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History of the Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill (Akaka bill) during the transitional period from November 9, 2010 (lame duck session of 111th Congress) through March 29, 2011 in the 112th Congress. News reports and commentary anticipating the Akaka bill's introduction in the 112th Congress. How the Akaka bill died in the Senate at end of December 2010. Bills in Hawaii legislature in early 2011 would create a state-recognized tribe using language from Akaka bill. Senator Akaka announces he will not seek re-election in 2012. A new webpage begins on March 30, 2011 when the Akaka bill was formally introduced in Congress.


NOTE: There were many items from November and December of 2010 that are not included here, because this webpage includes only the items from that period that explicitly looked forward to 2011. But this webpage does include ALL items published after January 1, 2011. To see ALL items from September through December 2010, go to

Nov. 9: Comcast Cable TV News (New England) reports "A long-sought federal law allowing Native Hawaiians to form their own government stands little chance of passing Congress before the end of the year, and its approval may be even less likely after a Republican House majority takes office in January."

December 22, 2010 (1) Senator Akaka's statement on the Senate floor eulogizing the now-dead Akaka bill, rebutting some arguments against it, and promising to push it again next year; (2) Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports new leadership at Office of Hawaiian Affairs will continue the same policies, will be more aggressively active, and will continue seeking passage of Akaka bill; (3) Honolulu Star-Advertiser Associated Press writer reports that OHA plans "to start forming their own new but unrecognized government following the failure of federal legislation to do so. ... Formation of the new Hawaiian government involves signing people up for it, electing delegates and creating founding documents ... You'll still need the federal bill at some point, ... But when you go before Congress, you will already have a government in place, and you will then ask the Congress to recognize that government. That's the idea."

December 29: Honolulu Star-Advertiser columnist Dave Shapiro says stalling and secrecy caused the Akaka bill to fail. He says Akaka should abandon nationhood elements of the bill and instead try to get federal recognition of indigenous status to protect against lawsuits.

December 31, 2010
(1) Honolulu Advertiser reports results of online poll from December 30: "Now that the Akaka Bill appears to be dead, do you think efforts should continue to extend federal recognition of some sort to native Hawaiians?" Yes 39%, No 61%;
(2) OHA chair Haunani Apoliona giving up chair position delivers her final "State of OHA" speech and describes the events of November and December leading to Akaka bill fizzle and says "if Native Hawaiians are committed to self-determination, this additional hurdle should not derail our efforts or our resolve. ... The time is now for us, individually, to decide to participate or not participate in this Native Hawaiian Governance Reorganization Process. Our commitment to participate is affirmed by our ENROLLMENT" ;
(3) OHA trustee Rowena Akana monthly commentary says the Akaka bill is not dead because Obama is President and favors it, and Governor Abercrombie is buddies with House Speaker Boehner, and the Akaka bill "doesn’t have anything to do with being a Democrat or a Republican and should not be such a politically divisive issue." But then she shows her nasty divisiveness by making vicious personal attacks against Akaka bill opponent Jere Krischel and the Grassroot Institute.

January 1, 2011: On Dec. 31 defeated Republican Congressman Charles Djou gave a farewell news conference. Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported "On the Akaka Bill, Djou said he had secured commitments from enough Republicans that he believes he would have been able to push the measure through, similar to how Gov. Neil Abercrombie previously managed it through a GOP-controlled House when he was a member of Congress."

Jan 2: (1) AP news report describes finger-pointing from all sides to place blame for failure of the Akaka bill on Governor Lingle, Attorney General Mark Bennett, Senator Akaka, President Obama's departments of Interior and Justice. Interesting comments from Jade Danner, Bill Burgess, Leon Siu; (2) Grassroot Hawaii blog says even though the Akaka bill appears dead, OHA will never give up its "Akaka industry" of building racial rosters and positioning itself as leaders of a future "nation."

Jan 9: Letter to editor says the Akaka bill is dead and OHA is wasting money trying to create a tribe, which would be under the control of the U.S. Congress or State of Hawaii and therefore not truly sovereign.

Jan 13: Letter to editor supports an independent, sovereign Hawaii not based on race; therefore pleased the Akaka bill failed.

Jan 16: Honolulu Star-Advertiser editorial: "Ten years after the race toward federal recognition began, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs leaders look down and find themselves still standing on the starting line — and this following a congressional session in which a win seemed almost a slam-dunk. ... Now, OHA trustees are asking the inevitable question, "What now?""

Jan 19: Letter to the Governor and Legislature from "The Committee of Hawaiian Nationals" says "The demise of the infamous “Akaka Bill” in the U.S. Congress, leaves no more smoke-and-mirror distractions or excuses to delay just resolution for the illegal invasion, annexation and incorporation of the Hawaiian Islands into the U.S. Justice demands that the proper remedy for the injury is the reinstatement of Hawaii as a sovereign, independent nation…a FREE HAWAII."

Jan 24: (1) Hawaii Reporter publishes analysis and full text of e-mail dialog between OHA Trustee Rowena Akana and Grassroot Institute member Jere Krischel regarding the Akaka bill, which began with Akana's published diatribe noted above for December 31 in which Akana accuses Krischel of being a racist and Krischel demands an apology; (2) Hawaii Reporter investigative reporter Jim Dooley says OHA spent $3.44 Million on direct lobbying for Akaka bill, not including additional millions for travel, a D.C. office, and other costs, and identifies Washington D.C. law firms that got most of it; (3) Honolulu Civil Beat reports the State of Hawaii Office of Hawaiian Affairs says it spent 3.2 Million dollars lobbying for the failed Akaka bill, but state Senator Slom says he thinks they spent more than what they admit.

Jan 25: "The Army Times" reports that Senator Akaka is being stripped of his chairmanship of the Senate Veterans Affairs committee and will become chair of the Indian Affairs Committee. The report strongly implies Akaka's colleagues consider him no longer competent to chair a major committee.

Jan 26: (1) and (2) 2 articles in Honolulu Star-Advertiser report Akaka's demotion out of chairing Veterans Affairs committee and into chairing Indian Affairs committee; (3) "The Price of Failure at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs" focuses on the millions of dollars wasted on the failed Akaka bill.

February 1, 2011: Peter Apo, newly elected OHA trustee, says quit crying over death of Akaka bill and focus on economic power by bringing together all the large, wealthy ethnic Hawaiian institutions. "The collective wealth of these Hawaiian institutions includes hundreds of thousands of acres of land in fee-simple title as well as billions of dollars in cash assets. Hawaiians have emerged collectively as the single wealthiest ethnic group in the history of Hawai‘i."

Feb 3: A bill in the Hawaii legislature proposes to create a state-recognized tribe, using much of the same language from the Akaka bill. Ken Conklin's article in Hawaii Reporter provides links to the bill itself, the hearing notice, and Conklin's own testimony in opposition.

Feb 4: A weekly columnist for The Maui News says now that the Akaka bill appears dead, the sovereignty activists will be relying on the U.N. Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples; but that the Hawaiian activists are so fragmented they will have a hard time identifying their main positions to assert their rights under the Declaration.

Feb 7: Hawaiian independence activist Leon Siu describes the bill to create a state-recognized tribe as "Akaka Bill Lite."

Feb 11: U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, (R, AZ), who has been one of the Senate's earliest and strongest opponents of the Akaka bill, has decided to retire at the end of the 112th Congress (December 2012), but is likely to continue blocking the bill until then.

Feb 20: Austin (Texas) American-Statesman newspaper has a feature called "truth-o-meter." On this occasion it provides detailed research and analysis of Governor Rick Perry's statement in his book on Tuesday, November 2, 2010, where he said some in Congress are trying "to create a separate government for those with a drop of Native Hawaiian blood." The truth-o-meter concluded the statement is half true.

Feb 26: Letter laments Senator Akaka's appointment to chair the Indian Affairs Committee, on account of his incompetence and his support for Akaka bill.

Feb 28: TV news report that a committee in the Hawaii legislature has passed a bill to create a state-recognized Akaka tribe despite strong opposition from people who testified.

March 1, 2011: (1) Associated Press news report published in Hawaii and throughout the U.S. about state Senate committee passing a bill to create a state-recognized Akaka tribe despite opposition from those who testified; (2) Letter in OHA monthly newspaper from Seattle resident takes pride that she displayed a sign from her porch during Seattle's Martin Luther King Day parade which showed the Hawaiian flag and bore the words "Sovereignty and self-determination for Hawai‘i nei / The Akaka bill in 2011."

March 2: (1) BREAKING NEWS (Honolulu Star-Advertiser): AKAKA WILL NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION IN 2012; (2) Breaking news, Houston Chronicle and many other papers served by Associated Press: Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii won't seek re-election

March 3: (1) Grassroot Institute of Hawaii press release thanks Senator Akaka for his service but reiterates opposition to the Akaka bill in Congress and in the state legislature; (2) ForHawaiiansOnly blog opposes 2 bills in state legislature which give state recognition to an Akaka tribe.; (3) The Hawaii Island Journal says "If federal government won’t pass a Native Hawaiian Recognition bill, the state may" but notes that there is opposition among ethnic Hawaiians, and it is false when supporters say there are no other federally unrecognized indigenous people, and the tribal concept which might work on the mainland probably would not work in Hawaii.

March 4: Retired Judge Paul de Silva says Hawaiians are not like Indians. "Native Hawaiians are much more integrated with many leaders in all aspects of our lives and culture. Most probably voted along with the rest for statehood. Please, we can help each other regardless of race and preserve our beautiful Hawaiian language and culture without reverting to racism and separatism."

March 6: Editorial in The Maui News is "A tribute to Sen Akaka"; its main thrust is a plea to Democrats in the Senate and House: "It is time for you to push the Akaka Bill. Its passage is the only fitting tribute to Sen. Akaka's years of service to residents of Hawaii."

March 7: Article in Hawaii Reporter, and major new webpage, call for defeat of S.66, a bill in Congress to reauthorize the Native Hawaiian Healthcare system. Many of the bill's political and historical "findings" are also in the Akaka bill, and the webpage attacking S.66 provides detailed rebuttals to them.

March 9: (1) Honolulu Star-Advertiser editorial says 2 versions of the Akaka bill in the legislature, to create a state-recognized Hawaiian tribe, are not yet ready to be supported because they are too reliant on the state and too unclear on whether civil and criminal law would apply; (2) Letter in Maui News says the legislature should take another year to improve the two bills.

March 12: (1) Letter praises Honolulu Star-Advertiser editorial of March 9 which said state version of Akaka bill needs more work, and letter proposes a ballot vote on the Akaka bill by Hawaii's people; (2) Letter rips Maui News editorial of March 6 and says it would be wrong to pass Akaka bill merely as "some sort of gold watch for his retirement" -- "especially a racist, divisive piece of garbage like the Akaka bill."

March 14: Senator Akaka was interviewed following his announcement he will not seek re-election. "As for the Akaka bill, 'It's not over for me as far as Hawaiian parity. I'm trying my best to bring parity to native Hawaiians as indigenous people,' Akaka said

March 16: Jerry Coffee, a Viet Nam war hero, writing in "Midweek", describes several bad practical consequences if the Akaka-bill clones in the state legislature are passed. He notes that instead of providing closure for historical grievances, it would open a huge can of worms.

March 23: 2 letters in "Midweek" in response to Jerry Coffee's column of March 16: Guests" in the Hawaiian homeland should know their place and give back stolen property to the rightful owners; The Hawaiian Forgiveness Project is a group of non-ethnic-Hawaiians who meet regularly to figure out how to make things right.

Monday March 28: (1) CONGRESSWOMAN HIRONO SAYS AKAKA BILL WILL BE INTRODUCED SOMETIME THIS WEEK; (2) Article in online newspaper describes localized versions of Akaka bill for state-recognition of an Akaka tribe.

New England Cable News (Comcast Inc., Newton Mass.)
November 9, 2010

** A cut-down version of this article was published by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the following day, November 10, at

Native Hawaiian government faltering in Congress

HONOLULU (AP) — A long-sought federal law allowing Native Hawaiians to form their own government stands little chance of passing Congress before the end of the year, and its approval may be even less likely after a Republican House majority takes office in January.

Native Hawaiians are the last remaining indigenous people in the United States that haven't been allowed to establish their own government, a right already extended to Alaska Natives and Native American tribes.

Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka, for whom the legislation is named, said he will push to pass the bill during the Senate's lame-duck session starting Monday, but the chamber also will be busy with tax cut extensions and a stop-gap spending measure to keep the government running.

"I think it's as good as dead," said outgoing U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, R-Hawaii, who supports the measure. "We had a situation where the president of the United States said he would sign the Akaka bill and the Democrats held overwhelming majorities in both chambers, and Sen. Akaka wasn't able to get it through."

More than 117 years have passed since the Hawaiian Kingdom was overthrown, and this measure is an effort to begin reconciling the federal government with the nation's 400,000 Native Hawaiians.

The legislation passed the U.S. House 245-164 in February but stalled in the Senate, where it failed to get consideration in the months before last week's election.

"The odds are bad," U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, told KGMB-TV. "I'm being very candid and upfront because I don't want people to have their hopes unjustifiably raised, because at this stage I would say it's not one of the so-called priority measures."

Just a few months ago, the proposal for a Native Hawaiian "nation within a nation" looked like it could finally become law after more than a decade of attempts.

Hawaii-born President Barack Obama and the powerful Inouye supported the bill, and it had enough support to pass if it could have reached the Senate floor for a vote. Republican Gov. Linda Lingle reinstated her support following a deal to change the bill to clarify that a future Hawaiian government wouldn't provide immunity from the state's laws unless Congress agrees after negotiations.

But the bill never came up as the Senate occupied itself with extending unemployment insurance, approving a small business loan program and confirming Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I wouldn't rule out the chance that it could be passed next year," said state Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Rowena Akana. "This is the right thing to do. It doesn't have anything to do with being a Democrat or a Republican."

The Native Hawaiian legislation would start negotiations for a new Native Hawaiian government and the land, money and power that comes with it.

Several Republican senators have said they oppose the measure because they see it as race-based favoritism, and a minority of Native Hawaiians — including some who want complete independence — dislike the bill because they say it doesn't go far enough to redress past wrongs.

The measure would racially segregate families and communities into groups with different rights based on whether or not they have Hawaiian blood, said Jere Krischel, a member of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, which opposes the bill.

"They'll have a very difficult time making the case that this is important enough to do despite all the objections and problems people have with it," said Krischel, a self-described volunteer historian and civil rights activist. "In a Congress, that was overwhelmingly voted out, it just wouldn't play well."

If the bill fails, its downfall will be partially attributed to amendments proposed by Hawaii's Democratic congressional delegation last December in response to requests by the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior.

One of the proposed changes would have immediately given the Native Hawaiian governing entity many of the rights that Native American tribal governments enjoy before negotiations with the federal government.

Lingle opposed the changes until Hawaii's senators agreed in July to again modify the bill. The time lost between December and July damaged the measure's opportunity for receiving Senate approval.



Also in Canada Views at

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) delivered a speech on the Senate floor today highlighting his continued commitment to seeing the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act enacted into law.

Senator Akaka's remarks as prepared for delivery:

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) delivered a speech on the Senate floor today highlighting his continued commitment to seeing the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act enacted into law. Senator Akaka's remarks as prepared for delivery:

I rise today to reaffirm my strong commitment to have the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act enacted into law. This bill is of great importance to all of the people of Hawaii. The bill would simply put the State of Hawaii on equal footing with the rest of the country in the treatment of its indigenous people. It provides a process for the reorganization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity. However, since I first introduced this common sense bill ten years ago, it has been the subject of misleading attacks and procedural hurdles, and has never had the opportunity for an up-or-down vote here on the Senate floor.

Earlier this month, a handful of my colleagues who oppose this measure put out a press release, fueling speculation that I was seeking to attach this bill to must-pass, end-of-session legislation. One of these colleagues said that this measure – and I quote, "should be brought up separately and debated openly on the Senate floor with the opportunity for amendment."

I could not agree more.

A structured debate followed by an up-or-down vote on this legislation is long overdue. The people of Hawaii have waited for far too long.

This Congress, the bill was favorably reported by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and it was passed by the House of Representatives. Despite this, it was not given an opportunity to be debated and voted on, here on the Senate floor.

I am deeply disappointed that we did not have the opportunity to consider this bill during the 111th Congress. This historic Congress saw a great many accomplishments on behalf of the American people, but tragically, it also saw unprecedented obstruction.

