Site hosted by Build your free website today!

History of the Akaka Bill, August 2005 -- Kamehameha court decision in relation to Akaka bill; Public debates; All sides prepare for Senate showdown expected September 6; Bush Department of Justice negotiates with Hawaii politicians to amend Akaka bill

The month of August 2005 saw an enormous amount of activity related to the Akaka bill, at nearly the same pace as the previous two weeks. That's despite the fact that Congress was on vacation for the entire month! There are approximately 200 pages of details below; mostly news reports and published commentaries; in chronological order.

A court decision regarding Kamehameha Schools admissions policy raises legal and political questions about the effect of this ruling on the Akaka bill; while supporters and opponents of the bill are getting ready for the Senate showdown expected September 6.

On August 2, 2005 the 9th Circuit Court handed down a ruling that Kamehameha Schools' racially exclusionary admissions policy is illegal.

What does that have to do with the Akaka bill?

The legal impact on the Akaka bill might be to call attention to the fact that ethnic Hawaiians are currently treated by the courts as a racial group, not a political entity. Those who favor the Akaka bill say this is an important reason to pass the Akaka bill, to "clarify" that "Native Hawaiian" is indeed a political entity; and that passing the Akaka bill would stop courts in the future from making what they call an immoral decision. Those who oppose the Akaka bill say that racial separatism in Hawai'i has already gotten way out of hand, and the Akaka bill must be defeated in order to prevent further balkanization.

Perhaps the most important impact of the Kamehameha decision on the Akaka bill is psychological. A huge rally by 20,000 red-shirt protesters on the Saturday following the decision opposed the court decision and defended the concept of racial separatism. Those who favor the Akaka bill hope the protest will show Congress the widespread support for racial separatism and therefore for the Akaka bill which would further empower it. Those who oppose the Akaka bill hope the protest will call attention to the danger of the fascism growing in Hawai'i

For full coverage of the Kamehameha decision and protests (about 120 pages), see:

Some of the newspaper articles copied on the above webpage are directly relevant to the Akaka bill, providing legal or political connections between the two issues. Those articles, or excerpts of them, are copied on the following webpage, along with articles describing preparations for the expected September 6 Akaka bill showdown.

Later in the month there were numerous articles about the Akaka bill published in newspapers of national circulation, as well as in Hawai'i newspapers. There were two public, televised debates on O'ahu, and a symposium at the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. featuring UH Professor Emeritus Rubellite Kawena Johnson. It was a very exciting month. September will be even more exciting!

BELOW ARE ABOUT 200 PAGES OF DETAILS FOR AUGUST, 2005, in chronological order.

August 2, 2005 the 9th Circuit Court handed down a ruling that Kamehameha Schools' racially exclusionary admissions policy is illegal. Many news reports and commentaries were published on August 3, some of which explored the relationship between that court decision and the Akaka bill. Some say passing the Akaka bill would provide a shield against lawsuits such as Kamehameha; others say there is no direct connection.

August 14, 2005: Patricia Zell describes political and legal rationale for Akaka bill (she spent 25 years as staffer on the Senate Indian Affairs committee and was chief counsel to Senator Inouye). Several newspapers gang up to "expose" the Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i, and Hawaii Reporter on-line newspaper, which have been increasingly effective in fighting the Akaka bill.

August 14 and 15, 2005: Several Hawaiian independence activists write that an independent nation of Hawai'i would be able to protect Kamehameha Schools, since U.S. law could not be used to attack it. Authors include Anne Keala Kelley, J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Noenoe K. Silva, and Jon Kamakawiwo'ole Osorio

August 16: Former U.S. Senators Slade Gorton (R,OR and Hank Brown (R, CO) write in the Wall Street Journal to oppose the Akaka bill and to rebuke Senator Inouye for breaking his pledge to them on the Senate floor in 1993 when debating the Apology Resolution. Inouye had pledged that the Apology resolution would not be used to promote secession or special race-based rights or communal land tenure.

August 16 (reported in an August 17 article) Senator Akaka appears on a National Public Radio program and admits that the Akaka bill could lead to independence for Hawai'i. AKAKA: "It creates a government-to-government relationship with the United States." KASTE: Democratic Senator Dan Akaka, himself a native, wants Congress to let Hawaiians re-establish their national identity. He says his bill would give them a kind of legal parity with tribal governments on the mainland, but he says this sovereignty could eventually go further, perhaps even leading to outright independence. AKAKA: "That could be. As far as what's going to happen at the other end, I'm leaving it up to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren." And in the same radio program, independence activist Bumpy Kanahele joyfully proclaims that the Apology resolution indeed lays a legal basis for independence because the Apology is a confession of a crime under international law.

August 17: Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh has a nationally broadcast talk-radio program for three hours each day, heard by millions of loyal fans. On August 17 he spent considerable time lambasting the Akaka bill. Full transcript provided.

August 18-20: The Statehood Day holiday (formerly Admission Day) was not celebrated by any Hawai'i politicians. That neglect prompted publication of an article by Malia Zimmerman: "Happy Birthday, Hawaii - Some of Us Still Remember" expressing sadness coupled with smouldering anger. A number of hostile responses from anti-American Hawaiian activists were also published a few days later. Meanwhile, on Maui, an independence activist who also supports the Akaka bill held an anti-Statehood rally.

August 18-20, Senator Akaka tries to backtrack away from independence; but several commentators blast him in the national media -- John Fund in the Wall Street Journal: "Thirteen Stripes and Forty-Nine Stars?" Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review: "Manifest Destiny In Reverse"

August 21: Indian law attorney Charles Wilkinson (hired as a lobbyist by OHA at the expense of the Hawai'i government) publishes an article claiming that court decisions in the tribal restoration of the Menominee Tribe, and in the Lara case, make it clear that the Akaka bill is not unconstitutional.

August 22: The League of Women Voters announces that there will be two public debates on the Akaka bill -- the first genuine public debates in all 5 years the bill has been in Congress. Bruce Fein will be the only speaker who opposes the bill while favoring the continues Statehood of Hawai'i. His opponents are an independence activist (who opposes the bill but wants Hawaiian independence); and the attorney for OHA and the Attorney General of the State of Hawai'i, both of whom favor the bill.

Also August 22: Senator Inouye issues public statement denying that the Apology resolution of 1993 lays the groundwork for the Akaka bill (despite the obvious fact that the Apology bill is cites several times in the Akaka bill as a rationale for it!)

August 23: News reports and comments about the televised Akaka bill debate that had been taped in a TV studio and then broadcast the previous day.

August 24: Governor Lingle announces that agreement has been reached between the Bush administration Department of Justice and OHA and the State of Hawai'i regarding DOJ objections to the bill that were previously published. Also, American Indians issue warnings to Native Hawaiians about the bad consequences of federal recognition.

August 26: Pacific Business News reports on the megabucks being spent by OHA for advertising and lobbying for the Akaka bill.

August 27: Andrew Walden (publisher of Hawaii Free Press) describes how the Akaka bill is being used as a vehicle to establish an Indian reservation for a "broken trust" (Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate)

August 28: Gail Heriot, Professor of Law at San Diego State University, publishes an outstanding article in the San Diego Herald-Tribune describing the bill clearly and explaining why it is dangerous to Hawai'i and to all of America: "Trouble from Paradise: Hawaii's Divisive Racial Politics Hits the National Agenda"

Also August 28: Jerry Burris of the Honolulu Advertiser writes a lengthy commentary describing the bias of the Grassroot Institute's survey on the Akaka bill, and also slightly criticizing the OHA-commissioned poll. He points out that the polls produced dramatically opposite results corresponding to the views of the sponsoring organizations. But he fails to propose the obvious solution -- just put it on the ballot!

Also August 28: 800 people pre-registered for the upcoming convention of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, including lots of Indian tribe and Alaska Native representatives; and an exposee of OHA's clear acknowledgment on its own website that the Akaka bill could lead to independence.

August 28-30: The Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. held a symposium on the Akaka bill on Tuesday August 30, which included UH Professor Emeritus Rubellite Kawena Johnson (descendant of Kamehameha the Great who opposes the Akaka bill). Announcement of the event was published August 28, and includes link to download the audio-video file. Senators Akaka and Inouye were invited, but declined to appear. Also on August 30, OHA broadcast an hour-long TV infomercial pushing the Akaka bill (opponents were definitely not invited!) August 27 and 28 a Little League team from 'Ewa (O'ahu) won the American championship and then the World Series. There was a great outpouring of multiracial goodwill and patriotic shouts of "USA! USA!."

August 31: Constitutional law scholar Bruce Fein publishes a commentary ripping apart the analysis of Charles Wilkinson (August 21) which had claimed that the Menominee and the Lara cases had proved that the Akaka bill is constitutional.

Also August 31, Honolulu Advertiser columnist David Shapiro says it is dishonest and a "Big Lie" to claim that the Akaka bill could lead to Hawaiian secession. But the pro-independence comments of Anne Keala Kelley from the public debate are published in Hawaii Reporter.

Also August 31 is a news report of a speech made by Senator Akaka to the Honolulu Rotary Club in which he claimed that failure to pass the Akaka bill will cause the State of Hawai'i to lose tens of millions of federal dollars currently being received for ethnic Hawaiian entitlement programs. And writer Grant Jones ridicules Governor Lingle as a RINO (Republican in name only).

Now, here are the details, in chronological order.


On August 2, 2005 the 9th Circuit Court handed down a ruling that Kamehameha Schools' racially exclusionary admissions policy is illegal.

What does that have to do with the Akaka bill?

The legal impact on the Akaka bill might be to call attention to the fact that ethnic Hawaiians are currently treated by the courts as a racial group, not a political entity. Those who favor the Akaka bill say this is an important reason to pass the Akaka bill, to "clarify" that "Native Hawaiian" is indeed a political entity; and that passing the Akaka bill would stop courts in the future from making what they call an immoral decision. Those who oppose the Akaka bill say that racial separatism in Hawai'i has already gotten way out of hand, and the Akaka bill must be defeated in order to prevent further balkanization.

Perhaps the most important impact of the Kamehameha decision on the Akaka bill is psychological. A huge rally by 20,000 red-shirt protesters on the Saturday following the decision opposed the court decision and defended the concept of racial separatism. Those who favor the Akaka bill hope the protest will show Congress the widespread support for racial separatism and therefore for the Akaka bill which would further empower it. Those who oppose the Akaka bill hope the protest will call attention to the danger of the fascism growing in Hawai'i

For full coverage of the Kamehameha decision and protests (about 120 pages), see:

Some of the newspaper articles copied on the above webpage are directly relevant to the Akaka bill, providing legal or political connections between the two issues. Those articles, or excerpts of them, are copied below. One particularly important article is by former Senators Gorton (R,WA) and Brown (R,CO) pointing out that the apology resolution of 1993, which they opposed, is being used in the Akaka bill for purposes which they warned about in 1993 and which Senator Inouye pledged would not happen.

Articles describing preparations for the expected September 6 Akaka bill showdown will also be included.

Everything below is in chronological order.

Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Native Hawaiian Issues

Yesterday's ruling is the latest chapter in the history of Native Hawaiian legal issues. Here are some other recent events:

1996 — Harold "Freddy" Rice, a Caucasian fifth-generation kama'aina, sues the state (Rice v. Cayetano) after being barred from voting in an Office of Hawaiian Affairs election.

February 2000 — The U.S. Supreme Court rules on Rice v. Cayetano, saying OHA's Hawaiian-only elections violate the 15th Amendment's ban on race-based voting restrictions.

July 2000 — U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i, introduces the Akaka bill to protect federal funding of Hawaiian entitlements in the wake of the Rice v. Cayetano decision and to clarify the political status of Native Hawaiians, setting them on a course to federal recognition.

September 2000 — U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor grants a motion filed by 13 non-Native Hawaiian residents to bar state chief election officer Dwayne Yoshina from stopping non-Hawaiians from running for the OHA board of trustees. The case was filed in late summer and expedited because of the impending fall elections.

December 2000 — The Akaka bill dies in the waning days of the 106th Congress. Sens. Akaka and Dan Inouye pledge to resurrect the bill in the new session.

March 2002 — A group of 16 plaintiffs file a lawsuit, known as Arakaki v. Cayetano, challenging the constitutionality of tax-supported programs benefiting only Native Hawaiians. The programs include the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and OHA.

2002 — A non-Hawaiian boy is admitted to the Maui campus of Kamehameha Schools. The Ho'oulu Hawaiian Data Center is established to develop a registry of the Hawaiian population and to certify the Hawaiian ancestry of applicants.

June 2003 — On behalf of an unnamed non-Hawaiian student, attorneys John Goemans and Eric Grant file a civil-rights lawsuit disputing the Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiian-preference admissions policy. Goemans says he believes the courts eventually will eliminate Native Hawaiian programs.

August 2003 - A federal court orders Kamehameha Schools to enroll a non-Hawaiian boy, 12-year-old Brayden Mohica-Cummings, until a final verdict on the admission policy is made.

November 2003 — U.S. District Judge Alan Kay rules that Kamehameha Schools can continue its Hawaiians-only preference admissions policy because of its unique and historical circumstances.

November 2003 — Trustees for Kamehameha Schools approve a settlement allowing a seventh-grade non-Hawaiian student to continue attending the private school until he graduates. In exchange, Grant and Goemans, the lawyers for Mohica-Cummings, agree to drop one of their two federal court challenges of the school's Hawaiian-preferrence admissions policy. The John Doe case remains.

January 2003 — U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway dismisses the Arakaki v. Cayetano suit (now known as Arakaki v. Lingle). Mollway rules that the court should not interfere with the ongoing congressional debate over Hawaiians' political status by deciding on the constitutionality of Hawaiian entitlements.

July 2005 — Attempts to bring the Akaka bill before the U.S. Senate are blocked by several Republican senators. The earliest the bill will reach the floor is September.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Wednesday, August 3, 2005



Appellate ruling creates urgency for Akaka Bill passage


A federal appeals panel has ruled that Kamehameha Schools' admission policy is illegally discriminatory against non-Hawaiians.

A federal appeals court ruling that Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiians-only admissions policy illegally discriminates against other races places urgency on enactment of the Hawaiian recognition bill before Congress. The court made clear that federal recognition of Hawaiians, similar to that afforded Indian tribes, would validate the school's policy.

In a divided vote, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the school's exclusion of non-Hawaiians violates the Civil Rights Act of 1866, a post-Civil War statute aimed at assuring freedoms to former slaves. The Supreme Court ruled in two cases in 1976 that the law is binding on private schools, regardless of whether they receive federal funds, and protects whites as well as minorities.

Kamehameha Schools acknowledged that the admissions policy was based on race, the Supreme Court having ruled in Rice vs. Cayetano that "ancestry can be a proxy for race." U.S. District Judge Alan Kay ruled in 2003 that the school's policy was one of affirmative action to remedy racial injustices of the past. The appellate ruling overturns Kay's decision.

Dissenting 9th Circuit Judge Susan P. Graber agreed with Kay that the school's policy is proper, having been "motivated by the need to remedy abysmal socioeconomic and education conditions and by the United States government's unique relationship with and responsibility for native Hawaiians."

However, Judges Robert R. Beezer and Jay S. Bybee questioned an affirmative-action policy amounting to "an absolute bar to admission for non-Hawaiians." The policy's "subtext," Bybee wrote in the majority opinion, is "that of all those who are found in poverty, homelessness, crime and other socially and economically disadvantaged circumstances, only native Hawaiians count."

Without mentioning the Akaka Bill, Bybee cited a 1974 Supreme Court ruling that the Bureau of Indian Affairs' hiring preference for Native Americans was not directed toward a "racial" group but to "members of 'federally recognized' tribes." The high court ruled in that case that "the preference is political rather than racial in nature."

Bybee wrote that "it remains unclear" whether the trust relationship between the government and native Hawaiians is "similar to that enjoyed with organized tribes." In any case, he added, the Kamehameha Schools "do not argue that the classification in question should be viewed as anything but expressly racial." The Rice decision essentially limited the school to that argument.

Enactment of the Akaka Bill would allow Kamehameha Schools to argue that the admissions policy is political, not racial. Proponents of the Akaka Bill should argue forcefully and forthrightly in Congress that a political entity based on ancestry -- yes, race -- is justified by the unique hardships that Hawaiians have endured.

Yesterday's ruling can be construed as a party-line vote; Beezer and Bybee were nominated respectively by Presidents Reagan and the younger Bush, while Graber was a Clinton pick. The schools may ask for a review of the decision by the entire 9th Circuit panel, the nation's most liberal appeals court. In any case, it is heading to the Supreme Court.

Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Akaka bill backers, foes weigh ruling

By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

A federal appeals court decision rejecting the race-based admissions policy at Kamehameha Schools could threaten other Native Hawaiian programs and place greater urgency on a Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill now before Congress.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco concentrated mostly on whether Kamehameha's preference for Hawaiian students was part of a valid affirmative action plan to remedy historic socioeconomic and educational difficulties within the Hawaiian community. The court ruled the policy is illegal under a 1866 federal law that was aimed at ending racial discrimination against blacks in the South and was later amended in the modern civil-rights era.

The court sidestepped defining the exact nature of the relationship between Native Hawaiians and the federal government, which was also left open by the Supreme Court in 2000 when it ruled in Rice v. Cayetano that barring non-Hawaiians from voting for trustees for the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs was unconstitutional.

The appeals court found that Congress has recognized Native Hawaiians in several federal programs — including grants to Kamehameha for a demonstration program to support Native Hawaiians who attend college — but had not given Kamehameha "blanket approval for private race discrimination."

The ruling was being closely examined yesterday by both supporters and opponents of Native Hawaiian recognition.

A bill that would formally recognize Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people with the right to form their own government could come up for a vote in the U.S. Senate in September, more than five years after it was introduced in the wake of Rice v. Cayetano.

Some Native Hawaiians hope the bill might protect the $70 million in federal money for Hawaiian programs that could come under legal assault given the decisions in the Rice and Kamehameha cases. A legal challenge against the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, filed by Earl Arakaki, is pending before the appeals court. U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway threw out the case last year because it might interfere with the debate in Congress on the bill.


U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i, who attended Kamehameha and is the bill's main sponsor, said he was saddened by yesterday's ruling.

"In its halls and classrooms we learned to think critically and excel in all the ordinary disciplines that a school ought to provide," Akaka said in a statement. "Our studies were also informed by the values of our ancestors and imbued with a sense of duty toward this land of ours and all of its people.

"Today's decision ... fills me with a great sadness because there are those among us who will misinterpret the words of the court as a rejection of my alma mater, and the values it stands for."

Akaka said his bill would "answer the silence of the court with an act of Congress. When we pass (the bill), the court will soon have its answer, and our Native Hawaiians will be able to reclaim their place in history."

But H. William Burgess, an attorney who is opposed to the Akaka bill, said the ruling could hurt the bill's chances. Burgess said: "The message it sends to the Senate and Congress is 'You're going through the trouble of creating this whole new government to protect what?' Racial discrimination."


U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, D-Hawai'i, said Native Hawaiians are descendants of a sovereign nation and equal to American Indians and Alaska Natives, who have been recognized by the federal government. He also suggested that the Akaka bill would provide Hawaiians with some legal protection.

"When we are successful, Native Hawaiians will be postured to reclaim their ancient dignity and forge a destiny for themselves in partnership with our state and our nation," Inouye said in a statement.

State Attorney General Mark Bennett said the Akaka bill could help protect Native Hawaiian programs and cause the Kamehameha case to be viewed in a different way by the higher court. He also said Congress could choose to exempt Native Hawaiians from the civil rights law.

"I think that you might have this looked at in a different perspective if you have the Akaka bill," Bennett said.

Republicans in the Senate have blocked the Akaka bill for the past five years, primarily claiming it would create a government that excludes people on the basis of their race.

The appeals court ruled yesterday that even if Congress were to exempt Native Hawaiians from civil rights law, Kamehameha's admissions policy could not be exclusively racial and at the same time covered under a special relationship with the government similar to Indian tribes. The Supreme Court has ruled, in a case involving hiring practices at the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, that hiring preferences for Indians were legal because they were based on their tribal affiliation and were political, not racial, in nature.

In a footnote related to the dissent, the appeals court also warned that constitutional problems could be raised against other Native Hawaiian programs if the grants to Kamehameha were seen as the federal government authorizing exclusive racial preferences.

"My suspicion is that this case won't help them at all," said Paul Sullivan, a Honolulu attorney who has been critical of the Akaka bill. The ruling, he said, sends a "very cautionary message to Congress about passing bills that give rights to people based solely on race."

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Activists fear ripple effect for Hawaiian issues

By Sally Apgar

The federal court ruling that Kamehameha Schools' "Hawaiians-only" admission policy is "unlawful race discrimination" may lead to the dismantling of other programs that benefit native Hawaiians, some activists said.

"What a depressing disaster," said Haunani-Kay Trask, a professor at the Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. "This is a sign of the times that we have a very conservative, right-wing president and that means any kind of ameliorative programs for native Hawaiians, or whatever group, will fall." "The right wing will go after all kinds of efforts to lift people up from oppression because of racism," she added.

But legal experts remain at odds over the decision's ultimate effect on other Hawaiian programs.

"I'm very sorry for Kamehameha Schools, but I don't think the decision rocks the boat for other (native Hawaiian) programs," said former Hawaii Supreme Court Justice Robert Klein, who is in private practice and advises the state's Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Klein said he believes the legal issues decided in Doe v. Kamehameha Schools are narrow and don't apply to other cases.

But John Goemans, a Big Island attorney for the plaintiff, was delighted with the decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Goemans was also an attorney in the Rice v. Cayetano case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Big Island rancher Harold "Freddy" Rice, who challenged OHA's Hawaiians-only voting policy as unconstitutional. Goemans said yesterday's decision "is a reaffirmation of everything found in Rice, that all these programs are all race-based. This case sets precedents for other cases (challenging native Hawaiians-only programs) and dramatically raises the national visibility of what exists in Hawaii and has grown since the 1970s: This pernicious racism."

William Burgess, an attorney who has been involved in suits challenging native Hawaiian programs and recently testified against the native Hawaiian recognition bill in Congress, said Doe "just highlights another race-based program in Hawaii."

Trask and other native Hawaiians said yesterday's decision is another defeat in the wake of the Rice ruling in 2000.

After Rice prevailed, groups that included some of the same people involved in Rice v. Cayetano lawsuit filed several other suits challenging the constitutionality of various programs aimed at improving the condition of native Hawaiians.

Klein and state Attorney General Mark Bennett agreed that the legal underpinnings of the Doe decision are so narrow they do not affect other cases. That includes Arakaki v. Lingle, which is before the same federal court, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In Arakaki, 16 plaintiffs argue that the OHA and the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act are race-based and therefore unconstitutional.

However, native Hawaiian activist Kahu Charlie Kauluwehi Maxwell said, "If this case (Doe) sets a precedent, then Hawaiian Homelands will be the next to go. Hawaiians can't be complacent anymore, we can't just be Mr. Aloha."

Under federal law, the legal issues boil down to whether being native Hawaiian is based on race or on being an indigenous people, such as American Indians.

Trask and others argue that race is "an invention of the West and its imperial empire." "Native Hawaiians are an indigenous people, not a race," she said. "They are trying to disappear us with a legal definition."

OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona also was distressed that the courts were seizing upon the phrase "race-based." "Congress' decision to create a trust relationship with American Indians, Alaska Natives and native Hawaiians is not based on race, but on the unique political relationship each group had with the U.S. prior to being taken over by U.S. forces," she said.

Burgess said the court in Doe "rejected the idea that indigenous people can be singled out for special treatment."

But according to Klein's interpretation of the Doe ruling, the court did not have to decide if native Hawaiians are indigenous people or whether there is "a special trust relationship" between the U.S. government and native Hawaiians as exists with American Indian tribes.

These crucial issues are raised in the Arakaki case and the debate over the native Hawaiian recognition bill, also known as the Akaka Bill, now before the U.S. Senate.

Klein and Bennett said that the Doe court did not have to decide these issues because Kamehameha tried to justify its policy under specific laws governing affirmative action. In making its argument, Kamehameha admitted its policy was race-based, which made further determinations by the court over trust relationships and indigenous peoples moot.

The majority opinion in the 2-to-1 decision says: "It remains unclear whether the United States government enjoys a trust relationship with native Hawaiians similar to that enjoyed with organized tribes. But under the statues and case law as they exist now, we, like the court in Rice, find it advisable to 'stay far off that difficult terrain.'"

Kamehameha "does not contest, and candidly admits that its admission process is based upon an express racial classification," the majority opinion states.

The justices said that in the name of affirmative action goals, Kamehameha argued: "it is necessary for the Schools to 'trammel' the interests of non-aboriginal applicants." The majority said that contradicted existing case law. "Kamehameha's unconditional refusal to admit non-Hawaiians so long as there are native Hawaiian applicants categorically 'trammels' the rights of non-Hawaiians," the justices wrote.

The opinion concluded: "We emphasize that our ruling today is a narrow one. We conclude only that ... (Doe) has met his burden of establishing the invalidity of the racially exclusionary affirmative action plan in place at Kamehameha Schools, as that plan currently operates as an absolute bar to admission for those of the non-preferred race."

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Akaka undeterred by ruling
The court decision does not exclude federal recognition of Hawaiians, the U.S. senator says

By B.J. Reyes

Yesterday's ruling striking down Kamehameha Schools' admission policy won't affect U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka's efforts to win support for his bill that would grant federal recognition to native Hawaiians, his spokeswoman said.

"The strategy remains the same, with the goal of educating those in Congress," spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said. "I don't think there could be any doubt that some may try to use this case as a basis to try to oppose this bill, but the law is on Senator Akaka's side."

She noted that the ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could be helpful in the sense that it "will definitely bring to light the issues of what this bill does and what it would establish."

Yesterday's ruling said Kamehameha's admission policy granting preferences to Hawaiians amounted to unlawful racial discrimination.

Akaka could not be reached for comment, but he issued a statement, noting that the ruling "remained silent" on recognizing a legal and political relationship between native Hawaiians and the federal government -- a relationship that would be formalized under his proposed legislation.

The ruling states that "it remains unclear whether the United States government enjoys a trust relationship with native Hawaiians similar to that enjoyed with organized tribes."

Opponents of the Akaka Bill say the 9th Circuit's ruling should send a clear message to federal lawmakers to defeat the measure.

"The one thing it'll do is discredit, I think, the main argument that the proponents of the Akaka Bill make," said H. William Burgess, a Honolulu attorney who has worked on cases challenging Hawaiian preferences. "They (proponents) say that native Hawaiians are just the same as Native Americans and Native Alaskans and the 9th Circuit said, 'No.'"

Supporters and opponents are likely to ramp up public debate as the U.S. Senate approaches a possible floor vote on the Akaka Bill next month.

Debate and a vote on the bill was expected on the Senate floor last month, but action was delayed by majority Republicans who raised concerns over the measure. Its next hurdle comes Sept. 6, when the Senate is scheduled to vote on a move to force debate, followed by a vote by the full Senate.

"I would assume the people against the Akaka Bill will use this decision in arguing that they're correct -- that the Akaka Bill, which is race-based, is inherently unconstitutional," said Rick Castberg, a political scientist at the University of Hawaii-Hilo. "For those who are in favor of the Akaka Bill, it would give them even more incentive to try to get the bill passed.

"The bottom line in this ruling is that you basically can't make a lot of decisions based on race," he added. "On the other hand, if the Akaka Bill did pass, it might make this decision by the 9th Circuit more likely to be overturned by the Supreme Court, because ... it would be fairly clear at that point then that the United States Congress is recognizing the native Hawaiians in a manner similar to Native Americans."

Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, August 3, 2005 ** EDITORIAL; EXCERPT **

Kamehameha Schools must defend mission

An appeals court ruling yesterday that strikes down Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiian "preference" admission policy is a substantial and disappointing setback, but need not be a death blow for the school's unique mission.

While the ruling said the admissions policy is racially inadmissable, it left the door wide open for an approach that treats Hawaiians as a political, rather than racial, entity.

That, in fact, is the precise intent of the Akaka bill now before Congress.

Passage of the bill would not guarantee Kamehameha Schools could continue as before, but it would provide a powerful legal tool against challenges such as the one that succeeded before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday.

The second option, as the ruling appears to recognize, is to pursue the Akaka bill or a similar measure that shifts recognition of Hawaiians from that of a racial group to a political entity, a nationality if you will.

Indeed, the court recognized that this approach has survived the legal test in the case of Native Americans, and suggested that the same might apply to Hawaiians if they also are recognized as a political entity.

But the plain fact is that "under the statutes and case law as they exist now," the court said, no such political or trust relationship exists.

That's a powerful reason for supporters of Hawaiian rights to push for the Akaka bill now.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Sunday, August 14, 2005

Roots of freedom

The U.S. Constitution provides for recognition of native rights

By Patricia Zell

Patricia Zell recently retired from 25 years of service with the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, where she served as Democratic staff director and chief counsel. She recently contracted with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to perform research related to the Akaka Bill.

The U.S. Constitution addresses the status of the indigenous, native people of America by stating that Congress has the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes."

That status is founded not upon considerations of race or ethnicity, but upon the reality that the indigenous, native people occupied and exercised sovereignty over the lands and territories that were later to become part of the United States.

Their sovereignty existed before the formation of the United States, and the Constitution recognizes their status as sovereigns, in the same clause of the Constitution that recognizes the sovereignty of the several states and the foreign nations.

The laws of the United States reflect the constitutional status of the indigenous people of America. Upon this constitutional foundation, hundreds of federal laws have been enacted that express the nature of the political and legal relationship the United States has with the sovereign governments of the native people of this land -- American Indians, Alaskan natives and native Hawaiians.

The Constitution neither requires nor provides that the pre-existing sovereignty of the indigenous people of the United States must be "preserved" through treaties or statehood enabling laws. In fact, the Constitution establishes a legal framework under which the federal government has the principal responsibility of conducting relations with the native people, and many statehood enabling acts expressly disavow any authority over the native people and their lands. The notion that sovereignty requires periodic preservation suggests a serious misunderstanding of the nature of sovereignty.

The Hawaii Admissions Act and the Alaska Statehood Act are unlike many of the other Western states' enabling laws in that both expressly recognize and preserve the rights of the indigenous people of the two states. The Hawaii Admissions Act not only provides for the protection of lands set aside under federal law for native Hawaiians, but further directs that revenues from lands ceded back to the state are to be used for five purposes, one of which is the betterment of the conditions of native Hawaiians. In addition, the Hawaii Constitution explicitly recognizes the rights of native Hawaiians to self-determination and self-governance.

Throughout America's history as a nation, the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government have entered into treaties and carried on a course of dealings with the indigenous people of America, and the judicial branch of the federal government has consistently reaffirmed that the treaties and conduct of relations with the indigenous people is based on a political and legal relationship.

Congressional powers and native peoples

Congress has the constitutional power and authority to address the conditions of the indigenous, native people of America.

Although those who first immigrated to America's shores called the indigenous people they found here "Indians," the terms "Indians" and "Indios" were, for centuries, employed around the world to describe the indigenous people of other countries as well. Upon his arrival in Hawaii in 1778, Captain James Cook recorded in his diaries his discovery of the original inhabitants of Hawaii, referring to the native people as "Indians." In a similar manner, the term "tribe" was the word Europeans assigned to the sovereign nations or groups of America's indigenous people.

While the U.S. Constitution vests the Congress with authority to conduct relations with Indian tribes, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld Congress' exercise of its constitutional authority as applied to the indigenous people of Alaska -- not all of whom are organized as Indian tribes. And since 1910, Congress has enacted more than 160 federal laws that address the conditions of the indigenous people of Hawaii.

