** Note: The following article was published in Hawaii Reporter (online) on October 5, 2005 at:
Akaka Bill Amendment Proposed by Conservative Republican Senator Brownback of Kansas
Exclusive to Hawaii Reporter
By Kenneth R. Conklin
On Sept. 28, 2005, an amendment to the Akaka bill was proposed on the Senate floor by Sen. Sam Brownback, a politically conservative Kansas Republican.
The proposed amendment would incorporate into S.147 Sen. Brownback's previously proposed joint resolution of apology by the United States to Native Americans. The text of Sen. Brownback's amendment appears at the end of this article.
Sen. Brownback's original joint resolution was only recently reported to the floor of the Senate, on July 28, 2005. Recall that the Senate was in recess for the entire month of August, and upon returning in early September was immediately confronted with two emergencies: Hurricane Katrina, and the death of Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist. A cloture petition on the Akaka bill, and a cloture petition on the permanent repeal of the death tax, were the first two items on the calendar when the Senate resumed in September. But the two cloture petitions were vitiated (nullified) by unanimous consent because of the emergencies. Thus Sen. Brownback on Sept. 28 was seeking to insert his resolution into the Akaka bill even before there was any opportunity for that resolution to be debated or voted on the Senate floor.
The political implications of this maneuver are unclear. Is it a stealth maneuver by Sen. Brownback to avoid the need for a floor debate on his resolution? Is it an indication that the politically conservative Republican Sen. Brownback intends to support the Akaka bill? (Brownback is not a co-sponsor of the Akaka bill, and it seems he would be unlikely to support it.) Does it indicate that Sen. Brownback believes the Akaka bill is likely to pass and will do so fairly soon? We can only await further developments.
One thing is certain: there has been no media coverage of the proposed insertion of Sen. Brownback's joint resolution as an amendment into the Akaka bill, despite a week going by. And no media coverage of the failure of Sen. Akaka to officially introduce his alleged revision of the Akaka bill three weeks after he announced with great fanfare that he would do so.
Remember that Sen. Akaka has allegedly rewritten the Akaka bill to allegedly satisfy some earlier objections from the U.S. Department of Justice. He posted his alleged amended version on his official Senate Web site, but in a pdf format specially encrypted to intentionally prevent anyone from copying any portion of it into any other document for commentary. See:
Both Hawaii Senators and both Congressmen jointly announced that Akaka's proposed amendment was a negotiated settlement of all DOJ objections. But then a few days later DOJ issued a press release saying that was not true; that there remain serious issues regarding the (un)constitutionality of the Akaka bill.
Malia Zimmerman published an excellent summary of these events in Hawaii Reporter on Sept. 22, 2005. See "DOJ Blows Hole in Akaka Bill Public Relations Campaign -- Justice Department Still Not Convinced Akaka Bill is Constitutional; Momentum Turning Against Akaka Bill Passage" at:
Several weeks after posting his alleged rewrite of the Akaka bill, Sen. Daniel Akaka has not yet officially introduced the amended version of the bill in the Senate, even though he has clearly had plenty of opportunity to do so. There have been many new pieces of legislation introduced in the Senate during September and October, unrelated to the hurricanes and the Supreme Court (including Sen. Brownback's proposed amendment to the Akaka bill). There have also been many committee meetings on unrelated issues (including the Indian Affairs Committee). It is clear that the delay in introducing a revised Akaka bill has nothing to do with national emergencies or Republican obstruction -- it would take only one or two minutes for Sen. Akaka to introduce his alleged revision on the Senate floor. The obvious conclusion is that the document posted on his Web site is merely a propaganda device, or a trial balloon to discover public reaction. Perhaps he's waiting to introduce a new version of the bill at the same time as a new cloture petition, thereby stifling debate and limiting the number of "hostile" amendments from the bill's chief opponent, Sen. Jon Kyl, U.S. Senator for Arizona. We can only await further developments, while depending on our daily newspapers to tell us things they apparently don't want us to know.
It's also surprising that Sen. Brownback, a conservative Republican, is proposing a joint resolution of apology to Native Americans on behalf of the United States. It's surprising because it was just such an apology resolution to "Native Hawaiians" in 1993, for the limited U.S. role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, that set the stage for all manner of mischief in Hawaii including demands for reparations, for secession, and for creation of a race-based government under the Akaka bill. Former Senators Slade Gorton of Washington and Hank Brown of Colorado recently published an article saying Inouye lied to them on the floor of the Senate in 1993 when Inouye said it was just "a simple apology" with no implications for secession, entitlements, or communal land tenure. See the article -- U.S. Senators Betrayed by Sponsors of Akaka Bill -- at:
For several years the black caucus has been demanding reparations to African-Americans for slavery; and has tried to pass a resolution of apology for slavery that would set the stage for such reparations. Thus Sen. Brownback has had ample warning about the divisiveness and bad consequences of apology resolutions, with former Senators Gorton and Brown shining a bright light on the dark path ahead.
Sen. Brownback's S. J. RES. 15 was introduced on April 19, 2005, referred to the Indian Affairs Committee, and reported to the floor of the Senate without amendment on July 28, 2005 by report No. 109-113 as Senate Calendar No. 183.
The title of S.J. Res 15 is: "To acknowledge a long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies by the United States Government regarding Indian tribes and offer an apology to all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States." That title does not appear in the text of Sen. Brownback's amendment to the Akaka bill; presumably because subtext of a bill does not need its own separate title.
Here is Sen. Brownback's proposed amendment to S.147, the Akaka bill. [page numbers are from the Congressional Record for the Senate of September 28, 2005]
TEXT OF AMENDMENT AS SUBMITTED: CR S10607-10608
[Page: S10607 ** near the bottom of that page **]
SA 1880. Mr. BROWNBACK submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 147, to express the policy of the United States regarding the United States relationship with Native Hawaiians and to provide a process for the recognition by the United States of the Native Hawaiian governing entity; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:
On page 73, between lines 12 and 13, insert the following:
SEC. __. RESOLUTION OF APOLOGY TO THE NATIVE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED STATES.
(a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
(1) the ancestors of today's Native Peoples inhabited the land of the present-day United States since time immemorial and for thousands of years before the arrival of people of European descent;
(2) the Native Peoples have for millennia honored, protected, and stewarded this land we cherish;
(3) the Native Peoples are spiritual peoples with a deep and abiding belief in the Creator, and for millennia their people have maintained a powerful spiritual connection to this land, as is evidenced by their customs and legends;
(4) the arrival of Europeans in North America opened a new chapter in the histories of the Native Peoples;
(5) while establishment of permanent European settlements in North America did stir conflict with nearby Indian tribes, peaceful and mutually beneficial interactions also took place;
(6) the foundational English settlements in Jamestown, Virginia, and Plymouth, Massachusetts, owed their survival in large measure to the compassion and aid of the Native Peoples in their vicinities;
(7) in the infancy of the United States, the founders of the Republic expressed their desire for a just relationship with the Indian tribes, as evidenced by the Northwest Ordinance enacted by Congress in 1787, which begins with the phrase, ``The utmost good faith shall always be observed toward the Indians'';
(8) Indian tribes provided great assistance to the fledgling Republic as it strengthened and grew, including invaluable help to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their epic journey from St. Louis, Missouri, to the Pacific Coast;
(9) Native Peoples and non-Native settlers engaged in numerous armed conflicts;
(10) the United States Government violated many of the treaties ratified by Congress and other diplomatic agreements with Indian tribes;
(11) this Nation should address the broken treaties and many of the more ill-conceived Federal policies that followed, such as extermination, termination, forced removal and relocation, the outlawing of traditional religions, and the destruction of sacred places;
(12) the United States forced Indian tribes and their citizens to move away from their traditional homelands and onto federally established and controlled reservations, in accordance with such Acts as the Act of May 28, 1830 (4 Stat. 411, chapter 148) (commonly known as the ``Indian Removal Act'');
(13) many Native Peoples suffered and perished--
(A) during the execution of the official United States Government policy of forced removal, including the infamous Trail of Tears and Long Walk;
(B) during bloody armed confrontations and massacres, such as the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864 and the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890; and
(C) on numerous Indian reservations;
(14) the United States Government condemned the traditions, beliefs, and customs of the Native Peoples and endeavored to assimilate them by such policies as the redistribution of land under the Act of February 8, 1887 (25 U.S.C. 331; 24 Stat. 388, chapter 119) (also known as the ``General Allotment Act''), and the forcible removal of Native children from their families to faraway boarding schools where their Native practices and languages were degraded and forbidden;
(15) officials of the United States Government and private United States citizens harmed Native Peoples by the unlawful acquisition of recognized tribal land and the theft of tribal resources and assets from recognized tribal land;
(16) the policies of the United States Government toward Indian tribes and the breaking of covenants with Indian tribes have contributed to the severe social ills and economic troubles in many Native communities today;
(17) despite the wrongs committed against Native Peoples by the United States, the Native Peoples have remained committed to the protection of this great land, as evidenced by the fact that, on a per capita basis, more Native people have served in the United States Armed Forces and placed themselves in harm's way in defense of the United States in every major military conflict than any other ethnic group;
(18) Indian tribes have actively influenced the public life of the United States by continued cooperation with Congress and the Department of the Interior, through the involvement of Native individuals in official United States Government positions, and by leadership of their own sovereign Indian tribes;
(19) Indian tribes are resilient and determined to preserve, develop, and transmit to future generations their unique cultural identities;
(20) the National Museum of the American Indian was established in the Smithsonian Institution as a living memorial to the Native Peoples and their traditions; and
(21) Native People are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among those are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
(b) Acknowledgment and Apology.--The United States, acting through Congress--
(1) recognizes the special legal and political relationship the Indian tribes have with the United States and the solemn covenant with the land we share;
(2) commends and honors the Native Peoples for the thousands of years that they have stewarded and protected this land;
(3) recognizes that there have been years of official depredations, ill-conceived policies, and the breaking of covenants by the United States Government regarding Indian tribes;
(4) apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by citizens of the United States;
(5) expresses its regret for the ramifications of former wrongs and its commitment to build on the positive relationships of the past and present to move toward a brighter future where all the people of this land live reconciled as brothers and sisters, and harmoniously steward and protect this land together;
(6) urges the President to acknowledge the wrongs of the United States against Indian tribes in the history of the United States in order to bring healing to this land by providing a proper foundation for reconciliation between the United States and Indian tribes; and
(7) commends the State governments that have begun reconciliation efforts with recognized Indian tribes located in their boundaries and encourages all State governments similarly to work toward reconciling relationships with Indian tribes within their boundaries.
(c) Disclaimer.--Nothing in this section--
(1) authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or
(2) serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.
Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D., is an independent scholar in Kaneohe, Hawaii. His Web site on Hawaiian Sovereignty is at:
https://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty He can be contacted at:
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