I remain committed to passing this bill. I am hopeful that, when we convene next year in the new Congress, I can count on every one of my colleagues to be supportive of my efforts to bring this bill to the Senate floor.

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act is a Hawaii-specific measure. In the long traditions of the U.S. Senate, it was considered a courtesy to stand with your colleagues on matters specifically addressing the needs of their home state. This civility seems to have vanished from this chamber.

It is frustrating to me that some of my colleagues have worked aggressively to block this bill. For some reason, they have made it a priority to prevent the people of my state from moving forward to resolve issues caused by the illegal overthrow of the Native Hawaiian government in 1893.

This bill has widespread support among elected leaders and the citizens of Hawaii. Both chambers of the Hawaii State Legislature have voiced their support of the measure, and our new Governor, Neil Abercrombie, was the chief sponsor of the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation is also supported by community and civic organizations, including the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a state agency.

The bill also has broad support outside of Hawaii. Indigenous leaders and community organizations across the United States support the bill, such as the Alaska Federation of Natives and the National Congress of American Indians.

The American Bar Association sent a letter this year to members of the Senate reaffirming its support and outlining the sound Constitutional basis for the legislation. The ABA wrote, quote, "The right of Native Hawaiians to use of the property held in trust for them and the right to govern those assets are not in conflict with the Equal Protection Clause since they rest on independent constitutional authority regarding the rights of native nations contained in Articles I and II of the Constitution." Mr. President, I wish to submit this letter for the Record.

This bill also has the support of the Obama Administration. When the measure passed the House in February of this year, the White House Press Secretary issued a statement noting that President Obama – quote – "looks forward to signing the bill into law and establishing a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians." And earlier this month, Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar wrote to the Senate Leaders to reiterate the Administration's support for the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, and to make note of the urgent need for this bill. The letter reads, quote, "Of the Nation's three major indigenous groups, Native Hawaiians – unlike American Indians and Alaska Natives – are the only one that currently lacks a government-to-government relationship with the United States." Mr. President, I would like to submit a copy of this letter for the Record.

Opponents have spread misinformation about the bill. Let me set the record straight. This bill does NOT allow Hawaii to secede from the United States. It does NOT allow private lands to be taken. It does NOT authorize gaming in Hawaii.

Opponents of the bill also distort the history of the Native Hawaiian people. I welcome the chance to speak with any of my colleagues about the history of my great state and of its indigenous people. I want to help you understand why this bill is necessary for Hawaii to move forward, and how it is consistent with the United States' existing policies of federal recognition for Alaska Natives and American Indians.

Opponents also point to a vocal minority in Hawaii who oppose this bill. The reality is that this legislation is strongly supported by the people of Hawaii. A poll conducted by the Honolulu Advertiser in May of this year found that 66 percent of people in Hawaii support federal recognition for Native Hawaiians. Of the poll participants, 82 percent identifying themselves as Native Hawaiians said they support federal recognition. Mr. President, I would like to submit this article for the Record.

This year marked the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the unification of the Hawaiian Islands into one kingdom, under King Kamehameha. This year also marked 51 years of statehood and more than 100 years since Hawaii became a United States territory. And yet the people of Hawaii have still not been given the chance to participate in a government-to-government relationship similar to those already extended to this nation's other indigenous people.

I have worked tirelessly to educate my colleagues on the importance of this bill. I hope that you will continue to welcome my efforts to speak with you. I extend my heartfelt aloha and mahalo, thank you, to the many, many supporters who have worked to advocate for this legislation. Your support makes a difference and is greatly appreciated. I thank my colleague, Chairman Dorgan, who has been a great friend of mine and to the people of Hawaii. His leadership on this issue will be missed.

My work to enact this bill is not over. I look forward to having the opportunity to debate this bill on its merits. I will not give up until the Native Hawaiian people have the same rights to self-governance already afforded to the rest of the nation's indigenous people.

Mr. President, mahalo – thank you – to all of my colleagues for listening to this matter of great importance to me and my state. I yield back the remainder of my time.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, December 22, 2010

With new leader, OHA swings toward activism

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is now under the leadership of longtime grass-roots activist Collette Machado, who was elected chairwoman yesterday.

Machado, 60, succeeds Haunani Apoliona, who did not seek another term as chairwoman and supported Machado, who is an ally. Machado was elected in a 7-0 vote. Trustees Rowena Akana and Donald Cataluna were not on hand for the vote.

Apoliona, who remains on the board, had chaired the agency since February 2002.

Machado said she will continue the priorities Apoliona established, focusing largely on ensuring OHA gets what it believes is a fair share of ceded-land revenues and lobbying for U.S. recognition of a native Hawaiian entity through congressional passage of the Akaka Bill.

But those attending yesterday's trustee investiture ceremony at St. Andrew's Cathedral Chapel said they expect OHA to lend a more sympathetic ear to native Hawaiian activist causes.

Apoliona has a social worker-educator background as former head of Alu Like, known for promoting economic and social self-sufficiency for native Hawaiians largely through education and social service programs.

Machado, on the other hand, was best known for her involvement in a number of native Hawaiian organizations, including the seminal Protect Kahoolawe Ohana and later the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission.

Kale Gumapac said he views the shift in leadership from Apoliona to Machado as "certainly a change in direction." A member of the Puna-based Kanaka Council o Moku o Keawe, which advocates for native Hawaiian rights, Gumapac said he envisions OHA making more of an effort to embrace activist views.

"The only way for Hawaiian community to holomua and to move forward is to be able to move forward together," Gumapac said.

That view was echoed by state Sen. Brickwood Galuteria (D, Downtown-Waikiki), who will head the committee overseeing Hawaiian affairs in the state Senate.

"If anybody has made that evolution from activist to established leader, I think Chair Machado has," Galuteria said.

Machado said she will be "encouraging our trustees to reach deep and extend an open hand and to work for all of the communities that we serve."

Akana, a longtime critic of the Apoliona-Machado faction, said she wished Machado the best. "I think Collette has more of a sense of real community, being a grass-roots person, and I think that's one of her good qualities that hopefully will transcend at the board level," Akana said.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, December 22, 2010
Breaking news at 4:28 AM

Native Hawaiians move ahead with nation building

By MARK NIESSE, Associated Press

Native Hawaiian leaders plan to start forming their own new but unrecognized government following the failure of federal legislation to do so.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Haunani Apoliona on Tuesday called for the state-funded agency to sign people up to enroll as participants in the formation of a future Hawaiian government.

A previous effort, called Kau Inoa, gathered 108,000 signatures of people showing interest in a Hawaiian governing entity, but this new process will go a step further by creating the structure of the Hawaiian government.

Eventually, Congress would be asked to recognize the Hawaiian government, granting it a degree of sovereignty to create its own laws and manage its resources.

Native Hawaiians are the last remaining indigenous people in the United States that haven't been allowed to establish their own government, a right already extended to Alaska Natives and Native American tribes.

Federal recognition for Native Hawaiians, known as the Akaka Bill, hasn't received a vote in the Senate this year, and it likely will be shelved after newly elected Republicans take office next month.

"This additional hurdle should not derail our efforts, nor should it derail our resolve," said Apoliona in her State of OHA annual address at Saint Andrew's Cathedral in Honolulu. "If we seek to be self-determining, then let's be it and live it."

By beginning to enroll the nation's 400,000 Native Hawaiians in a future government now, they won't have to wait for congressional action before taking control of their destiny, said Clyde Namuo, CEO for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

"You'll still need the federal bill at some point," Namuo said. "But when you go before Congress, you will already have a government in place, and you will then ask the Congress to recognize that government. That's the idea."

The Hawaiian kingdom was overthrown in 1893 when a group of white businessmen forced Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate while U.S. Marines came ashore.

Formation of the new Hawaiian government involves signing people up for it, electing delegates and creating founding documents, Namuo said.

Anyone who can show they have any amount of Hawaiian blood should be able to participate, Apoliona said.

"The enrollment process will demonstrate to the rest of America that there are Hawaiians, that we are alive, and that we are represented not just in Hawaii but throughout the United States," said Collette Machado, who was chosen by OHA's board of trustees as its new chairwoman Tuesday to succeed Apoliona.

About 200,000 Hawaiians live in-state, and Namuo said he wants about 100,000 Hawaiians to enroll in the government-making process to give it credibility.

Any details of the new government — whether it's a kingdom or elected, for example — would be decided by the participants of the process, Machado said. Nothing has been decided yet, and the OHA trustees will have to vote on how to move forward.

The biggest challenge will be bringing together fractured Hawaiians, said OHA trustee Bob Lindsey.

Various groups seek everything from outright Hawaiian independence from the United States to full assimilation.

"It's always better to listen to the whispers of the people than to hear their screams," said Lindsey, quoting a Cherokee Indian friend.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, December 29, 2010

Stalling, secret talks doomed prime moment for Akaka Bill

By David Shapiro

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka was a sorry sight standing nearly alone on the Senate floor in the final hours of the 111th Congress, giving a speech blaming Republican obstruction for the failure yet again of his Akaka Bill for native Hawaiian political recognition.

This time, it was nobody's fault but his own; Akaka simply blew his best chance ever to win Hawaiians sovereign rights similar to those of American Indians and Alaskan natives.

After eight years of being unable to overcome Bush administration opposition and procedural delays by Senate Republicans, Akaka began this Congress with a supportive Democratic president and Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, including a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate Democratic caucus.

Even when the loss of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat prevented Democrats from killing filibusters on their own, it wasn't a problem because Hawaii's Republican Gov. Linda Lingle supported the Akaka Bill and brought along enough GOP votes to overcome procedural delays.

Then Akaka snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Instead of getting it done while everything was in his favor, he wasted a year in secret talks with the White House and a narrow group of Hawaiian interests to drastically amend the bill from the version supporters had previously agreed to.

Inexplicably, Akaka kept Lingle in the dark on the changes, and she withdrew her support because of a significant weakening of the state's rights.

Then-U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie shepherded the bill through the House before he quit to run for governor, but the measure stalled in the Senate when its Republican backers pulled their support following Lingle's reversal.

Akaka wasted more months before finally making the compromises necessary to get Lingle back on board. By then it was summer, and there was no way his relatively manini bill would get precious floor time in the heat of the election campaign or in the poisonous lame-duck session that followed.

Akaka is again singing his tired "wait till next year" tune, but the Akaka Bill is dead. If he couldn't get it passed in this favorable Congress, he has no chance next year when Republicans take over the House and gain eight seats in the Senate.

His best course now is to drop the contentious nationhood provisions and try a simpler bill that focuses on just settling the legal question of whether Hawaiians are a racial minority or an indigenous people, which seems to be the key to protecting Hawaiians-only institutions such as Kamehameha Schools, Hawaiian Home Lands and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

That could find broader support, and Hawaiian nationalists would be free to petition on their own for U.S. and international recognition if they ever organize native support behind some vision of sovereignty.


Honolulu Star-Advertiser, December 31, 2010, page A17
[There is no internet archive of this newspaper's polls, which are conducted online. Results are reported on an ongoing basis only during the day the poll is taken, and then the final report is published in the physical newspaper the following day but not on the internet.]

Yesterday's Big Q: Now that the Akaka Bill appears to be dead, do you think efforts should continue to extend federal recognition of some sort to native Hawaiians?

Thanks for voting in this poll.

This poll ended on Thu, December 30, 2010 - 4:00:43.

A. Yes - 39% B. No - 61% (of 741 total votes)

Ka Wai Ola [OHA monthly newspaper], January 2011, pages 19-21
[Available on OHA website on December 31, 2010 and in some libraries]

Ho‘oilina a mau loa
A perpetual legacy has come forth

In her final State of OHA address, Hauani Apoliona calls Hawaiians to action and ushers in a new era under incoming Chairperson Colette Machado

[Continuous excerpt from page 21 which focuses on Akaka bill]


As we bring closure to this present decade (2000-2010), both OHA and the Hawaiian community approach the culmination of a historic outcome – passage of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act – a culmination of initial preparations for re-establishing recognized Native Hawaiian governance; and, payment of “past-due” Public Land Trust revenue obligations by the State to OHA, unpaid since 1980.

I would like to add more current information on the matter of the NHGRA. This past week the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act has been in the news.

The fact is – all of us expected that the bill passed by the House and reported to the Senate in early 2010 would have had a Senate floor vote before the November 2nd general election because amendments had been agreed to by the State and our Senators. NO Senate floor vote occurred before Nov. 2.

The “lame-duck” session was targeted for Senate floor action on S.3945, introduced on Nov. 15, containing the amendments agreed to by Gov. Lingle and our Hawai‘i Senators.

The ultimate vehicle and strategy for Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, as we now know, was the OMNIBUS appropriations bill, for which bipartisan support had been assured and commitments made.

The OMNIBUS combined 12 appropriations measures affecting multiple states and programs, including many in Hawai‘i for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the University of Hawai‘i Law School, the State Department of Education, the Polynesian Voyaging Society and numerous others.

Also included in a section of the OMNIBUS was language, directing the Secretary of the Interior and the U.S. Attorney General, to work directly with State of Hawai‘i and its Constitutionally created entities serving Hawaiians, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, to facilitate the enabling governance process.

By the end of last week, the nine Republican votes for the OMNIBUS had been peeled away by Senate Minority Leader McConnell, commitments were broken. Senate Majority Leader Reid withdrew the OMNIBUS from consideration lacking the votes necessary for passage. Without a doubt, this is another setback in a series of many for us.

But if Native Hawaiians are committed to self-determination, this additional hurdle should not derail our efforts or our resolve.

We should begin to implement the spirit and intent of the language that would have been in the OMNIBUS. OHA working with DHHL and the Governor’s Office should launch the first step in the process – the ENROLLMENT AFFIRMATION phase. OHA and our partners must reach out to all Native Hawaiians, wherever they reside.

The time is now for us, individually, to decide to participate or not participate in this Native Hawaiian Governance Reorganization Process. Our commitment to participate is affirmed by our ENROLLMENT.

We cannot be idle. We cannot be immobilized or paralyzed. “Victim mentalities” are not acceptable. We must move methodically, determinedly and collaboratively, NOW.

We will achieve Federal Recognition for Native Hawaiians.

Regrettably, our Native Hawaiian programs and assets will still be challenged, remain in “harm’s way”; and, litigations will probably continue.

But, if the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustees are ready to commit resources to launch the first step, the ENROLLMENT AFFIRMATION phase, we SHOULD begin NOW. And the close of this 2010 decade will not be so “grim or frustrating.”

If we seek to be self-determining, then let’s be it and live it … in all that we do. It is up to us. HIKI NÖ. [CAN DO]

The beginning of the new decade prompts the opening of Native Hawaiian expanded visibility in the international arena. ...

Ka Wai Ola [OHA monthly newspaper], January 2011, page 28
[Available on OHA website on December 31, 2010 and in some libraries]

Monthly commentary by Rowena Akana, trustee at-large

Don’t rule out the Akaka bill passing in 2011

‘Ano‘ai kakou. On Nov. 15, 2010, Sen. Daniel Akaka introduced a compromise version of Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2010 (S.3945).

While there has been much talk in the media that the Akaka bill has little chance of passing in the next two years, I wouldn’t rule it out for the following reasons:

• Hawaii-born President Barack Obama is still in the White House and remains a strong supporter of the bill.

• Sen. Daniel Inouye, the most senior member of the U.S. Senate, remains the chairman of the powerful Senate Committee on Appropriations. After 51 years in Washington, I’m certain Senator Inouye can find a way to twist the arms of the Republican Senators who are holding up the bill.

• Gov. Neil Abercrombie can lobby the Senate with the help of his close friend, Republican House Speaker John Boehner. (Star-Advertiser, Nov. 21, 2010)

Yes, it won’t be easy, but there is certainly still reason to hope.


It is disappointing that critics of the bill continue to call it “race-based.” Jere Krischel of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, which opposes the Akaka bill, even said that it would “racially segregate families and communities into groups with different rights based on whether or not they have Hawaiian blood.” (AP, Nov. 9, 2010)

This is so ridiculous that anyone with half a brain knows this is crazy. The Grassroot Institute, with a handful of members from the lower 48 states, has no real roots in Hawaii. They know darn well the bill doesn’t do any of the things they claim it does. Their propaganda is based on lies and it’s time for all of us to call them out.

We must investigate who really makes up their membership and what is their real agenda. Who is Jere Krischel and where does he come from? How long has he lived in Hawaii? Why do he and his contacts hate Native peoples and what are they afraid of?