The indigenous people of America are not all "Indians," nor are they all organized as "tribes," but they do share the same status under the U.S. Constitution and federal law -- a status that arises out of their inherent sovereignty and the fact that their sovereignty pre-existed the formation of the United States.

As early as the 1830s, Chief Justice John Marshall articulated these principles in the court's rulings. From that time forward, the Supreme Court has continued to sustain the constitutionality of federal laws that are built upon the legal foundation of the political and legal relationships that the United States has had for more than 200 years with the indigenous people who exercised sovereignty in America prior to the establishment of the United States -- American Indians, Alaskan natives and native Hawaiians.

In contemporary times, the Supreme Court's rulings have expressly held that those laws are not based on race or ethnicity, and that Congress has the authority to address the conditions of the indigenous, native people of the United States.

Application of Federal Indian Law in Hawaii

While considered to be part of the body of federal Indian law, the enactment of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971 reflected a significant departure from the federal laws that give expression to the relationships between the United States and American Indian tribal governments. The act authorized the establishment of Alaska native regional and village corporations that would hold title to native lands and in which the native people would be shareholders.

In the ensuing 34 years, the existence of the Alaska native corporations -- and the manner in which they have fostered economic growth in some of the most geographically remote and isolated areas of that state and this country -- have brought the citizens of Alaska together, not divided them, as they share in the economic development opportunities that the native corporations have brought to the rural areas of the state.

In like manner, S.147, the Akaka Bill, does not seek to replicate conditions in Indian country, but rather to reflect the unique circumstances of the indigenous people of Hawaii. S.147 does not, for instance, propose the establishment of "Indian reservations" nor does it suggest that native Hawaiians will want to organize themselves as a "tribe." S.147 does not authorize eligibility for federal Indian programs. While Hawaii is one of two states in the union that criminally prohibits all forms of gaming, S.147 reinforces state law by providing that the principal federal law that authorizes gaming in Indian country will not apply in Hawaii.

And, like the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, rather than adopting the legal framework that informs relations between governments in Indian country, S.147 authorizes a process of negotiations between the United States, the state of Hawaii and the native Hawaiian government to address such matters as civil and criminal jurisdiction, the management of lands and natural resources, and the range of governmental powers and authorities to be exercised by each government.

The suggestion that the United States and the state of Hawaii would readily abdicate their respective sovereignty in deference to the native Hawaiian government in the negotiations process is simply not credible.


In 1934, with the enactment of the Indian Reorganization Act, Congress provided a process for the reorganization of tribal governments in Indian country -- governments that had been discouraged by U.S. policies and laws from exercising their inherent sovereignty. The Supreme Court has repeatedly sustained Congress' exercise of its constitutional authority in enacting the Indian Reorganization Act.

S.147 provides a process for the reorganization of a native Hawaiian government so that the indigenous, native people of Hawaii might give expression to their rights as one group of America's native people to self-determination and self-governance, consistent with U.S. policy of the past 35 years.

Twenty-seven years ago, in 1978, the citizens of Hawaii amended the state Constitution to assure that the federal policy of the rights of America's native people to self-determination and self-governance would be extended to native Hawaiians.

They did so not to establish racial or ethnic divisions but to strengthen the fabric of the multi-cultural society that is Hawaii, by honoring the legacy of the aboriginal, indigenous, native people of Hawaii whose culture, history, language and traditions have, for generations, been so enthusiastically embraced by all of the citizens of Hawaii and serve as the foundation upon which governance in Hawaii is built.

Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 14, 2005

Grassroot group emerges as player

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

A small nonprofit group headed by a former Army colonel has emerged as a force in the debate over the Akaka bill and may have played a role in delaying debate in the Senate until next month.

Once known primarily for its opposition to tax increases and government intrusion on individual liberties, the five-year-old Grassroot Institute of Hawaii this year suddenly thrust itself to the forefront of opposition to the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, known as the Akaka bill for lead sponsor U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka, D-Hawai'i.

The bill would create a process for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians as a political entity, and Akaka and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawai'i had been promised the measure would come to the floor of the Senate by this month.

But several Republican senators put holds on the measure, and a move is pending to force action on it in September.

The wrangling in Washington comes as Hawaiians-only programs are being challenged in the courts. A federal appeals court ruling this month that Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy gives preference to Hawaiians in violation of civil rights laws ignited debate over whether federal recognition would have helped the school.

In its effort to reach the public and lawmakers about objections to the bill, the institute in recent months has bought newspaper advertisements, conducted two large-scale opinion polls and hired a Washington-based attorney. Along the way, the group has not only enraged bill supporters such as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, but independent nation advocates who also oppose the bill for vastly different reasons than the institute.

Neal Milner, a political science professor at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, believes the institute has played a pivotal role in the debate in recent months by helping to raise the bill's profile.

"I always thought the best chance for the Akaka bill passing would be if it stayed pretty well below the radar, that is if our two (Hawai'i) senators could convince others, particularly Republicans, that it wasn't such a big deal (and) didn't involve serious principles," Milner said.

But that strategy is no longer in play, he said, thanks in part to the Grassroot Institute and a network of similar organizations across the Mainland that have been able to play up ideological issues such as race and Hawaiians-only legislation.

The issue has received national attention, drawing editorials in both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, as well as news stories on the Fox television network and National Public Radio.

The institute's underlying argument is that the bill is race-based, and therefore unconstitutional. Proponents of the bill argue instead that the United States has a "special political responsibility" to Hawaiians because of the prior relationship between what were two countries.

"Once this issue began to become more visible, it wasn't that they changed so many people's minds," Milner said, "it's just that they reinforced this kind of Republican objection so that it no longer was something that the Senate would be willing to grant to our two senior senators, as much out of respect than anything else."


OHA administrator Clyde Namu'o said he couldn't be certain how much of a direct influence the institute's efforts had on senators. The agency has been among the bill's staunchest supporters. "I just don't know because I don't have enough information about their origins and who's really funding them," Namu'o said.

Officials with the institute are sure their efforts paid off.

Institute president Richard "Dick" Rowland said he was told that the Akaka bill took up a large chunk of discussion time at a conservative think-tank meeting in Washington several weeks ago when the bill was expected to be up for a Senate vote. "It's so much more on the radar screen than even a month ago," Rowland said.

Theresa Rudacille, director of planning and performance review for the organization, said the institute and its supporters have persuaded some senators to "take a look at the unintended consequences."

While institute officials have resisted being labeled, the group clearly is aligned with other organizations that are rooted in conservative and libertarian values.

Rowland, distinguishable by his Texas drawl and penchant for cowboy hats, is a businessman and one-time political candidate who once headed the local Libertarian Party.

Rudacille said the group has three main principles: individual liberty, the free market and "limited and responsible government."

Rowland said members believe that if the public and politicians are educated about the specifics of the bill, they will have no choice but to reject it. That's the reason the institute supports a delay and, ultimately, wants a referendum of Hawai'i voters — both Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian — before the bill goes to Congress, he said.

Among the institute's affiliates is the State Policy Network, described on the organization's Web site as "the professional service organization for America's state-based, free-market think-tank community."

Rudacille said the group has been able to network with think-tanks like itself on the Mainland that helped spread the word about the bill. Grassroot Institute officials have said repeatedly that theirs is strictly an educational campaign, not a lobbying effort.

The group also has allies at home.

A key argument for supporters of the bill is that it is necessary to help stave off lawsuits that challenge the legality of existing Hawaiians-only programs, including OHA and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. Those lawsuits are coming from groups closely aligned with the institute such as Aloha for All.

The lead attorney for Aloha for All, H. William Burgess, is also legal counsel for the Grassroot Institute.

Another key ally is Hawaii Reporter, an Internet news site that publishes articles focused on small business, conservative and libertarian issues. Hawaii Reporter editor and publisher Malia Zimmerman co-founded the Grassroot Institute with Rowland and is listed as its vice president. The two organizations also share office space on South King Street.

Zimmerman and Hawaii Reporter have done some contractual work for the institute, and the institute has a daily column on the Hawaii Reporter's Web site. Zimmerman said Hawaii Reporter has taken no editorial position on the bill and is primarily interested in proper discourse before it goes to a vote in Congress.

Robert Klein, an OHA attorney, recently criticized an article in the Hawaii Reporter for "deliberately distorting" the transcript of a National Public Radio interview done with OHA board Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona "in order to ridicule the chairperson of OHA." The article described Apoliona as "not too persuasive" and focused on a section of the interview in which Apoliona gave shorter, indirect responses during a discussion on the interview's use of the words "white Hawaiians" to describe Caucasians who live in Hawai'i.

Zimmerman acknowledged that she incorrectly attributed one quote to the interviewer that should have been attributed to Apoliona at the very end of her article, but otherwise stood by her article. "It's not fabricated, it's not distorted," she said.

While the institute appears to have spent large sums of money in recent months, it has refused to say how much.

A nearly full-page advertisement such as one the institute ran in The Advertiser in late June typically costs about $8,500, according to published Advertiser rates. The ad, which ran just after Kamehameha Day, said that while Kamehameha united Hawai'i, "Akaka would divide us forever." The institute also ran two smaller ads.

OHA, in support of the Akaka bill, last month ran a two-page advertisement in the Sunday Advertiser, which would typically cost $35,000.

The Grassroot Institute conducted two automated polls, done by ccAdvertising of Herndon, Va., saying the polls showed that respondents opposed the Akaka bill by a 2-1 margin. But the group drew fire from pollsters based in Hawai'i who charged that it asked misleading questions. Rowland said the two surveys, one of which called 280,000 phone numbers in the state, cost less than $100,000.

Rebecca Ward, president of Ward Research, said it is unclear what kind of impact the polls would have had in the decision by some senators to put a hold on the bill last month. "I would hope that a poll with questions that were so obviously biased would not have any impact on Congress," she said. Ward Research, which has conducted polls for The Advertiser, also conducted a poll for OHA in 2003 showing a majority of the state's residents supporting federal recognition. The OHA survey also was criticized by opponents, including the institute, which said it asked misleading questions.

In its efforts, the institute hired Washington attorney Bruce Fein, a constitutional authority often used by conservative organizations. Fein said he met with some Republican senators and worked with his staff and conservative allies to spread word about the opposition's points within the Senate and House. Some lawmakers, he said, are only now taking a careful look at the bill's details. "We have certainly communicated to them," Fein said. "It shows that there is some very serious concern about the bill."

Rowland would not disclose the institute's donors but insisted the money is local.

The organization stepped up its Akaka campaign this year realizing a vote was imminent, Rudacille said. "We saw the bill moving forward under the radar screen without people here and back on the Mainland understanding what the implications were," she said.


Rowland said the organization specifically solicited money for its Akaka bill effort and keeps that money separate from other money. He estimated there are roughly 30 to 40 donors who have contributed specifically toward the Akaka bill. "We don't have any Mainland money that has come in about Akaka, although we'd welcome it," Rowland said.

The organization receives grants for its educational programs on other issues, but none goes to the Akaka initiative, he said.

Among those who have contributed to the cause is former Advertiser publisher Thurston Twigg-Smith, a key figure in Aloha for All and its lawsuits. Twigg-Smith estimated that he has probably contributed "in the low five figures" and estimated that, while he had nothing to base it on, there are probably up to 10 other donors who have given "in the high fours, low fives."

The institute has provided a rallying point for people who have objections to the bill, he said. "It's performed a very valuable service, in that respect," Twigg-Smith said.

As a 501(c)(3) organization, the nonprofit institute must submit a Form 990 detailing its total revenues and expenses to the Internal Revenue Service, and also make the information public annually. The institute has filed for an extension to submit its 2004 returns, Rowland said, because the staff has been busy with its Akaka bill efforts, the debate over Honolulu's general excise tax increase for mass transit and other issues. According to its first three Form 990 reports, the institute's revenues and expenses have grown steadily. For 2001, it reported $5,314 in revenues and $2,383 in expenses. In 2002, the group reported $27,280 in revenues and $18,422 in expenses. For 2003, it reported $73,845 in revenues and $57,346 in expenses.

Rowland said whatever the institute and other opponents may have spent on the Akaka bill pales in comparison to the amount and significance of what OHA has spent, expenses that have been paid by taxpayers.

OHA's Namu'o said that since May 2003, about $1 million has been paid to Washington-based law and lobbying firm Patton Boggs to push congressional members for passage of the bill. Namu'o said he did not have costs available for expenses for trustees traveling to Washington to support the bill. He also acknowledged that the Ward poll and OHA's Kau Inoa initiative to get Native Hawaiians on a registry are related to the Akaka bill.

OHA stands by its decision to make those expenditures, he said, because the trustees have a duty to protect its assets for the benefit of those they serve.

Donalyn Dela Cruz, spokeswoman for Akaka, noted that institute lobbyist Fein was able to get bill opponent Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., to insert his essays criticizing the bill into the Congressional Record. "They've made some impact, in terms of conservative circles," she said. Fein's arguments have also been used in a Republican Policy Committee report that also raised questions about the bill, Dela Cruz noted.

Dela Cruz said she believes the effort has been less successful back home. "The impact that they've had on people who have lived in Hawai'i and know Hawai'i's history, I don't believe they've made that much of an impact," she said.

Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 14, 2005

Foes share opposition, little else

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

Like the people involved with the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, those seeking an independent Hawaiian nation fiercely oppose the Akaka bill and believe a majority of the public is against it, too.

And like those with the institute, independent nation advocates don't like the idea of the U.S. Department of the Interior having a big say in how the Native Hawaiian entity allowed for in the Akaka bill is finally formed.

Both groups say the bill is unfair and has not been fully debated.

But don't mistake independent nation advocates for the Grassroot Institute and its message of equality for all with no race-based exceptions.

Just ask Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele, leader of the Independent and Sovereign Nation State of Hawai'i (Nation of Hawai'i), which opposes the Akaka bill because it does not go far enough in what it offers to Hawaiians. "They're totally in denial of our rights as Hawaiians," Kanahele said, noting that the institute and a related group, Aloha for All, believe no wrong was committed by the United States when the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893.

Kanahele said he and others in the sovereignty movement are frustrated that they are sometimes lumped with the institute simply because both groups oppose the Akaka bill. "They're insulting and denying the history, and they're still trying to rewrite it," he said.

Ikaika Hussey, a member of the Hui Pu, an umbrella group for independent nation organizations opposed to the Akaka bill, acknowledged how some people may be confused. "I guess you could say the same words are being used, but we're saying different things," he said. "If you look at what the Grassroot Institute is proposing, they're talking about doing away with any difference or diversity in society. What they really want is everyone to become consumers, part of the American consumer mainstream where there's no longer any identity or political differences." He added: "What we're talking about is forced assimilation of the kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiian) into the American mainstream and an attempt to deflect from the injustices of the past 112 years."

At a recent news conference held by the Hui Pu, several others tried to distance their views from those of the Grassroot Institute. "We're not the grassroots, we're the grass," said Keli'i "Skippy" Ioane of King's Landing Village.

Kanahele, nonetheless, said he believes the combination of forces opposing the bill contributed to the delay in getting it on the Senate floor for a vote last month. "It was probably more them than us," he said, noting the financial resources available to the institute.

Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 14, 2005

Native hawaiians battle in the courts and in congress

Advertiser Staff

The events of the past few weeks mark the latest chapter in the history of Native Hawaiian legal issues. Here are some other recent events:

1996 — Harold "Freddy" Rice, a Caucasian fifth-generation kama'aina, sues the state (Rice v. Cayetano) after being barred from voting in an Office of Hawaiian Affairs election.

February 2000 — The U.S. Supreme Court rules on Rice v. Cayetano, saying OHA's Hawaiian-only elections violate the 15th Amendment's ban on race-based voting restrictions.

July 2000 — U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i, introduces the Akaka bill to protect federal funding of Hawaiian entitlements in the wake of the Rice v. Cayetano decision and to clarify the political status of Native Hawaiians, setting them on a course to federal recognition.

September 2000 — U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor grants a motion filed by 13 non-Native Hawaiian residents to bar state chief election officer Dwayne Yoshina from stopping non-Hawaiians from running for the OHA board of trustees. The case was filed in late summer and expedited because of the impending fall elections.

December 2000 — The Akaka bill dies in the waning days of the 106th Congress. Sens. Akaka and Dan Inouye pledge to resurrect the bill in the new session.

March 2002 — A group of 16 plaintiffs files a lawsuit, known as Arakaki v. Cayetano, challenging the constitutionality of tax-supported programs benefiting only Native Hawaiians. The programs include the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and OHA.

2002 — A non-Hawaiian boy is admitted to the Maui campus of Kamehameha Schools. The Ho'oulu Hawaiian Data Center is established to develop a registry of the Hawaiian population and to certify the Hawaiian ancestry of applicants.

June 2003 — On behalf of an unnamed non-Hawaiian student, attorneys John Goemans and Eric Grant file a civil-rights lawsuit disputing the Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiian-preference admissions policy. Goemans says he believes that the courts eventually will eliminate Native Hawaiian programs.

August 2003 - A federal court orders Kamehameha Schools to enroll a non-Hawaiian boy, 12-year-old Brayden Mohica-Cummings, until a final verdict on the admission policy is made.

November 2003 — U.S. District Judge Alan Kay rules that Kamehameha Schools can continue its Hawaiians-only preference admissions policy because of its unique and historical circumstances.

November 2003 — Trustees for Kamehameha Schools approve a settlement allowing a seventh-grade non-Hawaiian student to continue attending the private school until he graduates. In exchange, Grant and Goemans, the lawyers for Mohica-Cummings, agree to drop one of their two federal court challenges of the school's Hawaiian-preference admissions policy. The John Doe case remains.

January 2004 — U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway dismisses the Arakaki v. Cayetano suit (now known as Arakaki v. Lingle). Mollway rules that the court should not interfere with the ongoing congressional debate over Hawaiians' political status by deciding on the constitutionality of Hawaiian entitlements.

July 2005 — Attempts to bring the Akaka bill before the U.S. Senate are blocked by several Republican senators. The earliest the bill will reach the floor is September.

August 2005 — A federal appeals court reverses the lower court decision on John Doe and declares that Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy giving preference to Native Hawaiians violates civil rights laws. Less than a week later, an estimated 20,000 supporters of the school hold marches and rallies statewide, including 15,000 who march from 'Iolani Palace to Mauna 'Ala, the Royal Mausoleum.

Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 14, 2005


Admissions ruling means Hawaiians must look at all options

By Anne Keala Kelly

When the red river of 15,000 Hawaiians poured out of the 'Iolani Palace grounds and surged up through Nu'uanu Aug. 6, it was like watching an age-old ritual, even though it's only happened a handful of times over the past century.

It struck me that this mass of Kanaka Maoli flesh was following the queen's funeral path, a connecting walkway between where Hawaiian leaders lived and conducted the business of government, and where they, along with Hawaiian freedom, were laid to rest.

Hawaiians have not accepted or recovered from 1893. That's why when a displaced haole, armed with an attitude and a lawyer, takes a jab at us in the courts, we respond with anger and outrage — we experience it as yet another in a 112-year long series of invasions and thefts of what is ours.

The Kamehameha Schools is part of the living legacy of Hawaiian nationhood. It is proof of Hawaiian status not just as a people who share ancestry and culture, but also as a people with a national history.

It is that history and our potential future history that lingers uneasy on the minds and in the hearts of Hawaiians as we read and analyze the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. Why, some of us are wondering, did Kamehameha Schools defend their admissions policy based on race when the indisputable truth is that Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop was only concerned with her people, the subjects of her kingdom and the descendants of her ancestors?

Why is the truth of Hawaiian genealogy and "sovereignty" scarce when Hawaiians enter the American courts? It's one thing to lose a fight for the truth, but if you lose a phony fight it's like the fight was fixed.

Race is America's blood sport, and its courts will adjudicate with their blood rules, rules constructed as a way to dispossess Hawaiians and other peoples of their land, resources and if need be, their sanity.

"They" have made us believe 400,000 Hawaiians can't do what our kupuna did when they were a dying population of only 40,000.

One thing was clear on Aug. 6: When Hawaiians come together, the truth is a living, breathing thing that Hawaiian people aloha with pride and dignity. That is what binds Hawaiians beyond the insults and outrage.

But when we walk away from a gathering, what do we take, and what do we leave behind? Can we truly connect as one in the American system? And that system is clever enough to deploy Hawaiian-isms that fool us into thinking we have power with institutions and agencies like the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, or Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, or our beloved Kamehameha Schools.

Sen. Dan Inouye's out-of-synch press release glossed over the 9th Circuit's ruling, saying when the Akaka bill passes, " ... Native Hawaiians will be postured to reclaim their ancient dignity and forge a destiny for themselves in partnership with the state and our nation."

The immediate reaction Hawaiians had when they learned about the ruling was to voice loudly their distrust in the American system, and to suggest that the American military get out of Hawai'i. And those words came from Hawaiians who have supported the Akaka bill.

As I watched so many Hawaiians move as one unified entity, I was reminded of something kupuna Peggy Ha'o Ross said recently at a gathering of the Hui Pu, a Hawaiian coalition opposing the Akaka bill. I had asked her to comment on the bill, and she talked about how in the past 30 years she's come to understand "we are not Americans."

Then she said something that went beyond the outrage Hawaiians feel over the theft of the kingdom. She said "We are not Americans, we know this now, so what do we want to do about it?"

If there were any substance to Hawaiians having "agency" in the American system and power over our own destiny as a people, so many Hawaiians would not be fleeing to a better life in America (our diaspora is over 40 percent). The reality that 60 percent of the homeless on O'ahu are Kanaka Maoli would jolt us into action.

And the fact of America's militarization of Hawai'i, that is now expanding to swallow up even more of our land, would surely inspire us to march en masse.

Things that make Americans feel safe surround us: military, media, their politics, their justice and their culture. But we are also inundated with Hawaiian ideas and kuleana that somehow end up getting stalled in the roar of our own political and cultural rhetoric. Is it possible to get beyond this latest outrage to the opportunities it presents?

For Kamehameha Schools, this is an opportunity to get back in touch with the Hawaiian people, to overhaul their admissions policy and do more outreach to the indigent children that line the highways, sleeping in cars and under tarps with their parents.

It's an opportunity to offer 100 percent free education to the most needy who are Kanaka. This may seem naive, but imagine if the millions spent on the "race" defense had gone to those children.

For all of us, it's an opportunity to do more than perform a march. No matter where we stand politically as individuals, for or against the Akaka bill, it's time for us to talk to each other seriously about all our legal options, including independence and free association, not just federal recognition.

It's time for us to consider our actual physical, psychological and spiritual condition as a people, and to take a fresh look at the kuleana that comes with the legacy our ali'i left us.

Anne Keala Kelly is a Native Hawaiian journalist and filmmaker. She wrote this commentary for The Advertiser.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Monday, August 15, 2005


Kamehameha ruling misused to support the Akaka Bill

Many news outlets, Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees and paid proponents of the bill falsely describe the court's opinion as a decision that Kamehameha Schools' admission policy was "race-based and therefore unconstitutional." These interpretations and misrepresentations continue to obscure the land and sovereignty rights issues at the heart of Hawaiian resistance and at the heart of this era of racist lawsuits and reactionary legislation. We must be clear: The judges did not rule that race-based admissions are unconstitutional.

Instead, the court specifically ruled that the racial preferences for Hawaiians that serve as an "absolute bar" against non-Hawaiians violates the Civil Rights Act of 1991. In other words, if Kamehameha Schools had shown that they give preference to Hawaiians but still allowed some non-Hawaiians admission, then Doe would have lost the case.

The fact is that since its inception in 1887, Kamehameha Schools has always allowed non-Hawaiians to attend. The "absolute bar" to non-Hawaiian admissions is not only non-absolute, the trend to make it more exclusively Hawaiian is a relatively recent phenomenon. What does this mean? It means that although Kamehameha Schools lost the lawsuit, very little needs to change. The administrators need to retool their admission policy to allow non-Hawaiian students, but they can and should still give preference to Hawaiian children, especially those who are indigent and orphaned.

We must remember that when Bernice Pauahi Bishop gave her last will and testament, she was living in the kingdom of Hawaii and certainly did not intend to provide for children of another nation. Therefore, the only non-Hawaiian orphans and indigent children that should be admitted should be descendants of citizens of the kingdom of Hawaii.

The lands that Kamehameha Schools are based on are the national lands of those who descend from citizens of the kingdom. Following the Great Mahele, the alii nui did not bequeath lands downward to their children or other heirs. They bequeathed upward to higher-ranking alii in a semblance of the traditional practice that the highest-ranking alii would redistribute the land. This left vast amounts of land in the control of Princess Ruth Ke'elikolani, who bequeathed them to Bernice Pauahi Bishop. When Pauahi died, the Bishop Estate and Kamehameha Schools were created and received the lands.

Originally the alii had kuleana to take care not only of themselves through private property, but kuleana and obligation to care for the maka'ainana (commoners, citizens). Thus, most Hawaiians are protesting this ruling because these resources are part of our collective inheritance. Let us not co-opt their righteous rage for the wrongful legislation.

Proponents of the Akaka Bill are attempting to use their interpretation of the ruling as a way to redirect the activist opposition to the bill to focus on Kamehameha Schools. The sovereignty struggle is a larger and more critical movement than the effort to preserve the admission policies. Besides, the school has a number of other strategies it can employ to maintain the preference, while the Akaka Bill threatens to strangle the independence drive of the Hawaiian movement.

Passage of the bill would not protect Kamehameha Schools from the racist attacks on Hawaiians, which are firmly grounded in U.S. law and principles of "racial equality" without justice. The U.S. federal courts do not understand Hawaiian traditional culture, nor do they understand or adequately use as precedent Hawaiian kingdom law outside of Hawaii.

Furthermore, the bill threatens our crown and government lands by setting up a process for settlement to extinguish our claims once it attempts to legalize the history of the overthrow by reorganizing the Hawaiian people into a dependent entity under U.S. plenary power.

If the Akaka Bill were passed, it would set a precedent that would erode the concept of sovereignty precisely because the bill fundamentally alters and subverts the principles of self-governance, particularly when the federal government and the state of Hawaii are empowered to make decisions without Hawaiian consent on matters concerning economic development, land claims and citizenship requirements.

While the bill's supporters argue that something needs to be done to protect Hawaiians from racist litigation, the fact is that the bill serves as a wedge through which U.S. federal law would be able to curtail and commit further juricide against Hawaiian and American Indian nations.

Finally, proponents of the bill rely on the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution to argue that the bill does not violate the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. The clause merely states that Congress has the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes." But the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted that clause time and time again to grant the U.S. Congress plenary power (complete power) to pass any law it may so desire. Plenary power is what gives the U.S. Congress the ability to federally recognize tribes without violating the U.S. Constitution. But what supporters of the bill neglect to mention, as they argue that the bill will "save us," is that it is the same plenary power that empowers the U.S. Congress and the executive branch (through the Department of the Interior) to limit the federally recognized indigenous nations' full self-determination under international law.

Lest we forget, the commerce clause also mentions foreign nations, which includes the kingdom of Hawaii. Hence, if the Akaka Bill doesn't violate the 14th Amendment, it certainly violates the treaties between the kingdom and the United States, which must be honored!

As Joseph Kahooluhi Nawahiokalaniopuu said on his deathbed, "E ho'omau i ke aloha i ka 'aina!" Persevere in love for the land and country!



J. Kehaulani Kauanui is assistant professor of American studies and assistant professor of anthropology at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn.

Noenoe K. Silva is a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

Jodi Byrd is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma and is professor of political science at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

Jon Kamakawiwo'ole Osorio is director of the Kamakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. We are alarmed that both the media and others are misreporting the recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Doe vs. Kamehameha to scare people into supporting the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, commonly called the Akaka Bill.

Hawaii Reporter, August 15, 2005

No Taxation, No Akaka Bill Lobbying by Government Officials, Without Representation

By Paul Tyksinski

If my memory serves me correctly, the original American Revolution was based at least in part on the concept of "no taxation without representation".

So here we have the Office of Hawaiian Affairs spending $1 million on Washington lobbyists in support of the Akaka Bill, which bill will not be voted on by the citizens of Hawaii.

Yet it's our tax dollars that support this state agency.

At the same time we have our taxpayer-paid Governor, Linda Lingle, publicly pushing the bill's passage to a large crowd at Iolani Palace in which some have hung banners proclaiming 'We are not Americans" and "We will never be Americans", despite the fact that she is an elected official of one of the states of that same America. How long do we have to put up with this hypocrisy? Why are our tax dollars being used against us?

Why are our elected federal and state representatives supporting a particular point of view on an enormously important issue without any demonstrably independent, unbiased survey of all our views?

Without a full and fair hearing of the views of all the people of the State of Hawaii, public entities and officials using our taxes to support the Akaka bill is truly "taxation without representation".

Paul Tyksinski, a resident of Kaneohe, HI,can be reached via email at


Wall Street Journal on-line, commentary; August 16, 2005

E Pluribus Unum? Not in Hawaii.


The Senate is poised to sanction the creation of a racially exclusive government by and for Native Hawaiians who satisfy a blood test. The new race-based sovereign that would be summoned into being by the so-called Akaka Bill would operate outside the U.S. Constitution and the nation's most cherished civil rights statutes. Indeed, the champions of the proposed legislation boast that the new Native Hawaiian entity could secede from the Union like the Confederacy, but without the necessity of shelling Fort Sumter.

The Akaka Bill classifies citizens by race, defying the express provisions of the 14th Amendment. It also rests on a betrayal of express commitments made by its sponsors a decade ago, and asserts as true many false statements about the history of Hawaii. It should be defeated.

The Akaka Bill's justification rests substantially on a 1993 Apology Resolution passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton when we were members of the Senate representing the states of Washington and Colorado. (We voted against it.) The Resolution is cited by the Akaka Bill in three places to establish the proposition that the U.S. perpetrated legal or moral wrongs against Native Hawaiians that justify the race-based government the legislation would erect. These citations are a betrayal of the word given to us -- and to the Senate -- in the debate over the Apology Resolution.

We specifically inquired of its proponents whether the Apology would be employed to seek "special status under which persons of Native Hawaiian descent will be given rights or privileges or reparations or land or money communally that are unavailable to other citizens of Hawaii." We were promised on the floor of the Senate by Daniel Inouye, the senior senator from Hawaii and a personage of impeccable integrity, that, "As to the matter of the status of Native Hawaiians . . . [t]his resolution has nothing to do with that. . . . I can assure my colleague of that." The Akaka Bill repudiates that promise of Sen. Inouye. It invokes the Apology Resolution to justify granting persons of Native Hawaiian descent -- even in minuscule proportion -- political and economic rights and land denied to other citizens of Hawaii. We were unambiguously told that would not be done.

The Apology Resolution distorted historical truths. It falsely claimed that the U.S. participated in the wrongful overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani in 1893. The U.S. remained strictly neutral. It provided neither arms, nor economic assistance, nor diplomatic support to a band of Hawaiian insurgents, who prevailed without firing a single shot, largely because neither the Native Hawaiian numerical majority nor the Queen's own government resisted the end of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The Queen authored her own ouster by planning a coup against the Hawaii Constitution to recapture monarchical powers that had been lost in a strong democratic current. She later confided to Sen. George Hoar that annexation to the U.S. was the best thing that could have happened to Native Hawaiians.

The Resolution falsely asserted that the Kingdom of Hawaii featured a Native Hawaiian government exclusively for Native Hawaiians prior to the 1893 events. In fact, the Kingdom was a splendid fusion of both native and non-native elements in both government and society. The definitive historian of the Kingdom, R.S. Kuykendall, elaborated: "The policy being followed looked to the creation of an Hawaiian state by the fusion of native and foreign ideas and the union of native and foreign personnel, bringing into being an Hawaiian body politic in which all elements, both Polynesian and haole, should work together for the common good under the mild and enlightened rule of an Hawaiian king."

The Apology falsely declared that Native Hawaiians enjoyed inherent sovereignty over Hawaii to the exclusion of non-Native Hawaiians. To the extent sovereignty existed outside the monarch, it reposed equally with all Hawaiians irrespective of ancestry. The Apology falsely maintained that Native Hawaiians never by plebiscite relinquished sovereignty to the U.S. In 1959, Native Hawaiians voted by at least a 2-1 margin for statehood in a plebiscite. Finally, the Apology Resolution and its misbegotten offspring, the Akaka Bill, betray this nation's sacred motto: E Pluribus Unum. They would begin a process of splintering sovereignties in the U.S. for every racial, ethnic, or religious group traumatized by an identity crisis. Movement is already afoot among a few Hispanic Americans to carve out race-based sovereignty from eight western states because the U.S. "wrongfully" defeated Mexico in the Mexican-American war.

The U.S. Constitution scrupulously protects the liberties and freedom of Native Hawaiians. It always has. It always will. Native Hawaiians have never been treated as less than equal by the U.S. Their economic success matches that of non-Native Hawaiians. Intermarriage is the norm. Sen. Inouye himself boasted in 1994 that Hawaii was "one of the greatest examples of a multiethnic society living in relative peace." In other words, E Pluribus Unum is a formula that works. We should not destroy it.

Messrs. Gorton and Brown are former senators for Washington and Colorado, respectively.

Hawaii Reporter, August 17, 2005 reprint of transcript of a program broadcast on National Public Radio on August 16, 2005. Note: The audio tape can be downloaded from National Public Radio at:

Native Hawaiians Seek Self-governing Body

Editor's Note: Here is the complete National Public Radio transcript from Aug. 16, 2005 with Anchor Steve Inskeep, Reporter Martin Kaste and various guests.

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Congress is considering legislation that would give native Hawaiians their own government. It would essentially grant them political status similar to that of Native American tribes. Here's NPR's Martin Kaste.

(Soundbite of surf; birds)

MARTIN KASTE reporting:

You'll find no more potent symbol of Hawaiian independence than 'Iolani Palace, a Victorian-style mansion in downtown Honolulu.

Ms. ZETA KUPCHOY(ph) (Tour Guide): 'Iolani Palace is the last official residence of the monarchs who ruled Hawaii.

KASTE: When Zeta Kupchoy gives tours of the palace, she points out the corner suite where Hawaii's last monarch, Queen Lilioukalani, was imprisoned after her overthrow in 1893. The coup against the queen was organized by American businessmen backed by the US Marines. Kupchoy says the palace is a reminder of what was lost.

Ms. KUPCHOY: We were an independent nation, recognized internationally by over 70 different nations, and that's the symbolism, that we were a proud country all our own. We were our own country.

KASTE: Today, the old Hawaiian national flag, which is now the state flag, flies again from the palace roof. The US flag is conspicuous by its absence, and the palace grounds have become a rallying place for native Hawaiians.

(Soundbite of man chanting)

KASTE: Earlier this month, thousands came out to protest a recent appeals court decision striking down the Hawaiians-only admissions policy at a prominent private school. Illegal racial bias, the judges said. The problem is favoring natives is the whole point of the Kamehameha Schools, which are funded by the estate of a 19th-century princess who wanted to help her fellow natives.

And she wasn't the only one. After the overthrow, the old Hawaiian royalty often used its lands to set up institutions to benefit natives, but in 21st century America, this ethnic exclusivity has come under attack in the courts. Natives, who are now only about 20 percent of the state population, worry that their special institutions are in danger of being swallowed up, and that's where the Akaka Bill comes in.

Senator DANIEL AKAKA (Democrat, Hawaii): It creates a government-to-government relationship with the United States. KASTE: Democratic Senator Dan Akaka, himself a native, wants Congress to let Hawaiians re-establish their national identity. He says his bill would give them a kind of legal parity with tribal governments on the mainland, but he says this sovereignty could eventually go further, perhaps even leading to outright independence.

Sen. AKAKA: That could be. As far as what's going to happen at the other end, I'm leaving it up to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

KASTE: The native Hawaiian bill leaves many important details unresolved. Once established, the new governing entity is supposed to negotiate with the U.S. to settle major issues such as legal jurisdiction and land ownership. It even puts off defining who would qualify as a citizen of the native nation. The bill's vagueness alarms some non-natives such as Dick Roland.

Mr. DICK ROWLAND (The Grassroot Institute): It's empty, and it's got an enormous sucking machine in it that is going to suck in there all these people and all this land and so forth.

KASTE: Rowland, who moved to Hawaii three decades ago, is the president of a local public policy group called The Grassroot Institute which has opposed the bill. One of his collaborators is attorney Bill Burgess, who's argued in court against the preferences for natives.

Mr. BILL BURGESS (Attorney): Creating a new nation and giving the citizens of that nation political privilege that other citizens don't have, not to mention assets and all kinds of other privileges, that's all about inequality.

(Soundbite of birds)

KASTE: But for some native Hawaiians, the Akaka Bill doesn't go far enough.

Mr. BUMPY KANAHELE (Native Hawaiian): My Hawaiian name is U'u Koanoa(ph). [** Note from website editor Ken Conklin: the transcriber clearly does not speak Hawaiian. Kanahele's self-adopted Hawaiian name is "Pu'uhonua" meaning "person or place of refuge."] Of course, the American name I've got, it's Bumpy Kanahele.

KASTE: Kanahele is a burly man who calls himself the head of the Nation of Hawaii. At the moment, his domain consists of a small village nestled in the shadow of green mountains on Oahu. The village also flies the flag of Hawaii, but it flies upside down as a sign of distress over what residents see as the illegal occupation by the United States. Kanahele is a prominent figure in the independence movement, which received a boost in 1993 when Congress formally apologized for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Kanahele says that apology opened what he calls a can of worms for the United States.

Mr. KANAHELE: They never thought that Hawaiians would take the road to restoring their independence. Well, what do you expect? You just admitted to a crime -- Right? -- the crime of the overthrow. KASTE: After the congressional apology, Kanahele says, native Hawaiians started to think seriously about independence, and he says the Akaka Bill is an attempt to divert natives toward more tribal-style sovereignty.

In Washington, the bill's prospects are unclear. The House passed a version back in 2000, but in the Senate, the bill has been stuck in an open-ended debate. Leaders say they'll try to get a vote on the legislation in September. The Justice Department has recommended a few changes, such as a safeguard for the U.S. military presence on the island, something the bill's supporters see as a positive step. They believe it means the White House is willing to accept some version of native Hawaiian self-government.


** NOTE by website editor Ken Conklin: For the first time in the 5 years that the Akaka bill has been pushed in Congress at great expense to the taxpayers of Hawai'i, there will be a public debate where opponents of the bill will finally be included. Previous so-called "debates" sponsored by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs have featured only supporters of the bill debating against one Hawaiian independence activist (Professor Jon Osorio). As can be seen below, the independence activists will once again be featured in this debate; but for the first time, there will be a speaker who favors preserving the unity of the State of Hawai'i under the sovereignty of the United States. Amazing.

Announcement made Wednesday, August 17, 2005


gain a better understanding of


The most significant Federal legislation since statehood may go to a Senate vote next month affecting everyone in Hawaii

Join us for a Public Affairs Forum

Tuesday, August 23, 2005
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii
Manoa Grand Ballroom
2454 South Beretania Street, 5 th Floor





Free and Open to the Public
Seating is limited to the first 400 people to arrive
$3.00 parking, JCCH parking lot
For information, please call HIPA at 585-7931 or the League at 531-7448

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Thursday, August 18, 2005

Forums offer debate on Akaka Bill

Supporters and opponents of federal recognition for native Hawaiians are scheduled to meet next week in a televised debate.

The panel discussion is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. Monday on PBS Hawaii and KHON, Channel 2. A two-hour public forum on the issue is then set for 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.

The events come as the U.S. Senate prepares to take up S. 147, known as the Akaka Bill, on Sept. 6.

Named after chief sponsor U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, the bill would recognize a legal and political relationship between the United States and a native Hawaiian governing entity, giving native Hawaiians self-governing rights similar to those of American Indian tribes.

Panelists for the televised debate include Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett and Office of Hawaiian Affairs attorney Robert Klein, both of whom support the measure, organizers said.

Opponents scheduled to take part include Bruce Fein, a constitutional law attorney representing the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii; Kaleikoa Kaeo, spokesman for Hui Pu and NOA (Not of America); and Anne Keala Kelly, a native Hawaiian journalist and filmmaker.

The panel discussion will not have a studio audience.

Seating at the public forum, to be moderated by Honolulu Family Court Judge Michael Broderick, will be limited to the first 400 people, organizers said. It will be taped and aired on 'Olelo.

Both events are being sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Hawaii and the Hawaii Institute for Public Affairs.




RUSH: There's been a story that we've been following on this program since its early days, and it's this bill in Hawaii sponsored by Senator Daniel Akaka, and it would basically create a racially exclusive government by and for native Hawaiians who satisfy a blood test. In other words, it would Balkanize the United States and set up a separate government in Hawaii run exclusively by and for native Hawaiians, and at first this had some support in the Senate. It had some support around the country because people didn't quite understand what it was, but there are two original supporters that have changed their mind on this. They have a piece today in the Wall Street Journal, Slade Gorton and Hank Brown.

They write: "The Akaka bill classifies citizens by race, defying the express provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment. It also rests on a betrayal of express commitments made by its sponsors a decade ago and asserts as true many false statements about the history of Hawaii and it now should be defeated," and the Senate's now poised to pass this thing. "The new race-based sovereign that would be summoned into being by the so-called Akaka bill would operate outside the US Constitution and the nation's most cherished civil rights statutes. The champions of the proposed legislation boasts that they knew native Hawaiian entity could secede from the Union like the Confederacy but without the necessity of shelling Fort Sumter. The Akaka Bill rests substantially on the 1993 apology resolution passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton when we were members of the Senate representing the states of Washington and Colorado," and both of them voted against it. Remember this is Slade Gorton and Hank Brown, the authors of this piece. "The resolution is cited by the Akaka bill in three places to establish the proposition that the United States perpetrated legal or moral wrongs against native Hawaiians that justify the race-based government that the legislation would erect. These citations are a betrayal of the word given to us and to the Senate in the debate over the apology resolution."

They thought that this was just a ceremonial thing when it was first proposed, that just, "Okay we're going to acknowledge that there's some native Hawaiians and that the country was there," blah, blah, blah. No. It allows native Hawaiians to set up their own Hawaii basically and secede and basically say (raspberry) to America, and it's being sponsor by US Senator Daniel Akaka. "We specifically inquired of its proponents whether the apology would be employed to seek special status under which persons of native Hawaiian descent would be given rights or privileges or reparations or land or money communally that are unavailable to other citizens of Hawaii. We were promised on the floor of the Senate by Daniel [In No Way], the senior Senator from Hawaii and a personage of impeccable integrity that 'as to the matter of the status of native Hawaiians this resolution has nothing to do with that. I can assure my colleague of that.' The Akaka bill repudiates that promise of Senator [In No Way]. It invokes the apology resolution to justify granting persons of native Hawaiian descent political and economic rights and land denied to other citizens of Hawaii." So Gorton and Brown say that we were unambiguously told that that would not be done, and they have changed their minds on this. They were original supporters and they've changed their mind. Akaka himself did an interview on National Public Radio, and in this interview he admitted that his bill could lead to independence for new native Hawaiian state in Hawaii. He admits it now. The relevant part of the excerpt is this:

The question says: "The sovereignty provided by your bill could eventually go further, perhaps even leading to outright independence?" Senator Akaka: "That could be. As far as what's going to happen at the end I'm leaving it up to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren." The interesting thing about this is that if you look at the NPR interview and the transcript you find that the White House is sort of AWOL on this and they're not taking a position on it because Governor Lingle wants to be a Senator, and so they don't want to upset any apple carts that would upset her chances to be a Republican senator from Hawaii. "According to NPR, the justice department's recommended a few changes such as a safeguard for the US military presence on the island, something the bill's supporters see as a positive step. They believe it means the White House is willing to accept some version of native Hawaiian self-government." So just to fill you in on this, it appears that the White House doesn't really care much about this, doesn't think it's a big deal if the native Hawaiians want to have their own government. (interruption) What, Mr. Snerdley? (interruption) What? (interruption) Mmm-hmm. Well, I mean that's (interruption). Well, that's the thing. Because (interruption). Listen. (interruption) Listen! (interruption) Snerdley asked, "Why can't other groups just get their own states, like if you're a disgruntled minority in say, Georgia, why don't you just get your own state -- you know, Georgia 2 -- and get independence from the United States, and that way you don't have to pay taxes or anything else?" You know, I may take advantage of this and move that Palm Beach, Florida where I live -- which is an island -- secede from Florida. Because, I'm telling you what, we are discriminated against down here, folks, those of us that live in Palm Beach. The floodgates could be wide open on this. But the blood test on this, you have to do is have .05% "native Hawaiian blood" and you causal as a native Hawaiian and you can basically tell the United States to stick it. You may have heard scuttlebutt about this in the last three or four months. Nobody thought this would get anywhere, it was so outrageous. "Okay, here are these people sponsoring this. They're just throwing a peanut or two to keep the native Hawaiians." No, it's actually something that looks like it got close to passage and it may still yet.


RUSH: Here's Joel in Decatur, Georgia. Hi, Joel, welcome to the program.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. Mega dittos.

RUSH: Thank you.

CALLER: I'm calling about the Hawaiian issue.

RUSH: Yes.

CALLER: I'm thinking that we better chase the dollars and cents of this. Much like the American Indians had their reservation freedom and the their ability to have tax-exempt status to run their own casinos, my guess is, I can see it now, the Tiki Casino or Luau Casino on Oahu and therefore establish not necessarily a separate nation state but at least a separate taxing situation for the people of indigenous heritage.

RUSH: (laughing) So in your mind they're simply trying to duplicate the actions taken bit American Injuns and get themselves set up so they can have casinos over there?

CALLER: At least carve themselves a niche where they have the freedom to do that, and especially for tax reasons.

RUSH: Well why couldn't they do that now? If they want to vote for it now, why vote for it now? Why do you need to revert back to some independent, sovereign state? The thing about this is you can say, "It's for this or that, don't worry about it," but, folks, a whole bunch of lies went into the resolution to make this. Everybody said, "Well, Rush, you know, Hawaii was a kingdom and we just went in there and took over that state. Why, we destroyed a sovereign country!" We did not. We did not, and Hank Brown and Slade Gorton write all about this in their piece today. "The apology resolution distorted historical truths. It falsely claimed that the US participated in the wrongful overthrow of the queen there in 1893. The US remained strictly neutral. It provided neither arms nor economic assistance nor diplomatic support to a band of Hawaii insurgents." Gosh! (Laughing) Now we're talking about "insurgents" in Hawaii, and we supported the insurgents according to the Akaka Bill. We didn't. So what's happening here is that a case was made falsely, fallaciously on the Senate floor that the US was an absolute SOB to the poor people of Hawaii, and that's what's wrong with this. It's yet another piece of legislation that seeks an apology from the US for things that we didn't do, and supposedly there have been grieving native Hawaiians ever since. Now it's time to exact their revenge, and by God they're going to exact their revenge and all you need to do to be a native Hawaiian is have .05% native Hawaiian blood and bammo! You're a native Hawaiian and you can secede from the US, get your own government, be sovereign. You can get it back. It's all based on lies. You have to understand what this is all about, folks, not just understand what it's all about, you have to understand what the practical application or impact of this could be down the road on the rest of the country. This is Balkanization. This is racism. This is basically saying that certain races can say to America, "Screw you! You savaged us and you incorporated us into your country and we didn't want to be here and you've got to let us have our land." Does this not sound strangely like the reparations movement? And you start making apologies for all this and you go down the road, and here's the White House not wanting to get involved in this because it might upset the electoral chances of Linda Lingle who's the governor, who's a Republican, who wants to be a Republican Senator from Hawaii. Yeah, I know, you couple this with all the immigration snafus we got, and can Mexifornia be far down the road? And then Mexizona and then Tex-Mex. Anyway, Rich in Ann Arbor, I'm glad you called. Welcome to the program, sir.

CALLER: How are you, Rush?

RUSH: I couldn't be better. Thank you.

CALLER: I just -- I don't really know if I understand exactly what they're trying to get with that bill because I didn't think any of us in this country were indigenous people. We all came from somewhere else.

RUSH: Well, Hawaii did have indigenous people. There were Hawaiians that were there.

CALLER: Didn't they come from the South Pacific on boats and they paddled there, too? Just like we did.

RUSH: Yeah, but they got there first so they, quote, unquote, discovered it.

CALLER: Well, okay. Give them that, I suppose.

RUSH: The point about there are no indigenous Americans, that's sort of like this term "undocumented alien." Who comes up with these terms? We know who wrote, for example, Romeo and Juliet. That was William Shakespeare, and we know who wrote the (interruption). Huh? Don't give me this possible... I'm not interested in conspiracies now. We know that Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet. We know that Abe Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address. We know that Francis Scott Key wrote the Star-Spangled Banner. We know who wrote and authored "tear down this wall." But we don't know who came up with the phrase "undocumented immigrant." How did illegal alien morph into undocumented alien, into undocumented immigrant or into undocumented worker? They're illegal, plain and simple. But, "Oh, no, no, no! They're not illegal, Rush! They're just 'undocumented,' and they're 'workers,' and they are not aliens! They're not from space. They are immigrants, undocumented immigrants." Okay, indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples. Okay, I guess those are the people that were here before we got here, and savaged the place. We brought syphilis. We introduced horses. We introduced racism, sexism, bigotry, homophobia and then we had the audacity to spread it to King Kahlúalúa out in Hawaii. Next thing you know we're going to be responsible for special interest grouping the piña colada on cruise ships. I mean it's just asinine, folks, but there is a downside to this. There's a danger to it because it's letting people separate based on race, and the US Constitution already protects people on the basis of race. This is not necessary.


RUSH: Long Beach, California, and this is Poto. Welcome to the program, sir.

CALLER: Hey, Rush, love the show.

RUSH: Thank you.

CALLER: Hey, number one, Hawaii is a Samoan settlement. It was named after our main island, Savaii. That's Samoan, all right?

RUSH: Alright.

CALLER: If you want a pure Hawaiian, it is a Samoan. So if anybody is going to get any land over there in Hawaii, it needs to come to me and my people, okay?

RUSH: (chuckling)

CALLER: And second of all, when it comes to Polynesians and stuff, do not confuse and politicize my people and my race with those oooother races because we don't have big chips on our shoulders. We love Americans. There's so many Samoans serving in the military right now dying over there and putting their life over there. We have a great relationship with America, okay? We're not those upset people who want to put those big plugs in their ears and work their whole life at Starbucks forever because they can't go out and get a real job and they want to fight the man. That is not our people.

RUSH: Amen. I didn't mean to imply otherwise.


RUSH: I want you to understand that because I know you Samoans are big guys, too.

CALLER: You know, it's not just that. If you want a pure Hawaiian, you're looking at a Samoan. So they can put up their little 1% Hawaiian all they want. I got 100% coming from the source.

RUSH: Amen, bro.

CALLER: So they need to quit tripping, all right? And second of all, Rush.

RUSH: (Laughing.)

CALLER: Let me tell you something. I sent you some Guantanamo Bay artwork with a golfer guy. I'm going to send you out some more stuff but anyway, when it comes to that when it comes to Polynesians and stuff and those people in Hawaii they need to stop act stupid, okay? That is not our color. There was a time -- I was in public school here in California. I was one of those children left behind because of the leftist acts and I was at a party with a bunch of my friends in college, all surfers. You still there?

RUSH: Yeah.

CALLER: Okay, all surfers, right? I was over there I had that Malcolm X chip on my shoulder and everything. I was at a party with all my white friends. There were to Samoan girls over there dancing and going crazy at this party, okay?

RUSH: Yeah.

CALLER: So I had an epiphany that night. I looked at them, like, "How could you sit up in this party and sit there and party with all these guys you don't know?" and they looked at me and they said, "You know what your problem is? Your problem is you think you're Malcolm X, okay? When they look at us, they see hula-hula happy Hawaii palm trees and their last vacation. They're not looking at you with the eyes that you see yourself in," and I'm telling you from that point on, I never forgot that. Back in '87 when I was in college I realized it. I was looking at myself the way that the textbook and the way that every -- I mean they had me so civil rights-ed out, all my friends in college had to straighten me out and it wasn't until then or that particular night that I realized I was bamboozled and hoodwinked from these people.

RUSH: Welcome home, Poto.

CALLER: No, no, no, I'm free. Trust me, I'm out of the leftist plantation. I don't pick their cotton anymore, and I look at Samoans and I look at Polynesians and Hawaiians and everybody out there: Do not pick the cotton! That is not your job, not your offense. Do not act like these dumb people.

RUSH: Wait, Poto. Wait a minute. Poto, here's the problem. The only reason this bill stands a chance of passage is that there is momentum for this in Hawaii. There have been people in Hawaii -- Senator Akaka, whoever -- that have been rabble-rousing out there for this and getting this so-called native Hawaiian population loosely defined as if you have .05% native Hawaiian blood you're full-fledged native Hawaiian getting them all riled up about how their rights were violated, and how their freedom and sovereignty was taken and so forth, and they're ginning up all this anti-American sentiment out there which leads to support for this stupid bill.

CALLER: Okay, right now, it's over, okay? Because I'm going to send out the message right now. If you're Polynesian and if you're Hawaiian and if you're Samoan, do not drink that Kool-Aid, okay? Basically what they're going to do is they're going to label you, they're going to make you high risk they're going to put all these things on you and you're going to really fail to see who you really are and what time you're really living in, okay?

RUSH: You're absolutely right. I couldn't agree with you more, and I'm thrilled to hear you say it. I mean here's a Samoan who the attempt was made to try to get this guy to be anti-American on the basis that he's been discriminated against on, you know, some cockamamie series of ideas. Poto, I'm glad you called. I appreciate it, and I hope that your words are reverberating throughout the islands of Hawai'i as a result of your appearance on this program. (interruption) Speak for yourself, Snerdley. I have never been to a Starbucks. What does one look like? I have never been to a Starbucks. (interruption) I don't understand. (interruption) There are some cultural things I just don't (interruption). Have coffee at home or work? Coffee to me is not a beverage where you go someplace where it's served, unless it's after dinner or whatever, but I just don't get that. And then the news came out the other day Starbucks contributes to big left-wing causes like Bens and Jerry, or Ben & Jerry's does, which doesn't surprise me. It's a bunch from Seattle. What do you expect? You know, to each his own. That's all well and good, but look, I'm a full-fledged American, but there are some American customs and phenomena that even I will look at and say, "Whoa, how do you explain that?" I even know people -- to me it's a waste of time. I know people who get their New York Times and go to Starbucks to read it. Well, first off, reading the New York Times is a risk, a waste of time. I don't know. People ask me all the time when I'm outside, when I'm traveling, "Well, Rush, where do you go out to eat in Palm Beach?"

I said, "I don't very much."

"Well, where do you eat?"

"At home. The chef fixes dinner. Why am I going to go out? What's the point? I don't want to spend three hours every night at a restaurant when I can eat in 20 or 30 minutes and get on to other things. If I don't want to spend longer than 20 their 30 minutes eating why would I want to lollygag around at a coffee shop like Starbucks? Who's next? John in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Welcome to the EIB Network. Sales team, get Starbucks as an advertiser on the program. They're made to order now. John, welcome, nice to have you with us.

CALLER: Rush, an honor to speak to you, and actually answer one of your questions. But you'll be glad to know that the term "undocumented immigrant" goes back to the peanut presidency when Jimmy Carter (Watch the Malaise Speech) pointed to a guy named Lionel Castillo as the commissioner of immigration he bragged that his father was an illegal alien, sent out directives that it be called illegal immigrants or illegal worker. Or not illegal, "undocumented workers" or "undocumented immigrants."

RUSH: So truly we can trace this back to the Carter years?

CALLER: Doesn't everything go back to him?

RUSH: Doesn't everything? (Laughing.)

CALLER: Amazingly. From Iran to Lebanon, to you name it.

RUSH: (Laughing.)

CALLER: The peanut president: pivotal in the history of our country. RUSH: Well, how do you know this?

CALLER: I worked for immigration at the time, and it was a joke all over the place. We used to go --

RUSH: Wait a minute. You worked for immigration? Was it called INS then?

CALLER: Then it was INS. That was before the changeover to ICE.

RUSH: So it was INS and you worked at the INS, Immigration and Naturalization Service, during the Carter administration? CALLER: Even during Nixon in fact.

RUSH: Oh. Okay, so that's how you know this is.

CALLER: Yeah, he sent directives. I remember everybody would ask their bosses, "Should we now refer to the burglars that we get referred to us as undocumented visitors?"

RUSH: Burglars we get as undocumented visitors. Well, yes!

CALLER: Same logic, right?

RUSH: I love it. Doesn't everything go back to the Carter years? (Laughing.) Oh, John, you're too good to be true. You're retired?


RUSH: Well, what do you do in your retirement?

CALLER: Usually forget that I worked for them.

RUSH: (Laughing.) It doesn't get any better than that.

CALLER: Once in a while something bad draws me back, you know?

RUSH: You ever go to Starbucks?

CALLER: Ha-ha-ha! Not very recently.

RUSH: Let me ask you this, do you have a computer?


RUSH: You -- have you ever visited my website or are you by any chance a subscriber there?

CALLER: Yes, and I have subscribed at times in the past, too.

RUSH: Oh, you have? Okay.

CALLER: But I just -- I try to stay away from too much computer. You know, the information just keeps going around, you know?

RUSH: Well, I know, that's why you've got to be selective about the sites that you visit. Are you still a registered member of Rush24/7?


RUSH: You're not?


RUSH: Okay, well, then I'm going to reacquaint you with it. Stay on hold here. You have been a delight, and I want to comp you with a year's membership at -- and, and, I'm going to let you pick a couple items from the Club G'itmo gift shop that we will send to you as a token of our appreciation for your call.


Hawaii Reporter, August 18, 2005

Happy Birthday, Hawaii - Some of Us Still Remember

By Malia Zimmerman

It’s Hawaii’s birthday today, but no residents or visitors would know that. There is no parade, no fireworks, no birthday cake, no candles, no political speeches, no additional red, white and blue flags flying high, and definitely no acknowledgement by Hawaii’s political leaders that 46 years ago, Hawaii became America’s 50th state. There is just a sad, embarrassing silence.

The complete void of recognition and celebration of Hawaii’s union with America wasn’t always so in the islands -- there was once tremendous pride in Statehood Day, now referred to as "Admissions Day."

Nearly five decades ago, residents in the Territory of Hawaii opted overwhelmingly with more than 95 percent of the vote to become part of the United States, and in fact many of those same people were involved in the federal lobbying effort for statehood.

There was a magic and excitement in the air that could not be blown away by the tropical breeze or a minority opposition when Hawaii finally in 1959 shed its title of "territory" and officially became a state.

Spirits were high, the economy rocked and people from all over the world came to live in paradise, considered so in part because as a piece of America, the state offered political stability and freedoms unavailable as a territory or a commonwealth.

But little by little over the next few decades, the anti-Americans and those who wanted to rid the state of all nationalities not ethnically Hawaiian, brought a dark cloud over the state. They did their best to damper the well-known racial harmony often referred to as a "melting pot." They preach hatred of the United States.

That darkness showed itself most evidently in the erosion of the celebration of American holidays -- including the Fourth of July, but most especially Admissions Day.

What once was a day of pride and parade has caved into the political correctness of a small percentage of native Hawaiians and other radicals who dislike the United States so much that they want Hawaii to become a sovereign nation unaffiliated with the rest of America.

They want the people who live here to give up their citizenship to the United States and join a yet-to-be-formed independent nation of Hawaii, with different laws, no democracy and no connection to the U.S. Constitution or justice system.

This radical minority group that often has just a drop of Hawaiian blood among them has been so effective in its lobbying through guilt of what they call "past wrongs to the Hawaiian people" that they have successfully doused any glimmer of American pride in Hawaii’s primary political leaders.

They have Hawaii’s congressional delegation, including Hawaii’s Senior Senator Daniel Inouye -- who is called a war hero -- and the governor and lieutenant governor so brainwashed, or so neutered, that there isn’t even any official celebration planned for Admissions Day today. The only reason anyone might know the day is a holiday is because the unionize state and county workers get the day off.

Amazingly, there hasn’t been any celebration for the last 5 years when then Gov. Benjamin Cayetano celebrated "Statehood Day" at a San Francisco baseball field saying it was better to observe the holiday there because of the controversial nature of embracing statehood recognition in Hawaii.

This radical group of America haters is pushing for a Native Hawaiian Recognition Bill, or Akaka Bill, that even the bill’s sponsor U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka admits could lead to independent nation of native Hawaiians. The bill comes up for a vote in the Senate this September, and has the enthusiastic support of this current governor, lieutenant governor and entire Hawaii congressional delegation.

Most striking is not just Republican Gov. Linda Lingle’s push for this bill that could lead to an independent nation within the state, but also her recent high-profile participation in a rally for Hawaiian rights at Iolani Palace.

The rally was supposed to be in support of Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiians-only admission policy -- which she has every right to attend and speak at. But the governor did not seperate herself from several dozen people holding signs that ordered Americans out of Hawaii.

Lingle stood side by side with this vocal minority in front of the local, national and international media -- and before all of the people of Hawaii -- in alliance with those who have the most extreme hatred for America and the most divisive of views.

I was born in Hawaii and have lived here all my life and loved all the beauty of the islands and the Hawaiian language and culture. I have been one of 1.2 million people who have had the opportunity of a lifetime to enjoy all America and the Hawaiian culture have to offer. These are not and should not be mutually exclusive rather both the American traditions and Hawaiian traditions should be celebrated with all the enthusiasm the people of the state once had. No more darkness or division -- only appreciation for the radiant beauty of the islands and its people have to offer to all who are here.

The actions -- or lack their of in support of America -- by Hawaii’s political leaders, is a great slap in the face to America’s founding fathers, to the visitors from the mainland U.S. and most of all to the vast majority of residents who are proud to be part of the United States.

They also do a disservice to the many people who have sacrificed so much in the name of freedom and all that is America, including our military, who are fighting to preserve the American way of life.

Happy birthday, Hawaii -- some of us still remember.

The Maui News, Saturday, August 20, 2005

Story images

In 2005 ’we are strangers in our own land’


WAILUKU – With the Hawaiian flag flying upside down in a show of distress as the rains fell, the so-called “celebration” of 46 years of statehood for the islands on Friday was more of a somber gray than red, white and blue.

“For me, I love America, and I love Hawaii,” said Sidney Piosalan, a veteran of the first Gulf War, who served as master of ceremonies and unexpectedly found himself on the verge of breaking down. “My family comes from here. But when I was on a (military) ship, I felt hurt because my ship shot at Kahoolawe.”

It was those mixed emotions, made even more intense by the recent federal court ruling against Kamehameha Schools’ admissions policy, that had the sparse crowd on the lanai of the War Memorial Complex less than exuberant about commemorating the day that Hawaii was admitted as the 50th state in 1959. There almost seemed to be more voices singing “Hawaii Pono’i,” the national anthem for the Hawaiian kingdom before its overthrow in 1893, than for “The Star Spangled Banner.”

No matter what the feelings about the political climate, however, there was unanimous reverence and words of tribute for the veterans who have served or are serving the United States in the name of freedom.

Noah Leong, a World War II veteran, came forward to drape a black sleeve over an empty chair to honor those taken prisoner or still missing in action. After he placed a gold lei on the top of the chair, Leong took a step back and offered a salute.

The sometimes forgotten liberties that come with freedom were underlined by Piosalan.

“Because of the sacrifices of these men and women, you can say we live freely, with freedom to the point that the upside-down flag of Hawaii, which was the flag of the kingdom as well as the state, symbolizes a ’nation in distress,’ ” he said. With Native Hawaiian cultural specialist Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr. tapped to give the keynote address, no one anticipated a flowery speech filled with the advantages of being part of America. Cloaked in a red kihei, Maxwell recalled the day when he heard the news that the territory of Hawaii was now a state.

“My father broke down in tears and said, ’We have lost Hawaii forever as we know it, and it will never be the same,’ ” said Maxwell.

He then began to recite a list of some of the changes that have taken place since statehood opened the doors to tourism and a boom of transplants from the Mainland: less ocean and mountain access; million-dollar homes in gated communities where Hawaiians used to fish and camp; more traffic; big box stores replacing mom-and-pop businesses; and wealthy gentlemen farmers buying up former sugar cane lands.

“Today in 2005, my father’s words ring loudly,” said Maxwell. “We are strangers in our own land.”

One thing about Hawaii still rings true: the love for music. Even when Piosalan and others were still setting up, Maxwell and members of his family along with others joined in with the sweet ukulele and harmonies of Annie Alves and Richard Ho’opi’i. The music continued during the hour-long event as a bittersweet reminder of the beauty of the islands that remains.

Oddly enough, no elected officials, either from the county or state, were on hand. Piosalan said the ceremony was organized in the last couple of weeks by the Gulf War Veterans and the American Legion. By that time, most leaders who had been contacted already had plans.

Afterwards, Piosalan was asked why Maxwell, long on the front lines for Hawaiian rights, was selected as the main speaker.

“He told me how his father felt bad when Hawaii became a state, and I remembered how bad I felt when I was on that ship and we shot at Kahoolawe,” he said. “I’m torn between both (feelings for America and Hawaii). That’s how I’m connected to Charlie. I believe in America, it’s the greatest country, but there are issues with statehood.”

Maxwell said the United States needs to not only acknowledge the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom, but to make restitution and recognize a sovereign Hawaiian nation.

“If we are to be loyal patriotic Americans, then we have to be recognized as the kanaka maoli of this land, and America must give back what was stolen,” he said. “We will not go away. This land is ours and our kupuna are crying for justice from this great nation that is big on promises but empty in actions.”

Outside the complex, as heavy rains fell, both flags – the American flag attached right-side up to the pole just above the upside-down Hawaiian flag – hung in wet folds as another year of statehood began.

** Photo caption **

Native Hawaiian cultural specialist Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr. decried statehood Friday morning at War Memorial Gym during his Admissions Day keynote address. Standing behind Maxwell were members of the Baldwin High Jr. ROTC Color Guard, including (from left) Steven Sayers, 14, Brent Tokushi, 15, and May Salcedo, 16.

The Maui News, Friday, August 19, 2005

By EDWIN TANJI, City Editor

On this Admission Day, there may be more Hawaiians wondering just what it means to them, with a U.S. court ruling that they are not entitled to any privileges as would-be citizens of a formerly sovereign nation.

A federal appeals panel’s split decision on the Kamehameha Schools admissions policy is only the latest in a series of court actions that establish the Hawaiians as just another ethnic group to be assimilated into the American population. Whatever their national identity, they are just another race whose color under American law is irrelevant.

Race is a difficult issue in America, where for most of the centuries those of European ancestry held themselves as racially superior to anyone whose ethnic roots led back to Asia, Africa or the Americas.

Especially for African-Americans, to have any blood quantum that was not European was to be labeled nonwhite. In contrast, anyone with any amount of aboriginal Hawaiian blood can proudly declare themselves “Hawaiian.”

With Hawaiians, the issue of their rights deals with more than ethnicity, although for now the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to recognize the broader issue. Race is a factor in the discussions since the blooded Hawaiians clearly have a distinctive genetic element that distinguishes them from even other Polynesian groups.

But there is also the element of national origin, not unlike the differentiation among descendants of Europeans of their national origins, evidenced in distinctive cultural practices – German polkas and Oktoberfest, Italian opera and pasta or Irish reels and St. Patrick’s festivities – that are preserved in the countries of origin as well as in transplanted communities in the United States.

Racial distinctions create a problem of definition. Biologist Armand Leroi (“The Nature of Normal Human Variety,” March 15, 2005) says that race is a factor of genetics, but no one knows how it works.

“We don’t know what the differences are between white skin and black skin, European skin versus African skin. What I mean is, we don’t know what the genetic basis of that is,” he says.

“Here’s a trait, trivial as it may be, about which wars have been fought, which is one of the great fault lines in society, around which people construct their identities as nothing else. And yet, we haven’t the foggiest idea what the genetic basis is.”

Part of the reason is the evil committed by some, such as German Nazis, in distinguishing racial differences. Race genetics raises ethical and moral red flags.

Homo sapiens is a single species that has diverged into subspecies, but Leroi notes that science today emphasizes the similarities rather than the differences.

“From a political point of view, I have no doubt that’s a fine thing,” he says. But he says that means ignoring “one of the most beautiful problems that modern biology has left: Namely, what is the genetic basis of normal variety of differences between us?”

In science, racial differences are an issue of genetic variation. In politics, racial differences are a moral and ethical issue, and American law allows no variation in individual rights no matter what the skin color.

But the issue for Hawaiians is not just a matter of race. Aboriginal Hawaiians also were citizens of a sovereign nation that was overthrown and eventually absorbed by the United States, with their cultural roots as well as their traditional social structures suppressed.

The racially European citizens of Hawaii who precipitated the revolution that dispossessed the monarchy also engaged in a mild form of cultural genocide, disdaining, if not banning, the language, religion and cultural practices of the Hawaiians.

Hawaiians have revived their language and appreciation of the culture and traditions that had been. In the process, they are reviving a sense of nationhood, not just nationality.

For most Americans, national identity refers to where they or their ancestors originated. There are Japanese-Americans, Italian-Americans, German-Americans.

Hawaiians in Hawaii don’t have that option. This is their homeland in a very different sense than for the mass of Americans who are in effect hanai to the islands.

There are no Hawaiian-Americans.

There are those for whom the definition of Hawaiian is race based. But a definition of the Hawaiian must address historical and political events and precedents. Opponents of Hawaiian rights have focused on genetic variation, not on any legitimacy of claims based on historical displacement.

The courts ought to do better.

West Hawaii Today (Kona), Thursday, August 18, 2005

More opposition to Akaka Bill arises

by Samantha Young
Stephens Media Group

WASHINGTON -- Two former Republican senators this week urged Congress to reject legislation that would recognize Native Hawaiians as a group and allow them to rule themselves.

Three weeks before senators are scheduled to vote on the issue, Slade Gorton, R-Wash., and Hank Brown, R-Colo., described a bill by Hawaii's senators as a vehicle to "sanction the creation of a racially exclusive government by and for Native Hawaiians who satisfy a blood test."

A letter expressing their views was published Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal. The senators warned a Hawaiian government could operate outside the U.S. Constitution and civil rights statutes.

"The champions of the proposed legislation boast that the new Native Hawaiian entity could secede from the Union like the Confederacy, but without the necessity of shelling Fort Sumter," Gorton and Brown wrote.

Further, recognition of Hawaiians could lead to sovereignty pitches by Hispanic Americans in the Southwest whose land was once governed by Mexico, they argued.

"They would begin a process of splintering sovereignties in the U.S. for every racial, ethnic, or religious group traumatized by an identity crisis," the senators said.

The bill would allow 400,000 Native Hawaiians to form a government and seek recognition from the federal government similar to the status awarded American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The Senate is scheduled to vote Sept. 6 on whether to proceed with the bill. Hawaii senators have said all 44 Democrats support the measure, along with at least six Republicans.

In a floor speech last month, Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, said the matter was as simple as granting recognition to an indigenous group. "This bill does not create a new group of natives. We have always been here. In fact, we were here before the United States," Akaka said. "This bill establishes parity in federal policies towards native peoples in the United States."

Akaka spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said Thursday that critics who play the race card are "uneducated about the bill and don't know Hawaii's history." She added that Congress has recognized Hawaiians as a political group through more than 160 statutes.

Beyond the merits of the bill, Gorton and Brown accused Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, of breaking a promise made in 1993 that a formal apology to Native Hawaiians would not result in any sort of special status.

The Akaka bill cites three times the government's apology as justification for allowing Hawaiians the right to organize and form their own ruling entity.

"We were unambiguously told that would not be done," the senators wrote.

When the Senate formally apologized to Native Hawaiians in 1993, both Gorton and Brown voted against the resolution.

At the time, Gorton warned such an apology would encourage efforts by sovereignty groups to control federal lands and demand compensation from the government.

He questioned whether Hawaiians would be granted special status and awarded rights, privileges, reparations, land or money.

Inouye responded that the apology bill "has nothing to do with that."

"This is a simple resolution of apology -- to recognize the facts as they were 100 years ago," Inouye said.

A spokeswoman for Inouye did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Hawaii Reporter, August 18, 2005

Sen. Akaka Says He is No Proponent of Hawaiian Independence, But Confirms If His Bill Passes, Anything Can Happen

Process Cannot Be Predetermined, Akaka Says

By Malia Zimmerman

Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, issued a statement on his Web site today to clarify statements he made on National Public Radio this week. In his radio interview, seen here, "Native Hawaiians Seek Self-governing Body" the Senator agreed with the NPR commentator that the Akaka Bill, now pending a vote in the U.S. Senate, could lead to Hawaii becoming an independent nation.

The NPR interview went as follows:

"NPR's MARTIN KASTE: Democratic Senator Dan Akaka, himself a native, wants Congress to let Hawaiians re-establish their national identity. He says his bill would give them a kind of legal parity with tribal governments on the mainland, but he says this sovereignty could eventually go further, perhaps even leading to outright independence.

"Sen. AKAKA: That could be. As far as what's going to happen at the other end, I'm leaving it up to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"KASTE: The native Hawaiian bill leaves many important details unresolved. Once established, the new governing entity is supposed to negotiate with the U.S. to settle major issues such as legal jurisdiction and land ownership. It even puts off defining who would qualify as a citizen of the native nation."

Sen. Akaka's formal statement published below does not deny the possibility that Hawaii could succeed or become an independent nation if the Akaka Bill is passed, but he says he is not a supporter of the idea.

Here is his full statement:

Sen. Daniel K. Akaka announced today today the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, S. 147, addresses the legal and political relationship between Native Hawaiians and the United States within federal law. Senator Akaka is not a proponent of independence or secession of the State of Hawaii as was indicated in a broadcast by the National Public Radio on August 16, 2005.

Sen. Akaka said, "S. 147 has nothing to do with independence or secession of the State of Hawaii from the United States. I support addressing the legal and political relationship between Native Hawaiians and the United States within federal law. I do not support independence or secession of the State of Hawaii from the United States."

S. 147 authorizes a process for the reorganization of the Native Hawaiian governing entity for the purposes of a federally recognized government-to-government relationship with the United States. Senator Akaka said, "My bill is criticized because it provides a process for the reorganization of the Native Hawaiian governing entity and the resolution of longstanding issues.

Opponents of the bill seek to predetermine the outcome of this process, whereas I believe the people of Hawaii need to have the flexibility to address the longstanding issues resulting from the overthrow. After the Native Hawaiian governing entity is recognized, these issues will be negotiated between the entity and the Federal and State governments.

This is an inclusive and democratic process that cannot be predetermined by those who seek to influence the outcome of the process before it's even started."

When asked by NPR about the outcomes of the process authorized in S. 147, Senator Akaka stated that the outcome will be determined by future generations of the people of Hawaii - including his children and grandchildren.

Hawaiian Kingdom Information blog, Thursday, August 18, 2005

Akaka doesn't support independence; blogs talk secession

After Sen. Akaka's statement in the NPR interview that appeared to at least leave open the possibility of eventual independence, which was pounced on by Rush Limbaugh, Akaka apparently felt it necessary to clarify that statement in a release picked up by the AP via KPUA: U-S Senator Daniel Akaka says he doesn't support independence or secession of the state of Hawaii from the United States.

And he says his Native Hawaiian recognition bill has nothing to do with independence or secession. He says the bill addresses the legal and political relationship between Native Hawaiians and the United States within federal law.

Again, though it is quite true that the Akaka bill has nothing to do with independence, the independence argument is inadvertently gaining much exposure because of it.

It seems pretty remarkable to me to consider the fact that a sitting U.S. senator says something on national radio that seems to be at least open to Hawaii's independence and then feels the need to publicly state that he doesn't support independence, while someone like Rush Limbaugh, even out of his ignorance and confusion, is discussing the possibility of independence seriously, giving it exposure even while fearfully ranting against it.

There's been a number of blog posts based on Akaka's NPR statement and the WSJ op-ed piece by Gorton and Brown. Here's a few samples:

Hawaiian Secession?
Senator Open to Secession for Hawaii
and then there were 49
Hawaii to succeed??? (sic)
The second attack on Pearl Harbor
If at first you don't secede . . .
Don't want equality move to Hawaii!1po18qOqdGpuAa4sROIsawmA!1561.entry
Slade Gorton and Hank Brown on the Akaka Bill By...
Divided We Fall

For the record, Hawaii's independence is not secession. Hawaii's sovereignty or territory was never legally ceded to the United States, either through the purported annexation via mere joint resolution, or the fraudulent so-called plebiscite for statehood and the admissions act, both domestic legislations without extraterritorial force on the country of Hawaii, which continues to be under prolonged illegal occupation. No cession, no secession. What we are talking about is not secession, but ending the occupation of Hawaii.

Whether you agree with the above or not, it is important to at least understand that perspective, which is held by many.


Thirteen Stripes and Forty-Nine Stars?

Political Diary

By John Fund [Wall Street Journal Editorial Writer], 8/19/2005

Today is Statehood Day in Hawaii. It marks the day in 1959 when the island territory became the 50th state after a public referendum in which residents -- by a margin of 17 to 1 -- expressed a desire to join the U.S. There used to be parades, fireworks, speeches and U.S. flags flying high. But five years ago, then-Democratic Governor Ben Cayetano put the kibosh on official celebrations. Now, in the words of the Web site, there is only a "sad, embarrassing silence." Recently, the streets were taken over instead by demonstrators crusading for "Native Hawaiian rights" and the Akaka bill now before the U.S. Senate.

For five years, Hawaii Senator Dan Akaka has been pushing a bill to recognize Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people with their own race-based, sovereign government, as many mainland Indian tribes have. He has finally won the right to a vote in the U.S. Senate on Sept. 6. He claims the support of 51 Senators, including six Republicans led by John McCain of Arizona. Since the House previously passed a version of his bill, it has a chance of becoming law since the Bush administration refuses to take a position on it.

While Native Hawaiians deserve better than what they have, the Akaka bill is a profound mistake. The people of Hawaii are a true melting pot, living in remarkable harmony. Native Hawaiians have so intermarried with people of other ethnicities that over 90 percent of those who claim Hawaiian heritage do so by virtue of ancestry that is less than 50 percent Hawaiian. Creating a separate government that would subject people who pass a test for "Hawaiian blood" to a different set of legal codes would not produce racial reconciliation. It would be a recipe for permanent racial conflict.

Those who doubt this only have to listen to Sen. Akaka himself, who acknowledges that his bill would open a can of worms. On Monday, National Public Radio reported the Senator as saying that the sovereignty granted Native Hawaiians in the bill "could eventually go further, perhaps even leading to outright independence." Sen. Akaka was quoted as adding: "That could be. That could be. As far as what's going to happen at the other end, I'm leaving it up to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren."

Yesterday, after a storm of criticism, Sen. Akaka sought to clarify his remarks. No, he doesn't support "independence or secession," he said in a press release. But he carefully avoided clarifying whether or not secession was possible. "After the Native Hawaiian governing entity is recognized, these issues will be negotiated between the entity and the Federal and State governments," he wrote. "This is an inclusive and democratic process that cannot be predetermined by those who seek to influence the outcome of the process before it's even started."

Fellow Senators ought to think hard before voting for a bill whose most fervent supporters -- and perhaps even its chief Senate sponsor -- ultimately aim at Hawaiian independence.

John Fund is an editorial writer with the Wall Street Journal and He can be reached via email at This is reprinted with permission.

The National Review, August 19, 2005

Manifest Destiny in Reverse

Toward a race-based government in Hawaii.

by Rich Lowry, Editor

If Jefferson Davis could reach from the grave to co-sponsor congressional legislation, he would presumably want to plug the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act. He would love the idea of creating a new government separate and distinct from the federal government — without firing a shot. That the enterprise is premised on a blatant racialism might please him too.

The U.S. Supreme Court said, shortly after the Civil War, that we have "an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible states." But that was so 1868. In 2005, Congress is preparing to allow anyone with Native Hawaiian blood to pick up and leave. That this is even being discussed shows that multiculturalism, if its logic is fully played out, is the ideology of national suicide.

The bill, sponsored by Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka, defines as a "Native Hawaiian" anyone who is a direct descendant of the aboriginal people living there before 1893. This is a version of the old, infamous "one drop" test. These Native Hawaiians — roughly 240,000 in Hawaii — would convene an interim governing council, a little like in Iraq. It would write a constitution establishing a Native Hawaiian government that would then negotiate with the federal government over, among other things, what lands would be transferred to it.

The bill has six Republican cosponsors in the Senate, and a real chance to pass. Apparently, a deal was cut between the Alaskan and Hawaiian delegations, with the Hawaiians supporting drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in exchange for Alaskan support for Native Hawaiian secession. Too bad the deal wasn't for the new entity to be located in the far reaches of ANWR, where asphalt-happy Alaska Rep. Don Young could have then funded its very own four-lane highway. As it is, the Hawaiian proposal strikes at our integrity as a nation.

It is spectacularly unconstitutional. The 15th Amendment forbids racial restrictions on voting. The Akaka bill is wholly dependent on such restrictions. The Supreme Court in 2000 struck down an arrangement that permitted only Native Hawaiians to vote for board members of a state agency providing services to Native Hawaiians. The Akaka scheme takes the unconstitutional principle from that arrangement and makes it the basis for a new government.

The conceit of the bill is that Native Hawaiians will merely get the same status as American Indian tribes, which exist as sovereign, extraconstitutional governments. But such tribal governments weren't created by congressional legislation. They already existed when territory around them was incorporated into the U.S. Congress can recognize new tribes, but they have to meet standards, including existing as a distinct community and exercising sovereignty. Native Hawaiians do neither.

As Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, a staunch opponent of the measure, points out, they are not geographically segregated, but live throughout the state intermixed with non-natives. Indeed, Native Hawaiians live everywhere in the U.S. Intermarriage rates have been high for more than a century, and almost half of marriages in Hawaii are interracial. This is one reason the Akaka bill would create chaos, with neighbors potentially subject to different governments and rules based solely on their race.

Native Hawaiians never exercised sovereignty either, since the late, not-so-great monarchy of Queen Liliuokalani ruled over everyone in Hawaii regardless of race (how broad-minded of her). The bill leans heavily on a historically tendentious Apology Resolution that passed Congress a decade ago and blamed the U.S. for the queen's overthrow in 1893, an event that supposedly so victimized Native Hawaiians they now need their own government more than 100 years later. Since when do we feel badly about the fall of monarchs?

The bill represents manifest destiny in reverse, as the cult of ethnic victimization acts to undermine the legitimacy of America and pull it apart at the seams. If it passes, it may well lend support to Hispanic revanchist groups who want to take back the American Southwest. Sound crazy? Give it time.

Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 21, 2005


Wisconsin tribe faced those same arguments

By Charles Wilkinson

In 1971, as a young lawyer at the Native American Rights Fund, I was fortunate to represent the Menominee tribe of Wisconsin in its quest to achieve federal recognition.

Congress then passed the Menominee Restoration Act in 1973. This was none of my doing — Ada Deer, the dynamic tribal chairwoman, and other tribal leaders made their case brilliantly — but I took away many lessons from that legislative effort and they directly apply to the Akaka bill.

This is not because the Menominee and Hawaiians are the same, culturally or historically. The new Hawaiian government will not be a tribe and will not have a reservation. And the Bureau of Indian Affairs will not set foot on the Islands.

Hawaiian recognition and Menominee restoration do, however, share something important: They both rest on exactly the same constitutional footing. The arguments raised against Hawaiians, including the claim that a Hawaiian government would be "race-based," were all made against the Menominee.

Hawaiians, the Menominee and indigenous people the world over have something else in common. They yearn for their self-determination, their sovereignty. They all exercised it historically, saw it diminished or ripped away, and strive to protect or revive it now.

Native sovereignty has always been understood for what it is — a governmental, not racial, classification. The United States made treaties with the Hawaiian kingdom and Mainland tribes because that is how sovereign governments formalize agreements with each other.

Worcester v. Georgia (1832), one of Chief Justice John Marshall's greatest opinions, explained the governmental status of Native sovereigns at length.

Modern cases have followed suit. Morton v. Mancari (1974) upheld a statute granting a Native hiring preference in the BIA. The court reasoned that the statute was based on the "government-to-government" relationship with tribes, not on race.

We can see the parallel in international relations. When the United States makes treaties with Japan, Mexico, or South Africa, we accept those documents not as "race-based" but as agreements between governments.

As for the contention that the overthrow "forever extinguished" Hawaiian sovereignty and that therefore Congress cannot now enact the Akaka bill, the leading authority is United States v. Lara, decided by the Supreme Court in 2004. Lara approved a statute that expanded tribal sovereign authority to include criminal jurisdiction over nonmember Indians.

In the Lara opinion, the court emphasized Congress' broad constitutional authority over Native affairs and held that this power includes the right to restrict and expand tribal sovereignty. In a helpful formulation, the opinion explained that Congress can define, and redefine, "the metes and bounds of tribal sovereignty."

The Lara opinion expressly referred to the Menominee Restoration Act of 1973, which once again recognized the Menominee sovereignty that Congress had previously terminated. Menominee restoration and Hawaiian recognition are directly parallel.

In each case, Congress initially recognized the sovereignty of each, then broke off all government-to-government relations; nonetheless, Congress retained the right to resume recognition under its authority to define the "metes and bounds" of Native sovereignty.

Lara virtually assures judicial approval of the Akaka bill.

The bill holds great promise for Hawaiians. The Menominee and other tribes have made exceptional progress over the past two generations. They have used their self-determination to bring Native-controlled health and education programs, economic development efforts, justice systems, and natural-resource management to their people.

State and federal agencies have never been able to determine Native needs and deliver services effectively. Only Native governments can do that. As professor Joseph Kalt of Harvard's Kennedy School put it, "We cannot find a single case of sustained economic development where the tribe is not in the driver's seat. ... The only thing that is working is self-determination, that is, de-facto sovereignty."

My every expectation is that the new Hawaiian government will use its self-determination at least as effectively as the Mainland tribes.

The rightful recognition of sovereignty, stifled for so long, will unleash all manner of creativity and productivity. Kaho'olawe and the Hawaiian Home Lands will be returned. Officials of the new government and the trustees of the Kamehameha Schools, if they so choose, will have the chance to create a relationship that will protect the school's historic admissions preference as a governmental, not racial, policy. Social and economic problems will be addressed by those most able to do so.

Other possibilities are legion.

The Akaka bill has been politically difficult — proposals by dispossessed peoples always are — but it is legally and constitutionally easy. Once it passes, much hard work will lie ahead. Nonetheless, modern Native governments have made self-determination a reality in the U.S. Mainland, Canada and New Zealand and have been accepted as permanent and productive institutions by those nations.

Native Hawaiians and the state of Hawai'i can justifiably set their sights high and craft a system that will inspire all who love justice the world over.

Honolulu Advertiser, Monday, August 22, 2005


A chance to learn what Akaka is all about

The League of Women Voters of Hawai'i and the Hawai'i Institute for Public Affairs are co-sponsoring a comprehensive discussion on the Hawaiian recognition or Akaka bill this week in two separate public affairs forums.

The first forum will be simulcast today at 8 p.m. on PBS Hawai'i and KHON2.

Tomorrow, a public forum will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i, 2454 S. Beretania St., Manoa Grand Ballroom. Seating will be limited to the first 400 people to arrive. In addition, it will be taped to be aired later this week on the 'Olelo channel.

Considered the most significant federal legislation since statehood, the Akaka bill potentially has far-reaching impact on Native Hawaiians and non-Native Hawaiians. It is scheduled for a Senate vote on the day after Labor Day.

Participants in the panel discussions who support the bill are:

# Mark Bennett, attorney general, state of Hawai'i.

# Robert Klein, board counsel for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and former state Supreme Court justice.

Participants who oppose the bill are:

# Bruce Fein, constitutional lawyer, representing the Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i.

# Kaleikoa Kaeo, spokesperson for Hui Pu and NOA (Not of America).

# Anne Keala Kelly, Native Hawaiian journalist and filmmaker.

The public forum will be moderated by Family Court Judge Michael Broderick.

For more information on the public forums, please call HIPA at 585-7931 or the League of Women Voters at 531-7448.

Following are summary statements of four of the participants:


The Akaka bill defiles the Constitution.

Its creed is E Pluribus Unum. The Akaka bill presages racial balkanization.

The Constitution honors individuals irrespective of race or ethnicity, a standard echoed by Dr. Martin Luther King in pleading to judge by character in lieu of skin color. The Akaka bill makes ancestry determinative of individual destiny under a Native Hawaiian sovereign by and for Native Hawaiians alone. The bill disenfranchises based on race, a flagrant violation of the 14th and 15th amendments.

The Constitution grudgingly exempted Native American Indian tribes from its protections against government abuses for three reasons: Indians were neither citizens, nor skilled in democratic arts, nor able to defend themselves against state government predations. None of these reasons holds true for Native Hawaiians.

Yet the Akaka bill would treat them as Indian tribes endowed with powers outside the constraints of the Constitution and federal laws — for example, the authority to discriminate because of race, ethnicity, gender or religion, or take private property without just compensation.

Under the Constitution, the fusion of Native and non-Native elements in Hawai'i into a flourishing multiracial society has been as much to be marveled at as imitated. In 1994, Sen. Dan Inouye exulted: "Hawai'i remains one of the greatest examples of a multiracial society living in relative peace."

The Akaka bill would split asunder what the Constitution has magnificently joined.


Federal policy toward Native Hawaiians must be clarified in order to protect against the elimination of Hawaiian trust assets such as Hawaiian Homelands, the ceded lands trust and possibly Kamehameha Schools. These trusts have been the subject of several lawsuits, one of which has recently succeeded against Kamehameha Schools.

There will be more to come. The goal of the Akaka bill is to establish a Native Hawaiian government that provides the same legal and political status granted to Indian nations and Alaska's natives. Such status defeats equal-protection lawsuits designed to end all Hawaiian programs as we know them.

Giving in to the arguments of the bill's opponents leaves all Hawaiian trusts and Hawaiian people vulnerable to legal attack. Underlying that chilling specter is a frightening rationale that denies the very existence and identity of the Native Hawaiian people.

Opponents charge that Hawaiians do not deserve sovereign rights under the Akaka bill because there are no Native Hawaiians — they have all been assimilated into the overall population. The bill's opponents do not stop at obliterating the past; they would also destroy forever the distinctly Native Hawaiian identity. To deny Native Hawaiians political status under the bill is to deny their very existence as a native people.

Federal political recognition is nothing new. There are more than 500 such governments operating in the United States today. Because the Constitution supports the existence of native governments, the Akaka bill is needed to achieve parity with the nation's other native peoples.

The Akaka bill is the only practical means available to Native Hawaiians to achieve federal political recognition and political status. It is essential to protect Hawaiian assets and Hawaiian identity. The bill's opponents want to eliminate both, ending the coup against the Hawaiian government that started 112 years ago. The Akaka bill is the best antidote to their virulent plans.


The Akaka bill provides long-overdue federal recognition to Native Hawaiians, a recognition that has been extended for decades to Native Americans and Alaska natives. It is a simple matter of justice and fairness.

The wrongs done to Native Hawaiians were no less severe than those suffered by America's other indigenous people —why should the recognition be less? The bill is supported by Gov. Linda Lingle, our entire congressional delegation, 75 of 76 members of the Legislature, and all four of our mayors.

The bill is neither race-based nor unconstitutional. The Constitution itself provides for the recognition of the native peoples of America, and the Supreme Court has said that such recognition is constitutional.

The bill sets up a Native Hawaiian governing entity, and provides for negotiations among that entity and the United States and the state. The status quo will not change without future acts of Congress and amendments to Hawai'i statutes and the Hawai'i Constitution.

The bill does not allow for secession or independence, period. It will, however, bar gambling by the Native Hawaiian entity, and will not change zoning, taxes, or criminal or civil jurisdiction.

The bill will help preserve current federal and state programs, like the Hawaiian Homelands. And it will end the injustice of Native Hawaiians being second-class citizens among America's native peoples. It will help preserve the Hawai'i we all know and love.


For Hawaiians who don't understand what's being done in their name, it's worth pointing out that as a people we have options beyond federal recognition that are being ignored.

Instead, OHA, DHHL and others are investing millions to convince us that this is the best we can hope for. I believe the same amount of money the state is spending to pass the bill should be given to Hawaiian groups opposing it.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the manner in which agencies and organizations have promoted and propagandized their position is their unapologetic enthusiasm for intentionally disregarding and/or maligning other Hawaiian perspectives.

Historical wounds of profound significance (such as the overthrow) have been turned into excuses for abandoning our rights to self- determination under international law and advancing the American version, which means plenary powers of Congress. That will eventually lead to signing over claims to the crown and government lands of the Hawaiian kingdom (ceded land).

Supporting this bill and nothing else means we don't want real self-determination. And yet, the political and social push for the Akaka bill relies entirely on a false sense of Hawaiian pride and empowerment, a manufactured, counterfeit culture in place of the real one.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Monday, August 22, 2005

Inouye blamed by critics of Akaka
The senator denies the 1993 apology laid the groundwork for the Akaka Bill

By Sally Apgar

Sen. Daniel Inouye slammed two former Republican colleagues for criticizing him last week over what they called a "betrayal of express commitments" made to them during passage of the 1993 apology resolution for the U.S. government's role in the 1893 overthrow of the kingdom of Hawaii.

Former Sens. Slade Gorton (R-Wa.) and Hank Brown (R-Colo.) put their names to a lengthy opinion piece that appeared in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal criticizing Inouye for misrepresentations they claim he made to them about the intent of the apology.

They claim Inouye gave his word that the apology would not give special rights or privileges, reparations or land to native Hawaiians that would not be available to non-Hawaiians living in the state.

Inouye was unhappy with the piece.

"I am disappointed my former colleagues would take my comments out of context, then piece it together to support their own position and thereby impugn my integrity in the process," Inouye said this weekend.

Gorton and Brown said the apology is being used "to justify" the passage of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005 as a means to make right the wrongs of the past against native Hawaiians. The act, known as the Akaka Bill for chief sponsor Sen. Daniel Akaka, is expected to come before the U.S. Senate the week of Sept. 6.

The Akaka Bill authorizes the organization of a native Hawaiian governing body that, once recognized by the federal government, will have a government-to-government relationship with the United States.

In an interview on Friday, Gorton said he and Brown were "concerned that the apology resolution would be used for the basis of something like the Akaka Bill in the future, and it seems we were assured it would not be."

Gorton and Brown urged defeat of the Akaka Bill, writing, "The champions of the proposed legislation boast that the new native Hawaiian entity could secede from the Union like the Confederacy, but without the necessity of shelling Fort Sumter."

Partly with the help of the Grassroots Institute of Hawaii, a group opposed to the Akaka Bill, the opinion piece was e-mailed and drew national attention, including commentators such as Rush Limbaugh, who read it and railed against the bill on his national radio show.

In an online request to the Wall Street Journal to reprint the piece, the Star-Bulletin was told that the author must be asked for permission. The Wall Street Journal identified the author as Dick Rowland with the Grassroots Institute of Hawaii.

"Well, I'll be damned," said Rowland when asked about authorship. "No, I didn't write it."

Rowland, a co-founder of Grassroots, is a retired military officer and two-time Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate. In addition to Rowland, Grassroots includes local real estate executive Walt Harvey, State Sen. Sam Slom (R, Hawaii Kai-Aina Hina-Kahala-Diamond Head) and Malia Zimmerman, a Grassroots co-founder and close associate of Slom's who also runs and frequently writes for the Hawaii Reporter, an online news operation.

Zimmerman said yesterday, "I know that no one in Grassroots wrote it."

Last week, Zimmerman's Hawaii Reporter promptly hosted both the Wall Street Journal opinion piece and a transcript of Rush Limbaugh's radio show criticizing the Akaka Bill.

Grassroots also has hired Bruce Fein as a spokesman and general counsel who is scheduled to speak as an opponent of the Akaka Bill in forums that will be televised tonight and tomorrow night.

Rowland said yesterday, "We're just trying to get as much public debate as we possibly can."

Rowland said Grassroots also wants "a plebiscite (on the issue) before some high-and-mighty types in Washington tell us what to do."

Critics of the Akaka Bill frequently note that it is vague, and suggest that one day Hawaii could host two governments, the state and the new sovereign Hawaiian government. If that were true, the state would not in any way secede from the Union. Instead, many proponents of the bill say that one day there will be a sovereign nation within a nation.

Gorton and Brown wrote that the Akaka Bill "invokes the apology resolution to justify granting persons of native Hawaiian descent -- even in minuscule (blood) proportion -- political and economic rights and land denied to other citizens of Hawaii."

The two said Inouye "unambiguously told (us) that would not be done."

They wrote: "We were promised on the floor of the Senate by Daniel Inouye, the senior senator from Hawaii and a personage of impeccable integrity that (now quoting Inouye) 'as to the matter of the status of native Hawaiians ... this resolution has nothing to do with that. ... I can assure my colleague of that.'" They concluded, "The Akaka Bill repudiates that promise."

During the apology debate, Inouye said, "to suggest that this resolution is the first step toward declaring independence for the state of Hawaii is a painful distortion of the intent of the authors. To suggest that this resolution is intended to expel non-Hawaiians from the state of Hawaii is something that even the most severe critics of this resolution in Hawaii would not even consider."

At the time, Inouye told his fellow senators that the resolution is "simply an apology" and nothing more.

But during that debate, Brown said on the floor that the bill "is not clear as to what it means."

In that 1993 debate, Gorton said that after talking to Inouye, he did not believe Inouye wished "the consequences of this resolution to be the restoration of the independence of Hawaii itself. What this senator (Inouye) said was that there are some splinter groups in Hawaii who believe this (independence) is the only appropriate response to the overthrow, and they will clearly use this resolution as the basis on which to make this demand."

Meanwhile Akaka, like Inouye, is doing some clarification in the media on the bill.

Last week, Akaka spoke on National Public Radio and was asked about the intent or outcome of his bill. He stated the outcome would be determined by future generations of the people of Hawaii, including his children and grandchildren.

In a statement released the next day, Akaka said he "is not a proponent of independence or secession of the state of Hawaii, as was indicated in a broadcast by the National Public Radio on Aug. 16, 2005."

He said the Akaka Bill "has nothing to do with independence or secession of the state of Hawaii from the United States. I support addressing the legal and political relationship between native Hawaiians and the United States within federal law. I do not support independence or secession of the state of Hawaii from the United States."

Hawaii Reporter, Monday, August 22, 2005

Akaka Raises the 'I' Word

By Leon Siu

When U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, addressed the issue of independence during his recent National Public Radio interview, he inadvertently exposed the true implication of creating congressional actions to address injuries stemming from the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. When it comes down to it, all federal programs, entitlements and allowances to “native Hawaiians,” are but ploys to avoid the real issue: The restoration of Hawaii as an independent nation.

This is the subject matter that Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye and Reps. Ed Case and Neil Abercrombie as well as Gov. Linda Lingle and all the hirelings of the powers-that-be, have worked so desperately hard to avoid. The reason there has been no public hearings in Hawaii and the reason Hawaiian nationals were not allowed to speak in the D.C. hearings, is because the powers-that-be did not want the explosive “I” word to mess things up.

Well it’s happened. Akaka said it. His on-air comment regarding independence set off a howl of outrage. To Akaka’s opponents, the “I” word is a far greater weapon for their arsenal than the old liberal “race-based discrimination” mantra. By his candid response to the “I” word question, Akaka has given his opponents the salvo they need to blast his bill right out of the water.

It’s a shame for this to happen to a kind, wonderful, generous, sincere servant of his people.

Leon Siu, a resident of Hawaii and professional Hawaiian entertainer, can be reached via email at

Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Forum reveals complexity of Hawaiian recognition issue

By Derrick DePledge and Treena Shapiro

In a spirited forum yesterday on a Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill, the state's attorney general and a former state Supreme Court justice defended the bill as critical to protect Hawaiian programs from legal assault, while a conservative legal scholar called it racial separatism and a sovereignty activist condemned it as a sellout to independence.

The forum, televised last night on KHON-2 and PBS Hawai'i, was the first of two on federal recognition this week and was among the most dynamic public discussions on the bill since Hawai'i senators held hearings on O'ahu five years ago. A second forum is scheduled at 5 p.m. today at the Japanese Cultural Center that will later air on the 'Olelo cable channel.

Both supporters and opponents of the bill want to influence public opinion ahead of a potential vote next month in the U.S. Senate. Earlier yesterday, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs released a poll in which 68 percent of the people who responded support the bill.

The bill would create a process for Native Hawaiians to form their own government and negotiate with the state and federal governments on issues such as land use. It would recognize Hawaiians as an indigenous people, similar to American Indians and Alaskan Natives.

While the bill has broad political support in Hawai'i, the forum — sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Hawai'i and the Hawai'i Institute for Public Affairs — yesterday showed its complexity.

The U.S. Supreme Court has not specifically ruled on whether Native Hawaiians have a political relationship with the United States government, similar to American Indians, that would allow Hawaiians-only programs to continue. The court did rule in 2000 that preventing non-Hawaiians from voting for OHA trustees was unconstitutional, and a federal appeals court declared this month that the race-based admissions policy at Kamehameha Schools was a violation of federal civil rights law.

State Attorney General Mark Bennett said Hawaiian programs would continue to come under legal attack without the bill, which, if passed, would at least likely prompt the courts to settle the legal question. "They are seeking to have them all declared unconstitutional," he said.

Former state Supreme Court justice Robert Klein, who is working with OHA on the bill, said he has heard mostly "fear-mongering and despair" from opponents. "It is the way," Klein said. "It is the only way in our system that you can protect the assets Hawaiians desperately need."

But Bruce Fein, a constitutional lawyer hired by the Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i to fight the bill, said it would "plant the seeds of racial separateness and of hatred in the law."

Fein said all Hawai'i voters should be given a chance to decide on the final form of a Native Hawaiian government. There is no vote planned under the bill now, but voters would have to approve whether to amend the state constitution if OHA or the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands were to become part of a new government.

Kaleikoa Kaeo of Maui, a spokesman for Hui Pu and NOA (Not of America), tried to steer the forum toward what he said was the improper annexation of Hawai'i by the United States in 1898. He said Native Hawaiians have never relinquished their sovereignty.

At one point, after Bennett explained the bill would likely be amended to satisfy opponents, making it clear it would not allow gambling or exemptions to tax or criminal law, Kaeo said, "Where is the self-determination in that?"

At 'Iolani Palace yesterday morning, OHA announced the results of a poll by Ward Research that found strong support for federal recognition. The poll, conducted Aug. 15-18, obtained responses from 401 people and has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.

It showed that 84 percent believe Native Hawaiians should receive federal recognition as indigenous people, 65 percent believe Hawaiians have a right to self-governance similar to other indigenous people, and 86 percent believe Hawaiian programs at Kamehemeha Schools, OHA and the Department of Hawaiian Home Land should continue.

Sixty-eight percent said they supported the recognition bill. And 80 percent disagreed with opponents who argue that Native Hawaiians should not be given recognition based on race.

"So we are asking for parity with other indigenous groups in the United States and asking that Hawaiians be given the recognition they deserve and also the process to work with the state and our federal government," said U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i, the bill's main sponsor.

Akaka said a poll earlier this summer by the Grassroot Institute, circulated by the bill's conservative opponents, did not help the bill's cause with Republicans in the Senate. "Now with the one reported today, 80 percent is really encouraging," he said.

The Grassroot Institute's results were based on responses of 980 people to a question about whether they would support a Native Hawaiian government where Hawaiians would not be subject to all the same laws, regulations and taxes as other Hawai'i residents. Forty-one percent were in opposition, 20 percent were in favor and 39 percent gave no response.

Richard Rowland, president of the Grassroot Institute, said he is pleased the bill is getting a thorough debate. "Let's have a vote of all the people in Hawai'i before it's even considered in Washington," Rowland said. "Let them put their money where their mouth is."

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Tuesday, August 23, 2005

OHA poll shows strong community support of Akaka Bill

By Richard Borreca

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, bolstered by new business and labor support and an opinion poll released yesterday, is ramping up efforts to get the U.S. Senate to pass a native Hawaiian sovereignty bill.

Also yesterday, opponents and supporters of the Akaka Bill squared off in the first of two forums to debate the measure.

The push for the long-stalled bill continued yesterday with a morning rally at Iolani Palace of more than 100 supporters, including representatives of the University of Hawaii, the AFL-CIO, Chaminade University, First Hawaiian Bank, Hawaii Metal Recycling, Maui Land & Pine, Royal Contracting and Stanford Carr Development Corp.

The Senate is scheduled to vote Sept. 6 on a motion that would stop opponents from delaying a vote on the bill, formally called the Native Hawaiian Recognition Act of 2005. The bill would start the process of recognizing and forming a native Hawaiian government entity to negotiate with state and federal governments. If Akaka gets 60 votes to halt the delays, the Senate could vote on the bill next month.

Haunani Apoliona, OHA chairwoman, announced the results of the poll that showed 68 percent of those surveyed support the bill, 17 percent do not support it and 15 percent refused to answer or had no opinion.

The statewide poll was taken Aug. 15-18 by Ward Research, a local public opinion firm. OHA paid for the poll of 401 randomly selected Hawaii residents, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

According to the poll, the strongest support comes from younger residents, with 76 percent of those age 18-34 supporting the Akaka Bill, while only 55 percent of those 55 and older supported the proposal.

"The Akaka Bill is the start of a long road to reconciliation," Apoliona said. "It also has a practical impact in this age of lawsuits, as a shield to protect programs that serve native Hawaiians and benefit the entire state."

The poll also asked if Hawaiians should be given federal recognition even if, as critics say, native Hawaiians are a race rather than an indigenous group. Only 9 percent agreed that native Hawaiians should not be given recognition because of race, while 80 percent said race should not be the basis for denying federal recognition, Apoliona said.

William Burgess, an attorney who has filed lawsuits attacking the constitutionality of both OHA and the state Hawaiian Home Lands Department, said he doubted the poll's validity.

"This is the same shibai they used in their 2003 poll," Burgess said, adding that a group opposing the bill took its own poll this summer showing residents opposing the measure.

"The Akaka Bill would allow anyone with an ancestor who was indigenous to form their own separate government. Do you think that is right?" he said.

Asked about the large number of businesses and community groups supporting the Akaka Bill, Burgess said, "It sounds like a lot of people who may have a vested interest in keeping Hawaiians in a state of dependency."

Another critic of the bill, Hawaiian activist Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele, said yesterday's rally did not change his mind, either. "What we have to do is go back to square one. Basically, it means we have to educate the people as to what our options are," Kanahele said.

But Gov. Linda Lingle, who plans to go back to Washington, D.C., to lobby for the bill next month, said she is encouraged by the poll and support. "We'll be sending a letter to all of the Republican members of the Senate, again, with some of the latest information from here at home, and I suppose this kind of a poll would be helpful," Lingle said.

At the forum taped yesterday in Manoa and later broadcast on KHON-TV and KHET, Bruce Fein, a constitutional attorney and bill opponent, repeated his call that the bill be put up for a vote in Hawaii before Congress acts on it. "Why would the Hawaiian people not want to be given the opportunity to choose?" Fein said.

State Attorney General Mark Bennett responded, saying Fein and other Akaka Bill opponents were calling for a vote to delay action in Congress.

Also participating in the forum was Kaleikoa Kaeo, spokesman for Hui Pu, a group formed to oppose the bill, and a sovereignty group called NOA (Not of America). Kaeo said federal recognition is not needed because Hawaiians are already recognized through treaties the kingdom had with the United States and with other countries. "We are real people with a real history," Kaeo said.

A free forum will be held today at the Japanese Cultural Center, 2454 S. Beretania St., from 5 to 7 p.m. featuring Bennett, Fein, native Hawaiian journalist and filmmaker Anne Keala Kelly, and OHA attorney Robert Klein, who also participated in yesterday's forum.

Also, at 7 p.m. next Tuesday on KITV, OHA will broadcast a one-hour special on the bill.

Akaka, who spoke at yesterday's rally, said he thinks he has the votes needed to end the debate and win a floor vote on the bill. "I would prefer that we move on and take the vote immediately, but as you know, other things can happen," he said.

Hawaii Reporter, August 22, 2005

OHA Releases a Second Deceptive Poll on Akaka Bill

By H. William Burgess

On Aug. 22, 2005, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs released another poll of 401 people produced by Ward Research with deceptive questions similar to the Ward survey in July 2003, which helped OHA plan its multi-million dollar campaign (paid for with our tax dollars) to support the Akaka bill.

See the poll here:

Why is it deceptive? Because the OHA questions say the Akaka bill "begins a process for Native Hawaiians to form a governing entity similar to the governing entities indigenous groups now have within every state." That is misleading. Actually, no one in the U.S. has any right to form a new government simply because he or she has an indigenous ancestor. Yet, that is what the Akaka bill would give to all 400,000 Native Hawaiians living throughout the United States.

There are many millions of people in the U.S who have some discernible degree of Indian ancestry. Census 2000 showed 4.1 million. Some Indian advocates estimate well over 15 million. None of them, simply because of general Indian ancestry, have any right to create a new government. Only those few (less than 2 million according to the BIA) who can show membership in a particular Indian tribe that has existed continuously from historic times to the present as an autonomous quasi sovereign government may be "recognized" and singled out for differential treatment.

The hundreds of Indian groups that have been seeking federal recognition for decades know only too well that ancestry is not enough. The federal government cannot create tribes. It only has power to recognize tribes that exist now and have existed continuously from historic times (since 1900).

Thus, the Akaka bill would radically change the fundamental law of the United States. It would "recognize" two new classes of people in America:

The first, or superior, class would be composed of anyone with an indigenous ancestor. Persons in this class would be a new hereditary elite with superior political power, including the right to form their own new governments outside the reach of the Bill of Rights and other federal and state laws, and superior entitlements, including the right to be singled out for special treatment free of the equal protection clauses of the Constitution.

The inferior class to be "recognized" by the Akaka bill would be composed of descendants of immigrants who arrived later. Their function would be similar to that of the serfs in medieval Europe and the Makaainana under the Kapu system in Hawaii, to serve those in the superior class.

The new OHA poll, like the July 2003 one, fails to disclose that the new Native Hawaiian government contemplated by the Akaka bill would not be subject to all the same laws, regulations and taxes as apply to other citizens. That simple fact was fairly disclosed in the survey taken by ccAdvertising in July 2005 and the over 15,000 persons who answered the question opposed the Akaka bill by a margin of 2 to 1.

If OHA, and the other proponents of the Akaka bill, truly believe a majority of Hawaii's citizens support the Akaka bill why are they afraid to allow a vote of the people before the bill would go into effect?

H. William Burgess is a resident of Honolulu and the founder of Aloha for All, a group that is working to educate the community about the potential problems with the Akaka Bill. He can be reached via email at

Hawaii Reporter, August 22, 2005

A Personal Connection to Hawaii's Statehood Movement
Sen. Akaka's Bill Would Break the Heart of Those Involved in Hawaii's Admission to the United States

By Nancy Anderson McCray

My father, Jack Z. Anderson, was Special Assistant to Eisenhower from 1956 to 1960.

His chief job was to act as a liaison between the White House and the Congress.

Since he had served on the floor from 1938 to 1952, he knew the members quite well.

I remember he worked hard to get the congress to pass the statehoods of both Alaska and Hawaii.

It would break his heart to see what Sen. Daniel Akaka is doing with the Akaka Bill and how Hawaii ignored its statehood celebration this year.

Hawaii wanted to become a state then. What has happened? I'm glad my dad's not alive to see what is happening.

Nancy Anderson McCray, a resident of Walnut Creek, CA, can be reached via email at

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Lawyer urges Akaka to withdraw legislation

By Sally Apgar

A Big Island attorney who has successfully challenged native Hawaiian preferences in two major court cases has asked U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka to withdraw the so-called Akaka Bill from Senate consideration.

John Goemans faxed a letter to Akaka's Washington, D.C., office yesterday that said the bill "on its face and by its plain meaning is volitive of the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which provides citizens of the United States shall not be denied the right to vote by the United States on account of race."

The Akaka Bill, which is formally called the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act of 2005, authorizes the organization of a native Hawaiian governing entity that, once recognized by the federal government, will have a government-to-government relationship with the United States.

Under the broad outline of the bill, a register of native Hawaiians, based on ancestry, would be drawn up and used to vote for the new government and participate in it.

The U.S. Senate is expected to take up the Akaka Bill the week of Sept. 6.

Akaka could not be reached for comment late yesterday. However, spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said, "The senator would not sponsor a bill that was illegal, nor would we be negotiating with the White House and the Department of Justice if it were illegal."

Attorney General Mark Bennett, who along with Gov. Linda Lingle has lobbied hard for the bill, disagreed yesterday with Goemans' application of the 15th Amendment. "Our view is that the Akaka Bill is constitutional," he said.

Goemans told the Star-Bulletin, "It's quite clear that an election is being created by the Congress to be conducted by the Department of Interior in which only one race of people will be able to vote."

The 15th Amendment was passed in 1870 after the Civil War to protect the rights of the newly freed slaves. It says, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude."

The 13th Amendment abolished slavery, and the 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection for all citizens under the law.

"It is our belief that the Akaka Bill doesn't violate any of the Civil War amendments because it does not extend a racial preference in any way," Bennett said. "What it does is it extends a preference and a recognition under the Indian Commerce clause of the Constitution."

Goemans is one of the attorneys for the plaintiff in Rice v. Cayetano. In that case, Big Island rancher Harold "Freddy" Rice challenged the state's limit that only native Hawaiians could vote for trustees to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Rice argued that allowing only Hawaiians violated the 14th and 15th amendments.

In February 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-2 that the Hawaiians-only voting restriction was discriminatory under federal laws and the 15th Amendment.

"It's clear to me that the Akaka Bill is Rice v. Cayetano all over again," Goemans said. "It's amazing this bill has gone as far as it has given that, on its face, it's a clear violation of the 15th Amendment."

The other case in which Goemans is involved is John Doe v. Kamehameha Schools, which challenges the private school's Hawaiians-only admission policy as violating federal anti-discrimination laws. Earlier this month, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco voted 2-1 that the policy discriminated under federal law because it is "an absolute bar" to non-Hawaiians and "tramples" their rights. Kamehameha attorneys are expected to file their appeal of that decision today.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Inouye unfairly accused of misleading Senate


Two former U.S. senators have accused Senator Inouye of betraying his past statement by supporting the Akaka Bill.

MEMBERS of the U.S. Senate are known for their highly collegial relationship, so last week's attack on Senator Inouye's integrity was extraordinary, even though it came from two former senators. Their accusation is baseless, distorting Inouye's remarks during a 1993 Senate debate leading to enactment of a congressional resolution apologizing for the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy a century earlier.

Former Republican Sens. Slade Gorton of Washington and Hank Brown of Colorado made the allegation last week in an op-ed column published by the Wall Street Journal. The column maintains that the Akaka Bill is a "betrayal" of statements made by Inouye in the debate about the apology resolution and "repudiates" a promise he made.

It does nothing of the kind. In the 1993 debate, Gorton contended that "the logical consequences of this (apology) resolution would be independence." He sounded a foolish alarm that it would be "a signpost pointing toward that dark and bitter road" of "ethnic politics and claims to particular pieces of land."

Inouye called Gorton's prognosis "a painful distortion of the intent" of the resolution's authors. He explained that the apology would be "a first step ... to bring about some understanding and reconciliation.

"Are native Hawaiians Native Americans?" Inouye asked rhetorically. "This resolution has nothing to do with that. This resolution does not touch upon the Hawaiian homelands."

Gorton told the Star-Bulletin's Sally Apgar that he and Brown, both of whom voted against the apology resolution, were concerned that it "would be used for the basis of something like the Akaka Bill in the future, and it seems to me were assured it would not be." No such assurance was given -- only that the resolution by itself had nothing to do with whether Hawaiians should be considered Native Americans.

Supporters of Hawaiian recognition have cited language in the apology resolution to build their case. For example, Office of Hawaiian Affairs legal consultant Jon Van Dyke has argued that Congress, through the apology, "has explicitly acknowledged a special relationship" between the federal government and Hawaiians.

The apology resolution states that Hawaiians "lived in a highly organized, self-sufficient social system based on communal land tenure with a sophisticated language, culture and religion." The resolution also states that the Hawaiians "never relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people."

In its 2000 decision opening OHA elections to non-Hawaiian voters, the U.S. Supreme Court called Van Dyke's contention about the existence of a legal U.S.-Hawaiian relationship "a matter of some dispute" but went no further. Enactment of the Akaka Bill is needed to resolve that dispute by placing Hawaiians on an equal legal footing with other indigenous peoples of America.

Hawaii Reporter, August 23, 2005

On the First Akaka Bill Debate

By Don Newman

It was, of course, an interesting debate. The most interesting part was the disconnect between what the Akaka Bill actually says and what its supporters say it says.

Near the end of the discussion Kaleikoa Kaeo spokesperson for Hui Pu and NOA (Not of America) made the point that the Newly formed Hawaiian government would be under the rubric of the Dept. of the Interior (in not so many words, unfortunately). Robert Klein, board counsel for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and former state Supreme Court justice directly disputed him on this point. Yet the language of the Akaka Bill is clear:

* (A) APPOINTMENT -- Within 180 days of the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary [of the Interior] shall appoint the members of the Commission in accordance with subclause (B). Any vacancy on the Commission shall not affect its powers and shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
* (B) REQUIREMENTS.--The members of the Commission shall be Native Hawaiian, as defined in section 3(8), and shall have expertise in the determination of Native Hawaiian ancestry and lineal descendancy.

Thus the Office of the Secretary of the Interior actually determines who will populate the original 9 member commission that then determines who qualifies to be “native Hawaiian” and who doesn’t. Another clause notes:

(b) COMPOSITION.--The Interagency Coordinating Group shall be composed of officials, to be designated by the President, from--

* (1) each Federal agency that administers Native Hawaiian programs, establishes or implements policies that affect Native Hawaiians, or whose actions may significantly or uniquely impact Native Hawaiian resources, rights, or lands; and
* (2) the Office. (c) LEAD AGENCY.-- * (1) IN GENERAL.--The Department of the Interior shall serve as the lead agency of the Interagency Coordinating Group.

So Kaeo was right by asserting the Dept. of the Interior would actually oversee and control the process of creating the new Hawaiian government. As in the case of the Indian Tribes the sovereign Hawaiian Government would be under the oversight of the Dept. of the Interior.

This kind of obfuscation was typical of the debate. At one point Mark Bennett, attorney general for the state of Hawaii tacitly admitted that the vast majority of Hawaiian based programs would be in jeopardy without the passage of the Akaka Bill, thus admitting they won’t pass Constitutional muster without the Akaka Bill. One has to ask why this is. It is a very revealing point.

Dismissing points made by Akaka Bill opponents by the proponents was a common tactic and as in the above case often wrong. At times various claims were made as to what the Akaka Bill would do that were contradictory. Gambling would not be legalized within the newly formed sovereign Hawaiian government but such issues would be determined by the new government. Federal and state taxes would not be exempt for the newly formed Hawaiian government but such issues were to be determined by the new government. Military bases and other crucial institutions currently on ceded lands would not be threatened but land issues would be “negotiated.” That there is no limitation on these negotiations was politely ignored.

Another point that was interesting is the Mark Bennett and Robert Klein didn’t want to get too “caught up” in the Constitutional issues surrounding the Akaka Bill. In other words, they didn’t want to contemplate whether the bill was actually legal or not, they just want it to be passed. They don’t want a plebiscite on the bill because they have already decided that it is good for Hawaii. So the legal issues and the will of the people is irrelevant to what they have already decided is the “just” thing to do.

Finally it was too bad that constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein and Kaleikoa Kaeo got so tied up in the legal ramifications of the overthrow. While it is an important point for the sovereignty movement it would have behooved Kaeo to articulate his opposition to the Akaka Bill based upon the historical issues rather than wasting precious time debating those historical issues. It was rarely clear that he actually opposed the Akaka Bill thus playing into the hands of its supporters.

All in all, the best thing is that there is finally public discussion about the merits of the Akaka Bill, which has been in stealth mode since its inception. A full public airing and vote for such an important and momentous issue for the state of Hawaii is clearly called for. It remains to be seen whether our elected officials will wake up to this fact or whether they will simply force this upon the people of Hawaii because they have decided it is the right thing to do, no matter what the people who voted them into office actually think.

Don Newman, senior policy analyst for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, Hawaii's first and only free market public policy institute focused on individual freedom and liberty, can be reached at:

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Wednesday, August 24, 2005

"I am firmly convinced that many of the bill's opponents are resorting to such tactics because they recognize that their policy arguments are unconvincing and cannot carry the day." -- Gov. Linda Lingle, Responding to critics of the Akaka Bill

Proposed Akaka Bill changes get federal OK, Lingle says

By Richard Borreca

The Bush administration agrees with proposed amendments to a native Hawaiian recognition bill, clearing objections to the measure, Gov. Linda Lingle says.

In a letter written yesterday to all GOP senators, Lingle said, "Agreement has been reached with the administration regarding the four policy concerns they raised about the bill."

Since July 13, Lingle said, the staff of Hawaii's two senators, Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and representatives of the White House, Department of Justice, Office of Management and Budget, and the Defense Department have been meeting to come up with a compromise.

Here are the four concerns that Lingle says will be answered with amendments to the bill:

» Potential claims or lawsuits against the United States: "The agreement makes clear that no claims are created and will include language making it absolutely clear the comprehensive extent of the sovereign immunity of the United States."

» Military readiness: An amendment by the Department of Defense will be offered so that "it is clear that passage of the legislation can have no impact on military readiness."

» Criminal jurisdiction and trust land questions: "The status quo with regard to criminal law will be maintained and no land will be taken into trust under the Indian Reorganization Act."

» Gambling: "The agreed-upon amendment makes even clearer that gambling will not be permitted at all by the new native Hawaiian entity. The language will be definitive, plain and unambiguous."

The Bush administration, Lingle said, also offered "many valuable suggestions as to how the bill could be clarified and improved" and many of the suggestions will be included in the new version of the bill.

In her letter, Lingle also took a swipe at the bill's critics, saying, "The rhetoric on this bill has ratcheted skyward ... insulting to both the integrity and honesty of Sen. Inouye and Akaka, as well as me and members of my administration.

"I am firmly convinced that many of the bill's opponents are resorting to such tactics because they recognize that their policy arguments are unconvincing and cannot carry the day," she said.

Lingle, Hawaii's first GOP governor since 1959, will also go to Washington next month to lobby fellow Republicans for the bill.

The bill is now scheduled for a vote on whether to force a vote on the measure Sept. 6, when the U.S. Senate reconvenes. The bill is designed to "provide a process for the recognition by the United States of the native Hawaiian governing entity."

If the bill passes, a Congressional Budget Office estimate shows that implementation would cost about $1 million a year for the first few years.

The budget estimate also calculates that it would take three years to accomplish the first step of creating and certifying a roll of adult native Hawaiians who would then vote to establish a native Hawaiian governing council.

The CBO cost estimate was prepared March 25.

"CBO estimates that implementing S. 147 (the Akaka Bill) would cost nearly $1 million annually in fiscal years 2006-2008 and less than $500,000 in each subsequent year," the report stated.

The money would establish a U.S. Office for Native Hawaiian Relations with the federal Department of the Interior. The office would be responsible for developing and overseeing the federal relationship with the native Hawaii governing entity.

"The bill would create a nine-member commission responsible for creating and certifying a roll of adult native Hawaiians," the report said. "Based upon information from the Interior Department, CBO expects that this commission would need three years and three full-time staff members to complete its work."

The CBO report notes that the Akaka Bill "could lead to a new government to represent native Hawaiians."

"The transfer of any land or other assets to this new government, including land now controlled by the state of Hawaii, would be the subject of future negotiations."

If the bill clears the Senate, it would then move to the House.

But a group of 16 Republican critics in the U.S. House have written to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, saying the Akaka Bill "would set a dangerous precedent for our nation."

Arguing that the native Hawaiian governing entity would be "a race-based government exempt from the protections our Constitution affords," the 16 Republicans claimed that it would be impossible to fit native Hawaiians into the constitutional category of American Indians.

"Only people who have long operated as an Indian tribe, live as a separate and distinct community based on their geography and culture, and have a pre-existing political structure can be recognized as a tribe," the 16 House members said.

"Native Hawaiians do not meet this criteria," they added.

Robert Klein, former Hawaii state Supreme Court associate justice, who represents the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in lobbying for the Akaka Bill, says the measure will prevent hundreds of federal programs that benefit native Hawaiians from being struck down as being unconstitutional.

"Our opponents, Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian, have no answer to what would happen to these important programs without Akaka," Klein said.

"Without this bill, Hawaii stands to lose the major Hawaiian assets we now enjoy, as well as any further federal health, education and welfare benefits that now flow to our state. That is the urgency and the bill provides the only solution to the demise of those programs," Klein said.

Hawaii Reporter, August 24, 2005

Native Americans Issue Warning About Akaka Bill, Federal Recognition

No Protection from the U.S. Constitution, Gambling, Unfair Competition in Business and Custody Disputes All Bring Down Native Americans

By Malia Zimmerman

Native Americans throughout the county working to help tribal members with a variety of issues say they are trying to warn native Hawaiians who may be considering supporting the Akaka Bill, about the problems with federal recognition and how it affects their world.

The Akaka Bill, which is pending a vote before the U.S. Senate this September 6, would, according to its own author U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, allow Hawaiians to gain federal recognition as a Native "tribe" and could even lead to secession or an independent nation of Hawaiians-only. "That could be. As far as what's going to happen at the other end, I'm leaving it up to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren," Akaka said when asked by a NPR reporter if the bill could lead to sovereignty or outright independence.

Many Native Americans who understand the Akaka Bill are worried enough about its potential impact on Hawaii, the nation, and individual Hawaiian citizens that they, and their associates in states across the mainland, are lobbying against the bill in Congress.

Here is why.

There are so many problems, that 4 out of 5 Native Americans no longer live within reservations or submit themselves to tribal governments.

That is in part because Federal Indian policy promotes tribalism and tribal governments, and depends upon the those governments to act in the best interest of their members.

Some tribes do represent their people well, but most don't, according to Elaine Willman, a Native American of strong Cherokee ancestry through her mother and father's lineage.

Since 2002, Willman has served as Chair of the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance, formed in the early 1980s to assist enrolled tribal members with oppressive tribal governments. More recently the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance assists non-tribal members and communities confronting aggressive tribal overreaching, land claims and off-reservation tribal casinos.

She says Native American tribal governments and federal Indian policy, are not only a failure, in terms of providing quality of life for American Indians, but in many cases, have caused great disruption, disappointment and desolation within their own reservations, and nearby communities they border.

Accompanied by Kamie Biehl, a videographer, Willman recently made a 6,000-mile journey across 17 Indian reservations between Washington State and New York. On camera, they captured the voices of tribal members, local elected officials, law enforcement personnel, farmers, bankers and teachers. Many of these Americans of diverse cultures who spoke with Willman have grown up together and are now bonded, not only by their past experiences, but by their deep worries about the spread of tribalism in America, which they see is not in the best interest of individual American Indians. It's all about promotion of power and influence of tribal government leaders, they say.

There are certainly exceptions, say Willman. A few tribes, such as the Puyallup in Washington State, The White Earth in Minnesota and Seminoles in Florida, have greatly enriched their members with gambling revenue. Most tribal members, even those whose tribes have lucrative casinos, still live in severe poverty and in the despair of addictions, crime and family dysfunction.

Willman and Biehl have produced a documentary and book, entitled "Going To Pieces ... The Dismantling of the United States of America."

Within the "issues" chapters toward the end of the journey-book, Willman included a chapter on Hawaii and the Akaka Bill, because she believes the problems she sees are on the verge of becoming a reality in Hawaii. And if race-based governments focused on collectivism, and not individual citizen protections, continue to spread -- if the Akaka Bill passes -- the precedent is set wherein Congress defiles the principles of equality in the Constitution and permits separate, balkanized governments apart from the United States.

"Every individual Hawaiian needs to consider the current freedoms and protections they enjoy, and how willing they are to enroll in some undisclosed ‘tribal’ governance system. A system that will likely neutralize or outright rescind their current privileges, rights and protections as a citizen of the state of Hawaii, and as a citizen of the United States," Willman says.

People Enrolled in Tribe Have No Legal Protection from U.S. Government

The Native American justice system is different than that in the United States. Few, if any, tribal governments fully acknowledge the Constitution or Bill of Rights within Indian reservations.

If a tribal member is convicted of a crime in tribal court, there are limited appeal options, if any.

Conversely, if a Native American tribal member commits a crime off of the reservation and then returns to the reservation, it can difficult to "extradite" that tribal member for accountability in the American justice system.

That is because the federal government has a "trust" relationship with tribal governments, but this does not extend to individual enrolled tribal members.

The federal government does not insert itself into "internal matters" of the tribe, which means troubled tribal members who lack basic U.S. Constitutional protections within their tribal government have no place to go in state or federal courts to complain about treatment received by their tribal government.

Native American Tribal Members Pay No Taxes to State or Federal Governments and Can Unfairly Compete With Outside Businesses

Willman and other Native Americans say tribal governments receive billions of dollars in subsidies from the federal and state governments and millions of acres of land. Tribal governments can operate through their enrolled members, tax-exempt tribal businesses, often located intentionally next to similar private businesses in communities.

Because tribal businesses are tax-exempt, and adjacent to private businesses that do pay tax, there is an unfair competition. The business that has to pay tax cannot compete under these circumstances, and usually closes down within a few months. The non-Native American employees lose their jobs and the community loses a vital part of its economy.

Former Supreme Court Justice Robert Klein, who represents the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a government-funded organization lobbying for the bill, admitted in a debate Monday, Aug. 22, that under the Akaka Bill, businesses owned by native Hawaiians could be exempt from charging their customers state and federal taxes.

Gambling Start-Ups Blossom Despite Promises in Writing to the Contrary

Indian tribes are operating more than 411 Class III (slot machines) gambling casinos in areas where there was none before, even if they have promised in writing to the community and the government before acquiring the federal land for the casinos that they would not do so, Willman says.

There are loopholes, and only minimal enforcement in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that allow this, warns Willman. Once a separate, "tribal" government acquires land, virtually anything goes, the Native Americans interviewed for this story say.

Proponents of the Akaka Bill have denied there will be any gambling in Hawaii because of the Akaka Bill. However, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka has not yet made this clear in the current version of the Akaka Bill, a fact even the U.S. Justice Department notes in a recent letter to the state.

Native Americans interviewed for this story say even if the bill does clearly say "no gambling under any circumstances", once the land is transferred to a new Hawaiian government, the local and federal governments also transfer the power to make such decisions.

Willman says if gambling is legalized, expect an immediate, substantial and continuous drain on local businesses and economies, and a depletion of the state's sales and property tax resources.

State and local economies will take a heavy hit, as will the family budgets of thousands of Hawaiians.

"You never see an empty parking lot at a gambling facility," Willman says.

Indian Child Welfare Act Not In Best Interest of Children or Families

Congress has given tribal governments superior authority over parental rights of enrolled tribal members through the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Congress has stripped tribal parents of their rights, and then does not "interfere in internal tribal matters," so tribe's can overpower parents in order to preserve their culture, and parents are essentially helpless, Willman says.

If there is a divorce and the tribal member wants to leave the reservation, while one wants to stay, the tribe decides the children's fate, not the parents.

"Parents have very little, if any say, in this world," Willman says.

How Native American Recognition Applies to Akaka Bill

What does all this have to do with Hawaii and why should the people of the state care?

Native Americans watching the Akaka debate from afar say they believe proponents are unhappy with the U.S. Constitution and a republican form of government, and have a very different government in mind for Native Hawaiians.

They note the Akaka Bill’s main supporters are not willing to reveal what type of non-democratic, new government could or would be created in the future that may nullify the individual rights of newly enrolled "Hawaiian tribal members," Willman says.

The native Hawaiians who support the Akaka bill may expect an improved quality of life when switching allegiance away from the U.S. Constitution, but they are quite likely to experience exactly the opposite -- the loss of individual freedoms for the power of the collective whole, Willman says.

Hawaii’s Gov. Linda Lingle calls these discussions over a separate race-based government, a separate tax system, gambling, and a different justice system "scare tactics." Klein, who represents the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, repeatedly calls these facts presented by the Native Americans and others concerned with the Akaka Bill "fear-mongering."

But Willman says lives in this world, which is "reality" for thousands of Native Americans enrolled in 567 tribal governments whose leaders thrive, while people they are supposed to represent, don’t.

She counters that far more" frightening and deceiving" is the complete absence of information provided to Hawaiians regarding what shape and form a new government would take.

"Hawaiians are supposed to accept some secretive new government on faith alone, and believe that the new government will protect them as individuals where tribal governments do not promote individual protections. Most tribes do not even provide a secret ballot, forcing members to raise their hands in front of intimidating incumbent leaders. Raising one's hand at the wrong time during elections can result in the loss of a job, housing, services, ‘per capita’ (tribal stipends) and other needed benefits," Willman says.

Some proponents of the Akaka Bill admit that currently the bill leaves wide open the possibility of tax exemptions, gambling, land transfers and an independent nation from the United States, but justify its passage saying the bill is needed to protect native Hawaiian programs and lands.

Willman and other Native Americans interviewed say there are too many questions still to be answered, which the proponents of the Akaka Bill cannot or have not answered.

Pacific Business News, From the August 26, 2005 print edition

OHA big money on media

Kristen Consillio

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has tripled the amount of money it is spending to promote Native Hawaiian issues, launching an ambitious campaign that includes everything from T-shirts to TV shows.

OHA spent $1.3 million in the fiscal year that just ended and plans to spend $1.36 million in the coming year. That is up from $439,000 in fiscal 2004.

The OHA initiative has provided an unexpected windfall to local media used to seeing big money for issue campaigns only in election years.

In recent months, OHA has sponsored events like the Na Hoku Hanohano music awards, aired radio and TV commercials promoting its newspaper and Hawaiian registry, booked newspaper ads supporting passage of the Akaka Bill and produced a 30-minute TV special. It also is handing out bumper stickers, pens and T-shirts.

In addition, OHA gave PBS Hawaii a $121,250 grant last month to produce a television documentary on Hawaii's alii trusts.

The spending comes at a time when trustees say OHA needs to bring its constituents together on critical issues such as the Akaka Bill, which aims to give federal recognition to Native Hawaiians.

"In OHA's history we've never spent this kind of money," said trustee Oswald Stender of Honolulu. "One reason is because we didn't have the money at that time, and two there's never been an issue more urgent than the Akaka Bill."

OHA last month took out a two-page ad for about $26,000 in the Sunday edition of The Honolulu Advertiser, detailing its support of the Akaka Bill.

In the past year, OHA partially subsidized a documentary on Native Hawaiians produced by Edgy Lee and related media productions totaling $262,000. It also has spent thousands on sponsorships of Hawaiian programs and events.

It hired a public information specialist, Keaumiki Akui, specifically for governance issues.

"It was an unusually large chunk of money to do that," said Manu Boyd, OHA's director of public information, referring to the newspaper ad. "The Edgy Lee film -- that was unprecedented -- and the two-page Sunday ad is something not typical of what we would do."

Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the trustees, did not return calls from PBN.

While trustees approve OHA's overall budget, they typically don't get involved in individual expenditures, leaving those decisions to administrator Clyde Namuo.

"For us, the legal challenges are the reasons our communications strategy has changed and why our expenditures are so much greater than in past years," Namuo said. "The purpose for increasing our communication is to get the community ready for self-determination."

Over the last year, the agency has put out significantly more periodicals, as well as advertisements promoting the Kau Inoa Native Hawaiian registry, the Native Hawaiian Coalition, the Akaka Bill, the OHA newspaper and other outreach programs.

Several OHA trustees said that while they knew the agency was spending more on its communications strategy, they didn't know how much was being spent.

"They don't break it up into subaccounts and that's why the problem," said Trustee Donald Cataluna of Kauai. "It's put under big subjects. We do have a budget approved for the fiscal year but in that budget it's not specific enough."

Until recently, OHA operated on an annual budget of about $17 million. OHA receives about $2.5 million from the state and the balance of its budget from its trust fund from ceded land revenue.

OHA trustees voted to increase their budget this year by about $10 million, with more money devoted to expand education and grant programs.

In the last month, OHA spent $19,000 to air on KHON during prime time three broadcasts of a 30-minute special called "The Hawaiian Connection." Boyd said it cost about $5,000 to send three staff members to the Mainland to tape the show but that all of the production was done in-house.

The show featured interviews with Native Hawaiians living in the Washington, D.C.-area, focusing on their enjoyment of Hawaiian food, culture and activities like hula and canoe-paddling far from home.

The show, hosted by Boyd, closed with a "blooper reel" of outtakes from the interviews.

"I found out about that show 24 hours before I saw it on TV," Cataluna said. "I don't know what the point was because I didn't really like that show, and I especially didn't like the end showing all the bloopers -- it was kind of childish.

"Most people don't realize Hawaiians are the only ones that don't have a country to go to. So we want to let people know about this. That to me should've been the main issue for these television programs, not to see what they eat in Washington, D.C. -- that turned me off."

Cataluna said he doesn't have an issue with the amount of money the agency is spending to promote issues such as the passage of the Akaka Bill but said the trustees don't know whether the money is being spent haphazardly and with no way to measure its impact.

Trustee Boyd Mossman of Maui said he supports the expenditures because of what is at stake with federal recognition.

"Are these expenditures hitting the mark? As far as I'm concerned on federal recognition they're being used with the objective in mind; however, all of us have ideas on how we could better spend the money on any particular objective," Mossman said. "I would've spent more on federal recognition. I would've had more ads on TV on why we need federal recognition. [But] the more reasonable of us realize that we cannot be micromanaging this organization."

Namuo said the multifaceted outreach plan is getting results.

"Considering that we had probably 2,000 or 3,000 Kau Inoa registrations a year ago and we're up to almost 28,000 now, I would suggest we're hitting our market," Namuo said. "It may not all be related to promoting the Akaka Bill, but it's all related to organizing the community."

Hawaii Reporter, August 27, 2005 (Special from Hawaii Free Press)

Reservation for a Broken Trust?

By Andrew Walden

The Aug. 25, 2005, announcement of an agreement between Gov. Linda Lingle and the Bush administration’s Department of Justice on four amendments to the Akaka Bill (S147) increases the chances of the Bill’s passage in the U.S. Senate and the House. Since no court in the history of the United States has ever overturned Congressional approval of a tribal group, there is cause to look ahead at the possible forms a Hawaiian "tribal" government could take.

U.S. history has precedent for two types of native organizations: Indian reservations and Alaskan native corporations. Alaskan native corporations are for-profit corporations owned and operated by the members of native Alaskan tribes as stockholders. Each member is an equal shareholder. They are subject to most of U.S. corporate law, but are able to protect the tribal benefits from race-discrimination lawsuit claims by providing benefits on the basis of tribal membership rather than race -- even when the two are indistinguishable. Alaskan natives have been able to enjoy the profits coming from their corporate assets, thus increasing their economic status. Indian Reservations, on the other hand, operate often as a power unto themselves without state oversight and with very limited federal oversight. For that reason, poverty and corruption are the norm on many U.S. Indian reservations.

Contrary to popular opinion, Indian reservations have a history in Hawaii. An Oct. 12, 1999, article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin describes the efforts of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate (KSBE) trustees in 1995 to evade oversight of their corrupt doings. The Trustees’ self-serving investments caused losses of $264,090,257 in 1994 alone. To avoid scrutiny, they considered moving KSBE corporate headquarters out of Hawaii to the windswept plains of the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian reservation in South Dakota.

In an apparent attempt to circumvent state and federal oversight, the Bishop Estate paid Washington D.C.-based (law firm) Verner Liipfert Bernhard McPherson and Hand more than $200,000 to look into moving the estate's legal domicile, or corporate address, to the mainland, sources said.

Verner Liipfert, whose local office is headed by former Gov. John Waihee, identified the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation as the top relocation prospect after reviewing the legislative, tax and judicial environments of 48 mainland states and Alaska.

The study was part of a broader effort by the former board members to lobby against federal legislation limiting trustee compensation and to convert the tax-exempt Bishop Estate to a for-profit corporation.

The KSBE trustees’ efforts are also described in "The Cheating of America" by Charles Lewis and Bill Allison of The Center for Public Integrity. They quote former Hawaii Attorney General Margery Bronster explaining KSBE’s actions: "Their main motivation was to avoid oversight from the State Attorney General and the IRS."

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin further points out:

Gregg Bourland, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribal council … said there is good reason for an entity like the Bishop Estate to make inquiries about changing its domicile to the South Dakota reservation ...

Since the 1800s, the Cheyenne River Sioux have had a government-to-government relationship with the United States which allows them to operate their own police force, court system and legislative functions.

Such a system may shield the trust from Hawaii Probate Court jurisdiction, although Bourland was unsure if the IRS would continue to oversee the trust.

Such a move would have also shielded Bishop Estate from the investigations that state Attorney General Margery Bronster was forced to launch as "Broken Trust" revelations emerged in the press. According to Lewis and Allison the activities Bishop Estate trustees were attempting to shield included:

* Giving themselves significant pay raises, even while programs at the school were being cut;
* Moving profits from the estate’s taxable subsidiaries back into the (non-profit) estate to lessen the subsidiaries’ tax burdens;
* Investing in questionable ventures recommended by a trustee’s personal acquaintances, including an Internet directory of would-be-adult-film actors and casting agents;
* Frequenting adult entertainment clubs and casinos using money from the charitable trust’s coffers, reportedly inviting state legislators on such trips; and
* Lobbying Congress to defeat or alter legislation designed to give the IRS more authority to penalize their multi-million dollar compensation packages.

As U.S. District Judge Samuel King told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin:

"It's another indication of how arrogant, greedy and insensitive this whole bunch is ... Their claim that they are supporting Princess Pauahi's will is laughable."

While looking into a move to the Cheyenne River Reservation, KSBE trustees paid $900,000 for Verner, Liipfert to lobby Washington against the 1996 "Intermediate Sanctions Act" which, as Lewis and Allison explain: ...(would impose) an excise tax on "insiders" at non-profit organizations who partake in "excessive benefit transactions" --exactly the sort of transactions that the Bishop Estate trustees were involved in for years.

Among those enlisted by the Bishop Estate was former Hawaii governor John Waihee, who after leaving the gubernatorial mansion joined Verner, Liipfert. Waihee met with Clinton’s then deputy chief of staff, Erskine Bowles, in late 1995 to discuss the bill; he and his wife have also spent the night at the White House as a guest of the President (Clinton). Waihee’s partner at Verner Liipfert, former Senate majority leader George Mitchell, also contacted Clinton’s then chief of staff, Leon Panetta, about the bill.

The Akaka Bill is justified by its supporters as necessary for the defense of public and private native Hawaiian entitlement programs set up beginning with the 1884 founding of the Bishop Estate, continuing with the 1920 Hawaiian Homelands Act and the 1978 creation of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

These programs are thrown into question by what Hawaiian leaders refer to as "the lawsuits" -- starting with Rice v. Cayetano. The Feb. 23, 2000, U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Rice v Cayetano case ended Hawaiian-only elections for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). Rice’s attorney at the time of filing in 1996 was John Goemans, a former Hawaii Democratic state legislator who describes himself as a "left wing liberal" in an Oct. 27, 2003, interview with The Honolulu Advertiser. Representing the state of Hawaii before the U.S. Supreme Court was John Roberts. Roberts is now President Bush’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

But these were not the only attacks on Hawaiian entitlements in the 1990s. In fact what Hawaiian leaders refer to as "the lawsuits" began almost exactly at the same time as the Broken Trust scandal revelations emerged. Lokelani Lindsey, the last of the five "Broken Trust" Bishop Estate trustees, was forced to resign Dec. 16, 1999. A few months later, in 2000, the first version of the bill that bears his name was introduced by Sen. Daniel Akaka.

Passage of the Akaka Bill would open up debate and negotiations on the form and scope of a new Hawaiian government. This could bring lobbying for an Indian Reservation by those political forces wishing to restart their looting of Princess Bernice Pauahi’s legacy.

The corrupt forces who believe in moderation to avoid detection may favor the Alaskan Native Corporation model. To understand the danger posed by adoption of the Indian Reservation model, consider this: over 100 Hawaii Democrat politicians (and one Republican) have been charged, convicted and sentenced for campaign spending violations and other illegal political schemes since 1997.

Current OHA trustees include OHA Vice President, John Waihee IV, son of former governor John Waihee III.

Another current OHA trustee is Oswald Stender who resigned as a Bishop Estate trustee in 1999. Singled out for praise by the five authors of the key "Broken Trust" Honolulu Star-Bulletin article, Stender nonetheless was one of the five trustees whose high pay forced the IRS to threaten to revoke non-profit status for KSBE.

OHA Chief Counsel, Robert Klein was an associate justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court until he resigned on Feb. 1, 2000. He authored the PASH decision in 1995 which includes the statement, "western understandings of property law … are not universally applicable in Hawaii." An editorial in the Jan. 19, 2000, Honolulu Star-Bulletin explains:

Klein’s most notable act as a Supreme Court justice may have been his authorship of a decision allowing native Hawaiians to go onto private property to engage in traditional religious, cultural and gathering practices ...

Klein disagreed with the decision by the other four justices in December 1997 to withdraw from the role of appointing trustees for the Bishop Estate, calling it an "uncharted leap of blind faith."

Klein admits giving "recommendations" for Kamehameha School admission while serving on the Supreme Court bench. As an April 3, 2001, Honolulu Star-Bulletin article explains:

'''In sworn testimony, the (Bishop) estate's admissions director, Wayne Chang, said that former (Bishop Estate) trustee Lokelani Lindsey ordered him to admit the child only after she received a request from then-state Supreme Court Associate Justice Robert Klein ..."

Chang -- in a Aug. 11, 1998, deposition taken in preparation for the trial to oust Lindsey -- said ex-board members Lindsey, Gerard Jervis and Henry Peters and senior school officials pulled strings for friends and relatives of several politically connected isle families, including:
* A distant relative of ex-Gov. John Waihee.
* A relative of Big Island rancher Larry Mehau.
* Former state Sen. Milton Holt's sons.

The former trustees denied that they influenced the admission process. However, investigations by the Internal Revenue Service, the Attorney General's Office and the estate's internal auditors concluded that trust officials improperly influenced the Kamehameha Schools' admissions and financial aid awards.

Lindsey declined comment, but Klein confirmed that he spoke with the former trustee after the child's mother, a longtime friend, asked him to put in a good word. Klein said he saw no conflict in the request and added that school administrators were welcome to ignore his recommendation.

'''"The fact of the matter is, judges recommend children and people for jobs (and schools) all the time, whether it's Punahou Schools or Kamehameha Schools," said Klein, who is now in private practice. "That's what judges do. That's what people do in this community ..."

Those kind of "doings" would be facilitated by lack of state and federal legal oversight -- such as on an Indian reservation. Recent debate over the support for ANWR drilling by Hawaii Senators Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye is a further reflection of opposition to the Alaskan Native Corporations (ANCs). In an April 20, 2005, article published in Honolulu Weekly and later in the Hawaii Island Journal, Lance Holter, the Maui Group Chairman and Conservation Chair for the Hawaii Sierra Club, condemns as "corporate" those ANCs which dare to support oil drilling on their own lands: [Inouye] speaks about these 229 tribes, which are really corporate entities. They are not tribal governments; they are not representative of the tribe.

Robin and Jade Danner are leaders of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CANH). Native Hawaiians who lived for many years in Barrow, Alaska before their return to Kauai, the Danner sisters have extensive experience with ANCs. They might reasonably be expected to champion the formation of one or more Hawaiian Native Corporations modeled on the Alaskan natives’ experience. Opposing the Danners publicly, are the secessionists calling for reestablishment of an independent Hawaii. A key series of 2003 articles attacking the Danners are authored by Anne Keala Kelly and reproduced on several secessionist Web sites. They are attacked for working with "corporate" ANCs and oil lobbyists in support of ANWR drilling. Kelly, a supporter of independence, spoke in Honolulu at an Aug. 23, 2005, Akaka Bill forum held in the Japanese Cultural Center.

Some Indian reservations (including Cheyenne River) have their own judiciary, legislature, and executive branches of government. The secessionists’ rhetoric could lead them to prefer these "sovereign" trappings. They claim the Akaka process represents a surrender of sovereignty on the part of the Hawaiian people. This sly choice of argument against Akaka will create a justification for participation in the Akaka process once that sovereignty has been "surrendered."

The "Nation of Hawaii" group led by convicted felon Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele (who was pardoned by former Gov. Benjamin Cayetano) seems to be preparing for integration into the "official" Hawaiian institutions. One sign of this are the December 2004 speeches given by Kanahele’s attorney Francis Boyle in a series of "Nation of Hawaii" meetings across the state. The events were funded by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Boyle is a University of Illinois law professor who also works for the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Bosnian Government, and Chechen forces led by the recently departed Aslan Maskhadov. Notably, Boyle has also represented the Lakota Nation of the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation. At a 1998 UH Hilo meeting, Boyle spoke alongside a Lakota representative to Hawaiian sovereignty activists discussing "human rights, land titles and the Hawaiian Kingdom."

In his December 2004 speeches, Boyle advised the assembled crowds: "what we really need now is a government of national unity for the Kingdom of Hawaii. We need all the disparate groups and factions to come together and settle ... this was the situation that confronted the Palestinians 35 years ago. There were many different groups, and organizations, and factions. And yet eventually the late president Arafat and his organization Fatah were able to pull them all together, and by the process of consensus and debate and argument and set up a government."

The demented idea that the West Bank and Gaza show a way forward for the Hawaiian people is so distracting that it may prevent readers from noting what underlies: an implied appeal for independence activists to involve themselves in OHA and other official Hawaiian bodies. The array of social programs administered by OHA, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the private trusts such a KSBE are certainly the closest thing to an Hawaiian "government of national unity" existing today.

With its own judiciary, legislature and executive branch and government-to-government relations with the U.S. government, the Indian reservation model provided by the Cheyenne River Sioux creates enough of an illusion of independence that they could justify it to their supporters. If the Akaka Bill passes, Hawaii can look forward to an effort on the part of the "sovereignity" activists and the corrupt to push this model.

Anyone following the stories of Enron, WorldCom, Martha Stewart, and other corporate disasters in the recent news knows that organizing as a corporation does not guarantee clean operations. But the corporate model does allow oversight by the state Attorney General, the IRS and other public agencies. This type of oversight brought these scandals to light and brought some malefactors to justice. This same oversight brought the Broken Trust trustees of KSBE and some of their cronies to heel, if only for them to then scatter and form new schemes. The Alaskan Native Corporation model maximizes the protection given Hawaiian beneficiaries and the body politic of Hawaii by increasing the enforcement power necessary to expose and prosecute corrupt activities.

Hnolulu Star-Bulletin on Akaka Amendments:

Recognition of Tribes:

PASH Decision: PASH decision KSBE activities:

Honolulu Star-Bulletin "Broken Trust" archive:

Articles attacking the Danners:

Boyle’s PLO Speech:

Andrew Walden is the publisher and editor of Hawaii Free Press, a Big Island-based newspaper. He can be reached via email at


Trouble from Paradise: Hawaii's Divisive Racial Politics Hits the National Agenda

San Diego Herald-Tribune, Sunday August 28, 2005
Published in the Sunday newspaper but not included on newspaper website.
Posted by its author on Monday August 29 on her blog at

By Gail Heriot
Professor of Law, San Diego State University

America's 50th State has always been known for its friendly and welcoming "Spirit of Aloha." But for the last decade or so, Hawaii has begun to earn a reputation for something else entirely: the nation's most divisive racial politics. And with the proposed "Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act" (known as the Akaka bill) currently pending before the U.S. Senate, it may only get worse. A prelimnary vote is scheduled for September 6.

Put simply, the Akaka bill will allow the nation’s approximately 400,000 ethnic Hawaiians to organize themselves into one vast Indian tribe--the largest in the nation. A commission appointed by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior and consisting of nine "Native Hawaiian" commissioners with "expertise in the determination of Native Hawaiian ancestry" will sit as judges to ensure that only those who can prove their Native Hawaiian bloodline are permitted to join.

Why would 400,000 American citizens want to retroactively declare themselves an Indian tribe? There's a good chance they don't. The only full-scale poll indicates that ethnic Hawaiians reject the notion of a tribe–48% to 43%–when they are informed that under a tribal government they would not be subject to the same laws, regulations and taxes as the rest of the state. And Hawaiians generally oppose the so-called "reorganization" by an astonishing 2 to 1 ratio. But vocal leaders in the ethnic Hawaiian community, many of whom no doubt fancy that they will be the tribal leaders themselves, consider tribal status a top priority. And politicians are falling in line behind them. Senator Daniel Akaka, for whom the bill is named, claims to have the votes he needs to pass the bill.

To understand why ethnic Hawaiian leaders want tribal status, one must know a bit about Hawaiian racial politics. In an age in which racial entitlements are an unfortunate feature of the political landscape in so many parts of the country, Hawaii is in a league by itself. The State’s Office of Hawaiian Affairs administers a huge public trust–worth billions–which in theory benefits all Hawaiians, but for reasons that are both historical and political, actually provides a bonanza of benefits exclusively for ethnic Hawaiians. Among other things, ethnic Hawaiians are eligible for special home loans, business loans, housing and educational programs. On the OHA web site, the caption proudly proclaims its racial goal, "Office of Hawaiian Affairs: For the Betterment of Native Hawaiians."

The problem for supporters of special benefits came in 2000, with the Supreme Court case of Rice v. Cayetano. Unsurprisingly, the Court ruled that the Constitution's Fifteenth Amendment, which prohibits States from discriminating on the basis of race in voting rights, applied to Hawaii just as it does to every other state in the union. Hawaii could not prohibit non-ethnic Hawaiians from voting in state elections for OHA trustees.

That ruling caused an uproar in Hawaii that has not yet subsided. If the Fifteenth Amendment prohibits Hawaii from limiting voting rights to ethnic Hawaiians, the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and other civil rights laws might prohibit all or part of the OHA’s massive system of exclusive benefits. Cases like the Ninth Circuit’s decision last month prohibiting the Kamehameha Schools from operating for the exclusive benefit of ethnic Hawaiians only added to this controversy. The whole racially-exclusive system is in legal jeopardy.

That’s where the Indian tribe idea comes in. States cannot discriminate on the basis of race except in extraordinary cases. But Indian tribes can. They are essentially exclusive racial groups and are not directly (or in many respects even indirectly) bound by the U.S. Constitution (or by most civil rights laws). If ethnic Hawaiians can be morphed into an Indian tribe, and the State of Hawaii can then transfer the OHA’s functions (and the vast acres of real estate and other property it administers) to the tribe, the racial spoils system can be preserved–or so its advocates hope.

There are many reasons that the Akaka bill is a bad idea–including a strong likelihood that both the bill and the overall plan to transfer the OHA’s functions and property to the "tribe" are simply unconstitutional. If the State of Hawaii cannot confer preferential benefits on its citizens based on race, it cannot give away land and property to a newly-minted tribe created for the purpose of conferring benefits based on race. The Constitution’s requirements cannot be by-passed that easily.

But perhaps the most important reason to oppose the Akaka bill is the disturbing precedent it sets. The United States has long recognized the sovereign status of Indian tribes. But until now, it has done so only with groups that have a long, continuous history of self-governance. Tribes were treated as semi-autonomous entities, because they were; they had never been brought under the full control of both federal and state authority. Our policy towards them was simply a bow to reality.

By retroactively creating an Indian tribe out of individuals who are already full citizens of both the United States and the State of Hawaii, and who do not have a long and continuous history of separate self-governance, the Akaka bill will be breaking new ground. If ethnic Hawaiians can be an Indian tribe, why not Chicanos in the Southwest? Cajuns in Louisiana? Religious groups–like Orthodox Jews in New York or the Amish in Pennsylvania–may be particularly interested in gaining tribal status, since doing so will arguably allow them to take on governmental authority without being subject to Constitutional prohibitions on the establishment of religion. Who will say no to these (and other) groups?

Earlier this month, Senator Akaka was asked in a National Public Radio interview whether the sovereign status granted in the bill "could eventually go further, perhaps even leading to outright independence." The question might have seemed extraordinary for anyone unfamiliar with how strong the push for Hawaiian independence has become. Back in the 1970s, its supporters were considered kooks and lunatics. But today, although by no means a majority, they are a political force to be reckoned with. It’s hard to drive down a Hawaiian road without seeing an upside down Hawaiian flag, the symbol of the movement, flying over someone’s home. Even more extraordinary was Akaka’s answer: "That could be. That could be. As far as what’s going to happen at the other end, I’m leaving it up to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren."

Akaka’s fellow Senators should think long and hard about the whether the Akaka bill will, in the long run, lead to greater harmony among Hawaiians and among Americans–or less. Is our "One Nation" indivisible or not?

Chicago Sun-Times (and syndicated nationally), August 28, 2005

A break in ranks over Aloha State


The first business for the Senate when it reconvenes Sept. 6 after the summer recess will be passing a bill giving native Hawaiians the same status as mainland Indian tribes, despite opposition by Republican leaders and the Bush administration.

On top of solid Democratic support, the bill is co-sponsored by Alaska's two Republican senators (who always back their Hawaiian colleagues) plus three other Republicans: Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Gordon Smith of Oregon. The bill appears to have the 60 senators needed to break a filibuster, putting responsibility for stopping the bill on the House or a presidential veto.

A footnote: Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, the bill's principal co-sponsor, undermined his own cause Aug. 16 when he was described on National Public Radio as saying tribal sovereignty ''could eventually go further, perhaps even leading to outright independence.'' Said Akaka: ''That could be.'' The senator hastily peeled back Aug. 18 with a statement that he is ''not a proponent of independence or secession of the State of Hawaii.''

Honolulu Advertiser EDITORIAL Posted on: Sunday, August 28, 2005

Akaka bill backers: Look to the House

For those who support federal recognition for Native Hawaiians and who are reading the tea leaves, the prognosis in the Senate would appear to be at least moderately hopeful.

Reports of revisions to the Akaka bill seem to signal (at least to proponents) that the U.S. Department of Justice is satisfied with the measure, which means the Bush administration is unlikely to actively oppose it.

But enough roadblocks to passage remain so that the White House wouldn't have to lift a finger to stop it. Moving the bill for a Senate floor debate is still largely a hit-or-miss proposition, depending on whether sponsors can rally enough votes when senators return after Labor Day.

Then it competes with other measures for floor time.

Most of those watching from the sidelines here aren't talking too openly because they haven't seen the actual language of the revision. But privately they feel assured that the revisions haven't further complicated the most contentious of the issues: land claims.

Justice's concern, they say, arises from a fear that the Akaka bill would create a fresh dispute in court. After all, this is designed to set in motion a process to settle claims and disputes, not set in motion a whole new round of them.

And now, Justice lawyers seem to accept that the bill seeks negotiations to resolve existing or ongoing disputes over former Hawaiian kingdom and crown lands.

This doesn't mean the Akaka bill is a slam dunk in the Senate. It may come down to pure numbers: If not enough senators are around and willing to vote on the matter, it could die a quiet death.

But assuming that does not happen, the real concern should be its future in the House. That's where opponents seemingly have turned their attention, and Akaka bill backers had better do the same.

Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 28, 2005

Akaka bill polls easily swayed

By Jerry Burris
Advertiser Columnist

Well! Now that's settled.

Finally, we know what Islanders think about the so-called "Akaka bill" or Hawaiian federal recognition bill.

Nearly 70 percent of us do not support the bill.

No, wait! It turns out that more than 80 percent of us believe Native Hawaiians should have federal recognition and about two-thirds say they like the idea of Hawaiian self-governance as envisioned in the Akaka bill.

How could this be? The answer, obviously enough, is that it depends on the question one asks.

The two diametrically opposed results come from two recent public opinion surveys, one commissioned by the Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i, which has been critical of the Akaka bill, and the other by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which is a big booster.

Which survey do you think found supporters and which found opponents? But of course. The Grassroot Institute found a lot of folks who do not like the Akaka bill as it was described to them.

OHA, meanwhile, found almost as many people in favor of the idea, as described in the OHA survey.

And the descriptions in the two surveys, as well as the sequencing of questions, was decidedly different.

To some degree, this is understandable. After all, no less than Sen. Daniel Akaka himself acknowledges that the recognition bill is deliberately, and somewhat frustratingly, vague.

It sets up a process by which Hawaiians could begin to define themselves as a self-determining political entity that then could enter into negotiations with the state and federal government.

It is not up to the enabling legislation to determine what, if anything, those negotiations might eventually produce, Akaka says.

So, how do you ask a question designed to get a legitimate response?

Complicating the matter is the fact that partisans and opponents of the legislation tend to use rhetoric that oversells its virtues or its dangers.

So, let's look at these two surveys and see if we can understand how they came up with such opposite results:

The Grassroot Institute poll was conducted by a marketing, research and database company out of Virginia, ccAdvertising (doing business as FECResearch), that has a number of conservative clients.

The poll had many of the earmarks of a so-called "push" poll, where the objective is primarily to dispense information or change opinion rather than measure it.

One hint: While a statewide survey in Hawai'i can produce more-than-satisfactory results with 4,000 to 6,000 respondents, this automated poll attempted to reach every household in the state.

That's far in excess of what is needed to get a survey of opinion, but useful if the purpose is to reach as many people as possible with your information.

The survey began with a question on the excise tax and quickly shifted gears to ask: "Do you support laws that provide preferences for people (or) groups based on their race?"

Not surprisingly, 80 percent said they do not.

That, of course, is the position of many opponents of the Akaka bill who argue it will set up preferences for a group of people based on their race. Supporters say the goal is exactly the opposite — to recognize Hawaiians, much as Native Americans are recognized, as a political entity.

Having set up the race question, the survey then asks if the respondent supports the Akaka bill, which would "allow Native Hawaiians to create their own government not subject to all the same laws, regulations and taxes that apply to other citizens of Hawai'i."

Presented that way, 67 percent said no, they do not support it.

Now, it is possible that the negotiation that would follow passage of the Akaka bill might produce a result in which the state of Hawai'i and the federal government agree to exempt Hawaiians from some — and certainly not all — rules, regulations or taxes. But that is surely not what the Akaka bill says.

What might be considered shocking is that the poll found 32 percent of the respondents who said they were, indeed, ready to see Hawaiians exempt from all laws, regulations and taxes applicable to the rest of us.

So, what about the OHA poll?

The survey, conducted by Ward Research of Honolulu (who also does polling for The Advertiser) reached 401 people statewide, a typical sample size.

The first question sets up the idea that Hawaiians are indigenous people, much like American Indians and Alaskan Natives, who have been recognized by Congress. Asked whether Native Hawaiians should receive federal recognition, a whopping 84 percent said yes.

But of course, that's just the beginning of the process.

The OHA survey then notes that the Akaka bill will provide federal recognition for Hawaiians and will set in motion a process for Native Hawaiians to form a governing entity "similar to the governing entities indigenous groups now have within every state."

Should Hawaiians "have a right to self-governance similar to the way other indigenous groups now do?" the survey asks.

Fully 65 percent said yes. Why shouldn't Hawaiians get what other folks, similarly situated, get?

But what about race? The OHA survey continues: "Do you believe that Native Hawaiians should not be given federal recognition because of race?"

Only around 10 percent agreed that federal recognition should be withheld because of race.

The last question revolves around the idea that the Akaka bill might help programs ranging from Kamehameha Schools through Hawaiian Homelands survive legal challenge.

"Do you believe that Native Hawaiian institutions and programs should continue?"

Put that way, an overwhelming 86 percent said yes. And why not?

Finally, after pointing out that this is something other indigenous groups get, that some people want to deny it on the basis of race, and that it might help protect a variety of Hawaiian programs, the survey asks:

"Which best describes your position: support Akaka, do NOT support Akaka or don't know."

A full 68 percent support it, asked in this context.

Now, it may be almost impossible to develop a truly neutral question on the Akaka bill.

Yes, there is a lot of confusion out there. So groups who want to test public opinion have a natural desire to educate people about the topic, before asking their opinion.

But in that process of "education," the pollsters (or rather, their clients) either subtly or overtly wish to steer thinking in the direction that best suits their purposes.

Polling is an entirely valid method of sampling public opinion. The science behind it is legit. But it all comes down to the kind of questions one asks.

With a topic as complicated, poorly understood and controversial as the Akaka bill, it's no wonder we still have no clear measurement of how the people of Hawai'i feel.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Sunday, August 28, 2005

Obstacles loom for Akaka bill debate
Even with Senate support, it faces opposition, revision and plain indifference

By Richard Borreca

With a Sept. 6 showdown on the Senate floor looming, supporters and opponents of the historic Hawaiian sovereignty bill are readying for battle.

Supporters of the bill that would start the process of creating a native Hawaiian government expect debate to start on the afternoon that the Senate returns from the August recess.

Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka said this week he still thinks he has the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture, a parliamentary process that stops debate and forces a vote on the bill.

But Akaka warns that even if he gets the 60 votes, the bill still would have to be debated for up to 30 hours. To speed the process along, Akaka says Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., is considering holding debate on the Akaka Bill in the evening, while the Senate takes up major issues such as defense appropriations, stem cell research and John Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court during the day.

"When he mentioned that, I said it is all right with me. If it goes late -- that might happen," Akaka said in an interview with Star-Bulletin editors and reporters last week.

An opponent of the bill, Bruce Fein, a former Reagan administration Justice Department attorney who is now a conservative columnist and lobbyist, says he doubts the bill will pass. When the issue first came up, Fein said he thought the Akaka Bill would fail because no one in Washington was interested in it.

"For most senators, it is just a hassle they would rather not have to deal with," Fein said in an interview last week. "It is not true for everyone, but a fair number say it is something they don't care about, 'maybe it will go away and I won't have to vote on it.'"

Fein, along with the Wall Street Journal's editorial page and the Washington Times, have succeeded in bringing the native Hawaiian sovereignty issue more national attention.

"The more publicity it has, and the more organized people are, the harder it will be to evade it," Fein says.

On Tuesday in Washington, the conservative Heritage Foundation will present a panel discussion that presents the issue as: "Can Congress create race-based governments and exempt them from the United States Constitution?"

Included on the panel are Rubellite Kawena Johnson, a University of Hawaii Hawaiian-language scholar and opponent of the Akaka Bill; Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College; John Fund, Wall Street Journal editorial board member; and Edwin J. Feulner, Heritage Foundation president.

Akaka and other supporters of his bill say opponents are misinterpreting the effect of passing S. 147, which starts a process for organizing a native Hawaiian government that would then have to pass a constitution, select representatives and then negotiate with both the state of Hawaii and the federal government.

"One of the first things they would have to do is write an organic document, a constitution which would say how they are going to operate this entity," Akaka said. "So when people talk about what they are going to do, I say I don't know, because we are setting up a process for future Hawaiians to take care of their governance.

"They will have to negotiate with the state and federal government, and all they do will have to be within the law, so when people say the bill is going to take back land, it cannot," Akaka added.

The issue is complicated, however, because even supporters in Hawaii worry that if the bill is changed too much, native Hawaiians won't support it. In an interview last week, members of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs worried that too many amendments could imperil the bill. "There is an expectation that the language we have looked at will be changed," said OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona. "Whatever changes come, our Hawaiian community should read it and understand it in its biggest perspective. "Whatever they compromise on in order to move the bill out of the Senate into the House, we in the community ought to really think deep about it and understand it in its vast aspects," Apoliona said.

KPUA radio, 670 AM, Hilo, Hawai
Sunday, August 28th, 2005 6:31 AM HST

Nearly 800 registered for Native Hawaiian Conference

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) _ The Native Hawaiian recognition bill and the recent court ruling in the Kamehameha Schools admissions case will be among the topics of discussion at the annual Native Hawaiian Conference next week in Waikiki.

Robin Puanani Danner of the sponsoring Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement says the two issues are top of mind in the Hawaiian community.

Senator Daniel Akaka and Representative Ed Case will be among the speakers.

Most of the council's member organizations support the so-called Akaka bill.

The Senate is scheduled to vote September sixth on a cloture motion that would force a Senate vote on the bill.

Nearly 800 Native Hawaiians from across the state are registered for the weeklong meetings beginning Tuesday at the Sheraton Waikiki.

They will be joined by 75 American Indian and Native Alaskan leaders who will share their experiences with federal self-determination.

Hawaii Reporter, August 28, 2005

State Agency Looks at Possible Independent Government for Native Hawaiians

From the Frequently Asked Questions on Hawaiian Governance
Office of Hawaiian Affairs Web Site

This is reprinted from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Web site, which is a public agency set up in 1978 to "serve" the native Hawaiian community. In this Q & A, the agency highlights the fact that native Hawaiians are looking at the formation of their own government, and give several options for what that government could be like.

Why should Native Hawaiians consider the formation of a new self-governing body?

To provide for a better future and to secure their rights Native Hawaiians must consider a new relationship with the U.S. government.

This effort to establish a new government is founded on three basic principles: 1) that the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii was an illegal act under U.S. and International Law; 2) that both the U.S. government and the state of Hawaii have failed to care for Native Hawaiian people, falling far short of their responsibiltiy to preserve and protect Native Hawaiian rights, lands, assets and culture; and 3) that Native Hawaiians maintain their inherent right to self-government, a right which they have never relinquished.

Why the urgency to form a Native Hawaiian Government?

In today’s hostile legal environment, characterized by persistent and frequent challenges to the continued existence of programs and laws intended to protect and preserve Native Hawaiian cultural, traditional and spiritual practices and resources, many in the Hawaiian community feel that now is the time to take action and solidify Native Hawaiian rights through the establishment of a new Native Hawaiian governing body.

What form of government will be established?

The ultimate form of government -- be it total independence, nation-within-a-nation or free association -- must be decided upon and ratified by the Native Hawaiian people.

What could a Native Hawaiian government do for its people?

Generally governments protect member’s rights and provide a means for justice and security. Common services provided by a government include, health care, education, economic development, social service programs, emergency services, and resource management and protection.

What’s the difference between independence, nation-within-a-nation, and free association?

Independence: This model would mean complete legal and territorial separation from the United States and the re-establishment of the Hawaiian nation-state.

Nation-Within-A-Nation: This model would mean nationhood within the legal and territorial limits of the United States. This would amount to a self-governing status similar to American Indian and Alaska Native governments.

Free Association: this model would mean nationhood with marginal connections to the legal and territorial limits of the United States. This would amount to a self-governing status similar to other islands in the Pacific like the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia and their relationship with the United States. This would allow the Native Hawaiian nation to remain self-governing and fully responsible for internal affairs. The United States would retain responsibilty for some support and defense. However, these responsibilities would confer no rights of control and would only be exercised at the request of the Native Hawaiian government.

How does this relate to the current efforts for Federal Recognition?

Currently, there is proposed legislation (S. 344) before Congress that seeks to affirm the indigenous status of Native Hawaiians and their special political and legal relationship with the United States. The proposed bill would create a process for the United States to recognize a Native Hawaiian governing entity as a “nation-within-a-nation,” similar to the current status of American Indian and Alaska Native governments. While OHA has expressed its support for the intent of this proposed legislation, efforts to discuss, develop, and reorganize a new Native Hawaiian nation will be conducted outside this framework. It will be entirely up to the Native Hawaiian people to decided what form of government is established, not OHA or the proponents of this proposed legislation.

What is the difference between Self-Determination and Sovereignty?

Self-Determination: 1) The freedom to live as one chooses, or to act or decide without consulting others; and 2) The freedom of a people to determine the way in which they shall be governed and whether or not they shall be self-governed.

Sovereignty: 1) The quality or state of being sovereign; 2) The status, dominion, power, or authority of a sovereign; royalty; 3) Supreme and independent power or authority in a state; 4) rightful status, independence, or prerogative; and 5) A sovereign state, community, or political unit. (Source: Webster’s Dictionary) Under current U.S. law, there are only five entities that maintain some form of sovereignty; the federal government, state governments, tribal governments, territorial governments, and nations in free association with the United States. However, state, tribal, and territorial governmental sovereignty is limited under the ultimate sovereign authority of the federal government and the U.S. Constitution.

What is OHA’s Role?

OHA’s role in this process is as a facilitator only. Through community outreach and support OHA will provide the coordination and help necessary for communities, organizations, and individuals to participate in this critically important initiative. OHA’s guiding principles in this effort are to:
* Facilitate the process
* Create opportunities for kukakuka (discussion)
* Respond to community input and concerns
* Provide the information needed to make reasoned decisions
* Instill and communicate the urgent need for immediate action
* Mobilize community participation and political activism
* Assure full representation of the people

What efforts will be required?

This effort will require: 1) sharing information to generate discussion among the community and media in Hawaii and the continental United States; 2) regional, state, and national meetings; 3) the establishment of an official roster or “roll” of all those of Hawaiian ancestry; 4) identifying community leadership, and 5) the development and adoption of governing documents by the Native Hawaiian people.

Who can participate?

Support and help from the entire Hawaiian community is needed to educate the public and the media. However, it will ultimately be up to those of Native Hawaiian ancestry to decide what form of government will be established.

What criteria must the Native Hawaiian government meet?

The criteria that the governing entity must posses is: 1) a process that is open and inclusive; 2) public credibility; and 3) solid support from the Native Hawaiian people.

How will the formation of a Native Hawaiian government affect non-Natives?

The relationship between non-Hawaiians and the Native Hawaiian governing entity remains unclear. However, this effort in and of itself does not adversely affect or impact the rights of non-Hawaiians.

In fact, the formation of a Native Hawaiian government could impact non-Hawaiians in a number of positive ways. One would be an expanding job market. A Native Hawaiian government and the services it could provide would create new and diverse employment opportunities. Continued funding for social programs would help to safeguard current employment and could expand the employee and client base.

Opportunities for new businesses and for business expansion could also be developed. Businesses may be able to branch into areas where Native Hawaiian communities are being established. Partnering with Native Hawaiians to provide needed goods and services could also have economic benefits.

Most importantly, a Native Hawaiian government would help to restore dignity and pride in Native Hawaiian communities. This translates to better neighborhoods and healthier communities, benefiting all who live in Hawaii.

What’s the first step?

Most agree the first step in this process should be a determination of who will participate in the creation of the Native Hawaiian government. This would involve the establishment of a roster or “roll” of all eligible adult Native Hawaiians.

But who is a Native Hawaiian?

It is widely accepted that anyone able to trace their ancestry back to an indigenous Native Hawaiian living in the Hawaiian Islands before the overthrow of 1893 should be considered a Native Hawaiian.

As a Native Hawaiian, how can I get on the roll?

Do your research. Gather family records, birth certificates, and other relevant documents that show your Native Hawaiian ancestry and contact the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Those currently on the Hawaiian Registry will receive an additional application so they can also be included on the Hawaiian Governance Roll.

What happens after a roll of eligible Native Hawaiians is established?

Once the roll is establish, the Hawaiian community can then effectively assess its voting population and begin the effort to formally gather, develop governing documents, and elect representatives and officials for a Native Hawaiian governing body.

What can I do?

Become a part of the process. Volunteers from the community are needed to assist us as facilitators, writers and speakers. Host a halawai (group meeting) or learn how to become a meeting facilitator. Talk with your neighbors and community, visit OHA’s Web site at to learn more and subscribe to Hookahua, our electronic newsletter which will keep subscribers abreast of events and developments as they occur.

Hawaii Reporter, August 28, 2005

Audio Highlights of Heated Debate Over the Akaka Bill

[** Note that the items "Kelly 1" or "Fein 3" etc. are each a short audio clip available by clicking on the item as highlighted in the original article on Hawaii Reporter **]

Bill, Which Would Allow Native Hawaiians to Form Their Own Government Based on Race, Will Be Up for a Vote Before the U.S. Senate on September 6, 2005

The pros and cons of the Akaka Bill, now pending a vote before the U.S. Senate, were debated last week at a forum co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Hawaii Institute of Public Affairs at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.

Two of the participants -- Attorney General Mark Bennett and Office of Hawaiian Affairs Attorney Robert Klein -- were in favor of the bill. Opposing the bill were Bruce Fein, a constitutional law expert from Washington D.C. and Anne Keala Kelly, a writer and film producer specializing in Hawaii Sovereignty issues.

Here is the opening statement by Judge Michael Broderick, who explains the different reasons behind support and opposition for the bill.

"Akaka Bill: How Could One Bill Create Such Varied Emotions, and Conjure Up Such Conflicting Futures?"

There also are clips below in MP3 format of the event, highlighting some of the comments made by the participants. Olelo Public Television also continues to rerun the debate.

Writer Anne Keala Kelly has the position that native Hawaiians don't want to be treated as Native Americans, and in fact no longer want to be part of America. The majority of native Hawaiians do not support the bill, she says. Kelly believes the Hawaiian Kingdom was illegally seized and should be returned to the native Hawaiians. She also commented on the militarization of Hawaii and the dangers that poses, and that the Akaka Bill will only further the military's power. Hear her own words below.

Anne Keala Kelly -- Kelly 1 -- Kelly 2 -- Kelly 3

Attorney General Mark Bennett, who was appointed by Gov. Linda Lingle, and speaks for her on this issue, is in favor of the Akaka Bill, because he believes it will bring justice to the Hawaiians who were wronged by America. He says the bill will allow Native Hawaiians to gain recognition as Native Americans and Native Alaskans have. In his comment below, he compares those who do not believe the Queen Liliuokalani was illegally overthrown in 1893 to "Holocaust deniers." He directed his comments to Bruce Fein, whose response to Mr. Bennett also is included below:

Mark Bennett: Bennett 1

Bruce Fein: Fein 1

Representing the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is Attorney Robert Klein, who also spoke in favor of the Akaka Bill on the basis that it will bring justice to Hawaiians. He notes that the federal government will have to approve any independent nation of Hawaiians that forms as a result of the Akaka Bill, which angered those who say they truly want Hawaiian independence and no ties to the government. Klein also called the Akaka Bill, "an experiment." Hear his comments below.

Robert Klein: Klein 3 -- Klein 1 -- Klein 2

Bruce Fein is an expert in constitutional law. He maintains the Akaka Bill is unconstitutional, will create a race-based government unlike any in the United States, and open the state to the possibility of operating under different tax systems, different justice systems and legal gambling on Native Hawaiians lands (gambling is not legal in Hawaii).

Bruce Fein: Fein 2 -- Fein 3 -- Fein 4 -- Fein 5

[** Note that the items "Kelly 1" or "Fein 3" etc. are each a short audio clip available by clicking on the item as highlighted in the original article on Hawaii Reporter **]

Hawaii Reporter, August 28, 2005

Akaka Bill Debate Continues This Week
Akaka Bill Heritage Foundation Symposium Early Tuesday; OHA Infomercial Tuesday Night

By Ken Conklin

The Akaka bill is getting increased attention both locally and at the national level. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

On Tuesday, Aug. 30, there will be two programs available nationwide. Details are provided below, including how to view the events by live Internet streaming or by downloadable audio-visual files.

First, on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005, there will be a symposium about the Akaka bill at the Heritage Foundation headquarters in Washington, D.C. at 4 a.m. Hawaii time (10 a.m. Washington time, or 7 a.m. California time). The symposium will probably occupy 60 to 90 minutes, including Q & A.

Speeches will be given by Rubellite Kawena Johnson (University of Hawaii, Professor of Hawaiian Language and Literature, and descendant of Kamehameha the Great, who opposes the bill); John Fund (Wall Street Journal editorial board member and columnist); and Larry Arnn (President of Hillsdale College); along with Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D., President, The Heritage Foundation.

It appears that it will be possible to watch the symposium (audio and visual) live, by going to the Heritage Foundation Web site and click on the "Watch Live" link under "Next event" shortly before it begins.

"Real Player" is needed to watch the program over the Internet. RealPlayer should be downloaded ahead of time, and is available for download free of charge at:



(Heritage Foundation Web site announcement of panel and description of the issues):

Native Hawaiian Sovereignty Act: A Step Toward Secession? Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005, 10:00 a.m.

* Rubellite Kawena Kinney Johnson, Emeritus Professor, Department of Hawaiian and Indo-Pacific Languages, University of Hawaii

* Larry P. Arnn, Ph.D., President, Hillsdale College

* John Fund, Editorial Board Member, The Wall Street Journal

* Host(s): Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D., President, The Heritage Foundation

Senate debate begins soon on S. 147, the "Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act," that purports to authorize the creation of a government of so-called "native" Hawaiians to exercise sovereignty over native Hawaiians living anywhere in the United States. In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that this approach is unconstitutional. Yet, proponents believe they can avoid this ruling by declaring the descendants of "aboriginal" Hawaiians an American Indian tribe -- going so far as to allow for the election of an "interim government" of this alleged "tribe" and recognizing the sovereignty and privileges and immunities that the new government establishes for its "tribal members."

Our distinguished panel will address the serious constitutional concerns and other key issues surrounding this effort. Can Congress simply declare the descendents of aboriginal Hawaiians, living anywhere, an American Indian tribe? Does the 14th Amendment permit the creation of an exclusively race-based government? Would such a race-based government kill the "aloha" of an integrated and blended Hawaiian culture? Would it set a good precedent if Congress could create race-based governments and exempt them from the United States Constitution? Is S. 147 the answer to supposed 19th Century wrongs or did the citizens of Hawaii make the right decision in 1959 when they voted overwhelmingly for statehood without special preferences for "native" Hawaiians?

PROFESSOR JOHNSON has a long and very distinguished career as a scholar of Hawaiian language and literature, researching ancient Hawaiian and Polynesian knowledge of astronomy and geography as well as ancient cultural practices. Her original translation of the Kumulipo, the oral history of the ancient Hawaiian people, won high acclaim. In 1983 she was named a "Living Treasure of Hawaii." Portions of her personal and academic resume, along with her testimony in opposition to the Akaka bill, can be seen at:

LARRY P. ARNN is President of Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan. He is the author of Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education (2004). He is on the Board of Trustees of The Heritage Foundation, The Henry Salvatori Center of Claremont McKenna College, The Center for Individual Rights and The Claremont Institute.

JOHN FUND is one of the nation’s top political pundits. His editorials and articles can be found regularly in the Wall Street Journal where he is an editorial board member, writer and former deputy editor. He is a contributing analyst to Fox News and CNBC, the 24-hour-news cable channels. His articles have also appeared in Esquire, New Republic, National Review, and American Spectator.

Pro-Akaka Infomercial

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is a branch of the state of Hawaii government, whose purpose under the state Constitution is to provide racially exclusionary benefits to ethnic Hawaiians, to accept "reparations" on their behalf, and to lobby in the media and file lawsuits to defend their race-based interests. OHA has spent millions of government (our) dollars "educating" (propagandizing) the public; sponsoring TV, radio, and newspaper ads; and lobbying in Washington to support the Akaka bill.

On Tuesday, Aug. 30, OHA (i.e., Hawaii's taxpayers) will broadcast an hour-long infomercial televised from 7-8 p.m. Hawaii time on KITV, Honolulu. (That's 10-11 p.m. California time, or 1-2 AM Wednesday Eastern time) It will be available live by Internet streaming from the KITV Web site at and the audio/video file will remain available there until Sept. 30. The program features OHA chair Haunani Apoliona (perhaps strumming her guitar and singing the racial-nation song she composed to push the Akaka bill: "Na 'Oiwi Olino"), and Law School Professor Jon Van Dyke (who, along with his wife Sherry Broder, reportedly have raked in more than $3 million in fees from OHA for writing articles and making public appearances like this one).

** NOTE FROM KEN CONKLIN: the opening remarks by Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner were later published on Hawaii Reporter on-line newspaper of August 30. Here are his remarks:

E Pluribus Unum

By Ed Feulner

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for joining us today at The Heritage Foundation.'''

E pluribus unum. “Out of many, one.” My fellow citizens and distinguished guests, one of the fundamental beliefs that has made America a great idea and a great country has been that of national unity. America is made strong not only by her diversity, but also by the fact that we have all historically viewed ourselves as one people.

In recent years, however, this great and fundamental idea has come under attack. It is attacked by the identity politics that pervade our nation’s colleges and universities. It is attacked by the political correctness that affects our children’s educations. And today we will discuss yet another threat to our national unity.

In 1959, the people of Hawaii voted overwhelmingly to join our country and become full citizens, committing themselves protect and defend the constitution and to build our country side by side. And it’s no surprise that Hawaiians have become some of the proudest and most loyal citizens our country has witnessed.

Just last week during the Little League World Series, I was struck that it was a team from Hawaii which represented the United States in the championship game. And as they played that game, their fans shouted in unison, “U-S-A!, U-S-A!, U-S-A!”

For over 50 years, Hawaii has been one of the many United States. Yet, a group of activists with a different view of Hawaii’s relationship with the United States have silently, yet effectively, sought radical change. Soon, the Senate will begin debate on whether to authorize the creation of a government of so-called “native” Hawaiians to exercise sovereignty over native Hawaiians living anywhere in the United States.

The United States never has been nor ever should believe in race-based government. The idea of making all citizens of our country who have a drop of Hawaiian blood in them immune to our Constitution and legal structure would set us on an irreversible course of away from “E Pluribus Unum.” Can you imagine if every racial group began claiming sovereignty of their own which would allow them immunity from our government?

Until now, by moving forward with this movement in secrecy, these activists have succeeded in making great progress towards their goal of secession. Yet, I am confident that by shining the light on this effort, the American people will join us in opposing this effort. Like The Heritage Foundation, the American people are committed to building one America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish for all.

We are fortunate today to have with us three distinguished panelist who will discuss the constitutionality of Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act and its implications for our great nation.

Honolulu Advertiser, Letters to Editor, Monday, August 29, 2005


I hope every Hawai'i and U.S. citizen watched Tuesday's Akaka bill debate or a rerun because I believe no prior presentation by either side so clearly demonstrates the future effect of the bill on Hawai'i's local culture of mutual respect.

For me, the defining moment was the response by Gov. Lingle's attorney general to the proposition that annexation respected individual land ownership and secured civil rights.

His was not a factual rebuttal, but a race-dependent personal attack, the likes of which belong nowhere in America, let alone Hawai'i. Specifically, the attorney general first implied equivalence between America's treatment of its newest citizens and the Nazis' treatment of Jews in the Holocaust. Then he accused Bruce Fein, a Jew, of being like the people who deny the Holocaust happened.

If the fight over the enormous wealth bestowed by the Akaka bill can rob the attorney general of the sense and the sensibility required of his position and persuaded him to launch such an offensive and disrespectful personal attack in Hawai'i, can you imagine what else it can do to Hawai'i's local culture? Like the loss of civility already echoed throughout the rest of the proceedings.

Trivializing the Holocaust in this way also helps the "deniers" convert the young. The attorney general arguing the Holocaust was equivalent of annexation makes the young easily persuaded the stories of unbelievable horrors must then be false. Please, not in Hawai'i.

George L. Berish



Regarding the Aug. 23 article "Forum reveals complexity of Hawaiian recognition issue": Most people, including members of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, fail to acknowledge the fact that in 1898, the Congress of the United States violated its own Constitution by annexing Hawai'i via joint resolution.

Under U.S. constitutional law, Congress cannot annex a foreign nation without a treaty of annexation. It tried two times and failed. Article VI, Clause 2, of the Constitution clearly states that treaties with other nations are the supreme law of the land. In 1893, the Hawaiian kingdom had 28 treaties with different nations and four treaties with the United States. Again the Congress violated its own Constitution by violating the treaties with the Hawaiian nation. The 15th Amendment does not apply to Hawaiians because Hawai'i is still an independent nation and always will be an independent nation.

The Congress of the United States and the judges of the higher courts should read the Constitution before making such outlandish decisions.

The United States will ultimately become just another chapter in Hawaiian mythology.

Eric Po'ohina

Town Hall, August 30, 2005

Conservatives facing uphill battle

Tim Chapman

When the Senate returns from recess in September, conservatives will immediately be faced with the prospect of losing two important votes. Majority Leader Bill Frist has scheduled two votes for the Senate’s first week back. According to unofficial whip counts, both votes spell trouble for conservatives.

The first vote will be a procedural tally requiring 60 votes on S. 147, The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act. S. 147, sponsored by Hawaiian Democratic Senator Daniel Akaka, has drawn harsh criticism from conservatives who see it as a new form of extra-constitutional race-based governing. Akaka’s bill would set up a separate governing entity to preside over residents with “one drop” of Native Hawaiian blood. Those under the new government would be subject to different tax laws while having new “special” rights conferred on them.

Conservatives stand largely opposed to the legislation, but moderate Republicans are indifferent and some are even supportive. The bill has at least five Senate Republican co-sponsors: Norm Coleman (R-MN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Gordon Smith (R-WA), Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

If as expected, S. 147 garners the requisite 60 votes, the race-based governing bill will be well on its way to passage in the Senate and will await an uncertain fate in the House of Representatives.

The Senate is obligated to debate S. 147 after the procedural vote. This debate may be prolonged if Senate conservatives can muster the strength to make a stand and insist that the body debate the merits of the legislation.

After the Senate dispenses with S. 147, Frist has scheduled a vote on legislation that would permanently repeal the death tax. This vote also requires 60 Senators and currently proponents of repeal are anywhere from two to five votes short.

The Senate was originally scheduled to vote on death tax repeal the last week of July, but the vote was pulled at the last moment for procedural reasons.

Even the most ardent supporters of death tax repeal acknowledge the likelihood that conservatives will fail to attract 60 votes. Still, supporters plan to use the vote to wage a targeted campaign against key senators in hopes they will change their vote.

To make matters worse, the dire situation of Senate conservatives will inevitably be overshadowed by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings for Judge John Roberts. Further, the most vocal conservative senators sit on the Judiciary Committee, making it difficult to drum up opposition to the Hawaii bill.

Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Tom Coburn (R-OK) and John Cornyn (R-TX) have all criticized race-based governing, but they are hamstrung by their significant roles in the Roberts hearings. If conservatives somehow find a way to stop the slide toward race based governing, these members in particular will certainly have to work overtime.

Race-based governing = GOP majority?

Senate aids working the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization act concede that politicos at the White House have indicated their support for the bill through various channels.

Hawaiian Republican Governor Linda Lingle has enlisted the services of Washington, D.C. attorney Ben Ginsburg. Ginsburg has close ties with Karl Rove and the White House political shop which have enabled him to sell the Bush Administration on the potential “political benefits” of the Hawaii bill.

Lingle and others are confident that passage of the Hawaii bill will help the GOP’s image in Hawaii and build a platform for future GOP electoral success in the largely Democratic state.

While many aides familiar with the Hawaii bill think this reasoning is laughable, the White House has apparently bought it and as a consequence has quietly urged passage of the race-based governing bill.

Consequently, conservatives on Capitol Hill are beginning to question whether or not the White House leaned on the Department of Justice to downplay its constitutional concerns regarding the proposed Hawaii legislation.

Supreme Court confirmation hearings, theatre style

Managers of the upcoming confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge John Roberts have decided to allow witnesses for and against the nominee to be heard back-to- back. The format will likely provide for a more confrontational hearing and will provide opportunity for witnesses to contradict previous testimony.

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are considering the types of witnesses they would like to call before the panel. Given the format, Democrats might call heads of liberal interest groups like Ralph Neas of People for the American Way to testify, but this would be a risky strategy that many Democrats acknowledge could backfire if it appears too partisan.

Republicans, for their part, are said to be waiting to see what kind of witnesses Democrats call so that they can respond as needed.

The Maui News, Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Island unity being strained

Beginning today, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement is holding a conference in Waikiki, once the playground for island royalty and now a principal center for tourism. Discussions at the conference will be held on the Akaka Bill, due for action next month in the U.S. Senate, and the recent furor over Kamehameha Schools’ admissions policy.

Most of the groups represented at the annual Native Hawaiian Conference support Sen. Daniel Akaka’s "Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005." Thursday, representatives of Native Hawaiian groups opposed to the Akaka Bill will participate in a program called "Native Voices Speak Out."

There is a lot of misinformation about the Akaka Bill floating around. Basically, the bill would protect Native Hawaiian entitlements and set up a process for establishing a Native Hawaiian government as a nation within a nation along the same lines as Native American tribal governments and including the possibility of re-establishing Hawaiian royalty.

The opposition to the Akaka Bill comes largely from an increasingly militant faction of the Native Hawaiian community.

Before today’s opening of the conference, President Robin Puanani Danner of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement noted the interest and concerns held by all islanders and said: "We are inspired by the gathering of community around Hawaiian issues."

The many ethnic groups making up island society have long lived with mutual respect along with overt support for Hawaiians and Hawaiian culture, the bedrock of what makes the islands unique among sea, sand and sun resorts.

When Hawaiians fought for the return of Kahoolawe and the restoration of their culture, it was with overwhelming if not 100 percent support of the islands’ non-Hawaiians. That support is being strained today by Native Hawaiians and would-be Hawaiians becoming nastily anti-American and exclusionary. Certain wealthier newcomers fuel the flames when they refuse to make the effort to understand what being Hawaiian truly means.

Native Hawaiians need the support of non-Hawaiian islanders just as much as islanders need a revitalized Hawaiian culture. Being nasty – on either side – serves no one.

Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Group asks to join Akaka discussion

By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

Members of Hui Pu, a group of Hawaiian activists who oppose a Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill, asked the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs yesterday to include them in a live television discussion on the bill but were turned away.

OHA will host a discussion at 7 tonight on KITV 4 on issues related to the bill, which could come up for a procedural vote in the U.S. Senate in September.

The panelists are Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the OHA board of trustees; Tony Sang, chairman of the state Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations; Jon Van Dyke, a University of Hawai'i-Manoa constitutional law professor; and Beadie Kanahele Dawson, an attorney and Hawaiian activist.

Ikaika Hussey, a member of Hui Pu, said he asked OHA to include the group to give viewers the perspective of Hawaiians who oppose the bill. He sent an e-mail to Clyde Namu'o yesterday morning and then visited OHA's offices in the afternoon.

"To me, it's an act of cowardice," he said of OHA's refusal.

Namu'o said the television program is a discussion, not a debate, and will provide an overview of the bill.

The measure, known as the Akaka bill, would create a process for Native Hawaiians to establish their own government that could negotiate with the state and federal governments on land use and other issues.

Hawaiians, including those, such as members of Hu Pui, who favor independence, would decide on what form a new government would take after the bill passes, Namu'o said.

"That's not an issue we need to be debating now," he said.

But Hussey and other opponents say federal recognition, similar to what already exists for American Indians and Alaska Natives, would make it harder for Hawaiians to seek independence.

Dexter Ke'eaumoku Ka'iama, another member of Hui Pu, said OHA should not be using state money to present only a favorable view of the bill. OHA has actively supported the bill and has hired lobbyists in Washington, D.C., to advance it in Congress.

"We're saying, 'educate, not manipulate,' " Ka'iama said.

Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Could you hear us cheering from Chicago? What great ambassadors of aloha the Little League world champions (doesn't that sound wonderful?) from 'Ewa Beach are. The comeback was great! They played so well, the announcers called it the best Little League final they had seen, and it was more exciting than many major league games we have seen.

Every Hawai'i resident and those at heart (like us) should be proud of their sportsmanship, their respect for others, their hard work and their smiles. They showed the rest of the country what aloha looks like.

Lanny and Phyllis Younger
New Lenox, Ill.


Did anyone else get da kine chicken skin Sunday morning while watching the Little League World Series?

What a great game and such a class act by the 'Ewa Beach baseball team! They showed focused drive and determination while displaying true sportsmanship. All this while still having fun.

No whining about bad calls, no big-league money or contract woes here, just pure love of the game. It's the way baseball is supposed to be played.

The coaches and team can be proud of the way they represented their community, state and country, but especially themselves. This accomplishment is something they'll cherish forever.


Dennis O'Donnell
Ha'iku, Maui


What a proud day for all Hawai'i nei! When the team from 'Ewa Beach stepped up to the plate with three runs down in the sixth inning and tied the game and then went on with a home run in the last inning to win, it made us all proud to be from 'Ewa Beach and Hawai'i. It was not only a great day for Hawai'i but also for the United States.

These kids proved to all that we should not be judged by who our ancestors are or what our bloodline is — we are all Americans and can achieve whatever we work toward. The chanting of "USA, USA" in the stands wasn't shouted down by red shirts holding upside-down Hawaiian flags and chanting "We aren't Americans."

Earl Arakaki
'Ewa Beach



WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Aug. 29) - Fiji’s prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says the Western concept of democracy is still alien to indigenous Fijians.

The Daily Post reports that Mr Qarase made the comment at a workshop for Commonwealth parliamentarians in Nadi.

Mr Qarase has called on the international community to understand how indigenous Fijians view western democracy.

He says the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, vesting every individual with equal rights, is directly opposed to the hierarchical social structure of indigenous Fijians.

He says chiefs are at the very apex by virtue of their birth and rank - the rest have a communal function in this hierarchy.

He says he has been surprised at how many people - mostly from overseas - have had difficulty in understanding this.

Mr Qarase says this is why some very experienced governments were unable to comprehend the nature of Fiji’s problems during the coups and urged solutions which reflected dangerously simplistic Western perspectives.

Radio New Zealand International:


Fiji and Hawai’i Compared -- Racial Supremacy By Law in Fiji Resembles What Hawaiian Sovereignty Activists Are Seeking (both Akaka bill and independence proposals)

Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Indian precedents won’t boost Akaka bill

By Bruce Fein

The constitutionality of Congress establishing a sovereign government by and for Native Hawaiians alone under the Akaka bill is assisted neither by Menominee Restoration Act of 1973 nor the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Lara (2004), contrary to Charles Wilkinson ("Wisconsin tribe faced those same arguments," commentary, Aug. 21).

Indeed, these precedents discredit any attempt to liken Native Hawaiians to an Indian tribe.

In Lara, one tribe prosecuted an Indian of a different tribe based on a congressional statute authorizing the same. Earlier Supreme Court rulings had declared that inherent tribal sovereignty was confined to prosecuting its own members.

Writing for the court in Lara, Justice Stephen Breyer reasoned that Congress was empowered to enlarge or contract the powers of Indian tribes in experimenting with varying degrees of autonomy. The decision was exceptionally narrow. The court cautioned: "[W]e are not now faced with a question dealing with potential constitutional limits on congressional efforts to legislate far more radical changes in tribal status. In particular, this case involves no interference with the power or authority of any state. Nor do we now consider the question whether the Constitution's due process or equal protection clauses prohibit tribes from prosecuting a nonmember citizen of the United States."

The questions raised by the Akaka bill bear no resemblance to the narrow issue decided by Lara.

The Akaka bill would sanction creation of a Native Hawaiian governing entity that would displace laws of Hawai'i and the United States, not expand or contract the power of a recognized and functioning Indian tribe. In Montoya v. United States (1901), the Supreme Court explained that "[b]y a 'tribe' we understand a body of Indians of a same or similar race, united in a community under one leadership or government, and inhabiting a particular though sometimes ill-defined territory." The over 400,000 Native Hawaiians living throughout all 49 Census districts of the state of Hawai'i and throughout all 50 states of the United States fall decisively outside that definition.

From the inception of the kingdom in 1810 under King Kamehameha I, both Native Hawaiians and non-Native Hawaiians enjoyed a common sovereign. The races were indissolubly linked. They served in the legislative, executive and judicial branches side by side. They voted on common rolls. Intermarriage was commonplace. Racial fusion and equal treatment rather than division was the kingdom's signature.

In its diplomacy and negotiation of treaties, the United States dealt with the kingdom as a foreign nation, not as an Indian tribe. A foreign nation is not an Indian tribe under the Indian Commerce Clause — The Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831).

The Supreme Court saluted the power of Congress to afford existing Indian tribes, as quasi-sovereign political entities located within the jurisdiction of the United States, the extraordinary authority to operate outside the constraints of the United States Constitution because of the convergence of three factors: Members of Indian tribes were not citizens; they lacked training in the arts of democracy; and, they were the subjects of oppression at the hands of state governments and private individuals.

In Board of County Commissioners of Creek County v. Seber (1943), the court elaborated in part: "In the exercise of war and treaty powers, the United States overcame the Indians and took possession of their lands, sometimes by force, leaving them an uneducated, helpless and dependent people needing protection against the selfishness of others and their own improvidence. Of necessity, the United States assumed the duty of furnishing that protection and with it the authority to do all that was required to perform that obligation and to prepare the Indians to take their place as independent qualified members of the modern body politic."

Native Hawaiians, however, have been citizens of the United States from the moment the Organic Act of 1900 created the territory of Hawai'i. They were literate, conversant, skilled and experienced in democratic arts. They were never the subjects of systematic plunder or official subjugation. To the contrary, Native Hawaiians dominated Hawai'i's political landscape in the first decades of the territory and since then have continued to wield political influence beyond their numbers.

When Queen Lili'uokalani was overthrown in 1893, Native Hawaiians were neither killed nor injured nor molested nor dispossessed of property. Crown and government lands of the kingdom had been held for the benefit of all subjects. That common dedication continued. None of the extraordinary circumstances that occasioned the indulgence of Indian tribes operating outside of constitutional limitations applies to Native Hawaiians.

The Menominee Restoration Act is as lame as Lara in justifying a Native Hawaiian sovereign state. The Menominee Indians were a recognized tribe. In pursuing a policy of assimilation, Congress withdrew recognition in 1961 and transferred all real and personal property held in trust in the expectation that the tribe would prove economically viable. When these hopes proved faulty, Congress restored autonomy in 1973 to the Menominee Tribe that had never disappeared.

In sum, the feeble precedents enlisted by professor Wilkinson to find constitutional authority for the Akaka bill substantiate that it will be mired in litigation for years with incalculable convulsions for the people and economy of Hawai'i.

Bruce Fein is a constitutional lawyer and international consultant with Bruce Fein & Associates and The Lichfield Group. He is an adviser to the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. He wrote this commentary for The Advertiser.

Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Akaka opponents are spreading the Big Lie

By David Shapiro

Disinformation campaigns always depend on a Big Lie, and conservatives striving to derail the Akaka bill in Congress are getting mileage from the lie that recognizing Native Hawaiians as indigenous Americans could lead to Hawai'i's secession from the Union.

Akaka opponents have floated false issues before that never took with the public — gambling, depressed property values, diminished military readiness, a racially separated society.

But the secession scare, while dismissed by most Hawai'i residents, is an attention-grabber that has gotten good play among conservative media on the Mainland — and the notice of senators who will decide the bill's fate in a debate scheduled to start next week.

The Wall Street Journal, often an ally of the local right in spreading trash talk about Hawai'i on the Mainland, said in a July 16 editorial headlined "Goodbye Hawai'i" that passage of the Akaka bill would amount to endorsement of Hawai'i's secession.

"Jefferson Davis rides again," the editorial said, offensively comparing Native Hawaiian recognition to the Civil War Confederacy.

A month later, a Journal commentary attributed to former Republican Sens. Slade Gorton of Washington and Hank Brown of Colorado charged that "the new Native Hawaiian entity could secede from the Union like the Confederacy, but without the necessity of shelling Fort Sumter."

The me-too chorus of conservative television and radio commentators also chimed in on the same theme.

The plain fact is, there is zero chance that the Akaka bill would result in restoration of a Hawaiian republic independent from the United States.

Hawai'i residents — including most Native Hawaiians — wouldn't stand for it, nor would the U.S. Interior Department or Congress.

It's telling that the minority of Hawaiians who support full independence oppose the Akaka bill precisely because they believe it would leave Hawaiians permanently under the thumb of the Interior Department with no possibility of an independent nation.

The legislation, as amended, limits the federal relationship with Hawaiians to the type the United States has had with American Indians for centuries and Alaskan natives for decades.

"The language now agreed to with the (Bush) administration makes crystal clear that the recognition does not go beyond the recognition afforded the other indigenous peoples of the United States," said Gov. Linda Lingle in an Aug. 23 letter to U.S. senators.

Neither Alaska nor any of the states with large Indian populations have seceded from the Union, and it's preposterous to suggest it would be any different in Hawai'i.

This bill is about protecting assets that Hawaiians have held for decades — ceded lands revenue managed by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawaiian homesteads, Kamehameha Schools and hundreds of federal grants.

These Hawaiian-only programs have enjoyed broad support locally and never caused ethnic discord until it was stirred up by self-serving attorneys who found a way to pervert civil rights laws to strip Hawaiians of their rightful holdings.

The Akaka legislation primarily aims to head off these race-based lawsuits against Native Hawaiians by recognizing them as an indigenous people rather than a racial minority, just like the Indians and Alaskan natives whose lands were similarly settled by the United States.

The legislation could lead to some measure of autonomy for Hawaiians, like that granted other Native Americans, but this a matter of fairness and justice that poses no threat to the Union.

The most likely scenario for a Hawaiian sovereign entity is some kind of corporation they control to manage Hawaiian assets for the benefit of Hawaiians.

Fair-minded people have no quarrel with that, which is why Lingle says opponents have resorted to an "outrageous scare tactic."

In other words, a Big Lie.

Hawaii Reporter, August 30, 2005

The Akaka Bill is About Money and Using American Laws to Control the Land

By Anne Keala Kelly

These are portions of the opening and closing statements made by Hawaiian writer and producer Anne Keala Kelly at the Akaka Bill Forum on Aug 23, 2005, held at Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Honolulu, Hawaii. To hear audio clips of the debate, link here: "Audio Highlights of Heated Debate Over the Akaka Bill"

This (Akaka Bill) legislation is primarily about money – it’s about using American laws to control the land and resources of Hawaii and the political and cultural destiny of Kanaka Maoli who are the rightful heirs to the 1.8 million acres of Crown and Government lands.

We are told that it will protect 70 million federal dollars per year and millions of dollars in trust assets, but there’s no guarantee for any of that in the bill – and truth is that if we controlled our own land and collected rent and taxes on that land we wouldn’t need any federal money and would be well on our way to self determination.

I agreed to participate on this panel because I believe there needs to be a perspective here that represents Hawaiian voices that are outside of the American agenda. I am not a member of any sovereignty or kingdom group. And unlike the others on this panel, I am not a lawyer and I am not being paid to be here.

Before these gentlemen get off to the races about legal this and constitutional that, I want to remind all the Kanaka Maoli in this room that law was created to serve the needs of human beings, not the other way around. I believe that from the beginning of American imposition of laws in Hawaii to the present, our experience with the U.S. has been dehumanizing.

The work I do as a journalist puts me in contact with maka’ainana who are not invested in the economic system of non-profits and state agencies that are pushing this bill.

During the past 4 years I’ve had the privilege of listening to, interviewing or filming Hawaiians from all over who oppose this legislation. There are 3 things they all have in common:

* Many Hawaiians see federal recognition as a threat to their legal options for true self-determination under international law—and see this bill as way of exchanging those rights for the American version, which means the plenary powers of congress—and that means no power for Hawaiians at all;
* They see it as an attempt by the United States to pressure us into signing over title to the Crown and Government Lands of the Hawaiian Kingdom;
* They believe it is an insult to the legacy of our Ali’i, and that it undermines our spiritual and cultural kuleana as Hawaiians. Despite the assertion by others who insist that Hawaiians are no different than any average US citizen – Hawaiians who know their history often see themselves as Hawaiian citizens, not Americans.

They know the Organic Act of 1900 did not make them American citizens, it made citizens of the phony Republic of Hawaii into Americans. Kanaka Maoli were not citizens of the Republic. The Kanaka Maoli never acquiesced to either the Fake Republic of Hawaii or to the United States. Hawaiians are called citizens of the US but that has been done without consent.

I have found that Hawaiians who oppose this bill have nothing in common with anyone involved with legal attacks on Hawaiian trusts or state agencies that serve Hawaiians.

Those groups and individuals compare Hawaiian empowerment with Apartheid – that analogy is offensive to all people of color, especially those who have suffered at the hands of white supremacists the world over.

The AB, like the recent 9th circuit court’s ruling, is an opportunity for Hawaiians to look honestly at the institutions of the American system and interpret its intention towards us and our homeland.

If we look at America through the eyes of our kupuna, what we see is the same country that helped overthrow the Kingdom. We see the same country whose political, economic and legal system has displaced the Kanaka Maoli and used our homeland as a playground and a military outpost while developing what is now the largest arsenal in the world. We see a country that admitted and apologized in 1993 for its role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and yet refuses to return the stolen property they received for their efforts. We see a system that does not respect our ways as Hawaiians and therefore cannot provide us any real justice, only a poor imitation of justice that first and foremost satisfies the U.S.

This bill places our assets in the Department of Interior, an agency that is presently defrauding our indigenous friends on the continent of billions of dollars worth of their trust assets and is refusing to comply with orders from its own government’s federal courts. Imagine what they can do to us with all the practice they’ve had on the Indians. We can’t even get the state of Hawaii to inventory our lands, do we really think we’re gonna get anywhere with the feds? And this legislation was created by the feds. It emerged from the offices of Senator Inouye and Senator Akaka.

The Akaka Bill does not represent the hopes of Hawaiian people and is not a document created by the Hawaiian people. But this one is. I have here a copy of one of the two Ku’e petitions signed in 1897 by almost every single living Kanaka Maoli in the Kingdom. I believe we need to stand for our queen and our kupuna and ku’e.

Closing statement

We know who we are. As Kanaka Maoli we know that we have sacred kuleana to each other and to this place. We know that surpasses any ideas or notions foreigners have about us no matter how many Akaka Bills are thrown our way.

Hawaiians oppose this bill because they know it’s an attempt to make us acquiesce to the overthrow. Hawaiians know that if the state and federal government manipulates us into surrendering title to the C&G lands, those lands will be opened to further militarization.

We know that if we continue to allow the practice of war on our ‘aina, if we allow bombs and poisons to be planted in our ‘aina, then it will follow that we as a people shall reap what we sow. Right now the largest crop and subsequent export of Hawaii is murder and suffering via the US military industrial complex--- not food, and certainly no aloha.

The good news about this bill is that the fact of its existence and the millions that have been pumped into passing it really signifies that the overthrow isn’t over yet. We know this because at the heart of this legislation is the American dream of legitimizing the overthrow on paper and in the hearts and minds of us, the Kanaka Maoli.

They say you cannot change the past, but I don’t agree. We can change our past right now, in the present. There is still time. We don’t have to come up with the cure for our problems all at once. We just need to look clearly at the intent of this bill, who is selling it, and what their motivation is for doing it.

Joseph Nawahi, a fellow Kanaka Maoli journalist, gave a speech to a crowd of 7000 Hawaiians on July 2, 1894, two days before the fake Republic of Hawaii announced their constitution. In it, Nawahi said: "The house of government belongs to us, as the Kamehameha’s built it. We have been ousted by trespassers who entered our house and who are telling us to go and live in a lei stand that they plan to build and force us all into. I am telling you, my fellow maka’ainana, we should not agree in the least."

Nawahi was a politician, something I have no intention of ever being. But as a Kanaka Maoli journalist, I do have a question to ask of all the Kanaka Maoli here tonight or watching this later on television: If this were 1897, would you have signed the Ku’e petitions? If the answer is yes, then you know that your kuleana remains the same as the kuleana all our ancestors had. That is our inheritance – that is our entitlement -- that is our true legacy.

Hawaii Reporter, August 31, 2005

When RINO's Attack

By Grant Jones, 8/31/2005

** Photo of Rhinos **

** Photo of Governor Lingle and Lieutenant Governor Aiona wearing red-shirts at 'Iolani Palace rally.

One of the defining characteristics of the species RINO* (Republican In Name Only) is its obsequious brown-nosing of their alleged political opponents in the Democratic Party, particularly those at the left-wing of that Party. Another trait common to the RINO is the vicious attacks it makes upon those to the right of them in the Republican Party, i.e. most of the rank-and-file.

No better example of these nasty attributes of the RINO can be found than that of state Attorney General Mark Bennett's statement at the recent debate on the Akaka Bill. Malia Zimmerman, at Hawaii Reporter, has posted audio clips from the debate and a transcript of Bennett's rant. [See: "Audio Highlights of Heated Debate Over the Akaka Bill"]

In Bennett's world all who disagree with his pseudo-history and the resulting dubious interpretation of Hawaiian history are ... drum roll please ... Holocaust Deniers:

I am Jewish and there are a lot of people in this world who are Holocaust deniers. They go around talking about the fact that the Holocaust didn't happen. That 6 million of my relatives were not burned in the ovens in Nazi Germany and the surrounding countries. And I get terribly offended when I hear people say things like that. There is just no question that historically, whatever the legal significance of it is, that the United States participated and supported the overthrow, whatever the significance of that is. There is no question that historically there was suffering as a result of the overthrow. The Department of Justice itself said, and I quote, As a result of the overthrow, laws suppressing Hawaiian culture and language and displacement from the land, the native Hawaiian people suffered mortality, disease, economic deprivations, social distress and population decline. We can have here a rational discussion about whether or not this bill is legal, whether or not this bill is good or bad, but it is ridiculous when people try to rewrite history in an offensive way and that's what happening here tonight.

Bennett being Jewish is totally irrelevant to the discussion at hand. He mentions it only to establish his Victim bona fides. He should also be aware that there are some of us who don't get our history from OHA talking points, Department of Justice lawyers, or the agenda driven Department of Hawaiian Studies at UH Manoa.

Bennett is surely aware that the hardships suffered by Hawaiians that he lists pre-date, by decades, the Overthrow. The rapid population decline of the Hawaiian people was a issue of deep concern no later than the reign of Kamehameha III. Does Bennett consider Ralph Kuykendall a Holocaust Denier? Perhaps so, since he also would have disagreed with Bennett's revisionist drivel:

The great chiefs of Hawaii may not have had actual ownership of Hawaii's land -- the aina -- but they were in charge of it. And no one was going to tell them what to do with the broad fertile valleys and productive fishponds they controlled. By the time of Kamehameha III in the 1830s, however, the commoners were facing a difficult time as foreign diseases and foreign lifestyle brought across the ocean decimated the population. As historian Ralph Kuykendall noted, the Hawaiian race in the 19th century was rapidly declining and extinction was openly predicted. Who, then, would occupy the land? "The connection between this and land question is perfectly obvious," Kuykendall wrote. "Foreigners having a prospective future interest in the land were anxious to convert it into a real and present one." At the same time, the chiefs were concerned that without a plan to meet the powerful foreign interests, Hawaii and its people would be obliterated. Chiefs had land but little cash -- and with commoners moving to the populated port areas, leaving the productive countryside, the chiefs had no source of revenue. So the great land revolution came.

Bruce Fein, arguing against the Akaka Bill, would not be intimidated by the likes of Bennett calling him a Nazi:

A commission was created in 1980 to study whether or not there was any reparations due to native Hawaiians because of the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani and whether or not there was any special recognition made by the United States towards native Hawaiians. The commission voted 6 to 3 against any affirmative findings in either of those cases – a far more reliable result than those composed at the Department of Justice by lawyers or those written in the halls of Congress by persons with political ambitions. And I resent Mr. Bennett’s attack on suggesting that somehow anyone who could criticize Queen Liliuokalani was a Holocaust denier. That’s an attempt at Ad Hominem rather than reasonable argument.

Now Mr. Fein, regarding this commission convened in 1980, according to Bennett's view of historigraphy, maybe its six member majority was made up of ex-Nazis who had escaped from the Fatherland in 1945. Yes, that would explain its otherwise "Holocaust Denying" finding.

Good job, Mark, Linda and "Duke." This "Holocaust Denier" will not forget this contemptable smear come November 2006. Although the Democrats have made a mess of Hawaii, you are also not fit for your office. I just hope the rank-and-file members of the Republican Party who oppose the Akaka Bill will remember what you really think of them come election time.

* This is not a new phenomenon, in the early 1960s Rockefeller (which one?) and Romney (who?) Republicans expended much time and energy attacking Barry Goldwater as an "extremist." For contemporary politicians of the Romney/Rockefeller ilk, RINO is a more useful, and accurate, term.

Grant Jones is a contributor to the weblog The 50thstar -- see This article was reprinted from the

Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Akaka touts bill's economic value

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka yesterday warned that the state's economy could be severely hurt if a bill granting federal recognition to Native Hawaiians as a political entity is not passed.

"Combined spending for major federal Native Hawaiian programs exceeds $59 million per year in housing, community development, social services, education and healthcare programs," the Hawai'i Democrat said at a Rotary Club of Honolulu meeting at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Such programs could be lost, he said, if challenges now pending in the courts are successful.

"These programs have also created economic opportunities for non-Hawaiians including employment, contracting opportunities and support for local businesses," he said.

The week before a key Sept. 6 vote in which senators will decide whether to debate the so-called Akaka bill on the Senate floor, the bill's namesake is trying to rally support for the measure among key local interests.

Federal recognition would give Native Hawaiians a status similar to that of Native Americans and Alaska natives, Akaka said.

"Congress has recognized native peoples' inherent right to self-determination and self-governance that existed before there was a United States of America," he said.

Besides the $59 million, organizations that serve Native Hawaiians may also be eligible for other federal programs awarded competitively to those serving native peoples. That's an estimated $12 million more in additional federal funding in Hawai'i that comes as a result of Native Hawaiians being considered beneficiaries, Akaka said.

"If we also take into account the economic 'multiplier effect' resulting from what grantees spend on supplies, contracted services and so on, and then the funds that are spent and respent by subsequent recipients, we are looking at about $147 million in total impact, $69 million in wage and salary income, and more than 3,100 jobs in Hawai'i's economy," he said. "Thus, federal spending for Native Hawaiians eventually touches businesses in every major sector in our state."

Asked by reporters after the meeting if Hawai'i's delegation had the 60 votes necessary to put the bill on the Senate calendar, Akaka said: "We think we have the votes, but we want to make sure we have more votes than we need."

While a segment of the Rotary Club crowd appeared to support Akaka's cause, not all did.

Hawaiian activist Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele, leader of a group called the Independent and Sovereign Nation State of Hawai'i (Nation of Hawai'i), said Akaka sought to "buy" Rotary Club members with his warning about the potential for lost federal dollars.

Kanahele, who belongs to a segment of the Native Hawaiian community opposed to the bill, said he doesn't trust the U.S. Department of Interior, which would play a key role in the establishment of a Native Hawaiian entity. The bill overall represents "another Band-Aid to the real atrocities" of the past, he said.

Rotary member R. Erik Soderholm, who opposes the bill, said there should be a statewide referendum on the bill before it goes before the Senate.

"If the majority of the citizens of Hawai'i support a sovereign government for Hawaiians, right on," he said. "But right now, the citizens of Hawai'i do not have that choice. It's a legislative process."


The Impact of Tribal Recognition On Local Businesses and Neighborhoods

In Hawai'i the governor, legislature, and congressional delegation strongly support the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill. There are two main reasons:
(1) pork barrel politics to defend racially exclusionary programs that bring tens of millions of federal dollars to Hawai'i every year;
(2) a general public attitude that treats people of Hawaiian ancestry as the favorite ethnic group, analogous to the way a family spoils a favorite child or the way sports fans pet, coddle, and cheer for a team mascot. Ethnic Hawaiians are portrayed as a poor, downtrodden people whose beautiful culture will surely die (along with the people themselves) unless the Akaka bill passes.

But it turns out that federal recognition of an Indian tribe has devastating consequences for local governments and local businesses in areas where the tribe owns land, and for the social fabric of nearby communities. Hawai'i business owners, county councils, and neighborhood boards should pay attention to what has happened in other states where tribes got federal recognition, so we do not repeat their mistakes. It turns out that the tens of millions of federal dollars flowing into Hawai'i for race-based Hawaiians-only programs does not begin to compensate local government, businesses, or the communities for the bankruptcies, reduction of tax base, jurisdictional chaos, and social antagonisms that would be the inevitable long-term result if the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill were to pass.


See also:

Akaka Bill: Replacing Democracy and Individual Rights With "Indigenous" Communal (Group) Rights:




You may now








(c) Copyright 2005 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved