The Business Community in Relation to Hawaiian Sovereignty -- What Effects Has the Sovereignty Movement Already Had on Hawaii Businesses? What Effect Would The Akaka Bill Have On Business? How Hawaiians-Only Programs Are Big Business and How They Lobby for the Akaka Bill. What Marketing Strategies is OHA Using to Sell the Bill? How Well are Businesses Doing that are Owned by Ethnic Hawaiians? Managing conflict between respect for ancient burials vs. modern construction projects

This webpage is a compilation of other webpages that deal with the issues raised in the title. Following a short introduction, those webpages will be listed together with a brief description of each one.

Economic prosperity fosters political stability, and political stability is necessary to allow businesses to plan effectively and to make good profits. When French peasants were unable to afford bread, aristocrat Marie Antoinette said "Let them eat cake." Her callous disregard of the needs of her impoverished people provoked revolutionary activism which resulted in her execution by guillotine. Marxist theory sees economics as the determining factor in political and social change. Free-market economists are convinced that state socialism can keep dictators in power, while an open capitalist marketplace will inevitably lead to democratization.

In Hawai'i, Western contact after 1778 changed a subsistence barter economy into a capitalist money economy. The Great Mahele of 1848 allowed for private ownership and sale of land. The Mahele was implemented because businessmen and advisors of foreign ancestry persuaded the King that private property ownership was necessary to encourage investment. Many maka'ainana (commoners) were displaced from land where they had lived and worked for generations. Ali'i (chiefs) who got large land holdings in the Mahele often sold some or all their land to white businessmen, who developed sugar plantations. Due to the decimation of the native population by foreign diseases and poverty, and the need for large numbers of laborers for the sugar plantations, thousands of foreigners were imported to Hawai'i from Japan and China as contract laborers. Luna (field supervisors) were imported mainly from Portugal but also from other European nations and America. Hawaiian sovereignty activists today blame the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893 on greedy, power-hungry foreign businessmen. Those businessmen and many other citizens had felt for many years that the government was corrupt and ineffective; and the monarch was wasting money on drinking, gambling, world travel, building a palace, and a lavish lifestyle. Business and government in Hawai'i have always had great influence upon each other. Businessmen demanded changes in government regulation of the economy, and those economic changes produced profound social changes that ultimately resulted in a political revolution.

Today in Hawai'i a counter-revolution is being attempted. Some ethnic Hawaiian activists believe "their" land and "their" nation was stolen. The independence activists say Hawai'i has been under a continuous belligerent military occupation by the U.S. since the "armed invasion" of 1893 and the "illegal" annexation of 1898. They believe that under international law the U.S. must withdraw from Hawai'i and pay enormous reparations as it leaves. The racial separatists admit that independence is unlikely to happen anytime soon, and are seeking federal recognition (the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill, or Akaka bill) that would create a race-based government exclusively for ethnic Hawaiians modeled on the legal structure of an Indian tribe. Once recognized, the tribe could then negotiate with the state and federal governments for money and for control of perhaps half the land of Hawai'i.

**** IMPORTANT NEW BOOK: "Hawaiian Apartheid -- Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State" by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. 302 pages. See cover, detailed table of contents, and entire Chapter 1, plus information on how to order the book; at

Other pages on this website focus on history, land, legal issues, etc. This webpage examines the disastrous impact federal recognition would have upon local businesses and local communities. It also examines the impact the sovereignty movement has already had on Hawai'i's businesses, and the way the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is conducting a professional marketing campaign to sell the Akaka bill to Hawai'i's people, to Congress, and to the administration.

The Governor, the Legislature, and many large institutions are enthusiastically pushing the Akaka bill. They see it as necessary to preserve the current inflow of federal money for racially exclusionary programs that will be found unconstitutional and will be dismantled unless the bill passes. The short-term impact of federal recognition would tend to preserve the flow of federal dollars to Hawai'i, to protect existing programs and institutions, and to encourage the creation of more such programs.

But in seeking short-term gain, our political and business leaders ignore the long-term devastating consequences to local businessses and local communities. They ignore the balkanization of our society, the damage to the aloha spirit, the violation of democratic and legal rights (especially the rights of ethnic Hawaiians), and the political instability that would certainly follow. Over time, the Akaka bill would lead to bankruptcies of existing small and medium businesses such as gas stations, grocery stores, and construction contractors. The tax base of the Sate of Hawai'i would be reduced, especially if the ceded lands, now controlled by the State of Hawai'i, become tribal lands. There would be constant lawsuits, jurisdictional battles, ill-will, ethnic balkanization, and political instability.

Hawaii Business Magazine, August, 2007

Q: Is the Akaka Bill good for Hawaii?
[Pro and Con Haunani Apoliona vs. Ken Conklin]


by Haunani Apoliona [photo in article]
chairperson, board of trustees
office of hawaiian affairs

The Hawaiian Federal Recognition Bill is good for Hawaii and good for business. It makes good business sense to support a measure that formally affirms Hawaiians’ special political status as aboriginal indigenous natives, and provides a process for official U.S. recognition of a future Native Hawaiian representative body. This body will be determined by the Hawaiian community. It will not involve secession, land grabs, or gambling, as critics blindly assert.

The goal to combine the assets in the Hawaiian community and strengthen Hawaiian economic contributions and abilities to resolve current problems ultimately helps all state taxpayers, and keeps alive the Hawaiian culture that is so vital to our island life style which attracts visitors to Hawai’i.

The legislation provides a key shield against the legal firestorm that began over a decade ago in Rice v. Cayetano. The litigators have been busy attacking the Hawaiian community, and forcing the diversion of valuable resources to defend ourselves.

Seventy million dollars a year in federal funds flow into Hawaii through various congressional acts for programs in health, education, affordable housing and employment. Litigators are trying to strike the programs down by inaccurately calling them race-based and unconstitutional. These are programs, which, if not federally funded, will significantly divert state resources.

These critics ignore that America’s native people are recognized as groups that are not defined by reference to race or ethnicity, but by the fact that their ancestors exercised sovereignty over the lands and areas that subsequently became part of the United States. The Constitution grants Congress the authority to prescribe a path toward reorganizing and recognizing Native Hawaiians. The bill does not create an impermissible racial classification, but affirms our political indigenous status.

The bottom line … it makes good business sense to support the Hawaiian Federal Recognition Bill.


by Kenneth Conklin, PH.D. [photo in article]
researcher and civil rights activist

The Akaka Bill seeks to protect the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, 160 federally funded programs and their captive institutions and Kamehameha Schools’ admissions policy – all race-based – therefore immoral; probably illegal.

The bill would entrench and accelerate a long-term power grab by Hawaii’s cabal of race-based institutions. Read a 302-page analysis, “Hawaiian Apartheid – Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State.” To protect the “benefits” of institutional racism, this poison-pill bill has a disastrous side-effect – authorizing the breakup of Hawaii.

An Akaka tribal government empowered to negotiate money, land and jurisdictional authority, demands ever more from a smaller, weaker state of Hawaii. A hereditary nobility gets benefits paid by second-class citizens forever, guaranteeing racial conflict and economic uncertainty. Picture Fiji, perhaps Zimbabwe.

Kamehameha lands, plus ceded lands, comprise half of Hawaii, widely scattered. Highly taxed and regulated businesses remaining under the ever-shrinking state government would compete against nearby tribal businesses ungoverned by zoning, labor, regulatory and taxation laws. The state tax base would decline drastically.

Small businesses would suffer when Indian tribes start or expand.

Akaka supporters claim these consequences cannot be predicted, because they’re negotiable. Translation: It’s like driving over a cliff while blindfolded – we cannot foresee exactly what will happen.

Neither tribal members nor Hawaii’s people can vote on sweetheart settlements negotiated between the Legislature and tribal council. Tribe members continue voting for governor and legislators. No other state has 20 percent of its people joining a tribe spending megabucks on political advertising and campaign contributions unregulated due to tribal sovereignty.

Picture former OHA Chair Clayton Hee, representing the Akaka government, negotiating against state Sen. Clayton Hee, representing the state. Shoots! That’s how things work already!

Hawaii Reporter, August 17, 2007

The Akaka Bill: What Tribal Sovereignty Would Mean to Hawaii By Lyle Beckwith
Senior Vice President of Government Relations for the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS)

Before creating a new Indian tribe and introducing the concept of tribal sovereignty to Hawaii on a massive scale, it may be wise to consider some of the lessons learned in other parts of the country.

Tribal sovereignty – while an important governmental principle that should be honored as such – breaks down when tribes get involved in commercial activity. Our system of commerce just doesn’t work when some businesses operate outside of the constraints of the law. That is why, for example, Congress has taken sovereign immunity away from every foreign nation in the world when those nations act in a commercial (rather than governmental) capacity.

Based on the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, if France or another nation decides to sell cigarettes or gasoline, they are subject to suits under U.S. law, just like any other business that sells those products. Native American tribes, however, are not. This has caused problems in states from coast to coast.

When states want to enforce their laws against tribal businesses that sell to citizens of that state, they can’t do it because of sovereign immunity. When businesses enter into contracts with tribal businesses, they can’t enforce those contracts unless sovereign immunity is waived. When American citizens are injured by tribal businesses (such as if they don’t maintain their premises in a safe manner), those citizens can’t sue to recover for their injuries.

You may ask whether these problems really occur? Unfortunately, these problems come up every day – particularly when tribal businesses sell cigarettes and gasoline through smoke shops, truck stops, or similar retail outlets.

Cigarettes, liquor, and gasoline may seem like odd products for tribes to sell. The reason these are often the businesses tribes open first on reservations is that state and local taxes are a large percentage of the cost of these products. Tribes have found that they can use their sovereignty to protect against the imposition of state and local taxes when they sell these products.

The result is that cigarettes and gasoline can be sold on the reservation at a price that undercuts off-reservation competitors. Not surprisingly, those off-reservation businesses lose sales – and sometimes close entirely.

This creates a vicious cycle for states and local governments. They lose excise and sales tax revenues on cigarettes and gasoline. Then they lose additional income, sales, and property taxes when off-reservation businesses lose business or close.

The problem, of course, is that these tribal businesses thrive by marketing their products to people who are not members of the tribe. Those consumers are liable for the taxes on their purchases – though most of them don’t know it and the tribal businesses have no incentive to point it out. Finding these consumers and getting them to pay the taxes is very difficult and, in some ways, unfair because these consumers have been duped. In the end, this amounts to an elaborate scheme of tax evasion.

Some might be tempted to ignore these violations of the law on the theory that it helps make up for past wrongs committed against Native American tribes. Unfortunately, however, this system harms the tribes more than it helps them.

One of the pillars of the U.S. economy that has helped encourage entrepreneurship and economic growth is a sound legal system that gives Americans the chance to protect their property rights.

But that pillar isn’t there when dealing with Indian tribes.

That is a major reason why U.S. businesses are reluctant to invest in on-reservation businesses or joint ventures with tribes. Those businesses must constantly worry that their investments will be lost and that they will have no recourse to the courts due to tribal sovereignty. The result is that there are few on-reservation investments (with casinos being one of the few exceptions) and most tribal economies continue to stagnate.

And, in truth, it hurts the businesses that form on the reservation. These businesses too often rely upon their ability to evade taxes on sales and, therefore, don’t have an incentive to innovate and diversify to improve their businesses in other ways. This creates a ceiling on the growth of these businesses and, ultimately, on reservation economies.

What does this mean for Hawaii? It means that granting sovereignty can have many problematic, unintended consequences. If those problems aren’t dealt with, then businesses and local governments throughout Hawaii as well as any tribe(s) created are likely to suffer, not benefit, from passage of the Akaka bill.

Hawaii Reporter, January 8, 2009

Akaka Bill Impact Revealed
New Study Shows Drastic Impact on State's Economy

By Tom McAuliffe

HONOLULU, HAWAII --- The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii (GRIH) has released a new study from the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University.

The Economic Impact of the Akaka Bill: Unintended Consequences for Hawaii estimates that the Akaka bill could cost the state up to $690 million per year in lost revenue.

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007 (S.310 and H.R.505) in the 110th Congress, also known as the Akaka Bill after sponsor Senator Daniel Akaka, proposes to create a sovereign Native Hawaiian Governing Entity (NHGE) within the state of Hawaii. This is the first study on the economic impacts of the proposed bill, which is expected to be re-introduced in the new session of Congress.

The Economic Impact of the Akaka Bill: Unintended Consequences for Hawaii is a straightforward look at how passage of the bill would hurt Hawaii business while pitting neighbor against neighbor," said Grassroot Institute President Jamie Story. "Regardless of one’s feelings about the Akaka Bill and its benefits or shortcomings, it is vital to examine the economic impact of the bill on Hawaii’s people. This study demonstrates the irreversible economic damage the Akaka Bill would do to Hawaii, and we hope Washington DC officials will take this into consideration.”

Among the study's findings:

• The bill could exempt Native Hawaiians living or shopping on land ceded from the state from paying state income and sales taxes.

• There may be a transfer of state-owned lands to persons designated as native Hawaiians to the detriment of non-Native Hawaiian taxpayers and, correspondingly, to the state economy. The resulting tax increases would have large, negative impacts on the state's economy leading to a possible reduction of 20,793 private sector jobs, a loss of $417.2 million in investment and a loss of $1,461 in real per-capita disposable personal income annually.

"We've looked at the bill, as introduced in the last session of Congress, from many different angles and have provided an objective in-depth analysis of what the economic impacts might be on Hawaii and its citizens," said Dr. David Tuerck, Executive Director of the Beacon Hill Institute and co-author of the study. "In The Economic Impact of the Akaka Bill: Unintended Consequences for Hawaii we've identified the most likely effects of the Akaka Bill on the Hawaiian economy. By almost any plausible interpretation of the bill, those effects are uniformly negative," adds Paul Bachman, Director of Research at Beacon Hill.

** The full report in pdf format can be downloaded here:


If the Akaka bill passes, it would have disastrous effects on local businesses and local communities. Some of those effects are described here, including a compilation of articles by business owners and property owners in areas of the U.S. mainland impacted by tribes, such as upstate New York.

The Sovereignty Biz -- OHA's Marketing of the Akaka Bill through Lobbying and Advertising. This essay also describes the way an apparently neutral series in Pacific Business News plays directly into the strategy of OHA to get support for the Akaka bill through scare tactics.

Nepotism, Sole-Source Contracting, and Corruption -- How OHA, Hawaiian Homelands, and Kamehameha School/Bishop Estate Make Rich Hawaiians Even Richer at Everyone Else's Expense. Topics include: (1) Text and analysis of the "Ethics" section of (an earlier version of) the Akaka bill; (2) Beadie Dawson's role in writing the Akaka bill, and her family corporation's history of profiting from sole-source government contracts; (3) The Office of Hawaiian Affairs plan to spend up to $9 Million for media propaganda and to lobby for the bill's passage; (4) A sole-source contract for OHA Chairman Clayton Hee's brother, family members, and political cronies to spend $400 Million of federal funds to provide fiber-optic cable exclusively to interconnect all 203,000 acres of the racially exclusionary Hawaiian Homelands; (5) An upscale housing development on racially exclusionary Hawaiian Homelands overlooking downtown Honolulu, where wealthy professionals get free land for homes worth up to $385,000 (that was several years ago, before the big run-up in the housing market).

The role of Alaska Native Corporations in pushing the Akaka bill -- Ken Conklin's short review of this topic as a followup to investigative reporter Jim Dooley's lengthy and detailed analysis of the recent history of federal contractor preferences for ethnic Hawaiian companies and the role of Alaska Native Corporations in Hawaii's economy. Webpage includes both Dooley's entire report and Conklin's extension of it.

The Political Economics of the Akaka Bill -- Various Economic Scenarios for A Native Hawaiian Tribal Economy If the Akaka Bill Passes (Fee Simple Land Vs. Land Held In Trust), OR If Hawai'i Becomes an Independent Nation

Akaka bill deja vu (Groundhog Day). The new Akaka bill introduced February 4, 2009 is identical to the one from 2000-2001. It strips away all protections inserted in multiple amendments since then. This webpage describes what many of those protections were and why they are important.

Native Hawaiian Businesses Booming -- U.S. Census Bureau report issued June 2006 shows that Native Hawaiians (and other Pacific islanders) are creating new businesses at triple the rate of other ethnic groups (and they are doing so without federal recognition of an Akaka tribe).

A similar Census Bureau report was issued 5 years later, in April 2011. The official news release from the U.S. Census Bureau contains considerable detail:
Two news reports about it on April 5, 2011 are in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser
and The Maui News

Klub Kanaka -- Office of Hawaiian Affairs confidential memo of June 2006 outlining OHA plans for setting up Hawaiian apartheid regime following failure of the Akaka bill

Office of Hawaiian Affairs -- Watching the Moves It Makes to Expand the Evil Empire (acquiring huge parcels of land, building a headquarters for the "nation", considering purchase of a TV station, etc.)

The "Perfect Title" scam. How Keanu Sai disrupted the land title and mortgage banking system for more than a year; how he established himself as Regent pro-tem of the Hawaiian Kingdom and made big bucks doing title searches and filing warranty deeds at the Bureau of Conveyances

Ceded Lands Belong to All the People of Hawai'i; There Should Be No Racial Allocation of Ceded Lands or Their Revenues. Extensive analysis of the origins of the ceded lands in the government and crown lands of the Mahele (1848), Annexation (1898), and Statehood Act (1959). Detailed explanation why there is no historical, legal, or moral basis for racial claims to ceded lands or their revenues.

Hawaiian Bones -- Rites For the Dead vs. Rights Of the Living (A philosophical inquiry into the conflict between respecting ancient burials vs. respecting the needs of living people for construction projects, and suggestions for how such conflicts should be resolved)

Aloha For All -- This webpage by attorney H. William Burgess and his wife Sandra Puanani Burgess presents the view that Aloha is for everyone and all citizens of Hawaii, whatever their ancestry, are entitled to the equal protection of the laws. Topics include: The aloha spirit & equal protection; Special entitlements based on race or ancestry are not equal protection & are not aloha; Racial preferences in Hawaii (Special entitlements for the few); The ceded lands negotiations (public school children lose); 20% of what (Gross revenues or net after expenses)?; If OHA gets 20% of the gross nothing is left for schools and the State faces economic disaster; The State (as Trustee) violates its fiduciary duty to about one million of its citizens; The activists' arguments; Did the U.S. steal lands from the Hawaiian people?; Did the Hawaiian people lose "sovereignty" upon annexation?; Was the annexation of Hawaii legal? Did it benefit Hawaiians?

Text and analysis of speech by Professor Haunani-Kay Trask at 'Iolani Palace, showing racial demagoguery on the issue of mandatory lease-to-fee conversion for residential condominiums (Honolulu City Council bill #53)

The Native Hawaiian Recognition bill (aka Akaka bill) is pork barrel ethnic politics at its worst. The primary purpose of the bill is to protect racial entitlement programs which otherwise will be ruled unconstitutional by the courts. Hawai'i's political power structure, and wealthy ethnic Hawaiian institutions, are willing to splinter Hawai'i's rainbow because of greed for money, land, and power.

Not directly related to "business," but: If the Akaka bill passes, it will severely damage the democratic and constitutional rights of ethnic Hawaiians, both those who join the tribe and those who do not.

Fraudulent Hague Arbitration -- Keanu Sai, self-proclaimed Regent pro-tem of the Hawaiian Kingdom, used "the International Court at the Hague" for a propaganda circus.

Income Tax Evasion Based on Claims of Hawaiian Sovereignty

New Issue of $ 1 Billion Hawaiian Kingdom Bonds (109 Years Too Late: February, 2002)

Tribal sovereignty helps vote-count fraud succeed in changing the outcome of federal, state, and local elections

The best overall webpage on all aspects of the Akaka bill is: