SUMMARY OF CONTENTS, IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER FOR MAY, 2006 (about 175 pages)
May 1: Honolulu Advertiser publishes article by its Washington Bureau reporter saying the Akaka bill might get a Senate vote sometime in May, but there are many things standing in the way. Senator Frist says he might schedule floor time around the same time a bill to permanently repeal the estate tax is heard. Senator Kyl says he would vote for cloture to bring it to the floor, but Kyl will introduce several amendments. Also May 1: Senator Akaka introduces new legislation to provide federal support for immersion schools for indigenous (Indian, Alaskan, and Hawaiian) languages. [His ability to introduce a new bill shows he has no problem getting floor time; and raises questions why he has not yet introduced a substitute version of the Akaka bill he publicized 8 months ago.]
May 2: Two articles in Hawaii Reporter describe big bucks being spent on Washington D.C. lobbying for the Akaka bill and other race-based programs, by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.
May 3: Honolulu Advertiser publishes some details from the anticipated report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, strongly opposed to the Akaka bill. The report is expected to be approved by the USCCR at a meeting on May 4. Portions of testimony from Ken Conklin describe how the Hawaii Advisory Committee forum in 2000 had been created as a propaganda circus to favor the Akaka bill.
May 4: Honolulu Advertiser editorial says USCCR has taken an ill-informed view in opposing the Akaka bill, and the bill deserves to be heard on the Senate floor. Associated Press article, published in Honolulu Star-Bulletin, reports Akaka Bill backers say the real bias is in the USCCR report and not in the Akaka bill; and USCCR objections could block a Senate vote.
May 5: Honolulu Advertiser reports USCCR decision to oppose Akaka bill; but Advertiser article focuses on negative commentary about the USCCR report and provides almost no details about what the report said.
** IMPORTANT: May 5: U.S. Civil Rights Commission draft report becomes available on the internet. Readers can judge for themselves whether the comments of Inouye, Akaka, and Maxwell are vaid. Download the USCCR report at:
May 7: Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial trashes the USCCR report and urges Akaka bill be passed; see May 8 Hawaii Reporter article or webpage above for point-by-point rebuttal. Also, Honolulu Advertiser letter to editor by OHA chair Haunani Apoliona says thanks for Advertiser editorial of May 4 urging Akaka bill be passed.
May 8: Senator Lamar Alexander (R, TN) major statement on the floor of the U.S. Senate opposing the Akaka bill. Also, Ken Conklin published lengthy point-by-point rebuttal to Star-Bulletin editorial of May 7. Also, Senator Akaka, hearing of Senator Alexander's floor speech, took to the floor of the Senate himself to announce that he will speak about the Akaka bill on the Senate floor every day until the bill is placed on the calendar for formal debate and vote. Opponents of Akaka bill then created a webpage to provide point-by-point fact checking and rebuttal of Akaka's speeches.
May 9: Hawaii Reporter article attacks the way Akaka bill supporters constantly say that any report contrary to their viewpoint is "biased." West Hawaii Today (Kona) newspaper provides a balanced report on the May 8 skirmish between Senators Akaka and Alexander regarding the USCCR report.
May 10: Honolulu Star-Bulletin cartoon by Corky shows zombie-bored Senators with someone saying to Senator Frist: "Oh, schedule the Akaka bill already; now he's started singing the Hawaiian Wedding Song every day."
May 12: Press release from Senator Akaka announces that a cloture petition for the Akaka bill will be filed the first week in June [60 Senators would be required to force the bill to be considered on the Senate floor.] Star-Bulletin editorial says Akaka's daily speeches might be successful in getting the bill passed. Political commentator John Dendahl, of New Mexico, compares the balkanization being created by illegal immigrants with the balkanization that would be created by the Akaka bill, and Dendahl urges that everyone be treated equally under the law.
May 13: Honolulu Advertiser provides details of lobbying for the Akaka bill, including OHA officials meeting with Senator Frist and using OHA's propaganda film portraying ethnic Hawaiians as "indigenous." Also, a commentary in Honolulu Star-Bulletin explores the "findings" of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that were deleted from the final report in a bow to political correctness. Also, Hawaii Tribune-Herald (Hilo) article summarizes the political situation and some of the issues.
May 16: Andrew Walden, in Hawaii Reporter, explains that the Akaka bill is a license for corruption that would allow the large Hawaiian institutions, such as Kamehameha Schools and Sandwich Isles Communications, to be sheltered from federal and state law; similar to the corruption of Indian tribal businesses. Also, Ken Conklin publishes letter in the Maui News describing new webpage of point-counterpoint for Senator Akaka's speeches.
May 17: Hawaii Reporter published a "Brief Response" previously sent by State of Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in response to its draft report on S 147. A reply by Jack Schneider is entitled "Attorney General Fails People of Hawaii on Akaka Bill Issue." A point-by-point rebuttal to Mr. Bennett's comments was also made available on a webpage. Article in Indianz.com describes the USCCR report on the Akaka bill.
May 18: Both Honolulu daily papers publish articles describing lobbying for Akaka bill by Governor Lingle. Letter to editor favors having debate in Senate to expose "illegal annexation" of Hawai'i. Letter by head of Hawaii Advisory Committee to USCCR laments that the local group was not heeded.
May 19: Letter to editor publicizes webpage providing fact-checking of Senator Akaka's speeches and webpage summarizing what's bad about the Akaka bill. Article in "Asian Week" says the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights got it all wrong about the Akaka bill, and that whites should not be a protected class.
** About 100 pages of detail for May 1-19.
May 20: Both Honolulu newspapers report a press release that Governor Lingle will go to Washington to lobby the Senate for the Akaka bill, at the request of OHA and Senator Akaka. Lingle expects to be in Washington June 5 and 6, and a cloture petition is expected to be filed on June 6.
May 22: The Honolulu Star-Bulletin published a cartoon by Corky, showing Governor Lingle going down a dark staircase to the U.S. Senate catacombs to see what happened to the Akaka bill.
May 23: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii releases results of a survey that phoned all households, and found overwhelming majorities opposed to the Akaka bill and wanting there to be a vote on the ballot in Hawai'i before Congress considers the bill. Webpage examines conclusions of two Congressional reports (Morgan Report of 1894 and Native Hawaiians Study Commission of 1983) which make clear that the U.S. does not owe political sovereignty or race-based group rights to Native Hawaiians.
May 24: Roll Call (magazine which tracks legislative activity in Congress) reports massive lobbying for the Akaka bill by OHA and various large institutions, and strong opposition from grassroot organizations in Hawai'i and conservative think tanks such as Heritage Foundation. National Review Online editorial calls the Akaka bill terrible but warns that it might pass because of some Republican defections.
May 25: Letters to editor by Earl Arakaki and Stephen Aghjayan call the Akaka bill an assault on the unity of Hawai'i's people and the Constitution, and demand a vote by Hawai'i's people before Congress considers it. Article in Hawaii Reporter quotes U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Vice Chair Abigail Thernstrom discussing blacks in America and how we are "segregating the races into political homelands that amount, in truth, to nothing short of a system of political apartheid." -- article applies that to the Akaka bill.
THURSDAY MAY 25: A NEW VERSION OF THE AKAKA BILL IS INTRODUCED IN THE SENATE, IN PREPARATION FOR A CLOTURE PETITION TO BE FILED IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE MEMORIAL DAY RECESS. THE NEW BILL NUMBER IS S.3064. THE BILL'S TEXT IS AT:
Friday May 26: The Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. holds a noontime forum on the Akaka bill, featuring Senator Lamar Alexander. A recording of the 35-minute forum can be downloaded from:
Also Friday May 26: The new Akaka bill S.3064 was given a "second reading" and placed on the calendar in the Senate, in the closing moments before adjournment for the 9-day Memorial Day recess.
May 28: Star-Bulletin published Associated Press article describing "seven year struggle" to get federal recognition of "Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people." Honolulu Advertiser commentary by former Governor George Ariyoshi supports Akaka bill. Letter to editor provides evidence that Governor Lingle was mistaken in her letter to Congress when she said it is silly to imagine the Akaka bill might lead to secession.
May 29: Chicago Tribune publishes lengthy article providing fair and balanced explanation of Akaka bill pros and cons, and the political situation in Hawai'i and in Washington D.C. Honolulu Advertiser report on the Hawaii Democratic Party convention says that some politicians raised concerns that people of Japanese ancestry are worried that if the Akaka bill passes they will be deprived of the benefits of land and resources that pass out of State control and into the control of the Akaka tribe.
May 30: (1) Governor Lingle and 5 of 9 OHA trustees will lobby the Senate on the Akaka bill. A cloture petition is expected to be filed on Tuesday June 6, with a vote on cloture on Thursday June 8. (2) Major article in the "Weekly Standard" [a nationwide conservative magazine] entitled "The Natives Are Restless -- Racial politics, Hawaii style" reviews Hawaiian history, the apology resolution, the fact that Native Hawaiians are widely dispersed and fully assimilated, and notes that the Akaka bill seems to have enough votes to pass the Senate. "Which means, barring a presidential veto, Native Hawaiian sovereignty may soon be a reality. Get ready for the lawsuits, if not the casinos." (3) Boyd Mossman, OHA trustee, defends Akaka bill against some criticisms. (4) Jim Marino, a California attorney, describes balkanization and some tribal excesses. (5) Elaine Willman, a city council member in Toppenish WA, and national chair of Citizens for Equal Rights, discusses balkanization and Akaka precedent for Mexican-Americans. (6) Tom Macdonald, resident of Kane'ohe, provides evidence that Governor Lingle was wrong when she claimed that it is silly to imagine the Akaka bill fosters the secession of Hawai'i from the U.S.
May 31: (1) Linda Chavez, President of the Center for Equal Opportunity, writes an article in the Jewish World Review chastizing Republican Senators for abandoning the principles of Ronald Reagan in regard to immigration and especially in regard to the Akaka bill. She calls the Akaka bill a "reconquista of Hawaii" and a creation of group rights for a new victim class. (2) Ed Feulner, President of the Heritage Foundation, article in The Chicago Sun-Times rips the Akaka bill. "'E pluribus whatever' hardly a unifying national motto." (3) Ken Conklin, article in Hawaii Reporter, asks "What Does the United States Owe to Native Hawaiians?" and describes two reports to Congress which clearly say the answer is "Nothing more nor less that what is owed to every other U.S. citizen" (the Morgan Report, 1894, and the Native Hawaiians Study Commission report, 1983). (4) Paul Smith, a Hawai'i Republican, notes that Governor Lingle was out of step with her party when she allowed a massive tax increase to support building a fixed rail transit system; and out of step when she supports the Akaka bill. If Congress rejects the Akaka bill because of Republican opposition, Lingle will have trouble reconciling her "Republican" label.
DETAILS OF NEWS REPORTS AND COMMENTARY FOR MAY 2006 (about 175 pages)
Honolulu Advertiser, Monday, May 1, 2006
Akaka bill may be heard by Senate
By Dennis Camire
Advertiser Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — The Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill may come to the Senate floor this month, eight months after hurricanes Katrina and Rita forced the Senate to postpone a vote on it and six years after it was introduced.
But even if successful in the Senate, the bill must still clear the House and time is running out for approval in both chambers this year.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said he wanted to bring the bill up after clearing other legislation for Iraq war spending, immigration changes, small business health plans and medical malpractice caps.
Frist said the Native Hawaiian bill — also known as the Akaka bill after its prime sponsor, Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i — would come up at about the same time the Senate will work on a permanent repeal of the estate tax.
Akaka said Frist "kind of assured me" that the bill's supporters would be able to try to bring up the bill after the Senate deals with the other bills.
"We don't have a definite time," Akaka said. "We're trying to bring it up before the Memorial Day recess."
Toni Lee, president of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, said supporters of the bill are hopeful it will be heard soon despite the delays caused by the hurricanes and other issues.
Thurston Twigg-Smith, who has long opposed reparations or sovereignty for Hawaiians stemming from the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom, said he is skeptical the bill will be heard this session. Akaka, who is running for re-election and faces a primary contest against Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawai'i, is simply politicking, Twigg-Smith said.
"Obviously, the senator believes that he better appear strong and favorable on this," said Twigg-Smith, who added that his gut feeling is that with so much going on in Washington, the bill won't be heard.
The bill, first introduced in 2000, would create a process for a Native Hawaiian government to be recognized by the U.S. government, similar to the political status given to Native Americans and Alaska natives.
A group of conservative Republican senators stalled the measure in July over concerns that it was unconstitutional because it would create a race-based government. Other objections also were raised, including the possibility that it would allow Native Hawaiians to become involved with gambling.
A procedural move — known as cloture — to force the bill to the floor despite the opponents' objections was postponed in September because the Senate needed to deal with disaster assistance.
Akaka said he hoped Republican opposition would not stop the bill from coming to the floor this time.
"But if someone on the other (Republican) side continues to find ways of holding it up, as they have now for six years, we may have to ask for a cloture vote to get over that," he said. "Right now, I feel optimistic that we can pass it."
At least 60 votes are required to bring the bill to the floor.
Akaka said he believed all 44 Democratic senators and the one independent — Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont — would support the bill, as would the bill's five Republican co-sponsors. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also said he supports the bill.
But the Republican conservatives who have blocked the bill are not showing signs of giving up.
Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, is an opponent of the bill but said he would vote to bring it to the Senate floor for debate. He plans to offer a number of amendments.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who opposed the bill last summer, said he still had concerns about the measure's constitutionality because it created a race-based government. He remains opposed to it.
"I don't think short of a constitutional amendment, you can fix it," he said. "You can't ignore a constitutional violation, and that is really my objection."
Sen. Gordon H. Smith, R-Ore., one of the bill's sponsors, said that while he still supports the bill, he sees "tremendous opposition" to it in the Senate.
"Procedurally, it's in real peril," he said. "I wouldn't bet the pineapples on it (passing this year)."
Congress is set to recess in early October for the November elections. If both chambers haven't passed the bill and President Bush hasn't signed it into law by the end of the year when the current two-year Congress ends, supporters will have to start all over next year.
"Every day that goes by makes it that much harder to pass it in the House," Case said. "It's an absolute competition at this point for (House) floor time."
But Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawai'i, said he was optimistic about getting the bill through the House, if the White House signaled that it would accept it.
"The question has always been, do we have the White House support?" Abercrombie said. "If we don't, then what good is it to pass it if it's only going to get vetoed? Obviously, we can't overcome a veto."
The Justice Department under Bush has consistently raised doubts about whether Congress can recognize Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people similar to Indian tribes. The Justice Department under President Clinton had supported the bill.
Bush has not yet indicated his position.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 1, 2006
Akaka sponsors bill supporting native languages
U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka has introduced the Native American Language Amendments Act, saying he wants to ensure that families across the country are never forced to relinquish their language or culture.
"This bill is of particular importance to me because as a young child, I was discouraged from speaking Hawaiian and practicing Hawaiian customs and traditions because I was told that it would not allow me to succeed in the Western world," Akaka said in a news release issued by his Washington office.
Under his bill, the secretary of education would provide funds for the establishment of native American language nests and language survival school programs. A nest is a language immersion program for the youngest members of a native population.
The bill would also provide nests and survival schools with alternative methods of achieving national education standards.
"Language is the heart of all cultures," said Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii. "When a language withers, so, too, does its culture. Hawaii has shown that when there is renewed interest in the native language, the native culture flourishes.
"This legislation will ensure that native languages and native cultures will have the opportunity to thrive and flourish. It also encourages elders to teach our future leaders about their unique cultures."
Akaka, 82, is running for a fourth term this year and has been challenged in the primary by a fellow Hawaii Democrat, Rep. Ed Case, 53, who says it is time to pass along the seat to a new generation.
** Note from Ken Conklin: Senator Akaka had no difficulty getting floor time to introduce his new bill regarding language education. But despite the obvious ease of proposing new legislation, he still has not introduced the amended version of the Akaka bill that he posted on his Senate website in September 2006 with great fanfare. At that time he anounced that the new version of the bill would satisfy the objections raised by the Department of Justice; but a few days after Akaka made that announcement the DOJ issued a statement saying that DOJ still has serious concerns about the bill. For details, see the chronology of events for September 2005. **
Hawaii Reporter, May 2, 2006
Despite This Week's Expected Ruling Against the Akaka Bill by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Money - Lots of It - Buys New Life for Federal Legislation
By Malia Zimmerman
REPORTING FROM WASHINGTON DC: Hawaii Reporter has learned that the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, which considered the merits of the Native Hawaiian Recognition Act or the "Akaka Bill" at its Jan. 20, 2006, meeting in Washington D.C., will make a recommendation against the passage of the bill at its Thursday session.
Four or five of the seven commissioners will sign a majority report recommending that the bill not be pursued by the U.S. Senate or the U.S. House. Between two and three commissioners will issue a separate minority report in favor of the Akaka Bill's passage.
The Commission is composed of eight Commissioners who serve 6-year terms: Four appointed by the president, including the chair and vice chair, and four by Congress, although one seat is currently vacant. The commissioners, who research various civil rights issues and complaints and provide critical and analytical expertise in evaluations of those issues, have the power to hold hearings, issue subpoenas and make recommendations to Congress.
Their decision comes before the Akaka Bill was debated -- or any vote was taken -- by the entire Senate. The bill was scheduled for a vote on Sept. 6, at which time Sen. Daniel Akaka, for whom the bill is named, was hoping to cut off debate and force a vote through a procedure called "cloture."
However, the bill lost its momentum when the majority of conservative national media questioned the wisdom of the legislation through numerous and highly critical editorials. Two polls produced by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii also showed just one of three people in Hawaii supported the Akaka Bill. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs followed up with its own poll, saying most Hawaiians want the bill. However, the legislation continued its downward spiral and experienced a further setback when Senators were distracted by the devastation brought on human lives and property through a series of hurricanes, including Katrina and Rita, which hit the Gulf Coast.
The bill could be up for a vote this month, although Senators say don't count on it. While Democrats and some Republicans who pledged their vote to Akaka are pushing for an immediate vote this month, conservatives opposed to the bill are attempting to delay the bill coming to the floor at all -- or at least until next year.
The Akaka Bill Redrafted
The Akaka Bill, which has been redrafted, but not made public, establishes a process for the nation's 400,000 Native Hawaiians to be formally recognized by the United States as an indigenous people and gives Native Hawaiians of any blood quantum rights and privileges above what Native Americans presently have.
Hawaii Reporter has reviewed a copy of the legislation. The bill in its current form would allow Native Hawaiians of any blood quantum to pursue a sovereign government that could negotiate with the United States over land use and other rights.
Other areas of Hawaii that could be affected include: Hawaiian-owned businesses could be exempted from paying state taxes; land held in federal or state trust could be handed over to the new sovereign government; Hawaiians would no longer be held accountable under the state and federal civil rights laws or be afforded their protections; and gambling could be legalized on Hawaiian sovereign land (though the new version makes this more difficult).
There also is no clear residency requirement in the bill, leaving some legal experts to question whether the Native Hawaiians receiving special rights, lands, tax exemptions and privileges even must reside in Hawaii, or if other state government will be forced to participate.
Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona confirmed in the March 1, 2005, U.S. House sub committee hearing that the bill "provides for a collaborative negotiation process through which the United States, the state of Hawaii, and the Native Hawaiian governing entity, may address matters such as the transfer of lands, the exercise of governmental authority over such lands, the exercise of civil and criminal jurisdiction and any residual responsibilities of the United States and Hawaii." She also notes that the legislation will continue to reflect the separate funding authorities that Native Hawaiians have enjoyed since 1910. She says since this date, Congress has enacted 160 statutes designed to address the conditions of Native Hawaiians.
Some advocates of the bill, including Sen. Akaka himself, take the legislation's potential further, acknowledging the bill could be the first step in the state's succession from the United States.
Big Money Buys Federal Legislation New Momentum
Despite the U.S. Civil Rights Commission's ruling, which is an important victory for opponents of the Akaka Bill, the federal legislation is gaining new momentum -- much of it bought with millions of taxpayer dollars and money the Office of Hawaiian Affairs collected from the state's 2 million acres of "ceded" lands or former crown lands.
The money is supposed to be held in trust by OHA and used to benefit the Native Hawaiian people. However, rather than funding educational scholarships, grants for small businesses, or helping Native Hawaiians further their economic status, millions of dollars are being directed outside of Hawaii, in part to public relations and advertising efforts as well as a prominent Washington D.C. lobbying firm, Patton Boggs, deemed a "Capitol Hill powerhouse" by the Washington Post. Political analysts say a firm as well connected as this pays its principals more than $1 million a year, and charges clients up to $700 an hour or $25,000 a month as a retainer, to lobby Senators, Representatives and the president.
The Hill, a newspaper about Congress, reports in 2005 that Patton Boggs' six-month totals "grew by more than $2 million to $17.91 million, increasing Patton Boggs's separation from rivals Cassidy & Associates and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, which are in second and third place, respectively, in the race for lobbying revenue." The Hill reports the Patton Boggs's growth was "partly attributable to a new contract with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which is pushing a bill that would bestow rights now exclusive to American Indians to native Hawaiians. The office paid $400,000 over the six months, making it the firm's fifth largest client, said spokesman Brian Hale."
Political writer Robert Novak notes in his Sept. 5, 2005, column, that OHA has paid Patton Boggs $780,000 in lobbying fees. Firm principals -- including Benjamin Ginsberg and Thomas Boggs Jr. -- are directly involved in lobbying. Novak reports Ginsberg has represented the Republican Party nationally in legal disputes while MSNBC says in a Nov. 28, 2005, report, that Ginsberg is a close friend of the president's advisor Karl Rove -- he and Boggs, a well-connected Democrat, are two of six lawyers listed as lobbying for the Akaka Bill.
Political insiders estimate OHA's lobbying expenses to have jumped substantially since the two powerful lobbyists who command top dollar for their connections and lobbying skills, have been seen frequently at the Capitol in meetings with Senate members to push for the Akaka Bill.
OHA has refused to disclose the recent lobbying expense figures to Hawaii Reporter despite two public records requests over the last several months.
Follow the Money
Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees, who have made a series of trips to Washington D.C., to lobby for the Akaka Bill, spare no expense for themselves when the trust money is involved, traveling only in first class accommodations.
OHA has so far refused to release the trustees' travel records or expenses to Hawaii Reporter, despite numerous requests over the last several months.
However, Hawaii Reporter traveled on one flight to Washington D.C. with several of the trustees, witnessing the class of travel firsthand.
In addition, sources within OHA say trustees only travel first class, spending sometimes thousands of dollars each per trip to and from Washington D.C. and elsewhere.
OHA attorney Robert Klein, who is a retired state Supreme Court judge and also has his way paid to Washington D.C. by OHA, was in Washington D.C. this week to lobby for the Akaka Bill. He was spotted in the Hart Building with Sen. Daniel Akaka Tuesday afternoon, where he spent the day lobbying other U.S. Senators for the Akaka Bill.
Hawaii Reporter, May 2, 2006
Native Hawaiian Groups Presence in Nation's Capital
By Victoria Smith
Washington DC – Today, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) announced a partnership with the National Coalition of Asian and Pacific Americans in Community Development (CAPACD) to open an office in the nation's capital.
"CAPACD has been a tremendous partner for more than 3 years and has been instrumental in assisting the CNHA Public Policy Center to stay abreast of legislative issues," said Lisa C. Oshiro, CNHA Senior Policy Analyst. "It's a natural next step that our working partnership with CAPACD would lead to extending our presence to Washington, DC, in their offices."
With more than 140 members, mostly Native Hawaiian community development organizations working in healthcare, education, housing, environment or social services, CNHA operates its Public Policy Center to provide information relevant to its member organizations and conduct education on the federal government processes and departments.
"Legislative knowledge is vital to operating any community development program," Oshiro went on. "If national policies are shifting, our members here in Hawaii must know how their services will be affected, in order to communicate with policy makers on what the impact may be on communities back here in Hawaii."
The majority of the current legislative issues being tracked by the CNHA Public Policy Center include the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, small business legislative initiatives, amendments to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, affordable housing and education. In addition, the Public Policy Center has conducted community education workshops on the different federal departments, roles and programming. Recently, CNHA produced a comprehensive policy brief on Native Hawaiian Charter Schools to help orient federal government officials and their staff on this growing sector of community development in Hawaii.
"Our activities at the Public Policy Center are built to complement the efforts of our member organizations and to give them an extra resource in the policy arena," added Jade Danner, CNHA Vice President. "Access to information helps Native Hawaiian nonprofits to achieve their mission. This is really what the Public Policy Center is all about. Having a part-time presence in DC is a small step, and our hope is to increase our ability to provide good information to our members that helps them serve the Native Hawaiian community."
The CNHA DC office is located in the heart of downtown DC at 1001 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 730, Washington, DC 20036, and will be staffed periodically when Congress is in session. To reach the office, please call 202.223.4880. For more information, contact CNHA at mailto:email@example.com or call the CNHA Main Office in Honolulu at 808.521.5011
Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, May 3, 2006
Akaka bill under fire in civil rights report
By Dennis Camire
Advertiser Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — The Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill should be rejected, says a draft report that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights might vote to endorse tomorrow.
The commission's draft report, obtained by Gannett News Service, portrays the Akaka bill as discriminatory and divisive, echoing the objections of the bill's critics.
The report, which the commission could change at its meeting tomorrow, says granting Hawaiians the right to form their own government would "discriminate on the basis of race or national origin, and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."
Originally introduced in Congress six years ago by Hawai'i's congressional delegation, the bill has been stalled in the Senate but could come up for a vote in the chamber late this month.
Its prime sponsor, Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i, has been trying to bring the bill to the Senate floor since it was introduced.
Akaka said in a statement yesterday that the report had "biased conclusions" and was produced "without consulting with (the commission's) Hawai'i Advisory Committee, the experts of Hawai'i's history and on federal policies toward indigenous peoples."
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawai'i, said he would be "extremely disappointed" if the commissioners adopted the recommendation.
"It appears to me that the draft recommendation is based on a complete lack of understanding of federal policies that involve native peoples and the history of Hawai'i," he said. "In the past, when commissioners have consulted with its Hawai'i Advisory Committee, they have voiced their support of federal recognition for Native Hawaiians."
The Hawai'i State Advisory Committee to the Commission on Civil Rights, one of 51 state committees designed to serve as the "eyes and ears" of the federal panel, issued a written statement yesterday saying it was "outraged" by the commission's failure to take its views under consideration.
NO LOCAL INPUT
State chairman David M. Forman said the national group has not sought input from the Hawai'i committee, has failed to respond to formal requests for information the committee has sent to it and has not adequately considered reports the committee has submitted in the past.
Supporters and opponents of the Akaka bill legislation briefed the commission — which has four Republicans, two Democrats and an independent — in January. The commission has no enforcement power but can make recommendations on the basis of a majority vote.
The draft report drew on the briefing and additional comments the commission received since then.
H. William Burgess of the group Aloha for All, who was among those who testified before the commission, said what's in the bill speaks for itself. "I don't see how anyone could genuinely or sincerely argue that it's not (advocating for) a race-based government," he said.
Burgess said he believes a negative recommendation by the commission would carry considerable weight in Congress. Given that it would go against the advice of the commission, he said, "I think that it would be very difficult for them to explicitly adopt a government or program that would allow one racial group to create their own separate government."
Commissioner Michael Yaki, a Democrat and part Hawaiian, said he objected to the report because it was based on limited information and a "complete misreading" of the bill and the history of special treatment for indigenous people in the Constitution.
"To proceed from a limited information base to a recommendation on important legislation is, I believe, a procedural misstep," said Yaki, a San Francisco attorney. "I think what you find are critics going a long way to deny the indigenous government and sovereign Kingdom of Hawai'i as if it never existed or never mattered. "
The Kingdom of Hawai'i existed from 1810 until its overthrow in 1893.
Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawai'i, a sponsor of the bill in the House, said the report's recommendation did not surprise him. Case said he believes the current commission's agenda is to dismantle more than a century of federal efforts on behalf of minorities and indigenous people.
"This same commission has issued three previous reports that were in some form in support of federal efforts on behalf of Native Hawaiians up to and including a report just five years ago supporting federal recognition," he said. "Clearly, what we have is a particular manifestation of this commission that is adverse to Native Hawaiians and adverse to the much bigger picture."
Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawai'i, a sponsor of the bill in the House, said the draft report's recommendation reflected the commission's commentary throughout the process.
"I wish they had taken a more objective approach based on history and the context of the cause that is involved with Native Hawaiians," he said. "It's very difficult sometimes for people who have a political agenda to be able to actually step back and give an objective evaluation."
The Akaka bill would create a process for a Hawaiian government to be recognized by the U.S. government, similar to the political status given to Native Americans and Alaska natives.
A number of conservative Republicans in the Senate and House oppose the bill over concerns that it was unconstitutional because it would create a race-based government.
Other points from the draft report:
# The Hawaiian government created by the bill could treat non-Hawaiians differently than Hawaiians based solely on race.
# The bill does not require Hawaiians to adopt a democratic form of government or the protections that other Americans have, although the secretary of the interior would have final say on the documents creating the new government.
# Land and other assets administered by Hawai'i's Office of Hawaiian Affairs for the benefit of Hawaiians are a "racial preference system" that the bill seeks to preserve if it is challenged constitutionally.
# The current system of preferences for Hawaiians, and the Akaka bill, may be found in violation of the Constitution's Fifth and 14th Amendments.
# Congressional approval of 160 federal programs now aiding Hawaiians is not intended to imply recognition of a distinct Hawaiian political entity.
In an interview last night, state chairman Forman said the commission has been influenced by politics.
"The acronym USCCR apparently now stands for the United States Commission on Conservative Rhetoric," he said. "There is an agenda and that agenda is being carried out regardless of the facts."
Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell, former chairman and longtime member of the Hawai'i State Advisory Committee, said he is considering resigning in protest.
"I'm tired of the politics in the U.S. Civil Rights Commission," he said. "We're being played as puppets here in Hawai'i."
PROTECTING CIVIL RIGHTS IN HAWAI'I -- Testimony by Ken Conklin to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding the Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill, S.147 and H.R.309 (Akaka bill), March 13, 2006
** includes a section entitled:
THE HAWAI'I ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO THE U.S. COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS,
FORUM IN HONOLULU SEPTEMBER 2000 AND REPORT JUNE 2001
On April 25, 2000, I attended a meeting chaired by USCCR Commissioner Yvonne Lee. This meeting was intended to be secret -- a preliminary planning meeting with representatives of groups in Hawai'i who were unhappy about the February decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Rice v. Cayetano. The meeting was held in Senator Dan Inouye's conference room in the federal building downtown Honolulu. I found out about it only because a partner in a major law firm had been invited. He was unable to attend; but as my friend, he knew I would be interested. Thanks to him I discovered the full extent of the planned propaganda forum. I was later able to make contact with a high-level staff member who served the (only two) conservative Commissioners at USCCR; and thereby eventually I was able to secure a place on the program schedule for Honolulu for myself and two like-minded attorneys to be able to give ten-minute presentations at the Honolulu forum. Without the three of us there would have been no defense of the fundamental concepts of unity and equality -- no defense of the civil rights of 80% of Hawai'i's people; and of most of the remaining 20% who also disagree with racial separatism and ethnic nationalism being perpetrated in their name.
The forum was held at the request of the Hawaii Advisory Committee, who were distressed by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Rice v. Cayetano. The Hawai'i Advisory Committee, then as now, was dominated by Hawaiian sovereignty activists. Chairman Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell has been a long-time advocate of independence for Hawai'i, and is currently a leading supporter of the Akaka bill as a way to collect money and political power as reparations for historical grievances, while continuing efforts to seek independence. Vice-Chairman attorney David Forman, who actually chaired the 2000 forum due to the illness of Mr. Maxwell, has been a frequent advocate for Hawaiian sovereignty and spokesman for the leftwing Japanese-American Citizens League. Other members included an attorney with the government-financed Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation. Three of the most far-left members of the national USCCR attended and actively participated: Yvonne Lee, Elsie Meeks, and Cruz Reynoso. Chair of the Commission at that time, but not in attendance, was Mary Frances Berry.
Most of those presenting testimony were received enthusiastically and were asked friendly questions encouraging them to amplify their remarks. However, I and my two colleagues (testifying during three different time periods in three groups of presenters) were subjected to intense cross-examination by all three national Commissioners and several local advisory committee members, who were clearly uncomfortable with our perspective and perhaps shocked that our views had been allowed to be heard.
The clear purpose of the two-day forum was to orchestrate support for the Akaka bill. The title of both the forum and the report was: "Reconciliation at a Crossroads: The Implications of the Apology Resolution and Rice v. Cayetano for Federal and State Programs Benefiting Native Hawaiians." The concept was: the Supreme Court decision in Rice v. Cayetano threatens to eventually dismantle the plethora of race-based programs in Hawai'i, and your Civil Rights Commission is here to help figure out what can be done to stop that from happening. A Supreme Court decision upholding the civil rights of all Hawai'i's people was seen as threatening Hawai'i's wall of apartheid and therefore threatening the alleged civil right of a racial group to exercise racial supremacy. The solution proposed was to pass the Akaka bill in order to get around the Rice decision, while at the same time to support the "right" of ethnic Hawaiians to force all of Hawai'i to become independent from the United States.
Secession? Did the Hawai'i Advisory Council, and by implication the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, actually support the "right" of a racial group to force Hawai'i to become independent, thereby grossly violating the civil rights of the vast majority of Hawai'i citizens? Here's the evidence:
About halfway down the lengthy report is the section called "Conclusions and Recommendations" (followed by footnotes that occupy the entire second half of the report). The conclusions clearly support the Akaka bill as a way to overturn the Supreme Court decision; and they also support the right of ethnic Hawaiians to force the secession of Hawaii from the United States.
"... international resolution would necessarily involve secession, a drastic endeavor over which this nation purportedly fought a civil war ... The principle of self-determination necessarily contemplates the potential choice of forms of governance that may not be authorized by existing domestic law. Whether such a structure is politically or legally possible under the law is secondary, however, to the expression of one's desire for self-determination. ..."
"1. The federal government should accelerate efforts to formalize the political relationship between Native Hawaiians and the United States. This recommendation can be accomplished through the formal and direct recognition by Congress of the United States' responsibilities toward Native Hawaiians, by virtue of the unique political history between the United States and the former Kingdom of Hawaii....[T]he Advisory Committee requests that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights urge Congress to pass legislation formally recognizing the political status of Native Hawaiians." ...
"4. International solutions should be explored as alternatives to the recognition of a Native Hawaiian governing entity.
"The Hawaii Advisory Committee recognizes that the sentiment for an international resolution to restore a sovereign Hawaiian entity is beyond the immediate scope and power of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Nevertheless, that limitation does not preclude the United States from exploring such alternatives as a part of the reconciliation process that the United States committed to pursue in the 1993 Apology Resolution. ... Accordingly, the United States should give due consideration to re-inscribing Hawai‘i on the United Nations' list of non-self-governing territories, among other possibilities. ...
"The Hawaii Advisory Committee is fully cognizant of the concern expressed by some that international resolution would necessarily involve secession, a drastic endeavor over which this nation purportedly fought a civil war. However, this view ignores the troubled and racist roots of our nation's history. The Civil War was at its core a conflict over the issue of slavery. Moreover, the Civil War Amendments and Civil Rights Acts, upon which the plaintiff in Rice based his claims, were supposed to effect a reconstruction of American society through equality for African Americans.
"The principle of self-determination necessarily contemplates the potential choice of forms of governance that may not be authorized by existing domestic law. Whether such a structure is politically or legally possible under the law is secondary, however, to the expression of one's desire for self-determination. The important proposition is that those who would choose to swear their allegiance to a restored sovereign Hawaiian entity be given that choice after a full and free debate with those who might prefer some form of association with the United States (including, perhaps, the status quo)....
"Those supervising the reconciliation process should provide for an open, free, and democratic plebiscite on all potential options by which Native Hawaiians might express their inherent right to self-determination. The process should allow for international oversight by nonaligned observers of international repute. After a period for organization of that government, the federal government should engage in negotiations with the sovereign Hawaiian entity.
"The Hawaii Advisory Committee believes that these deliberations should take into consideration and protect, or otherwise accommodate, the rights of non-Native Hawaiians. Thereafter, the federal government should provide financial assistance for the educational effort that may be necessary to reconcile conflicts raised by the choices made by Native Hawaiians. If necessary, the United States should engage in continuing negotiations to seek resolution of any outstanding issues with the sovereign Hawaiian entity."
Hopefully the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, now under wiser management in 2006, will repudiate those conclusions from 2001.
** full text of the lengthy report of the HAC to the USCCR is available at:
Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, May 4, 2006
Akaka bill deserves a full and fair debate
Election-year politics has turned up the heat under our U.S. senators. Whether their sheer determination will be enough to pop the Akaka bill onto the Senate floor after six years is anyone's guess, but it's at least a breath of hope for a measure that can't seem to get a break. The latest discouraging news came from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which has taken an ill-informed position against the legislation.
The bill — named for Hawai'i's junior senator, Daniel Akaka, who is facing a re-election challenge — would extend federal recognition to Native Hawaiians, creating a political status for the indigenous people of Hawai'i akin to what's available to Native Americans and Alaskans.
Federal recognition would help chart a course for the difficult but necessary process of resolving festering disputes and in healing the breach caused by the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. In particular, the process would bring clarity to the clouded issue of the "ceded lands" that moved from ownership by the Hawaiian crown and government to federal control a century ago.
The Akaka bill lays out the process by which the federal government would recognize the "reorganized" Hawaiian entity, representatives of the Hawaiian people charged with handling these issues as well as future matters.
Federal recognition isn't perfect, and the bill's unanswered questions about the power of this entity and other issues leave many feeling rightfully uneasy. The debate over the bill reveals a sharp divide between its friends and foes. Opponents are split further: Some feel it isn't enough recompense and others believe Hawaiians should put that part of the past behind them. It's a complex and emotional issue that few on Capitol Hill — or, apparently, on the civil rights panel — grasp completely.
However, this measure forges a middle path, the most reasonable course toward resolution — if only Congress would give it a shot. The bill has cleared the House in the past but always stalled in the Senate. Even if it does finally get a vote on the floor, the odds against it moving through the House again for passage are long.
You have to appreciate the power of political theatrics, because clearly that's what it's taking to get this bill heard. Just prodding the bill to the floor is a high-stakes challenge for Akaka, who wants to demonstrate his political acumen, and for the senior senator, Daniel K. Inouye, who supports Akaka's re-election. Failing to get the bill heard wouldn't play well in the exchanges Akaka faces with challenger Rep. Ed Case this fall.
Political gamesmanship aside, the measure has merit. At the very least, it deserves a full and fair debate.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 4, 2006
Akaka Bill backers say real 'bias' is in report
Objections in a draft before the U.S. civil rights panel could block a Senate vote
By Alexandre Da Silva
Supporters of legislation to grant Hawaiians their own government said yesterday that a federal report criticizing the measure as discriminatory was "biased" and ignored the island's colonial history.
A draft report up for final approval today by the Washington-based U.S. Commission on Civil Rights concludes that the so-called Akaka Bill would "discriminate on the basis of race or national origin, and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."
In a statement, Sen. Daniel Akaka, the bill's sponsor, said commissioners had not sought the view of island historians and failed to take into account other legislation Congress has passed to help Hawaiians. The commission is a federal advisory board on civil rights issues.
"To learn that the commission has produced a staff draft report with biased conclusions contradicts a fair process," said Akaka, D-Hawaii.
The Akaka Bill would set up a process to have the federal government recognize native Hawaiians in the way it recognizes American Indians and Alaska natives.
But Akaka's attempts to take the measure up for a vote in the U.S. Senate for the past six years have been unsuccessful because of concerns from lawmakers, including fears that it could lead to moves for Hawaii to secede from the union.
The federal commission's latest report could create another obstacle to getting the bill on the Senate floor, said attorney William Burgess, an opponent of the legislation.
"If it recommends that Congress reject the Akaka Bill, that's a considerable weight," Burgess said. "That's the commission whose only purpose is to review the implementation of the United States Constitution."
Burgess, who testified before the commission at a briefing in January, argues the bill "would sanction racial segregation of Hawaii" by automatically grouping people who share bloodlines under a sovereign government.
That concern was among the key objections listed in the commission's report.
But Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell, a former chairman and longtime member of the Hawaii State Advisory Committee, a state group set up to work with the federal commission, said the report was filled with misinformation.
The bill, according to Maxwell, would be another step to help right the wrong of the U.S.-backed overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893.
"We have no say and this is our homeland," said Maxwell, who threatened to resign if the commission voted to ratify the report today. "We are ignored because we are far away from Washington."
Akaka is talking with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist about getting the bill considered soon, said his spokeswoman, Donalyn Dela Cruz.
Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, May 5, 2006
Congress advised to reject Akaka bill
By Michelle Diament
Advertiser Washington Bureau
and Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recommended yesterday that Congress reject a bill granting federal recognition and self-government rights to Hawaiians.
The action was a blow to supporters of the controversial bill, which was introduced six years ago by Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i, and other members of the Hawai'i delegation.
Akaka said in a written statement that his goal is still to have the bill heard on the Senate floor.
"I believe that the majority of my colleagues will look at all the facts presented in making their decision whether or not to support it," Akaka said.
He also criticized the commission as politically motivated.
"The commission's failure to give a fair and thorough review of my bill concerns me greatly. It is unfortunate that a body with such a noble mission has succumbed to a political agenda. At a minimum, the members of the Hawaii State Advisory Committee to the Commission ought to have been consulted about the briefing and asked to contribute to the report."
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawai'i, also criticized the panel.
"I was dismayed to learn that the (commission) voted ... to adopt a seriously flawed report that unfairly characterizes the Akaka bill as race-based and discriminatory," Inouye said in a release.
"From what I have learned, not only does the report have significant errors of fact and history, but the process in which the commission considered the report was also highly suspect," he said. "The meeting was disorganized and unprofessional; commissioners were forced to take a 10-minute break because they did not understand what they were voting on. Given those factors, how can anyone give credence to its report?"
TWO REJECT REPORT
In a draft of the commission report that was the basis of yesterday's discussion and vote, the Akaka bill was criticized as a measure that "would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."
Two of the seven commissioners voted against the report, saying that the legislation would rightfully recognize the status of Native Hawaiians as indigenous people of the United States, just like Native Americans and Native Alaskans.
"Your argument is if we say yes, who else do we have to say yes to," Commissioner Michael Yaki said. "But what I wonder is if we say no then how do we explain to them why Native Americans and Native Alaskans have that right."
The commissioners who supported the report said they agreed with some of the statements made by Yaki and Commissioner Arlan Melendez, who also voted against the report. Ultimately, however, the majority of commissioners did not feel that Hawaiians deserve sovereignty.
"I think that the notion of distributing benefits and burdens to different groups of people moves away from that overarching sense of us all as Americans," said Gerald Reynolds, the commission's chairman. "With every success there is another group that will come and use the argument of the successful group."
The federal commission serves as an advisory body only. It includes four Republicans, two Democrats and an independent.
LOCAL PANEL'S INPUT?
Earlier this week, members of the Hawai'i State Advisory Committee to the commission criticized the federal panel for failing to consult with them before issuing its report. Yesterday, long-time advisory committee member Charles Ka'uluwehi Maxwell said he will resign from the panel as a result of the decision.
"It's pathetic that (President Bush's) nominees failed completely to look at our past history as a state advisory commission, and the hearings we had here, which showed unanimously that the Native Hawaiians were denied equal rights when Queen Lili'uokalani was overthrown, when Hawai'i was annexed to the United States and even during the statehood act," said Maxwell, a member of the commission since 1974.
One victory for Yaki and Melendez came when the commission struck the findings section from the report. That section discussed laws governing Native American tribes and the history of the Hawaiian people and included statements that the two commissioners said were factually incorrect.
The deletion of the findings section was small consolation since much of it was erroneous, said Clyde Namu'o, administrator for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which has been at the forefront of support for the bill.
"For us, it's really important because those findings were so offensive," Namu'o said.
Local opponents of the Akaka bill were happy with the recommendation, however.
Ikaika Hussey, a member of Hui Pu, an umbrella group of Native Hawaiian groups opposed to the Akaka bill because they feel it does not go far enough in providing reparations, said the recommendation shows that Hawaiians should not be dealing the U.S. government in the first place.
"I think that the fact that the Civil Rights Commission voted the way it did on the Akaka bill is an indication that we need to move from talking about the civil rights, which is a very limited way of talking about the issue, to human rights," Hussey said. "We need to talk about what a real reconciliation process is like."
H. William Burgess of the group Aloha for All testified before the commission in Washington, arguing that the bill is race-based. If the bill were to pass, "Congress would be sanctioning racial segregation and they would be violating the territorial integrity of the state of Hawai'i as promised in the Admissions Act," Burgess said.
The Native Hawaiian legislation has been stalled in Congress for six years.
It was slated to be considered by the full Senate last September but was pushed back after Hurricane Katrina and has not yet been rescheduled. There are some indications it could be brought to the Senate floor later this month, but a representative from the Senate majority leader's office said yesterday that there is no specific timetable.
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: www.usccr.gov
Sen. Daniel Akaka: http://akaka.senate.gov
Contact Michelle Diament at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Gordon Y.K. Pang at email@example.com.
** IMPORTANT: May 5: U.S. Civil Rights Commission draft report becomes available on the internet. Readers can judge for themselves whether the comments of Inouye, Akaka, and Maxwell are vaid. Download the USCCR report at:
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 7, 2006, EDITORIAL
Civil Rights Commission is blind to Hawaiian history
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has recommended that Congress reject Hawaiian sovereignty.
FEDERAL recognition of Hawaiian sovereignty took a severe hit last week by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The majority of the commissioners issued a report concluding that legislation that would grant Hawaiians their own government would be racially discriminatory. The conclusion is simplistic and off base.
In a 5-2 vote, the commissioners maintained that the sovereignty bill sponsored by Senator Akaka would "discriminate on the basis of race or national origin, and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege." That will be the main constitutional argument by opponents if the bill ever reaches the Senate floor, even though the Constitution gives Congress plenary authority to recognize native peoples.
The bill essentially would provide the same status to Hawaiians that is given to American Indians and indigenous Alaskans. Congress has stated in numerous programs assisting Hawaiians that it was doing so not "because of their race but because of their unique status as the indigenous people" of Hawaii.
The U.S. Supreme Court's 2000 ruling in Rice vs. Cayetano that keeping non-Hawaiians from voting in elections for state Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees was racially discriminatory was based on the absence of Hawaiian sovereignty. In a 1974 case on the Bureau of Indian Affairs' hiring preference of Native Americans, the high court ruled that "the preference is political rather than racial." Hawaiians deserve equal treatment.
Opponents have pointed out that, unlike Indian and Alaskan tribes, the Hawaiian kingdom was multiracial. It is true that the kingdom was enlightened enough to welcome foreigners into its society and government.
Foreigners had been clever enough to gain possession of four-fifths of the islands' land at the time of the toppling of the monarchy in 1893 but wanted political control.
The overthrow was clearly spearheaded by Americans living in Hawaii and backed by American troops. It was led by Honolulu publisher Lorrin Thurston, in collaboration with John Stevens, American minister under the administration of Benjamin Harrison, who said he would welcome annexation, which came five years later. Congress has apologized.
The implication by opponents of the Akaka Bill is that any sovereign Hawaiian nation should be extended to all people who can trace their lineage to anyone living in the islands at the time of the overthrow, including those who plotted and participated in it. That would turn history on its head.
** Note: Point-by-point rebuttal of SB editorial included in Hawaii Reporter article on May 8, copied in full below, with URL:
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, May 7, 2006
Letters to the Editor
CONGRESS MUST PUT POLITICS ASIDE, VOTE
On behalf of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, we would like to extend a sincere thank you for the May 4 editorial "Akaka bill deserves a full and fair debate." The Honolulu Advertiser is correct in its assertion that the only thing preventing this bill from a Senate vote is "political theatrics" and the spread of misinformation like the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights' "ill-informed position."
The issue is indeed complex as it involves historical events, heart-wrenching emotions and 113 years of hindsight. But this legislation is the best step forward for the entire Hawai'i community.
The measure only seeks to give Hawaiians parity in federal legislation with other indigenous peoples within the U.S., specifically Native Americans and Alaska natives. This important legislation now lies within the powers of Congress to approve.
Congress must put politics aside and face the issue at hand. It is only fair and right for members of Congress to give federal recognition the break it deserves and, eventually, Hawaiians the chance to improve their status, determine their own future and contribute to the economy and cultural well-being of Hawai'i.
Congress must tackle the issue today.
Chairwoman, OHA board of trustees
Hawaii Reporter, May 8, 2006
Akaka Bill Should Be Opposed by U.S. Senate
Our Greatest Strength is We Have Taken All That Magnificent Diversity and Forged it Into One Nation
By U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN
This is the May 8, 2006, floor speech made by Sen. Alexander on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act otherwise known as the Akaka Bill.
Mr. President, today the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announced its opposition to S. 147, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, which it found to "discriminate on the basis of race."
See "U.S. Civil Right Commission Urges Akaka Bill Be Rejected"
It is possible the Senate will be asked in the next few weeks to consider this legislation, and I hope my colleagues will agree with the Civil Rights Commission and oppose this legislation.
Here is what the commission had to say:
"The Commission recommends against passage of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, (S. 147) as reported out of committee on May 16, 2005, or any other legislation that would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."
This recommendation that comes today from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission is significant because that commission was founded specifically to protect the rights of minorities and ensure equal protection for all Americans under the law. That commission's first act, in 1959, was to find that racial discrimination still existed at the ballot box, and they recommended reforms that became the foundation of the Voting Rights Act.
S. 147, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, would create a separate, independent, race-based government for Native Hawaiians.
It would undermine our unity. It would undermine our history of being a nation based not on race, but upon common values of liberty, equal opportunity, and democracy.
The question the bill poses is thus one that is fundamental to the very existence of our nation. It creates a new government based up race. Our constitution guarantees just the opposite: equal opportunity without regard to race.
Hawaiians are Americans. They became United States citizens in 1900. They have saluted the American flag, paid American taxes, fought in American wars. In 1959, ninety-four percent of Hawaiians reaffirmed that commitment to become Americans by voting to become a state. Like citizens of every other state, Hawaiians vote in national elections.
Becoming an American has always meant giving up allegiance to your previous country and pledging allegiance to your new country, the United States of America.
This goes back to Valley Forge when George Washington himself signed and then administered this oath to his officers: "I . . . renounce, refuse, and abjure any allegiance or obedience to [King George III]; and I do swear that I will to the utmost of my power, support, maintain and defend the said United States. . . ."
America is different because, under our constitution, becoming an American can have nothing to do with ancestry. That is because America is an idea, not a race.
Ours is a nation based not upon race, not upon ethnicity, not upon national origin, but upon our shared values, enshrined in our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, upon our history as a nation, and upon our shared language, English.
An American can technically become a citizen of Japan, but would never be considered "Japanese." But if a Japanese person wants to become a citizen of the United States, he or she must become an American.
That's who we are as Americans, and when we forget that, we run the risk of undermining our greatest strength.
Some say that diversity is our greatest strength. And it is a great strength, but hardly our greatest. Jerusalem is diverse. The Balkans are diverse. Iraq is diverse. Our greatest strength is that we have taken all that magnificent diversity and forged it into one nation.
My heritage is Scotch-Irish. In early America, the Scotch-Irish referred to themselves as a race of people. But despite Scotch-Irish contributions to American independence and some injustices before independence, they did not ask for a separate nation based on race.
It is suggested that "native Hawaiians" are different because they lived on the islands of Hawaii before Asian and white settlers came there, and that their previous government was undermined by Americans who came. So, the argument goes, they should be treated as an American Indian tribe.
But U.S. law has specific requirements for recognition of an Indian tribe. A tribe must have operated as a sovereign for the last 100 years, must be a separate and distinct community, and must have had a preexisting political organization. Native Hawaiians do not meet those requirements. In 1998 the State of Hawaii acknowledged this in a Supreme Court brief in Rice v. Cayetano, saying: "The tribal concept simply has no place in the context of Hawaiian history."
If the bill establishing a "native Hawaiian" government were to pass, it would have the dubious honor of being the first to create a separate nation within the United States. While Congress has recognized pre-existing American Indian tribes before, it has never created a new one. This is a dangerous precedent. This is not much different than if American citizens who are descended from Hispanics that lived in Texas before it became a republic in 1836 created their own tribe, based on claims that these lands were improperly seized from Mexico. Or it could open the door to religious groups, such as the Amish or Hassidic Jews, who might seek tribal status to avoid the constraints of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. If we start down this path, the end may be the disintegration of the United States into ethnic enclaves.
Hawaii itself is a proud example of the American tradition of diversity. According to the 2000 Census, 40 percent of Hawaiians are of Asian descent. 24 percent are white. Nine percent said they were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders. Seven percent claimed Hispanic ethnicity and two percent were black. 21 percent of Hawaiians reported two or more racial identities. Their two senators are of native Hawaiian and Japanese ancestry. Their governor is white and also happens to be Jewish. But what unites Hawaii is not its diversity, but its common Hawaiian traditions and the fact that Hawaiians are all Americans.
The proposed new government for "native Hawaiians" would be based solely upon race. S. 147 makes individuals eligible to be "native Hawaiian" specifically by blood. Surely we have by now learned our lesson about treating people differently based upon race. Our most tragic experiences have occurred when we have treated people differently based upon race, whether they were African-Americans, Native American or of other descent.
In the documents to which we have pledged allegiance, the way we have sought to right those wrongs is to guarantee respect for each American as an individual, regardless of his or her race. This legislation instead would compound those old wrongs. It would create a separate government, and separate rules – perhaps later even separate schools – based solely upon race.
To destroy our national unity by treating Americans differently based upon race is to destroy what is most unique about our county. It would begin to make us a United Nations instead of the United States of America.
The Senate should heed the advice of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and defeat this legislation "that would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege" and create a new, separate, race-based government for those of native Hawaiian descent.
This idea is the reverse of what it means to become an American. Instead of making us one nation indivisible, it divides us. Instead of guaranteeing rights without regard to race, it makes them depend solely upon race. Instead of becoming "one from many," we would become many from one.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander is the only Tennessean ever to be popularly elected both governor and United States Senator. He chairs the Senate Education and Early Childhood Development Subcommittee, the Senate Energy Subcommittee as well as the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Caucus. He is a member of the Foreign Relations and Budget Committees.
Hawaii Reporter, May 8, 2006
** Contents also available at
Honolulu Star-Bulletin Editorial Trashing the Civil Rights Commission Report
By Kenneth R. Conklin
On May 7, 2006 the Honolulu Star-Bulletin published another in a long string of editorials supporting the Akaka bill. Like all the others, this one was filled with inaccuracies and just plain silliness. But this particlar editorial needs a response, because it bashes the report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In case anyone has been on Mars for the past few days, here's the USCCR draft report approved May 4 with amendments, urging Congress to vote against the Akaka bill: http://tinyurl.com/ocap3 and here's the Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial of May 7: http://tinyurl.com/orrl7
Let's see how the Honolulu Star-Bulletin screwed up this time. It's easy and quick to make a false statement that grabs lots of attention. Dear readers, it's difficult and time-consuming to disprove what is false and explain what is true. Please bear with me.
(1) "... the Constitution gives Congress plenary authority to recognize native peoples."
False. The Constitution only gives Congress authority to recognize pre-existing Indian Tribes. The history of native Hawaiians is nothing like the history of American Indian tribes. OHA (and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin) thinks Congress has a magic wand to change a widely scattered fully integrated bunch of people into an Indian tribe (sort of like turning a sow's ear into a silk purse). But wishing does not make it true. Why do Indian tribes get special rights? Why do nations have sovereignty, independence, and self-determination? See a very brief look at the history of the United States and the history of Indian tribes, treaties with Indian tribes, treaties with the Kingdom of Hawaii, and the laws governing Indians: http://tinyurl.com/zgrxt
Federal legislation has spelled out seven mandatory criteria that any group of Indians must meet in order for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to give them federal recognition as a tribe. Many groups applying for recognition have been denied for failing to meet any one or more of these seven criteria. For detailed discussion of them in the context of ethnic Hawaiians, see: http://tinyurl.com/74496 In October 2005 the Bureau of Indian Affairs issued a final decision refusing to recognize two Indian groups in Connecticut to whom the BIA had previously given tentative recognition (they were already planning where to build their casinos). http://tinyurl.com/kd7a8
The BIA criteria require that the group must be separate and distinct from the surrounding non-Indian population, and must have a tribal council or leadership group that has exercised substantial authority over tribal members continuously from bygone days through the present. Ethnic Hawaiians are now widely dispersed and fully integrated among other ethnic groups. Ethnic Hawaiians have never throughout history had a government that included all ethnic Hawaiians and that included only ethnic Hawaiians (as the Akaka bill includes all ethnic Hawaiians and only ethnic Hawaiians). Kamehameha The Great was the first person in history who ever unified all the Hawaiian islands under a single authority. And right from the beginning of Kamehameha's government, non-natives held leadership positions in the "tribal council." For example, Kamehameha appointed John Young to be governor of Kamehameha's own home island of Hawaii, and gave him land immediately next to the great Heiau Puukohola, which Kamehameha had built to fulfill a prophecy that he would conquer all the islands. John Young's grave is in the Royal Mausoleum on Nuuanu Avenue, right next to the chapel which formerly held the bones of Hawaiian royalty. As the Kingdom continued, under several Constitutions beginning in 1840, most appointed cabinet ministers, and many appointed and elected members of the Legislature, were non-natives. Virtually all department heads in the government bureaucracy throughout the Kingdom were non-natives. There has never been an Indian tribe where most of the chiefs were not Indians.
''Regarding that word "Plenary" The Honolulu Star-Bulletin article said: "... the Constitution gives Congress plenary authority to recognize native peoples." That is flat-out false. (a) Here's the famous "indian Commerce Clause" that all the Akaka-bill boosters pin their hopes on: Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 3: [The Congress shall have power] "To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes". This does not say Congress has authority "to recognize native peoples." The majority of Indians today do not belong to any tribe and would not be eligible to join one. The word "plenary" is not in the Constitution anywhere. Congress does not have the power to arbitrarily select a bunch of Indians currently "on the loose" and round them up and create a tribe for them.
The concept that Congress has plenary power over Indian tribes is correct -- it is based on a long history of court decisions. Plenary power means total, absolute power over all aspects of Indian tribes. Congress has the power to give land or to take it away from a tribe for any reason or for no reason, and without any compensation. Congress has the power to change any tribal laws it doesn't like. But, although Congress does have plenary power over federally recognized tribes, it does not have plenary power to create tribes out of thin air; and in fact court decisions have ruled that Congress cannot give federal recognition arbitrarily or capriciously: United States v. Sandoval, 231 U.S. 28, 39-47 (1913)
(2) The Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial says "The bill essentially would provide the same status to Hawaiians that is given to American Indians and indigenous Alaskans. Congress has stated in numerous programs assisting Hawaiians that it was doing so not 'because of their race but because of their unique status as the indigenous people' of Hawaii." And also, "Hawaiians deserve equal treatment."
Yes, the "findings" sections of some racially exclusionary benefit bills passed by Congress have included that language. The "findings" are like a "preamble" which expresses an opinion but which has no legal force. It's like the "whereas" clauses of the apology resolution that are filled with historical falsehoods -- Congress can express its opinion to explain why it wants to do something, but Congress cannot change the truth any more than it can repeal the law of gravity. Congress does not have the authority to single out any group of people merely because they are "indigenous"; so legislation based on that assumption is subject to being challenged. That's the whole issue in the Akaka bill -- it's an attempt to make a radical change in existing laws and court precedents by exercising a brand new "power" of Congress that is not allowed to Congress in the Constitution. Such a power would be extremely dangerous and lead to great balkanization and subdivision of America as all sorts of groups of "indigenous" people would step forward to demand the same (new) "right."
Supporters of the Akaka bill say it's up to the courts to judge the (un)Constitutionality of the Akaka bill, so go ahead and pass it and then let the courts rule on it. What a dumb idea. Shoot now and ask questions later. First of all, we know how difficult it is to get a clearly unconstitutional law nullified. The Hawaii Constitution was amended in 1978 to create OHA and included the illegal provision that only ethnic Hawaiians could vote for OHA trustee. It took until 1996 for Mr. Rice to challenge the law, and then four more years of court battles until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law violated the U.S. Constitution. Meantime, hundreds of thousands of voters were denied their civil rights for 22 years. Aside from delays and injustice during on-going illegal activity, there's the responsibility of lawmakers to protect the Constitution. Every Senator and Representative takes an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and therefore has a moral obligation to vote against something that is unconstitutional.
Recent turmoil over illegal immigration provides a powerful illustration of the dangers of racial balkanization. One aspect of the Mexican "invasion" is the concept of "reconquista." There's a movement under way for many years to demand that those portions of the U.S. that were formerly a part of Mexico should now be "returned" to the "indigenous" people (Mexican descendants with at least a drop of Aztec blood) whose lands were "stolen" without compensation and whose sovereignty was engulfed by the United States without their consent. Sound familiar? The "Nation of Aztlan" believes Chicanos are entitled to cross the border to their ancestral homelands in California, Texas, etc. (sort of like some ethnic Hawaiian squatters believe they are entitled to live on the beach or on government land without a permit). See: "Hawaiian Nationalism, Chicano Nationalism, Black Nationalism, Indian Tribes, and Reparations -- Akaka Bill Sets a Precedent for the Balkanization of America (109th Congress, S.147 and H.R.309)" at http://tinyurl.com/722l4 The claim that ethnic Hawaiians are an "indigenous people" is also easy to dispute: http://tinyurl.com/33br3 Saying that "Hawaiians deserve equal treatment" with the Indian tribes presumes that Hawaiians are similar to the Indian tribes; and that is just plain false, as can be seen by looking at the seven BIA criteria mentioned earlier.
(3) The Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial says "The overthrow was clearly spearheaded by Americans living in Hawaii and backed by American troops. It was led by Honolulu publisher Lorrin Thurston, in collaboration with John Stevens, American minister under the administration of Benjamin Harrison, who said he would welcome annexation, which came five years later. Congress has apologized."
Actually, a majority of the "Committee of Safety" that led the revolution were native-born or naturalized subjects of the Kingdom, with full political rights. There was no collaboration between U.S. minister John Stevens and the Hawaiian revolutionists under Lorrin Thurston who overthrew the monarchy. The U.S. did not conspire with the revolutionists beforehand, and did not take over any buildings or provide any guns or supplies during the revolution. For 808 pages of eye-opening history, read the report of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, which spent 2 months in 1894 taking sworn testimony under cross-examination in open session regarding what approximately 160 U.S. peacekeepers did and did not do in Hawai'i (they performed the same sort of mission as American peacekeepers in Haiti and more recently in Liberia during times of political revolution). http://morganreport.org
The apology resolution of 1993 is filled with falsehoods. See Constitutional law expert Bruce Fein's point-by-point analysis contained in "Hawaii Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand" which was reprinted in its entirety in the Congressional Record http://tinyurl.com/7d6xq and see also http://tinyurl.com/qv32m Consider this. Did you ever apologize for something you never did? Did you ever have a friend who thought you had done something wrong, and was very sure of it, and kept bugging you about it, and because you valued the friendship and let bygones be bygones, you gave him an apology? But in court, if someone pleads guilty, the judge never accepts the guilty plea without first asking the defense attorney "Is there sufficient evidence to warrant the guilty plea?" The U.S. had no history-defense attorney on the Senate floor when the apology resolution was debated for one hour in 1993. Even the strongest opponent of the resolution, Sen. Slade Gorton, said he did not dispute the history in the apology bill, he only expressed concern about the balkanization it would produce, the way it would be abused by those who would cite it when making demands for reparations, and the fact that the logical consequence of the resolution would be secession. Too bad there was nobody to defend the U.S. against the false historical allegations, or to remember the Morgan Report of 99 years previously or the 1986 report of the Native Hawaiians Study Commission. The apology resolution should be repealed. The 50th anniversary of Statehood might be a good occasion to do that.
(4) The Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial says "The implication by opponents of the Akaka Bill is that any sovereign Hawaiian nation should be extended to all people who can trace their lineage to anyone living in the islands at the time of the overthrow, including those who plotted and participated in it. That would turn history on its head."
Some of the people opposing the Akaka bill, who are in favor of ripping the 50th star off the flag, say that it is true the Kingdom was multiracial, and therefore when Hawaii achieves independence, all descendants of Kingdom subjects, regardless of race, should have full political equality. But then (like the Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial) they quickly add that descendants of Kingdom "traitors" would not be entitled to any consideration. (The U.S. Constitution calls blaming the sons for the sins of their fathers "corruption of the blood" and declares it illegal).
On the face of it, the proposal to establish a political entity based on having an ancestor who was a Kingdom subject sounds fair, and not racist. However, there are both legal and moral problems with it. As an analogy, why not declare that the people in the U.S. (or in Massachusetts) who are entitled to voting rights should be only those people who have an ancestor who lived there prior to 1492 (Columbus) plus those people who have an ancestor who landed at Plymouth Rock in the Mayflower in 1620. Sounds fair, doesn't it? But in practice that would mean that only Indians and some white people would get to vote. Anyone descended only from later immigrants after 1620 is excluded. I choose the date of Columbus' arrival 1492 because it is analogous to Captain Cook's arrival 1778, which is part of the law in Hawaii defining who is "Native Hawaiian." And I use the date of the Mayflower 1620 because it is analogous to giving rights to today's people based on who had rights at a crucial turning point in history (like the Hawaiian revolution of 1893). Wasn't there actually a law passed in Massachusetts a while back that provided special political and/or economic rights to Mayflower descendants, and that law was ruled unconstitutional? By the same reasoning, an Akaka bill amended to allow tribal membership to descendants of Kingdom subjects prior to 1893 would also be illegal.
One final point regarding the alleged morality of creating a government granting political rights only to descendants of Kingdom subjects prior to 1893. That concept certainly does seem race-neutral. It clearly would do what Akaka bill supporters wrongly claim the current bill does -- it would recognize a politically defined group rather than a racially defined group. But what the advocates of that concept are not telling you, and are actually hiding from you, is that their proposal is combined with an additional concept. The concept of "indigenous rights." The concept that under "international law" (not yet actually adopted by the United Nations, but they're working on it), "indigenous" people have special rights to self-determination and to exercise political control over their ancestral lands. Thus, the "nation" envisioned by these folks would be similar to the multiracial Kingdom of Hawaii regarding voting rights and property rights; except that unlike the Kingdom of Hawaii there would be guaranteed racial supremacy for ethnic Hawaiians. Clever these guys. Hawaiian independence activists, and Akaka bill supporters, seek a system like the one in Fiji, where indigenous Fijians have guaranteed racial supremacy over Asian descendants of sugar plantation workers, and enforced that racial supremacy through a military coup after an Asian Fijian was democratically elected to the presidency. See: http://tinyurl.com/34nvz
Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D., is an independent scholar in Kaneohe, Hawaii. His Web site on Hawaiian Sovereignty is at: https://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty He can be contacted at: mailto:Ken_Conklin@yahoo.com
Honolulu Advertiser, BREAKING NEWS, Posted at 3:43 p.m., Monday, May 8, 2006
Akaka vows daily push for Native Hawaiian bill hearing
Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawai'i, said on the Senate floor today that he will speak daily on the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Action until the bill is aired in the Senate.
The move comes on the heels of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights' decision last week to recommend that the Senate not approve the bill, better known as the Akaka bill in honor of its key sponsor.
"After seven years of delay by a few of my colleagues, it is time that we are provided with the opportunity to debate this bill in the open," Akaka said on the Senate floor today. "I will be coming to the floor to talk about my bill every day until we begin debate on the bill. I will use every day to talk about what my bill does and does not do, and to respond to the outright mistruths that have been spread about the legislation."
The bill was slated to be considered by the full Senate last September but was pushed back after Hurricane Katrina and has not yet been rescheduled. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said several weeks ago that he wants to bring the bill back up after clearing other legislation for Iraq war spending, immigration changes, small business health plans and medical malpractice caps.
"I will use every day to help share Hawai'i's history with my colleagues as the opponents to this legislation have taken it upon themselves to rewrite the tragedies of Hawai'i's history in a manner that suits them for the purposes of opposing this legislation," Akaka said. "I am deeply saddened by their tactics — but I am committed to ensuring that the members of this body and all of the citizens in the United States understand Hawai'i's history and the importance of extending the federal policy of self-governance and self-determination to Hawai'i's indigenous peoples, Native Hawaiians."
Here are Akaka's complete remarks:
"Mr. President, I rise today in response to my colleague, the junior Senator from Tennessee, who spoke about legislation that is of critical importance to the people of Hawai'i, S. 147, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005. S. 147 would extend the federal policy of self-governance and self-determination to Hawaii's indigenous peoples, Native Hawaiians, by authorizing a process for the reorganization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity for the purposes of a government-to-government relationship with the United States.
"My colleague raised the actions by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights last week. The Commission issued a report in opposition to S. 147. The report was based on a briefing that was conducted on January 20, 2006.
"I am concerned about the lack of objectivity of the Commission's review. The Commission never contacted its Hawai'i Advisory Committee, which includes members who are experts in Hawai'i's history and Indian law. Not once was the advisory committee informed of the briefing or allowed to contribute to the Commission's report.
"Further, despite the fact that the Commission was provided with the substitute amendment which reflects negotiations with the Executive Branch, the Commission chose to issue its report based on the bill as reported out of committee. The substitute amendment to S. 147 will be offered when we consider the bill and reflects negotiations with the officials from the Department of Justice, Office of Management and Budget, and White House. The substitute amendment satisfactorily addresses the concerns expressed by the Bush Administration regarding liability of the U.S. government, military readiness, civil and criminal jurisdiction, and gaming. The amendment has been publicly available since September 2005 and has been widely distributed.
"I applaud the efforts of Commissioners Arlen Melendez and Michael Yaki who voted in opposition to the report and tried to inject objectivity and fairness into this process. It saddens me greatly when an independent commission begins to act in a politically motivated manner.
"Despite this fact, I remain committed to my constituents and the people of Hawai'i. I will continue to work to bring this bill to the Senate floor as has been promised by the Majority Leader and the junior Senator from Arizona. The people of Hawaii deserve no less than a debate and a vote on an issue of critical importance to them and to their state.
"When I first started my career in Congress, over 30 years ago, there was a protocol and a courtesy. If legislation was going to impact a particular state, and the leaders of that state all supported the issue, it was protocol that other Members would not interfere or obstruct efforts to legislate on behalf of that state. Unfortunately, this longstanding protocol and courtesy no longer exists.
"S. 147 is widely supported in Hawai'i. The bill enjoys the bipartisan support of my colleagues: Senators Cantwell, Coleman, Dodd, Dorgan, Graham, Inouye, Murkowski, Smith and Stevens. It is strongly supported by Hawai'i's first Republican Governor in 40 years, Linda Lingle. It is supported strongly by Hawai'i's State Legislature which has passed three resolutions in favor of extending the federal policy of self-governance and self-determination to Native Hawaiians. It is supported by almost every single political leader in Hawai'i. S. 147 is also supported by Native Hawaiians and non-Native Hawaiians.
"Why — you might ask? Because in Hawai'i, Native Hawaiian issues are nonpartisan. We have tremendous respect for the indigenous peoples who have shared their lands, traditions, and cultures with the rest of us.
"Mr. President, I have been patient, and the people of Hawai'i have been patient. For the past three years, the Majority and Democratic Leaders have been working with me to uphold a commitment that was made at the end of the 108th Congress that we would consider and vote on this bill. Unfortunately, their efforts have been thwarted by a handful of colleagues who have taken upon themselves to block this bill, despite the widespread support we have for this bill in Hawai'i.
"After seven years of delay by a few of my colleagues, it is time that we are provided with the opportunity to debate this bill in the open. I will be coming to the floor to talk about my bill every day until we begin debate on the bill. I will use every day to talk about what my bill does and does not do, and to respond to the outright mistruths that have been spread about the legislation. I will use every day to help share Hawai'i's history with my colleagues as the opponents to this legislation have taken it upon themselves to rewrite the tragedies of Hawaii's history in a manner that suits them for the purposes of opposing this legislation. I am deeply saddened by their tactics — but I am committed to ensuring that the Members of this body and all of the citizens in the United States understand Hawai'i's history and the importance of extending the federal policy of self-governance and self-determination to Hawai'i's indigenous peoples, Native Hawaiians."
** Opponents of the Akaka bill created a webpage to provide point-by-point fact-checking and rebuttal to each of Akaka's speeches as promised above. Please visit
Hawaii Reporter, May 9, 2006
The Real Akaka Bill Bias
By Don Newman
One of those things that can be counted on as consistently as the sun coming up is that any report, such as the recent U.S. Civil Rights Commission draft report, because it recommends rejection of the Akaka bill will be characterized by the latter's proponents as "biased."
In a May 3, 2006, article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin Sen. Daniel Akaka is quoted as saying, "To learn that the commission has produced a staff draft report with biased conclusions contradicts a fair process". Why is it to be automatically assumed that the draft report is based upon "biased conclusions" rather than that Sen. Akaka is operating from biased premises? Why is Akaka's opinion the only "fair" one? It is so easy to shout "bias" whenever anyone disagrees with you.
Sen. Daniel Inouye was quoted in The Honolulu Advertiser on May 5, 2006, as saying "I was dismayed to learn that the (commission) voted ... to adopt a seriously flawed report that unfairly characterizes the Akaka bill as race-based and discriminatory." The Akaka bill IS race-based and discriminatory and just saying it isn't doesn't make it so.
Using the terms "indigenous ancestry" and then by using those terms claiming that the Akaka bill doesn't establish a race-based government is simply disingenuous. Playing semantic games and playing fast and loose with language doesn't change the facts. Qualifying people according to the racial heritage, i.e., "indigenous ancestry" is, in fact, race-based criteria pure and simple.
This is one of the reasons that politics has become so dishonest and is held in such low regard by so much of the populace. Politicians say things that are clearly untrue and expect the people, simply because the politicians have said so, to believe it. Same is true for most of the editorial writers in the mainstream media. Nowhere is this more true than the editorial positions on the Akaka bill in the major daily newspapers here. They just keep making the same blind assertions over and over again.
Sen. Inouye is also reported to have said, "From what I have learned, not only does the report have significant errors of fact and history, but the process in which the commission considered the report was also highly suspect."
This is another typical tactic used by proponents of the Akaka bill. Any conclusions other than the politically correct ones are claimed to be based upon "errors of fact and history" while never identifying what these are. Once again, fact and history according to whom? While our senators would never admit it, there is significant disagreement as to what really took place at the time of the overthrow and who was truly responsible.
The Native Hawaiians Study Commission (NHSC) reached one conclusion in 1983 and because that conclusion wasn't what Daniel Akaka wanted to hear he worked for years to get the Apology Resolution passed specifically to refute that conclusion. Whatever evidence is at hand that the U.S. wasn't directly responsible for the overthrow is simply rejected out of hand. There is never any real discussion of the facts because the only facts accepted are those that arrive at the predetermined conclusion endorsed by Akaka.
The other tactic is to personally attack those who don't tow the proper line. This is the intent behind another Inouye quote about the Civil Rights commission report, "The meeting was disorganized and unprofessional; commissioners were forced to take a 10-minute break because they did not understand what they were voting on. Given those factors, how can anyone give credence to its report?"
This is very clever, call into question the professionalism of those you don't agree with. It is, of course, simply a hit piece by Inouye. If they didn't know what they were voting on then a 10-minute break wouldn't have been long enough to truly cure them of their ignorance. The assertion is, on its face, preposterous.
Not to be outdone in this department Representative Neil Abercrombie had this to say about the report "I wish they had taken a more objective approach based on history and the context of the cause that is involved with Native Hawaiians. It's very difficult sometimes for people who have a political agenda to be able to actually step back and give an objective evaluation."
Once again, first attack those that have a differing view as not being objective and not understanding history in the proper way. Then attack them personally. Only those people who disagree have a "political agenda" but Rep. Abercrombie could never be guilty of this himself, could he? This tactic is used over and over again by Inouye, Abercrombie and those of their ilk.
The comparison of Native Hawaiians indigenous status to that of Native Americans and Native Alaskans is flawed for one very important reason. The Hawaiian monarchy was not an indigenous government. It was a government that included people from all nationalities and racial composition. The idea of an indigenous Native Hawaiian government had already been given up by the Hawaiians themselves.
So the idea of returning to a Native Hawaiian government based upon indigenous ancestry is to return to something that only briefly, if ever, actually existed. That is why the insistence of Inouye and others that opposing the Akaka bill denies the historical facts is entirely wrong. They are the ones who are trying to rewrite the facts and the history.
One of the commissioners who voted against the report, Michael Yaki, makes this very error in asking "But what I wonder is if we say no (to the Akaka bill) then how do we explain to them (Native Hawaiians) why Native Americans and Native Alaskans have that right." The explanation is that the situations are not analogous. Native Americans and Alaskans have had continuous self governing entities exclusively governing their peoples all along. Native Hawaiians gave up such a form of government long before the overthrow.
All of these arguments for the Akaka bill are all red herrings to avoid this fact. Focusing on the details of the overthrow and what culpability the U.S. had, if any, are all diversions from the fact that the Hawaiian Kingdom had ceased to be a Native Hawaiian kingdom, no matter how much Hawaiians of that day, and some Hawaiians of today, dislike that fact.
To establish a government that would turn Hawaii into a two-tiered society based upon racial heritage would be one of the greatest mistakes that the United States could make. It will divide and eventually destroy the racial harmony that has existed for over a hundred years in these islands. It will set a precedent that will justify any number of groups to make the same claim about any part of the U.S.
The Native Hawaiian people live throughout the islands, side by side with those who have come from other places to live here. The Akaka bill will seek to divide those who live side by side based upon a single criteria and seek to set some of those people on one side of an imaginary line, and others on the other side of that line.
It will even set some Hawaiians against others depending upon whether or not they seek to join the newly reorganized Hawaiian government, giving special preferences and benefits to those that do join and penalizing those that don't, even though their heritage is exactly the same. If our elected officials cannot see that this is simply wrong then the people of Hawaii should demand a vote on the issue to make it clear to them whether the people think it is wrong or not.
This is little doubt about how that vote would come out which is why they are trying to impose the Akaka bill from the top down, by Congressional mandate, in the first place. Otherwise they wouldn't be afraid of a vote of the people first.
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: mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org
West Hawaii Today (Kona), Tuesday, May 9, 2006
Senators skirmish over Akaka bill
by Steve Tetreault
Stephens Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON -- Senators skirmished over federal recognition for Native Hawaiians on Monday in the wake of a civil rights report that urged Congress to reject the concept.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said in a Senate speech the report issued Thursday by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission confirmed the views of critics who believe a Native Hawaiian self-government bill sponsored by Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, is discriminatory and divisive.
"I hope my colleagues will agree with the civil rights commission and oppose this legislation," Alexander said in a Senate speech.
"This bill would create a separate, independent, race-based government for Native Hawaiians," Alexander said. "Our Constitution guarantees just the reverse: equal opportunity without regard to race."
Alexander's remarks prompted Akaka to rush to the Senate floor for rebuttal. He said the civil rights commission "lacked objectivity," focused on an outdated version of the bill, and failed to consult its Hawaii advisory board of experts on Hawaiian history.
"It really saddens me when an independent commission begins to act in a politically motivated matter," Akaka said.
The Akaka bill would put in place a process for Native Hawaiians to form a government entity and to win formal recognition from the U.S. government.
The civil rights panel concluded the measure "would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."
Supporters of the Akaka bill described the report as a potential blow giving ammunition to critics. On Monday, Alexander became the first lawmaker to wield the findings in opposition to the bill.
Senate leaders have delayed formal debate of the Hawaiian bill. In the meantime, critics have questioned whether it would be constitutional, and its potential impact on land issues and gambling within the state.
Jon Yoshimura, Akaka's communications director, said the senator was hopeful to begin debate shortly before or after Memorial Day, although his bill has not been officially scheduled.
Akaka said he will deliver Senate speeches daily until the bill is brought up for debate.
"I will use every day to talk about what my bill does and does not do and to respond to the outright mistruths that have been spread about the legislation," he said.
Akaka also lamented the passing of Senate "courtesy" where home state bills favored by a congressional delegation would not be blocked by other senators. He said the Native Hawaiian bill should fit that description.
"It was protocol that other members would not interfere or obstruct efforts to legislate on behalf on that state," Akaka said. "Unfortunately this longstanding courtesy, I am ashamed to say, does not exist."
In his speech, Alexander said the Native Hawaiian bill would have broad implications beyond the state.
"If the bill establishing a 'Native Hawaiian' government were to pass, it would have the dubious honor of being the first to create a separate nation within the United States," Alexander said.
"While Congress has recognized pre-existing American Indian tribes before, it has never created a new one," he said. "This is a dangerous precedent."
Responding to Senator Akaka's announcement that he will speak on the Senate floor every day to push the Akaka bill, Honolulu Star-Bulletin artist Corky published this cartoon on Wednesday, May 10. Original URL is
[Press release directly from Senator Akaka's website]
May 12, 2006
Senate to Consider Akaka Bill in June
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Senate will consider S. 147, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, when it returns from its May recess. Today, Senator Daniel K. Akaka announced on the Senate floor that during the first week in June, the Majority Leader will file the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 147. A vote on the motion will occur 48 hours after it is filed.
Senator Akaka stated, "I want to express my sincerest appreciation to our Majority and Democratic Leaders for working with me and Hawaii's senior Senator on scheduling the Senate's consideration of S. 147, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005.
"I look forward to this opportunity to finally discuss S. 147. As my colleagues have heard over the past week, this is an issue of importance to all of the people of Hawaii, and this is not a native versus non-native issue in Hawaii. Rather, this is about authorizing a process for the people of Hawaii to be able to address longstanding issues resulting from a tragic, poignant period in our history. This is about establishing parity for Hawaii's indigenous peoples in federal policies. This is about clarifying the existing political and legal relationship between Native Hawaiians and the United States.
"Again, I express my deep appreciation to our Majority and Democratic Leaders and to the cosponsors of this legislation for helping to work out this agreement. I also want to express my deep appreciation to Hawaii's senior Senator who has stood firm with me as we have sought to do what is right for the people of Hawaii. Passing this bill will make it right."
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 12, 2006, EDITORIAL
Akaka's daily pleas might help sovereignty
Senator Akaka has begun giving daily speeches on the Senate floor to urge enactment of Hawaiian sovereignty.
FRUSTRATED by tactics that have blocked congressional action on his Hawaiian sovereignty bill, Senator Akaka has begun pleading his case for the bill on a daily basis from the Senate floor. The desperate strategy may be necessary for the bill to receive a Senate vote and for Akaka to counter accusations that his seniority in Congress has been ineffective.
Rating Akaka as one of the five worst senators, Time magazine described him last month as "a master of the minor resolution and the bill that dies in committee." The magazine noted he has "struggled" to win approval of "a bill that would provide increased autonomy to the islands," a clumsy reference to the Akaka Bill.
Akaka's daily speeches thus far are anything but confrontational, in tune with his collegial and affectionate manner. He thanked Majority Leader Bill Frist for "working to uphold his commitment" to bring the Akaka Bill to the floor and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., the chief obstructionist, for working "to uphold his promise to allow the bill to come to the floor for debate and roll call vote."
Akaka's speeches might begin a robust floor debate. On its second day, his speech was preceded by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., likening the bill to recognizing Hispanics who lived in Texas before it became a republic in 1836 or giving tribal status to Amish or Hassidic Jews.
If the Akaka Bill reaches the Senate floor, the vote could be close. Akaka said this week that it has bipartisan support in the Senate, citing support from four Republican senators. For its enactment, six Republicans must vote in favor of the bill if it receives solid support from Democrats and the Senate's one independent.
Watching from across Capitol Hill will be Rep. Ed Case, challenging Akaka in his re-election bid in November. Case says it is time for Hawaii to begin building seniority in the Senate for the next generation.
Senator Akaka has promised to speak daily regarding S. 147, aka the Akaka Bill. Coming on the heels of a damning report released by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, it represents a new tactic for a troubled bill. As time permits, we will analyze Senator Akaka's remarks, and hope to present readers with timely corrections to historical errors Senator Akaka makes, as well as additional commentary that may be helpful in understanding the issues.
** Includes links to the USCCR report, and links to corrections and comments to every daily speech by Senator Akaka in which he supports his bill
HawaiiReporter, May 12, 2006
Put All Citizens on Same Footing
By John Dendahl, 5/12/2006
"Multiculturalism" has a nice ring, no? I argue here to the contrary, that this term has been hi-jacked to cover an un-American trend boding nothing but ill.
Immigration talk is all the rage these days in the U.S. Senate. Nothing's wrong with that; the subject is long overdue on Congress' agenda.
It is an outrageous insult to the rule of law that something like 12 million people are illegally in our country, with every night bringing more.
However, illegals are just part — and perhaps not even the most important part — of the immigration debate.
Most public conversation centers on two things, security and economics. I propose that non-assimilation is a greater threat to our culture and way of life than either. Further, the implications of this subject go well beyond Americanizing new arrivals, whether legal or not.
About the time New Mexico was becoming a state, President Theodore Roosevelt said, "There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. … Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. … The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities."
These days, one should add "cultures" and "religions" to "nationalities."
Congress also has under consideration legislation known as the Akaka Bill for its sponsor, Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, to enable Hawaii to cre-ate a separate government for "native Hawaiians." Since I have written fairly recently about this Balkanizing mischief, I'll be brief here.
Much rationale for a native Hawaiian government is derived from the so-called sovereignty of American Indian tribes. Sure, there might be a nice symmetry in creating for natives in the 50th state something like those in the other 49.
The problem begging for correction is asymmetry in the 49. Another wrong isn't going to make an awful situation right. Instead of the Akaka Bill, Congress should be considering the steps necessary to put all Americans, including aboriginals, on the same citizenship footing. That's a tall order and would take decades to accomplish equitably for all. It is, however, the right direction.
One can imagine how long it would take following enactment of the Akaka Bill— about a New York minute — for Chicano leaders in "Aztlan" to demand one or more separate governments. Aztlan, by the way, is what this crowd calls Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, California, Oregon and part of Washington.
Now, while we're at war with radical Islam, some American Muslims are busy planning enclaves to be governed under Islamic law. We're all about to get an eye-popping new focus on the Establish-ment and Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment. See www.meforum.org/article/920
Teddy Roosevelt had it right. America is now under the cultural assault that he identified as "the one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin." Illegal immigration is but a small, important part.
Lifelong New Mexican John Dendahl is a retired executive and political leader and a member of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii Advisory Board. Reach him via email at mailto:email@example.com
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, May 13, 2006
Akaka bill may be debated in June
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Supporters and opponents of a Native Hawaiian recognition bill are preparing for pitched battle after yesterday's news that the long-stalled measure could be debated on the floor of the U.S. Senate in early June.
Sen. Daniel Akaka, chief sponsor of the bill, announced on the Senate floor that when the senators return from their May recess, Majority Leader Bill Frist will petition for a procedural move known as cloture to force the bill to the floor despite opponents' objections. Approval of the petition by 60 of the 100 senators would force a vote on the bill, which would establish a federally recognized Native Hawaiian entity.
Akaka and other supporters have fought for six years to get the measure passed. In his prepared text of remarks made to colleagues on the Senate floor, Akaka said: "This is an issue of importance to all of the people of Hawai'i, and this is not a native versus non-native issue in Hawai'i. Rather, this is about authorizing a process for the people of Hawai'i to be able to address longstanding issues resulting from a tragic, poignant period in our history."
DELAYS LAST YEAR
A vote on the bill had been expected last summer but half a dozen Republican senators blocked it. Frist had promised a vote on cloture during the fall but the Senate became preoccupied with Hurricane Katrina relief.
A cloture procedure, if approved, would open the way for up to 30 hours of Senate debate, essentially halting other business. An attempt to reach Frist's office for comment yesterday was unsuccessful.
Congress is scheduled to go back into session on June 5. The Senate may hold the vote on cloture the following day, which could lead to the bill being debated as early as June 8.
Leaders of various factions were reluctant yesterday to predict the outcome of the cloture vote.
"It is time for us to pull out all of the stops and get all of the senators convinced and get educated on the issue," said Clyde Namu'o, administrator of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which has been among the main backers of federal recognition.
H. William Burgess, of the group Aloha For All, which opposes the bill, said he has no plans to fly to Washington to lobby senators. Nonetheless, he said, "It behooves us all to get out as much public education about what the bill would actually do and what the actual impact on Hawai'i would be."
Namu'o said he and OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona flew to Washington and met with Frist on Thursday. Also sitting in during the half-hour meeting was local filmmaker Edgy Lee, who produced the movie "Hawaiians Reflecting Spirit," which looks into the pursuit of sovereignty by Hawaiians, Namu'o said.
While Frist has not seen the 56-minute film, people close to the majority leader did. "His friends were moved by it and encouraged him to meet with us," Namu'o said.
"We told him that people who have worked with him and for him have told us that he is a man of honor and we really wanted to reaffirm his commitment to bring up the bill," Namu'o said.
Frist told them at the end of the meeting that the cloture vote would take place the week after Memorial Day, he said.
The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, also known as the Akaka bill, creates a process that would eventually lead to the establishment of a Native Hawaiian government that would be recognized by the U.S. government.
It's been a tumultuous few weeks for the bill after months of inactivity. On May 4, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights voted to recommend that Congress not pass the bill.
A draft of the commission's report said the measure "would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."
While opponents of the bill applauded the recommendation, the conclusion was rejected by two of the seven commission members. Members of a local advisory panel of the commission also denounced it for failing to consider their views.
On Monday, the usually mild-mannered Akaka vowed to take to the Senate floor each day to educate his colleagues about the details of the bill and the issue of sovereignty until a cloture vote was scheduled, a promise he kept through yesterday.
"This is about establishing parity for Hawai'i's indigenous peoples in federal policies," he said. "This is about clarifying the existing political and legal relationship between Native Hawaiians and the United States."
Burgess' group believes the bill is race-based and would set a dangerous precedent for the United States. Burgess said he expects the commission's recommendation to have a "huge" impact on senators who may be undecided.
"This is the agency whose main job is to review proposed actions and events and determine whether they are in accordance with the civil rights laws of the United States," he said.
Ikaika Hussey of Hui Pu, an umbrella group of Hawaiian organizations that oppose the Akaka bill, said senators should hold a hearing in Hawai'i before voting on it. They would find that many who support the measure are out to protect their entitlement programs while there are many others who believe the bill does not go far enough in addressing the concerns of Hawaiians, he said.
"It is a welfare approach to Native Hawaiians," Hussey said. "More glaringly, this bill would close off any land claims which is at the heart of the sovereignty issue."
Gov. Linda Lingle said she does not plan to travel to Washington for the expected vote but will send letters to Republican senators repeating her support for the bill. She said she will also send an analysis by state Attorney General Mark Bennett that counters criticisms made in the civil rights commission report.
The governor said she will also try to speak with the Republican co-sponsors of the bill and keep in contact with Akaka about any other role she might play.
"We continue to support this bill and we think it's important," Lingle said.
Staff writer Derrick DePledge contributed to this report.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 13, 2006
Commission's findings clarify position on Akaka Bill
by Tom Macdonald
In an unusual move, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission issued its recommendation against congressional passage of the Akaka Bill without including its "Findings" (from the commission's briefing) that led it to recommend against passage. It appears that the commission deleted the "Findings" from its report because of allegations of inaccuracies about Hawaiian history, particularly the existence or nonexistence of a native Hawaiian governing entity after the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. Senator Inouye was among those making such allegations, as was the local Civil Rights Advisory Committee. But to my knowledge, no specific inaccuracies have yet been pointed out in print.
Anyone who has been in Hawaii more than a year or two is well aware of the continuing debate about whether or not U.S. armed forces played an active role supporting the revolution or were simply present as neutral peacekeepers to protect the lives and property of American citizens present in Hawaii at the time. In recent years, the local press has been filled with pieces debating which contemporary congressional report on the 1893 events is accurate, and which U.S. president's reaction to the events was the correct one. After more than a century of debate, it is unlikely that the matter will ever be conclusively decided.
But the commission's findings focus on the present and the future, and make only passing references to Hawaiian history. They focus on equal rights for all U.S. citizens going forward, not on any possible injustices in the past. Accordingly, it is appropriate for some of the key findings from the commission's draft report be made available to Hawaii's citizens.
Here are a few of the key findings that were deleted from its final report:
» "Using ancestry as a proxy for race, (the Akaka Bill) would ... establish an impermissible racial preference in the establishment and operation of a governing entity."
» "The Office of Hawaiian Affairs currently administers a racial preference system in the form of a substantial public trust. ... (The Akaka Bill) appears to be an effort to preserve that system in the face of anticipated constitutional challenges."
» "Like numerous Native American groups seeking tribal status, a Native Hawaiian entity would fail to meet several mandatory criteria":
-- Requirement that the entity seeking recognition have continuously been identified as a (tribal) entity since 1900
-- (Requirement that the entity) has existed predominantly as a distinct community
-- (Requirement that the entity) has exercised political influence over its members as an autonomous entity.
» "Allotting benefits on the basis of race, in the situation where a Native Hawaiian entity had not satisfied the regulatory standards for federal recognition (as an Indian tribe), would invoke heightened scrutiny and would likely be declared unconstitutional."
» "For Native Americans, the Indian Civil Rights Act specifically incorporates the constitutional protections of the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments and the civil rights protections of federal legislation. No equivalent protections would extend to Native Hawaiians under the (Akaka Bill)."
The excerpts from the findings cited above are just a few highlights from a closely reasoned summary of conclusions reached by the commission after reviewing voluminous testimony, written and oral, from both proponents and opponents of the Akaka Bill during the past several years.
The full text of the testimony and briefings can be viewed at www.usccr.gov. Under "Recent Commission Reports," click on "Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005."
** Note from Ken Conklin: The entire draft report, which includes the findings (deleted from the final report in a bow to political correctness), is at
Hawaii Tribune-Herald (Hilo), May 13, 2006
Senate to hear Akaka bill
Legislation to allow Hawaiian recognition will be debated and voted upon
by Nancy Cook Lauer
Stephens Honolulu Bureau
HONOLULU -- It's been stalled by opponents, delayed by a hurricane and blasted by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission for being discriminatory.
But next month, six years after it passed the U.S. House, a bill paving the way for Native Hawaiian self-rule will finally get its chance in the Senate. That's according to an announcement Friday by Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, the sponsor of S. 147, the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill, popularly known as the Akaka bill.
Akaka said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., will file a motion to invoke cloture on the bill the first week of June, when Congress returns from its May recess. A vote on the motion will occur 48 hours after it is filed, he said. Frist's office did not return telephone calls and e-mails Friday.
A cloture motion forces debate and a vote. Akaka is "very optimistic" about getting the 60 votes needed to move the bill forward, said spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz.
If Akaka prevails in the Senate, the bill must also be passed by the House, which approved a different version in 2000.
Akaka, irked by the civil rights panel report last week criticizing the bill as discriminatory and divisive, took to the Senate floor for daily speeches endorsing the bill this week. He said the commission "lacked objectivity," focused on an outdated version of the bill and failed to consult its Hawaii advisory board of experts on Hawaiian history.
"As my colleagues have heard over the past week, this is an issue of importance to all of the people of Hawaii, and this is not a native versus non-native issue in Hawaii," Akaka said in a statement. "This is about establishing parity for Hawaii's indigenous peoples in federal policies. This is about clarifying the existing political and legal relationship between Native Hawaiians and the United States."
The Akaka bill would put in place a process for the estimated 400,000 Native Hawaiians to form a government entity and to win formal recognition from the U.S. government. It would establish an office in the Department of Interior for Hawaiian issues and create an interagency group to monitor programs and policies that affect Native Hawaiians.
Advocates say that Congress has identified Hawaiians through more than 160 laws and statutes, as well as issued an apology for overthrowing their Kingdom in 1893.
But the bill goes too far for its opponents in Hawaii and on Capitol Hill, where conservatives argue that it would discriminate against non-Hawaiians.
Kaneohe resident Kenneth Conklin, an opponent, keeps a Web site logging actions on the Akaka bill and other Native Hawaiian issues. He said some Hawaii lawmakers made "backroom deals" for votes, by voting in favor of oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge in return for the Alaska senators supporting the Akaka bill, for example.
"It is unfortunate that some senators who would normally oppose racial separatism or balkanization seem to have made deals with the Hawaii delegation," Conklin said. "We are hopeful the bill will be defeated on principle despite backroom deals."
The bill was revised in September after negotiations between Akaka and the White House and the Department of Justice. Changes include stronger language prohibiting the establishment of gaming and barring Native Hawaiians from making claims against federal or state governments in court.
U.S. Rep. Ed Case, a Democrat whose district includes rural Oahu and the neighbor islands, is challenging Akaka for his Senate seat. All politics aside, Case said, all four Hawaii members of Congress are united on the Akaka bill. Case is a co-sponsor of the House version of the bill.
"The four of us have long argued that the overall strategy should be it pass the Senate before the House," Case said. "Notwithstanding the race that we have, I think it's a good development, although the outcome of the cloture vote is anything but certain."
The Maui News, Tuesday, May 16, 2006
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Web page established to contradict Sen. Dan Akaka
Sen. Dan Akaka says he will give a speech every day to "educate" his colleagues about the Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill, S.147. His speeches are filled with errors and distortions.
This bill would be disastrous to Hawaii and all of America.
A Web page (
) has been created to provide corrections and comments to Sen. Akaka's speeches. The Web page also includes the report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights strongly advising senators to vote against the bill and the speech by Sen. Lamar Alexander citing that report.
All five Akaka speeches from the week of May 15 have been analyzed. The Web page will be updated within a few hours after every new speech.
For a five-paragraph summary of what's bad about the Akaka Bill, with extensive documentation of main points, see
Kenneth R. Conklin
Hawaii Reporter, May 16, 2006
Akaka Bill is Back
What Crimes Did Native Hawaiians Commit to 'Deserve' Being Condemned to Live Under Corrupt Tribal Politicians and Their Cronies?
By Andrew Walden
The Akaka Bill is back, scheduled for debate on the floor of the U.S. Senate in early June. Bill sponsor, U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka says, "This is about establishing parity for Hawaii's indigenous peoples in federal policies."
Native Hawaiians may want to consider whether "parity" with American Indians is desirable. Are Native Hawaiians to be "privileged" --or held back-- by the Akaka Bill? Native American Indian reservations are not exactly a great model of success—they are often characterized by poverty and corruption, often with dictatorial rule by entrenched tribal power elites and little possibility of appeal to outside oversight.
Some say that is precisely why Hawaii's political elite are almost unanimously lined up behind the Akaka Bill. Anti-Akaka activist Ken Conklin, calls the bill "racist" and argues: "The (Akaka) bill would allow a few thousand people….(t)he fat-cats who run the big Hawaiian institutions, plus their employees and institutionalized dependents….to create a "tribe" and get federal recognition as speaking on behalf of all 401,000 Hawaiians."
The Akaka Bill does not aim to resolve the numerous practical issues facing a new Hawaiian government. Instead it establishes an electoral framework by which these issues can be decided by native Hawaiians in negotiation with the federal and state government. Only those who register with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs' (OHA) Kau Inoa signup program will be eligible to participate.
According to OHA, only 42,000 have registered with Kau Inoa as of December, 2005. This is only 10.5 percent of all Native Hawaiians. If the Akaka Bill passes, the Kau Inoa signers would become the electorate which determines the fate of the 401,000.
Efforts to pass the Akaka Bill will be hampered by the negative recommendation of the US Civil Rights Commission which voted 5 to 2 against Senate passage of "the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, or any other legislation that would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."
An audacious polling effort during last year's Senate Committee debate on the Akaka Bill, calling every single household in Hawaii, and gaining responses from 39,000 of the total 280,000 households, showed strong opposition to passage of the Akaka Bill S147/HR 309. The poll was commissioned by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.
Polling was conducted by FEC Research between June 29 and July 10, 2005. When asked, "Do you want Congress to approve the Akaka Bill?" only 33.2 percent of responding registered voters answered "yes," 66.8 percent said "no."
The result from 2,993 respondents identifying themselves as Native Hawaiians is that only 52.5 percent support the Akaka Bill while 47.5 percent oppose it.
Since politicians chase votes, and the Akaka Bill seems to be unpopular with voters, why is there nearly unanimous support for the Akaka Bill for Hawaii's political class? Why would "fat cats" want a tribal government for Hawaiians?
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 the corrupt doings which were soon to be exposed as the "Broken trust" scandal. 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 Hawai`i 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;
* 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.
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. This is not just coincidence.
Over 100 Hawaii Democrat politicians have been charged, convicted and sentenced for campaign spending violations and other illegal political schemes since 1997. Many of these individuals remain active in Hawaii businesses and politics. They form a cadre of corrupt opportunity seekers. A tribal government is an opportunity for all of them. Tribal governments are conduits for billions of dollars in federal pork-barrel spending.
In addition to Kamehameha Schools, other institutions and corporations could be shielded from State and Federal oversight by a "tribal" government. Sandwich Isles Communications is a $500 million boondoggle run by cronies of Senator Clayton Hee (D-Kahuku), which provides high speed internet links to Hawaiian Homelands at a cost estimated at $93,000 per lot or $278,000 per actual connection. Those costs are paid by federal tax dollars.
The Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC), funded by OHA, is deeply involved in efforts to utilize Hawaiian claims to extort millions from developers and other businesses—including the Hokulia case.
Developers of Hokulia, a luxury subdivision on the Kona side of the Big Island, was forced to fork out $200 million in a March 14 agreement approved by Judge Ronald Ibarra in order to placate activists who fought against the development until the cash was paid.
On the day before the settlement was formalized by Ibarra, according to a Temporary Restraining Order taken out by his 76-year-old mother, Pansy Medeiros, Hokulia plaintiff Jim Medeiros Sr. stormed into a ho`oponopono family mediation meeting and declared: "`I `oki (divorce) from you Ma, I don't need you f***ing b*****s anymore. I'm into the money now you f***ers."
Legalized extortion destroys Hawaiian culture, rather than preserving it.
OHA Chief Counsel, Robert Klein was an associate justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court until he resigned on Feb. 1, 2000—just as the Akaka Bill was being drafted. He authored the PASH decision in 1995, which says, "western understandings of property law … are not universally applicable in Hawaii." The PASH decision forms the legal underpinnings for the Hokulia case and all similar efforts to extract money from developers.
NHLC is also part of efforts to demand payoffs from life science products derived from endemic Hawaii species.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is preparing to become the "tribal governing entity" in a post-Akaka Hawaii. A sharply worded April, 2005 report, issued by State Auditor Marion M. Higa, states that, "OHA's casual administration of its finances does not demonstrate respect for its fiduciary duty to all Hawaiians. Certain …trustee expenditures appear questionable… (OHA planning) ... has shortcomings and its goals are not being systematically brought to fruition." After 25 years of operation, the Audit says, "OHA continues to operate like a fledgling agency."
If this is how OHA operates while under State control, how would it operate when independent?
The title of a recent speech by Senator Akaka is, "Hawaiians Deserve Recognition from Federal Government." One may ask: What crime did Hawaiians commit to ‘deserve' being condemned to live under the thumb of corrupt tribal politicians and their cronies?
Hawaii Reporter, May 17, 2006
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Report on the Akaka Bill Fails Native People of Hawaii
By Mark J. Bennett
Editor's note: This is a "Brief Response" sent by the State Attorney General Mark Bennett to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in response to its draft report on S 147 otherwise known as the Akaka Bill, which is pending a vote in the Senate this June.
* 1. The Commission's report and its conclusion evidence a complete lack of understanding of this country's longstanding practice of dealing specially with its native peoples. It ignores the undisputed history of suffering, and political and cultural devastation foisted upon the Native Hawaiian people. And under the guise of lessening discrimination, it ironically ends up effecting the most patent discrimination by denying the Native Hawaiian people the recognition and self-governing structure that virtually all other native peoples have had for decades.
* 2. The report wrongly suggests the Akaka Bill creates a race-based government and segregates people by race. In fact, participation in the Native Hawaiian Governing Entity is limited to descendants of the native indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands, a status Congress has itself characterized as being non-racial, and which is consistent with over a century of United States Supreme Court precedent upholding the special status of this country's other native peoples. Native Hawaiians, like Native Americans and Alaska Natives, have been recognized by Congress as having a special political relationship with the United States.
* 3. The Commission's emphasis on the Supreme Court's Rice v. Cayetano decision plainly misses the mark, as Rice made no distinction whatsoever between American Indian tribes and Native Hawaiians. Rice therefore provides no justification for denying Native Hawaiians the same recognition other Native Americans long ago received.
* 4. Hawaiians are not asking for "special" treatment -- they're simply asking to be treated the same way all other indigenous Americans are treated in this country. Congress has recognized the great suffering American Indians and Alaska Natives have endured upon losing control of their native lands, and has, as a consequence, provided formal recognition to those native peoples. Hawaiians are simply asking for comparable recognition, as the native peoples of the Hawaiian Islands who have suffered similar hardships, and who today continue to be at the bottom in most socioeconomic statistics.
* 5. The Constitution gives Congress broad latitude to recognize native groups, and the Supreme Court has declared that it is for Congress, and not the courts, to decide which native peoples will be recognized, and to what extent. The only limitation is that Congress may not act "arbitrarily" in recognizing an Indian tribe. Because Native Hawaiians are not only indigenous, but also share with other Native Americans a similar tragic history of dispossession, cultural disruption, and loss of full self-determination, it would be "arbitrary" to not recognize Native Hawaiians.
* 6. The commission suggests that Native Hawaiians do not fall within Congress's power to deal specially with "Indian Tribes," because Native Hawaiians cannot be deemed "Indian Tribes," given the lack of a continuously existing self-governing entity. If Native Hawaiians do not have a continuously existing self-governing structure today, it is only because the United States participated in the elimination of that self-governing entity, by facilitating the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and later annexing the Hawaiian Islands. Unlike other Native Americans who were allowed to retain some measure of sovereignty, Congress did not leave Native Hawaiians with any sovereignty whatsoever. It cannot be that the United States' complete destruction of Hawaiian self-governance prevents Congress from ameliorating the consequences of its own actions by trying to restore some small measure of sovereignty to the Native Hawaiian people. (Note: the terms "Indian" and "tribe" at the time of the framing of the Constitution simply referred to distinct aboriginal inhabitants of our frontiers, which Native Hawaiians surely are.)
* 7. The commission ignores the fact that Congress has already recognized Native Hawaiians to a large degree, by not only repeatedly singling out Native Hawaiians for special treatment, either uniquely, or in concert with other Native Americans, but by acknowledging on many occasions a "special relationship" with, and trust obligation to, Native Hawaiians. In fact, Congress has repeatedly stated that "the political status of Native Hawaiians is comparable to that of American Indians." The Akaka Bill simply takes this recognition one step further, by providing Native Hawaiians with the means to re-organize a formal self-governing entity, something Native Americans and Native Alaskans have had for decades.
* 8. The commission suggests that because the government of the Kingdom of Hawaii was itself not racially exclusive, that it would be inappropriate to recognize a governing entity limited to Native Hawaiians. This objection is absurd. The fact that Native Hawaiians, over one hundred years ago, were enlightened enough to maintain a government that was open to participation by non-Hawaiians, should not deprive Native Hawaiians today of the recognition they deserve. Indeed, it is quite ironic that those who oppose the Akaka Bill as racist would use Native Hawaiians' historical inclusiveness as a reason to deny Native Hawaiians the recognition other native groups receive. (Note: American Indian tribes have often included non-Indians within their tribes, too, yet non-Indian tribal members have been permissibly excluded from having special status.).
* 9. The commission also expresses concern that there is nothing to ensure that the Native Hawaiian Governing Entity will protect civil rights, but in fact the Secretary of the Interior must certify that civil rights are protected before certifying the organic governing documents.
* 10. In sum, there is simply no legal or moral distinction between Native Hawaiians and American Indians or Alaska Natives, that would justify denying Native Hawaiians the same treatment other Native American groups in this country currently enjoy. As a result, the commission's reasoning poses a threat to American Indians and Alaska Natives as well, which perhaps explains in part why these groups are overwhelmingly in support of the Akaka Bill.
* 11. Formal recognition will help preserve the language, identity, and culture of Native Hawaiians, and ultimately ensure the survival of this great people. The commission turns a blind eye to the sufferings of the Native Hawaiian people, and attacks a bill that merely seeks to provide some remedy for that suffering.
Honolulu Reporter, May 17, 2006
Attorney General Fails People of Hawaii on Akaka Bill Issue
By Jack Schneider
The Attorney General of Hawaii opines in his editorial "U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Report on the Akaka Bill Fails Native People of Hawaii" that the Constitution grants wide latitude for Congress to give away the rights of some to benefit others simply because of his definition of "the sufferings of the Native Hawaiian people".
An attorney must understand the role of historical experience in the development of our legal systems. Historical experience is the basis for the US Constitution and for the constitutions of many other nations. Common Law is built on experience and rulings. To now suggest that ancient suffering is rationale enough to void equal rights protections developed through the centuries of experience; turns logic upside-down.
Congress, the Attorney General, and all the supporters of the Akaka Bill should recognize that with a vote in 1959 Hawaii became a State. That vote set up a compact between the people of Hawaii and the Government of the State of Hawaii. The statehood vote made all Hawaii voters (residents) the beneficiaries and owners of this State. Changes to the ownership structure of this state, and the Akaka Bill is a significant change, should first be subject to a vote of the voters.
After all, establishment of OHA came about through a constitutional vote of acceptance. With a vote, true reconciliation might be possible. Without a vote reconciliation will need to be imposed by the courts.
This seems to be the route the Attorney General prefers; a prolonged legal action to reasoned voter consultation. Noting that the Akaka Bill has not had a public hearing in Hawaii for years nor has ever been subject to a vote by the people of Hawaii demonstrates that the proponents seek to avoid voter views instead of seeking voter guidance and approval.
With a vote by the owners of the State of Hawaii that clearly accepts the act of creating an ethnic tribe, endowed with the transfer of specific public lands and/or money, Hawaii as a State stands a chance of continuing as a racial melting pot with ALOHA for all. Without such a vote we insure that one group is set up legislatively, at the expense of the others, to have special privileges defended by the courts. The long-term result of such arrogant use of legislative power will be to erode the confidence of those not selected for special treatment in the entire system of laws made legislatively and judicially.
Hawaii must use voter consultation, not legislative, executive, or judicial action, to guarantee that Hawaii is a State with justice for all. The Attorney General should instead be asking the Legislature to amend our State Constitution, which would be subject to approval by Hawaii voters, to accomplish his purposes and not by going to Washington to get an outside "solution" imposed.
Jack Schneider is the chairman of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a board member of Small Business Hawaii, and owner of JS Services. He can be reached via email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Corrections and comments to Attorney General Bennett's essay, written by Jere Krischel and Ken Conklin, are available at:
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Native Hawaiian recognition up for Senate debate
A new report from the U.S. Civil Rights
Commission is galvanizing supporters
and opponents of Native Hawaiian recognition as a
bill to extend the
self-governance policy to the island's indigenous
people heads for a vote.
Earlier this month, the panel issued a briefing
that called for the
rejection of S.174, the Native Hawaiian
Government Reorganization Act. The
Republican-dominated commission said the measure
discriminates on the basis
of race and divides Americans into different
classes with "varying degrees
"This runs counter to the basic American value
that the government should
not prefer one race over another," said Gerald A.
Reynolds, the chairman of
the commission and a Republican who was appointed
by President Bush.
But not all members of the panel agreed with the
assessment. Arlan Melendez,
the chairman of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony in
Nevada who was appointed by
Congress and identifies himself as a Democrat,
voted against the report. So
did Michael Yaki, another Democrat and
Congressional appointee to the
commission. Melendez and Yaki, an attorney, are
expected to file dissents to
the report that are due by tomorrow.
Yet another member, Peter Kirsanow, a Republican
lawyer who was appointed by
President Bush, abstained from voting. Kirsanow
currently serves on the
National Labor Relations Board, a federal entity
that is engaged in battles
with tribes over sovereignty.
The disagreement highlights the controversial
nature of the Native Hawaiian
recognition bill. Conservative Republicans have
launched a campaign to
ensure its defeat, arguing that a Native Hawaiian
government is illegal
because they say it would be based on race.
"Ours is a nation based not upon race, not upon
ethnicity, not upon national
origin, but upon our shared values, enshrined in
our founding documents, the
Declaration of Independence and the Constitution,
upon our history as a
nation, and upon our shared language, English,"
said Sen. Lamar Alexander
(R-Tennessee) in a speech on the Senate floor the
day the report was
With the bill headed for debate next month, Sen.
Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii),
the sponsor of S.174, has embarked on his own
campaign to dispel what he
says are myths and misconceptions about Native
Hawaiian recognition. He
called the commission's report biased and
inadequate because it was based on
"The commission never contacted its Hawaii
Advisory Committee, which
includes members who are experts in Hawaii's
history and Indian law," Akaka
said on the Senate floor. "Not once was the
advisory committee informed of
the briefing or allowed to contribute to the
The commission held a session on January 20,
2006, on Native Hawaiian
recognition. People on both sides of the issue
were equally represented
although the majority of comments received from
the public were in
opposition to the bill.
Despite the diverse views, the commission's
report fails to explain a key
legal and political question: whether Native
Hawaiian recognition differs
from recognition of American Indians and Alaska
Natives. The report
discusses the arguments on both sides of this
particular question but
doesn't provide a justification for excluding
Native Hawaiians from
self-determination and self-governance.
The disconnect posed problems for Melendez, whose
questions during the
January meeting underscored the possibility that
opponents of Native
Hawaiians would turn their sights on tribes and
Alaska Natives and argue
that their governments are illegal as well.
"I think that [Native Hawaiians aren't] asking
for anything different than
what Native American tribes in the United States
have been granted,"
Melendez said, according to the minutes of the
meeting. "And I don't see a
lot of differences in the way that they've been
H. Christopher Bartolomucci, a law professor at
Georgetown University who
testified at the meeting, pointed out that the
federal government in the
past terminated its relationship with tribes and
Alaska Natives. But he said
the tribes and Alaska Natives never lost their
sovereignty and argued that
Native Hawaiians haven't either.
"I find this somewhat ironic that it's okay to
treat as Indian tribes, those
tribes that we pushed off their lands and put
into reservations," he said.
"But if we went even further and we took away
their sovereignty, if we
overthrew a monarchy, if we did even more then we
can't treat them as a
tribe, we can't give fairness to that kind of
Those kinds of issues are likely to arise on the
Senate floor. This past
Friday, Akaka said the bill will be debated
during the first week of June.
"This is about establishing parity for Hawaii's
indigenous peoples in
federal policies," he said. "This is about
clarifying the existing political
and legal relationship between Native Hawaiians
and the United States."
Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, May 18, 2006
Lingle lobbies for Akaka bill
• PDF: State's response to U.S. Civil Rights Commission
• PDF: Gov. Linda Lingle's letter to Republican Senators
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Gov. Linda Lingle has sent out a letter urging U.S. Senate Republicans to support the Akaka bill, describing a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report recommending against it a "misguided action."
The letter was sent to Republican senators this week and is accompanied by, among other materials, a three-page response to the commission report by state Attorney General Mark Bennett.
Lingle said in her letter that Native Hawaiians, like American Indians and Native Alaskans, "have been regarded as native peoples for purposes of numerous federal Indian programs." But Native Hawaiians, she wrote, "do not enjoy the same sort of federal recognition" as the other two groups.
"It is a very simple matter of justice and fairness that Native Hawaiians receive the same treatment that America's other indigenous people enjoy," she wrote. "There is no basis, in law or justice, to deny them this fair treatment."
A cloture vote, which would force senators to debate the bill, is expected to be argued on the Senate floor in the first week of June.
A vote on the bill had been expected last summer, but half a dozen Republican senators blocked it. Republican leaders promised a vote on cloture during the fall, but the Senate became preoccupied with Hurricane Katrina relief.
A cloture procedure, if approved, would open the way for up to 30 hours of Senate debate, essentially halting other business.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission voted to recommend that senators reject the legislation. A draft of the commission's report said the measure "would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."
Two of the seven commission members rejected the conclusion, and members of a local advisory panel also denounced it for failing to consider their views.
Bennett, in written comments accompanying Lingle's letter, said the report "ignores the undisputed history of suffering, and political and cultural devastation foisted upon the Native Hawaiian people."
Ikaika Hussey of Hui Pu, an umbrella group of organizations that oppose the Akaka bill, said the measure is not enough.
"Federal recognition is a way that the United States has maintained hegemony over indigenous peoples for the last two centuries, and they've used federal recognition to legitimate and institutionalize the genocidal actions of the U.S.," Hussey said.
"For Mr. Bennett and Gov. Lingle to say that we should have federal recognition is to say that the history of the United States and North America is just, and we disagree with that fervently."
H. William Burgess of the group Aloha For All, which opposes the bill saying it is race-based and discriminatory, said state officials unfairly say Native Hawaiians would get the same treatment as Native Americans and Alaskan Natives.
Burgess said that unlike federally recognized Indian tribes, the government of Hawai'i has not had "a continuous, longstanding, pre-existing tribe or quasi-sovereign government of some kind to be recognized."
He added: "There has never been a government for Native Hawaiians separate from the government of the rest of the citizens, even during the kingdom."
Bennett rejected that argument. "The fact that Native Hawaiians, over 100 years ago, were enlightened enough to maintain a government that was open to participation by non-Hawaiians should not deprive Native Hawaiians today of the recognition they deserve," he wrote. "Indeed, it is quite ironic that those who oppose the Akaka (b)ill as racist would use Native Hawaiians' historical inclusiveness as a reason to deny Native Hawaiians the recognition other native groups receive."
A cloture vote would require 60 of 100 senators in order for the Akaka bill to be placed on the calendar for debate. If successful, such a debate could begin as early as June 8.
If approved by the Senate, the bill would still need to pass the House before the end of the year.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 18, 2006
Lingle presses Congress to pass Akaka Bill
The governor urges legislative action in a letter to all senators
By Richard Borreca
In a letter to all 100 members of the U.S. Senate, Gov. Linda Lingle is again pressing the case for passage of the native Hawaiian recognition bill, dubbed the Akaka Bill, after its sponsor Sen. Daniel Akaka.
Lingle called action by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to recommend against passage of the bill, S. 147, "misguided" in the letter released yesterday.
The commission said the bill would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin.
Lingle is asking that the Senate act now on the Akaka Bill, which has been stalled in Congress for six years.
"I know that there are many pressing national issues that confront you and the Senate each day. S.147, while not of such national importance, has enormous implications for Hawaii, the people of my state, and to me personally," Lingle wrote.
Lingle also included testimony from previous trips to Washington by herself and members of her administration, including Attorney General Mark Bennett.
Akaka had said the Senate's Republican majority had promised that the Senate would discuss the Hawaiian recognition bill on the Senate floor next month. Lingle noted in her letter that the bill has been refined and should be adopted quickly.
"The amended version that will be offered by Sen. Akaka, based on negotiations last summer with the administration, will not allow native Hawaiian gambling in Hawaii, will not allow any denial of civil rights, will not lead to secession (the very idea is nonsense) and will not result in any other negative consequences for Hawaii," Lingle wrote.
Supporters of the bill have worried that the negative recommendation from the Civil Rights Commission has damaged the chances of the bill.
Lingle noted the commission failed to understand the nature of the Hawaiian government before the overthrow of the monarchy and the resulting control by the United States.
"Native Hawaiians were governed by their own leaders and their own laws prior to Western contact," Lingle wrote.
"The United States recognized the Hawaiian kingdom as a sovereign nation and entered into treaties with the kingdom as far back as 1926.
"When Hawaii was annexed, the government of the former kingdom was subordinated to the federal government.
"Therefore, the relationship had been and has continued to be political, not racial in nature," Lingle wrote.
But critics contend that recognizing a separate government entity for native Hawaiians would be a racial classification and would divide the state of Hawaii along racial lines.
Lingle said last week she planned to offer testimony supporting the bill but would not make a personal visit to Washington.
Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, May 18, 2006
Letters to the Editor
U.S. DARK SIDE
DEBATE ON AKAKA BILL WOULD REVEAL TRUTH
The senators who are trying to block the hearing of the Akaka bill know that once the bill gets to be heard on the Senate floor, a lot of information about Hawai'i's political history that has been hidden will be revealed. The bill will stir an international debate on American foreign policy.
One thing is absolutely certain: The issue of the illegal annexation of Hawai'i via a joint resolution will surface.
Patriotic fanatics like the senators who oppose the bill cannot think rationally because they are brainwashed by their government and expansionism. Like most Americans, they cannot accept the truth about the dark side of U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. broke its own treaties and overthrew the governments of Hawai'i, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines in the late 19th century.
The Akaka bill is no different from the Pratt amendment, instigated by Congress during the McKinley administration, that gave Cubans permission to rule themselves as long as they allowed the U.S. to veto any decisions they made.
Although I am totally against the Akaka bill, I would like the bill to be heard in the Senate and the House so the truth about the illegal annexation of Hawai'i will be revealed to the gullible, brainwashed American public.
GOV. LINGLE HAS FAILED US OVER THE AKAKA BILL
Regarding the May 13 letter from Sam Aiona, "GOP is grand old party for Native Hawaiians, too": I concur with the success that Micah Kane and Gov. Lingle have had in bringing more Hawaiians to participate in the Hawaiian Homes program.
I welcome and commend Gov. Lingle for publicly supporting federal recognition of the political status of Native Hawaiians, as all major Hawai'i politicians have done. Her leadership and visibility are important.
However, she publicly and conspicuously claimed during the election that her access to and affiliations with national Republican leaders would count in the effort to pass the Akaka bill. That claim was targeted to attract support from Hawaiians who relied on it to vote for her.
That representation has simply not borne fruit. The position on this issue of a Republican governor has meant nothing to the Bush administration or to certain Republican members of the U.S. Senate (Kyl of Arizona, Alexander of Tennessee) who have led the opposition to the Akaka bill.
The truth is that national Republican leaders lay at the heart of the opposition and haven't changed their positions, despite Gov. Lingle's prior claim of access to and affinity with President Bush and his administration.
The truth is that it was his appointments to the formerly bipartisan U.S. Civil Rights Commission who recently brought the roof down on the Akaka bill. The truth is that the commission, without even the courtesy of prior consultation, disrespected its own Hawai'i advisory committee, which had reached the opposite conclusion and advised the commission to support federal recognition for Native Hawaiians in 2001.
As a member of that committee for over 20 years, I was shocked by this unprecedented refusal to accept our recommendations. It has never happened to us before.
Attempting to deflect attention from this national agenda of the Republican Party by pointing to actions of local Republican politicians, Mr. Aiona misses the crucial point: The buck stops with the Republican Party in Washington and President Bush in particular. Mr. Bush has never publicly supported the Akaka bill, despite Gov. Lingle's urging.
Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr.
Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, May 19, 2006
Letters to the Editor
NOW YOU HAVE ACCESS TO AKAKA BILL TRUTH
Sen. Akaka says he will give a speech every day to "educate" his colleagues about the Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill, S.147. His speeches are filled with errors and distortions. This bill would be disastrous to Hawai'i and all of America.
Therefore, a Web page at
has been created to provide corrections to and comments about Sen. Akaka's speeches. The site also includes the report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights strongly advising senators to vote against the bill, and the speech by Sen. Lamar Alexander citing that report.
For a five-paragraph summary of what's bad about the Akaka bill, with extensive documentation of main points, see:
Asian Week, May 19, 2006
Civil Rights Commission Needs to Right a Wrong
By Emil Guillermo
Let's all cheer for Michael Yaki. He and Arian Melendez are the lone holdouts on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, taking a stand for minority rights, specifically those of Native Hawaiians.
If you haven't been following what's been happening in Washington, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has urged Congress to reject a plan proposed by U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D - Hawai'i) that would give Native Hawaiians sovereignty rights.
It's not like Native Hawaiians want to restore their 19th century monarchy or anything like that. All they want is the same sovereignty rights as Native Americans and Native Alaskans.
Sovereignty is what you experience when you visit an Indian casino and find that some let you gamble when you're 18, others when you're 21. Why is that? It's the prerogative of tribal law. They are allowed to make laws for their reservations. That's sovereignty for you.
The Native Hawaiians don't want casinos. But they do want respect and some of the island land they lost in the late 1800s when the ruling monarchy was overthrown by an annexation movement led by sugar growers with the backing of the U.S. government. Easy enough, right?
Sen. Akaka has been fighting for the bill for six years. In the latest setback, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights passed on the bill, saying it would sanction racial segregation.
Can something so right be so bad? Only if you buy into the new screwy race politics. This new politics was first seen in California 10 years ago. Remember the rhetoric of Prop. 209? That's the proposition Ward Connerly and his Republican pals called the Civil Rights Initiative which, in fact, had nothing to do with civil rights. At least as we traditionally knew it.
The California Civil Rights Initiative, otherwise known as CCRI, was an attack on all the tools that remedied past discrimination, the most effective being affirmative action. And it did so by advocating that the most aggrieved people in America were none other than whites.
Whites need to be a protected class? Sounds like a bad joke, but that's what we have.
The logic goes like this: when civil rights was about settling past scores, it figured that blacks were at the head of the line. After all, who could argue with the repercussions of slavery? But by the 1990s conservatives tired of paying back for past transgressions began to advocate that equality had been reached. To continue on in the traditional sense of civil rights programs would be to promote "reverse discrimination."
Sounds great. Where is that utopia? I want to live there. Of course, we still live in the same old America, where things aren't so equal. But it's equal in another way: Our society does as little for minorities as it does for "protected" whites.
So in California, affirmative action in public education? Dead. In state hiring? Dead. In public programs? Fuhgeddaboutit.
You call that progress? It's the modern version of civil rights, courtesy of Prop. 209.
That's the bacterial strain that infects the current board of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission — the sense that the past has been dealt with and all we have to worry about is the present where the belief is we're all equal enough. More or less.
That's why Native Hawaiians have a real argument. There's still an old score to be settled (see my column on Hawaiian history in the APA insert). An expansionist U.S. was complicit in the rebellion that forced the surrender of the Hawaiian monarchy and annexed the islands.
Former San Francisco supervisor Michael Yaki spoke forcefully for Native Hawaiian sovereignty. "If we say no, then how do we explain to them why Native Americans and Native Alaskans have that right?" Yaki told the commissioners at a May 4 meeting.
Yaki made his point. There is no explanation. The U.S. must give Native Hawaiians the same status as their indigenous counterparts. Until then, they remain in a sub-class among Asian Pacific Americans.
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, May 20, 2006
Lingle going to Washington to back Akaka bill
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Gov. Linda Lingle will travel to Washington early next month to lobby for the Akaka bill after all.
Lingle yesterday said she changed her mind and decided to go the nation's capital after a telephone call with Sen. Daniel Akaka and a letter from Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
The governor will be in Washington June 5-6 to meet with Republican senators about the bill and, according to a release issued by Lingle's office, "to clarify flaws" raised in a report issued by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that recommended lawmakers reject the measure.
A cloture vote that is expected to take place June 5 or 6 will determine if the Senate will get a full airing on the Akaka bill, which sets up a process that could lead to establishment of a federally recognized Native Hawaiian entity.
A draft of the commission's report, released earlier this month, said the measure "would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."
On Monday, Lingle sent a letter to all 55 Republican senators urging their support of the bill and ripping the commission report.
But despite her consistent support of the bill, which has included several previous trips to Washington both to lobby and testify at hearings, Lingle said last week that she did not expect to go to the capital next month.
Apoliona, in her two-page letter to Lingle, said "there are a certain number of (s)enators who may need to be reassured by you relating to what the bill does and does not do in advance and prior to committing their vote. A face-to-face visit from the (g)overnor of Hawai'i would go a long way to providing this reassurance to them on (the bill) and would further underscore the priority that you place on this (b)ill as well."
Sixty of the 100 senators must vote on the cloture vote for it to be successful. If approved, it would open the way for up to 30 hours of Senate debate, essentially halting other business. Such an action could happen as early June 8 or 9.
A vote on the bill had been expected last summer, but half a dozen Republican senators blocked it. Republican leaders promised a vote on cloture during the fall, but the Senate became preoccupied with Hurricane Katrina relief.
Supporters of the bill say it is necessary to stave off the legal challenges against programs that give preference to Hawaiians. Some opponents of the bill believe the bill is race-based and discriminatory against non-Hawaiians, while other critics say the bill does not go far enough in addressing the wrongs committed against the Hawaiians.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 20, 2006
Governor plans trip to advocate Akaka Bill
OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona appeals for Lingle to petition senators
By Mary Vorsino
Gov. Linda Lingle will meet with Senate Republicans next month in hopes of gaining support for the Akaka Bill before an anticipated U.S. Senate floor vote on the measure June 8.
Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona asked the governor in a letter yesterday to make the trip to Washington, D.C.
Lingle said in a news release yesterday that she would meet with Senate Republicans on June 5 and 6.
The Akaka Bill, called the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, would set up a federal process for recognizing native Hawaiians much like American Indians and Alaska natives.
In her letter, Apoliona said a petition for the bill to go to the Senate floor for a cloture vote will be filed June 6, alongside the Estate Tax Bill.
She said the two bills have been linked since July, though there is no connection between them.
Apoliona also said it is unclear if there are enough votes to approve the cloture petition and bring the Akaka Bill to the Senate floor. Sixty votes are needed to approve the petition.
Apoliona told Lingle that "there are a certain number of senators who may need to be reassured by you relating to what the bill does and does not do prior to committing their vote."
In a phone conversation yesterday, Lingle told Sen. Daniel Akaka she would be making the trip.
"After years of hard work, this is a critical time to gain passage of the Akaka Bill in the U.S. Senate," Lingle said in a news release.
"I appreciate that OHA and Sen. Akaka have requested my assistance in the days leading up to the cloture vote, and I look forward to joining them in Washington to continue our efforts to do what is right and fair for native Hawaiians."
During her talks with U.S. senators, Lingle said she will also counter claims made in a U.S. Civil Rights Commission report released on May 3.
The report called the Akaka Bill discriminatory.
On May 22 the Honolulu Star-Bulletin published a cartoon by Corky, showing Governor Lingle going down a dark staircase to the U.S. Senate catacombs to see what happened to the Akaka bill. The photo has original URL of:
Hawaii Reporter, May 23, 2006
Hawaii Residents Overwhelmingly Support Hawaii Vote on the Akaka Bill
GRIH Survey Also Shows Congressman Ed Case 10 Points in the Lead Over His Opponent, Sen. Dan Akaka in 2006 Senate Race
By Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii (GRIH) commissioned its second statewide telephone survey to determine public support for the Akaka Bill. The results are in:
* 69.89 percent of Hawaii's residents want to vote on the Akaka Bill before it is considered at the national level.
* 68.3 percent of residents in the first Congressional District (Rep Neil Abercrombie) want that vote.
* 70.87 percent of Rep Ed Case's 2nd Congressional District want such a vote.
* 66.95 percent of the entire state continue to oppose the Akaka bill.
* 80.16 percent of Hawaii's residents do not support laws that provide preferences for people groups based on their race.
* 77.83 percent would vote for statehood if the vote was held today. (In 1959, 94 percent voted for statehood.)
* 39.10 percent of residents would be more likely to vote for Ed Case for the U.S. Senate if he opposed the Akaka bill.
Last year, the first GRIH survey revealed that 2/3 of Hawaii's residents opposed the bill. At that time GRIH called for a statewide plebiscite only to be ignored by those in the political arena, with few exceptions.
When presented with the results of the new survey, state Sen. Sam Slom said, "We need to have a debate and a plebiscite in Hawaii and not an edict from behind closed doors in Washington D.C."
Jack Schneider, Chairman of the Board, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii said, "If Congress passes the Akaka Bill without public support in Hawaii, the backlash will break more than a few political necks."
We again call for a plebiscite on the Akaka Bill. We LUV-HAWAII. Let Us Vote!
For the full poll results and list of questions asked in the survey, log onto
Akaka Bill Survey by Grassroot Institute of Hawaii released May 23, 2006
Survey contacted all households in Hawai'i. Large majorities oppose the Akaka bill, and want a vote of all Hawai'i's people before Congress considers the bill. Even a majority of the minority who support the Akaka bill want a vote in Hawai'i first. Other issues include racial preferences (most people oppose them), and whether people would vote in favor of Statehood for Hawai'i if it were on the ballot. It's interesting that opponents of the Akaka bill are strongly in favor of Statehood, but supporters of the Akaka bill are far less supportive of Statehood (thus confirming the impression that the Akaka bill is a step toward secession). People who support President Bush are far more opposed to the Akaka bill than people who oppose President Bush. View the survey questions, and spreadsheets showing raw totals and percentages, at:
What Does the United States Owe to Native Hawaiians? Two reports commissioned by Congress (Morgan 1894 and NHSC 1983) contain the answers, which are directly applicable to the Akaka bill.
(The Morgan Report regarding the U.S. role in the overthrow of the monarchy, U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, 1894, 808 pages. The Native Hawaiians Study Commission, report to committees of both the Senate and House, 1983.)
Roll Call, May 24, 2006
Lobbying Boosts Hawaiian Bill
By Kate Ackley, Roll Call Staff
Thanks in part to an aggressive lobbying campaign, a
long-running legislative effort to allow Native Hawaiians to
secure a sovereign state similar to American Indian
reservations appears closer to enactment than ever before.
The Native Hawaiian legislation, staunchly backed by most
elected officials from Hawaii, has been supported by
millions of dollars from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a
The office has retained a top-tier
team of lobbyists from Patton Boggs that includes Republican
insider Benjamin Ginsberg, campaign counsel for the
Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, and name partner Thomas Hale
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs paid Patton Boggs
$660,000 to lobby last year. This year, the pro-legislation
side also hired Alex Vogel, a former aide to Senate Majority
Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) who is now a lobbyist with
Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti. Vogel said he was brought on to
help advise the Patton Boggs-led team on "Senate floor
strategy." Frist recently said he will allow a cloture vote
on the measure as early as the week of June 5 - an
announcement that has sparked a flurry of lobbying activity
from the Patton Boggs side and from its critics.
than six years, through the good grace of the Majority
Leader, we're looking forward to taking the bill to the
floor of the U.S. Senate the first week or June," said Sen.
Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), the lead sponsor of the measure, in
an interview. The debate has high political stakes, no more
so than for Akaka. The three-term Senator is up for
re-election this fall and faces a tough and unexpected
primary against Rep. Ed Case. Akaka - a low-key Senator who
recently was named one of the chamber's five worst Members
by Time magazine - has been looking for success with the
bill to help energize his campaign.
Akaka said his bill
would bring "parity to the indigenous people of Hawaii ...
and justice for the Hawaiians. I look upon my bill as a
reconciliation process. It's not necessarily important for
me." Still, Akaka said passage of the measure would help
show that he was effective. "Like in any huge bill that a
Member shepherds through, it can be held in praise for you
if you pass it, and if you don't, of course, there are
negative vibes for that," he said.
Bill Burgess, a 50-year
resident of Hawaii, is the founder of a small nonprofit
group called Aloha4All, which consists mainly of himself and
his wife, Sandra Puanani Burgess, who is about a quarter
Native Hawaiian. They oppose the legislation on the grounds
that it would damage the unity of Hawaii's diverse people.
"It would break apart the state of Hawaii and divide its
people forever based on race," Burgess said. Aloha4All has
retained federal lobbyists in the past but currently does
not, according to Burgess and public lobbying reports.
Burgess scoffs at the idea that his group even has a budget
and says he funds all efforts himself.
Like Burgess, Richard
Rowland, president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, is
working to stifle the Akaka bill. Grassroot Institute is a
501(c)(3) tax exempt organization and does not have to
release its membership or donors. Rowland declined to name
the 400 members or other supporters. But Rowland said he
opposes the Native Hawaiian effort because it is racially
based. It would begin "a process of fragmenting the United
States into little enclaves" that other racial or ethnic
groups would seek to follow, he said. "It would open a
Rowland said the Grassroot Institute's
budget is about $400,000 a year and he does not draw a
salary. "I'm retired. I do this as a volunteer," he
explained. The group does not have a paid D.C. lobbyist. And
he called the money spent by Hawaiians to lobby the bill "a
Todd Gaziano, director of the Heritage
Foundation's center for legal and judicial studies, said he
sees innumerable problems with the proposed legislation.
"Unconstitutional bills like the Akaka bill must be
stopped," he said. "I am convinced beyond any doubt that if
Members really understood what this bill does, that they
would not pass it." He said the lobbying campaign pushing
for the measure has operated stealthily and that it relies
on prominent Republican lawyers and lobbyists. "The state of
Hawaii is both obsessed with this for political reasons and
very savvy, very smart where they spend the money because
it's Republicans they need to convince on this," Gaziano
said. "They have spent their enormous amounts of money
In Washington, D.C., the Majority Leader put the
measure on the schedule after Akaka said he would speak
about the issue every day. "On the fifth day," Akaka said,
"I talked to him, and he said OK." (It had been previously
scheduled for last September but was scuttled after the
chamber focused on Hurricane Katrina relief.) "Since then
I've been haunting him for a time," Akaka said.
spokesman Jon Yoshimura said his boss's bill sets forth a
process for the government to recognize a Native Hawaiian
entity and establish a government-to-government
A spokesman for Hawaii's other Senator, Daniel
Inouye (D), said that the Hawaii delegation remains
optimistic that the bill has enough support to secure
cloture and move forward. Akaka said that Patton Boggs has
labored to help the measure. "They've been working not only
with Members here, but also with the administration," he
said, adding that other advocacy groups also have helped the
cause, including the American Bar Association, the National
Congress of American Indians and the Japanese Americans
Citizens League. Ginsberg of Patton Boggs referred press
calls directly to the client.
Clyde Namuo, administrator of
the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, said his agency has
committed tremendous financial resources to hire legal and
lobbying advocates in D.C. to help the bill. The land assets
that Namuo's department oversees would most likely be
transferred to the new Native Hawaiian government, should
Akaka's bill pass. Namuo and his colleagues are, he said,
"working our way out of a job."
Micah Kane, director of the
state's cabinet-level Hawaiian Home Lands office, said polls
he's seen put support for the Akaka bill at about 70 percent
of Hawaiians. Kane, along with a delegation that includes
Hawaii's Gov. Linda Lingle (R), is planning to leave the
islands on June 4 for D.C. to lobby the Senate in what could
be the most critical moment yet of the bill's fate. "We'll
definitely be visiting various Senators to assure that their
support is there," Kane said. "The governor will be actively
pursuing support, pushing for the cloture vote as well as
for the floor vote, in hopes of moving the bill over to the
The Grassroot Institute's Rowland expressed doubt
about Kane's data, saying that preliminary information from
a soon-to-be-released survey by his group shows that roughly
two-thirds of all Hawaiian households oppose the Akaka bill
and slightly more than two-thirds would like to see the
measure decided by a state vote instead of by Congress.
Proponents for the Akaka bill say that unlike with American
Indian reservations, gambling will not be permitted on
Native Hawaiian lands. Advocates for the bill say it would
protect schools and other programs of Native Hawaiians that
have been challenged in the courts.
But Gaziano called that
"smoke and mirrors." In reality, he said, there could be
gaming once a Native Hawaiian government is established. In
addition, he said, non-Native-owned businesses could have to
compete against Native Hawaiian enterprises that could, like
Indian tribes, be exempt from federal or state taxes or
zoning laws. A lobbyist with the National Association of
Convenience Stores, many of whose members have battled
Indian tribes over issues such as taxation, said his group
would always have concerns about "any legislation moving
forward" that would make it easier for tribal businesses to
have a competitive advantage over other businesses.
Namuo acknowledged that American Indian tribes had initial
concerns about sharing pots of funding with Native Hawaiians
but said that the Indian community now supports the bill.
Patricia Zell, a lobbyist who was a Senate Indian Affairs
Committee aide until last year, said Indian tribes are
"strongly supportive. They understand because they've been
through" similar efforts.
But some lobbyists say opposition
remains strong. "This legislation has historically raised
objections from all corners and had an uphill climb to
become law," said Cassidy & Associates lobbyist Todd
Boulanger, a Republican. "I understand this is still the
Some Republican lawmakers, including Sens. John
Ensign (Nev.) and Jon Kyl (Ariz.), have moved against it.
Burgess of Aloha4All said he plans to keep the pressure on
Senators, even from Hawaii. "We're doing everything we can,
using every bit of energy," Burgess said, "to try and
educate the public and Senators about the perils of the
National Review Online, May 24, 2006, Editorial
A Hawaiian Punch to E Pluribus Unum
By The Editors
After a long wait backstage, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005 (S. 147, widely known as the Akaka bill) is tentatively scheduled to hit the Senate floor sometime after the Memorial Day recess. No one knows for sure whether Sen. Daniel Akaka's longtime production—he first introduced the bill in 1999—will be greeted with applause or mercilessly yanked from the stage. For the sake of national unity, and to strike a blow against racial pandering, it should be the latter.
The Akaka bill is a terrible piece of legislation. Every aspect of it—from its premises to its goals to its methods—undermines the American belief that we are one people from many. It would create a separate government for "native" Hawaiians, who would in all likelihood be determined almost exclusively by bloodlines. The new government would be able to conduct sovereign-to-sovereign relations with the United States, much as Indian tribes do today. Although no one knows what the final form of the government would be, presumably some 400,000 "natives" would be invited to weigh in—even a resident of New Hampshire who has never stepped foot in Hawaii and has but a trace of Hawaiian blood would get a say in forming the new government. The most pernicious outcome is perhaps the only one that is assured: The governing entity would lead to a permanent hereditary caste in Hawaii, where natives—defined however the interim government chooses to define them—enjoy at least some rights that non-natives do not. Tax-exempt status and immunity from Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations are two possibilities.
The logical (and rhetorical) backbone of the Akaka bill is the misguided 1993 Apology Resolution that asked forgiveness for America's supposed role in the 1893 overthrow of Hawaii's queen. But the United States had only a tangential part in that insurrection, which was primarily carried out by inhabitants of the kingdom acting outside U.S. jurisdiction. The claim that the U.S. was responsible was just one historical exaggeration in a vast sea of myths perpetuated by the Apology Resolution. The current bill, though much worse, is a variation on the same theme: Using all the multicultural buzzwords, proponents seek to rectify alleged past wrongs and to protect a complex network of native-exclusive programs already operating in Hawaii. (The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a quasi-state entity that promotes the native cause, has assets of $300 million and an annual budget of $30 million. State auditors have consistently found it to be wasteful.)
The bill very well may pass, for there are number of Republican cosponsors—Norm Coleman, Lindsey Graham, Lisa Murkowski, Gordon Smith, Ted Stevens—and a number of GOP senators who are on the fence. These senators have thus far chosen the easy way out; Senators Jon Kyl, John Cornyn, and Lamar Alexander, on the other hand, deserve credit for their public fight against the bill. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has also come out against it, which should give political cover to any senators worried about being subjected to racial demagoguery from the likes of Senator Akaka.
Opponents should not expect any help from the Bush administration. The concerns about the bill that the Department of Justice raised last fall in a letter to John McCain—that native Hawaiians might not be subject to criminal laws; that military bases might be put in jeopardy; that the new entity might have gaming rights; that the bill might serve as grounds to sue the federal government for reparations—are certainly important, and speak to the bill's vagueness. But the Department of Justice punted the larger constitutional question of whether Congress even has the authority to create such an entity. The White House has refused to issue any statement of principle, but, if the administration's history with racially divisive issues is any indication, it will not wade into the fight—especially since some believe, erroneously, that the Akaka bill will help the GOP in Hawaii.
Passage of the bill would only embolden fringe groups seeking similar recognition or compensation. It would simultaneously drive a wedge into Hawaiian society—all for the purpose of silencing activists who trot out the "racist" canard at every possible moment. Even so, the greatest victim of the Akaka bill would not be non-native Hawaiians. It would be, rather, the belief that every American belongs to a single, indivisible society.
Honolulu Advertiser, May 25, 2006, LETTERS TO EDITOR
LINGLE SHOULD ALLOW HAWAI'I VOTERS A SAY
The governor and lieutenant governor of Hawai'i are the only state officials elected by all the people of Hawai'i. Every other state politician has a smaller constituency to represent. Therefore, one would expect the governor to have higher standards in upholding the rights and prosperity of all of Hawai'i's people and not one special-interest group demanding privileges and benefits based solely on its ancestry.
Given the governor's sworn oath to protect all people in the state of Hawai'i without regard to race, how can the governor support the Akaka bill, which would seek to separate people rather than unify them?
In her zealous, unreasoned support of the Akaka bill, Gov. Lingle would give away the choice of 90 percent of those, including Native Hawaiians, who voted for Hawai'i to become a state in 1959. Given the voters' mandate for Hawai'i, why, then, shouldn't voters be the final voice on the Akaka bill, which would eventually give away huge tracts of land and billions of state dollars to a new nation that even Native Hawaiians have not been allowed to vote on?
The United States is a federal system, and the federal government derives its power from individual states. Gov. Lingle seems to believe the federal government should determine what is best for Hawai'i while its own citizens are left out of the process.
Rather than stumping in Washington, D.C., to pass the Akaka bill, she needs to return to Hawai'i and allow Hawai'i's voters to determine our own destiny.
AKAKA BILL IS ASSAULT ON U.S. CONSTITUTION
In the letters of proponents of the Akaka bill, I hear the common argument that because tribal groups on the Mainland are recognized by the federal government, so should Native Hawaiians. The fact is, current Federal Indian Policy is under attack in the courts, and America's version of apartheid is only a Supreme Court decision away from being abolished.
The U.S. Constitution specifically disallows more than one class of citizen. The framers knew that a just and fair society was one whose citizens were all treated the same under the law, not differently based upon racial blood quantum levels.
In 1959, over 93 percent of those voting chose for Hawai'i to become a state and to become full citizens of the U.S.A. with the same constitutional rights of all other Americans.
The Akaka bill is an assault on the U.S. Constitution and on the unity of Hawai'i. If all the citizens of Hawai'i were to have a chance to vote on it, I am sure it would be rejected.
I guess that is why the politicians who support it have never supported a public plebiscite on the merits of the bill.
Hawaii Reporter, May 25, 2006
Civil Rights Vice Chair's Testimony on Black Voting Rights Has Message for Native Hawaiians
By Tom MacDonald
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii Comment: We asked our friend Tom McDonald to review recent comments by Abigail Thernstrom because they are, as Tom demonstrates, applicable to the situation here in Hawaii.
Abigail Thernstrom, Harvard educated Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, recently testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the wisdom of renewing or not renewing emergency provisions of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act that create "safe" Congressional Districts so that Blacks or Latinos will be elected to Congress roughly in proportion to their presence in the US population.
Much of Professor Thernstrom's testimony could profitably be applied to the current debate over whether or not we should have a separate sovereign government for native Hawaiians. Just substitute the words "native Hawaiians" for the word "black" wherever it appears below.
She notes that "we've arrived today at an interesting historical moment. By numerous measures Blacks and Hispanics are becoming integrated into mainstream American life, and yet, simultaneously, our federal government is segregating them politically." And she quotes Justice Clarence Thomas: "We have involved the federal courts, and indeed the Nation in … segregating the races into political homelands that amount, in truth, to nothing short of a system of political apartheid."
Indeed, Hawaiians have also been "integrated into Mainstream American life" to a significant degree as evidenced by the fact that native Hawaiians have served as Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Supreme Court Chief Justice, Attorney General, Honolulu Mayor, City Council Chair, Honolulu Police Chief, Fire Chief and so on. Yet some now want to reverse this integration and indulge in the apartheid that so concern Thernstrom and Thomas, in order to preserve certain federal financial preferences.
And, Thernstrom maintains, "when the state treats blacks as fungible members of a racial group, they become in Ralph Ellison's famous phrase "invisible men," whose blackness is their only observed trait. But that view -- the view that individuality is defined by race--is precisely what the civil rights movement fought so hard against. Do we really want to sign onto the notion that group racial traits override individuality -- perpetuating old and terrible habits of thought?"
Thernstrom concludes her testimony as follows: "I urge distinguished members of this Committee to be careful what they wish for. This bill may bring champagne on the day it's passed, but tears down the road. Racial classifications, however prettily they are dressed up, are -- and always will be -- the same old classifications that have played such a terrible role in this great and good nation. They separate us along lines of race and ethnicity, reinforcing racial and ethnic stereotypes, and turn citizens into strangers. Haven't we, as a nation, had enough of this miserable stuff?"
Again, she could well be talking about the Akaka Bill's sorting of Hawaii's citizens by racial and ethnic background and in Orwell's famous phrase "making some more equal than others."
We in Hawaii can do better than that. Aloha should be for all!
Tom Macdonald, retired President/CEO of Hawaiian Trust Company, lives in Kaneohe.
THURSDAY MAY 25: A NEW VERSION OF THE AKAKA BILL IS INTRODUCED IN THE SENATE, IN PREPARATION FOR A CLOTURE PETITION TO BE FILED IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE MEMORIAL DAY RECESS. THE NEW BILL NUMBER IS S.3064. THE BILL'S TEXT IS AT:
Friday May 26: The Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. holds a noontime forum on the Akaka bill, featuring Senator Lamar Alexander. A recording of the 35-minute forum can be downloaded from:
Also Friday May 26: The new Akaka bill S.3064 was given a "second reading" and placed on the calendar in the Senate, in the closing moments before adjournment for the 9-day Memorial Day recess.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 28, 2006
Akaka Bill headed for vote
The seven-year struggle to the Senate floor is just a first hurdle in winning indigenous status
By Mark Niesse
Hawaii politicians are scrambling to gather enough votes in Congress to pass a bill that would grant native Hawaiians a degree of self-government and possibly a share of the land ruled by their ancestors.
After seven years of debate, the proposal to recognize native Hawaiians as indigenous inhabitants of the 50th state -- a legal status similar to that of American Indians -- has finally been promised a vote in the Senate as early as the first week of June.
Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, says he has solid support from Democrats, but he will need help from Republicans if he's going to pass the bill. Republican Gov. Linda Lingle is traveling to Washington to seek support for the bill. The Senate scuttled a scheduled September vote in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
A wide range of opponents stand in the way, from native Hawaiians who won't support anything short of secession, to lawyers who claim the bill is a racial entitlement program.
Akaka, facing a challenge to his re-election bid from Hawaii Rep. Ed Case in the Democratic primary, said the bill will help right some of the wrongs done of the U.S. government in its 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. Case also supports the bill, which passed the House in 2000 before his first term but has never made it to the Senate floor.
"It will give Hawaiians an opportunity to deal with the many concerns they've had since the overthrow," said Akaka. "It clarifies a political and legal relationship with the United States, and it will bring parity to the indigenous peoples of Hawaii."
A report from the Washington-based U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, however, recommended that Congress reject the bill because it would discriminate on the basis of race. Some Republican senators argue that recognizing a native Hawaiian group would create a subgroup with rights different from other Americans.
"The U.S. Congress is proposing to impose a puppet government on us so that the U.S. government can maintain its illegal occupation of our homeland and exploitation of our people," said Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell, an advocate of native Hawaiian independence.
There are about 400,000 people of native Hawaiian ancestry nationwide, and 260,000 of them live in Hawaii. No one would be required to join a Hawaiian government if the so-called Akaka Bill were approved.
The bill worries some people because details of the new government entity haven't been spelled out, said Noe Kalipi, an adviser to Akaka who testified on the bill before the Civil Rights Commission.
The primary purposes of the bill are to provide a process to set up a native Hawaiian government and then start negotiations to transfer power and property from state and federal authorities to Hawaiians. The form of the government and the amount of public land to be granted to it wouldn't be decided until then.
The new government would not be allowed to deny civil rights or set up gambling operations, such as those allowed for Indian tribes on the mainland. Hawaii outlaws all forms of gambling, including lotteries.
"The bill is actually about process, and that's what scares everybody the most. They don't know the outcome of the bill," Kalipi said.
An opponent of the proposal, Honolulu attorney H. William Burgess, said he fears the worst: a breakup of the state of Hawaii, the relinquishment of hundreds of thousands of acres of land, and a new set of race-based privileges.
"Hands are constantly being held out for more and more and more. Gimme, gimme, gimme," Burgess said. "I don't think it's fair to anticipate this government is going to be one which doesn't discriminate on the basis of race."
Nearly all elected officials from both parties and officials of all state agencies, led by the elected trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, support the bill.
Attorney General Mark Bennett said it's needed to help preserve the language, identity and culture of native Hawaiians. Studies show that Hawaiians have the lowest health and social indicators among the state's diverse ethnic groups.
"Hawaiians are not asking for any special treatment. They're simply asking to be treated the same way America's other native peoples are treated," Bennett said.
Public opinion is difficult to judge, with polls tending to support the views of the organizations sponsoring them.
An August 2005 survey by the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs found that 84 percent of respondents supported the bill, but the advocacy group Grassroot Institute found in a survey released this week that 69 percent agree with its proposal for a state referendum before Congress considers a new law.
"There are certain Hawaiians who don't support it. Some people feel the legislation doesn't go far enough; some people feel the only way is for total independence," said Clyde Namuo, administrator for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
"Certainly it's not a panacea, but it will give us greater control over our assets and our destiny than we currently have," Namuo said.
Members of the Koani Foundation, a Hawaiian sovereignty advocacy group, fear federal recognition would forever put indigenous people under the authority of the Interior Department, said Director Kaiopua Fyfe. He said resolution will come only from the international community.
"More Hawaiians are coming to understand just how bad this federal recognition would be. It would be the final nail in the coffin for Hawaiian issues," Fyfe said.
If it passes the Senate, the bill still would have to get through the House again.
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, May 28, 2006
Fear not: Akaka bill can be beneficial to all
By George Ariyoshi
The U.S. Senate will soon vote on a bill providing federal recognition to Native Hawaiians. The Akaka bill has generated emotional and sometimes bitter debate, with much of the rhetoric coming from the extremes of the political spectrum.
This is what happens in a democratic society. But in the end, what results should be good public policy that benefits a greater community.
The question we should ask is: What will federal recognition do to Hawai'i and all its citizens?
If we broaden our thinking to look into the Hawai'i of our grandchildren, we can avoid the political labels that divide us into intransigent positions. This is not easy, but we need to build from diversity, because that is the uniqueness of Hawai'i.
To keep our community united in its diversity, every cultural group in Hawai'i has a responsibility to retain and nurture its own culture.
As a Japanese-American, I proudly trace my roots back to a country with ancient traditions that we practice even today — generations removed and thousands of miles from our homeland.
Since the days of my grandparents, the Japanese have shared their practices with all who arrived in Hawai'i, so today, we all take omiyage to visit friends, we take off our shoes when we enter homes, we pound mochi every year to strengthen family and neighborhood bonds.
Every ethnic group celebrates its traditions, and by sharing its history with others, enriches the entire community.
Native Hawaiians are the host culture of our Island community. They welcomed all the immigrants and treated the newcomers with respect and fairness. But their own cultural practices were almost lost with the overthrow of the kingdom in 1893, and a century of assimilation imposed by those who neither understood nor respected the ways of the kanaka maoli.
Native Hawaiians are asking Congress for federal recognition to begin the process of reviving their unique and sovereign heritage. It is no different from the rights given to the other indigenous peoples of the United States — the American Indians and Alaska Natives.
With federal recognition, the Native Hawaiians can begin a process that will involve all of us. The Akaka bill calls for a Native Hawaiian governing entity to work with the state and federal governments to identify the resources that will be dedicated to Native Hawaiians.
This is an inclusive approach that allows diverse groups to share their ideas of a special place. No one loses and everyone gains in a community that respects and preserves the Native Hawaiian culture. No private land, home or property will be taken away unjustly, no group will lose the benefits of citizenship, no government will harm our environment or community values.
Instead, we become a stronger and more vibrant community that celebrates the diversity that makes Hawai'i special.
Federal recognition for Native Hawaiians is not to be feared. It can be our future.
George R. Ariyoshi, chairman and co-founder of Convergence CT and Cellular Bioengineering, is the former president of Prince Resorts Hawaii Inc. An attorney by profession, Ariyoshi was governor of Hawai‘i from 1973 to 1986 and was the first Japanese-American to be elected a governor in the United States. He wrote this commentary for The Advertiser.
MORE ON THE AKAKA BILL
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which supports the Akaka bill, is sponsoring a roundtable discussion on the Akaka bill that will be aired at 7 tonight on KGMB 9.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 28, 2006 Letter to editor
Governor gives false assurance on secession
Governor Lingle's May 15 letter to Republican U.S. senators claims that passage of the Akaka Bill will "not lead to secession" from the U.S. by a newly-formed sovereign Hawaiian government. She says "the very idea is nonsense."
Perhaps the governor is not aware of the following:
» Until recently, the OHA Web site stated on its Hawaiian governance page: "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 Hawaiian people.
"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."
» On July 8, 2005, OHA Trustee Rowena Akana stated on National Public Radio that "if the majority of Hawaiian people want secession, then that's the way we'll go."
» Also in July 2005, Senator Akaka responded evasively on NPR to a question about the possibility of secession, saying "that is something I leave for my grandchildren to decide."
Supporters of the Akaka Bill appear to have realized that the idea of secession was a public relations disaster, so they have been keeping the issue flying under the radar. But it is clear that an attempt at secession by any new Hawaiian nation is a distinct possibility, regardless of Lingle's assurances to the contrary.
The Akaka Bill And Secession: The Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill (Akaka bill) is seen by its supporters as a step toward total independence for all of Hawai'i (about 100 pages of evidence). See:
Chicago Tribune, May 29, 2006
Hawaiian bill pursues native rights
Long-stalled legislation stirs fears of secession, gambling, reparations
By Kirsten Scharnberg
Tribune national correspondent
HONOLULU -- Long-stalled legislation to grant Native Hawaiians the same federal recognition and self-governance that most Native American tribes possess is scheduled to make it to the Senate floor amid charges that such a move would intensify racial tensions in the nation's 50th state and further strengthen a growing movement to secede from the United States.
"I have received assurances from the Senate leadership that a motion will finally be filed during the first week of June that would force debate and a vote on my bill," Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) said in an interview last week.
The Native Hawaiian Recognition bill, introduced in 1999 and known colloquially as the Akaka bill after the man who became the first Native Hawaiian to serve in the U.S. Senate, is by no means assured of passing. Indeed, the legislation faces an uphill battle, particularly after a federal civil rights commission recommended this month that the bill be rejected because it would be "discriminatory" to the majority of Hawaii citizens not of Native Hawaiian ancestry.
But the bill has supporters in both political parties. Akaka said he has the support of most Democrats, and some Republicans have crossed the political aisle to co-sponsor the legislation. Hawaii's Republican governor, Linda Lingle, has made passage of the bill one of the priorities of her administration. And Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has pledged to file the motion that, if supported by at least 60 senators, would force what surely would be a heated debate and vote on the bill.
Yet no debate in Washington can match the controversy Akaka's bill has spurred here in his home state.
Throughout much of the past decade, activist groups on all sides of the issue have sprung up, deeply polarizing people on the issue.
One group, Aloha for All, represents the viewpoint of many non-Native Hawaiian citizens with slogans such as, "Aloha is for everyone, the Akaka bill isn't." Other groups that advocate for the bill have thousands of members who display yard signs and T-shirts throughout Hawaii that read, "Kau Inoa," a declaration in the Hawaiian language that indicates the bearer has registered to become a part of the new Native Hawaiian government if it is formed. And then there are hard-liners who advocate an active revolt against the U.S., a nation they say overthrew their monarchy 113 years ago, annexed them into the union without the approval of the Hawaiian people and has been illegally occupying the islands ever since.
"No one sees this bill in the same light," said Fuentes Louis, a born-and-raised Hawaii citizen who is part Native Hawaiian. "That's only going to intensify when the bill is debated in the Senate for all the nation to see."
At its core, the Akaka bill would create a separate, sovereign government for Native Hawaiians, who would be recognized as an indigenous population that existed before Hawaii was part of the United States. This new government would conduct sovereign-to-sovereign relations with the United States, as many Indian tribes do today, Akaka said.
What else the Akaka bill would accomplish and lead to is the source of much contention.
Contentious issues abound
One of the bill's staunchest supporters, the head of a Hawaiian affairs body, said its passage would preserve more than 100 federally funded programs that are available only to Native Hawaiians, including a trust that allows them to lease land for $1 a year and a high-achieving private-school system that gives such preference to Native Hawaiians that only two non-native students have been admitted in 40 years.
Many such programs are in the midst of long-running--and increasingly successful--lawsuits charging that the programs are race-based and unconstitutional and should be ended or made available to all Hawaii's citizens.
Advocates of the bill say a sovereign government would give Native Hawaiians authority over their own destiny for the first time in three generations and empower them in ways that would reverse trends resulting in high percentages of them among the state's unemployed, homeless and imprisoned.
"Under all those statistics is a deep feeling of being disenfranchised, a feeling that we have been wronged," said Clyde Namu'o, Office of Hawaiian Affairs administrator. "Literally our country was taken away from us."
Opponents argue with that theory. They contend that even the history of the argument is flawed, saying the United States had only a tangential role in the mostly Hawaiian-led insurrection that led to the 1893 overthrow of the monarchy. They further point out that 94 percent of Hawaiian voters approved statehood in 1959.
But the core of their battle against the bill is ideological, not historical. Because a sovereign Native Hawaiian government would, based on bloodlines, likely admit into the group Native Hawaiians from anywhere, opponents of the Akaka bill allege that non-Native Hawaiian citizens of the state would be subject to decisions influenced by non-residents. Even more, they say the bill would segregate the state based on ancestry and render non-Native Hawaiians second-class citizens in the state where they pay taxes.
"Passage of this bill would leave 80 percent of the population subservient to a hereditary elite consisting of anyone with ancestry indigenous to the islands," said H. William Burgess, a lawyer who has advocated against the Akaka bill and who has lived in Hawaii for 50 years. "It would allow the breakup of the state government and a giveaway to this new nation of public lands, natural resources and some or all of the government authority of the state."
The bill even has vitriolic criticism from a vocal segment of Native Hawaiians who say the bill would legitimize what they see as the prolonged occupation of their country and deprive them of their right of self-determination and independence. Many of these groups want immediate secession from the United States.
"Many people are telling me, `Enough talk already. We must riot,'" said Charles Ka'uluwehi Maxwell, a Native Hawaiian who reluctantly supports the Akaka bill as a first step toward Hawaiian independence but who says the bill does not go nearly far enough.
Other groups have asked the United Nations to examine whether the U.S. is in violation of international human-rights treaties for "stealing" Hawaiians' lands.
It is even hard amid all the rhetoric to tell exactly how Hawaiians--Native or otherwise--feel about the Akaka bill.
Hawaiian support split
A survey conducted in 2003 by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a quasi-state entity that promotes the native causes and supports the bill, found that 86 percent of 303 Native Hawaiians and 78 percent of 301 non-Native Hawaiians believed Native Hawaiians should be recognized by the United States as a distinct group, similar to American Indians and Alaska Natives. But a survey released last week by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, an activist group opposed to the Akaka bill, found that 2 out of 3 respondents opposed the organization of a Native Hawaiian sovereign government.
If the bill reaches the Senate floor--it was slated for debate last September but scuttled after Hurricane Katrina shifted congressional attention--several key topics are sure to get the majority of debate.
Although Akaka has revised his original bill to say gaming would not be allowed, concerns remain that a sovereign Hawaiian government could overrule that on their own land. The Justice Department is concerned that the bill would mean Native Hawaiians would not be subject to federal criminal laws and that it would serve as grounds to sue the federal government for reparations. The Defense Department has expressed worry that a sovereign Hawaiian government would attempt to take land now used by the military.
The debate also is likely to focus on an apology bill passed by Congress in 1993, the 100th anniversary of the overthrow of Hawaiian Queen Lili'uokalani, and signed by President Bill Clinton; proponents of sovereignty say the apology admitted wrongdoing by the U.S. and therefore requires that restitution be made.
And the Senate will address a newly released report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the bipartisan federal commission assigned by the president and Congress to study and collect information relating to discrimination or a denial of equal protection of the laws. The commission came out against the bill, saying it "would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."
The bill's debate and future have high political stakes for Akaka, a three-term senator facing a tough election and recently categorized by Time magazine as one of the nation's five worst senators.
"Nothing about this is going to be easy," he said last week.
Honolulu Advertiser, Monday, May 29, 2006
EXCERPTS RELEVANT TO THE AKAKA BILL, IN A NEWS REPORT ON THE HAWAII STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CONVENTION
Democrats urged to 'get back to our values'
By Derrick DePledge
The convention showed the party's establishment is behind Akaka. But many Democrats also sense that the primary is much closer than the outpouring of support for Akaka this weekend might suggest.
Some Democrats who are close to Akaka's camp are concerned that the senator's Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill, which could come up for a Senate vote in early June, might present some political problems. A Senate vote against the bill could weaken Akaka's argument that his seniority and experience translates into effectiveness, while a vote for the bill might worry some older Japanese-Americans in the Islands who have been suspicious about federal recognition.
The bill, which has been stalled in the Senate since 2000, would create a process for Hawaiians to form their own sovereign government similar to Indian tribes and Native Alaskans.
Akaka's allies, knowing how critical Japanese-American voters are in state campaigns, have tried to reassure them. Inouye, in his speech on Saturday, addressed people who are concerned the bill might give Hawaiians greater rights over land use. "May I simply tell you that we would never do anything that would take away anything from any one of you," he said. "All we want is justice for the Hawaiians."
Roger Takabayashi, the president of the Hawai'i State Teachers Association, which has endorsed Akaka, said he believes the senator can hold on to Japanese-American voters. "I haven't sensed that at all. Zero," he said of any specific concerns about the bill. "I think Akaka has their strong support."
Honolulu Advertiser, May 30, 2006
OHA, Lingle will lobby for Akaka bill
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
At least five of the nine members of the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs board of directors will head to Washington, D.C., early next month to lobby and gather support for the Akaka bill.
Joining Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona will be members Rowena Akana, Dante Carpenter, Boyd Mossman and Os Stender, according to Office of Hawaiian Affairs Administrator Clyde Namu'o, who also will make the trip.
The trustees will leave June 6, the day a petition for cloture on the legislation is filed. Namu'o said he expects a cloture vote on June 8.
The cloture will determine if the Senate will get a full airing on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005 — dubbed the Akaka bill for its lead sponsor, Sen. Daniel Akaka. It proposes initiating a process that could lead to establishment of a federally recognized Native Hawaiian entity.
To be successful, supporters of cloture must get at least 60 of 100 senators to agree. If approved, it would open the way for up to 30 hours of Senate debate, essentially halting other business. Supporters see the cloture as necessary because six Republican senators have blocked the bill from coming up for debate on the floor.
Gov. Linda Lingle said last week that in response to requests by Apoliona and Akaka, she also will travel to Washington, primarily to talk to Republican senators.
This month, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report recommending that Congress reject the bill, claiming it discriminates based on race or national origin.
Akaka and other supporters of the bill have fought for six years to get the measure passed.
Supporters maintain that besides being the right thing for the U.S. government to do, the Akaka bill is needed to stave off the legal challenges against programs that give preference to Hawaiians.
The Weekly Standard
Volume 011, Issue 36
Cover date 06/05/2006
Publication date May 30, 2006
The Natives Are Restless
Racial politics, Hawaii style.
by Duncan Currie
BESIDES BOASTING ONE OF THE great names in American history, Hawaii's Queen Liliuokalani holds a unique distinction. She is the only foreign monarch to have been deposed with the apparent help of U.S. armed forces and then asked to resume her throne by a compunctious U.S. president (Grover Cleveland). Alas, things didn't pan out for Liliuokalani, who eventually abdicated. Her overthrow in 1893 paved the way for U.S. annexation of Hawaii five years later. To mark the 100th anniversary in 1993, Congress passed and President Clinton signed a resolution apologizing to the indigenous people of the Aloha State.
The Apology Resolution vastly overstated U.S. culpability in somewhat murky events, whose interpretation was distorted by politics both at the time and since. As a result--and because of the balkanizing implications of the resolution--some 34 senators, mostly Republicans, voted against the measure, including Arizona's John McCain and former Washington senator Slade Gorton.
"The resolution accomplishes one goal," Gorton argued. "It divides the citizens of the state of Hawaii--who are of course citizens of the United States--into two distinct groups: Native Hawaiians and all other citizens." According to Gorton--and despite the disavowals of the bill's Senate cosponsors, Hawaii Democrats Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka--"the logical consequence of this resolution would be independence."
He was prescient. Thirteen years later, Congress is mulling the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, which would accord "Native Hawaiians" the same legal sovereignty as American Indians and Alaska Natives and allow them to create their own race-based governing structure. Would this lead to Native Hawaiian independence?
"That could be," Akaka told National Public Radio last summer. "I'm leaving it up to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren." Akaka, whose office drafted the Senate bill, has been pushing for Native Hawaiian "self-government and self-determination" since at least the Clinton administration.
Building on the Apology's reference to the "inherent sovereignty" of the Native Hawaiian people, Akaka's current legislation would grant membership in a new Native Hawaiian "tribe" to anyone who can trace their ancestry to "the aboriginal, indigenous, native people" living in Hawaii "on or before January 1, 1893." You also qualify if your ancestors were eligible in 1921 for largesse from the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, which stipulated at least one-half Native Hawaiian blood. (The Akaka bill itself requires no specific blood quantum.) More than 20 percent of Hawaii's 1.2 million citizens identify themselves as either wholly or partly Native Hawaiian, which would mean they are descended from the Polynesians who settled the islands a thousand years ago. Some 400,000 such Native Hawaiians are scattered throughout Hawaii and the rest of the United States.
The Akaka bill falsely assumes that Hawaii's pre-1893 political system was racially homogenous. In fact, a flood of Caucasian, Japanese, and Chinese immigration to the islands began in the mid-19th century, thanks to the growth of sugar and pineapple plantations. The monarchical governments were multiracial, as was Hawaiian society.
Indeed, Hawaii has long billed itself as a paragon of ethnic harmony and racial fusion. Former Hawaii governor Jack Burns, first elected in 1962, "was fond of saying that the easy relations between men of various races in Hawaii represented the best hope of mankind," writes historian Gavan Daws. Rates of intermarriage today are high--more than ten times the national average, according to one Census estimate--further diluting any "Native Hawaiian" purity. The state's most famous political figures include Hawaiian-Chinese and Hawaiian-Japanese. Hawaii's current governor is Jewish.
Some 94 percent of Hawaiians voted for statehood in a 1959 plebiscite. But the past decade has witnessed a flare-up of separatist, and often anti-American, passions, marked by street demonstrations in 1998 (the centennial of U.S. annexation) and in August 2005, after the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the racial-preference policy at a well-known Native Hawaiian private school was unconstitutional. (The court has since agreed to reconsider its decision.) Many of Hawaii's more radical independence advocates have zinged the Akaka bill for being wimpy: It accepts the "continued foreign domination" of Hawaii by the U.S. government, one activist told the New York Times last summer. These folks want outright secession.
Which brings us to the question: What precisely would a Native Hawaiian governing council do, and what benefits would its members enjoy?
Pro-sovereignty forces insist they have no desire to build tribal casinos, as Indians have done. But opponents expect a flurry of litigation over property claims. The Native Hawaiian government would negotiate directly with state and federal officials. It would conceivably be exempt, as Indian tribes are, from portions of the Bill of Rights and from the Fourteenth Amendment. In effect, Native Hawaiians would be subject to a different legal code than other Americans.
Here's where geography could really muddy the waters. Besides not being a distinct political community, Native Hawaiians are not concentrated in one place; they live all across Hawaii, and all across the United States. For that matter, many reside abroad. "Somebody with Hawaiian ancestry living in Frankfurt, Germany, could be a member of this new Hawaiian nation," says Dick Rowland, president of Hawaii's Grassroot Institute, which opposes the Akaka bill. "Now, I have no idea what the hell that means."
It could mean nonstop racial litigation. Small wonder that, in mid-May, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report urging Congress to reject Akaka's bill--and to reject "any other legislation that would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege." A few Senate Republicans have vigorously opposed the legislation--including Arizona's Jon Kyl, Tennessee's Lamar Alexander, Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, Oklahoma's Tom Coburn, and Alabama's Jeff Sessions.
"What this bill does is deny equal protection," Alexander told me. "We're gradually eroding what it means to be an American." He disputes the analogy with Indian tribes. "We've never recognized a new Indian tribe, only existing tribes." He notes that Mexican separatists might use the Akaka bill as a pretext for demanding their own sovereign nation in the American Southwest.
The critics get succor from a 2000 Supreme Court decision, Rice v. Cayetano, which focused on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), an entity created by the state in 1978 chiefly to promote the welfare of indigenous Hawaiians. Voting rights in OHA trustee elections were restricted to Native Hawaiians who satisfied a racial blood quota. The Court ruled this violated the Fifteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal voting rights for all citizens. A concurring opinion, written by Justice Breyer and joined by Justice Souter, looked askance at the broad definition of Native Hawaiian tribal status embraced by the OHA.
It was in response to Rice that Akaka first introduced a Native Hawaiian sovereignty bill in July 2000. The House passed similar legislation a few months later. Ever since, Akaka has been trying to get his measure to the Senate floor, with no luck. But GOP Senate leader Bill Frist promised him a much-belated cloture vote the week of June 5, when Congress returns from recess. Odds are it will pass. The Patton Boggs law firm, a titan of K Street lobbying, is pushing the legislation full throttle. Democratic support appears to be near universal. And Republican resistance has been meager.
It's hardly surprising that Alaska's two GOP senators, Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski, are cosponsoring the Akaka bill; the Alaska and Hawaii delegations have famously close ties. What is surprising is to see such Republican cosponsors as South Carolina's Lindsey Graham, Minnesota's Norm Coleman, and Oregon's Gordon Smith. Perhaps they simply followed the lead of Hawaii governor Linda Lingle, the first Republican elected governor since 1962. Lingle, who campaigned on the issue of native sovereignty in 2002 and is a friend of the Bush White House, has told the New York Times there are at least 6 GOP senators who are prepared to vote with the entire 45-member Democratic caucus in favor of Akaka's bill. "I feel that we have the votes," Akaka told me.
Which means, barring a presidential veto, Native Hawaiian sovereignty may soon be a reality. Get ready for the lawsuits, if not the casinos.
Duncan Currie is a reporter at The Weekly Standard.
Hawaii Reporter, May 30, 2006
Akaka Bill: What's Right for Hawaii
By Hon. Boyd P. Mossman (Ret.)
I am an American of Hawaiian descent. I have taken an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States and State of Hawaii and do so willingly and without reservation. I served my country during the Vietnam conflict and have a son who now serves in the United States Air Force during the Iraq war. I have many friends and family who are of Hawaiian descent who have also served their country, some giving their lives to protect our freedom.
In 1893, a small well organized group of foreigners and others opposed to the throne convinced the United States to support their unilateral decision to take and give Hawaii to the United States. There was no majority vote or decision of the people. With the fire power of the United States Navy and Marines in place, our Queen determined to avoid bloodshed and instead pursue diplomacy. Though the end result which converted Native Hawaiians into American citizens is not necessarily a bad one, nevertheless it was not a voluntary one. As the American Indians did not give up their nations willingly to American colonists neither did Native Hawaiians. The claim that Native Hawaiians had already given up their government to non-Native Hawaiians and foreigners may have some historical argument but is simply inaccurate. The Ku’e petition of 1897signed by 21000 Native Hawaiians in 1897 was an effort to demonstrate that the overthrow was not the result of a popular movement by the people.
The fact is that most Native Hawaiians and most non Hawaiians in Hawaii today support federal recognition for Hawaiians as reflected in successive, legitimate and professionally conducted polls. The state legislature including all but two legislators (Senators Slom and Trimble), Governor Lingle and her administration, both the Republican and Democratic parties in Hawaii, and numerous national organizations including the American Bar Association and Native American and Alaskan organizations also support federal recognition of Native Hawaiians thereby demonstrating that recognition is not viewed by them as the creation of a racial divide amongst the people of Hawaii or the nation.
Allegations of balkanization and the clamor of a vocal minority of independents cloud the issue of what is just, fair, and supported by the Constitution. We are Americans because we are citizens of the United States, but all Americans have countries of origin including 550 American Indian nations and numerous Alaskan Native Corporations. Without S147, Native Hawaiians will be deprived of any identification, heritage, or homeland. We will, as our opponents demand, be assimilated into oblivion. Is there something wrong with continuing a congressional policy of recognition, compassion, and understanding of a people who have historically opened their arms to all who came here and now face legal extinction from some of those who came, saw, conquered and now want to extinguish once and for all any legal reference to a proud and loyal people?
Threats of Native Hawaiians getting tax favors, avoiding civil rights laws, starting gambling casinos, seceding from the union, and dividing our country are spurious, speculative, argumentative, and not based on anything close to fact. Suffice it to say that the Department of Interior will have, to the consternation of some Native Hawaiians, the final say on the Native Hawaiian government organization and its operation. The state and federal governments will not give up anything, including land, unless they want to do so. Native Hawaiians opposed to recognition need not participate.
A Hawaiian nation within the nation will empower the aboriginal people of this land to continue to recover from a near terminal wound inflicted with the cooperation of the United States and will prevent our protagonists from pulling the plug. It will create a stronger Hawaii and preserve an entire people and their culture in their own homeland. Other minorities in the United States have no similar claim as aboriginals whose nations were wrongfully taken by the United States. I am sure that Native Americans and Alaskan Natives, the only other recognized aboriginals in our country must be apprehensive as the vote on S 147 approaches. Will their existence be in jeopardy too? Let us hope that not only will God bless America, but that He will also include its host cultures. Mahalo ke Akua.
Hon. Boyd P. Mossman (Ret.) is a Trustee representing the island of Maui for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. He can be reached via email at email@example.com
Hawaii Reporter, May 30, 2006
The Rise of Tribal Opportunism in America
By Jim Marino, Esq.
Given the fact that liberal politicians are stepping all over themselves to tout cultural diversity we cannot be surprised at the rise of groups, tribes, bands or communities looking for an advantage over others. These folks see an opportunity in asserting cultural diversity particularly if it can be based on sympathy and playing the victim of some historical injustices to remote cultural ancestors.
In California we have Indian tribes of 1, 2 and 3 people. One of the three person "tribes" is the Valley Miwoks. As a recognized non-casino tribe they receive one million dollars ($1,000,000) a year from the fund paid for by the other casino gambling tribes. That's not all. They then received over four hundred thousand dollars ($400,000) in federal grant monies last year alone, for "tribal government", "tribal economic development", "tribal housing", etc. So we have three people who get over $1,400,000 before they do a thing. Recently two of them teamed up to kick the third out of the tribe and cut off his share of the pot of gold, and yes, they are trying to find a backer and a site to build another gambling casino. (we already have 61 here in California now).
So if the Akaka Bill should pass then it won't be just the Aztlan movement challenging the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. There will be several "tribes" of Mexican and Latino peoples laying claim to vast areas of the Southwest including California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas even part of Utah and Colorado. (The Arapaho Indians have recently claimed the Northern half of the State of Colorado but they are willing to give up that claim if they can get 500 Acres near the Denver Airport for a casino) I can hear it now, "the Guadalajara band of Mixtec Indians" or the Sonora Band of Toltecs" etc.
How long before we see a Bill in Congress for the Restoration of the Creole Nation in the Southeastern United States? Can this folly be limited to Inuit Eskimo and Aleut tribes, Hawaiians and Indians ( there are 600+ Native American Indian tribes NOW) ? Under current federal recognition processes the sky is the limit. The BIA, the agency charged with making recognition determinations entitling recognized "tribes to federal welfare and other benefits, is heavily dominated by Indian descendant employees and bureaucrats.
The answer is to stop this absurdity and take away the economic advantage of claiming some obscure tribal status and eliminate the current political obsession with "cultural diversity" as if it were an objective. We are one culture, the AMERICAN CULTURE which is comprised of dozens of ethnic cultures, who are all free to preserve their particular cultural traditions and customs amongst their families and communities.
That is the essence of American culture, a democracy which allows the freedom to carry on such traditions. It does not permit separatism by any group that thinks that they can be a "Sovereign Nation" within this nation, and be immune from the laws and taxes everyone else must abide by. There are no such sovereign nations, not even Indian Tribes which are, for the most part, dependent cultural enclaves that have maintained separations from the economic, cultural and political system of this country largely because the tribal governments of Indian tribes draw their powers from being the conduit of federal welfare and who control and manage those revenues that the tribes generate from the lands they control, which now includes casino gambling income, and these governments do so largely without any checks and balances.
Tribal governments do not want to give up that power base so to preserve it they disguise their true motives by speaking of needing "sovereignty" and sovereign immunity for the preservation of Native Culture and tradition, as if anyone in modern America would, or for that matter has any desire to, take that away from them.
Thus the only thing Native American tribes have become under flawed federal Indian policies are dependent enclaves supported by non-Indian taxpayers, and ruled in many cases by dynasties and families that control their enrolled members, often ruthlessly, and those members have no legal rights nor any effective means to oust these governments. Under current federal law, the determination of who is or is not a member of any tribe is exclusively the prerogative of THE TRIBAL GOVERNMENT with no recourse in any such dispute except to that same government. Sovereign immunity has allowed these systems to persevere.
Do we need more "tribes" of this nature? Do the residents of Hawaii want a separate "Nation of Hawaiians" above the laws and taxes that every ther resident of Hawaii must abide by? One percent (1%) Hawaiian blood is enough under the Akaka Bill even though the other 99 % could be Russian, Chinese ancestry or, ironically, American, (at least for 2 or 3 generations).
The time to put an end to this absurd tribal renaissance in America has long since past because it is clearly not being utilized to preserve historic "cultural traditions" as often claimed, but rather it is no more than an attempt to evade the many laws which apply to everyone indiscriminately and the taxes that we are all obligated to pay for the public services and infrastructure we all use.
Jim Marino, Esq. is a resident of Santa Barbara, CA
Hawaii Reporter, May 30, 2006
New Version of the Akaka Bill Released
By Elaine Willman
Never doubt the political clout of two U.S. Senators, Daniel Akaka and Inouye.
The Hawaii Senators successfully submitted a new bill, Senate Bill 3064, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2006 into a First Reading in the U.S. Senate on May 25, 2006, and the next day, took it to a Second Reading, with the intent on organizing a Cloture vote by early June.
These two senators were greatly assisted by some promised obligation of Republican Senator Bill Frist.
S. 3064 authorizes a new Native Hawaiian government entity, using the term 71 times but merely defining the entity as some ambiguous, future government "organized by the Native Hawaiian people." The new bill has only one sponsor, Senator Akaka, but previous sponsors of the predecessor bill, S. 147, remain committed: Akaka, Cantwell, Coleman, Dorgan, Graham, Inouye, Murkowski, Gordon Smith, and Stevens.
The nine senators above entirely fail the sanity and ethics test so we will need to watch precisely how the remaining 91 Senators vote on this precedent-setting bill to dismantle America into separate race-based enclaves annually funded by taxpayers but tax-exempt and free of most federal, and all state and local governing authority.
Can you just hear the spin? "Oh this bill's better. This bill improves S. 147. You can vote for this bill." The peril is that senators swamped with other issues will buy into the Big Lie, and make an expedient vote that could tear this country asunder in the very near future.
Should S. 3064 pass, the legal door is open for Mexican Indigenous homeland claims being pursued by the Aztlan Movement to overturn the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in order to restore 525,000 square miles of the Southwestern United States to the Indigenous Mexicans. This is no joke. This is what the Akaka Bill means for the future of an America, no longer "indivisible."
Nine senators sponsoring S. 147, now morphed into S. 3064, having completely flunked their course on the U.S. Constitution, turn a deaf ear to the majority of their constituents, and have no problem debilitating our youngest State of Hawaii. A separate, race-based government operating far outside of the U.S. Constitution is just fine with these federal elected officials, but how this mentality comports with taking their Oath of Office is chilling.
S. 3064 reports that within the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause (Article I, Sec. 8, Clause 3) is the constitutional ground for the legislation. The Commerce Clause states, "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with Indian tribes." Clearly, U.S. citizens containing "a single drop of Hawaiian blood" are not: 1) foreign nations; 2) States of the United States, or 3) Indian tribes. The Commerce Clause, nor any other language within the U.S. Constitution allows such a travesty as the Akaka Bill.
U.S. citizens of a single drop of Hawaiian blood are currently protected under the Constitution and its Amendments only until they allow foolish leaders such as Inouye, Akaka, and seven other silly senators to remove their Constitutional protections by passing S. 3064.
Imagine a United States of a mere 50 states, perhaps soon diminished to 49 states. Imagine a United States containing 561 federally recognized Indian tribes operating outside of the U.S. Constitution, along with 274 new Indian "tribes" pursuing a separate, race-based "extra-constitutional" government. Then imagine a separate Hawaiian race-based government, that spawns separate Mexican government homelands and governing "entities" within seven more of our United States.
Do not forget that over 411 tribal casinos pump unaccountable millions into both political parties (Thank you, Senator McCain), and especially the U.S. Senate. This Congressionally sanctioned gambling monopoly has returned an egregious political "profit" to the U.S. Senate. We now have the Enron mentality in the U.S. Senate that imperils all 50 states should it pass Senate Bill 3064.
If Senators are offended by these comments, perhaps, God-willing, they will prove me wrong by soundly defeating such a horrific concept as yet another separate race-based government sanctioned by the U.S. Senate. My fear is that I may be right on this, and that what remains of sanity and ethics within federal elected officials lingers enough in the House of Representatives to spare this country a growing domestic civil war.
Thomas Sowell states the issue best:
"Civil rights cannot include everything that is done by government which benefits particular groups, individually or collectively. The whole case for civil rights is that every American is entitled to them. Civil rights are not about doing special things for special groups."
Our senators will either salvage our civil rights by defeating Senate Bill 3064, or they will savage what remains of the civil rights of U.S. citizens. Speak up right now to all of the senators you can contact, and watch the vote on S. 3064 very, very carefully.
Elaine Willman is a City Councilwoman, in Toppenish, WA, and Chair of the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA), a coalition of community education organizations focused on federal Indian policy. She also authored a book entitled "Going to Pieces...The Dismantling of the United States." Reach her via email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Hawaii Reporter, May 30, 2006
Governor Gives False Assurance on Secession
By Tom Macdonald
Gov. Linda Lingle's May 15 letter to Republican U.S. senators claims that passage of the Akaka Bill will "not lead to secession" from the U.S. by a newly-formed sovereign Hawaiian government. She says "the very idea is nonsense."
Perhaps the governor is not aware of the following:
* Until recently, the OHA Web site stated on its Hawaiian governance page: "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 Hawaiian people. "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."
* On July 8, 2005, OHA Administrator Clyde Namuo is quoted in The Honolulu Advertiser as stating "If, truly, the Hawaiian community feels independence is the noblest of goals, regardless of whether federal recognition comes about, it could still be pursued."
* On July 8, 2005, OHA Trustee Rowena Akana stated on National Public Radio that "if the majority of Hawaiian people want secession, then that's the way we'll go."
* Also in July 2005, Senator Akaka responded evasively on NPR to a question about the possibility of secession, saying "that is something I leave for my grandchildren to decide."
Supporters of the Akaka Bill appear to have realized that the idea of secession was a public relations disaster, so they have been keeping the issue flying under the radar. But it is clear that an attempt at secession by any new Hawaiian nation is a distinct possibility, regardless of Lingle's assurances to the contrary.
Tom Macdonald is a resident of Kaneohe, Hawaii. Reach him via email at mailto:email@example.com
Jewish World Review May 31, 2006
by Linda Chavez
What is going on with Republicans in Congress? They've largely abandoned many traditional conservative principles — smaller government, belief in the free market and protection of individual, not group, rights.
Instead of acting as good stewards of the people's money, Republican members have taken the art of "earmarking" funds for their pet projects to heights that should make big-spending Democrats blush. They've become so obsessed by immigration, many have adopted the centrally planned economic models of radical population-control advocates.
And now some Republicans are about to engineer the reconquista of Hawaii. There is much talk among some Republican members of Congress of late that Mexicans are trying to reconquer the American Southwest, but the real irredentist threat seems to be coming from Hawaiians, not Mexicans, with the help of a lot of Republican politicians. Instead of being the party of principle, Republicans are in danger of becoming the party of hypocrisy.
The latest travesty comes in the form of a bill to grant "Native Hawaiians" status as a sovereign government within the United States. Half of the co-sponsors of the legislation are Republicans: Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Gordon Smith, Norm Coleman, Ted Stevens and Lindsey Graham. And so many Republicans are supporting the bill that opponents may not be able to sustain a filibuster when it comes up for a Senate vote next week.
The bill creates a new racial category — so-called Native Hawaiians — that will be defined as a "tribe" for purposes of self-government. Anyone who is one of the "indigenous, native people of Hawaii" and who is a "direct, lineal descendant of the aboriginal, indigenous, native people" who resided in the Hawaiian Islands on or before Jan. 1, 1893, and "exercised sovereignty" in the same region will be given special autonomous rights, including the right to "negotiate" with the federal government over lands and natural resources.
In order to qualify for membership in the group there will be strictly a racial test — "tribal" members wouldn't even have to live in Hawaii. And never mind the obvious nonsense that the indigenous peoples of the Hawaiian Islands ever exercised "sovereignty." The only sovereign of the Hawaiian peoples in 1893 was Queen Liliuokalani, but that won't stop some 400,000 people claiming special privileges under this bill.
The legislation is a marked departure from the government's treatment of legitimate Indian tribes, which must produce evidence to show that they have been in continuous existence since 1900 and have kinship and marriage, as well as cultural or religious, patterns that are distinctive. Indian tribes must also prove that their membership is based on historical tribes that have functioned as a political entity in the past — none of which will be required for Native Hawaiians.
The recent debate over immigration has raised important questions about national identity, but conservative Republicans are no better than their Democrat colleagues in tackling this issue head-on. Republicans — including illegal alien foe and Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner — back bilingual ballots, for example.
When I testified at Judiciary Committee hearings against providing bilingual ballots, I felt a little like the skunk at the tea party. And Republicans have been almost as bad as Democrats in including racial preferences for supposedly underrepresented minorities in federal legislation, even voting again to include such preferences in legislation that had been the subject of a successful Supreme Court challenge in the 1995 Adarand v. Pena case.
What we need now is not more racial categories and special privileges, but fewer, especially in light of the changing demographics of the country. Instead of pushing legislation to create a whole new victim-group — Native Hawaiians — Republicans ought to get back to color-blind principles and a commitment to the melting pot.
But principles don't seem to matter to some members of Congress nearly as much as interest groups pushing an agenda. At this rate, it's hard to figure out what some Republicans really stand for anymore. Aside from support for aggressively challenging our enemies abroad, the GOP doesn't bear much resemblance to the party of Ronald Reagan on much of anything these days.
JWR contributor Linda Chavez is President of the Center for Equal Opportunity.
Chicago Sun-Times, May 31, 2006
'E pluribus whatever' hardly a unifying national motto
BY ED FEULNER
Last year, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution congratulating the West Oahu baseball team for winning the 2005 Little League World Series. Those young men were an American success story because they never gave up. They scored three late runs to tie the championship game in regulation and then won it in extra innings.
But if an upcoming Senate measure becomes law, future Hawaiian teams may celebrate championships as members of the international squad instead of as Americans.
Lawmakers will vote as early as next week on the measure, which would permit the creation of an exclusively race-based government of ''native'' Hawaiians to exercise sovereignty over native Hawaiians living anywhere in the United States. This government would be treated as a separate but dependent nation, just as many Indian tribes are. It also would have the right to exempt itself from any parts of the Constitution it didn't agree with.
This proposal has been shot down before, but it's proved to be like the vampire who won't die in a bad movie. No matter how many times opponents think they've killed it, it keeps coming back.
In a paper last fall, two Heritage Foundation legal scholars outlined perhaps the best reason to oppose allowing supposed Hawaiian natives to form a government: ''There are no 'native' Hawaiians living apart from other Americans,'' former Attorney General Edwin Meese and Todd Gaziano wrote. ''Hawaiians, whether they have pure, part, or no 'aboriginal blood,' all live in the same neighborhoods, go to the same schools and churches and participate in the same community life.''
In other words, they're Americans, in the truest sense of the word.
Right now, they live in the melting pot that brings people of many different backgrounds together as a united people. And there's no reason to change that. In fact, any time lawmakers consider passing a law, they ought to ask, ''Will this unite us or divide us?'' Here, the answer is clear. It would drive a stake between Americans, including many who've been friends and neighbors for decades.
In addition to being divisive, the measure is also unconstitutional.
No government organized under the U.S. Constitution may create another government that is exempted from parts of the Constitution. Congress is simply not allowed to create new nations, new governments or new tribes and leave them free from their constitutional responsibilities. We all enjoy the many benefits of the Constitution because we all agree to be bound by it in its entirety, even if we occasionally disagree with parts of it.
Imagine if Congress did allow native Hawaiians to discriminate on the basis of race. That would clearly violate the 14th Amendment, drafted specifically to ensure that all residents of a state enjoy identical citizenship privileges. Whether you are a ''native Hawaiian'' with direct blood ties to the former monarchy or someone who moved to Hawaii last week, you're entitled to equal protection as a Hawaiian and as an American.
In 1959, the people of Hawaii voted overwhelmingly to join the United States. They understood they were voting to become full citizens, committing themselves to protect and defend the Constitution and to build our country side by side with Americans in the 49 other states.
It's ironic that even as the U.S. Senate is proposing to offer amnesty to millions of illegal aliens so they can supposedly integrate into American society, it may also create a new government that would allow millions of native-born Americans to segregate themselves from American society.
Before voting, lawmakers ought to step back and ask themselves: Am I upholding the Constitution? Am I maintaining our traditional policy of E pluribus unum? Nothing less than a ''yes'' in both cases is acceptable.
Ed Feulner is president of the Heritage Foundation and co-author of the book Getting America Right.
Hawaii Reporter, May 31, 2006
What Does the United States Owe to Native Hawaiians?
By Kenneth R. Conklin
The United States owes to Native Hawaiians the same things it owes to all citizens -- things like protection of life, liberty, property, and the rule of law; and assistance to individuals who are unable to help themselves.
The question raised here is this: Does the United States owe Native Hawaiians anything else, in addition to what it owes all citizens? Does the U.S. owe reparations to Native Hawaiians for the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893? Does the U.S. owe Native Hawaiians special treatment, group rights, or political sovereignty on account of anything that happened in the past, or on account of current economic or social afflictions?
The simple answer is "No." There are many reasons for that answer.
Some of those reasons are found in major reports that were commissioned by Congress specifically for the purpose of studying what, if anything, the U.S. owes to Native Hawaiians. One report was published in 1894. Another was published in 1983.
Both reports were swept under the rug by Hawaiian activists determined to extract land, money and power from the U.S. government to the maximum extent possible. The resolution of sentiment passed by Congress in 1993 apologizing for the overthrow of the monarchy would never have been passed if Senators and Congressmen had been familiar with reports their predecessors had commissioned. The Akaka bill will not pass if Senators and Congressmen can be made aware of what's in those reports.
Fortunately those reports are now easily available on the Internet, after years of being hidden away in dusty archives. Following are brief descriptions of what's in those two reports, how anyone in the world can now easily read them, and what bearing they have on the Akaka bill.
THE MORGAN REPORT (U.S. Senate, 1894)
A revolution in 1887 by 1,500 armed local men had forced King Kalakaua to agree to a new Constitution giving up most of his powers but retaining his figurehead status as King. The U.S. played no part in that event. On January 17, 1893, the same local revolutionaries took the final step and dethroned Queen Liliuokalani.
Because of serious threats of violence and arson as the revolution moved from rumor to reality from January14-17, the U.S. representative in Hawaii sent about 160 sailors and marines ashore to protect American lives and property and to prevent rioting -- the same sort of peacekeeping mission done in modern times in Granada, Haiti, and, quite recently, in Liberia. U.S. forces remained scrupulously neutral; did not conspire beforehand with the revolutionaries; did not provide assistance during the revolution; did not fire a shot or take over any buildings; and spent the night inside a building behind where the Post Office is now located and out of sight of the Palace and the Government Building (Aliiolani Hale). The mere presence of U.S. troops in Honolulu might have encouraged the revolutionaries and discouraged the Queen's forces; although there is also evidence that some royalists thought the U.S. troops would support the Queen.
U.S. President Grover Cleveland came into office a few weeks after the revolution. He was a friend of Queen Liliuokalani, and an isolationist opposed to U.S. expansion. He immediately withdrew from the Senate a treaty of annexation proposed by the revolutionary government that had been approved by outgoing President Harrison. Cleveland sent a new representative James Blount to Hawaii with secret orders to destabilize the Provisional Government of President Sanford B. Dole and to restore the Queen. Blount tried to stir up trouble; and he sabotaged negotiations whereby Liliuokalani was offering to abandon any efforts at restoration in return for a lifetime pension. Blount assured Liliuokalani that President Cleveland would get her back on the throne; and she passed along that message to her supporters. Later, in December, Blount's replacement as Cleveland's representative wrote a letter to President Dole on behalf of the U.S. government ordering Dole to step down and restore the Queen. When all Cleveland's efforts failed because of the strength and determination of the revolutionary government, he referred the matter to the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs to investigate the U.S. role in the overthrow and to recommend what should be done (he was hoping Congress might approve the use of force to overthrow Dole).
In early 1894, after two months of hearing sworn testimony under cross examination in open session, the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, chaired by James Morgan, published an 808-page report concluding that the U.S. had not conspired with the Hawaii revolutionaries beforehand and had not assisted them during the revolution. The Morgan report repudiated a previous report by Cleveland's hatchet-man Blount. It included evidence that Blount had listened to the royalists and excluded the revolutionaries, and had falsified or misrepresented some statements made to him. As a result of the Morgan report the Senate passed a resolution that there should be no further U.S. interference in Hawai'i, thus destroying Cleveland's hope for approval of U.S. intervention to restore the Queen. Also as a result of the Morgan report, President Cleveland gave up any further efforts on the Queen's behalf; he extended formal diplomatic recognition de jure (rather than merely de facto) to the Dole government, and he engaged in diplomatic negotiations regarding further implementation of treaties. The Dole government held power for more than 5 years, including all 4 years of an initially hostile President Cleveland, and in the face of an attempted armed counter-revolution in which several men were killed and many were imprisoned. The Dole government was not democratic, and probably did not enjoy the support of the majority of Hawaii's people. But it was given diplomatic recognition by all the nations who had previously recognized the monarchy; just as other oligarchies around the world.
The Morgan report, and President Cleveland's turnabout, should have settled once and for all that the U.S. did not overthrow the Hawaiian monarchy, and does not owe any reparations to Native Hawaiians. Indeed, the U.S. during the first year of Grover Cleveland's administration provided the best possible kind of reparations by trying aggressively to undo the Hawaiian revolution forthwith. But when the apology resolution came up in the Senate 99 years later, even the strongest opponents of that resolution had forgotten all about the Morgan report and meekly said they had no quarrel with the history contained in the "whereas" clauses of the apology resolution -- a historical narrative filled with errors and distortions that the Morgan report would have easily corrected.
See the end-notes for internet access to the Morgan report and to two point-by-point rebuttals to the faulty history of the apology resolution.
THE NATIVE HAWAIIANS STUDY COMMISSION (U.S. Senate and House, 1983)
The Native Hawaiians Study Commission was created by the Congress of the United States on December 22, 1980 (Title III of Public Law 96-565). The purpose of the Commission was to "conduct a study of the culture, needs and concerns of the Native Hawaiians." The Commission released to the public a Draft Report of Findings on Sept. 23, 1982. Following a 120-day period of public comment, a final report was written and submitted on June 23, 1983, to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs.
The NHSC examined the history of Hawaii and the current conditions (1980) of Native Hawaiians. One purpose of the commission was to explore whether Native Hawaiians have special needs, and what those needs might be. Another purpose of the commission was to explore whether the United States has any historical, legal, or moral obligation to meet the special needs of Native Hawaiians by providing them with political sovereignty or race-specific group rights.
The commission found that Native Hawaiians have higher rates than other ethnic groups for indicators of dysfunction in health, education, income, etc. The commission concluded that the U.S. has no obligation to remedy those problems in any way other than the usual assistance given by government to all people afflicted with difficulties.
Portions of the "Conclusions and Recommendations" section of the NHSC final report focus on topics of special interest regarding the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill, S.147 and H.R.309 in the 109th Congress. Two conclusions relevant to the Akaka bill might be described as follows:
* 1. There is no historical, legal, or moral obligation for the U.S. government to provide race-based reparations, assistance, or group rights for Native Hawaiians.
* 2. Affirmative outreach is appropriate to ensure Native Hawaiians are given the assistance they need; but race-based or racially exclusionary programs are not recommended. Native Hawaiians may be disproportionately afflicted by some specific medical or social problems. Native Hawaiians should receive affirmative outreach to ensure they are aware of and receive help from existing programs open to all needy people. When considering what new programs government should sponsor, care should be taken to target some of those new programs to areas of concern which disproportionately afflict Native Hawaiians. However, the NHSC carefully worded its recommendations to avoid proposing race-based or racially exclusionary programs or group rights.
Following are some quotes from the "Conclusions and Recommendations" section of the NHSC report. These particular quotes are highlighted because of their relevance to the Akaka bill. The full set of conclusions can be found on pp. 23-32 of the report. The conclusions regarding lack of a federal trust relationship with Native Hawaiians, and lack of any obligation to pay reparations, are more fully explored in the NHSC section entitled "Existing Law, Native Hawaiians, and Compensation" found on pp. 333-370 including 198 footnotes citing both Kingdom of Hawaii and U.S. government actions and legal decisions.
NHSC CONCLUDES THERE IS NO HISTORICAL, LEGAL, OR MORAL OBLIGATION FOR THE U.S. TO GIVE RACE-BASED REPARATIONS, GROUP RIGHTS, OR POLITICAL SOVEREIGNTY TO NATIVE HAWAIIANS -- QUOTES FROM THE REPORT
"To summarize the Commission's findings with regard to the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy: Based upon the information available to it, the Commission concluded that Minister John L. Stevens and certain other individuals occupying positions with the U.S. Government participated in activities contributing to the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy on January 17, 1893. The Commission was unable to conclude that these activities were sanctioned by the President or the Congress. In fact, official government records lend strong support to the conclusion that Minister Stevens' actions were not sanctioned." (page 29)
"Besides the findings summarized above, the Commission concludes that, as an ethical or moral matter, Congress should not provide for native Hawaiians to receive compensation either for loss of land or of sovereignty. Reviewing the situation generally, including the historical changes in Hawaii's land laws and constitution before 1893, the Hawaiian political climate that led to the overthrow, the lack of authorized involvement by the United States, and the apparent limited role of United States forces in the overthrow, the Commission found that on an ethical or moral basis, native Hawaiians should not receive reparations." (page 29)
"The relations between the United States and Hawaii up to the time of annexation were relations between two separate, sovereign nations, not between a sovereign and those subject to its sovereignty." (page 25)
"Generally, the most likely possible theories for the award of compensation to native groups for loss of land were aboriginal title or recognized title doctrines." (page 25)
"The law has developed specific tests for establishing aboriginal title: the group must be a single land-owning entity; there must be actual and exclusive use and occupancy of the lands; the use and occupancy must be of a defined area; the land must have been used and occupied for a long time before aboriginal title was extinguished. Additionally, title must have been extinguished by the government of the United States, not by another body, such as the government of Hawaii before the United States annexed Hawaii. Finally, some law must give the native group, here the native Hawaiians, a right to compensation for loss of aboriginal title. The Commission finds that the facts do not meet the tests for showing the existence of aboriginal title." (pp. 25-26)
"Even if the tests had been met, the Commission finds that such title was extinguished by actions of the Hawaiian government before 1893, and certainly before annexation, which was the first assumption of sovereignty by the United States." (page 26)
"Finally, even if these tests had been met, neither the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution nor current statutes provide authority for payment of compensation to native Hawaiians for loss of aboriginal title." (page 26)
"The law also has developed specific legal requirements for compensation of loss of lands by recognized title. The Commission examined the question of whether treaties and statutes, the Joint Resolution of Annexation, or the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provide a basis for payment under the theory of recognized title, and concluded that no basis exists." (page 26)
"The Commission examined whether a trust or fiduciary relationship exists between the United States and native Hawaiians and concluded that no statutes or treaties give rise to such a relationship because the United States did not exercise sovereignty over the Hawaiian Islands prior to annexation, and the Joint Resolution of Annexation, No. 55 (July 7, 1898) did not create a special relationship for native Hawaiians." (page 26)
"The Commission considered whether native Hawaiians are entitled to compensation for loss of sovereignty, and found no present legal entitlement to compensation for any loss of sovereignty." (page 26)
NHSC CONCLUDES THERE SHOULD BE AFFIRMATIVE OUTREACH TO NATIVE HAWAIIANS BUT NO RACE-BASED OR RACIALLY EXCLUSIONARY PROGRAMS -- QUOTES FROM THE REPORT
The commission recommended that government programs be targeted to deal with problems that disproportionately affect Native Hawaiians, to ensure that they receive the help they especially need. But notably the commission did not recommend singling out a specific racial group for benefits that would exclude other groups. Benefits are to be given to all individuals afflicted with a particular problem, regardless of race; and if Native Hawaiians are disproportionately afflicted then they will receive a disproportionate share of the benefits of such programs without any need for programs limited by race.
The "Conclusions and Recommendations" section of the NHSC report makes clear that there should be special outreach to Native Hawaiians to ensure that they are made aware of government programs from which they could get assistance, and to ensure that new and existing programs be focused on problems that disproportionately affect Native Hawaiians. But the Commission's recommendations never propose to create race-based programs exclusively for Native Hawaiians. Here are some quotes illustrating the careful wording of recommendations for affirmative outreach but avoiding race-based or racially exclusionary programs:
"[C]onsideration should be given to a wide variety of Federal programs that are already available or that could be made available to help address specific needs. Private, local, and State officials in Hawaii should take the initiative to become aware of available programs, secure and disseminate information on them, and ensure that native Hawaiians have equal access to those programs." (page 28)
"The Commission recommends: ... Making sure that Federal programs for vocational training funded through block grants are targeted to groups most in need, including native Hawaiians. ... Initiating efforts to ensure that information on specific Federal programs (for example, supplemental food program for women, infants, and children) is disseminated through native Hawaiian organizations, and recruit eligible native Hawaiians to participate in these programs. Ensuring that a fair share of Federal block grant monies are directed toward alleviating specific health problems, including those of concern to native Hawaiians, such as infant mortality and child and maternal care. Giving higher priority to native Hawaiian sites in considering nominations for the National Register of Historic Places; activating the State Historic reservation Plan and revising, in consultation with native Hawaiians, the plan in an effort to ensure protection of ancient Hawaiian artifacts and sites." (page 29)
"The Commission also recommends that the heads of all Federal departments and agencies act to ensure that the needs and concerns of native Hawaiians, to the extent identified and defined in the Commission's Report, be brought to the attention of their program administrators; that these administrators consult officials in Hawaii for further guidance on specific programs; and, once this guidance is received, consider actions that could be taken to ensure full and equal access by native Hawaiians to various assistance programs." (page 30)
Conclusion: The United States owes to Native Hawaiians the same things it owes to all citizens -- things like protection of life, liberty, property, and the rule of law; and assistance to individuals who are unable to help themselves. The United States owes nothing less to Native Hawaiians. And nothing more.
The Morgan Report (1894)
Constitutional law scholar Bruce Fein provided a point-by-point criticism of the Hawaiian apology resolution on pp. 5-18 of his monograph "Hawaii Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand." That entire monograph in pdf format is available at:
Thurston Twigg-Smith's family now has seven generations of people born and raised in Hawai'i, descended from one of the early New England missionaries. Mr. Twigg-Smith's grandfather, a native-born subject of the Kingdom, was one of the leaders of both Hawaiian revolutions in 1887 and 1893. Mr. Twigg-Smith published a book about the history of Hawai'i entitled "Hawaiian Sovereignty: Do The Facts Matter?" Chapter 10 of that book analyzes the apology resolution. The entire book, as well as the individual Chapter 10, can be downloaded in pdf form free of charge from
HAWAIIAN REPARATIONS: NOTHING LOST, NOTHING OWED by Patrick W. Hanifin, esq.; Hawaii Bar Journal, XVII, 2 (1982). Mr. Hanifin's lengthy, heavily footnoted article can be downloaded in pdf format. An informal summary of it published in a newspaper is also available. A tribute to Mr. Hanifin with biographical information and some of his other publications is also available. To find all this material in one place, go to:
Native Hawaiians Study Commission report (1983) This report has only recently been made available on the internet. Many pages have been edited to make them easy to read, copy, or search as text documents. Some pages still need editing although the content is there for those who have patience to read material with no paragraph breaks and with tables whose columns have not been lined up. Photographs of every individual page are provided, as taken from an original hardcopy of the 1983 book. Please visit:
Native Hawaiian Victimhood Claims -- What Are They? Why Are They Being Asserted? How Can the Bad Statistics Be Explained?
WHY ALL AMERICA SHOULD OPPOSE THE HAWAIIAN GOVERNMENT REORGANIZATION BILL, ALSO KNOWN AS THE AKAKA BILL, S.147 AND H.R.309
Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D., is an independent scholar in Kaneohe, Hawaii. His Web site on Hawaiian Sovereignty is at:
https://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty He can be contacted at: Ken_Conklin@yahoo.com
Hawaii Reporter, May 31, 2006
Political Phrasing: The Rest of the Story
By Paul E. Smith
The other shoe firmly dropped at the Republican Convention in Waikiki this last weekend.
The first shoe dropped was the General Excise tax increase surcharge authority the governor let go into effect without her signature in 2005 when a veto was not likely to be overridden by the state Legislature.
The second shoe dropped at the 2006 convention with her support for immediate passage of the Akaka Bill by the U.S. Senate in June.
No, it is not new that the governor favors home rule or the Akaka Bill. What is interesting, however, is that after two conventions maybe we can see a pattern and figure out how she rationalized taking such actions even when she knows there is opposition to these positions within the ranks of her supporters.
A little history:
Close listening to what the governor says can predict the future actions and arguments she is likely to use to defend particular positions. Below are two examples taken from the last two Party Conventions.
In 2005 the governor used a special phrase repeatedly “home rule.” This phrase should have been read to indicate clearly that she had made up her mind and rationalized the enactment of the county GE tax surcharge for transit in spite of clear agreements and promises not to raise any tax.
Now, in 2006, the special phrase she used was “people before party.” This phrase suggests she has resolved to support enactment of the Akaka Bill and imposition of the process, proposed by the bill, on the people of Hawaii without their consent. But that is not new. What the phrase really demonstrates, however, is the rationale she has selected to defend her support of the Akaka Bill; people before party.
It is a curious turn of events when the titular head of a Party suggests that the Party she heads is not functioning in the interest of the “people.”
Is the Party out of alignment with the population because of the current leadership?
Is the Party out of alignment with the people because of current staffing or past actions or future plans?
What else does it say or suggest when the Party leader intimates that the Party she leads may be so out of touch with the people that she must threaten to choose the people before the Party?
In Hawaii, Gov. Linda Lingle has always been viewed as a strong leader with a firm grip on the Republican Party. After all, she was Party chair for several years, she has hand picked the subsequent chairs, and the apparatus operates at her beck and call even, at times, facilitating her campaign fund raisers. How, therefore, can it be that the governor could expect to get away with suggesting that she might have to choose following the people instead of the Party because the two (people and Party) did not have the same interest?
Perhaps the governor is reading the stars and realizes that there is a chance the Republican Congress will not pass the Akaka Bill and she better have an excuse. Perhaps she realizes she is on shaky legal and ethical grounds and when the Akaka Bill is decided with debate by the U.S. Congress, the bill will fail. If, after her efforts, the bill fails; she will have to have a reason for continuing to support the Akaka Bill and continuing to call herself a Republican. Well, saying the Party is out of alignment with the people would work, wouldn’t it?
Any political party can do things that are illegal, unethical and just plain wrong. The reason any Party can do such things is simply because all organizations are run by people who have all sorts of motives and personal ethics. I do not believe that the Democrat Party or the Republican Party is perpetuated as a strong viable organization if it fails to match quite closely the wishes of the people whom we also know as voters.
Therefore, it is incumbent on the Party leaders to demonstrate to themselves and to others that what is advocated by the leader and/or the Party is in the public, or peoples, interest. In the case of the Akaka Bill it is simply a matter of getting the people of Hawaii to express their views and thereby demonstrate that the Party or the leader is aligned with the people.
A constitutional amendment, a plebiscite, a special election, or all sorts of actions can be taken to encourage a focused and honest debate in Hawaii by the people of Hawaii. The end result of the debate and votes would then be a plan that leaders could follow in resolving whatever claims or issues separate Hawaii citizens. If Hawaii voters can decide what is needed first; then it is reasonable to request national action, if needed.
Too bad our governor has put herself in an awkward and conflicted position by seeking to get the “feds” to impose a plan on Hawaii before Hawaii has even talked about or decided what the people of Hawaii want with regard to the Akaka Bill. Now, with a conflicted position, the choice of “people versus Party” has to be aired in public as the ultimate excuse in the perennial political blame game just in case the Akaka Bill fails in a Republican Congress.
Paul E. Smith is a resident of Honolulu and a member of the Hawaii Republican Party.
You may now
READ MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE HAWAIIAN GOVERNMENT REORGANIZATION BILL IN THE 109th CONGRESS (January 2005 through December 2006)
SEE MORE GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE HAWAIIAN RECOGNITION BILL (HAWAIIAN GOVERNMENT REORGANIZATION BILL)
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(c) Copyright 2006 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved