinating Group.
As of yet, the cloture vote on the motion to proceed to S. 147 has not been rescheduled by the Majority Leader. Sen. Akaka remains steadfast in getting a date before session adjourns.
See the new version at http://akaka.senate.gov/akakabill-b.html
** Note from Ken Conklin: The URL for the new version of the Akaka bill provided above (which is the same one offered on Senator Akaka's website) is a pdf file. However, after downloading that file, there might be problems opening it depending on what kind of computer and what level of operating system is being used. At this moment that is the only place on the internet where the new version of the bill is available.
Hawaii Reporter, September 16, 2005
How Much Money -- Office of Hawaiian Affairs So Far Refuses to Release Expenses on Akaka Bill Lobbying and Related Travel
In the interest of the public, Hawaii Reporter on Aug. 22, 2005, submitted an official request to all state offices involved in lobbying for the Akaka Bill asking for full disclosure on how much taxpayer money that respective department has spent on travel and other related lobbying materials and efforts. There were five state agencies in all.
The state Department of the Attorney General and the lieutentant governor's office responded promptly with all information. The Department of the Hawaiian Homelands demanded a fee of $550 for the summary of the department's expenditures, which Hawaii Reporter is appealing with the Office of Information Practices. The governor's office requested more information, which Hawaii Reporter is providing.
However, the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which is the primary state agency spending millions of dollars on lobbying for and promoting and advertising on behalf of the Akaka Bill, has so far refused to release the total dollar figure spent to date.
OHA issued a letter to Hawaii Reporter on Sept. 6, 2005, received in the mail more than a week later, which called the request "sweeping" and said OHA consultation is required to determine whether the records are exempt from disclosure.
The Hawaii state Sunshine Law requires transparency in government spending and government record and OHA must provide those records of how much taxpayer money has been spent or they agency is violating the state law.
For the record, here is the response from OHA, dated Sept. 6, 2005, but postmarked on Sept. 13, 2005, to Hawaii Reporter:
State of Hawaii, Office of Hawaii Affairs 711 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Sept. 6, 2005
Ms. Malia Zimmerman Hawaii Reporter
Re: UIPA Request
Dear Ms. Zimmerman
I am writing in response to your two requests faxed to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs on Aug. 22, 2005, in which you requested voluminous OHA records pursuant to Hawaii's Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA), Chapter 92F, Hawaii Revised Statutues.
Your sweeping requests trigger the "extenuating circumstances" provision (section 2-71-15) of the administrative rules governing agency responses to UIPA requests, for several reasons:
*OHA consultation is required to determine whether the records are exempt from disclosure;
*extensive efforts will be required to search, review, or segregate the records or otherwise prepare them for inspection or copying; and
*the request requires additional time to respond in order to avoid an unreasonable interference with OHA's other statutory duties and functions.
Pursuant to section 2-71-13 (c) of the rules, we intend to provide you with an agency notice under section 2-71-41 by Sept. 20, 2005, which is 20 business days after our receipt of your request. We reserve all of our legal rights under the UIPA, including but not limited to the right to claim all applicable exceptions, to seek clarification from you as precisely which records you are seeking, and to charge you permissible fees for search, review, segregation, and copying.
If you have questions about this letter, please contact me at (808) 594-1954.
Ernest Kimoto, Senior Staff Attorney
cc: Patricia Brandt, Chief of Staff Clyde Namu'o, Administrator Mark Glick, Director of Board Services John James McMahon, Esq., Associate Staff Attorney, Sherry Broder, Esq.
To see the OHA response in an Adobe Acrobe pdf version, click here: OHA Letter
Here is Hawaii Reporter's Official Request
* Please provide any and all copies of invoices, receipts, payments, travel vouchers, reimbursement requests and per diem payments to any Trustee, Director, representative, employee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, from the period of January 1, 2000 to August 31, 2005. This should include any payments made to travel agents or agencies; airlines; ground transportation; meals and hotel accommodations. Please provide any justifications for those trips kept in any format, document form or electronic format. Please include any justifications or reasons for traveling First Class, separate hotel rooms, upgraded rooms.
* Please provide any and all copies of appointment books, calendars, day planners, kept in written or electronic formats, that documents any discussion, testifying, media events (including interviews), lobbying, meetings or appointments with any person, concerning the "Akaka Bill" with any member of the United States Congress, the United States Senate, the White House and staff, any and all departments and agencies of the United States government and any other non-governmental individuals and entities for the period of January 1, 2000 to August 31, 2005.
* Please provide any and all copies of invoices, receipts, payments, travel vouchers, reimbursement requests and per diem payments made on behalf of or to any State official, elected, appointed and employee, from the period of January 1, 2000 to August 31, 2005 which involved in whole or in part, of any discussion, testifying, media events (including interviews), lobbying, meetings or appointments with any person, concerning the "Akaka Bill" with any member of the United States Congress, the United States Senate, the White House and staff, any and all departments and agencies of the United States government and any other non-governmental individuals and entities. This should include any transfers of payments which made to any third party or vendor such as travel agents or agencies; airlines; ground transportation; meals and hotel accommodations. Please provide any justifications for those trips kept in any format, document form or electronic format. Please include any justifications or reasons for traveling First Class, separate hotel rooms, upgraded rooms.
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, September 17, 2005
Akaka bill revised to placate D.C. foes
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Native Hawaiians could not bring a land claim against the U.S. government in the courts under an amendment to the Akaka bill that is being proposed to appease the White House and opponents of the bill.
Instead, such claims would have to be taken to a federally recognized Hawaiian governing entity that would then negotiate with the federal and state governments, according to the language in the amendment that was released by Sen. Daniel Akaka's office yesterday.
The Akaka bill starts a process that would lead to federal recognition of a Native Hawaiian entity. Supporters say it is necessary not just to address wrongs committed by the U.S. government, but will help stave off legal challenges to programs — including the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Kamehameha Schools — that give preference to Hawaiians.
Andre Perez, a member of Hui Pu, an umbrella group of Native Hawaiian groups opposed to federal recognition, said the newest language makes a bad bill even worse.
He noted that the previous draft allowed Native Hawaiians to make claims on their own against the government for up to 20 years, a time limit that already was unpalatable.
"We'll be barred from seeking any recovery of any losses or damages against us over the last 112 years," Perez said. "That's a pretty good deal for them."
Akaka, in a news release, acknowledged that the land claims issue has been a sticky one for the U.S. government. "I have always said that longstanding issues, including land claims, were to be addressed in the process of reconciliation — an ongoing dialogue between Native Hawaiians and the United States."
A fact sheet distributed by Akaka said that "the (Bush) administration sought to extinguish all existing claims by Native Hawaiians related to breach of trust, land claims and resource-management or resource-protection claims."
The Hawai'i delegation and Gov. Linda Lingle "prevailed in preventing the extinguishment of claims," the fact sheet said.
Said Akaka spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz: "The senator realizes there may be some people who may be unhappy with the compromises we have had to make. But the senator's focus is on ensuring that we can enact this bill so that we can organize a Native Hawaiian government entity for the purposes of a government-to-government relationship with the United States."
Jon Osorio, director of the Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, echoed the comments of Perez and said he believes that the bill waters down a measure that already does not go far enough in addressing any harms that may have been committed against Hawaiians by the U.S. government.
"What it looks like to me is because the U.S. government is claiming sovereign immunity that cannot be challenged in court, and the state also has this protection, it means that virtually everything that will become part of this nation, land and resources, are things that are going to be negotiated at the outset," Osorio said.
"What they're saying is everything is not subject to the courts. And because the U.S. is acknowledging a single government entity, in my mind, this is intended to invalidate any future claims by anyone."
'ONLY REALISTIC WAY'
Hawai'i Attorney General Mark Bennett said resolving the claims through the negotiations process is "the only realistic way of approaching the claims." In the 47 years since statehood, he said, there has not been a successful claim against the government.
The points in the amendment outlined yesterday also did little to appease Akaka bill opponents who believe that carving out special privileges for Native Hawaiians is unfair to non-Hawaiians.
The amendment is not designed to make local opponents of the bill happy, however. The measure has stalled in the Senate this summer because of concerns raised by the White House and some Republican lawmakers. The amendments address "serious policy concerns" laid out specifically in a memorandum by the Justice Department in July.
Justice Department officials could not be reached after business hours to confirm the agreement.
But Dela Cruz said the state's congressional delegation, together with the state attorney general and the staff of Senate Indian Affairs Chairman John McCain, was able to craft the compromise language with a team from the Justice Department's legislative affairs office headed by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Rebecca S. Seidel.
H. William Burgess of the anti-Akaka bill organization Aloha for All, said the amendment "certainly changes the bill for the better."
The stipulation barring Native Hawaiians from making direct claims against the state and federal governments "very effectively closes most of the chances of opening up litigation in the future although it doesn't eliminate it," Burgess said.
The previous version of the bill, he said, "was an open invitation for the next 20 years to come in and ask for whatever you want."
Burgess also said the new language effectively bars gambling as well.
Nonetheless, Burgess said, his group still opposes the Akaka bill on more fundamental grounds.
"The destructive core of the bill remains intact," he said. "And that's the real toxic part of this bill that would create a new, privileged class in America. It's going to subdivide not just Hawai'i but the United States."
WAIVER FOR MILITARY
Ikaika Hussey, a member of Hui Pu, objected to the language in the amendment waiving the U.S. military from participating in any of the talks involving the creation of the new government.
"It's now very clear that this bill will not protect our home, or our 'ohana, from the Stryker brigade land-grab, and will not assist in the cleanup and return of land to families whose land was seized for military use," Hussey said.
Trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which has supported the Akaka bill, issued a news release stating that they were reviewing the language with their attorneys and would comment at a later time.
Previously, OHA board chairwoman Haunani Apoliona had also acknowledged that the claims issue was a difficult one to resolve.
NO SENATE TIMETABLE
Meanwhile, there is still no timetable for when the Senate might discuss whether to have a floor debate and vote on the bill.
OHA administrator Clyde Namu'o said he's been told it likely won't come up before the third week of October. "Most people that I've spoken to indicate that they believe that it probably will come up sometime in the middle or third week in October," he said
Republican leaders had promised Hawai'i's delegation that a parliamentary move called a cloture vote would take place last week but it was postponed indefinitely to allow senators to deal with the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
A cloture vote on the Akaka bill would essentially force the Senate to set other issues aside to allow for a debate and vote.
Dela Cruz, Akaka's spokeswoman, said her office has not received word from the Senate majority staff on the matter. The Senate is still focused on addressing Katrina's impacts, she said.
Nonetheless, she said, Akaka is confident the bill will come for a vote before the session ends.
"This is not over," Dela Cruz said. "The senator is still pressing for his bill to get on the calendar."
The changes proposed by the amendment would:
# Leave negotiations on claims made by Native Hawaiians against the United States and the state in the hands of a federally recognized Hawaiian governing entity. Individuals and organizations, including the governing entity, would not have the legal basis to file such claims in court.
# Clarify that gambling would not be allowed on lands under the jurisdiction of the Native Hawaiian government entity unless approved by the state and federal governments.
# Exempt the Department of Defense from participating in discussions and negotiations dealing with the creation of the Native Hawaiian governing entity, effectively ensuring military installations and operations are not affected in any way.
# Make clear that the state and federal governments would retain existing civil and criminal jurisdiction over all lands and people in Hawai'i.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Saturday, September 17, 2005
Revamped Akaka Bill awaiting attention
By Richard Borreca
U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka unveiled an amended version of his native Hawaiian recognition bill yesterday and said he is still hoping to get a vote on the measure before the Senate adjourns for the year.
The changes to the so-called Akaka Bill were negotiated with the Bush administration to meet concerns over gambling, criminal jurisdiction, military readiness and federal liability.
"The compromises we made preserve the intent and purpose of the bill," Akaka, D-Hawaii, said in a release from his Washington office.
The long-stalled bill, formally known as the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, had been scheduled for a possible vote earlier this month, but Hurricane Katrina legislation again pushed it aside.
Akaka said he is working to get a "cloture" vote scheduled. The vote, which must have at least 60 votes to pass, is needed to allow Akaka to then bring his bill to the floor for a final Senate vote.
"As of yet, the cloture vote on the motion to proceed to S.147 has not been rescheduled by the majority leader (Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn.)," Akaka said.
Akaka said the agreements reached with the Justice Department and the White House "allows the United States and the state of Hawaii to assert sovereign immunity against any claims related to breach of trust, land, resource protection or resource-management claims."
That means, Akaka said, that the native Hawaii recognition bill would not permit claims to be brought before a court, but must be negotiated as part of the settlement process detailed in the bill.
State Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, chairwoman of the Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee, said that would work to the benefit of native Hawaii groups.
"I think at a minimum it would be an immunity for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from lawsuits if you are saying that the state is immune. I think that would have major implications," Hanabusa said.
Others, however, are not sure about the effects of the changes.
OHA announced that is was going to hire "legal scholars versed in Indian law and native rights to analyze what impact these proposed amendments will have on the Hawaiian and non-Hawaii communities."
Until that analysis can be done, OHA trustees said they would not comment on the amendments.
Ikaika Hussey, spokesman for Hui Pu, a native Hawaiian group against the Akaka Bill, said the amendments would not change their opposition.
"This bill has become progressively worse since 1999, and is now a blatantly anti-Hawaiian bill," Hussey said.
The bill's new language prohibits gambling operations by native Hawaiians in Hawaii or anywhere else, guarantees existing federal and state jurisdiction in criminal matters, exempts the Defense Department from having to consult with more native Hawaiian offices over its operations, and ensures against use of the bill to settle any Hawaiian claims against the government.
Hawaii's other U.S. senator, Daniel Inouye, called the new version "a significant milestone along the road to federal recognition of native Hawaiians." He said passage of the bill would allow Hawaiians to "stand proudly as equals among the other indigenous peoples of America."
Administration officials and bill opponents had objected to several provisions of the bill, fearing it would empower native Hawaiians to set up gambling operations similar to those allowed for Indian tribes, interfere with criminal prosecutions, hinder military operations in Hawaii and push claims against the government.
The section on military readiness exempts the military from the need to consult with more native Hawaiian offices under the bill. It already consults with native Hawaiians under federal laws aimed at preserving native graves and protecting historic sites, and officials did not want to add new consultation requirements that might bottle up military training and other operations on its extensive lands in Hawaii.
September 18 Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial cartoon, taken from
The Washington Times, September 18, 2005
Political tsunami hits Hawaii
By Rubellite Kawena Kinney Johnson
Hawaii's governor, the state legislature and state agencies -- namely the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) dragging along the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) -- and many other supporters such as church organizations and community groups, have made the "Akaka Bill" a must-pass measure for Congress in coming months.
And what is the justification for giving up the Ceded Lands of the State of Hawaii and (maybe) the reserve federal/military lands/islands with all mineral rights, natural resources, and water rights to a 200-mile area around the Hawaiian Islands and related "indigenous Polynesian/-Hawaiian" areas in the Pacific Ocean somewhat connected through tradition? These ties could be by voyaging traditions or related contacts during migrations from the south to Hawaii, such as (possibly) Johnston Island, Palmyra Island, Wake Island, and remotely, even parts of American Samoa.
We ask: What justifies getting rid of U.S. military reserve areas where the Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Coast Guard once were and no longer are, such as Midway Island, Kaho'olawe, Barbers Point?
Is it the U.S. political relationship with the Native Hawaiian aboriginal and indigenous people whose ancestors never directly surrendered their sovereignty in the critical period when the monarchy was overthrown (1893) and annexed by Joint Resolution of Congress (1898)?
This indigenous Native Hawaiian sovereignty has been classified in USPL 103-150 (Clinton Apology) as "aboriginal communal tenures before 1778 A.D," potentially applicable to all lands and waterways over sea (channels), and moreover, under access rights, all mineral and natural resources, with water rights, which, under the international Law of the Sea includes a 200-mile zone in all directions around the island chain.
This is why Kaho'olawe no longer belongs to the State of Hawaii, since custody was given to the Kaho'olawe 'Ohana in stewardship, which under the "Akaka Bill" will be "owned" by the Native Hawaiian sovereignty, which I may remind you, consists of "aboriginal communal tenures before 1778 A.D."
The 'Ohana makes the rules about who now may go there, when, and for what cultural exercises or events. The same is true of the coral preserve. Fishermen may not go there now, unless no longer fishing for tabu things in tabu ways. The fact you are Native Hawaiian does not qualify you by ancestry alone to go over there for your own purposes if they are not in accord with the 'Ohana criteria for anyone being there. No longer a military bastion, but a native and culture preserve, it's a prohibited area nevertheless, so for we who are not part of the 'Ohana, it makes no difference that we may not go there. As a qualified observer satisfying 'Ohana rules, you are not a participant in 'Ohana programs without approval. The tabu fence will always be up if your native interest is for a reason other than what the 'Ohana believes proper within their own management, which is right out of the old konohiki system.
My eyes were opened when I wrote the report on the astroarchaeological sites on that island for the Kaho'olawe Conveyance Commission in 1993, though I actually witnessed political confrontations by groups hostile to U.S. military objectives through ROTC programs on the University of Hawaii campus during the Vietnam War, and I was one of three professors who refused to consent to the nationwide moratorium during the late 1960s when the Students For a Democratic Society occupied Bachman Hall (Administration Building) while the ROTC Building was burned down during protests. Two other professors were from the College of Engineering; I was the one faculty member from the College of Arts of Sciences who ignored the campus protest by holding classes and giving final exams during the moratorium.
The political leadership of the Hawaiian Studies Center continues a somewhat similar anti-American, anti-military, anti-American missionary, anti-white stance in teaching Hawaiian language, history and culture in order to inculcate younger Native Hawaiian children to the same view: The United States must get out; it doesn't belong here.
The recent federal $600,000 allocation to the new Hawaii Law Center supports that political position of Hawaiian Studies at Kamakakuokalani Center from the nearby William Richardson School of Law.
The 'Akaka Bill' is, therefore, in my opinion, the kind of retributive justice the Congress should consider putting aside until the country has had time to consider what it will mean to get out of the Pacific and out of Hawaii entirely. Else it may well put asunder the whole country's protections of individual rights to life, liberty and property.
Who would want the United States out of Hawaii except enemies of those constitutional principles, both here and on the mainland, which have always been shared philosophies between the kings of these islands and the rulers of other nations? May freedom prevail, from sea to shining sea.
Rubellite Kawena Kinney Johnson is an emerita professor of Hawaiian language and literature at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.
** Note from Ken Conklin: Professor Johnson is a descendant of Kamehameha the Great, and has 50% native blood quantum. She is also a descendant of two of the Mayflower pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock. She is an officially designated "Living Treasure of Hawai'i." Portions of her resume, her photo, and her testimony to Congress against the Akaka bill, can be seen at:
West Hawaii Today (Kona), Monday, September 19, 2005
Akaka bill -- Failure in Congress may spell violence
The claim by certain Republicans in Congress that they oppose the Akaka Bill, (Hawaiian Recognition Bill), because it would expand gambling and short-change American Indians out of federal funding is a "crock."
These self-serving fabrications are once again designed to detract from the real issue and circumvent their real intent.
There is now an insidious and committed effort by a group of right wing supremacists here in Hawaii and in Congress who have determined that allowing Hawaiians self-determination would present an additional roadblock in their attempts to create new case law that would begin to undermine the concessions won by Native Americans and Americans of color over the last 50 years.
This is what the continuous blockage of the Akaka Bill is about.
The overwhelming majority of Hawaiians are in favor of the Akaka Bill rather than independence from the United States.
The failure of the Akaka Bill to date and the Ninth Circuit Court's judgment against the Kamehameha Schools, however, have triggered a reaction among mainstream Hawaiians that justice for Hawaiians is impossible in America.
Should the Akaka Bill ultimately fail, this large mainstream of Hawaiians will have no alternative but to support the reclamation of their inalienable, sovereign rights by supporting complete severance and independence from the United States.
This is certainly an ominous sign that future conflict, potentially physical, will erupt like it did with the famous Massie case years ago, only multiplied a thousand fold -- white against brown, citizen against citizen, friend against friend, a mini civil war, forever shattering the ideal of American justice -- all this resulting in the continuing and further loss of credibility by the United States throughout the world.
The prospect of Americans fighting Americans is frightening indeed and only emboldens our real enemies in their resolve to destroy us.
Wake up America, before it is too late.
** Note from Ken Conklin: Rod Ferreira is Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, the umbrella organization of powerful racially exclusionary institutions seeking passage of the Akaka bill to protect their organizations against 14th Amendment equal protection lawsuits. He is a frequent contributor of columns and news reports in "Ka Wai Ola O OHA", the monthly newspaper of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. He is also President of the I Mua Group of Kamehameha Schools Alumni Associations **
Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, September 20, 2005, EDITORIAL
Akaka amendments preserve bill's intent
Making a kind of triage decision, supporters of the Akaka Hawaiian recognition bill have taken the only realistic option in their bid to get it passed.
That decision — to accept a set of substantial amendments to the bill — has stirred up unhappiness among some Hawaiians, but it may not radically shorten the roster of its supporters. Those distressed by the amendments are mainly people already opposed to the measure.
Other foes who feared the bill would create special privileges for Hawaiians will be somewhat mollified by the new wording. It makes it clear that Native Hawaiians would be governed by the same criminal and civil laws as other residents and that they would not have special allowances to develop gambling establishments in the state.
It's always been unlikely that Hawaiians could use the bill as leverage against military interests in the state, but the refined language makes it crystal clear that they will have none.
The most contentious change involves prospective claims. The revisions preclude Hawaiians from becoming a new class of litigants who could sue the government on the basis of their nationhood. Any settlement for land or assets now held by the state or federal government would have to occur at the negotiation table, not in the courtroom.
Whether or not this seems fair may be debatable, but it's a moot question. The Bush administration is not going to yield on that point. Many already have said that the omens for a more favorable outcome were better under Clinton than under a Republican White House.
The fact is that Hawaiians are in a supremely weakened bargaining position. Recent decisions in the Kamehameha Schools case, as well as in the Arakaki suit have made securing some kind of legal protection crucial if any Hawaiian entitlements are to be protected. And despite the hopes expressed by the minority of independence advocates, no relief through international courts seems likely to occur.
While prospects for the bill remain tenuous at best, it's at least encouraging that the administration has hammered out this deal. Nothing would be more helpful at this point than a clear declaration of acceptance, if not support, from the White House.
The essence of the bill — establishing with finality that Hawaiians have a political status within the federal structure — has been preserved, and is still worth the struggle.
The Maui News, Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Politics is compromise
President George W. Bush could emulate his father and win some fans in Hawaii. President George H. W. Bush signed the executive order turning Kahoolawe back to the state. The current president could support the Akaka Bill now pending congressional action.
The Akaka Bill, known formally as the “Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005,” provides a process for setting up a Native Hawaiian government that could be based on traditional Hawaiian values and methods of settling disputes. It would also be a bulwark against the increasing number of legal attempts to nullify programs designated for Native Hawaiians.
Perhaps as important as any other aspect of the measure, the Akaka Bill would eliminate the mistaken idea that anyone living in Hawaii is Hawaiian.
Getting the measure, any measure proposed by a Democrat, approved by a Republican-dominated Congress and a Republican president is an uphill struggle. The latest effort to get the Akaka Bill up for discussion in the U.S. Senate was blown away by Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
Even before that, there was resistance on the part of a Nevada senator who probably had been told the Akaka Bill would allow gambling – it didn’t – and that would divert the steady flow of gamblers from Hawaii to Las Vegas.
Sen. Daniel Akaka announced last week that he had included more specific language prohibiting gambling operations by Native Hawaiian, guaranteeing existing federal and state jurisdiction in criminal matters, exempting the Defense Department (military) from having more layers of government to consult in regard to its operations in Hawaii, and ensuring against use of the bill to settle any Hawaiian claims against the government.
The compromises are needed for passage. Critics of the bill will certainly cite them as more reasons to oppose the measure. They would be missing a point. Once the Akaka Bill is passed, and signed by the president, it can always be amended in the future.
Passage of the Akaka Bill is vital for the future of the Hawaiian people and culture and that, in turn, is essential to preserve the most unique feature of our islands and their hospitality industry.
Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Putting our worst foot forward
By Lee Cataluna
You know they have us in the corner when our best option is to argue how bad off we are to keep what is ours.
Kamehameha Schools last week released a report that culled data from a multitude of sources and studies. The bottom-line conclusion of the 450 pages, as reported widely, is that Native Hawaiians are, on the whole, worse off than any other group in Hawai'i in terms of economic indicators, education, and physical and mental health. Native Hawaiians have disproportionately higher rates of substance abuse, child abuse and incarceration.
This was not new information. What was new was the way in which the information was played — as an important argument in the battle to keep Kamehameha Schools' admission preference intact and in support of the Akaka bill.
In this high-stakes fight, this report was held up as a point on the scoreboard for Hawaiians. How twisted is that?
Not that the data are wrong or misleading, just that it further erodes the spirit of a people to have to use such painful truths as defensive weaponry.
Here we go again, having to play the game by somebody else's rules. In the language of Western paternalism, our heritage is termed "entitlements" so we have to prove how bad off we are to show we deserve what is rightfully ours, weak or strong, lagging or thriving. It is a strange game of being unworthy enough to be worthy and winning by losing, and make no mistake, we didn't make up these rules.
Where is our "Once Were Warriors" speech?
You know, the part in that movie where the character Beth Heke stands up to her oppressor and calls on her Maori ancestors:
" ... They were people with mana, pride, people with spirit. If my spirit can survive living with you for 18 years, then I can survive anything."
Where is that place in our story where we stand up and proclaim our strength, not our weaknesses, and take back our birthright?
Our people also were warriors. They were scientists and voyagers, strategists and storytellers, healers and artists. We still are.
We can't let "how things are" dictate who we are. God forbid any Hawaiian starts to see the statistics as destiny.
Native Hawaiians go to college. We graduate. We have careers and run successful businesses. We live healthy and we live well. We buy houses, we raise smart, sturdy children, we work hard to be good citizens. It is all possible. It doesn't happen often enough yet, but it happens.
Like warriors, a distinction has to be made between battleground strategy and what is said around the fire in base camp. There is a kind of resilience to be nurtured, and that doesn't come from already claiming defeat.
** Note by Ken Conklin: Lee Cataluna is referring to a slick 20-page "executive summary" and a future 450-page monster Hawaiian victimhood book by Kamehameha Schools. The propaganda booklet and future book were celebrated in an article by Gordon Pang in the Honolulu Advertiser of September 13. A webpage analyzing and debunking the statistics, "Native Hawaiian Victimhood Claims -- What Are They? Why Are They Being Asserted? How Can the Bad Statistics Be Explained?" can be found at
Hawaii Reporter, September 21, 2005
If Hawaii Suceeds from the Union, So What
By Alfred "Chip" Pili'aloha
What are the Akaka Bill opponents afraid of?
It appears that the plan of action for opponents of the Akaka Bill is one of fear-mongering. They are enlisting their cronies throughout the United States to espouse doomsday predictions that will befall Hawaii if this measure passes.
Recently an article was printed prophesizing how business leaders will stop investing in Hawaii if the bill passes, while another article foresees Hawaii seceding from the union.
These assumptions are just thrown out there to scare without any substantive research behind them.
Business is business; and if the terms of conducting business in Hawaii are conducive to making money and a business is making money, then no matter what government is in office money will still flow through the islands.
The fear the author of such an article is espousing is that a Hawaiian government would be anti-business for some reason…a reason the author does not identify.
If Hawaii does eventually secede from the Union as opponents suggest, so what. Texas has a clause in their constitution that leaves the option of secession open for Texans, where’s the resistance to that ideal? It’s absent because a Texas secession from the Union will probably never happen; a Hawaii secession will probably never happen too.
If these opponents would just use some reason they would find that Hawaiians are not the majority in Hawaii and has neither the means nor populace to carry this secession proposition through a vote. The fear they’re trying to instill is that there will be great chaos if this measure passes and that there will be riots in the streets throwing tourists and the like out on the next boat or plane. Ridiculous.
All Hawaiians are trying to do is preserve the aina as their ancestors believed and help other Hawaiians prosper in today’s society so that the ideal of Hawaii is perpetuated. It’s deplorable that people would try to undermine existing programs for Hawaiians in the name of Aloha. Where’s the "aloha" from these people. Hawaii is Hawaii because of its ancestral roots, if this is uprooted then what kind of Hawaii will there be left? The answer is… there will be no more Hawaii…only figments of one’s imagination.
Alfred "Chip" Pili'aloha, GS-11, DAF is with the 835th CS/SCXI RMTP Office. Reach him via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Events, September 21, 2005
Also re-published September 26 on Town Hall at
Also republished on September 28 in the author's own blog "The Eagle Forum" at:
With Racist Proposal, Does Hawaii Plan to Secede from U.S.?
by Phyllis Schlafly
Does Hawaii want to secede from the Union? That sounds like a preposterous question, but the official Office of Hawaiian Affairs advertises on its website that the legislation scheduled to be voted on soon in the U.S. Senate will give Native Hawaiians "self-determination" to choose "total independence" or any other form of government.
Hawaii is asking the U.S. Senate to create a Hawaiian race-based government for persons with Native Hawaiian blood living anywhere in the United States. I'm not making this up; it's real.
According to S. 147, a Native Hawaiian is anyone of the "indigenous, native people of Hawaii" who is a "direct lineal descendant of the aboriginal, indigenous, native people" who resided in the Hawaiian Islands before 1893 and "exercised sovereignty" in that region. That convoluted definition must have been written by lawyers.
The use of the word sovereignty is peculiar because only nations and kings or queens exercise sovereignty. Hawaii was a monarchy in 1893, and Queen Liliuokalani exercised sovereignty, but the bill can't mean only her direct lineal descendants. So, to be a Native Hawaiian, you don't need to have lived in Hawaii or ever had any affiliation with Native Hawaiian culture, language or politics. You just need to have one drop of the right kind of blood.
That reminds me of the greatest musical ever written, Jerome Kern's "Show Boat," where an essential part of the story line is that one drop of Negro blood made a man an American Negro. I thought we had put all those racial notions behind us and moved on, but S. 147 is trying to bring them back.
S. 147 would create a racially separate government that would operate like an Indian tribe with its own laws and racial voting restrictions anywhere in the United States. This new "tribe" would include about 20 percent of Hawaii's residents plus some 400,000 Americans nationwide, making it the largest Indian tribe.
The people under the jurisdiction of this new government would not be defined by geography, community or cultural cohesiveness, but by race. This sort of racial division, separatism, and ethnic separation is so offensive that it's hard to see how grown-ups could be seriously considering it.
Hawaii is our preeminent example of the success of the melting-pot theory: people of all races have intermarried for nearly two centuries. Nearly half of all marriages in Hawaii are interracial, a figure that is ten times higher than the rest of the United States.
Three-fourths of those who claim to be "pure" Native Hawaiians marry other races. More than half of those who claim to be "part" Native Hawaiian do likewise. We are trying to spread democracy around the world, but that message doesn't seem to have reached the sponsors of S. 147. The bill does not assure that the new race-based government will be democratic; nothing in the bill prevents it from becoming a theocratic monarchy (with a new Queen Liliuokalani?).
Nor is there any procedure to enable Hawaiians to decide whether they want to authorize this race-based government in our midst. The procedure sounds like the high-handed way the European elite tried to put over the European Union Constitution without consulting the voters.
Since the debate over Supreme Court nominees has made "settled law" a favorite expression, we should point out that when Hawaii became a state, it became settled law that Hawaiians would accept the United States Constitution, and that there would be no more monarchy and no more separate government or sovereignty for Native Hawaiians. We had a national consensus both in and out of Hawaii that Native Hawaiians would be Americans, not treated as a separate racial group.
Advocates for Hawaiian statehood repeatedly then emphasized that Hawaii is a melting pot of racial and national origins who are joined in a common patriotism and faith in American institutions. So why are we spending time discussing this retro idea?
Follow the money to search for motives behind this odd-ball legislation. The clue to the mystery is Section 8(b) of S. 147, which ensures that the new Native Hawaiian government can negotiate gambling rights with the state of Hawaii and the federal government.
It appears that some politically well-connected Hawaiians want to cash in on the profitable casino privileges that have been given to American Indian tribes. Another possible motive is that a small group of Native Hawaiians is trying to grab some of the high-priced real estate in the beautiful islands and claim it as their tribal heritage. To find these pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, the Native Hawaiians want to pretend they are a "tribe." This is fantasyland: the sponsors must have been reading too much Harry Potter.
Creating a race-based society would take us in the wrong direction, a step backwards, offensive to our Constitution and to our national commitment to equal justice for all.
Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, September 22, 2005
** Headline story **
Justice Department still objects to Akaka bill
By Derrick DePledge and Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Capitol Bureau
The U.S. Department of Justice still has substantial concerns about whether a Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill is constitutional, according to a statement released yesterday, which may fuel Republican opposition and weaken the bill's chances in the U.S. Congress.
The Justice Department under President Bush has consistently raised doubts about whether Congress can recognize Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people similar to Indian tribes, the fundamental premise of the bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i. The Hawai'i congressional delegation and the Lingle administration have tried to minimize those concerns and work with the department to satisfy its more practical policy questions about the bill.
Over the past month, Hawai'i lawmakers, the Lingle administration and the Justice Department have agreed to amendments that would bar Hawaiians from bringing land claims against the United States in court and explicitly prohibit a Native Hawaiian government from authorizing gambling.
But in a statement yesterday in response to media inquiries, the Justice Department repeated its constitutional concerns about the bill, indicating the department shares many of the same objections as Republican opponents who have blocked it in the U.S. Senate for five years.
"The administration appreciates the work of the Hawai'i delegation to address some of the concerns raised by the Justice Department but there are substantial, unresolved constitutional concerns regarding whether Congress may treat Native Hawaiians as it does the Indian tribes, and whether Congress may establish and recognize a Native Hawaiian governing entity," said John Nowacki, a Justice Department spokesman. "As the Supreme Court has stated, whether Native Hawaiians are eligible for tribal status is 'a matter of some dispute' and 'of considerable moment and difficulty.' "
The statement comes as Akaka awaits word from the Senate leadership on when an important procedural vote on the bill might be scheduled. The vote was promised earlier this month but was delayed because senators turned their attention to the response to Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast. Gov. Linda Lingle said yesterday she has heard a vote might happen during the third week of October and is planning for what would be her third trip to Washington, D.C., on the bill since July.
Akaka and others in the delegation downplayed the Justice Department's statement yesterday. "Every practical policy issue raised by DOJ in our negotiations has been addressed and resolved," Akaka said in a statement. "Although I realize and respect that there are those who have differing views, the bill is constitutional."
U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawai'i, said in a statement he looks forward to the bill being debated on the Senate floor. "The Akaka bill has been strengthened to address the administration's policy concerns, and I believe the measure is constitutional," the senator said.
U.S. Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawai'i, said the delegation has always known that some Justice Department lawyers have constitutional questions about the bill but he believes the statement yesterday is not a rejection by the White House. The Justice Department under President Clinton had supported the bill.
"I do not believe this is a statement of policy opposition by the executive branch," Case said.
Lingle, after a news conference to announce new federal health-care money, also said the statement came as no surprise. "I'm optimistic about it getting out of the Senate," the governor said.
But others interpreted the Justice Department's statement as the latest setback for the bill, which would create a process for Native Hawaiians to form their own government and might provide a legal shield for Native Hawaiian programs being challenged in court because they are based on race.
"Given all the work that has been done on this bill, I can't imagine that the issue of constitutionality is raised now," said Clyde Namu'o, the administrator for the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs. "If the administration felt it was unconstitutional, I would've assumed that they would have raised this much earlier in the process of getting this bill refined. I'm not sure why the administration would feel obligated to issue this statement now."
Rowena Akana, an OHA trustee, was already unhappy with the amendments and said the Justice Department's statement is another blow. "What the Bush administration has done is taken the lifeblood out of the bill," she said. "Now, they're attacking constitutionality when we thought long ago that was solved."
While all OHA trustees supported the original Akaka bill, Akana said she is not so sure she and others would do so now. "It seems like we're just going around and around with this," she said. "Frankly, I think you can't trust this administration. It says one thing and then it does another thing."
Historian Tom Coffman, who has written about the Native Hawaiian movement, said the amendments are onerous to many Hawaiians, especially the agreement to bar any land claims in court, "which was the essence of the Hawaiian movement to begin with." Under an amendment to the bill, claims would be negotiated between a new Native Hawaiian government and the United States.
Now, he said, "the Department of Justice is saying, 'That's nice, you just gave up on your land claims, but we're going to hold out for you to give up even more claims.' It's hard to project if the Bush administration's real goal is to emasculate the bill or to kill the bill, but it's one of the two."
H. William Burgess, a leader of Aloha for All, which opposes the bill, said the Justice Department's statement should send a message to Republicans and Democrats that the bill has significant problems and should not be passed. "You wouldn't expect the administration to make a statement such as this unless there were some very substantial questions about it," he said.
THREAT TO PROGRAMS
The Justice Department has cited constitutional concerns about Native Hawaiian programs since at least September 2002, when it wrote Inouye about a bill giving federal grants to OHA for affordable housing for low-income Native Hawaiians. In a July letter to U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the department explained its policy concerns about claims, gambling and other issues in the Akaka bill and again referred to a "substantial, unresolved constitutional question" of whether Hawaiians could be recognized like Indian tribes.
Federal recognition, some believe, might protect Native Hawaiian programs from legal claims of racial discrimination, since their status would be political in nature, not racial.
The Supreme Court decided in Rice v. Cayetano in 2000 that it was unconstitutional to prevent non-Hawaiians from voting for OHA trustees, but the court chose not to rule on the larger question of Hawaiian recognition. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in its August ruling striking down the race-based admissions policy at Kamehameha Schools, also noted that the relationship between Hawaiians and the federal government is legally unresolved.
Akaka and others believe Congress should pass the bill and, since a legal challenge would be inevitable, allow the courts to address the question directly.
"The question of whether or not Congress has the authority to federally recognize a Native Hawaiian governing entity is an issue that has yet to be ruled on by the courts," Akaka said. "However, I believe firmly in Congress' authority to extend the federal policy of self-governance and self-determination to Native Hawaiians, Hawai'i's indigenous people.
"As it has for America's other indigenous peoples, I believe the United States must fulfill its responsibility to Native Hawaiians."
West Hawaii Today, Thursday, September 22, 2005
Justice Dept. doubts bill's constitutionality; act's progress in congress uncertain
by Samantha Young
Stephens Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration continues to question whether the Constitution would allow Native Hawaiians to form their own government, according to a Justice Department official.
While Justice attorneys have worked through a host of issues dealing with Hawaiian gambling, military readiness and civil and criminal jurisdictions, underlying legal questions remain about creating an all-Hawaiian entity.
"There are substantial unresolved Constitutional concerns regarding whether Congress may treat the Native Hawaiians as it does Indian tribes and whether Congress may establish and recognize a Native Hawaiian entity," said Justice Department spokesman John Nowacki.
The Justice Department statement comes less than a week after Hawaii lawmakers issued a press release Friday touting a new Native Hawaiian bill they negotiated over the summer with the Bush administration. It also provides the opposition some added firepower in the Senate when it takes up the bill later this year.
The bill would grant roughly 400,000 Native Hawaiians the right to organize and negotiate for self-rule from the state and federal governments.
In an effort to win passage in the Senate, Hawaii lawmakers scaled back provisions on gaming and shielded the federal and state governments from Hawaiian settlement claims for land and resources. As many as six Republicans have blocked the bill from coming to a vote on the Senate floor.
Senate leaders postponed scheduled action earlier this month on the Native Hawaiian bill to respond to Hurricane Katrina. No date has been rescheduled for the debate.
Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, issued a statement Wednesday reaffirming the delegation's earlier agreement with the Justice Department.
"Every practical policy issue raised by DOJ in our negotiations has been addressed and resolved," Akaka said. "Although I realize and respect that there are those who have differing views, I feel strongly that the bill is Constitutional."
Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawaii, pointed to 150 years of Indian case law allowing Congress to recognize indigenous peoples of the United States, including Native Hawaiians.
"Anytime an opponent of a proposition wants to slow it down, one of the quivers in the arsenal is its constitutionality in the courts," Case said. "The question should and will ultimately be decided by the courts."
Critics of a Hawaiian government have repeatedly warned it would violate the Constitution by allowing a single racial entity to operate within the United States.
In raising the constitutional concern, Nowacki cited the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Rice vs. Cayetano. In that 2000 case, the court ruled elections for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs should be open to all state residents, not just Native Hawaiians. The Hawaiian governing entity would only be open to Hawaiians.
"As the Supreme Court has stated, whether Native Hawaiians are eligible for tribal states is 'a matter of some dispute' and 'of considerable moment and difficulty,'" Nowacki said.
Honolulu attorney Bill Burgess, who has flown to Washington several times to lobby against the bill, welcomed the Justice Department's latest interpretation.
"The electorate (in the bill) is restrictive to the very same group in Rice v. Cayetano which was held to be in violation of the 15th amendment," Burgess said.
Akaka and Case said the federal courts should ultimately decide whether a Native Hawaiian government would be constitutional. But for that to happen, Congress must first pass the bill.
"I believe firmly in Congress' authority to extend the federal policy of self-governance and self-determination to Native Hawaiians, Hawaii's indigenous people," Akaka said.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Thursday, September 22, 2005
Akaka Bill’s legality is still unsettled, says Justice official
Advocates say such constitutional issues are unlikely to affect Senate support now
By Richard Borreca
The U.S. Justice Department continues to raise questions about the constitutionality of the native Hawaiian recognition bill now stalled in the Senate.
"There are substantial, unresolved constitutional concerns regarding whether Congress may treat native Hawaiians as it does the Indian tribes, and whether Congress may establish and recognize a native Hawaiian governing entity," said John Nowacki, a Department of Justice spokesman, in response to media questions yesterday.
Last week, Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, released information about a series of proposed amendments to the bill, noting that the Justice Department had agreed to the proposals.
But in last week's statement, the Justice Department repeated questions about Congress's power to draw up an agreement with native Hawaiians.
Nowacki repeated those questions again yesterday, saying that the U.S. Supreme Court had also raised the question in previous legal decisions.
"As the Supreme Court has stated, whether native Hawaiians are eligible for tribal status is 'a matter of some dispute' and 'of considerable moment and difficulty,'" Nowacki said.
Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, a supporter of the Akaka Bill, said the statement was not likely to have much influence with GOP senators, because "congressional people already feel they have this authority, and they are not going to side with Justice (Department) in any limitation of their power."
Akaka said specific questions regarding the bill have been addressed and resolved.
"Although I realize and respect that there are those who have differing views, the bill is constitutional," Akaka said.
And Rep. Ed Case, D-Urban Oahu, said the Justice Department concerns are neither a new nor a fatal flaw.
"The Justice Department is the legal branch of the federal government, and it is in the business of raising such issues and it has done so from early on in this administration.
"But it is the courts, not the Department of Justice, that says what is constitutional," Case said.
Lingle said she has heard that the Akaka Bill is likely to be debated in the Senate during the last week of October, and she might return to Washington to lobby for the measure.
Lingle traveled to Washington twice this year to press Republican senators to support the bill.
Currently the Akaka Bill, S. 147, is stalled. A motion to end debate and call for a vote on the bill has been filed, but because of the federal action regarding Hurricane Katrina recovery, the motion has not been scheduled for a vote.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Thursday, September 22, 2005
Letters to the Editor
Rejecting Akaka Bill honors Hawaiians
Hawaiians of the past must be honored by Hawaiians of the present telling the truth about their history. The truth is when Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown in 1893, none of her subjects cared enough to fire a shot in her defense.
Hawaiians then had 66 years to remedy the issue. After deciding they didn't want a kingdom, in 1959 Hawaiians voted 2-1 to become part of the United States. This vote resolved once and for all the will of the Hawaiian people and whether Hawaii was stolen.
Since voting to become part of the United States, Hawaiians have not done so badly. Their median household income is $52,000, better than whites in America. And they are far wealthier than any Polynesians outside the United States.
We do not need a race-based government in Hawaii. I pray our representatives in Washington will see the great danger poised by the Akaka Bill, honor the Hawaiian people who wisely chose to become part of the United States and strike the bill down once and for all.
Hawaii Reporter, September 22, 2005
DOJ Blows Hole in Akaka Bill Public Relations Campaign --
Justice Department Still Not Convinced Akaka Bill is Constitutional; Momentum Turning Against Akaka Bill Passage
By Malia Zimmerman, editor
Despite the insistence by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, Gov. Linda Lingle and her appointed attorney general, Mark Bennett, that they recently crafted a "compromise" version of the Akaka Bill that is supported by President George W. Bush, his administration and the majority of U.S. Senators, Hawaii residents have learned that simply isn’t true.
The U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement this week, noting the agency still is concerned with many portions of the Akaka Bill, that were highlighted as objectionable by Republicans in Congress.
In addition, Congressional sources tell Hawaii Reporter that the "compromise" version of the bill is just a collection of technical changes that the Department of Justice worked out with Akaka and that the changes do nothing to address the core problems with the bill. Most importantly the changes have not been introduced into the record by Akaka and are "only talk" until then.
This isn’t the first time the U.S. Department of Justice has laid out its concerns over the constitutionality and legality of the Akaka Bill.
In July 2005, the Justice Department issued a letter noting four main objections to the bill. See "U.S. Department of Justice on the Akaka Bill"
The new version of the bill, which was crafted in secret in Washington D.C. and without the input of Hawaii residents or the native Hawaiians the bill will affect, also isn’t satisfactory, says John Nowacki, a Justice Department spokesman.
"The (Bush) administration appreciates the work of the Hawaii delegation to address some of the concerns raised by the Justice Department. But there are substantial, unresolved constitutional concerns regarding whether Congress may treat Native Hawaiians as it does the Indian tribes, and whether Congress may establish and recognize a Native Hawaiian governing entity. As the Supreme Court has stated, whether Native Hawaiians are eligible for tribal status is 'a matter of some dispute' and 'of considerable moment and difficulty.'"
Lingle disregarded the Justice Department statement, saying the U.S. Justice Department’s opinion will not likely affect the Congress. "Congressional people already feel they have this authority, and they are not going to side with Justice (Department) in any limitation of their power." Lingle maintains she is optimistic about the passage of the bill.
Both Akaka and Lingle continue to put on a happy face publicly about the Akaka Bill’s chances of passage. Both reassured the Hawaii public over the last several weeks that the Bush administration is behind the Akaka Bill. However, Hawaii Reporter has learned this assertion angered Bush’s administrators and many in the Justice Department because no public statements have been issued by The White House.
In addition, the Bush administration has never taken a formal position on the bill, although Karl Rove and some in the Bush administration quietly lobbied the Congress this summer. This only happened after Lingle, a Republican, convinced the president that the Democrat-crafted bill was good for native Hawaiians, Hawaii’s Republican Party, her own re-election and her possible future bid for a U.S. Senate seat, Congressional sources tell Hawaii Reporter.
But Lingle’s aggression and statements about the president’s support, which some in the Bush administration see as inappropriate, and other key incidents over the last few months that have swung momentum against the Akaka Bill passage.
* Slade Gorton, a former U.S. Senator from Washington, and Hank Brown, a former senator from Colorado, authored an editorial published Aug. 15 in the Wall Street Journal that accused U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye of misleading them on the 1993 Apology Resolution he authored. The explosive piece included the following statement from the duo: "We specifically inquired of its proponents whether the Apology would be employed to seek 'special status under which persons of Native Hawaiian descent will be given rights or privileges or reparations or land or money communally that are unavailable to other citizens of Hawaii.' We were promised on the floor of the Senate by Daniel Inouye, the senior Senator from Hawaii and a personage of impeccable integrity, that, 'As to the matter of the status of Native Hawaiians . . . [t]his resolution has nothing to do with that. ... I can assure my colleague of that.' The Akaka Bill repudiates that promise of Sen. Inouye. It invokes the Apology Resolution to justify granting persons of Native Hawaiian descent -- even in minuscule proportion -- political and economic rights and land denied to other citizens of Hawaii. We were unambiguously told that would not be done."
See the full piece here: "U.S. Senators Betrayed by Sponsors of Akaka Bill"
* There were 21 members of the U.S. House who issued a letter to their House Speaker asking that the Akaka Bill is not scheduled for a hearing. See "U.S. Representatives Document Akaka Bill Concerns"
* The national and international print media, including the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Forbes Magazine and The Economist, has written scathing reviews of the Akaka Bill and the politicians backing the bill’s intent. See "Aloha, Apartheid"
and "Sun, Surf and Secession?; Affirmative Action in Hawaii" at
Forbes deemed Akaka and Lingle "Dunces of the Week." See "Dunce(s) of the Week: Daniel Akaka and Linda Lingle" by clicking here:
* Rush Limbaugh, America’s most-listened to radio talk show host, slammed the Akaka Bill in August in a two-part monologue. See a portion of the transcript here: "Rush Limbaugh Sounds Off on Akaka Bill"
Other conservative talk show hosts, including Sean Hannity, have given the Akaka Bill and those supporting it poor reviews.
* The conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, which has tremendous influence on Republicans in Congress, held a high profile forum on Aug. 30, 2005, across the street from the Capitol, which more than 300 congress members, staffers and Bush administrators attended. The event offered a scathing review of the bill and the impact it will have on America and its 50th state.
* The cloture vote that Daniel Akaka had arranged for on Sept. 6, 2005, was delayed because of the devastation wrought on the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina and debate over the confirmation of a new supreme court justice candidate. With a second candidate soon to be appointed following the death of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist in early September, the heated debate in Congress will be sure to continue over the next several weeks. Gov. Lingle told the local media this week that she believes a vote on the bill might happen during the third week of October and is planning for what would be her third trip to Washington, D.C., on the bill since July. But sources in Congress say nothing has been set and there will likely be no debate or vote on the Akaka Bill until next year at the earliest.
* Daniel Akaka himself made a statement on National Public Radio on Aug. 16, 2005, that the Akaka Bill could lead to succession. See "Native Hawaiians Seek Self-governing Body"
This is a possible consequence of the Akaka Bill that the governor and her attorney general repeatedly try to deny. Akaka’s admission, which he later tried to qualify but never retracted, sent shock waves through Washington D.C.
* The admission by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the government agency spearheading the lobbying effort for the Akaka Bill, that Hawaiians want an independent nation, and publicity of that admission in the national press, have scared off supporters in Congress who don’t want to see Hawaii leave the union.
* A myth the proponents used to fuel the urgency of the passage of the bill was proven untrue in federal court. The governor originally told the Hawaii public, media and Congress members that more than 40,000 native Hawaiians would be thrown off Hawaiian homelands and become homeless if the Akaka Bill did not pass. This assertion, which many opponents deemed a scare tactic, was thwarted when the Ninth Circuit of Appeals ruled the existing Hawaiian Homelands system could not be challenged as it was formed by an act of Congress in 1920.
* The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii polled every household in the state about the Akaka Bill and found two of three people who responded do not support the bill, including 52 percent of native Hawaiians. These results are frequently cited on the Hill and in national media reports. This is despite attempts to discredit the poll by government officials in support of the Akaka Bill.
* Native American groups have been lobbying against the Akaka Bill in Congress and have written negatively about the bill in the media.
* Native Hawaiian groups opposed to the Akaka Bill have become more vocal.
Akaka downplayed the statement by the Justice Department, saying "Every practical policy issue raised by DOJ in our negotiations has been addressed and resolved. Although I realize and respect that there are those who have differing views, the bill is constitutional."
Inouye said in a written statement issued Sept. 20, 2005, that he believes the measure is constitutional and he looks forward to it being debated in the Senate.
Cartoon by Dick Adair in Honolulu Advertiser, September 23, 2005
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, September 25, 2005
Akaka bill supporters must have backup plan
Even if they put the best face possible on the latest signals from Washington, Akaka bill supporters can't feel very secure about chances for Native Hawaiian federal recognition this congressional term.
Yes, the bill still could get a vote on the Senate floor and might even pass. But then very little time is left for approval in the House, where administration support is needed for any quick action.
The Justice Department reiterated its concerns that the constitution might not allow Congress to grant the Native Hawaiians federal recognition. While it's true that only the U.S. Supreme Court can decide the constitutional question and that it could do so after the measure passes, this nervous twitch from Justice is not exactly the green light the bill's supporters had hoped for.
Some Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees already have had their faith in the bill shaken by watching it be watered down by amendments. It's time for them to think seriously about alternative ways to protect Native Hawaiian assets from lawsuits.
The federal appeals court decision in the Arakaki case — which found constitutional problems with OHA's race-based use of state tax revenues from the general fund — adds some urgency to the search.
The court upheld the agency's spending of money generated by the "ceded" former Hawaiian crown and government lands, revenue that is really geared for those with at least 50 percent blood quantum.
Until now, those with less than half Hawaiian ancestry have benefited from programs using the now-vulnerable state tax funds. It's a small part of the OHA budget that now should be directed toward purposes that don't target a specific race.
OHA has some time while legal wrangling continues, perhaps for years, but it would be smart to begin discussions on an alternative now.
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, September 25, 2005
Akaka bill promotes redress
By Charles Wilkinson
After six long years — and many years of preparation before that — the Akaka bill is heading for a vote in the U.S. Senate. Negotiations of the past few weeks among the Hawai'i congressional delegation, the state of Hawai'i and Bush administration officials apparently have resolved most outstanding issues.
The resulting amendments are technical in nature but, because of the bill's importance, deserve to be looked at closely. The principal additions have to do with land and money claims by the new Hawaiian government.
The key to grasping these matters is an understanding of sovereign immunity. This ancient — and outmoded — doctrine comes from Old England. Because, it was reasoned back then, "the King can do no wrong," a sovereign cannot be sued unless it gives its consent.
When the United States broke away from England, it kept many elements of British law, including the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Right or wrong, the rule remains in effect today. The United States and the state of Hawai'i (and native governments) cannot be sued unless they agree to be sued.
Obviously, the immunity doctrine can cause unfairness. Congress and state legislatures have authorized waivers of their immunity that cover many different kinds of injuries the governments or their employees cause. But sovereign immunity has never been waived outright. In particular, waivers involving federal and state lands have been few and narrow.
Therefore, it is possible to have an entirely valid claim against a government but be unable to bring a lawsuit because the government has not waived sovereign immunity.
Before the Akaka bill was introduced, there were no sovereign immunity waivers that applied to damages caused by the overthrow and other historic events.
From the beginning, the Akaka bill was neutral on claims. The delegation knew that it would not be politically possible to create new claims — and a large and unknown federal financial liability — by waiving federal sovereignty. On the other hand, the delegation and the state were adamant that it would be immoral to extinguish claims that would be valid except for sovereign immunity.
That didn't stop opponents of Native Hawaiians from attempting to extinguish Native Hawaiian claims. Recently, they made another push to put extinguishment language in the bill.
The delegation and state held firm. Although the administration insisted on additional verbiage in Section 8, in the end there is no change on immunity. The key phrase is that the federal government and the state each "retain" their existing sovereignty immunity. The situation remains the same as before the Akaka bill was introduced.
Further, the recent amendments include provisions beneficial to Native Hawaiians. After the bill is signed into law, the Native Hawaiian, state and federal governments will engage in negotiations over sovereignty, reparations and other issues. Section 8 now provides that these negotiations will include "grievances regarding assertions of historical wrongs committed against Native Hawaiians by the United States or by the state of Hawai'i."
This provision is a pointed reminder that Native Hawaiians have been wronged, by the overthrow and otherwise, and that a valid claim remains even though sovereign immunity bars court action. It is reasonable to expect that the Native Hawaiian government will seek and will receive the Hawaiian Home Lands; the assets of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, with an estimated worth of approximately $350 million; perhaps some of the ceded lands now under government control; and money damages. The "historical wrongs" language just added to the bill should further that expectation.
The legislation will create a promising new forum for redress — the negotiations among the three governments.
This may end up being better than the courts. The truth is, while some Mainland tribes have achieved some satisfaction in various claims processes, the court cases have also brought many frustrations. Among other things, most have dragged on for decades and many have cost millions. When tribes did reach good results, they occurred at negotiating tables.
Native Hawaiians are well-positioned to make progress after the bill becomes law. The United States is likely to defer to the state on many issues. While all native groups wish for much more than they receive from the dominant society, the state of Hawai'i has been a valuable ally throughout this process — and generally has been more receptive to native rights over the years than any other state.
Most importantly, Native Hawaiians will be able to present a compelling case. The leadership is strong and native people on all the islands are determined to achieve real self-determination, real justice.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Sunday, September 25, 2005
Also published in "The Green Flash News" of the same date:
Let’s forget about the Akaka Bill
by Tom Coffman
Late one Friday night in early 1998 in Washington, D.C., as I attempted to close up my research in the National Archives on America's annexation of Hawaii, I stumbled across a file generated by the U.S. Navy. It was located around 1900, just two years after the annexation, at a time of the gray transition between the Sanford Dole government and the imposition of a purely colonial government onto Hawaii.
With alarm it described prominent annexationists in Hawaii pilfering lands from the misnamed "ceded" lands that had been taken over by the U.S. government. I rubbed my eyes. I thought I must continue my research in this vein -- extending beyond 1898. But then I thought, "No, go home. Get to recording what you've got (the research that became the book and film 'Nation Within'). This is for another time, probably for another person, when the Hawaiians gain a mechanism for pursuing their court claims."
Now that the Akaka Bill is closing the door on court claims, that moment in the archives comes back to me with a terrible thud. Will there be no reckoning of Hawaiian land claims? No day in court? No justice?
As a community, let us struggle to be honest with ourselves. The answers to these questions are no, no and no -- not if the Akaka Bill as now amended becomes law.
The resource focus of the contemporary Hawaiian movement from day one was land. Specifically, it was the land set aside at the time of the Mahele for the monarch and for the administration of government. This focus was quite nice and quite politic of awakened Hawaiians, since it limited the potential for friction considerably. They weren't going after my house lot or yours or Costco's, but only making claim to -- or seeking back rent on -- lands now curiously held by the state government of Hawaii as well as those grabbed by the U.S. government.
Prior to that particular Friday night, I had had the opportunity to examine the documents leading up to and resulting in Hawaii becoming an overseas colony of the United States. These documents substantiate the argument that Hawaii was never legally taken in to the United States.
The stark facts are clear for all to see: The "revolution" of Lorrin Thurston's fevered imaginings was a coup d'etat backed by U.S. troops and orchestrated by Washington. The republic that Dole sanitized was an anti-Republic engaged in systematically denying Hawaiians of their rights (and also engaged in terror to back up their position).
The Hawaiian people massively protested against the takeover. They repeatedly demanded and were always denied a vote on the question, which many individuals of the fraudulent republic conceded would be a "no" vote -- no annexation. The most essential feature of a democracy, government by consent of the governed, was denied.
I was clued by the Hawaiian scholar Noenoe Silva to the location of the Hawaiian petitions against annexation. The files had been carelessly folded and stuffed into boxes. I held them in my hands, page after page, file after file. The edges of some of these 100-year-old papers crumbled and fell off. They had not yet been elevated to important and endangered material, nor had they been duplicated as traveling exhibits, which Hawaiians approached with drawn breath to find the names of their grandparents and great-grandparents. All the names are there.
In the archives you can readily see how the term "ceded" land came into general usage. At the moment of synchronized collusion between the U.S. government and the Dole government, Dole "ceded" the lands to the United States along with the cache of weaponry and ammunition that had kept the natives down and the small handful of whites in power. Yet "ceded" repeated 10,000 times sounds so legitimate, so lofty. We know how much land Dole ceded -- roughly half of all of Hawaii. But how much ammunition did Dole cede to Uncle Sam? According to the document of cession, the answer is: 200,000 rounds. Along with their repeating rifles, Gatling guns and cannon, the cache of ammunition reflected sufficient force to complete the dirty work of the republic.
That Friday night, the Navy's record of concern for the pilfering of lands from the U.S. government was only one more layer of irony. It was a matter of petty theft within grand theft. Surely, I thought, if only the truth could get out there would be a process for cleaning up such a mess.
What became the Akaka Bill evolved. What began as an attempt at limited self-government coupled to reconciliation became self-defense against the small elite band who are savagely pursuing Hawaiian assets in the name of -- of all things -- civil rights. (The civil rights of poor downtrodden white people!)
Along the way, those concerned with enrolling their children in Kamehameha Schools (with whom I empathize -- my oldest son graduated from there) have become increasingly at odds with those Hawaiian nationalists who cling to the view that the entire thing was illegal, that Hawaiians never gave up their sovereignty and that the Akaka Bill will build a federal lei stand, where proud people will string flowers.
Viewed with some mixture of objectivity and compassion, the Akaka Bill is a classic case of indigenous people being divided over how to respond to their colonizers. As a defense against the lawsuits, the Akaka Bill was hard to oppose. There were strong suggestions (as in the Kamehameha Schools 9th Circuit Court ruling) that once in place, federal recognition would insulate Hawaiians against suits (as in the fact that institutions of indigenous people do not, by definition, violate the civil rights of the larger society). Those feisty Hawaiian intellectuals -- Kekuni Blaisdell , Jon Osorio, Noenoe -- might argue that the Akaka Bill was really about quashing Hawaiian land claims for all time, but what could they tell the poor mother or father who modestly hoped that their child would find a slot at Kamehameha Schools?
As President Bush and the Senate Republicans show their hand through amendments of the Akaka Bill, it is the hand of rapacious imperialism essentially unchanged from a century ago. Would Hawaiians like to be recognized as an indigenous people? No problem. They need only set aside their land claims. They need only set aside history. In fact, let us all forget history. Let us wallow in American jingoism and stand shoulder to shoulder, dispatching our children of mixed ancestry to wars of ever more distant conquests.
A'ole. This is too much. I empathize with Senators Inouye and Akaka in their well-meant efforts, but with respect I suggest they have become fixated on getting a bill out. If giving up just claims is the price of the bill, let us forget the bill. Let us preserve some measure of respect for one another and not become accomplices to another fraud. Let us come home to Hawaii and hunker down. Let us rally around the Hawaiians, and denounce their tormenters for what they are, and live to fight another day for some semblance of real justice.
Coffman is a scholar, journalist and filmmaker who has written extensively about the politics and history of Hawaii.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Sunday, September 25, 2005
Akaka Bill merits support, even with amendments
by William Meheula
News articles about the newly amended Akaka Bill have mention uncertainty about the outcome of any negotiations of native Hawaiian claims (Star-Bulletin, Sept 17). Some Hawaiians argue that significant legal rights will be waived under the negotiation process set forth in Senate bill 147. Other opponents of the bill argue that S 147 will result in a significant transfer of assets by the state of Hawaii, the United States and the residents of Hawaii to the native Hawaiian Governing Entity (NHGE). At this point, the only thing that is certain is that S 147 permits negotiations to address the injustice to Hawaiians described in the 1993 Apology Resolution and restated in S 147.
The claims are primarily the damage to Hawaiians caused by America's participation in the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom. This damage would include loss of the ceded lands. There are other claims such as unresolved claims that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands have against the state. The reparations package will probably include return of some ceded lands, money, jurisdiction and entitlements regarding the transferred lands, and perhaps taxation breaks to lessen the cash component. The federal and state governments will likely receive a release of the claims and clear title to the ceded lands that they retain. The settlement package would be determined in negotiations between the NHGE, the state and the federal government.
An often-asked question is why these claims have not been settled earlier. The main reason is lack of standing because the majority of Hawaiians have not been organized in a form of government since 1893. Without a government, U.S. and state officials have no authorized Hawaiian representative to negotiate with. This is why formation of the NHGE is a prerequisite to settlement negotiations. Any delay in formation of the NHGE is simply a delay of reparations and continued exposure to 14th Amendment lawsuits by Kamehameha Schools, OHA and DHHL.
Another frequently asked question is whether these claims can be resolved through litigation. Under the federal and state constitutions, the United States and the state of Hawaii are immune from lawsuits in American courts unless such sovereign immunity has been clearly waived. To date, neither the United States nor the state of Hawaii has waived its sovereign immunity to permit lawsuits to address the overthrow claims.
One might argue that once the NHGE is recognized by the U.S. government it could sue under the limited waiver of sovereign immunity granted to Indian tribes. However, the earlier version of S 147 did not expressly recognize NHGE as an Indian tribe. This exposed it to 14th Amendment Equal Protection challenges. Therefore, a new provision states that the NHGE's special political and legal relationship with the United States will be the type that the nation "has with the several federally recognized Indian tribes."
Because this amendment might be construed as extending to the NHGE the waiver of sovereign immunity now enjoyed by Native Americans, the recent amendments also expressly state that the bill does not waive sovereign immunity in favor of the NHGE. Therefore, any reparations will have to be achieved through negotiations between the NHGE and the U.S. and state governments.
The ultimate question is whether the amended S 147 is better than the status quo, and the answer to that is an overwhelming yes. In fact, the amendments on balance improve S 147 because they significantly strengthen the defense against 14th Amendment challenges, they did not effectively change the analysis with respect to sovereign immunity, and they virtually guarantee that the president will not veto any passage of the bill by the Senate and House because the Justice Department approved of the amendments.
William Meheula is a Honolulu attorney who represents the Office of Hawaiian Affairs on ceded land issues.
The Maui News, Sunday, September 25, 2005
Bush aid would help
The need for passage of the Akaka Bill was illustrated Friday when Native Hawaiians saw a realization of their family dreams and the Maui campus of Kamehameha Schools was formally dedicated.
At the dedication of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ Waiehu Kou 3 Subdivision, the department’s director, Micah Kane, said the subdivision was “really the beginning for our people.”
Waiehu Kou 3, developed by Dowling Co., has 115 two-, three- and four-bedroom homes and lots. Seventy-nine homes are turn-key and the remaining 36 lots are ready for owner-builder construction.
Dowling will also build nearby Waiehu Kou 4 and on the west side, Villages of Leali’i. The two projects will put into homes 200 Native Hawaiians unable to buy in Maui’s overheated real estate market.
The projects coincide with a revitalized Department of Hawaiian Home Lands working to clear waiting lists that grew during decades of glacial progress.
On the same day, Kamehameha Schools Maui was declared finished. During dedication ceremonies, Kamehameha Schools Chief Executive Officer Dee Jay Mailer said that Kamehameha Schools can serve only one-quarter of Native Hawaiian children on its campuses on Oahu, the Big Island and Maui.
Kamehameha Schools Maui can accommodate 1,120 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
To reach further into the community, Kamehameha Schools has begun summer programs, specialized camps for children and has taken over public schools in predominantly Hawaiian communities.
Native Hawaiian programs have come under increasing legal attack. The Akaka Bill pending Senate action is the best way to protect programs such as Kamehameha Schools and Hawaiian Home Lands.
As stated repeatedly in this space, the host Hawaiian culture is essential to the success of Hawaii’s principal industry, tourism. Many public rights such as shoreline access are also rooted in Hawaiian culture and royal decrees.
The first President Bush signed the order returning Kahoolawe to the state and Native Hawaiians. It appears it will take the second President Bush to clear away nettlesome objections from the Justice Department and get the Akaka Bill passed for the benefit of everyone who lives in Hawaii.
New webpage, September 25, 2005
Akaka Bill Controversy Draws Congressional Attention to Illegal "Native Hawaiian" Entitlements -- House Republican Study Committee Proposes Killing $40 Million Per Year
"The nail that sticks up is the one that gets pounded down."
For four years the Akaka bill kept a low profile in Congress. At first our federal delegation hoped to sneak the bill through, like an octopus gliding silently under the coral from one dark hole to another. But in 2005 the Akaka bill has gotten lots of attention in the national media. Sunshine on the bill is also lighting up the race-based programs the bill is intended to protect. Members of Congress are now finally beginning to challenge those programs.
Thus pushing the Akaka bill, which would create a racial separatist government, might paradoxically be helping to restore unity and equality to Hawai'i by focusing political attention on the need to dismantle long-standing racially exclusionary programs.
Here are (1) a news report about a proposal in Congress to eliminate $40 Million per year in "Native Hawaiian" programs; (2) analysis of why that is important; (3) further information documenting the change in tactics by Hawai'i's federal delegation and Governor from stealth to open confrontation, as deception has been replaced by straightforward obstruction and bold-faced lying; and (4) evidence that Senator Akaka, Senator Inouye, Governor Lingle, and Attorney General Bennett are betraying the United States and the people of Hawai'i by recklessly supporting a bill whose language they clearly know does not protect the United States and all Hawai'i's people against very real threats posed by a future Akaka tribe to our security, resources, property rights, and economic stability.
(1) News Report
On September 21, 2005 the Republican Study Committee in the House of Representatives proposed eliminating about $40 Million per year in "Native Hawaiian" programs. The Hawaiian programs are included as part of a massive proposed cutback of pork barrel spending in order to pay for hurricane disaster assistance without raising taxes or worsening the budget deficit. Unlike the situation in 2002-2003 when the Justice Department reached out to Senate committee chairs to warn them to drop "Native Hawaiian" programs, but the committee chairs seemed hesitant or ambivalent (see details below); this time it is members of Congress themselves who are taking the initiative.
The 24-page House Republican Study Committee document can be downloaded from:
At the bottom of page 16 and top of page 17, that document proposes:
"Eliminate Native Hawaiian Funding. The FY06 Labor/HHS appropriations bill contained earmarks for as much as $40 million for various health and education programs for Native Hawaiians, although other programs allow funds to flow to them. Native Hawaiians are a racial group not a tribe and dispensing benefits to them would likely be subject to strict scrutiny in Federal courts. Savings: $557 million over ten years ($215 million over five years)."
*** Webpage continues with extensive analysis of this event and a review of the history of increasing opposition to the Akaka bill as the bill has become increasingly visible. **
Indian Country Today, September 27, 2005
New version of Native Hawaiian bill announced
By David Briscoe/Associated Press
HONOLULU (AP) - Sen. Daniel Akaka announced a new version of his Hawaiian recognition bill Sept. 16 that he said was negotiated with the Bush administration to meet concerns over gambling, criminal jurisdiction, military readiness and federal liability.
''The compromises we made preserve the intent and purpose of the bill,'' Akaka, D-Hawaii, said in a release from his Washington office.
Federal objections and a swell of opposition, mainly among Republicans, have stalled the so-called Akaka bill for years. It had been scheduled for a possible vote earlier this month, but Hurricane Katrina legislation pushed it aside again. No new date has been set for a promised Senate cloture vote on whether to take it up.
Akaka ''remains steadfast'' in his effort to get a Senate vote before the session adjourns, his office said in announcing a new version of the legislation.
The new language explicitly prohibits gambling operations by Native Hawaiians in Hawaii or anywhere else, guarantees existing federal and state jurisdiction in criminal matters, exempts the Defense Department from having to consult with more Native Hawaiian offices over its operations, and ensures against the use of the bill to settle any Hawaiian claims against the government.
Hawaii's other U.S. senator, Daniel Inouye, called the new version ''a significant milestone along the road to federal recognition of Native Hawaiians.'' He said passage of the bill would allow Hawaiians to ''stand proudly as equals among the other indigenous peoples of America.''
Reps. Neil Abercrombie and Ed Case, both D-Hawaii, also lauded the compromise bill but said it still needs the full endorsement of President Bush.
Administration officials and bill opponents had objected to several provisions of the bill, fearing it would empower Native Hawaiians to set up gambling operations similar to those allowed for Indian tribes, interfere with criminal prosecutions, hinder military operations in Hawaii and push claims against the government.
Some Native Hawaiian groups also oppose the bill, claiming they don't need the federal government to assert their rights on islands inherited from their ancestors.
The new language clarifies that no gaming operations by Hawaiians would be allowed under the bill or any existing law applying to Indian tribes, ''in Hawaii or any other state or territory.''
The section on military readiness exempts the military from the need to consult with more Native Hawaiian offices under the bill. It already consults with Native Hawaiians under federal laws aimed at preserving Native graves and protecting historic sites, and officials didn't want to add new consultation requirements that might bottle up military training and other operations on its extensive lands in Hawaii.
Akaka said he has always maintained that his legislation was never intended to be used to settle any claims against the government or to provide backing for additional claims.
The Justice Department, however, called for language that would specifically prohibit this as well as end all claims of historical wrongs.
Hawaii's congressional delegation and state officials supporting the bill, however, prevailed in retaining language that would allow claims to be pursued in a negotiation process set up under the bill, but not in the courts.
''The substitute amendment clearly states that the act does not serve to create a cause of action, alter existing law or create additional obligation with respect to claims,'' according to a briefing paper on the bill's new language.
This would apply to claims of historical wrongs related to breach of trust, land, resource management and resource protection.
''While I have always sought to protect any claims that may exist, it has never been my intent that this bill be used to create a claim against the United States,'' Akaka said.
The new version of the bill also requires recognition of a single Native Hawaiian governing body.
And it removes a requirement that only Native Hawaiians can serve on the commission that decides who qualifies as Hawaiian under the bill.
Commission members, however, must have at least 10 years of experience with Native Hawaiian genealogy and be able to read and translate documents written in the Hawaiian language.
"'Native Hawaiian' Population to Double by 2050 -- 'Lilikala' Says Use Population Bomb to Blow Up Current Non-Native Majority"
Hawaii Reporter, September 28, 2005
by Kenneth R. Conklin.
Quote: "One obvious conclusion is that Congress had better defeat the Akaka bill. Does America really want a million-member Indian tribe on the dole, demanding housing, healthcare, education and a plethora of other programs that will cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year forever?" Honolulu Advertiser report quotes Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa urging "Native Hawaiians" to double their population in only 20 years rather than 50 years, in order to become an absolute majority as soon as possible."
Expanded webpage includes discussion of the Nazi "Lebensborn" program whereby Aryan women were obligated to mate with SS soldiers to produce babies for the "master race" (the pregnant girls were housed in special buildings and their babies were "adopted" by politically connected families. See webpage at:
An amendment to the Akaka bill was formally introduced on the floor of the Senate by conservative Republican Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas on September 28, 2005. But why did media ignore this for a week? Why did Senator Akaka not yet officially introduce his own alleged revision of Akaka bill published on his Senate website 3 weeks previously accompanied by great publicity? An article published in Hawaii Reporter by Ken Conklin on October 5 (a week later) was the first publication to take note of the amendment. Conklin's article discusses these questions, and includes the text of Senator Brownback's proposed amendment. See:
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 29, 2005
Akaka Bill would reverse tradition of equal rights
by Joseph Gedan (former counsel to various legislative committees and a retired U.S. magistrate judge. He lives in Honolulu)
The recent commentary by Tex Hall (Star-Bulletin, Sept. 13) rationalizes the Akaka Bill by referencing the federal government's recognition of American Indian tribes.
Hawaii presents a totally different experience than that of the American Indians. Hall's rationalization is in error.
Throughout the reigns of the Hawaiian royalty, newcomers were subject to the rule of the monarchs. Citizenship for newcomers was easily obtained, and persons born in Hawaii were citizens by birth. There was extensive intermarriage among all races. Furthermore, a great many non-Hawaiians worked for the monarchy and served it at the highest levels. While attempting to draw parallel to American Indians, Hall focuses on prehistoric Hawaii and ignores what was an evolving Hawaiian nation, molded by a succession of monarchs.
Kamehameha the Great employed foreign advisers and, in fact, appointed one as governor of Oahu. During the reign of Kamehameha III, it was made clear by the Declaration of Rights of 1839 and the Constitution of 1840 that the kingdom treated both Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian on equal terms. The Declaration of Rights of 1839 says that "God hath made of one blood all nations of men" and refers to rights "given alike to every man." Equal rights to all, without reference to ethnicity, is the proud tradition of Kamehameha III. This tradition persisted through the reigns of all the Hawaiian monarchs. Hawaiian traditions and customs thrived in a Hawaiian western-style government.
The overthrow of 1893 was the overthrow of the person of the monarch and institution of monarchy, not the displacement of any customs or traditional rights of native Hawaiians. Also, Hawaiians lost no land because of the overthrow. Lands not privately owned were crown lands and, according to the Constitution of 1840, "belonged to the chiefs and people in common." "People in common" meant all Hawaiian citizens, not just those of Hawaiian ethnicity. Similarly, the overthrow did not deprive Hawaiians of any right to participate in self-government. Rather, from annexation through statehood, Hawaiians have become leaders of our single multiracial community.
We have had Hawaiians or part-Hawaiians as delegates to Congress prior to statehood; governor of the state of Hawaii; delegates to Hawaii's constitutional convention; lieutenant governors; judges and members of the Hawaii Supreme Court; U.S. senator; mayors; U.S. marshals; members of the Legislature and county councils; and department heads and employees of the state and county governments.
Through this participation, Hawaiians have exercised self-determination and have aided in promoting Hawaiian customs through sensitivity, without a separate sovereignty.
The proponents of the Akaka Bill ignore, or worse yet, now seek to reverse the proud tradition of Kamehameha III. They chose as their reference prehistoric Hawaii. What is more relevant, prehistoric Hawaii or the Hawaii nation fashioned by its kings and queen? If they succeed in obscuring history, what then will be the bill's real impact? Whether it's about land or a collection of amorphous ills, ultimately, it will be about money and special privilege.
What are the ills that sovereignty is suppose to alleviate? Some of the bill's proponents assert that Hawaiians are overrepresented in negative socioeconomic statistics such as health, poverty, homelessness, child abuse and neglect and criminal activity. If that is so, then Hawaiians should get a greater share of resources, but only consistent with their proportional greater need. However, the ultimate effect of the Akaka Bill will be to allocate public resources to address these negatives for Hawaiians only, and to exclude the poor and disadvantaged of other races. This would be racially divisive, contrary to the principals of both our state and federal constitutions, and contrary to our proud tradition of equal rights. Ironically, in its spirit, it is also un-Hawaiian.
Joseph Gedan is a former counsel to various legislative committees and a retired U.S. magistrate judge. He lives in Honolulu.
The Maui News, Thursday, September 29, 2005
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Akaka, Inouye, Lingle derelict in protecting state
Native Hawaiians are clearly the top priority of our senators and governor. Their zealousness made them derelict in their duty to protect our state and nation in supporting the Akaka Bill.
The U.S. Department of Justice published important practical objections (aside from fundamental concerns about unconstitutionality). The department demanded language to prevent the Akaka tribe interfering with military operations, suing for land and money, creating criminal and civil jurisdictional conflicts with federal and state governments.
Why did our senators and governor ignore those important matters previously? Why must we rely on the Department of Justice to protect us against our own senators and governor?
Akaka’s allegedly revised bill still fails to protect. Remember gambling? Akaka/Inouye repeatedly stonewalled, then fell back. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee forced changes. Later several senators demanded further strengthening. Then comes the Justice Department. That forced ratcheting has now begun regarding military, land and jurisdiction issues.
Akaka/Inouye have sat together on the Indian Affairs Committee and for many years. Inouye was chairman. They knew these are important concerns, yet they failed to write the bill with protections for Hawaii’s people. I can’t imagine their negligence was unintentional. I can’t imagine who will stand up for the state when negotiating with the tribe. Can you?
Kenneth R. Conklin
Hawaii Reporter, September 29, 2005
Congressman Backing Akaka Bill Has Financial Ties to Gov. Lingle
By Malia Zimmerman
A Hawaii Reporter review of state campaign spending records reveals an Oklahoma congressman lobbying for the Akaka Bill in the U.S. House on Gov. Linda Lingle’s behalf is a partner in a political consulting firm that was paid more than $150,000 by Lingle during her past two campaigns for governor.
Cole Hargrave Snograss & Associates, whose president and partner is Republican Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma, received $109,918 from Lingle’s campaign in 1998, and $41,900 in 2002 for political consulting services.
In 2005, Cole lobbied his fellow House members to support the Akaka Bill, which has not been scheduled for a vote in the U.S. House. This summer, he added his name as a co-signer of the bill, which would grant native Hawaiians recognition similar to that afforded to native American Indians and Native Alaskans. In July, Cole authored a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Tom Delay, expressing his support for the bill and encouraging his colleagues to "allow the timely consideration of this important, historic, and long-overdue piece of legislation."
When asked if he disclosed his company’s financial relationship with Lingle with his fellow Representatives he lobbied on her behalf, Cole told Hawaii Reporter: "I always introduce Gov. Lingle as my former client; I don't believe this is a surprise to any of my colleagues."
Lingle had not disclosed her financial tie to Cole when she announced she’d gained his support for the bill and made available to the media his letter to the House Republican leadership.
When asked by Hawaii Reporter about the financial connection, Lingle’s administration said the governor was not aware that her campaign hired Cole’s firm in 2002.
"Tom Cole's firm was hired by the Lingle campaign as a consultant in 1998. This took place before Cole was elected to office. To the knowledge of individuals who were involved in the campaign, Cole's company was not involved in 2002 (in the governor’s campaign)," writes Russell Pang, chief of media relations for the governor, in an email to Hawaii Reporter.
Pang notes Cole's involvement in the campaign was publicly disclosed in the campaign spending report. And the money that went to him in both 1998 and 2002 was in the report totaling more than $150,000.
A fifth generation Oklahoman and an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation, Cole told Hawaii Reporter that his motives were pure and he’d only asked that "this legislation receive an up or down vote in the U.S. House of Representatives."
Cole says he is committed to the legislation for many reasons, including the fact that Lingle asked for his vote.
"First of all I support H.R. 309, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, because Gov. Lingle asked me to support it. The governor knew I was already on record supporting tribal sovereignty issues and that I would want to support this legislation.
"As the only enrolled member of an Indian tribe in Congress, it only makes sense that I would take special interest in all issues that concern indigenousness people. The National Congress of American Indians has endorsed this legislation. And, I believe native Hawaiians deserve full recognition.
"This legislation has wide bipartisan support in Hawaii. The entire federal Democrat delegation supports it as well as the Republican governor. In addition, the Hawaii State Legislature adopted bipartisan resolutions supporting recognition by the United States of a Native Hawaiian governing entity in 2000, 2001 and 2005.
"As a conservative, I believe the desire of the people of Hawaii expressed through their elected representatives should be respected."
Cole says opponents of the Akaka Bill legislation not only oppose the bill but are also opposing the democratic right to have a vote. He noted the last time the House voted on the bill (in 2000) it was overwhelmingly approved.
Lingle has aggressively lobbied Congress for the passage of the Akaka Bill over the last two years, pledging to the people of Hawaii that she’d use her connections with President George W. Bush and the majority party in Congress to get passed the Democrat-authored bill named for Sen. Daniel Akaka.
A cloture vote originally scheduled for Sept. 6, 2005, in the Senate was canceled after Senate leadership said its members needed to focus on bringing relief to residents in the South affected by Hurricane Katrina, and on filling two U.S. Supreme Court vacancies. The cloture vote in the Senate has not been rescheduled.
Hawaii Reporter, September 29, 2005
The 1993 United Church of Christ Apology: A Mustard Seed Grown Into an Apartheid Tree
By James Kuroiwa
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Exodus 20:16
A decision on S. 147, the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act, based on the 1993 United Church of Christ apology, could be rescheduled for a U.S. Senate debate and vote. Otherwise known as the Akaka Bill, named for Senator Daniel Akaka, the bill will give native Hawaiians the same recognition as native Americans and could lead to the formation of an independent Hawaiian nation or Hawaii suceding from the United States, according to Akaka.
The 1993 United Church of Christ apology was issued for the church’s non-involvement and posture of non-violence in the 1893 overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani. The consequence of the United Church of Christ apology is the tiny mustard seed growing into a large tree separating the people of Hawaii by race.
The involvement of the Church begins when The New York Times published a story on January 28, 1893, when the steamer Claudine reached San Francisco, with the report following the overthrow. The story was based on the Hawaiian Gazette report published in Hawaii on Jan. 17, 1893, stating, "The Queen called in the Hawaiian pastors who were present to pray that she might keep her throne, and told them that evil-minded foreigners were trying to take it from her."
The Blount Report followed in 1894 describing the events of the overthrow. The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations conducted hearings beginning in December 1893 that included Representative James Blount testifying before the committee and resulted in the February 1894 Morgan Report.
The Morgan Report "concluded that no one except Queen Liliuokalani was to blame for the takeover." She was the spark that began a sequence of events that resulted in the overthrow when she presented her "new" constitution on Jan. 14, 1893, taking back many rights provided the citizens of her Kingdom under the 1887 constitution. (University of Hawaii, The Annexation Of Hawaii.)
In 2002, Sheldon Ito wrote about the development of the 1993 apology stating, "For when the missionaries arrived in the Islands, they were emphatic that traditional Hawaiian religion, dance, chants, dress, customs, in other words culture, were incompatible with Christian belief, and discouraged and banned these practices wherever possible." (Yes! Magazine Spring 2002 Issue: What Does It Mean to Be an American Now?)
There is no doubt the missionary’s advocated change in Hawaii after arriving in 1820, but the Native Hawaiians themselves chose to believe in God. The Native Hawaiians had abandoned the Kapu System, around 1819.
Also, the change of government provided the Native Hawaiian commoners their freedom from control of the Alii class. The constitution of 1887 allowed the citizen, if they met constitutional requirements, to elect the members of the "Nobles." Queen Liliuokalani, unilaterally, in her revised 1893 constitution, attempted to take away many of her subjects’ rights and they challenged her.
In separate piece by Professor Eric K. Yamamoto of the University of Hawaii Richardson Law School referenced in the apology says, "After the overthrow, two-thirds of its Native Hawaiian members joined their queen in angrily leaving the Congregational Church, the third that stayed with the church continued to feel the sting of betrayal."
The records contradict his report by showing that in 1890; there were 619 members of record at the Kawaihao Church. By 1893 the membership grew to 634, and in 1894 the membership dipped slightly to 630, and then grew to 678 in 1898, the year Hawaii was annexed to the United States. (Kawaihao Church membership, Hawaii Evangelical Association Eighteenth Annual Report, June, 1881 to 1899)
The United Church of Christ apology grew from a resolution presented by Rev. Dr. Wallace Ryan Kuroiwa at the XVIII UCC General Synod without dialogue and consensus by all the United Church of Christ Churches in Hawaii. The apology decision of the United Church of Christ General Synod in covenant with all United Church of Christ Churches is similar to its recent controversial adoption of same sex marriage.
The United Church of Christ apology has become the foundation of the 1993 U.S. Apology or Public Law 103-150 passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by the President.
Rev. Dr. Wallace Ryan Kuroiwa, chairperson of the Task Force on Apology and Redress Committee believed, "Historically, there is both kinship and resentment between Kanaka Maoli and the Islands’ large Asian population, which have made economic, social, and political strides in the aftermath of the U.S. Annexation of Hawaii, which the indigenous population has fallen steadily behind." (Yes! Magazine Spring 2002 Issue: What Does It Mean to Be an American Now? Sheldon Ito.)
The truth is that there is no resentment between Native Hawaiians and Asians based on inter-racial marriages in Hawaii. Since 1996, the Hawaii State Department reports that between 16 percent and 18 percent of Native Hawaiian brides and grooms marry Asians. (Vital Statistics, Hawaii State Department of Health).
The apology by United Church of Christ is based on a flawed premise that the Church was complicit in the overthrow of the Queen in 1893. The Blount and Morgan Reports, including Queen Liliuokalani autobiography, fail to identify any complicity by the Church in the overthrow.
Without any evidence of complicity, there is no justification for the call of an apology by the Church to the Native Hawaiians. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Exodus 20:16
James I. Kuroiwa, Jr. is the Former Moderator of a United Church of Christ Church in Honolulu, Hawaii. He can be reached via email at
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