Ever since Americans landed here on our shores, they have tried to control our people and our lands. Krischel needs to be reminded over and over – Hawaiians aren’t immigrants, nor are we foreigners looking for handouts. Krischel and his ilk are the foreigners and they are the racists! They need to goback to where they came from and take with them their racist attitude. We don’t need them to spoil our Hawaii. Hawaiians for centuries have always been generous and kind to our malihini and visitors. We certainly don’t want outsiders giving us a bad rap!

Establishing a political relationship between Native Hawaiians and the federal government will hopefully silence these racists and put a stop to their continuing legal challenges to Hawaiian programs. It will also prevent the loss of millions of dollars the state currently receives from the federal government for programs that perpetuate the Native Hawaiian culture, language and traditions.

The Akaka bill is only meant to begin the reconciliation process between the federal government and the over 400,000 Native Hawaiians living in the U.S. Passing the Akaka bill is simply the right thing to do. It doesn’t have anything to do with being a Democrat or a Republican and should not be such a politically divisive issue.

I look forward to working with the Obama Administration, our Congressional Delegation and Governor Abercrombie as we take our next crucial steps toward Native Hawaiian sovereignty.

Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou! 

Are you interested in Hawaiian issues and OHA? Please visit my web site at
for issues and links to other information sites.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, January 1, 2011

Getting rail funds now up to Hanabusa, Djou says
The outgoing U.S. representative delivers his parting shots as he departs Congress

By B.J. Reyes

U.S. Rep. Charles Djou bade goodbye to Congress yesterday, saying he has no current plans to seek political office and challenging his successor to pick up where he left off in securing federal funding for Honolulu's $5.5 billion rail transit project.

Djou, a Republican, said he has secured commitments for Honolulu's rail funding from the GOP leadership and that it is up to U.S. Rep.-elect Colleen Hanabusa to follow up.

"If the future 112th Congress fails to secure all the rail funding, it's the fault of this delegation," Djou said at a farewell news conference on the steps of the federal building in Honolulu. "The commitments are there. ... If rail funding doesn't come through, we have to lay the blame at the hands of Colleen Hanabusa and the rest of Hawaii's congressional delegation."

Hanabusa will be sworn in Wednesday.

Djou made similar statements about advancing the Akaka Bill — to grant federal recognition of native Hawaiians — saying he believes he had enough GOP support to get the legislation passed in the Republican-controlled House next year.

Hanabusa thanked Djou for his service to the state and said she hopes Djou will continue serving the public.

"I would assume once one starts in public service, one will continue to be in public service," Hanabusa said from Washington. "I'm certain that he will do whatever he feels he could do to assist in that process.

"I think I would have hoped to have heard from Charles more of a continuing commitment to the people of the state versus a statement instead that if it's not him then it's not going to work."

Honolulu officials and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye have pegged the federal government's financial commitment to the rail project at $1.55 billion.

Djou said he worked with GOP leaders to ensure Honolulu would receive its "fair share" of federal money, but he had yet to receive a commitment from the Federal Transit Administration on the exact amount.

He said he expects all new spending to come under heavy scrutiny as Congress works to pass the fiscal year 2011 budget as well as the 2012 budget.

"I don't think it's about rail, per se, as much as the new 112th Congress is going to be very focused on reducing spending overall," Djou said. "They are going to be targeting all new projects, whether it's rail or airports or anything."

On the Akaka Bill, Djou said he had secured commitments from enough Republicans that he believes he would have been able to push the measure through, similar to how Gov. Neil Abercrombie previously managed it through a GOP-controlled House when he was a member of Congress.

Hanabusa said Djou's statements did not recognize the difficulty in getting legislation through both chambers of Congress and the president, but said she hopes Djou will work to serve the public interest.

"If he believes he has those commitments, then I call upon him to call upon them (GOP leaders) to keep their word to him," she said. "The bottom line is it's for the people of Hawaii."

Inouye, through a spokesman, said, "I thank Congressman Djou for his service to Hawaii and the nation, and I wish him well in his future endeavors."

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, January 2, 2011

Former attorney general faults Akaka for failure of namesake bill
But the Lingle administration is also the focus of finger-pointing

Associated Press

Native Hawaiians seemed poised to get, at long last, the same rights as native Americans and Alaska natives. They had enough votes in Congress, the bipartisan backing of state leaders and a supportive president.

Instead, the bill failed this year amid miscommunication, surprise amendments and broken alliances. It could be years before it is seriously considered again.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, has sought to make it law for 11 years. He couldn't persuade the Senate's leadership to hold a vote on the bill, even though his aides said it had more than 60 votes needed to break a potential filibuster.

National debates on health care reform, gays in the military and a nuclear arms treaty took precedence. And Republicans opposing the measure worked to prevent it from reaching the Senate floor.

Akaka blamed them for "unprecedented obstruction."

In a Dec. 22 Senate speech, he said, Republicans "made it a priority to prevent the people of my state from moving forward to resolve issues caused by the illegal overthrow of the Native Hawaiian government in 1893."

But former state Attorney General Mark Bennett said Akaka could have done more to seek a vote on the bill in 2009, before it was delayed by amendments, derailed by election power shifts and overlooked during long battles over other national priorities.

"That entire time when these negotiations were going on and these changes were being made, that was a crucial time," said Bennett, who was appointed to his post by former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle.

During 2009, the Obama administration's Justice and Interior departments sought amendments to make the legislation more like the federal government's relationship with the nation's other indigenous peoples. That included granting the future native Hawaiian government immediate rights rather than after negotiations, Akaka spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke said.

Akaka's office didn't tell Lingle or the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs about the proposed amendments until they had already been worked out with the Obama administration.

The Lingle administration objected soon after finding out about them last December. Lingle temporarily withdrew her support and sent letters opposing the bill to all 100 senators.

The Obama administration was "very insistent on making those changes, and Sen. Akaka and his staff were in the position of trying to referee between them and the former governor," Broder Van Dyke said.

Akaka's office tried to address the concerns, Broder Van Dyke said, adding, "It wasn't helpful that she sent (the) letters."

Lingle didn't reinstate her support until July, when Akaka agreed to additional amendments clarifying that a Hawaiian government wouldn't provide immunity from the state's laws.

By then, there was little time left on the Senate's calendar for the rest of the year. The bill passed the House in February.

The legislation would have had a better chance of passing if Lingle hadn't undermined it over legal issues, said Jade Danner, vice president for the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.

Danner said the governor should have known that, like the nation's 400,000 native Hawaiians, many Alaska Natives lack a land base but aren't immune from criminal laws.

"Gov. Lingle stopped doing her job and just delegated her position to the attorney general," Danner said. "The governor had a responsibility to ... decide on the best policy that would move Hawaii and native Hawaiians forward.

"She relinquished that responsibility," Danner said.

An opponent of the Akaka Bill said its inherent flaws killed the proposal more than a politics.

"It would have been a permanent institutionalization of officially sponsored racial discrimination. That finally dawned on people," said Bill Burgess, chairman for Aloha for All, a group organized to fight the legislation.

Hawaiians seeking independence also praised the measure's failure. "Hawaiian nationals simply want their country back and have the U.S. stop pretending like it owns Hawaii," said Leon Siu, a Hawaiian activist.

Akaka pledged to reintroduce the bill, but its prospects for revival appear bleak when Republicans take control of the House and gain new seats in the Senate this month. Lingle has said she'll consider running for Senate against Akaka in 2012.

In the meantime, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is considering plans to start forming a native Hawaiian government without federal recognition. That process would involve signing people up, electing delegates and creating founding documents, and then returning to Congress for approval.

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii blog, January 2, 2011

The Akaka Industry

by Malia Hill

Conventional wisdom says that (despite the boasts of our newest Governor) with the new Republican Congress in place, the Akaka Bill is effectively dead for the time being. The theory is that the Bill never had much support among Republicans in Congress, and no Democrats will be willing to expend large amounts of political capital in order to push for it. How true this is remains to be seen, but there are some groups in Hawaii who have way too much invested in the Akaka Bill to let a mere detail like political deep-freeze derail their efforts to promote it.

Like (brace yourselves for the surprise) OHA.

In a rather irregular move, OHA Trustee Haunani Apoliona called for OHA to continue its efforts to enroll Native Hawaiians for a possible Native Hawaiian government as called for by the now-defunct Akaka Bill. The reasons given by Apoliona and OHA CEO Clyde Namuo are fairly predictable–and they take care to note that they are looking to enroll Hawaiians living outside of Hawaii. The reason for this effort is fairly obvious–OHA clearly believes that it will be easier to pass the Bill in the future if there is an established roll of “qualified” Native Hawaiians to be recognized by such a bill. So a future version of the Akaka Bill will simply be able to reference the OHA-headed group as the Native Hawaiian government without the accompanying concerns about who should be included and how registration should proceed. In addition, OHA clearly has a lot invested in being the preeminent Native Hawaiian organization in any Native Hawaiian government. Sovereignty groups and other Native Hawaiian organizations that question OHA’s actions and motives can be absorbed and disarmed by OHA preemptive organization, thereby shutting down or minimizing any Native Hawaiian opposition to a future Akaka Bill.

There is, after all, a great deal of money and political power at stake. It would be asking too much to think that OHA could just let that go.

The Maui News, January 9, 2011, Letter to editor

Money going to support unwanted effort

With the Akaka Bill dead in the water and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs prompting Hawaiians to move forward with their government, serious questions arise. The most important is whether that government would be sovereign or subjugated under the plenary power of the U.S. Congress.

Sovereignty is "the supreme, absolute and uncontrollable power by which any independent state is governed ... combined with the right and power of regulating its internal affairs without foreign dictation."

For any Native Hawaiian government subjected to the rules of Congress, there would be no such thing as a degree of sovereignty, only varying degrees of subjugation, referred to as self-determination.

Sovereignty comes from the people. Any lawful plebiscite concerning sovereignty must offer the people the options of independence and free association, not just subjugation.

By creating a Native Hawaiian government incapable of independence, OHA would be unconstitutionally interfering in the internal affairs for a foreign nation by denying its people remedy for the theft of their nation.

Revenue intended to benefit Hawaiians is spent attempting to convince Hawaiians to subjugate themselves to a government under foreign control while nothing is mentioned about the people's rights to sovereignty.

The rights extended to Native Alaskans are revocable privileges; with their resources under corporate control. Na kanaka maoli have a right to restore their own sovereign government and nation completely independent of foreign control.

Kanaka maoli don't need OHA's help in creating any government that will inherently deny their people's perfect right to a sovereign nation.

Dan Taylor

The Maui Weekly, January 13, 2011, letter to editor

Hawai‘i needs independence

by Kaimiola Wright

Native Hawaiians moving forward with their government is an issue that needs widespread community discussion. I support a sovereign Hawai‘i, but not based on race. The overthrown Kingdom of Hawai‘i was not based on race, and I’m glad the federal government didn’t pass the Akaka Bill.

How can someone else allow you to be sovereign? Either you’re in charge of your own destiny or you are not. Did early settlers in America wait for Britain to pass a law to give them independence? No—they themselves declared independence from Britain.

Hawai‘i is at a major crossroads right now—our infrastructure is aging, our landfills are overflowing and our resources are dwindling. We need to declare independence from Mainland practices that are not benefiting us and bargain with access to our land as a most isolated place on the planet. We are islanders who need to realize we cannot continue to live with a continental mentality.

Mahalo to the Maui County Council—the plastic bag ban is a great step in the right direction for a more conscientious lifestyle. A lifestyle where we realize the most important thing is to have shelter, food, family, friends and maintained infrastructure, not pieces of paper with numbers on them.

Leaders of Hawai‘i, please lead us to a future where we who actually live here determine our own fate and treasure our ancestral abilities to live in balance with the land and ocean.

Checking blood quantum at the door is a waste of time.

Kaimiloa Wright

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Sunday January 16, 2011

Time of regrowth
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs reflects and regroups after the federal sovereignty bill fails

By Vicki Viotti


To malama (protect) Hawaii's people and environmental resources and OHA's assets, toward ensuring the perpetuation of the culture, the enhancement of lifestyle and the protection of entitlements of Native Hawaiians, while enabling the building of a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation, recognized nationally and internationally.


Ten years after the race toward federal recognition began, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs leaders look down and find themselves still standing on the starting line — and this following a congressional session in which a win seemed almost a slam-dunk.

Victory was supposed to come in the form of passage of a bill named after U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, the Hawaii lawmaker who has made federal recognition of native Hawaiians his chief career goal.

Now, OHA trustees are asking the inevitable question, "What now?"

Judging by discussions held in recent weeks since the newly elected board took office, OHA is settling on an answer: Keep pressing ahead, following one path or another, toward Hawaiian sovereign nationhood.

Before examining these strategies, here's an Akaka Bill primer.

Federal recognition means the U.S. government would acknowledge a representative Hawaiian organization — which would be elected independently of OHA — as a political entity. Akaka Bill proponents say this would protect programs that benefit native Hawaiians from constitutional challenges.

In the past, challenges have asserted that such programs violate the 14th amendment because they favor a specific race. A federally recognized entity, however, becomes a "nation within a nation," something like an Indian tribe or an Alaska native corporation, and is shielded from such lawsuits.

The whole notion remains controversial in some circles. Some native Hawaiians believe that anything short of sovereignty independent of the U.S. government is a sell-out. Other groups, including Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians, argue that sovereignty would bring a form of separatism, diminishing the advances for all ethnic groups that came with statehood 51 years ago.

But within the fifth-floor, Kapiolani Boulevard offices of OHA, the trustees remain convinced that federal recognition would give Hawaiians greater security and control over resources that have been set aside for their benefit, said Colette Machado, the newly elected chairwoman of the board.

"There's no question that the trustees still support federal recognition," Machado said. "We are engaged in discussions about our next steps."

The failure of the Akaka Bill to clear the last session of Congress, despite being blessed with its best odds in a decade, left the full range of emotions in its wake.

From the left side of the political spectrum, Hawaiian activist Leon Siu expressed relief. Federal recognition for native Hawaiians, he said, is "a totally inadequate remedy for the wrongs committed against the Hawaiian people and taking of the Hawaiian nation."

From the conservative end, Cato Institute blogger Ilya Shapiro also celebrated, but for completely different reasons.

"We seem to have escaped the spectre of race-based government yet again," Shapiro wrote Dec. 20. "But be aware that the Akaka Bill lurks in the background of every Congress, ready to ensnare those who think it's just about 'parochial' Hawaii issues that have nothing to do with the 'real world.'"

From the supporters of the bill there was shock and dismay. Jon Van Dyke, a University of Hawaii law professor on a temporary teaching assignment to the University of California-Berkeley, has followed progress of the legislation through each attempt since it was first introduced a decade ago. He's had an especially close-up view ever since his son started working in the office of U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, chief sponsor of the bill.

"The whole process was deeply frustrating," Van Dyke said in a telephone interview. He cited the objections raised by former Gov. Linda Lingle over amendments the congressional delegation had submitted on the advice of the Obama administration. The criticism, which Van Dyke characterized as "nitpicking," delayed the bill so long that the session clock finally ran out.

The bill's most resolute cheerleaders, the trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, expressed the same chagrin, with this postscript: It's not over yet.

"Yes, we failed," said Colette Machado, newly elected to chair the OHA board of trustees. "Given the situation we're in, we did our best. And we're not giving up on federal recognition.

"That's the message: We are not giving up."

That may sound like empty rhetoric. The bill derives most of its political fuel from the Democrats and, although the party still controls the White House, the Republican takeover of the House has diminished its support there. The shrinking Democratic majority in the Senate further confounds its path through to passage.

However, Machado and Clyde Namuo, OHA's executive director, said the trustees are poised to move forward on alternative paths. The formal title for the legislation is the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act and technically, Namuo said, there's nothing to stop the native Hawaiian community from reorganizing a government on its own and then seeking federal recognition later.

According to a blueprint that the trustees are considering, Namuo said, OHA could finance and otherwise support the formation of an advisory group. This panel would explore how delegates might be selected for a constitutional convention, a gathering that would set up the government structure and have a plebiscite to ratify it.

While the trustees continue hashing out this idea, Machado said, they can continue with a project that started seven years ago, one that would be necessary in any case: enrolling an electorate. So far the enrollment campaign known as Kau Inoa has assembled the beginnings of future voter rolls — about 109,000 native Hawaiians. Namuo hopes to increase that number by about 50 percent, in order to create an electorate sizable enough to represent the Hawaiian population at large.

Van Dyke said a native Hawaiian entity could first seek recognition at the state level — an approach that has precedent in indigenous affairs. He pointed to the example of the Narragansett tribe of Rhode Island, which sued the state and was awarded land. As the Narragansetts still lack federal recognition, the tribe holds the land under a state-chartered land corporation. Much of the land to which native Hawaiians could lay claim is under state control, he said, so this approach makes some sense.

Although these other routes to nationhood provide alternatives, OHA still anticipates that the Akaka Bill will be reintroduced into the new Congress, Namuo said, but nobody's yet sure what form the legislation will take.

In the meantime, some of the Hawaiian beneficiaries think the changed legislative landscape should signal a revision in OHA spending plans. Robin Danner, president of the nonprofit Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, said OHA should rethink its use of lobbyists to advance the Akaka Bill.

"As a state agency, I would recommend that OHA immediately reduce the spending of millions of dollars of our trust funds on D.C. lobbyists, and instead invest resources on beneficiaries right here at home," she told the Star-Advertiser by e-mail.

Less pointed with his criticism was Peter Apo, a past OHA trustee who was just elected to rejoin the board. Apo had no specific budget proposals and underscored his own support for the Akaka Bill, but added that "while federal recognition is important, sometimes I feel it comes at the expense of other things we could do instead."

He thinks OHA should join forces with Hawaiian trusts and other organizations on common goals.

"I'm hoping we'll start to scan the landscape and find other ways to use our resources," he said.


The Office of Hawaiian Affairs' board of trustees has approved bills it would like the state Legislature to consider when the session begins on Wednesday:

» Requests OHA's share for each year of the biennium budget: $2.47 million in general funds to be matched with $5.81 million in trust funds.

» Provides a format for resolving the dispute over back payments of ceded-land revenues the state owes OHA. The $200 million settlement agreement with the Lingle administration, which was never paid, would be reviewed.

» Requires that legislative resolutions proposing the sale, gifting or exchange of state-controlled land include additional information: whether it was part of Hawaiian kingdom public lands or exchanged for kingdom lands, property location and size of the land.

» Requires that environmental assessments and environmental impact statements include cultural impact assessments that assess impacts on the native Hawaiian culture, assessments that would need OHA approval.

» Establishes a task force that would address the findings of the OHA study, "The Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System."

» Seeks tuition waivers for native Hawaiian students attending any campus in the University of Hawaii system.

» Requires special training on obligations and responsibilities for members of councils, boards and commissions having authority over trust assets that benefit native Hawaiians.

» Proposes a Legislative Reference Bureau study to identify state laws that would need to be changed should federal recognition legislation be enacted.

» Seeks to close a loophole in the state historic preservation law ensuring that all projects are reviewed by the state Historic Preservation Division, even when other state or county agencies determine that the project won't affect historic sites or burials.


OHA's nine trustees are elected in public elections open to all Hawaii voters. Four of the nine positions are at-large seats representing the state as a whole; the other five represent each of the following districts: Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai and Lanai, Oahu, and Kauai and Niihau. The trustees are:

Colette Y. Machado (chairwoman), Peter Apo, Haunani Apoliona, John Waihee IV, Donald Cataluna, Oswald Stender, Boyd P. Mossman, Rowena Akana and Robert K. Lindsey Jr.

Source: Office of Hawaiian Affairs website,


Free Hawaii
The Committee of Hawaiian Nationals
19 January 2011


Governor Neal Abercrombie and Members of the Hawaii State Legislature:

The Committee of Hawaiian Nationals wish to remind you, the elected officials of the so-called “State of Hawaii,” that the serious violations, injustices and outright piracy committed over the past 118 years by the U.S. against the people of Hawaii and our nation will soon be coming to an end. As a courtesy, we suggest you make plans for the near future to vacate your positions as public servants in the current puppet government, the “State of Hawaii,” and consider serving under the lawful Hawaiian Kingdom as it returns.

The demise of the infamous “Akaka Bill” in the U.S. Congress, leaves no more smoke-and-mirror distractions or excuses to delay just resolution for the illegal invasion, annexation and incorporation of the Hawaiian Islands into the U.S. Justice demands that the proper remedy for the injury is the reinstatement of Hawaii as a sovereign, independent nation…a FREE HAWAII.

The terms of the 1893 Executive Agreement between President Cleveland and Queen Liliuokalani, gives the President of the United States the sole directive and clear authority to initiate the process to restore Hawaii’s independence. The fact that President Obama calls Hawaii his place of birth makes the situation ironically compelling from a number of aspects, including that of his actual nationality.

Hawaiian Nationals are pressing the issue on many fronts. Watch for significant movement in these areas in 2011…

• Legally – the alien tort case of Sai v. Obama, et al filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. has the potential to bring an end to the illegal U.S. occupation of Hawaii.

• Politically – formal complaints against the U.S. for violations of the sovereign nation-state of Hawaii (and it’s people), are gaining serious traction with international bodies such as the United Nations. Expect countries like China and Russia to continue to allude to the Hawaii situation as a barb to criticize U.S. foreign policy.

• Locally – the movement to Free Hawaii is growing exponentially among the people as a movement with a developed national identity and a sophisticated understanding of history, domestic and international law, cultural personality and core values. Assertive acts of nonviolent resistance (in the spirit of Queen Liliuokalani, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) will proliferate, challenging the status quo.

Hawaiian independence is going to happen soon.. The questions are: With or without your participation? Where will you stand morally? Will you perpetuate the injustice on this land and its people? Or will you stand for justice and perpetuate righteousness and a FREE HAWAII?

Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono
Motto of the Hawaiian Kingdom

FOR MORE INFO, contact, Leon Siu at (808) 488-4669
or email:
Also visit

Hawaii Reporter, January 24, 2011

Office of Hawaiian Affairs: Rant vs. Reason on Race (A Debate)

by Malia Blom Hill

Hawaii’s splendid isolation has contributed so much to the character of the islands.

Our island paradise owes much to it, as does our culture of family and “aloha spirit.”

On the other hand, those on the mainland have only the slightest acquaintance with the political and social issues we struggle with, and it’s easy for the most complicated and contentious issue to be reduced to static and soundbites by the time they reach Washington, DC.

And that’s how the Akaka Bill, a socially divisive, culturally transformative piece of legislation, gets reduced to “a nice little thing for Native Hawaiians” by the time it hits the beltway.

Few people outside of the Islands know much of our history, and even fewer know much about the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Bishop Estate Trust, Kamehameha Schools, or any of the ways that the fight over the Akaka Bill is affecting Hawaii.

And for a perfect moment that really crystallizes the harm that the Akaka mentality is causing in our Islands, one need go no further than the recent exchange between Jere Krischel, an activist and member of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and Rowena Akana, a Trustee-at-Large for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

The interchange began when Ms. Akana used the bully pulpit of her column in OHA’s monthly newspaper to attack the Grassroot Institute and Mr. Krischel for their opposition to the Akaka Bill—specifically for Mr. Krischel’s statement that the Akaka Bill, “racially segregate families and communities into groups with different rights based on whether or not they have Hawaiian blood.”

Though Akana called this “ridiculous,” she made no effort to defend her position, instead devolving into ad hominem attacks and invective. She makes the absurd claim that the Grassroot Institute has no roots in Hawaii, and goes on to make the outrageous statement that, “Krischel and his ilk are the foreigners and they are the racists! They need to go back to where they came from and take with them their racist attitude. We don’t need them to spoil our Hawaii.” As Mr. Krischel is from Hawaii, it leaves one to wonder where she would like him to go “back to.”

It should be unnecessary to treat such obvious slander seriously, but for the record, Grassroot Institute is a member of a national policy network, but has been active in Hawaii, on Hawaii’s issues, since it was founded here in 2001.

Mr. Krischel was born in Hawaii, went to Punahou, had a paper route in Wahiawa, and picked pineapple for Del Monte as a summer and weekend job. What’s truly outrageous is that Ms. Akana takes the position from the outset that a.)

One must pass some sort of “Hawaiian-enough” litmus test before one even dares to express an opinion on the Akaka Bill—a Bill that (let’s not forget) affects all of Hawaii and not only Native Hawaiians); and that b.) Anyone expressing a negative opinion of the Akaka Bill is a racist who needs to get out of Hawaii.

No wonder those who oppose the Akaka Bill state that it will result in a destructive level of racial division in the Islands. It seems to have a head start on that even without being passed.

In response to Ms. Akana’s column, Mr. Krischel wrote a letter taking exception to her insults, asking for an apology for her accusations of racism, and explaining his motives for his opposition to the Akaka Bill. Krischel writes:

First and foremost, as a human of many ethnicities and nationalities, I have a strong aversion to any racial categorization. The thought of being defined by one’s ancestry is anathema to me. Although some may wish to label themselves “indigenous” to one area or another, it is my firm belief that ultimately we are all descendants of immigrants and indigenous to the planet earth, and we should treat one another with equality and respect no matter where the bones of our ancestors are interred.

As an American, from a country with a history born of the rejection of hereditary title and monarchy, I strongly believe in the ideals of human equality. Although the United States has not always been perfect in implementing the 14th amendment, it is an ideal to which I believe we should all aspire

. . . .

As a scholar, I also have a strong interest in Hawaiian history, which has been further sparked by my recent participation in the debate over the issues of the 1893 overthrow, race-based government programs in Hawai`i, and the impending Akaka Bill. My father, Walter Benavitz, was a member of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, and participated in the 1987 tour of the Hokule`a. My school, Punahou, was a place of history drawing back to 1841 with a strong Hawaiian studies component.

All of these motivations brought me to the decision that I could no longer remain silent, and allow the racial supremists to dominate the dialogue. Witnessing the current tone and tenor of particular extremists on the issue, those activists inspired the “activist” within me.

It is my sincere hope that with enough constructive discussion, we can overcome our frailties, realize the complexity of “historical truth”, and move beyond the politics of identity. We can and should live in a world that tackles humanitarian issues in a needs-based, race-blind manner.

Ms. Akana’s response to Mr. Krischel’s letter did not do much to continue an open dialogue, rather instructing him to read a number of books meant to open his eyes to the innate racism of his background and the Islands.

She points out that racist attitudes existed in the Islands far into the 20th century (an issue that was not up for debate), and suggests (no doubt to the surprise of Punahou grads everywhere, including—one might think—our current President) that Punahou is an example of that tradition of racism and privilege by pointing out that, “Punahou School was started by the missionaries who did not want to have their children go to school with any Hawaiian or any other minority.”

In her short instruction of Mr. Krischel in her reply, she states that, “You obviously are oblivious not only to Hawaiian History but also to the history of the Japanese and other immigrants who came to Hawaii to work and live. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be so pie in the sky pious with your attitudes.”

In his response, Mr. Krischel deals with the issues of race and historical examples presented by Akana, pointing out that they further emphasize his belief that any race-based policy would be a mistake. Krischel writes:

For example, the fact that Japanese and Chinese immigrants, who were the only ones ever treated like second class citizens under law (see the 1887 Constitution of Hawaii which took away the right to vote from Asians), would be excluded from Hawaiian programs and race-based governments seems like adding insult to injury. My clear understanding of the history of immigration and institutionalized racial discrimination in the past (including race-based pay which put haoles and native Hawaiians on top, Portuguese second, and chinese, japanese and filipino at the bottom), makes me ever more adamant that we should avoid such racial qualifications in the future.

. . . .

if at some point in history someone was racially discriminated against, we don’t achieve justice by racially discriminating against others today. The answer is to remove *all* racial qualifications from *all* laws and government regulations, and to treat people as equals in both blood and spirit now and forevermore. The fact that you could somehow interpret my demand for racial equality as some sort of hidden racism just doesn’t seem rational at all, and is why I must insist on an apology from you.

I hope you understand very clearly that the Akaka Bill, and any government program which decides a person’s worth based upon their racial heritage rather than on their individuality, is poisonous, and just as bad, if not worse, than all of the injustices you listed in your reply to me. While indulging in a spirit of revenge against others may offer some cynical satisfaction, it’s destructive both to the self, and to society. I clearly understand that the world has not always been a kind place to everyone, and that even in Hawaii, we’ve had many injustices in the past (even before western contact in 1778, when the ali’i ruled supreme and the kauwa served as a permanent slave class). But the evils of the past do not justify more evil in the present.

I believe Hawaii is a model for the world because as far back as 1840, our constitution declared that all people were “of one blood”. I believe Hawaii is a model for the world because the Kamehameha Dynasty turned a stone age society into a modern Kingdom in less than a generation by embracing Western ideals, technology and society. I believe Hawaii is a model for the world because despite the rough patches of our history, we are more kapakahi than anywhere else, and in choosing who we will love and have children with, we ignore race with a passion unmatched anywhere else that I know of.

I also believe that what you currently support in the Akaka Bill, and in the preservation of existing race-based programs in Hawaii, including many OHA programs, threatens very deeply what makes Hawaii so special.

Ms. Akana’s next (and final) letter is very short. She states that, “When no reparations or any compensation is given for taking or the stealing of Native lands, Natives have every right to seek justice.” She does not explain how this position fits into the existence of the Bishop Estate Trust or Hawaiian Homelands. Ms. Akana then declines to continue the conversation. At no point does she apologize for calling Mr. Krischel a racist.

Mr. Krischel’s reply to Ms. Akana’s final letter are an eloquent examination of the problem with the language of grievance that Ms. Akana employs as her primary argument:

I’ll respectfully remind you that like many others without any ancestors in Hawaii before 1778, I was born in Hawaii, and didn’t migrate here from *anywhere* else. If you want to point out that my ancestors migrated here from somewhere else over a hundred years ago, I’ll point out that the same is true of the few Marquesans and/or Tahitians in your ancestry who migrated here before Captain Cook arrived in 1778. The “a small fraction of my ancestors were here before yours were” argument is hardly the basis for any form of government, or appropriate for deciding how to apportion resources between people.

Furthermore, your argument regarding Native Alaskans and Native Americans is fatally flawed and based on a terrible, yet apparently very common, misunderstanding of Indian Law by Akaka Bill supporters. Native Alaskans and Native Americans do not have any sort of claim on the US based on their bloodline, and my non-tribal part-Cherokee son can attest to that. There may be federally recognized *tribes* (including the Cherokee Freedmen, who have African American ancestors, and often don’t have any Native American ones), but there is no recognition for someone simply because their ancestors lived somewhere before western contact, which is what the Akaka Bill proposes. Most Native Alaskans and Native Americans, including my son, aren’t part of any tribe at all, and are treated the same way as other non-tribal citizens are. Particularly for Hawaii, where the Kingdom nobly declared in 1840 that all people were “of one blood”, and made no distinction between natives and non-natives, creating a new political relationship based on blood is simply racism, pure and simple.

Lastly, there was no “taking or stealing” of Native lands. You may despise the ali’i for giving away vast tracts of land to their European supporters during the Kingdom Period, and you may despise those native Hawaiians who sold their kuleana lands to non-natives after the Great Mahele, but nothing was taken, and nothing was stolen. Your pursuit of “justice” here, specifically on the basis of bloodline, is terribly misinformed and ignores the true history of the land.

Now, if you’ve got any sort of specific information about a specific acre of land, that was stolen from a specific person, by a specific person, at any specific time in the history of the Kingdom, Republic, Territory or State of Hawaii, please, share with me – I would love to learn if you have something to teach, and with specifics we can work towards rectifying things without any appeal to race.

But simply waving one’s hands and declaring that you, based simply on your bloodline, deserve some sort of reparation or compensation from me, for some unspecified piece of land supposedly stolen from a native Hawaiian by some unspecified person at some unspecified time, is not a rational argument, especially considering that my non-native ancestors in Hawaii, by your own citations in your first reply, were terribly discriminated against and exploited. The children of ali’i asking for reparation and compensation from the children of plantation laborers seems distasteful on every level imaginable.

It is no coincidence that the more people learn about the Akaka Bill, the less comfortable they are with it. Initially swayed by the praiseworthy desire to do something good for Native Hawaiians, the public has been mislead by the Rowena Akanas of this world into thinking that this is a simple “reparations” issue. But as Jere’s examination of Hawaiian history and the philosophical problems with race-based policies demonstrate, the Akaka Bill actually takes Hawaii in the wrong direction.

And the attempts of Ms. Akana to shut down all argument through invective, accusations of racism, and faulty history are an example of just how far the Akaka Bill can take us away from Hawaii’s spirit of aloha and ohana.

To read the full exchange between Jere Krischel and Rowena Akana, click here.

Hawaii Reporter, January 24, 2011

Failed Federal Akaka Lobbying Efforts Costs Taxpayers Millions

JIM DOOLEY – Since 1999, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has spent $3.44 million on an unsuccessful Washington D.C. lobbying effort seeking passage of U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka’s Native Hawaiian Recognition bill, according to U.S. Senate lobbying records.

The total does not include an estimated $2 million spent by OHA to operate a Washington D.C. office, and it excludes travel and other expenses incurred by OHA officials on trips to the capital to urge passage of the Akaka Bill.

OHA has never itemized those additional expenses, although chief executive Clyde Namu’o said in 2006 the agency spent some $900,000 to operate the Washington office from 2003 to 2006.

The OHA spending has far outstripped all other Washington lobbying efforts undertaken by Hawaii-based interests during the past 10 years. The high-water year for OHA spending was 2005, when it’s chief Washington lobbyist, Patton Boggs, spent $660,000 on Akaka Bill activities, according to the Senate lobbying database.

All told, Patton Boggs spent $3.19 million from 2003 through last year on Akaka bill lobbying activities, including contacts with officials at the White House, Senate, House of Representatives and Departments of Justice and Interior, according to disclosure forms.

The lead OHA lobbyist at the firm has been Thomas H. “Tommy” Boggs Jr., an influential Washington figure with close family and professional connections to the Democratic Party.

OHA’s Akaka-bill efforts have also pursued by another Patton Boggs partner, Benjamin Ginsberg, a personal friend of Karl Rove, the Republican Party stalwart who was President George W. Bush’s chief political advisor. Rove’s personal attorney, Robert Luskin, is also a partner in the Patton Boggs firm.

Patton Boggs subcontracted some of its OHA lobbying work in 2006 to another firm with close ties to the then-Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, Bill Frist.

All of the lobbying efforts and spending came to naught. The Akaka bill was never scheduled for a vote in the Senate.

Before signing with Patton Boggs in 2003, OHA used the lobbying services of another once-influential firm, Verner Liipfert Bernhard McPherson and Hand, to promote Native Hawaiian interests n Washington, including self-determination proposals.

Verner Liipfert received $310,000 from OHA from 1999-2001.

One of the firm’s lobbyists was former Hawaii Gov. John Waihee.

OHA annual lobbying expenditures:
2010 $310,000
2009 $290,000
2008 $340,000
2007 $400,000*
2006 $430,000
2005 $680,000*
2004 $440,000
2003 $340,000
2001 $40,000
2000 $140,000
1999 $130,000
* includes $20,000 to law firm Zell & Cox
Source: U.S. Senate Lobbying Database

Honolulu Civil Beat, January 24, 2011

Akaka Bill Fails, Lobbyists Collect $3.2M from OHA

By Chad Blair

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs spent $3,192,547 on lobbyists for the Akaka bill — legislation that has failed to pass since it was first introduced 10 years ago.

OHA revealed the figure, which covers fiscal years 2003 through 2010, in a letter last month to the chairmen of the Hawaii Senate Ways and Means Committee and the Hawaii House Finance Committee.

Republican state Sen. Sam Slom had asked OHA for the lobbying amount at a budget briefing at the state Capitol Jan. 6.

The legislation, also known as the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Bill, hasn't had enough support to pass during the 10 years since its first introduction by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka and then U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie.

Akaka and U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, both Democrats, have vowed to continue fighting for the legislation, even though the U.S. House is now controlled by Republicans and the U.S. Senate has seen its Democrat majority shrink.

Clyde Namuo, OHA's CEO, future spending on the Akaka bill is dependent on the OHA Board of Trustees approval of "a revised strategy currently being developed" by the OHA administration.

When asked this week where OHA's lobbying money was spent — for example, on Washington, D.C., law firms — Namuo said via e-mail, "The expenditures covered a span of seven years and went towards important activities including consulting services, research, monitoring legislation that could impact Native Hawaiians, and educating and informing members of Congress about this important issue."

News reports, including this one in 2006 by The Honolulu Advertiser,
said OHA at the time had paid $1.8 million on Akaka bill lobbying to the D.C. lobbying firm Patton Boggs and $300,000 with another D.C. firm, Zell & Cox.

Civil Beat asked Namuo if he felt the money was well spent, given the bill's history.

"The money was well spent when we consider what is at stake if federal recognition is not ultimately achieved," he replied. "We believe that it is still worth pursuing the passage of some type of legislation which would provide recognition to Native Hawaiians and protection of Native Hawaiian programs."

Sen. Slom told Civil Beat said he was not satisfied with OHA's lobbying figure "and Hawaii taxpayers should not be satisfied, either."

"I don't think that's the entire amount," Slom said of the $3.2 million. "When their budget comes up I will pursue this further."

OHA, a state agency created in the 1978 Hawaii Constitutional Convention, "has functioned operationally as both a government agency with a strong degree of autonomy, and as a trust," according to information available on its website.

OHA's mission is to protect Hawaii's people and environmental resources and OHA's assets "toward ensuring the perpetuation of the culture, the enhancement of lifestyle and the protection of entitlements of Native Hawaiians, while enabling the building of a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation, recognized nationally and internationally."

OHA is funded through a mix of trust funds earmarked for Hawaiians of at least 50 percent blood quantum and funds provided annually by the state Legislature.

OHA has requested $4.8 million from the Legislature for its biennium budget. The office is also currently working with lawmakers to secure $200 million in past-due payments from ceded-land revenues.

The Army Times, January 25, 2011

Murray likely to replace Akaka on vets panel

By Rick Maze - Staff writer

Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, an 86-year-old veteran of World War II, appears to have lost his seat as chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Senate Democrats are expected to vote this week to give the veterans committee post to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Akaka will become chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, according Senate and outside sources.

“This is not much of a secret,” said a consultant who works with many veterans groups. “Akaka’s staff was told about this some time ago.”

Age appears to be a factor in the decision to replace Akaka with Murray, a 60-year-old four-term senator who is part of the Democratic leadership and a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

Murray was the first woman appointed to the veterans’ committee when she was seated on the panel in 1995, which means she also will be its first chairwoman.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee was headed by a woman, Rep. Edith Nourse Rogers, R-Maine, twice, in 1947-48 and again in 1953-54.

Murray has actively pushed for many improvements in veterans’ benefits, including employment help, better health care for women and more money for treating war-related injuries, particularly traumatic brain injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

An Akaka spokesman said there would be no comment from Akaka’s office until the Senate approves the new organization.

But one aide called it “certainly a depressing situation.”

Murray’s office also declined to comment until the Senate finishes committee assignments and makes a formal announcement.

Akaka, a native Hawaiian who witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, went on to serve in the Army Corps of Engineers at the end of the war. He often talks of how the World War II GI Bill helped pay for his college education.

Murray never served in the military, but her father was a disabled World War II veteran. “I know firsthand about the service and sacrifices of our veterans and their families,” she said last summer as she was seeking re-election to a fourth term in the Senate.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, January 26, 2011
Off the News

Congress musical chairs get Akaka smaller seat

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka appears to have lost his chairmanship of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and will become chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, the Navy Times reports.

The newspaper says that according to unnamed Senate and outside sources, Senate Democrats are expected to vote on the decision this week. It quotes a consultant for many veterans groups as saying, "Akaka's staff was told about this some time ago," and reports that an unnamed Akaka aide called it "certainly a depressing situation."

The article says age appears to be a factor in the decision: Akaka is 86 and his expected replacement, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is 60.

The Veterans' Affairs Committee is a second-tier "B" committee with higher standing than Indian Affairs — but, hey, the latter is a select committee with jurisdiction over Akaka's Hawaiian sovereignty bill.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, January 26, 2011

Akaka loses post as Veterans' Affairs chairman

By Derrick DePledge

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka will move from chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee to lead the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, a loss of influence for the state's junior senator.

The Hawaii Democrat, who served in the Army Corps of Engineers in World War II and went to college on the GI Bill for veterans, has been chairman of Veterans' Affairs since January 2007. He is expected to be replaced today by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

As the chairman of Veterans' Affairs and one of the senior members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Akaka was well placed to be an advocate for Hawaii's large military population. His posts also provided leverage for U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its defense subcommittee.

In Washington, D.C., Veterans' Affairs is considered a more influential committee than Indian Affairs.

Indian Affairs, however, has jurisdiction over American Indian, native Hawaiian, and Alaska native policy. Akaka, who is of Hawaiian and Chinese ancestry, has sought for the past decade to advance a native Hawaiian federal recognition bill in the Senate. Versions of the bill have passed Indian Affairs but have been blocked by Senate Republicans who argue it is race-based legislation.

"I am looking forward to chairing the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and working to help all the indigenous people of our country. I believe the United States can serve as a model for the rest of the world in the treatment of its first people," Akaka said in a statement.

"It has been my incredible honor to chair the Veterans' Affairs committee during the past four years. I know Sen. Murray to be a passionate advocate for veterans, and I look forward to continuing to work with her as a senior Democrat on that committee."

Akaka's staff said he is expected to keep his assignments on Armed Services and the Homeland Security and Banking committees. He also could become vice chairman of the Senate Democrats' steering and outreach committee, a leadership post.

Inouye said the move does not mean diminished support for veterans.

"A few weeks ago, Sen. Akaka and I discussed this matter," he said in a statement. "He had strong feelings, understandably, on the future of native Hawaiian self-determination and the rights of all indigenous people in America. It was a difficult meeting because Sen. Akaka is a World War II veteran and a long-standing champion of veterans' issues."

Akaka, 86, has said he plans to run for re-election to a fifth six-year term in 2012. Former Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, has said she will consider running for the Senate.

There has been talk privately in political circles that Akaka might be vulnerable to a challenge from Lingle or even a primary opponent. Akaka was able to hold off former U.S. Rep. Ed Case in the 2006 primary after receiving state and national help from the party's establishment and progressive wings.

"I think we're always concerned of vulnerability. Obviously, there are many, many good candidates of very many different stripes," said Dante Carpenter, chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. "There's always competition, and in a way that makes it good, more challenging, and makes us much sharper."

Dylan Nonaka, executive director of the state GOP, believes Akaka is vulnerable. "He's been ineffective for years," he said. "And I think by a strong challenge, he would be vulnerable — definitely — in 2012."

Hawaii Reporter, January 26, 2011

The Price of Failure at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs

BY MALIA HILL – Over at Hawaii Reporter, a new report has revealed that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has spent $3.44 million since 1999 on its (ultimately failed) lobbying efforts in support of the Akaka Bill.

And this doesn’t include the approximately $2 million OHA spent to operate a Washington, DC office or any other expenses (such as travel) spent in pursuance of OHA’s pro-Akaka effort.

Of course, OHA has never been particularly forthcoming about that portion of its spending that it would prefer to remain obscure.

So we know that–according to its own Annual Report–in fiscal year 2009, OHA spent $13,686,447 in its Native Hawaiian granting efforts in fiscal year 2009–including $454,456 for health, $1,056,578 on economic development, $354,456 on “nation building”, and $1,866,993 for “native rights, land, and culture.”

And thanks to the data available on, we know that in FY2009, OHA spent $1,017,632.90 on Personnel Services, $1, 411,058.63 on the vague and mysterious “Services on a Fee Basis”, and a head-scratching $46.94 for “Telephone.”

So who benefited from the OHA lobbying effort? Considering that the legislation–despite a brief flurry of activity in the Democratic Congress–eventually went nowhere, the most obvious beneficiaries of OHAs efforts was not Native Hawaiians or Hawaii’s taxpayers, but rather the Washington, DC office of Patton Boggs–a large law firm specializing in (amongst other things) lobbying. And one of whose lobbyists was (and its hard to think that this is a coincidence) former Governor John Waihee.

The truly interesting thing about OHA’s rather significant lobbying expenditures is that there is no clear consensus of opinion on the advisability of the Akaka Bill, either among the Hawaiian public at large, or even among Native Hawaiians, a group of whom even attempted to sue OHA for straying too far from its mission in its pro-Akaka activities.

Although the benefits of the Akaka Bill can be debated by both sides, the one organization that unquestionable benefits from its passage (in terms of political power and financial considerations) is the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. So, in essence, the Hawaiian taxpayers have been paying for a department of the state government to lobby for more power and money for itself in Washington. And unsuccessfully too.

Along with $20,000 hammers and bridges to nowhere, that may be the very definition of government waste.

Ka Wai Ola [OHA monthly newspaper], February 2011, page 31

Is there life after the Akaka bill? The case for Economic Sovereignty

by Peter Apo, Trustee At-large

There was no lack of trying. Certainly, there was no wavering from committing substantial resources toward the political wayfinding that would result in congressional recognition of Hawaiians as indigenous people and an opportunity to process the notion of a Hawaiian government. What happened? The stars seemed aligned. Democrats controlled the Congress. The President is from Hawai‘i. Hawai‘i’s Republican Governor Lingle signed on and urged every Republican in Washington to support its passage. Congressman Abercrombie deftly ushered it through the House of Representatives, which passed the bill on to what should have been a formality in the U.S. Senate, where Sen. Dan Inouye sits as one of the most powerful men in the country. Hawaiians should have been planning a celebration.

Instead we sit with fallen spirit wondering where we go from here. Auwë. Yet the dialogue has begun within OHA to shape a renewed strategy in pursuit of federal recognition and the vision of a government reorganization act leading to the nation of Hawai‘i.

As we regroup and rethink our next steps to achieve political sovereignty, perhaps we should refocus the considerable resources held by the collective Hawaiian community toward a goal that doesn’t require a congressional act or asking anyone’s permission to achieve. Let us pursue the path of a Hawaiian future that is totally within our control to navigate. Let us turn our attention toward the notion of Economic Sovereignty. We don’t need political sovereignty to achieve economic sovereignty. If one were to tally up the lands and cash assets that are already under the direct control of the major Hawaiian institutions, that is the collective institutional wealth of the Hawaiian community, we have, at our command, a staggering economic capacity. The major players are Kamehameha Schools, Queen Lili‘uokalani Trust, Queen Emma Trust and Land Company, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Then, there are millions of dollars in federal entitlement programs that continue to accrue to the Hawaiian community. Consider the compelling picture that emerges. The collective wealth of these Hawaiian institutions includes hundreds of thousands of acres of land in fee-simple title as well as billions of dollars in cash assets. Hawaiians have emerged collectively as the single wealthiest ethnic group in the history of Hawai‘i. Our collective economic base is bigger than the Big Five! I wonder what might be possible if we tried to connect the institutional dots and rise to the kuleana of forging a common vision of a Hawaiian economic future, one that serves Hawaiians in ways that would also lift the economy of the entire state in a sharing of the wealth. What would it take to assemble our institutional economic leaders into a puwalu, or collective, to forge a Hawai‘i nation economy? Why do we need to beg for the right to exercise nationhood? We are a nation. All we have to do is to behave and act like one.

I am cautioned that flaunting our collective wealth will only fuel the fire created by those who challenge the constitutionality of and need for government-sponsored entitlement programs. But this is not a reason to not act like a nation. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy when we posture ourselves as professional victims and cling to the government-dependent models that keep us disenfranchised. Let us defend the entitlements as justice earned in settlement of our claims for reconciliation.

Meanwhile, we have tremendous capacity. We can become major players in shaping Hawai‘i’s growth. All we have to do is laulima. Work together. The time has come. The opportunity is here. We have but to seize it.

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Hawaii Reporter, February 3, 2011

House Bill 1627 Would Create a State-Recognized Hawaiian Tribe

BY KENNETH R. CONKLIN, PH.D. – HB1627 is a bill in the Hawaii legislature to create a state-recognized ethnic Hawaiian tribe. In view of the failure of the Akaka bill in Congress, HB1627 contains much of the worst language from that bill but brought over from the federal to the state level. The bill’s text is 37 pages long and can be downloaded from

The hearing notice became available only Thursday morning February 3, with written testimony due by 9:45 AM Friday, for a hearing to be held at 9:45 AM Saturday February 5. How’s that for short notice! Do they really want to hear from us? The notice says decision-making will follow the hearing. But sometimes decisions are postponed. Testimony can be submitted “late” in case the committee does not make a decision immediately. See the hearing notice for details on time and place of the hearing, and how to submit testimony by way of the internet.

Here is the testimony I submitted on Thursday. Feel free to expand on any portions you like, or make your own points.

To the House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs:

HB1627 is fundamentally the same as the federal Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill, also known as the Akaka bill; except that instead of having the federal government recognize the Akaka tribe, this bill would have only the State of Hawaii recognizing that tribe.

The clear purpose of the bill is to authorize the creation of an entity with governmental powers, but restricted to people who have at least one drop of Hawaiian native blood.

That racist concept is unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Since all legislators have taken an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution, any legislator who votes in favor of this bill has thereby violated that oath and must resign from office.

The concept of this bill also violates the first sentence of the first Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii, sometimes called the “kokokahi” (one blood) sentence, which proclaimed “Ua hana mai ke Akua i na lahuikanaka a pau i ke koko hookahi, e noho like lakou ma ka honua nei me ke kuikahi, a me ka pomaikai.” In English, it can be translated into modern usage as follows: “God has made of one blood all races of people to dwell upon this Earth in unity and blessedness.” What a beautiful and eloquently expressed concept! HB1627 is an ugly and disgusting violation of that kokokahi sentence. King Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III wrote the kokokahi sentence as the first sentence of his Declaration of Rights in 1839, which was then incorporated in its entirety to become the preamble of the Constitution of 1840. In making that proclamation the King exercised sovereignty and self-determination on behalf of his native people, and on behalf of all people of all races who were subjects and residents of his Kingdom.

Today’s Hawaiians are ethically bound to respect the wisdom of their ancestors. They are also legally and morally bound to respect the full partnership between natives and non-natives which enabled the Kingdom to be established and to thrive. All subjects of the Kingdom were fully equal under Kingdom laws, regardless of race, including voting rights and property rights. When partners work together in full equality to create and sustain a business or nation, it is morally and legally wrong for one partner to toss out or set aside or segregate other partners.

A zealous minority within the ethnic Hawaiian minority demands racial separatism. Should we allow that? Will you legislators be accomplices to such evil?

Consider the historical struggle for identity within the African-American community. Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam, and the early Malcolm X, advocated racial separatism and portrayed the white man as a devil. Some radicals called for setting aside several southern states for a Nation of New Africa. Fortunately Martin Luther King used Gandhi’s spiritual tool of non-violence to appeal to people’s inner goodness, which led to full integration. After his pilgrimage to Mecca Malcolm X understood the universal brotherhood of people of all races, but was gunned down by the separatists when he tried to persuade them to pursue integration.

In Hawaii we see a similar struggle now unfolding. Some demagogues use racial grievances to stir up hatred, and leaders use victimhood statistics to build wealthy and powerful institutions on the backs of needy people who end up getting very little help.

The Akaka bill, and HB1627, would empower the demagogues and racial separatists. These bills are supported primarily by large, wealthy institutions; not by the actual people they claim to represent. Institutions like the $400 Million Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the $9 Billion Kamehameha Schools, seek to entrench their political power. They want an exemption from the 14th Amendment requirement that all persons be given the equal protection of the laws regardless of race.

But Hawaiians are voting with their feet against the Akaka bill. After seven years and untold millions of dollars in state government money for advertising (and free T-shirts!), fewer than one-fourth of those eligible have signed up for the Kau Inoa racial registry likely to be used as a membership roll for the Akaka tribe. Sadly, if either the Akaka bill or HB1627 passes then the separatists will be able to create their tribe even though the majority of ethnic Hawaiians oppose the idea. And 80% of Hawaii’s people, having no native blood, will see our beautiful Hawaii carved up without even asking us. Do the racial separatists have a right to go off in a corner and create their own private club for members only? Perhaps. But should the rest of us give them our encouragement and our resources to enable them to do that? Absolutely not.

It’s time for this legislature to stop encouraging racial separatism. It’s time to stand up in support of unity and equality. Just say no to HB1627 and all other bills motivated by the same mentality.

The Maui News, February 4, 2011

Haku Mo‘olelo [The title of a regular Friday column by this writer]


By any political estimate, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act commonly known as the Akaka Bill is dead in the 112th Congress.

For Hawaiian sovereignty claimants, it is another opportunity to prove they can establish a Hawaiian governing entity that is representative of Hawaiians and their priorities.

The key to the opportunity is President Barack Obama's decision in December to endorse the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in September 2007, the declaration is largely a statement of principles "as a standard of achievement to be pursued in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect."

It has many elements that parallel Hawaiian claims. For example, Article 26 of the declaration specifies: "Indigenous peoples have the rights to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired."

That the 15-page declaration applies to virtually all issues raised by Hawaiian sovereignty claimants only illustrates the extent to which the Hawaiian experience is not unique. Indigenous communities around the world have been colonized, displaced or eradicated by technologically dominant societies through the eons.

The declaration itself carries no force of law. It does not mandate nations to negotiate with displaced indigenous peoples. It suggests they should and should adhere to the principles conveyed in the declaration.

The conservative Fox News Network solicited comment from John Bolton - the Bush-era interim U.N. ambassador known to be blunt, undiplomatic and to spin facts to suit his arguments. Bolton said endorsing the declaration opens the United States to legal claims of indigenous people, even with a closing provision that restricts claims "to limitations as are determined by law." ("Obama's reversal on 'indigenous peoples' rights stirs concern over legal claims,", Dec. 25, 2010)

The State Department said the declaration is not legally binding on the United States. But the department accepted that "it carries considerable moral and political force." That suggests the U.S. accepts that indigenous people in the United States have legitimate claims that need to be resolved.

The Akaka Bill was an attempt to resolve Hawaiian claims, but it amounted to a grant bestowed by the federal government, with the government determining what rights were to be granted. Still, the bill and Hawaii laws accept the necessity of a Hawaiian governing entity to re-establish indigenous rights.

The obstacle is that there is no Hawaiian governing entity.

The closest to an indigenous governing entity is Ka Lahui Hawaii, ( which held an independent election process and formulated a constitution. But according to its website, it counts only 8,000 Hawaiians as "citizens." It is not representative of all Hawaiians. A majority of an estimated 120,000 people who consider themselves indigenous Hawaiians is not signed on.

There can be no recognized governing Hawaiian entity as long as the Hawaiian community itself remains fractured by competing factions who challenge the standing of other Hawaiian groups. Indigenous people seeking recognition of their rights need to present a unified face.

The indigenous people of Hawaii will need to prove they can achieve governance - organize themselves into a credible governing entity - before their governing entity can begin to negotiate their sovereignty claims.

Bolton, who held the United Nations in disdain for allowing minor nations to have a voice in obstructing major power policies, is correct. The U.N. declaration can be used to fuel new legal claims by indigenous people in the United States.

They cannot do it as splintered factions with conflicting goals.

Hawaii Reporter, February 7, 2011

Akaka Bill Lite

BY LEON SIU - The State House of Representatives Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, chaired by Rep. Faye Hanohano, held a hearing today on HB 1627 — a clone of the Akaka bill, modified for implementation by the State, instead of the Federal government.

Having failed for 10+ years to pass the infamous “federal recognition act” (Akaka bill), its chronic supporters, Akaka, Inouye, the Governor, OHA and DHHL, etc., now want the Fake State of Hawaii to ‘have a go’ at creating the “reorganized Native Hawaiian governing entity”…sort of an ‘Akaka bill lite.’

HB1627 is incredibly ridiculous on several levels, not the least of which is that the legislature of the State of Hawaii has no constitutional authority (either US or State) to spin off such a semi-autonomous governing body from itself. This is a pesky detail that apparently none of its advocates or legislators bothered to ask the attorney general or any other legal counsel. When you’re desperate, you make these kind of mistakes. Even as opposition testimonies pointed out the bill’s numerous inaccuracies, inconsistencies and false statements, the lawmakers remained clueless.

The only committee member who wondered out loud whether the object of HB 1627 was legal or not was Rep. Gene Ward. Nevertheless, he accepted the beat-around-the-bush answer from one of the proponents and the committee passed the measure, patting themselves on the back for opening up dialog about this important topic.

Opening up dialog? Hello!? Where have you been over the past 10 years while the Akaka bill was raging in Congress and we were screaming about this scheme to subjugate the Hawaiian people into an Indian tribe? Oh that’s right, all hearings and debates were kept 5,000 miles away in Washington, D.C. No wonder Hawaii’s legislators are so ignorant about the true nature of this bill.

The good thing is now the debate is here where it belongs…where we can really sink our claws into it.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, February 11, 2011

Chief Akaka Bill foe: Going, but not gone yet

If there was a nice, aloha-spirited way to say "good riddance," backers of the Hawaiian federal recognition bill would be saying it to Jon Kyl, Republican senator of Arizona.

He, like the bill's sponsor, Hawaii Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka, is up for re-election in 2012. But Kyl, perhaps the measure's most outspoken opponent, has decided not to run.

Of course, he'll still be around meanwhile to block it, and whether the bill could clear the GOP-led House seems unlikely, anyway.

** Note from website editor Ken Conklin: The Washington Post published an article about Senator Kyl's announcement on February 10, although the article did not mention the Akaka bill. See:

Austin American-Statesman
February 20, 2011

Written by: Meghan Ashford-Grooms
Researched by: Meghan Ashford-Grooms

Rick Perry on Tuesday, November 2, 2010, in his book, said some in Congress are trying "to create a separate government for those with a drop of Native Hawaiian blood."

In his book "Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington," Gov. Rick Perry envisions a time when "race-based thinking is relegated to the bigot in the corner and not embraced by our nation's laws."

Among the examples of "race-based thinking," he writes, is "the mind-boggling effort of some in Congress to create a separate government for those with a drop of Native Hawaiian blood (just Google it — it's unbelievable)."

Alrighty. We typed "Native Hawaiian government" and "drop of blood" into Google. That led us to websites and opinion articles critical of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, known as the Akaka Bill after Democratic U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, who has been proposing the legislation in Congress since 2000.

Among the critiques was a Feb. 17, 2009, letter from retired college professor Kenneth Conklin to President Barack Obama urging him to oppose the legislation. Conklin, who maintains a website opposing the legislation and has written a book, Hawaiian Apartheid — Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State, says in the letter: "The whole purpose of the Akaka Bill is to divide the lands and people of Hawaii along racial lines, to declare that the descendants of natives should be a hereditary elite with a racially exclusionary government walling out all who lack a drop of the magic blood."

That's not what Akaka says on a Web page promoting his proposal. The page, titled "Native Hawaiian Federal Recognition," says his legislation outlines "a process for the reorganization of the Native Hawaiian governing entity for the purpose of establishing a federally recognized government-to-government relationship with the United States, consistent with U.S. policy towards its indigenous peoples."

The site also says "the federal policy of self-governance and self-determination has not yet been formally extended to Native Hawaiians" and that his proposal is intended to achieve parity among indigenous American Indians, Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians.

A Dec. 22 Associated Press news article says: "Native Hawaiians are the last remaining indigenous people in the United States that haven't been allowed to establish their own government, a right already extended to Alaska Natives and Native American tribes."

There have been many versions of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act over the years, though Akaka spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke told us its main goal — federal recognition and self-governance for Native Hawaiians — hasn't changed. We looked at the legislation that was in the congressional pipeline when Perry was writing his book last year. After passing the House in February 2010, it stalled in the Senate.

Would anyone with "a drop of Native Hawaiian blood" be subject to the proposed new government, as Perry claims?

Turns out, the bill doesn't set a minimum percentage of native blood for those who would qualify to be a member — the equivalent of a citizen — of the new entity. Such details will be decided during the drafting of the entity's governing documents, which would be subject to federal certification.

However, the legislation does set an ancestry requirement for those who want to join the "roll" of Native Hawaiians who will help set up the entity, including by taking part in the writing of the governing documents; they would have to be "direct lineal descendants" of Hawaii's indigenous people.

According to Black's Law Dictionary, a lineal descendant is a blood relative in the direct line of descent — children, grandchildren, and so on. Out of 317 federally recognized tribes, 98 have no blood requirement and instead determine membership by lineal descent, according to "Changing Numbers, Changing Needs: American Indian Demography and Public Health," a research volume published in 1996.

According to a provision that Van Dyke says was added to the legislation in late 2009, members of the roll must also demonstrate that they have "a significant cultural, social, or civic connection to the Native Hawaiian community."

Finally, we looked at whether the Native Hawaiian governing entity would operate as a "separate government," as Perry says.

Akaka says on his Web page that members of the entity would be subject to the jurisdiction of state and federal courts, as well as state regulation, taxation and legislative authority. The legislation doesn't create a reservation in Hawaii or authorize private lands to be taken, the page says. The entity could enter into negotiations with the federal government and State of Hawaii over land transfers, but resulting agreements would need federal and state authorization to become effective, according to the page. The entity could not create its own military nor secede from the United States.

Testifying before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Aug. 6, 2009, Sam Hirsch, deputy associate attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department, said that "in recognizing a Native Hawaiian sovereign entity, Congress would in effect determine that Native Hawaiians constitute a distinct community as it has done with Indian tribes."

According to an October 2005 Congressional Research Service analysis of the proposal: "That tribes are governments having rights over their land and populace is a foundational element in the federal government’s relationship with Indians."

But some question whether Congress has the authority to equate Native Hawaiians with American Indians.

Most tribes have long lived together under tribal governments, said Stuart Benjamin, a professor at Duke University School of Law, in his testimony before the Senate committee. But Native Hawaiians are a more diverse, loosely connected — and dispersed — people, he said, quoting U.S. Census Bureau data indicating that more than 40 percent of the population lives outside the state. "No tribe has ever had the paucity of connections that exist among Native Hawaiians," Benjamin said.

In a Dec. 7 letter to Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. senato, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights reiterated its 2006 opposition to the Akaka measure or any legislation that would "discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."

So how does Perry's Google-it statement shake out?

The proposal would authorize a separate government for Native Hawaiians, one that proponents say would give the group the same right to self-governance extended to other indigenous people. However, the legislation doesn't specify ancestry requirements — drops of blood or otherwise — for those who would ultimately be represented by the proposed government.

We rate his statement Half True.


** Sidebar:
About this statement:
Published: Sunday, February 20th, 2011 at 6:00 a.m.

Subjects: Diversity, Legal Issues

Gov. Rick Perry, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save American From Washington, page 173

Library of Congress, Thomas database, H.R. 2314, Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, 111th Congress

Library of Congress, Thomas database, S. 1011, Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, 111th Congress

Library of Congress, Thomas database, S. 3945, Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, 111th Congress

Kenneth Conklin, letter to President Barack Obama, Feb. 17, 2009

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii's website, "Native Hawaiian Federal Recognition"

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii's website, "Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act: Frequently Asked Questions"

Associated Press, "Native Hawaiians move ahead with nation building," Dec. 22, 2010

Interview with Jesse Broder Van Dyke, deputy communications director for Sen. Daniel Akaka, Jan. 28, 2011

Gary D. Sandefur et al., "Changing Numbers, Changing Needs: American Indian Demography and Public Health," 1996

Sam Hirsch, deputy associate attorney general, U.S. Justice Department, testimony before Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Aug. 6, 2009

Congressional Research Service, "S. 147/H.R. 309: Process for Federal Recognition of a Native Hawaiian Governmental Entity," Oct. 11, 2005

Stuart Benjamin, professor, Duke University School of Law, testimony before Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Aug. 6, 2009

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, letter to vice president and senators, Dec. 7, 2010

The Maui News, February 26, 2011, Letter to editor

Akaka’s appointment could be dangerous

Daniel Akaka, voted by Time magazine in 2006 as one of the worst U.S. senators, calling him "a master of the minor resolution and the bill that dies in committee," has been appointed chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. Good luck, Indians.

Shuffling between free meals at the taxpayers' expense, he wanders the halls of our Capitol clutching his Akaka Bill, a bill many of my Hawaiian friends contend is a death blow to the sovereignty movement here. This guy couldn't be more of an Uncle Tom if he was wearing a grass skirt and a couple of coconut shells.

Perhaps it's a good thing, seeing as how this bill has been endorsed by former Gov. Linda Lingle, poster girl for the Protestant ethic plantation bosses and assuredly no big friend to the Hawaiian nation. His decades of ineptitude may help in allowing it to smolder, much like him, in committee until it rots away.

I am neither Hawaiian nor Indian so the decision is ultimately up to them. However, as for Indian Affairs, remember that the home team of the Washington politicians is called the Redskins. Enough said.

Robert Shaw

KITV4, February 28, 2011

State-Level Akaka Bill Stirs Controversy
Effort To Recognize Native Hawaiian Entity Is Opposed By Some Groups

Daryl Huff KITV 4 News Reporter

HONOLULU -- With the Native Hawaiian Recognition Bill highly unlikely to pass Congress, the state Legislature is moving on a similar bill that would begin the process of establishing a Native Hawaiian government entity that would negotiate with the state and federal government in a manner similar to Native Americans.

At a joint hearing Monday of the Senate Ways and Means and Judiciary committees, opponents of the bill insisted on testifying, even though Judiciary Chairman Clayton Hee said previous committees have heard substantial testimony.

The proposal is opposed by advocates for full Hawaiian independence, because it assumes continued U.S. and state government control of Hawaii. The proposal would require Native Hawaiians to prove ancestry and vote, first on delegates to a convention and then on the product of the convention's work.

The committees approved the bills, with a two no votes from Republican Sen. Sam Slom and Democrat Sen. Will Espero.

The Native Hawaiian Recognition Bill, also known as the Akaka Bill after Sen. Daniel Akaka, has stalled on Capitol Hill after years of attempts to pass it.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, March 1, 2011
The Washington Examiner
and many other newspapers nationwide served by Associated Press.

Bills allow state to give Hawaiians self-governance
The measures are limited alternatives to the failed Akaka Bill

By Mark Niesse
Associated Press

Hawaii could grant native Hawaiians self-government rights after federal proposals to do so failed.

Two Senate committees advanced legislation yesterday that would set up a process for native Hawaiians to negotiate directly with the governor for land and money. The two bills move to the full Senate for votes this month. If passed, they would be taken up in the House.

"The state holds most of the ceded lands, not the federal government, and having the ability to negotiate with the state for some of our lands back so that we can create a trust for the Hawaiian people is huge. It's very important," said Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Rowena Akana.

The proposals recognize Hawaiians as the indigenous people of the state and call for a commission to form a roll of Hawaiians qualified to be part of their future government. One of the bills goes a step further by setting up a process for ratification of governing documents, forming a governing council and appropriation of money to be spent by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Native Hawaiians are the last remaining indigenous people in the United States who have not been allowed to establish their own government, a right already extended to Alaska Natives and American Indian tribes.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, sought federal recognition for 11 years without success in Congress.

"The Legislature, especially after the Akaka Bill has failed, is attempting to get into the act and trying to ... drive this process to essentially reflect the integrationist approach by repeating what the Akaka Bill didn't do on the federal level," testified Poka Laenui, chairman for the Native Hawaiian Convention.

He opposed the measures because he said the Hawaiian community — not the state Legislature — should decide on a process for its future government.

"We Hawaiian people ourselves need to create our nation," said Lela Hubbard in testimony before the Senate Judiciary and Ways and Means committees.

A previous effort by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, called Kau Inoa, gathered 108,000 signatures of people showing interest in a Hawaiian governing entity. But those signatures would not have formed a roll of people eligible to participate in such a government.

There are about 400,000 native Hawaiians nationwide, with about half of them living in Hawaii.

"There should be an effort at the state level to do what the federal government has not been able to accomplish," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Clayton Hee (D, Kahuku-Kaneohe). "This would be a nation within the state of Hawaii. This is not new ground. Other indigenous nations exist in other states."

Eligibility for participating in governance varies between the two bills. One limits the government to people who are direct descendants of Hawaii's indigenous people or descended from someone eligible for government programs authorized by the 1921 Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. The other bill expands eligibility to those with significant connections to the Hawaiian community.

Eventual federal recognition for native Hawaiians would remain a possibility.

Ka Wai Ola (OHA monthly newspaper),
March 1, 2011, page 23, letter to editor

Supporting the Akaka bill in the Pacific Northwest

On Martin Luther King Day there is an annual parade/march down the street where I live in Seattle, Washington.

This year, I decided to participate in a special way by holding up a sign on my porch for all to see: It had the Hawaiian flag in the center and underneath:
"Sovereignty and self-determination for Hawai‘i nei/
The Akaka bill in 2011."

I received great response from members in the parade, some of them who know me personally and my involvement with Hawai‘i. …

I hope to do this again next year. (Unless, of course, the bill passes before then.)

Beverly Mendheim
former Hawai‘i resident

** Note from Ken Conklin: The word "nei" means "here" so "Hawaii Nei" should be used only by someone who is physically present in Hawaii, not Seattle.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, March 2, 2011
Breaking News, 3:56 PM

Full text of Akaka's announcement

By U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka

Senator will serve out the rest of his term and allow Hawaii voters to choose his successor

WASHINGTON, D.C. >> U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) issued the following statement today:

After months of thinking about my political future, I am announcing today that I have decided not to run for re-election in 2012. As many of you can imagine, it was a very difficult decision for me.

However, I feel that the end of this Congress is the right time for me to step aside. It has been a great honor and privilege to serve the people of Hawaii. In 2006, the people of Hawaii gave me an opportunity to continue my service in the United States Senate and I fully intend to serve the last two years of my term in office.

At the end of this term, I will have served almost 22 years in the United States Senate and, prior to that, more than 13 years in the United States House of Representatives. I am proud of my accomplishments and my incredible staff in Washington, D.C. and Hawaii.

They have exemplified the true meaning of being a public servant. They have worked tirelessly and without their dedication and loyalty, I could not have accomplished all that I did.

Millie and I will return to Hawaii at the end of this Congress and spend time with our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I would also like to spend time documenting my life and career, and serving as a mentor to future political leaders. I have always strived to serve the people with much love and aloha, never forgetting my humble beginnings, and it is my hope that they, too, will continue this tradition. We must never forget that we, as political leaders, work for the people of Hawaii and not the special interests.

I will always cherish the time I spent working in Washington, D.C., and extend my heartfelt thanks to the people of Hawaii for their confidence in me.

I would like to thank my family, my staff and my friends for their unwavering support. I would like to especially thank my wife, Millie, for her continuous support and encouragement. I could not have done it without her.

Finally, I would like to thank Senator Dan Inouye. I will forever be grateful for his friendship and steadfast support.

Houston Chronicle, March 2, 2011, breaking news 9:38 PM

Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii won't seek re-election

By MARK NIESSE Associated Press

** Excerpts related to Akaka bill

HONOLULU — Democratic U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii announced Wednesday he won't run for re-election next year after 22 years in the Senate.

The 86-year-old Akaka — the third-oldest member of the Senate — becomes the seventh recent senator to announce plans to retire.

"It was a very difficult decision for me. However, I feel that the end of this Congress is the right time for me to step aside," Akaka said in a statement. "I have always strived to serve the people with much love and aloha."

Akaka, the only U.S. senator of Native Hawaiian or Chinese ancestry, suffered a major defeat in December when he failed to get a full Senate vote on legislation granting Native Hawaiians the right to form their own government. The measure, known as the Akaka bill, had been the senator's priority for the last 11 years, but its progress has stalled indefinitely.

Then last week, Hawaii's other senator — Daniel Inouye — said he wouldn't be able to provide Akaka the financial support he has in the past. Inouye, a powerful force in Democratic circles, gave $300,000 to the national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2006 to help Akaka defeat a rival for the party nomination, former U.S. Rep. Ed Case. Akaka previously said he intended to run in 2012, but he had just $66,000 in cash on hand at the end of the year, far short of the amount he'd likely need to mount a successful campaign.

Lingle said in a statement that Akaka served the state honorably. "I worked closely with the senator to gain support for the Akaka bill, and I still have hopes that this important legislation will come to fruition during the remainder of his term," she added.

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, March 3, 2011
Press Release Thanking US Senator Daniel Akaka for his Service

by Frances Nuar, Policy Analyst, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii—The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii thanks Senator Daniel Akaka for his many years of service to the State of Hawaii. Although we have had our differences in policy positions, we commend the warming spirit of Aloha that Senator Akaka brought to Washington DC.

Senator Akaka introduced the Akaka bill, which proposed the creation of an independent Hawaiian government. The Grassroot Institute has a long history of work and research regarding the Akaka Bill, such as our policy study on “The Economic Impact of the Akaka Bill: Unintended Consequences for Hawaii”.

The Grassroot Institute believes the Akaka bill is not in the best interest of Hawaiians. A poll conducted yesterday revealed 76% of Star-Advertiser readers stand with us in opposition to the bill.

While the Akaka bill has been tabled indefinitely on the federal level, there has been move to create a State version of the bill recognizing a first nation government in Hawaii, which we also oppose.

The Grassroot Institute looks forward the elections of 2012 and working with new leadership to bring about policies which benefit all Hawaiians, regardless of ethnicity.

4hawaiiansonly blog, March 3, 2011

The State's Akaka End Run

by Malia Blom

For those who thought that the change in Congress meant a respite from the imminent threat of the Akaka Bill, think again. In what might be something of a desperation move, the legislature has introduced a bill that purports to recognize a Native Hawaiian tribe through the state. (Essentially, a state version of the Akaka Bill–you can read the full text here (House version) and here (Senate version).)

I can pick on all sorts of things in this–the historical revisionism, the doubtful claims, the questionable legislative findings–but we’ve been down this path many times before. And you may be thinking that there’s little chance it would pass, or that it would likely fail a test of constitutionality. But that’s not the point. This is pure politics at work. If the legislature can pass the bill, then it operates as a powerful argument in Washington that Hawaii is united behind the Bill–and frankly, the Inside-the-Beltway types tend not to pay much attention to what we are doing out here, so they would likely take that at face value. (And OHA is going to be spending far more money telling them that’s the case than any opponents to Akaka would be able to raise.) There is, however, a bright side. If the state bill were to fail, that would make Congress less inclined to take up the Akaka Bill again. So, if this is an issue you care about, this is a good time to contact your state legislator and share your views.

Hawaii Island Journal, March 3, 2011

If federal government won’t pass a Native Hawaiian Recognition bill, the state may.

After more than a decade of watching the Akaka Bill fail at the federal level, the state is stepping in. On Monday, February 28, 2011, state Senate committees advanced two bills that propose to establish a process by which native Hawaiians would represent themselves in direct negotiations with the governor.

These recent bills have naturally stoked the fires of controversy over the necessity, implementation and long term impact of bills such as these on Hawaiians, non-Hawaiian residents of the state, and the future of the state as a whole.

Some critical concerns worth considering:

• President Obama expressed support for the Akaka Bill. In a statement issued in February of 2010, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs stated that the President “looks forward to signing the bill into law and establishing a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians”. If he had asked native Hawaiians themselves how they felt about the bill, he would have surely received a wide range of responses.

• Some of the strongest opponents of bills such as the Akaka Bill and those being proposed currently by the state Senate are Hawaiians who want full independence. As one advocate of Hawaiian independence, Lela Hubbard, expressed in her testimony to the Senate Judiciary and Ways and Means committees, “We Hawaiian people ourselves need to create our nation”. resource

• One common argument in favor of bills such as these is that native Hawaiians are the last left in the nation to be granted the right to establish their own government. The Star Advertiser even made this claim stating, “Native Hawaiians are the last remaining indigenous people in the United States who have not been allowed to establish their own government, a right already extended to Alaska Natives and American Indian tribes”.

The truth is, there are numerous tribes whom have yet to receive recognition from the federal government. This fact does not make the lack of legal recognition acceptable. But it also doesn’t make for a very strong argument.

• If a bill like this is passed, how will eligibility to participate in the process and negotiations on behalf of native Hawaiians be determined? The two bills currently being considered differ on this point. While one bill extends eligibility to people with considerable connections to the Hawaiian community, the other bill, if passed, would require proof that one is a direct descendant of either Hawaii’s indigenous people or of someone eligible for government programs established by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.

• Is it reasonable to think that the same laws and policies implemented for Native Americans can be applied here in Hawaii? What would the effects of a bill like this look like on the ground? On the mainland, some tribes have been given reservation lands. But Hawaii is not the mainland and does not have massive tracts of land to grant to different groups of people. Certainly, one could argue that all of the lands of Hawaii belong to the native people. However, there are all kinds of people living on the land now and who is to say that a New York resident that has 1% Hawaiian blood and has never stepped foot on these islands has more right to the land than an ethnically Polynesian person born and raised on this land?

The situation here in Hawaii is unique to Hawaii and should be treated as such, rather than compared to and modeled after the mainland. Before any legislation is passed it would be wise to consider the least divisive ways to recognize and respect native Hawaiian rights while also respecting multiculturalism, one of the very aspects of our islands that makes them so unique.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, March 4, 2011
Letter to editor

Hawaiians are not like Indians

Now it's a state Indian tribe?

Hawaii's media repeat that unlike Indians and Alaskan natives, native Hawaiians are the only indigenous people without some sort of sovereignty. This characterization does not reference determinative historical distinctions noted by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Rice v. Cayetano case. Unlike Indians and Alaskans, native Hawaiians themselves determined to abandon pure monarchy and voluntarily became a multiracial constitutional monarchy long before the revolution. Some subjects became naturalized citizens or were born into the constitutional monarchy. Hawaiians have not since lived in tribes or customarily and racially adhered groups like Indians and Alaskans.

Native Hawaiians are much more integrated with many leaders in all aspects of our lives and culture. Most probably voted along with the rest for statehood.

Please, we can help each other regardless of race and preserve our beautiful Hawaiian language and culture without reverting to racism and separatism.

Paul de Silva

The Maui News, Sunday March 6, 2011

A tribute to Sen. Akaka

The announcement Wednesday that Sen. Daniel Akaka will not seek re-election in 2012 set off speculation about who might replace him.

Before we begin to participate in such speculation, we'd like to suggest something to his fellow Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate:

It is time for you to push the Akaka Bill. Its passage is the only fitting tribute to Sen. Akaka's years of service to residents of Hawaii.

Daniel Akaka served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. He received bachelor's and master's degrees in education from the University of Hawaii. He served Hawaii as a teacher and school administrator for years. He went on to serve posts in Hawaii state government before being elected to the U.S. House of Representative in 1976 from the 2nd Congressional District.

He was elected to seven terms in the House before being appointed to the Senate after the death of Spark Matsunaga in April 1990. He has served in the Senate ever since.

The Akaka Bill is the work of his lifetime. As we wrote here a couple of years ago:

"In the briefest of terms, the Akaka Bill would provide a mechanism for Native Hawaiians to establish a form of self-government, along the lines of but not identical to the kind of federal recognition granted Native Americans who, like the Hawaiians, lost control of their own lands during the evolution of the United States of America.

". . . It would also lend some legal protection to a variety of federal, state and private measures designed to aid the Native Hawaiian community, as well as those Hawaiian-based laws that benefit the entire population of the islands, such as universal access to shorelines."

It is time for the members of his party to push to ensure the passage of his signature legislation. It would be tragic if Sen. Akaka retired without this bill becoming law.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

** See letter to editor on March 12, below, responding to this editorial


March 7: Article in Hawaii Reporter, and major new webpage, call for defeat of S.66, a bill in Congress to reauthorize the Native Hawaiian Healthcare system. Many of the bill's political and historical "findings" are also in the Akaka bill, and the webpage attacking S.66 provides detailed rebuttals to them. The Hawaii Reporter article is at
and the webpage is at

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, March 9, 2011

State 'Akaka Bill' needs work

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, broadly nicknamed "the Akaka Bill" after its primary sponsor, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, is also known for its ultimate goal of federal recognition for Hawaiians. The focus has been fixed on that end result, in which the newly formed political group becomes the official representative of the Hawaiian people, as far as the federal government is concerned.

Now that the bill has stalled before political hurdles in the U.S. Capitol -- a bar raised even higher with Akaka's retirement next year -- Hawaiians are seeking another path. The basic idea is a sound one: Start with the reorganization part, and seek federal recognition later. But the devil is in the details, and, depending on the language of the final state legislation, some of the details are troubling.

Two competing bills -- Senate Bills 1 and 1520 -- are moving through the state Capitol, both laying out the steps: creating a voter roll, drawing up the documents of a government, having the electorate ratify it. Then the state would recognize the new political entity, which would render the Office of Hawaiian Affairs extraneous.

When OHA was authorized following the state Constitutional Convention of 1978, the delegates -- and the voters who ratified the amendments -- reflected a consensus that Hawaiians deserved a share of revenue from lands that were ceded to the U.S. following the overthrow of the monarchy.

This revenue formed the corpus of the Native Hawaiian Trust Fund, which underwrites many programs aimed at bettering conditions for Hawaii's indigenous people. OHA became "a trust vehicle to act on behalf of native Hawaiians until a native Hawaiian governing entity could be reestablished," according to SB 1.

Either bill would enable the closing of that loop, putting an indigenous government in charge of the trust fund and other assets that OHA now controls. That ultimately would be a fuller measure of sovereignty, albeit one within the confines of the state, than having a state agency run things.

Unfortunately, both bills involve the state too directly in the government formation, drafting some combination of governor, House speaker and Senate president to appoint the initial commission that creates the voter roll. Both also would appropriate tax funds for implementation. Once the state becomes so enmeshed in an action benefiting only a specific ethnic group, the action runs the risk of a constitutional challenge. It would be better if only money that was set aside for indigenous programs -- the trust fund -- be used.

Further, at least SB 1 leaves too many things unsaid. It should be plainly stated that members of the new government will be subject to state and federal laws. Changes to the Hawaiian government powers will be negotiated with the state, according to the bill, but what rights exist at the start is never defined. They're merely described as "inherent powers and privileges of self-government." That's pretty murky and sure to put off many people, including those who otherwise might support the overall goal of the measure.

Some better approaches have been floated by OHA, which would have most of the key decisions made by a panel that's unaffiliated with a state agency, and certainly not funded with tax dollars. The wiser course of action at this point would be to table these bills until they can be repaired. While Akaka Bill backers are surely frustrated that legislation has stalled at the federal level, it makes no sense to charge ahead with a state bill that could easily land the state in another legal quagmire.

Maui News, March 9, 2011, Letter to editor

Lawmakers need to listen to people on government

The state Legislature is prematurely rushing through SB1 and SB1520 to create the kind of tribal government for Native Hawaiians like the Akaka Bill had sought from the federal level for the past 11 years. With so many more pressing critical matters, they need to be careful with how they allocate the state's resources.

Unfortunately, Hawaii lawmakers have not spent the time to carefully vet and consider the ramifications. Rushing through this legislation would violate the people's right to participate in the democratic decision-making process.

Instead of hurriedly passing something that would so drastically alter the state's governing structure, the Legislature needs to defer action. Take at least a year to hear what the people in our communities have to say, carefully study all the factors and ramifications then make a decision.

Riki Torres-Pestana

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, March 12, 2011
Letter to editor

New 'Akaka Bill' needs vetting

The comments on Senate Bills 1 and 1520 were good and appropriate (State 'Akaka Bill' needs work," Star-Advertiser, Our View, March 9).

Why do we need to rush to judgment when this issue has been around for years? It would be nice to get it right the first time for a change.

What would be even nicer is an appropriately worded resolution put to a public vote in a general election.

Let's not kid ourselves. Whatever the rights of the Hawaiian people to income from ceded lands, the money derived from that source should be distributed equitably among all citizens of the state.

How this could be done should be explained clearly before any vote or decisions are made.

Paul Tyksinski

The Maui News, March 12, 2011
Letter to editor

Bill should not be passed just to honor Akaka

The March 6 editorial, "A tribute to Sen. Akaka," urged Democrats "to push to ensure the passage of his signature legislation. It would be tragic if Sen. Akaka retired without this bill becoming law."

But don't worry. All three times the Akaka Bill passed the House every Democrat voted in favor of it except four. For 11 years, Republicans filibustered in the Senate. In 2006, every Democrat voted in favor of cloture. Thank goodness for Republicans.

Akaka spent all his political capital trying to get goodies for ethnic Hawaiians rather than working for all of Hawaii's and America's people.

His biggest success was passing the history-twisting apology resolution in 1993 - a resolution used repeatedly to divide people by race - to make demands for reparations and racial entitlements from state and federal governments.

From 2000 to now he's been known for one thing - the Akaka Bill. Note the word "the," suggesting this has been his only bill worth mentioning.

Akaka is portrayed as a super-mellow Mr. Nice Guy. Maybe he is.

Now comes the editorial saying, basically, "Do it for the Gipper" and pass the Akaka Bill as some sort of gold watch for his retirement.

Nonsense. We should never pass legislation merely as a capstone for someone's career. Especially a racist, divisive piece of garbage like the Akaka Bill.

Kenneth R. Conklin
Kaneohe, Oahu

** Full text of the editorial of March 6, to which this letter is responding, can be found above

KITV News, March 14, 2011

Daniel Akaka Explains Why He Won't Step Down Early
Retiring Mid-Term Would Allow Governor To Appoint Democrat

Jodi Leong KITV4 News Reporter

HONOLULU -- Sen. Daniel Akaka talked to KITV4's Washington Bureau in the nation's capitol for the first time since he announced his retirement two weeks ago.

Akaka is not stepping down early to allow the governor to appoint a Democrat to fill his seat. Akaka told KITV4 the people of Hawaii elected him to a six-year term and he intends to serve it out. Akaka has served 34 years in Washington, first as a U.S. representative, then as a U.S. senator.

He said his decision not to run for another term did not come easily. "It has been difficult, but I think it's the proper time. It's about time that we open up some of these seats for a new generation,” Akaka said. Akaka has about two years remaining in his term.

He already knows the best memory of his career was seeing Barack Obama elected to the nation's highest office. “(He) was elected president of the United States of America. And for me, that's a huge deal. And for Hawaii as well,” Akaka said.

Akaka said his biggest accomplishment is his work in veteran's affairs.

As for the Akaka bill, "It's not over for me as far as Hawaiian parity. I'm trying my best to bring parity to native Hawaiians as indigenous people,” Akaka said.

His biggest disappointment was the U.S invasion of Iraq. "I was one of the few that voted against it,” Akaka said. In addition to the countless lives lost and troops injured, Akaka said he believes the Iraq War is the reason for the country’s huge deficit. "Had we not had that, we wouldn't be, I feel, in the dire situation that we're in now,” Akaka said.

Akaka plans to spend his remaining time in office working with the arms services committee, ensuring troops return from Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said he does not believe he is weakening Hawaii's power in the nation's capitol by retiring. He said he is confident Hawaii's voters will elect a qualified candidate in a free and fair election. Akaka plans to return to Hawaii to rejoin his family and mentor the young people of Hawaii.

Midweek (Oahu weekly newspaper), Wednesday March 16, 2011

OHA’s End-run Bad For All Hawaii

By Jerry Coffee

In an article currently on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs website, Clyde Namu’o writes: “OHA believes Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act will benefit all of Hawaii.”

Namu’o concludes, “Most important, the NHGRA will enable Native Hawaiians to create a better future for themselves and their families. It will benefit all of Hawaii by bringing closure to this issue that has prevented our state from realizing its full potential for decades.”

First and foremost, the only thing that has prevented our state from “realizing its full potential for decades” is our state Legislature. And taking it one step further, since we elect the Legislature, it is we who continue to keep our state from realizing its full potential. When are we going to wise up? And it is this same dysfunctional (it’s function is to represent us) Legislature that will be negotiating the terms and structure of this new “Hawaiian governing entity.”

And as for bringing closure, how will the NHGRA achieve that for the percent of residents who are non-Hawaiian? In my 36-year Hawaii residency, I have never met a non-Hawaiian with a guilt complex or who was fretting about lack of “closure” on Native Hawaiian issues. In fact, far from bringing closure, it will bring opening - as in opening a huge can of worms!

I have covered all the negatives for our state and people (there are no positives) of the Akaka Bill in previous columns, but now with OHA’s attempted end-run around congressional approval by going directly to the state Legislature, a short summary is in order.

First, it is unconstitutional to have two classes of citizens based upon race. NHGRA is race-based no matter how you slice it. This was the basis for the courts finding OHA’s policy of Hawaiians-only voting for OHA trustees unconstitutional. As George Orwell put it in his book Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some are just more equal.”

Under the NHGRA, Hawaiians and nonHawaiians living next door to each other could be subject to different taxation laws, zoning laws and law enforcement. This has manifested on the Mainland on and around Native American reservations, a model held up by Sen. Akaka as one to be desired for Hawaii.

Imagine two gas stations across the street from each other, one Hawaiian-owned possibly paying no taxes and charging none on gasoline and cigarettes, and the other non-Hawaiian-owned charging and paying state and local taxes.

Fair competition?

Or consider profits from gambling casinos on Hawaiian home lands used to buy real estate in the center of Waikiki, which could then be deemed by the Hawaiian “governing entity” as an extension of the Hawaiian home lands zoned to accommodate gambling so that a “Waikiki casino” could then be built.

Sound far-fetched? These things have actually happened on the Mainland.

The Star-Advertiser editorial “Our View” (3/9/11), in discussing the two NHGRA bills moving through the state Capitol, outlines the process, “creating a voter roll (of Native Hawaiians), drawing up the documents of a government, having the electorate ratify it.” By the “electorate” they should mean, but don’t, all the voters of Hawaii, not just Hawaiians. This bill will significantly affect every citizen of the state and should not be passed without a plebiscite, a vote by all the people. We must not settle for less.

Midweek, March 23, 2011
2 Letters to editor

Be a good guest

This is in response to Jerry Coffee’s column “OHA’s End Run Bad For All Hawaii.” Mr. Coffee has chosen to live in a place that had its government illegally overthrown. Its native people have not held this against him simply because he shares the race and country of origin of those who did that. He, however, refuses to accept that their rights to their country exist on any level.

If someone stole your wallet, certainly you would believe it was still yours. This, in fact, is the analogy once used by Sen. Inouye at a Hawaiian Civic Club convention: “I could take your wallet. I could keep it for many years. I could even take it as far away as Washington, but it would still be your wallet.”

Mr. Coffee says he never met a person who is not Hawaiian who feels guilty about this. There are, in fact, thousands of us who do not have Hawaiian blood who know that we are guests of very gracious hosts. I am one of them. Guests do not shove hosts out of the way, take their assets and refuse to consider their rights. Colonizers do.

Holly Henderson

Forgiveness Project

Jerry Coffee writes, “I have never met a non-Hawaiian with a guilt complex or who was fretting about lack of ‘closure’ on native Hawaiian issues.” Yes, he has - he’s met me, and I can think of a few other people we both know who support Hawaiian sovereignty. The Hawaii Forgiveness Project is a mostly haole group of lawyers, entrepreneurs, professors, doctors and others who are exploring how to make things right in the aftermath of the overthrow. The mechanics of how best to restore the nation of Hawaii may be debated, but many of us are working toward that goal. I invite anyone who feels the need for closure to join us:

Makana Risser Chai



Honolulu Civil Beat (online newspaper), March 28, 2011

Hawaiian Lawmakers Push Akaka Bill At State Level

By Chad Blair

In a departure from form, some hearing notices for the Hawaiian affairs committees in the Hawaii Legislature this session have included the following quote:

"He lā hou, e ho’oulu"
A new day, building a nation

For example, the quote can be seen near the top of a hearing notice for a resolution to be heard Monday in House Hawaiian Affairs. The resolution asks the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to consider the idea of "kanaka villages" for homeless Native Hawaiians.

Most notably, the nation-building quote has graced several hearing notices for bills that actually have something to do with building a Hawaiian nation.

Two of those bills — Senate Bill 1520 and Senate Bill 1 — recognize Hawaiians as "the only indigenous, aboriginal, maoli people of Hawaii," and establish a commission to "prepare and maintain a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians" for the purpose of organizing a convention of qualified Native Hawaiians, respectively.

Both measures have already comfortably passed the state Senate. Last week, both cleared House Judiciary and were sent to House Finance, the final hurdle before making it to the full House for a floor vote.

Both measures have been amended, and final language will have to be agreed upon in conference committee and floor votes before heading to the governor's desk.

But, if they do survive and become law, they would accomplish some of the same goals as the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, more commonly known as the Akaka bill.

The Akaka bill would create a process for Native Hawaiians to gain federal recognition similar to Native American and Native Alaskan tribes.

The measure failed to get a floor vote in the U.S. Senate last year despite Democrats holding a near-filibuster proof majority.

With the November elections, Senate Democrats' majority was narrowed and the House fell to Republicans, making passage of the Akaka bill very unlikely over the next two years.

Then, earlier this year, Daniel Akaka — the Hawaii senator for whom the bill is named — announced he would not seek re-election in 2012. Many saw it as a death knell for the controversial legislation.

Some local lawmakers, primarily Native Hawaiians, are trying to keep the process alive, albeit at a state level.

SB 1, for example, was co-authored by Sen. Malama Solomon, while SB 1520 was introduced by Clayton Hee, Brickwood Galuteria, Gil Kahele and Pohai Ryan.

All five senators are Hawaiian. Hee is chairman of Senate Judiciary and Labor, and Galuteria — the majority leader — is chairman of Senate Hawaiian Affairs.

What SB 1520 Does

SB 1520, as currently amended, mirrors much of the language in the Akaka bill.

Though much shorter, the state Senate bill cites key historical events regarding Hawaiians such as the Admission Act of 1959 that created a ceded lands trust, the establishment of OHA in 1978 and the 1993 federal apology for the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

SB 1520 also directly mentions the Akaka bill, observing that last December the Departments of Justice and Interior reaffirmed federal support for bill: "This reaffirmation recognized that Native Hawaiians are the only one of the nation's three major indigenous peoples who currently lack a formal government-to-government relationship with the United States."

SB 1520 says that the state of Hawaii "has supported the reorganization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity."

It continues:

It is also the State's desire to support the continuing development of a reorganized Native Hawaiian governing entity and, ultimately, the federal recognition of Native Hawaiians. The legislature urges the office of Hawaiian affairs to continue to support the self-determination process by Native Hawaiians in the formation of their chosen governmental entity. Testifying in support of the measure were the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the Native Hawaiian Convention, the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, Imua Alliance and the Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homelands Assembly.

OHA said it was pleased that legislators were addressing Native Hawaiian issues but did not endorse the measure because it does not want to "diminish efforts to pursue and obtain federal recognition."

Ken Conklin, a consistent and outspoken critic of the Akaka bill, called SB 1520 "fundamentally" the same thing:

"The clear purpose of the bill is to authorize the creation of an entity with governmental powers, but restricted to people who have at least one drop of Hawaiian native blood. That racist concept is unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution."

What SB 1 Does

SB 1, as currently amended, is largely word-for-word identical to SB 1520.

For example, under SB 1 Native Hawaiian people would be recognized as the "only indigenous, aboriginal, maoli people of Hawaii."

Where SB 1 differs, however, is as follows:

The purpose of this chapter is to provide for and to implement the recognition of the Native Hawaiian people by means and methods that will facilitate their self-governance, including the establishment of, or the amendment to, programs, entities, and other matters pursuant to law that relate, or affect ownership, possession, or use of lands by the Native Hawaiian people, and by further promoting their culture, heritage, entitlements, health, education, and welfare.

To that end, SB 1 creates a nine-member Native Hawaiian roll commission to count and certify a Native Hawaiian voting base for a governing entity, likely via a state convention. An unspecified sum of money would be allocated.

In this regard, SB 1 would achieve central goals of the Akaka bill.

But there is an important disclaimer, too: "Nothing in this chapter is intended to serve as a settlement of any claims against the State of Hawaii, or affect the rights of the Native Hawaiian people under state, federal, or international law."

SB 1 is supported by many of the same groups that support SB 1520, but this time they are joined by OHA — but with a similar caveat: "OHA supports state recognition of Native Hawaiians provided that it does not diminish efforts to pursue and obtain federal recognition."

Ken Conklin calls SB 1 "racial separatism."

Malama Solomon says it's about righting a historical injustice.

"The state has to prove its muster, that there is an identifiable community entitled to the rights and responsibilities of a nation," Solomon told House lawmakers earlier this month. "After that, Hawaiians will be allowed to organize how they see fit. ... It is the responsibility of this House to give the legal platform for Native Hawaiians to legally be recognized and then pursue federal recognition."

Solomon says the two bills may be merged into one vehicle.

Renewed Focus on Hawaiian Affairs

There are a number of other bills and resolutions introduced by Native Hawaiian lawmakers this session.

The authors of the "kanaka village" bill, Reps. Mele Carroll and Faye Hanohano, have also sponsored dozens of bills this session — some still alive.

Many non-Hawaiian lawmakers are signing on to the legislation and introducing their own.

The bills cover a range of issues: burial councils, archeological investigations, advisory committees, Hawaiian home lands, college tuition waivers, business incubators, poi preparation, using kahako and okina in government documents.

It's a similar pattern in Senate bills.

On Wednesday, Senate Hawaiian Affairs is scheduled to hear several resolutions pertaining to Hawaiians, including one that encourages all high schools to teach the Hawaiian language and another that calls for a symposium to discuss the idea of a Hawaiian language university within the University of Hawaii.

Senate Hawaiian Affairs is dominated by Hawaiian lawmakers and led by Majority Leader Galuteria. Hanohano chairs House Hawaiian Affairs.

None of these measures would have near the impact of the local Akaka bills, though.


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(c) Copyright 2011 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved