(c) Copyright 2007, Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved
The history of the Akaka bill during the entire 110th Congress, January 2007 through December 2008, is divided into subpages covering several time-periods. The index of topics for the entire 110th Congress, with links to the subpages, can be found at
This is a subpage covering the history for the period from June 1, 2007 through August 31.
INDEX OF ITEMS FROM JUNE 1, 2007 THROUGH AUGUST 31, 2007. (FULL TEXT OF EACH ITEM FOLLOWS THE INDEX, IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER). About 230 pages.
June 1: Oswald Stender, current OHA trustee and former Kamehameha Schools trustee, reviews history of native Hawaiian victimhood, says the aloha spirit belongs to ethnic Hawaiians, newcomers want not only to share but to take, and "we will never surrender to them or their sense of 'justice'."
June 2: Ken Conklin commentary in Honolulu Star-Bulletin describes book which explains why civil rights activists oppose the growing empire of Hawaiian race-based programs and the Akaka bill
June 3: (1) Letter raises 6 questions about Kau Inoa (racial registry and Akaka bill; (2) Letter raises historical issues and asks who is truly Hawaiian.
June 5: Letter says "Attempts to disguise the Akaka Bill by renaming it "Kau Inoa" and spending thousands of dollars advertising for Hawaiians to come together is misleading and unfortunate for those foolish enough to sell their rights for a free T-Shirt."
June 6: Major article by Andrew Walden in Hawaii Reporter describes how the Akaka bill, in giving sovereignty to an ethnic Hawaiian governing entity, would provide a safe haven for corruption on a massive scale. Walden describes at length some of the Bishop Estate (Kamehameha Schools) corruption, as described in the "Broken Trust" book, noting that Bishop Estate actively explored moving its corporate headquarters to an Indian tribe reservation on the mainland as a way of avoiding scrutiny by the IRS and by Hawaii Attorney General Bronster; and shortly thereafter the Akaka bill was introduced in July 2000.
June 10: KITV, a Honolulu television station, breathlessly reports the "news" that the Akaka bill "could" come to the floor in Congress "sometime before September."
June 11: (1) Kamehameha Day celebration in U.S. Capitol Statuary Hall at Kamehameha statue focuses on passing the Akaka bill; (2) Letter says Hawaiians want independent nation, not Akaka bill
June 12: OHA Administrator Clyde Namu'o letter in Honolulu Advertiser says the Kau Inoa program (racial registry) is good for ethnic Hawaiians and for all Hawaii.
June 17: (1) Letter in Maui News (by Native Hawaiian Gaby Gouveia) says the Kau Inoa program (racial registry) and Akaka bill are ridiculous and the OHA TV infomercial Tuesday night arrogantly refused to answer important questions; (2) Open letter to Congress by Jim Growney, Native Hawaiian, points out that the apology resolution blames the U.S. for the overthrow of the monarchy, but the Akaka bill to be passed by Congress lays the burden for restitution on the people of Hawai'i.
June 21: Tom MacDonald short article in Hawaii Reporter criticizes on-going OHA ads that claim there is overwhelming public support for the Akaka bill.
June 23: OHA Chair Haunani Apoliona responds to Gaby Gouveia letter from June 17.
June 29: Blog article "Rolling Back Indigenous Rights" says conservative resistance to Akaka bill is part of a larger conservative agenda of opposing affirmative action and expanding white privilege.
July 3: Gaby Gouveia replies to Haunani Apoliona letter of June 23.
July 4: (1) Announcement of high-price banquet by Alu Like to honor Senator Akaka and OHA Chair Haunani Apoliona (Alu Like is one of more than 160 federally-funded racially exclusionary institutions whose survival might depend on the Akaka bill) (2) Gaby Gouveia anti-American, anti-Caucasian letter in Maui News "celebrating" the 4th of July; (3) Eni Faleomavaega, American Samoa delegate to Congress who strongly supports Akaka bill, is refused permission by the government of Indonesia to attend a conference in Papua New Guinea because he favors the secession of that province.
July 9: "Accuracy in Media" reports on some of the secessionist aspects of the Akaka bill.
July 14: 14 NEW MEMBERS APPOINTED BY THE U.S. COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS TO SERVE ON ITS HAWAII STATE ADVISORY COMMITTEE. The new members include some strong opponents of the Akaka bill and of race-based programs for ethnic Hawaiians -- the first time in history that the committee has included such opponents. News reports in the Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin discuss the implications for the Akaka bill. A new webpage traces the history of the Hawaii committee and an ongoing compilation of news reports and commentaries.
July 16: Retired judge Paul de Silva disagrees with Congressmember Mazie Hirono's dislike for the new Hawaii civil rights committee, in a commentary published in Hawaii Reporter and later in the Honoolulu Advertiser.
July 17: Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial "New civil rights panel might not reflect local sentiment" says "Whatever stance the new advisory committee takes on the sovereignty issue, it deserves to be regarded as the divided opinion of 17 individuals, just as last year's 5-2 vote by the commission in opposition to the Akaka Bill failed to reflect the views of Hawaii residents."
July 18: Star-Bulletin editorial cartoon shows members of civil rights committee entering a boxing ring.
July 19: Associated Press circulates a biased "news report" about the Hawaii civil rights panel, published in many of its affiliated newspapers throughout the U.S.
July 20: The Garden Island News (Kaua'i) letter to editor from Ray Smith, a Kaua'i school classmate of Professor Rubellite Kawena Johnson, who was appointed to the Hawaii civil rights committee, describing her background.
July 23: (1) Honolulu Advertiser editorial joins the chorus of leftist media with a (delayed!) editorial complaining that the new Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is stacked against the Akaka bill because 5 of its 17 members have filed lawsuits or spoken out against the Akaka bill and race-based programs.; (2) Response to the July 17 Star-Bulletin editorial posted on Grassroot Institute of Hawaii blog by new civil rights committee member Tom Macdonald entitled "Yes I am concerned about secession, but more concerned about racial discrimination."
July 24: Tom Macdonald, newly appointed member of civil rights committee, says majority of Hawaii's people do not support Akaka bill.
July 25: 3 letters to editor in Honolulu Advertiser from "Dickie" Nelson,
West Hawai'i field representative for U.S. Rep. Mazie K. Hirono; Clyde NAmu'o
Administrator, Office of Hawaiian Affairs; and Ken Conklin
July 26: Letter in Maui News by Ken Conklin repudiates Maui News editorial which had claimed the new membership of civil rights committee stacks the deck against Akaka bill and affirmative action.
July 27: Newsmax reports "In a move that critics call a direct threat to the U.S. Constitution, federal legislation is moving forward in Congress to create a second, separate government in Hawaii solely controlled by ethnic and indigenous Hawaiians."
July 29: (1) Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial about Akaka bill opinion polls, saying a Ward Research poll of a few hundred people paid for by OHA was good, but a poll done by an out-of-state company paid for by Grassroot Institute which called every published telephone number in Hawaii was bad; (2) Star-Bulletin publishes a commentary and several letters opposing Akaka bill and citing the Grassroot poll, but publishes all these opposition items in a different section of the newspaper; (3) Honolulu Advertiser two letters pointing out that there are different kinds of reasons why people oppose the Akaka bill, and in any case there should be a referendum on it.
July 30: (1) IMPORTANT HEADLINE NEWS REPORT in Honolulu Advertiser says "Akaka bill may remain stalled until year's end" and provides quotes and commentary from politicians and analysits; (2) News report about Hawaiian secessionists celebrating a historical event called "Sovereignty Restoration Day" by lowering the American flag and raising the Hawaiian flag in its place [links to two webpages providing background on the history of the holiday and the current secessionist and racist implications of celebrating it]
July 31: (1) Honolulu Advertiser editorial says in view of the fact that the Akaka bill has languished in Congress for 8 years and might get vetoes even if passed, it's time to consider various proposals for Plan B (set up a private corporation that is racially exclusionary and transfer all race-based programs and assets into it); (2) Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial cartoon shows Akaka (bill) asleep on a bench in a corridor where janitors are mopping up.
August 1: OHA trustee Boyd Mossman letter in The Maui News ranting against Hawaii's annexation in 1898, against the new members of the civil rights committee, against equal treatment for all races, and for the Akaka bill.
August 2: (1) Letter to editor says there should not be any all-Hawaii vote on Akaka bill, because only ethnic Hawaiians should be able to vote on it; (2) Maui News editorial says "It might be best for the passage of the Akaka Bill – necessary to prevent the legal extinction of Native Hawaiians – to wait until there is a better chance of getting the necessary votes. A more sympathetic administration and Congress could be elected next year. Having the measure voted down or vetoed would do more harm than waiting."
August 4: (1) Letter says all Hawaii citizens should be able to decide about Akaka bill, since all would be affected by it; (2) Two news reports about several people with no native blood seeking to register with the Kau Inoa racial registry (expected to be membership roll for Akaka tribe), including Thurston Twigg-Smith (5th generation Hawaii citizen), and Earl Arakaki (lead plaintiff in several lawsuits against race-based programs).
August 5: Letter says the public needs to be educated about the Akaka bill before any vote should be taken.
August 7-8: (1) Lawsuit by native Hawaiians with more than 50% native blood quantum, against OHA, has been revived by a decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The lawsuit claims that it is illegal for OHA to spend any ceded lands revenue on low-quantum ethnic Hawaiians. In particular, it would be illegal for OHA to spend ceded lands money lobbying for the Akaka bill, supporting the Kau Inoa program, etc. Plaintiffs complain the Akaka bill would empower a low-quantum majority of ethnic Hawaiians to form a government that would seize control of land and money resources that should belong exclusively to high-quantum natives; (2) Hartford Connecticut newspaper editorial says Congress should stop giving federal recognition to Indian tribes because that process is best managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
August 9: Former state Senator Whitney Anderson, ethnic Hawaiian, writes letter opposing Akaka bill because it's too watered-down; recommends amending Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920 instead.
August 12: Tom Macdonald writes a short article "Akaka Bill: It's About 2.2 Million Acres of Land and Hundreds of Millions in Cash" citing Congressman Aberceombie's own statements.
August 13: KHNL TV news reports a Hawaiian sovereignty rally by the reinstated Hawaiian nation in support of the "Kanaka bill" (as opposed to the Akaka bill)
August 15: (1) Hawaii Business Magazine publishes pro/con on the Akaka bill with essays by Haunani Apoliona (OHA Chair) vs. Ken Conklin; (2) Hawaii Reporter published lengthy testimony to the civil rights committee opposing the Akaka bill, by Roger Clegg (Chief Counsel, Center for Equal Opportunity)
August 16: Honolulu Advertiser reports on civil rights committee hearings scheduled for August and September in Hawaii, and controversy over the timing of the hearings.
August 17: (1) Commentary opposing Akaka bill by Lyle Beckwith, Senior Vice President of Government Relations for the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS);
(2) Testimony of Roger Clegg, President and General Counsel, Center for Equal Opportunity, for the upcoming civil rights committee hearing (He will be the featured speaker opposed to the Akaka bill, debating against Attorney General Mark Bennett);
(3) Ken Conklin's testimony (very lengthy) is available in a webpage at
(4) Hilo newspaper reports on upcoming hearing and provides background about the controversy surrounding the reconstituted civil rights committee.
August 19: (1) Honolulu Star-Bulletin news report once again notes controversy over new members of civil rights committee; (2) Honolulu Advertiser editorial once again expresses concern over civil rights committee having some members who oppose Akaka bill; (3) Advertiser publishes summary of hour-long internet discussion about Akaka bill and Kau Inoa with OHA Administrator Clyde Namu'o, thereby providing yet another propaganda piece about the Akaka bill. It was interesting how many questions Namu'o dodged; (4) Letter by Richard Rowland (President of Grassroot Institute) challenges claims made in a July 29 letter by Eric Po'ohina asserting "indigenous" rights
August 21: (1) Honolulu Advertiser report on yesterday's civil rights committee hearing on Akaka bill focuses on process, and admits that the old committee strongly favored the Akaka bill while any vote by the new committee is likely to be close; (2) Honolulu Star-Bulletin "news report" on civil rights comittee says absolutely nothing about yesterday's hearing, but instead repeats old news that the entire Hawaii Congressional delegation protests the composition of the committee; (3) Letter quotes Congressman Abercrombie saying the Akaka bill is really about land and money (not merely recognition as an indigenous people).
August 22: (1) TV news report from August 21 focused entirely on repeating OHA propaganda that the civil rights committee is "stacked" against Akaka bill. BUT the TV station's own poll results as of August 22 morning showed that 65% of more than 900 respondents oppose Akaka bill. (2) Honolulu Star-Bulletin angry editorial once again repeats OHA propaganda that the civil rights committee is stacked, and includes vicious personal attack against the distinguished former Attorney General who chairs the committee.
August 23: (1) Governor Lingle, speaking to the annual convention of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, promised to support the Akaka bill regardless what the civil rights committee does; (2) Senator Akaka, speaking to a joint convention of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, says he has asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to schedule the Akaka bill for floor action, but some ethnic Hawaiian leaders express unhappiness with the delays.
August 24: Hawaii Reporter complains that OHA still refuses to disclose how much government money it has spent on the Akaka bill, and wonders how much more intransigent an Akaka tribe would be.
August 26: Honolulu Advertiser publishes excerpted versions of statements on the Akaka bill made August 20 to the civil rights committee by Robert Bennett and Roger Clegg, including links to their full testimony.
August 27: Honolulu Advertiser devoted its weekly one-hour real-time discussion board "Hot Seat" to the Akaka bill and the newly reconstituted civil rights committee. On the "Hot seat" was attorney H. William Burgess, responding to questions. There were so many questions and personal attacks that he was overwhelmed at the beginning; but over the course of several hours he responded to the most important questions. There were 124 entries, some fairly lengthy. The Advertiser will publish a summary on Sunday September 2. The full record is available at:
August 29: (1) Honolulu Advertiser leftwing columnist Dave Shapiro launches yet another column calling the civil rights committee "stacked" and concludes "The appropriate response is to ignore the hearings and any findings that come from them."; (2) Midweek (Oahu) leftwing columnist Dan Boylan says "GOP Insults Hawaii’s Host Culture" by blocking Akaka bill and stacking the civil rights committee, and Republican Governor Lingle is not to blame but is "running with the wrong crowd."
August 31: Testimony on the Akaka bill for the civil rights committee, by Barb Lindsay, National Director and Spokesperson, One Nation United. Published in Hawaii Reporter on September 1.
FULL TEXT OF EACH ITEM BEGINNING JUNE 1, 2007 AND CONTINUING; IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, June 1, 2007
Critics fail to see injustices to Hawaiians
By Oswald K. Stender
Having read David Rosen's commentary in your May 27 issue regarding the Kamehameha Schools admissions policy, I am incensed and feel compelled to respond.
Rosen, along with others of the same mindset, refuse to admit that it is the Hawaiian people who have been discriminated against since the arrival of Capt. James Cook in 1778; and this discrimination has continued for more than 200 years.
With colonization of the Western world, all indigenous people of those lands have suffered cultural, economic and population genocide. Indigenous people of larger continents were "relocated" to make way for the new arrivals; Native Hawaiians, however, had nowhere to go.
With the arrival of colonizers, our language was suppressed, our cultural practices went underground and our population was nearly obliterated by foreign diseases. When Captain Cook arrived on our shores, our population numbered approximately 1 million Hawaiians, and when Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop died in 1884, our Hawaiian population had diminished to only 50,000.
Westerners, upon their arrival, occupied and confiscated lands that once provided the Hawaiians with strong, healthy cultural and economic communities. Immediately thereafter, as they influenced the ali'i, the Native Hawaiian economic structure, religion, language and population were slowly being dismantled and destroyed.
The ali'i, recognizing the fate of their people, began to organize and will legacies for the Native Hawaiians in an effort to provide for and, hopefully, save them. Today we see the fruits of their work for their people: Queen Emma founded The Queen's Hospital, Queen Kapi'olani left her legacy for Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women and Children, King Lunalilo willed his land for the elderly at Lunalilo Home, Queen Lili'uokalani created Lili'uokalani Trust for the Queen Lili'uokalani Children's Center that serves orphaned and indigent Hawaiian children; and, finally, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop left her legacy of the Kamehameha Schools for the education of Hawaiian and part-Hawaiian children.
History tells of the genocide of the Hawaiian people beginning with the arrival of Captain Cook; today, there are some whose ancestors are not the indigenous people of this land and who continue the battle to take what belongs to the Hawaiian people. As they continue to try to chip away at what Hawaiians have left, they cry "race" so that they may justify their actions. They cry "race" as they try to take away Hawaiian programs so as to divide these ali'i trusts amongst "all the people of Hawai'i."
Rosen and others just like him, along with their army of lawyers, continue to play the race card and encourage others "wronged" by the recipients of programs left for them — the Hawaiian people — to join them in their cause. Rosen and those just like him continue to rewrite history so as to justify their actions. They speak about "sharing the culture" and wonder out loud about the "aloha spirit." What they fail to acknowledge is that the culture they want so badly to "share" is the culture of the indigenous people of this land and they are merely spectators, for they will never really understand the culture like the Native Hawaiians understand it. What they fail to acknowledge is that the "aloha spirit" is the spirit of the Hawaiian people. Without Hawaiians, there would not be aloha spirit.
Rosen and his colleagues, with their cry to "share the culture and traditions," may sound nice and inclusive; but in truth, they really want to repeat historical events. Their continued onslaught on the ali'i trusts and the legacy left by our Hawaiian monarchy only proves that they are not satisfied to just "share," they want to "take." Though their legal battles will continue, they will never destroy the spirit of our Hawaiian people, for we will never surrender to them or their sense of "justice."
Oswald K. Stender is a trustee for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and a former Bishop Estate trustee. He wrote this commentary for The Advertiser.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 2, 2007
Book explains attack on Hawaiians-only programs
by Kenneth R. Conklin
Why do civil rights activists attack Hawaiians-only institutions? What's wrong with the Akaka bill?
The aloha spirit, Hawaiian culture, and Hawaiian language are the core of what makes Hawaii special, belonging to all Hawaii's people regardless of race. Hawaii is under attack from racial separatism and ethnic nationalism. Benevolent intentions spawned nightmarish separatist institutions -- more than 160 federally funded, racially exclusionary programs, plus two racially exclusionary state government agencies, plus the $8 billion Kamehameha Schools, and more.
I speak the Hawaiian language with moderate fluency and participate in some Hawaiian cultural activities. Investment of time and effort proves my love and respect. Before helping clean a heiau, I gave an opening chant, offered a prayer to the ancient gods and presented ho'okupu when others (including Hawaiian children on a school trip) were unable or unwilling to do so.
Princess Bernice Pauahi's will founding Kamehameha Schools does not exclude non-Hawaiians. Her mere "preference" for "children of aboriginal blood" applies only to the single category of "orphans and indigents." All 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges agree the issue is the trustees' admissions policy, not the will. That policy has turned a great school into an ugly engine of racial separatism.
The conglomerate of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and institutions spawned by the federal programs can properly be called an "evil empire." Empire because its enormous wealth and political power have come to dominate Hawaii's Legislature and media, reaching to the mainland as well. Evil because racial preference leads to racial entitlement, then racial separatism, then a race-based government (Akaka bill), then permanent conflict and hatred over how to carve up Hawaii along racial lines. Look to Bosnia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Fiji and Iraq for ethnic/religious strife.
My new book, "Hawaiian Apartheid -- Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State," explains all this. The entire first chapter is at
, along with the detailed table of contents.
The book describes the existing evil empire of racial separatism, along with how the Akaka bill would protect and expand it. The ethnic nationalist movement is explored -- how it is based on a form of religious fascism, what it means for people with no native blood and how the Akaka bill would empower secessionists.
Other chapters examine important historical falsehoods; junk-science victimhood claims serving tycoons of the Hawaiian grievance industry; anti-Americanism and anti-military activism; bogus claims to indigenous status; sovereignty frauds and scams; and an agenda for future action to revive unity, equality and aloha for all.
The Filipino Cultural Center and the Cherry Blossom Festival neither control the Legislature and media nor demand a race-based government. So civil rights activists do not attack them.
Why can't attorney David Rosen's kids be happy with Punahou? Why did Martin Luther King's "Negroes" feel they had to march through suburban streets and go to (private) church in an all-white suburb? Why did they have to drink at the "whites only" fountain when they had their own nearby?
Kenneth R. Conklin has a doctorate in philosophy and is a retired professor. He lives in Kaneohe.
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, June 3, 2007
Letters to the Editor
SEPARATE GOVERNMENT WOULD POSE PROBLEMS
Questions for the proponents of Kau Inoa:
1) Kau Inoa seeks to establish a new Native Hawaiian government. Will there be a separate government established for Native Hawaiians, while the rest of the population exists under the already established state of Hawai'i and United States? How will this work?
2) Is the goal to eventually secede from the Union?
3) What will become of the population of Hawai'i that isn't Native Hawaiian? Will those persons have a voice in governance?
4) The phrase "Native Ha-waiian self-determination" is often used. Are Hawaiians now prevented from determining their destiny? Can they not pursue legal endeavors to provide for themselves and their families?
5) Are proponents of Kau Inoa seeking special rights and privileges based on their race? How would this pass constitutional scrutiny?
6) Some Hawaiian activists seek the re-implementation of a sovereign nation. Some espouse a return to monarchy. Is that the goal of all those in favor of Kau Inoa?
What is the direction Kau Inoa wants to take Hawai'i? In my opinion, it seems divisive and designed to pit Hawaiians against everybody else.
L. W. Carpenter
The Garden Island News (Kaua'i), June 3, 2007
Letter to editor, Sunday, June 3, 2007
Supporter wants to know
It seems Michael Meek has hit a nerve in his letters May 31. All of us can sit in our easy chairs and view history any way that benefits us. If the Hawaiian people want to believe their past kings and kingdom were heavenly, that's okay. If those who have studied the history want to point to the bloodthirsty facts of war, rape, pillaging, a severe cast system, and subjugating women, that's okay too. Reality doesn't care what you think. It is what it is. I prefer to support the remaining Hawaiian people with their Aloha spirit and the wonderful contributions their vulture has given the world.
There are, however, two aspects of this question that begs for a logical, open-minded, answer from all of us, and primarily from the descendants of the Tahitian Hawaiians remaining among us. The first question is: using the argument and logic of those who are demanding the return of the Kingdom because of an illegal overthrow, do you feel any remorse and responsibility for the overthrow of Hawai'i by your Tahitian ancestors who committed genocide against the people of the Marquesas Islands who actually discovered Hawai'i. They had a population of thousands enjoying Hawai'i as their home 500 years before your ancestors from Tahiti came here and wiped them out? If your answer is "no," that's OK. It's simply something to ponder.
The second question is: What is the most efficient method of assessing who can fairly and logically call themselves a Hawaiian? If your answer is anyone with even one ancestor going back a thousand years, is that realistic? If you use the scientific and worldwide accepted standard of 50 percent or more pure Hawaiian blood, is that acceptable? I would think if a person is 75 percent Japanese and 25 percent Hawaiian they would be primarily Japanese. To call themselves Hawaiian would be an insult to their wonderful Japanese ancestors who likewise left us a wonderful and culturally rich history. If we accept that even a drop of Hawaiian blood will do, and don't provide a cutoff percentage, what problems will occur? After all, mankind in its entirety has ancestors in common so we're all Hawaiian using that standard.
I for one love Hawai'i and the Hawaiian people. I would suggest Hawaiian and Haole alike put down our verbal bickering, preserve the aloha spirit with one another, and turn our collective spears against the developers and planning commissioners, some of whom call themselves "Hawaiian,” who are raping the Island for profit and turning this Paradise we all love into a monstrosity not worth arguing about.
Honolulu Advertiser, June 5, 2007, Letter to editor
LEGISLATION BY ANOTHER NAME IS STILL THE SAME
Attempts to disguise the Akaka Bill by renaming it "Kau Inoa" and spending thousands of dollars advertising for Hawaiians to come together is misleading and unfortunate for those foolish enough to sell their rights for a free T-Shirt.
How many realize that by submitting to the Akaka Bill, Hawaiians will be put with the American Indians under Dirk Kempthorne, head of the Department of Interior. This political appointee will make the decisions involving Hawaiians and their future. Some Hawaiian organizations have knuckled under to Washington and their control of the money. This sad situation has created confusion among many.
If Hawaiians are to be put under the Department of Interior and possibly Mr. Dirk Kempthorne, local Hawaiians should visit American Indian reservations to see whether the conditions under which they live are something they would like for themselves.
Hawaii Reporter, June 6, 2007
Special from Hawaii Free Press
Akaka Bill: Creating a Haven for Corruption?
By Andrew Walden
Proponents claim the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007 (Akaka Bill, S 310) will protect Hawaiian entitlements and assets. But the strong connections between the Broken Trust scandal of the late 1990s and the 2000 introduction of the "Akaka Bill” should raise questions about the wisdom of creating what will amount to a Hawaiian Indian reservation.
If the Akaka Bill passes the U.S. Senate and U.S. House and is approved by the President, corrupt politicians and their cronies, (both Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian), could find their activities shielded from federal and state law enforcement by 'tribal' law.
Rather than being protected, Native Hawaiians organized into an Indian tribe may find themselves unable to halt activities that could endanger the entire Hawaiian patrimony.
According to the text of the Akaka Bill, "The purpose of this Act is to provide a process for the reorganization of the single Native Hawaiian governing entity and the reaffirmation of the special political and legal relationship between the United States and that Native Hawaiian governing entity for purposes of continuing a government-to-government relationship.”
By "reorganizing” a native Hawaiian government, the Akaka Bill goes far beyond what is necessary to protect Hawaiians-only admissions at Kamehameha Schools and Native-Hawaiian-only eligibility for leases with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
Use of the term, "government to government relationship” clearly directs the process towards establishing a Hawaiian Indian reservation and away from the model of the Alaskan Native Corporations, which are corporate entities, not government entities.
Why should this matter? Alaskan Native corporations have been very successful at making native assets serve native Alaskans. The Alaskan success stands in sharp contrast to Indian reservations which are often a third-world nightmare of corruption, drugs, poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. Yet the political class in Hawaii is almost 100 percent behind the Akaka Bill and the Hawaiian Indian reservation it would create.
What are the possible reasons for rejecting the successful model of Alaskan Native Corporations in favor of the unsuccessful model of Indian reservations? Contrary to popular opinion, Indian reservations already have a history in Hawaii.
An Oct. 12, 1999, article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin describes the efforts of Bishop Estate trustees in 1995 to evade oversight of the unorthodox doings which were soon to be exposed as the "Broken Trust” scandal.
The Trustees' self-serving investments had caused Bishop Estate losses over $264 million in 1994 alone. Their reaction? To avoid scrutiny, they commissioned a plan formulated by ex-Governor John Waihee's law firm to move Bishop Estate corporate headquarters out of Hawaii -- to the windswept plains of the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian reservation in South Dakota. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin explains:
"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 trustees' efforts are also described in The Cheating of America by Charles Lewis and Bill Allison of The Center for Public Integrity. They quote former Hawaii Attorney General Margery Bronster explaining Bishop Estate's proposed move to Cheyenne River:
"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.”
"Government to government relationship” describes the relationship desired by the scandalous Bishop Estate trustees.
Whether relocated to South Dakota or creating the Indian Reservation here, such a move would shield Bishop Estate not only from the Federal government but also from the investigations that 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.
As U.S. District Judge Samuel King told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin: "It's another indication of how arrogant, greedy and insensitive this whole bunch is ... Their claim that they are supporting Princess Pauahi's will is laughable."
Lokelani Lindsey, the last of the five Broken Trust Bishop Estate trustees, was forced to resign Dec. 16, 1999. Further investigation of the scandal was quickly halted.
A few months later, in 2000, the first version of the so-called "Akaka Bill” was introduced by Sen. Daniel Akaka. Is this a coincidence?
Of the four members of the Hawaii congressional delegation now co-sponsoring the Akaka Bill, three were in Congress in 1995 and 1996. They were also personally and extensively involved in failed lobbying efforts to protect the Bishop Estate trustees from IRS oversight and enforcement.
According to the Hawaii best-selling book "Broken Trust”, Senators Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye, co-sponsors of the Akaka Bill, and Rep Abercrombie, co-sponsor of HR 505, the House version of the Akaka Bill, fought to shield the Bishop Estate trustees.
"Broken Trust” (page 210) explains Bishop Estate trustees: "…lobbied against the enactment of intermediate sanctions, spending nearly $1 million of trust funds in the process….Despite the trustees' efforts and behind the scenes support from Hawaii's Congressional delegation (except for Representative Patsy Mink who stood up to the trustees), Congress passed the intermediate sanctions bill in 1996.”
The 'intermediate sanctions' law authorized the IRS to fine individual wrongdoers when charity assets (such as Bishop Estate) are stolen or misused.
This is not the only connection between the Hawaii Congressional co-sponsors of the Akaka Bill and the Broken Trust scandal. "Broken Trust” (page 163) explains that in August 1997, after the first Broken Trust essay was printed in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "(Senator) Daniel Akaka defended the trustees. He said the (nearly $1 million per year) level of (Bishop Estate trustees') compensation was not too high: If anything, the trustees deserved to be paid more.”
Are the Broken Trust conspirators still powerful in Hawaii's political system? The 2006 Democratic Senatorial Primary pitted U.S. Senator Dan Akaka against then Congressman Ed Case.
In contrast to Akaka's support for the corrupt trustees, Case championed measures to control trustee compensation and reform trustee selection throughout his 1990s legislative career.
When Case was a state Representative in 1998, he proposed a state Native Hawaiian Autonomy Act to establish a State-recognized native Hawaiian corporation. His proposal was shouted down as "denying Native Hawaiians the right to self-determination” by many of the same shady political figures who were at that very moment profiting from the pillaging of Princess Pauahi's Estate.
Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey was ordered off the board in May 1999 after the IRS threatened to revoke Bishop Estate's tax-exempt status due to the actions of the trustees.
Lindsey had invested Bishop Estate money in the 'adult' website and had appointed Rockne Freitas (now Chancellor of Hawaii Community College) to micro-manage the Kamehameha School on her behalf. She called the dismissal of trustees, "the second overthrow.”
Broken Trust (page 262) describes Bishop Estate trustee Henry Peters in 1999 reacting to his ouster claiming the real intention of the IRS was to end admissions preferences for Hawaiians at Kamehameha.
Of course, no such effort was made by the IRS. On the contrary, when new trustees were named, the IRS established conditions to avoid taking Bishop Estate's tax-exempt status, thus saving the estate about $1 billion which was then available to fund Hawaiian-only education.
A State-recognized Native Hawaiian Corporation as envisioned by Case would likely eliminate the legal threats against Hawaiians-only admissions at Kamehameha Schools and Hawaiians-only eligibility for DHHL leases.
Such a move would certainly ease federal recognition of a Native Hawaiian Corporation which definitely would end any legal threat to Hawaiian preferences.
Lifting the lawsuit threat would also eliminate the justification for creating the Hawaiian Indian reservation, which those with ill, self-serving intentions need to shield their illegal activities from state and federal law enforcement.
So they shout about "the lawsuits” to keep native Hawaiians distracted. All the while, they can plot ways to scam from native Hawaiians and their entitlements.
Andrew Walden is the publisher and editor of Hawaii Free Press, a Big Island-based newspaper.
** Of course there's no "news" here. But remember, this is KITV, which will be making LOTS of money off OHA's infomercial scheduled for Tuesday night June 12 at 7 PM. So KITV is "reporting" on the Akaka bill's revival.
KITV 4, TheHawaiiChannel.com
Native Hawaiian Rights Get Another Shot
Supporters Hopeful It Will Pass Under Dem-Controlled House, Senate
POSTED: 4:44 am HST June 10, 2007
UPDATED: 4:47 am HST June 10, 2007
HONOLULU -- Supporters of the Akaka bill are trying again to pass a bill giving Native Hawaiians limited control over their destiny, money and lands.
Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii and other bill supporters have been trying to get it passed for eight years.
Last year, the legislation died in the Senate after too few senators voted to continue debate.
This year, supporters said the situation is different because the Democrats control majorities in both the House and the Senate.
The Hawaiian recognition proposals have already passed key committees in both the House and Senate.
They are now waiting to be scheduled for floor votes, which could come before September.
But even if the legislation passes, there's a chance President George W. Bush could veto it.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.
** And what does THIS mean? "They are now waiting to be scheduled for floor votes, which could come before September." Floor votes COULD come at any time. Why pick "before September"? How about "before Christmas"? How about next week? Pigs COULD fly if they had wings, but that's not worthy of being reported as news.
Honolulu Advertiser, Monday, June 11, 2007
Kamehameha's spirit felt in Capitol
By Dennis Camire
Gannett News Service
WASHINGTON — With traditional hula and flower lei, more than 200 people gathered in the nation's Capitol yesterday to observe the birthday of King Kamehameha and praise his legacy as a warrior and unifier of the Hawaiian people.
"Kamehameha deserves to be remembered as a visionary ... who was well ahead of his time," said Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawai'i. "He exemplified the resilience of the Hawaiian people in the face of adversity."
Throughout the ceremony, speakers referred to Kamehameha's legacy and the almost seven-year battle for congressional legislation that would help create a federally recognized Native Hawaiian governing entity.
"King Kamehameha is well known for uniting the Hawaiian Islands, and today more than ever, Native Hawaiians must unite," said Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawai'i.
Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, said the office, established 29 years ago, has two goals consistent with the celebration's theme of " 'A'ohe hana nui ke alu'ia," or "No task is too big when done together by all."
The first is creating a registry of all Native Hawaiians who want to participate in reorganizing a Native Hawaiian government, Apoliona said. The second is helping pass the Native Hawaiian legislation.
"We believe enactment protects existing Native Hawaiian trusts, rights and assets and will bring an end to mean-spirited, costly legal attacks by opponents who currently perceive vulnerability and taste victory," Apoliona said.
Akaka said the House and Senate are poised to vote on separate versions of the Native Hawaiian bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada "knows we want it up on the floor as soon as we can," Akaka said. "I haven't given up and maybe we will see it in July."
Freshman Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawai'i, said it is "critical" that everyone work together to see the Native Hawaiian bill passed.
The observance of Kamehameha's birthday, sponsored by the Hawai'i State Society in Washington, included more than speeches.
Namakahonuakapiliwale Hula Halau from Wai'anae and Halau Keahiokamalulani of Salt Lake City performed along with a 25-member choir from the First Samoan Congregational Church in Washington.
C. Pomaika'i Gaui, leader of the Halau Keahiokamalulani, said the Washington observance brings the nation's Hawaiian community together as few other events do.
"This helps us remember who we are," said Gaui, who moved to the Mainland from O'ahu a decade ago.
With the aid of a tall stepladder, dozens of lei were draped on the 12-foot black and gold statue of Kamehameha in the Capitol's Statuary Hall.
"Each year following this event, the fragrance of maile and flowers lingers in the Capitol," Akaka said. "The many leis that will adorn Kamehameha's statue will serve as an important visual reminder to Congress and the American people about the plight of Hawaiians."
Hirono, attending her first King Kamehameha Day in Washington, described the celebration as "great."
"It's wonderful to see all the groups that are on the Mainland come and celebrate King Kamehameha Day here," she said.
Those groups included Hawaiian Civic Club associations and councils, the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association and the Royal Benevolent Society.
Honolulu Advertiser, June 11, 2007, Letter to editor
INDEPENDENCE THE ANSWER, NOT AKAKA BILL
In 1959, the United States of America forced the Hawaiian Kingdom to become the 50th state of the Union. The 1993 Apology bill shows the wrongful and illegal act done to the Hawaiian Kingdom.
The only resolution is independence. We continue to fight for our independence peacefully from a country that champions democracy and yet fails to right the wrong done to the Hawaiian Kingdom.
The Akaka bill will only benefit a few Hawaiians. Some say this is better than nothing. I disagree. This bill will only widen the economic gap between the rich and poor.
The future can be promising, or it can be difficult. It is up to us now to make the right decisions for the future of Hawai'i nei.
Honolulu Advertiser, June 12, 2007, Letter to editor
KAU INOA WOULD BRING BALANCE TO HAWAI'I
Far from being divisive and pitting "Hawaiians against everybody else" as L.W. Carpenter claims (Letters, June 3), the establishment of a Native Hawaiian representative entity, in which the current Kau Inoa registration is a vital first step, would instead restore balance and pono to Hawai'i Nei, whose indigenous people have been subjected to generations of injustice and inequality in their own homeland.
One need only to look at the hundreds of existing Indian and Native Alaskan government bodies throughout the United States to see that native governments can and do co-exist harmoniously alongside local, state and federal structures.
It is unfortunate that Carpenter has chosen to echo the fear-mongering rhetoric of those who seek to deprive Hawai'i's native people of the programs and assets established to help us improve the social imbalances that continue to afflict our people.
The establishment of an official body to speak on behalf of Hawaiians regarding the control and use of these assets would be an important step forward toward the reconciliation called for by Congress in its acknowledgement of the U.S. government's historic wrongdoings against the Hawaiian people.
We believe, and credible opinion research has confirmed, that most of Hawai'i's citizens — both native and non-Hawaiian — support this reconciliation process because it perpetuates the values of the Hawaiian culture that we all share.
Administrator, Office of Hawaiian Affairs
The Maui News, both June 16 and June 17, 2007 (duplicate)
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Kau Inoa taken to task, questions not answered
On June 12 I witnessed the biggest crock of manipulation, lies and contradictions ever presented to the kanaka maoli. How stupid does Haunani Apoliona think our people are?
I called in and asked three questions. 1) How much more millions of our money has OHA spent on lobbying? 2) Will the Akaka Bill treat all kanaka maoli fairly on issues such as doing away with the discriminating blood quantum in the Hawaiian Home Lands program? 3) What will the kanaka maoli be giving up as a compromise to gain approval of the United States occupier, land issues, natural resources, what?
My questions were never presented to the panel.
Kanaka maoli who are foolish enough to sign on with Kau Inoa and do not have the 50 percent blood quantum have to realize they have been had.
At the end of this farce, Apoliona discussed Kau Inoa and how all who signed on are willing to participate in the new governing entity. In the same breath she says that they will not be used as backers of the Akaka Bill. Well, how do you think the new governing entity will come to be?
If you signed with Kau Inoa, have your name removed. Do not be used. Really know what you’re signing on to, or you will jeopardize the future of our children for a $3 black T-shirt and ignorance.
** See response to this letter, by OHA chair Haunani Apoliona, on June 23
Hawaii Reporter, June 17, 2007
Why Are Non-Hawaiians Shouldering Burden of Restitution to Native Hawaiians?
An Open Letter to Congress Regarding the Akaka Bill
By James Growney
The United States government assumed responsibility for the plight of native Hawaiians. This is very clear. Congress approved a resolution apologizing for the overthrow of the Hawaiian government and accepted the blame for the problems that are still oppressing native Hawaiians.
This resolution was signed by Bill Clinton, President of the United States. This resolution alienated a substantial number of Hawaiians, who now advocate breaking away from the United States and forming their own government.
Senator Dan Akaka, a native Hawaiian, introduced legislation - the Akaka Bill - in Congress to facilitate the creation of a sovereign Hawaiian nation. This legislation is supported by our congressional delegation, the Governor of Hawaii and a majority of the legislators in our State government.
If the United States government is responsible for the present plight of the native Hawaiians, why is the enormous burden of restitution being shouldered by the non-Hawaiian citizens of the State of Hawaii?
Clearly, the cost of compensating the native Hawaiians for the injustices done to them should be paid by the perpetrator, the government of the United States.
Congress, our congressional delegation and the elected officials in Hawaii must summon the courage to force our government to face up to its civic and financial responsibilities or they will be doing their Hawaiian constituents and the rest of the nation a grave disservice that history will long remember.
James Growney is a U.S. citizen and Native Hawaiian
Hawaii Reporter, June 21, 2007
Office of Hawaiian Affairs' Misleading Ad
By Tom MacDonald
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) continues its deceptive claims of overwhelming popular support for the Akaka Hawaiian Recognition Bill in its latest (taxpayer funded) ad in the 6/17 Honolulu Advertiser.
OHA admits that a much broader survey, with over 20,000 respondents, found overwhelming opposition to the Akaka Bill (67%), and to racial preferences (82%), but accuses that survey of being biased.
OHA conveniently fails to mention the negative results of the 2003 survey which it commissioned and paid for, and in which it helped design the questions. In that survey, Ward Research concluded that in the non-Hawaiian population "no consensus exists relative to Hawaiian-only programs, entitlements, and a future Hawaiian government. Clearly, non-Hawaiians are not prepared to accept the creation of a Hawaiian nation in the near future."
There are two reasons why the broad-based opposition to Akaka continues as an undercurrent, just below the surface.
First, most non-Hawaiians do not wish to appear to be politically incorrect. They fear that opposing the Bill shows that they are anti-Hawaiian, when, in fact, they just wish to preserve equal rights for all citizens under our laws.
Second, the business and professional community trembles in fear of the financial and political power of the Bishop Estate, Hawaii's largest landowner and a huge purchaser of goods and services. This was demonstrated in spades in 1995 when not a single Hawaii law firm would risk representing the parents of Kamehameha Schools students in their ultimately successful efforts to remove Bishop Estate trustees who violated their trust.
Akaka proponents know that this is the case and fear that the Bill would be defeated if put to a popular vote in Hawaii, with secret ballots. Unless more citizens put aside their fears of being politically incorrect or commercial retribution and speak out, this Bill is going to glide "under the radar" to passage, and Hawaii will become a place where "all men are created equal, but some are more equal than others."
*Tom Macdonald is on the Board of Scholars at the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.
The Maui News, June 23, 2007
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Kau Inoa seek participation in formation of government
It is unfortunate that Gaby Gouveia (Letters, June 18) characterizes as “manipulation and lies” our efforts to involve all Native Hawaiians in the process to build a nation.
Blood quantum should not disqualify Native Hawaiians who can trace their family ties to Hawaii before Western contact.
The Akaka Bill does not require us to “give up” any land or natural resources. It does set up a process to seek federal recognition of Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people with sovereign rights similar to the status of American Indians and Alaska Natives. We believe such a status would protect current programs that provide Native Hawaiians with assistance in health care, job training, education and numerous services.
Kau Inoa does not seek federal recognition. It is a separate process to engage all Native Hawaiians to participate in the formation of a governing entity.
OHA is an advocate for Native Hawaiian rights. It is our duty to lobby for legislation that will protect Native Hawaiians and keep everyone informed of our activities. We have released numerous reports indicating our lobbying expenses. The June 12 television broadcast was part of our public outreach, and we answered as many questions as we could during the time period. Answers to the questions we did not get to will be posted on OHA’s Web site, www. oha.org.
My hope is that all Native Hawaiians will someday understand that our differences should not and must not divide us. These challenging times should unify us. E holomua kakou me ka ’oia’i’o a me ke kupuno.
ChairpersonOHA Board of Trustees
TomPaine.com, a project of the Institute for America's future
June 29, 2007
Rolling Back Indigenous Rights
by Alan Parker
Alan Parker is a citizen of the Chippewa Cree Tribal Nation and a professor at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
Fresh from state ballot victories that roll back the clock on affirmative action and restrict marriage rights, conservatives are opening a new front in its battle against human rights—an offensive against the rights of the country's indigenous peoples. Representatives of major neoconservative think tanks and their media outlets have joined with prominent neoconservative congressional leaders to target the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act.
The NHGRA is a modest proposal to provide federal authority for the native Hawaiian community to choose a method of self-government within the parameters and limitations of the federal law that applies to U.S. Indian tribal nations. It was introduced with unanimous support of all members of the Hawaiian congressional delegation, the (Republican) state governor and attorney general, and is supported by nearly three-fourths of the state.
I became familiar with native Hawaiian issues when I served as staff director to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs from 1987 through 1990. In fact, whenever the committee conducted congressional oversight hearings on Native Hawaiian issues, the indigenous leadership was always careful to articulate that they were not Indian tribes but the heirs to a kingdom that was recognized as a nation under international law and treaties even after the U.S. illegally overthrew the Hawaiian kingdom in 1893. The U.S. Congress apologized for this gross injustice in The Apology Bill, Public Law 103-150, signed by President Clinton in 1993, exactly one hundred years later. The Territory of Hawaii became our 50th state in 1959 and although many native Hawaiians believed that their status under the Statehood Act did not address the historical injustices of the overthrow of their queen and seizure of lands owned by the kingdom of Hawaii, there was little appetite to follow the legal route of U.S. Indian tribes.
Then came Rice v. Cayetano, a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down the state law granting Native Hawaiians the right to vote for trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). The OHA IS a social service agency created under the state constitution with funds generated from lands taken from the Hawaiian monarchy. Soon after the Rice case was decided, a number of right-wing legal foundations sought to render unconstitutional services provided by the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, as well as Kamehameha School’s native admission policies. Native Hawaiian leaders concluded that they had no choice but to seek federal protection for indigenous self-government comparable to U.S. tribal status. Thus, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act was born. Soon after the Rice case was decided, a number of right-wing legal foundations sought to render unconstitutional services provided by the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, as well as Kamehameha School’s native admission policies. Native Hawaiian leaders concluded that they had no choice but to seek federal protection for indigenous self-government comparable to U.S. tribal status. Thus, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act was born.
When the NHGRA was first introduced into the Congress, it immediately attracted the opposition of right wing and neo-conservative organizations and congressional members. The Bush administration has opposed the bill using a cruel Catch-22 argument: “You are not an Indian Tribe and therefore you cannot be recognized as such, but your proposal to create an indigenous self-government cannot work because it would be an illegal race-based entity”. Of course, in the Rice case, the court actually said that, while the state of Hawaii could not restrict voting rights for the OHA trustees to native Hawaiians only, the U.S. Congress could establish such a right.
The bill has faced tough opposition on the Hill including a filibuster threat in June 2006, and two rounds of hearings featuring impassioned arguments against creating a “race-based indigenous government” couched in language that will sound very familiar to those dealing with right-wing-financed voter initiatives to ban affirmative action. Now, the Bush administration is using these same arguments to oppose provisions of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.
It is unprecedented for members of Congress, in the absence of a clear and significant national interest such as preservation of the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, to intervene in the legislation of a colleague that will only impact the interests of one state. This is a violation of strong and longstanding Senate protocol. However, it appears that in this case such intervention is part of a larger strategy. But what is really going on here? By attacking native Hawaiian efforts at self-determination and, more recently, by opening up a new front against federal health services for Indians what do the neoconservatives hope to accomplish? By branding indigenous rights as “race-based” they are trying to put them in the same “reverse racism frame” that worked so well in decimating affirmative action.
The attack on indigenous rights and affirmative action reflect a convenient public amnesia made possible by the relentless stereotyping of Indian tribes as wealthy casino owners and the casting of most communities of color as culturally deficient. For the right, history is there to reshape for their agenda and treaties matter little in their march to advance white privilege. Clearly, it is time for a broad coalition to address these attacks. Who knows whom they will target next?
That is why hundreds of indigenous activists are gathering in Atlanta for the U.S. Social Forum. Those attending will compare notes, strengthen alliances and continue to do our part to beat back these attacks.
The Maui News, July 3, 2007
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Hidden agenda seen in OHA support for Akaka Bill
In response to Haunani Apoliona’s June 23 letter, I did say that the presentation of the Akaka Bill was “manipulation and lies.”
Until the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has a true forum and lets the opposition present their case and debate as to why we shouldn’t back this garbage, then it will remain. And, I do not mean presentations on community access television channels.
If you don’t tell the whole story, you are being manipulative and what you’re trying to put across has hidden agendas. I’m sure most people haven’t read the 40-page bill. Shame on OHA for spending millions on lobbying, after the first million of palm greasing. If this watered-down bill was that great there wouldn’t be so much resistance from our people.
Shame on OHA for stressing how the U.S. will not let us secede from their grasp because that’s what they fought the Civil War for. You mean they did that so they could come to the Pacific and occupy a peaceful and neutral nation?
Shame on OHA for stressing no gaming. The true story behind no gaming is, if we have this built on our own lands the kanaka ma’oli will have so much money we will become powerful and Las Vegas will be tumbleweeds and sand once again.
I grew up under the oppressor’s politics. All kanaka ma’oli remember, if they don’t tell the whole story its manipulation and there are hidden agendas. Be ’akamai.
Honolulu Advertiser, breaking news, posted at 4:47 a.m., Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Akaka, Apoliona to be honored by Alu Like
Alu Like Inc. will honor U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona and its own Native Hawaiian Library Program with a benefit dinner next month.
The second annual E Papahi I Na Mea Ku Kulu (Honoring the Pillars of Our Community) gala event is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. on Aug. 3 at the Hilton Hawaiian village Resort & Spa's Tapa Ballroom.
Kahua or Foundation tables cost $10,000 while Kukulu or Pillar tables cost $5,000 and Kako'o or Support tables are $1,500. Individual seats are $150. A portion of the table or seat costs are tax deductible. Contact Alu Like chief executive officer Mervina Cash-Ka'eo at 808-535-6705 or email@example.com for information and purchases.
Alu Like is a private, non-profit service organization founded in 1975 and dedicated to assisting Native Hawaiians in their efforts to achieve social and economic self-sufficiency.
The Maui News, July 4, 2007
LETTERS TO EDITOR
[translations/explanations by Ken Conklin]
Fourth of July not a celebration of freedom for
The Fourth of July, a day when the United States
celebrates the right to become a country of its
own, to live unoppressed by any other nation and
practice its own right of democracy and to live
The Fourth of July, a day when greedy, free,
wealthy haole [white] Americans came and
proclaimed Ko Hawai’i Pae ’Aina [formal name
of the Hawaiian Kingdom] as the Republic of
Hawaii. To have their military oppress and occupy
a free, neutral and peaceful country. To throw
our queen in prison and to show her in their
newspapers as an Aunt Jamima [sic] cannibal.
I’m sure I’ll have me a little pulehu
[cookout] going in the backyard, but I will not
be celebrating the freedom of the greedy haole. I
will take this time to remind my children that no
matter what we are not Americans and also
celebrate all the brave kanaka ma’oli [ethnic
Hawaiians] who fought to remain as the stewards
of our aina [land] – the queen and people of
Healani [poetic name for Hawaii] who had to
succumb to the occupiers’ military.
But, most of all, I will celebrate the warriors
of the present, the George Helms, the Kimo
Mitchells, the Walter Rittes, Haunani and
Mililani Trask, Mahealani Oliver-Ventura and
countless others who are coming to the surface to
carry on the fight.
I bought a new flag today – a bastard flag that
has no country, but it’s the only one I love. I
will fly it upside down to remind me of our
struggle and tears of our ancestors. [The flag of
the State of Hawaii is the same as the flag of
the Kingdom, except for the Kingdom's 2x1 length
x height ratio]
We have one year and a month before the
oppressor-occupier will celebrate 50 years that
our Hawaii was illegally made a state. [Off by
one year; Statehood was achieved in 1959] I call
on our leaders once again to come together and have a gathering of all our people to show the
world that we are not Americans and we do not
share their ideologies of greed, dominance and
illusion. We are the people of maluhia [peace]
and aloha [love].
Gaby Gouveia [He is ethnic Hawaiian but name
shows also, perhaps primarily, Portuguese
PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT
Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i
INDONESIA TURNS CONGRESSMAN FALEOMAVAEGA AWAY
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 3) – The Indonesian government says it will not allow American Samoa’s Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin to visit Papua because his presence in the province could encourage violence.
[ ** Ken Conklin's note: Faleomavaega is a strong supporter of the Akaka bill, and also a supporter of secession from Indonesia for Papua New Guinea.]
Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry director general for European and American affairs, Eddhi Hariyadhi, says that although Indonesia had no issues with Faleomavaega or his desire to go the province, it had decided that it was not the right time for him to go there.
Mr Hariyadhi told The Jakarta Post that the visit would also be exploited by certain groups to create riots.
The Jakarta Post reports that the U.S. Congressman arrived in Jakarta yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Papuan Traditional Council announced that more than 500 representatives from 250 tribes in Papua and West Papua would attend its second conference which started yesterday and ends on Friday in Jayapura, Papua’s capital.
Reports says that Faleomavaega was planning to attend the conference.
Faleomavaega, a staunch supporter of Papuan independence, sponsored in 2005 a bill asking the U.S. government to review its recognition of Papua as part of Indonesia.
Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com
Copyright © 2006 RNZI. All Rights Reserved
Accuracy In Media, July 9, 2007
AIM Report: Bush's Legacy: A New World Disorder
** Excerpts related to the Akaka bill
Independence For Hawaii?
Bush should pay attention closer to home. There is a growing movement to sever Hawaii from the United States, on the grounds that it was illegally invaded and occupied by the United States. The Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893.
There is a website devoted to independence for Hawaii and an associated blog which declares that Hawaii is actually an "independent country under prolonged illegal occupation by the United States?"
The website quotes the former Democratic Governor Ben Cayetano, as saying, "The recovery of Hawaiian self-determination is not only an issue for Hawaii, but for America...let all of us, Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian, work toward a common goal. Let us resolve...to advance a plan for Hawaiian sovereignty."
The current Republican Governor, Linda Lingle, is quoted on the site as saying, "This is a historical issue, based on a relationship between an independent government and the United States of America, and what has happened since and the steps that we need to take to make things right."
A Senate bill, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007, introduced by Hawaii Senator Daniel Akaka, is innocuously described on a congressional website as "A bill to express the policy of the United States regarding the United States relationship with Native Hawaiians and to provide a process for the recognition by the United States of the Native Hawaiian governing entity. "
But Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum warns that it is "a big step toward Hawaiian secession" and that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs website says the Akaka bill could allow the "Native Hawaiian people" to "exercise their right to self-determination by selecting another form of government including free association or total independence."
As part of its effort to eliminate "colonialism," the U.N. lists Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands as "Non Self-Governing Territories" currently being administered by the U.S. that have not attained full independence.
Hawaii was put on the U.N. list in 1946 as a territory under U.S. control but was removed in 1959 when it became an American state. A 1998 U.N. report advocated that Hawaii be returned to the U.N. list. A U.N. committee in 2006 passed a resolution calling on the U.S. "to expedite the process to allow Puerto Ricans to exercise fully their inalienable right to self-determination and independence, and return all occupied land and facilities on both Vieques island and Ceiba."
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, July 14, 2007
Akaka bill foes join rights panel
By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Government Writer
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights yesterday filled vacancies on its Hawai'i advisory committee, choosing several outspoken activists against a Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill and potentially shifting the committee's ideological balance.
The commission itself is on record against the bill, known as the Akaka bill for its sponsor, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i, but the Hawai'i advisory committee has favored federal recognition.
The commission voted on 14 new members to the 17-member advisory committee, including Michael Lilly, a former state attorney general, and Amy Agbayani, a former chairwoman of the Hawai'i Civil Rights Commission. The vote was 6-2 in favor of the new members.
The commission, dominated by Republicans and independents, also chose some of the most visible opponents of federal recognition.
The selections include H. William Burgess, an attorney and activist with Aloha for All, which has fought federal recognition and Hawaiian-only government programs; Paul Sullivan, an attorney who has written against federal recognition; James Kuroiwa, a Republican labor and business-relations activist who joined a lawsuit against government funding for Hawaiian-only programs; Rubellite Johnson, a Hawaiian language scholar who opposes the Akaka bill; and Tom MacDonald, a retired investment executive who is on the board of scholars of the Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i, a libertarian public-policy group that has philosophically and financially led the Akaka bill opposition.
Lilly, a Republican who served as attorney general under former Gov. George Ariyoshi, a Democrat, was nominated the committee's chairman. He said the committee's mission is to advance civil rights in the Islands and would not have a partisan agenda. The new committee is made up of seven Democrats, seven Republicans and three independents.
"I feel I bridge the gap between Democrats and Republicans," said Lilly, an attorney who has been active on cases dealing with access for people with disabilities. He said he has not taken a position on the Akaka bill.
But several people who support the Akaka bill have been worried about the ideological balance of the committee since the nominations were made public earlier this year.
"There will be quite strong philosophical differences that I will have with several people on the committee," said Agbayani, director of the Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity program at University of Hawai'i-Manoa.
Clyde Namu'o, the administrator of the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, said none of OHA's recommendations for membership were chosen by the commission. He said the danger, politically, is if the advisory committee takes a position against the Akaka bill and it strengthens the opposition nationally.
The Akaka bill, which has been blocked by conservative Republicans since 2000, would recognize Native Hawaiians as indigenous people with the right to self-government. The bill has been a federal priority of Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, and the Democrats in the state's congressional delegation.
"Looking at the new makeup of the committee, I don't think they're going to be sympathetic to the Akaka bill," Namu'o said.
U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawai'i, yesterday issued a statement with concerns about the committee's new composition. "I am concerned that the group does not appear to reflect the position of the majority of the people of Hawai'i on one of the most important issues facing our state, namely the Akaka bill," the congresswoman said.
Michael Yaki, a San Francisco attorney and Democrat on the commission who voted against the nominations, said Republicans were trying to stack the advisory committee with Akaka bill opponents. "It's a sad day for Native Hawaiians," Yaki said. "It's a sad day for civil rights."
But others said the new members would bring different viewpoints.
"I don't think this committee was intended to come up with one view," Sullivan said. "If they get a broad spectrum of views, the committee will do what it is supposed to do."
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 14, 2007
Civil rights panel picks prompt debate
The advisory board's selections include Akaka Bill opponents
By Alexandre Da Silva / firstname.lastname@example.org
Opponents of a bill to grant federal recognition to native Hawaiians were appointed yesterday to an advisory board to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, raising concerns for the bill's supporters.
Among the 17 members appointed to the Hawaii State Advisory Panel are attorneys William Burgess and Paul Sullivan, both of whom have written extensively against the so-called Akaka Bill. Also selected was James Kuroiwa Jr., who joined taxpayers in a lawsuit challenging state funding of Hawaiian programs.
"I am concerned that the group does not appear to reflect the position of the majority of the people of Hawaii on one of the most important issues facing our state, namely the Akaka Bill," U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono wrote in an e-mail.
The new panel, which has seven Democrats and Republicans and three independent members who will serve two-year terms, was approved in a 6-2 vote by the eight-member U.S. Civil Rights Commission. The commission is made up of four Republicans appointed by President Bush's administration and four others picked by Congress.
Burgess and Sullivan said that including members who analyze and challenge the civil rights implications of legislation like the Akaka Bill will only help make the committee stronger.
"I hope that's going to be a balanced advisory council. That's what we really need," said Burgess, who contends the bill would illegally create a separate, race-based government in the islands. "They are afraid to have the Constitution of the United States applied to the state of Hawaii."
The bill, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka for the past seven years and officially called the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, made headway in May, gaining approval by the House Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. It has not yet reached the full Senate.
In a report last year, the Civil Rights Commission 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." The Bush administration quoted the document to reject the bill.
Michael Yaki, a San Francisco attorney who sits on the Civil Rights Commission, said yesterday's vote "reflects the rightward shift" of the group "under the present administration."
"I'm extremely disappointed that the commission has chosen to have a committee that does not even believe in the basic sovereign rights of native Hawaiians," said Yaki, a Democrat.
Amy Agbayani, an Akaka Bill proponent also selected to the Hawaii panel, said there will be "a wide range of differences amongst us."
"It is a difference of opinion, but it is an important, large difference in terms of our philosophy and our ideas of what is historically correct and also what we should do to move forward in terms of justice," said Agbayani, director of the Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity Office at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Hawaii State Advisory Panel
Here are the 17 members elected by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to serve on its Hawaii State Advisory Panel:
Amy Agbayani Democrat
Robert A. Alm Democrat
Kheng See Ang Republican
Daphne E. Barbee-Wooten Democrat
Jennifer Benck Republican
William Burgess Republican
Vernon F.L. Char Independent
Linda Colburn Democrat
*Michelle Nalani Fujimori Democrat
Rubellite K. Johnson Republican
James Kuroiwa Jr. Republican
**Michael A. Lilly Republican
Thomas J Macdonald Republican
*Kealoha K. Pisciotta Independent
Paul Sullivan Independent
Wayne M. Tanna Democrat
*Jackie Young Democrat
* Returning member
** Nominated chairman
New webpage: "Hawaii Advisory Committee to U.S. Commission on Civil Rights -- New members appointed July 13, 2007; Its history of supporting racial supremacy 1996-2006"
*** Paul de Silva, author of this letter, is a former Judge, Hawaii County Police Commission member and legendary Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney in the 1970’s. He was the Press Club’s choice for the 2005 Torch of Light Award. His distinguished career has been notable for honesty, candor and forceful advocacy of open and unfettered discussion of vital public issues.
This letter to Congressmember Mazie Hirono was published in Hawaii Reporter on July 16 at
and also in the Honolulu Advertiser on July 20 at
From: Paul M. de Silva [mailto: email@example.com]
Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2007
Subject: An Open Letter to Mazie Hirono for Publication
An Open Letter to Congresswoman Hirono
Dear Representative Hirono,
Your press release on the appointment of William Burgess and Paul Sullivan to the Hawaii Civil Rights Advisory Board in which you state that the "group does not appear to reflect the position of the majority of the people of Hawai'i " misrepresents what I know to be the more prevalent public opinion about the Akaka Bill.
Most of us who live here don't like it, and moreover, the ultimate goal of sovereignty for native Hawaiians is not supported by Hawaii's history of racial inclusion. You might not like the appointment of Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Burgess, but that doesn't justify telling a fib.
When the alii invited our non-Hawaiian ancestors who were not for the most part Americans to come and blend with native Hawaiians to build Hawaii together, they didn't tell them that someday that promise would be refuted by the creation of a racially exclusive and unequal status. Many non-Hawaiians were born in the Kingdom and were equal subjects. Such were my grandparents.
Perhaps it would be more intellectually honest for you to listen to the people by allowing some way to publically determine what people truly want. We're all tired of being lied to by politicians. In my opinion MOST OF US OPPOSE the Akaka bill, contrary to your press release.
Furthermore, I know you to be a bright and aggressive lady and suspect that you see the insurmountable constitutional problems with this. So why not take the position you have taken? The prospective Akaka law will be invalidated by the judicial system which you can blame, and you won't have to answer to native Hawaiians. Is that it?
Me ke aloha pumehana,
Paul de Silva
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 17, 2007
New civil rights panel might not reflect local sentiment
Several strong opponents of Hawaiian sovereignty have been named to the state's advisory panel to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.
WHEN the U.S. Civil Rights Commission was created 50 years ago, state advisory committees were established to be its "eyes and ears" on local and state civil rights issues. It did not like what it saw and heard from the Hawaii committee's endorsement of the Akaka Bill, and the commission stated its opposition to sovereignty last year. Then it sought to revamp the advisory committee to reflect the commission's flawed opinion.
By a 6-2 vote, the commission has approved a new advisory committee that includes shrill opponents of sovereignty as well as avid sovereignty advocates nominated by Democratic congressional leaders. Instead of reflecting the Akaka Bill's popularity in Hawaii, the committee appears to have been turned into a debate club.
The newly named advisory commission members include H. William Burgess, plaintiffs' attorney in a failed lawsuit challenging Office of Hawaiian Affairs programs; plaintiff James Kuroiwa Jr.; and lawyer Paul Sullivan, author of a 55-page treatise declaring the Akaka Bill to be "morally, politically and socially wrong." New members Rubellite Johnson and Tom Macdonald have opined that sovereignty will lead to secession.
Whether sovereignty opponents make up a majority of the 17-member panel remains to be seen. New Chairman Michael Lilly, state attorney general under former Gov. George Ariyoshi, has not publicly stated his position on the sovereignty issue and might well serve as a referee.
Burgess said he hopes the commission will "be a balanced advisory council." However, an even balance would not reflect sentiment among Hawaii residents. A poll taken two years ago by Ward Research, a public opinion firm, for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs found that 68 percent of those surveyed supported the Akaka Bill, while 17 percent opposed it and 15 percent declined to answer. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
Ignoring that sentiment in revamping the advisory committee, the commission appears to have opted for a balance between pros and cons and departed from its "eyes and ears" doctrine. The change is consistent with steering away from its longtime tendency to appoint advisory committee members who favor protection of minority rights.
A 2005 report by the congressional General Accountability Office observed that the commission had begun "revising state advisory committee membership in order to, among other things, move away from racially and ethnically based representation toward greater diversity in expertise and ideas."
Whatever stance the new advisory committee takes on the sovereignty issue, it deserves to be regarded as the divided opinion of 17 individuals, just as last year's 5-2 vote by the commission in opposition to the Akaka Bill failed to reflect the views of Hawaii residents.
** A response to this July 17 Star-Bulletin Editorial by new member of civil rights committee Tom Macdonald was published on July 23 on the blog of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, and is copied below in chronological order.
** IMPORTANT NOTE: Several important letters to editor responding to this editorial, including a commentary by one of the new members of the advisory committee, were held by the Star-Bulletin and not published until July 29. When published on July 29, they were placed in the wrong section of the newspaper, away from a new editorial criticizing that commentary. See below, in chronological order.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial cartoon by Corky, published on July 18, 2007 with original URL
** An article was composed by Associated Press and sent to all its affiliated newspapers. There's no way to know all the newspapers where some version of it got published. Here's one of those versions, in a newspaper serving suburban San Diego California. Notice the highly biased reporting at the start of the article, portraying the new Hawaii panel as a stacking of the deck against the Akaka bill. The more accurate information, that the panel will actually be quite well balanced, comes toward the end of the article and Associated Press knows most newspapers would likely cut away as much of the end of the article as necessary to make it fit the space they have available.
North County Times, Serving San Diego and Riverside Counties
July 19, 2007
U.S. Civil Rights body uses power to revamp Hawaii panel
By: MARK NIESSE - Associated Press
HONOLULU -- The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights used new term limits and its broad appointment power to gut and restock its Hawaii advisory panel with more conservative members who are likely to agree with its opposition to Native Hawaiian recognition.
The abrupt change in the makeup of the Hawaii advisory committee is the latest in a commission campaign to make over state panels in its own image and stack the deck against affirmative action and other race-based programs across the country, says one of the national commissioners concerned about the direction the panel is taking.
"The right-wing majority on the commission has decided they're tired of state committees putting out reports that advocate for civil rights," said Michael Yaki, a San Francisco attorney who sits on the eight-member national commission. "They turn a blind eye to continuing racial injustice and civil rights problems that exist."
The commission's national staff director says it's just trying to get more views represented on state panels, which serve as its "eyes and ears" around the country.
"It's important to have a vibrant diversity of opinion," said staff director Kenneth L. Marcus in a phone interview.
The U.S. commission approved 14 new members for its 17-member Hawaii advisory committee last week. The new panel has seven Democrats and seven Republicans, plus three independents. At least four of the Republicans and one independent have actively campaigned, filed lawsuits or contributed money against Hawaiian recognition.
Critics say the panel may have the numbers to swing against the Akaka bill, named for Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, that would give Native Hawaiians similar status to American Indians.
The state panel had supported the bill, but some of its new members will try to align it with the Bush administration and many mainland Republicans who oppose race-based programs. Last year, the U.S. commission ignored its state advisory committee and recommended that Congress kill the measure, which stalled in the U.S. Senate.
A key to the commission's sweeping restructuring of state panels was a new 10-year limit on membership that opened the way for many state seats to be filled with new, sympathetic committee members, Yaki said. Previously, members could serve unlimited two-year terms.
In Hawaii, at least five panel members were ineligible because of the term limits.
A vacancy in the commission's Western region also gave the national staff director oversight of the new makeup of Hawaii's panel. Ordinarily, the regional director nominates panel members to be approved by the commission.
Marcus, a Bush appointee, denies there's an effort to align the Hawaii panel against the Akaka bill, saying both liberals and conservatives were appointed.
But Yaki said about two dozen state advisory panels so far have been restructured to bring in members who will support positions taken by the U.S. commission.
In several reports over the past decade, the Government Accountability Office has been critical of the commission and its oversight of state advisory committees. In a 2005 report, the congressional watchdog noted state committee memberships were being revised by the increasingly conservative panel partly to get away from racially and ethnically based representation.
Changes in the Hawaii panel members were politically motivated, said Faye Kennedy, one of the former advisory panel members affected by the term limits.
"Those people don't have any commitment to civil rights. In my opinion, they have a commitment to opposing the civil rights of Native Hawaiians," said Kennedy, co-chair of the group Hawaii Friends of Civil Rights.
The U.S. commission approved the 14 new Hawaii panelists on a 6-2 vote Friday in Washington. They were voted on as a group, despite objections from Yaki who wanted a separate vote on one of the nominees.
New members on the Hawaii committee include H. William Burgess, an attorney and activist who has fought Hawaiian-only government programs; James Kuroiwa Jr., who joined taxpayers in a lawsuit challenging state funding of Native Hawaiian programs; Tom Macdonald, a board member of the libertarian Grassroot Institute of Hawaii that has opposed Native Hawaiian recognition; Paul Sullivan, an attorney who has written against federal recognition; and Rubellite Johnson, a Hawaiian language scholar and opponent of the legislation.
"The history of the use of racial preferences by governments ... has been disastrous," Burgess said. "If you give entitlements, they should be based on merit or need."
Marcus, in drawing up his list of appointees, denied they were stacked against the Akaka bill, noting that five of the more liberal members were recommended by Hawaii's congressional delegation, the NAACP and a disability rights organization.
"We appointed some members who strongly agree with the bill, and others who strongly oppose it," Marcus said.
But none of the nine people suggested for seats by the state's Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which supports federal recognition of Native Hawaiians, was put on the state panel, said OHA Administrator Clyde Namuo.
"It looks very odd that there would be this move to appoint people who have taken a public position in opposition to the Hawaiian federal recognition legislation," Namuo said.
On the Net:
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: http://www.usccr.gov/
The Garden Island News (Kaua'i), July 20, 2007
Product of Kaua‘i
In behalf of her Kaua‘i High School classmates of 1950, we congratulate and offer our aloha to Dr. Rubellite Kinney Johnson of Honolulu on her appointment last week to the Hawai‘i Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The 17 members will serve 10-year terms.
Many of us grew up with this former Lawa‘i girl named a “Living Treasure of Hawai‘i” in 1983 by the Honla Hongwanji Mission of Hawai‘i.
Rubellite’s father, Ernest Kaipoleimanu Kinney Sr., was a foreman during the building of Kaumuali‘i Highway on Kaua‘i and a member of Holy Cross Church in Kalaheo, while also assisting at the Koloa Hawaiian Church where Ruby attended. Mother Esther Kauikeaolani Ka‘ulili came from a distinguished local family that included brothers Springwater and Lordie Ka‘ulili. (The latter loved to play tennis with my father, the late Rev. Howard Smith of Koloa.) Ruby gets her middle name Kawena from a part-Chinese grandmother from Puna on the Big Island who raised eight children. Her grandfather Rev. Solomon Ka‘uili pastored both the Lihue Union and Koloa Union churches prior to being named a judge for the Koloa district. He died in 1923 before taking office. Johnson can also trace her haole roots back to pilgrim New England and earlier.
This wahine is a veritable United Nations, a classic Hawai‘i cultural and ethnic melting pot.
Dr. Johnson retired as professor emeritus of Hawaiian Languages in the Department of Indo-Pacific Languages of the University of Hawaii/Manoa. She is, arguably, the world’s leading living authority on the study and interpretation of the epic 2,600-line Hawai‘i chant, the Kumulipo. Her knowledge of the laws and history of the monarchy era is encyclopedic.
Little did playmates at Kalaheo Elementary sense this future brilliance when they teased Ruby about her strange name deriving from the pink tourmaline gem found in granite. Nor when she was just one of us teenagers struggling to satisfy taskmaster Mary Mildred Jones in English and Spanish classes “amid the ironwood and cane fields nigh.” She later graduated with honors from University of Hawai‘i.
And it was her family upbringing and the education through Hawai‘i’s fine public school system of those decades, combined with the patriotism of us World War II kids growing up on Kaua‘i, which forged her very outspoken love for America and its freedoms. No sovereignist she. Thus Hawai‘i’s citizens may count on Rubellite to bring needed balance in the years ahead to this important governmental forum.
Honolulu Advertiser, Monday, July 23, 2007
Civil rights advisory panel bears watching
Several vocal opponents to federal recognition for Native Hawaiians were recently appointed to Hawai'i's advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. This has rightly raised some eyebrows.
It's understandable that these are largely political appointments, and that the once largely liberal body is changing its complexion under the Bush administration. But the fact that several of the appointees have a clear agenda, regardless of whether they are in favor of or opposed to federal recognition, could have a polarizing effect on the panel's ability to approach the issue.
The commission approved 14 new members to Hawai'i's 17-member panel. Among the seven Democrats, seven Republicans and three independents, at least five have vocally campaigned or filed lawsuits against federal recognition for Native Hawaiians.
Among those newly selected: H. William Burgess, an attorney who opposes federal recognition and Hawaiian-only government programs, and a vocal Akaka bill opponent; Paul Sullivan, an attorney who also has written against federal recognition; Rubellite Johnson, also known for her opposition to the Akaka bill; James Kuroiwa Jr., who joined a lawsuit against government funding for Hawaiian-only programs; and Tom MacDonald, who is on the board of scholars for the Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i, which has led the opposition to the Akaka bill.
These appointments come at a time when the commission is facing criticism for what many view as an attempt to "stack the deck" against affirmative action and similar programs nationwide.
The current administration has the right to choose its appointments. But this panel could play a big role in Hawai'i's future — and it bears watching to ensure the chips fall fairly.
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, blog, July 23, 2007
Response to 7/17 Star-Bulletin Editorial By New Member of Civil Rights Committee
YES, I AM CONCERNED ABOUT SECESSION, BUT MORE CONCERNED ABOUT RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
The July 17 Star-Bulletin editorial on the new appointments to the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights correctly mentions that I am concerned that the Akaka Bill may lead to attempts by a “Re-organized” Hawaiian Government to secede from the United States. Yes, I am deeply concerned, as are many others, that the State of Hawaii could be torn apart. This is why:
1. For months the Office of Hawaiian Affairs website listed secession from the U.S. and formation of an independent nation as one of the three organizational options available to a native Hawaiian government. The secession option was only removed from the website when OHA realized it was becoming a public relations disaster and reducing support for the Akaka Bill by Non-Hawaiians.
2. OHA Trustee Rowena Akana and OHA Administrator Clyde Namuo have both been quoted in print as saying that if the majority of the native Hawaiian people want complete independence from the U.S., then OHA will comply with their wishes.
3. In his speech introducing the 2007 version of the Akaka Bill in the U.S. Senate, Senator Akaka mentioned the desire of some Hawaiians in his grandchildren’s generation to secede from the U.S. and establish a totally separate government. When he was asked about this on National Public Radio, Senator Akaka did not denounce such an outrageous idea, as we might expect from a U.S. Senator who takes an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the U.S.. Instead, he simply replied that he would leave the secession question for his grandchildren to decide.
4. Several native Hawaiian groups, such as Henry Noa’s “Reinstated Hawaiian Kingdom”, already publicly advocate secession from the U.S. The numbers supporting these groups currently appears to be small. But there is no way of knowing how broad support actually is. And the peculiar structure of the Akaka Bill, in which the results of its passage will only be negotiated after the Bill becomes law, allows for many unpleasant surprises after it is too late to do anything about them. A rise in secessionist sentiment between now and then could have disastrous consequences for the Aloha State.
Those are the main reasons why I think concern about a possible attempt at secession is justified. But secession possibilities are not the principal reason why I, and many others, are fighting to stop the Akaka Bill. The main reason is that Akaka would establish an unlawful privileged class based on race, in which access to taxpayer-funded benefits would be determined by skin color not by need.
Honolulu Advertiser, July 24, 2007, Letter to editor
MAJORITY OF POPULATION DOESN'T BACK MEASURE
Rep. Mazie Hirono was wrong when she stated in her press release on July 13 that the majority of the population in Hawai'i supports the Akaka bill.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs paid for a survey, in which OHA helped write the questions, which concluded just the opposite: "In the non-Hawaiian population, however, no consensus exists relative to Hawaiian-only programs, entitlements and a future Hawaiian government. Clearly, non-Hawaiians are not prepared to accept the creation of a Hawaiian nation in the near future." The survey was done by a reputable polling firm, Ward Research.
Non-Hawaiians are, of course, a substantial majority of the state's population.
If Akaka bill supporters were really as confident of majority approval as they say they are, they would not continue to oppose putting the matter to a popular vote.
[** Newly appointed member of civil rights committee]
Honolulu Advertiser, July 25, 2007
3 Letters to editor related to Akaka bill
POLLS SHOW MAJORITY SUPPORT RECOGNITION
Paul DeSilva of Hilo claims Congresswoman Mazie Hirono is "telling a fib" in saying that most people in Hawai'i oppose the Akaka bill (Letters, July 20). He must have missed The Hono-lulu Advertiser's 2006 poll, which found 63 percent of respondents supported a recognized Hawaiian entity.
That was well more than double the 27 percent who opposed. (10 percent in The Advertiser poll didn't know). Those numbers track with other polls conducted by credible pollsters over the years, which found that most people in Hawai'i support the measure.
Perhaps DeSilva is hanging with the Grassroots Institute of Hawai'i types who conduct "push polls" as part of the institute's effort to defeat Hawaiian recognition. These automated calls, with their bias and offensive questions, are designed to trigger hang-ups from supporters of Hawaiian recognition. The hang-ups aren't counted in the final tally.
Those who stick around to listen to the automated survey are fed scare stories about secession, land grabs and gambling, none of which will come with the passage of federal recognition. Those are the "fibs" being told. The truth is that most people in Hawai'i want fairness and justice for Native Hawaiians.
Richard "Dickie" Nelson
West Hawai'i field representative for U.S. Rep. Mazie K. Hirono
STRONG SUPPORT FOR FEDERAL RECOGNITION
Every credible poll conducted by The Advertiser and others since 2000 show the majority of Hawai'i residents support federal recognition for Native Hawaiians.
The most vocal critic of Native Hawaiian programs, the Grassroot Institute and its member, Tom MacDonald, are writing letters again taking information out of context to create a false impression. He excerpts a portion of a 2003 poll to claim non-Hawaiians don't support federal recognition (Letters, July 23).
That's not the case. The poll taken in July 2003 by Ward Research found strong support for federal recognition and the Akaka bill among both Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians: 86 percent of Hawaiians supported the bill, while 78 percent of non-Hawaiians supported it.
And it concludes: "Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians share a common belief that Hawaiians have a right to self-determination as a distinct people."
Mr. MacDonald is a member of Grassroot's "board of scholars." He is also among a group of conservative appointees to the Hawai'i advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, a move apparently designed to stack the local commission against the Akaka bill and other Native Hawaiian programs.
Let's remember that the Akaka bill is part of the process of reconciliation outlined in the Public Apology Law that was passed by Congress in 1993. We, both Native Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians, are seeking justice and fairness.
Administrator, Office of Hawaiian Affairs
RIGHTS PANEL ADDITIONS NOW GIVE SOME BALANCE
Your editorial about a new civil rights panel complains "at least five (out of 17) have vocally campaigned or filed lawsuits against federal recognition for Native Hawaiians."
You echo the leftist fear that this is "an attempt to 'stack the deck' against affirmative action and similar programs." I sure hope so.
At least now the panel has five out of 17 to provide some balance. The stacked old civil rights panel under Charlie Maxwell had every member supporting the Akaka bill, and Hawaiian racial supremacy in general.
Their topsy-turvy theory of civil rights was shown in a lengthy official report from hearings in September 2000.
The report said the 7-2 Supreme Court decision in Rice v. Cayetano violated the "civil rights" of ethnic Hawaiians to have racially exclusionary institutions. The report therefore supported the Akaka bill as a remedy, plus a "right" for ethnic Hawaiians to force total secession of Hawai'i from America. Crazy. Totally stacked.
Hawai'i, beware of a dangerous future. Read a recent book: "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State" — a print-on-demand book (use Google).
I hope the new civil rights panel will help rescue us.
Maui News, July 26, 2007, Letter to editor
New civil rights panel accurately reflects deeply divided Hawaii
Your rant “Attack troops assembled” (Editorial, July 20) bitterly complains that five of the 17 members of a Hawaii civil rights advisory committee will be opponents of “programs designed to help Hawaiians” like OHA and the Akaka Bill.
Nonsense. They’re opposed to programs that help ethnic Hawaiians exclusively. They understand that civil rights requires government to help all Hawaii people in need without trashing everyone who lacks a drop of the magic blood.
You say their viewpoint is “not representative of the state.” No, that describes the previous committee under Charlie Maxwell. Their unanimous topsy-turvy theory of civil rights was that the Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision in Rice v. Cayetano violated the “civil rights” of ethnic Hawaiians to have racially exclusionary government institutions. What a crazy theory!
What’s wrong with having five out of 17 committee members providing some balance? The new panel is deeply divided on the Akaka Bill, just like public opinion. Surveys in 2005 and 2006 found that 67 percent of respondents oppose the Akaka Bill, including half of ethnic Hawaiians.
Let’s put the Akaka Bill on the ballot where everyone can vote in privacy without intimidation. OHA, the Legislature and wealthy institutions getting government money strongly oppose letting us vote on the Akaka Bill. What does that tell you?
Newsmax, July 27, 2007
Hawaii Moves Toward Second 'Ethnic' Government
In a move that critics call a direct threat to the U.S. Constitution, federal legislation is moving forward in Congress to create a second, separate government in Hawaii solely controlled by ethnic and indigenous Hawaiians.
Proponents of the so-called Akaka bill -- named for its primary author, Hawaii Democrat Sen. Daniel Akaka -- say it would give native Hawaiians home rule and control of lands and other assets now being managed in their name by various state and federal agencies.
The Akaka bill appears poised for final votes in both the U.S. Senate and House, despite opposition from the Justice Department and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and growing pressure on the White House to veto the measure. Nearly identical versions have cleared committee hurdles in both chambers and now await only final floor action.
Supporters say the ethnic Hawaiian government would be similar to those established by numerous American Indian tribes.
But opponents suggest the Akaka bill is more sweeping than those pertaining to current tribal governments and maintain it would create a race-based government that assigns unequal privileges that are simply unconstitutional.
"Our founders shed their blood to create a nation that would not have special privileges based on birthright," Barb Lindsay, director of One Nation United, a nonpartisan public education group dedicated to defending private property rights and reforming federal Indian policy, tells NewsMax.
"This is contrary to that promise of equality under the law that was made to us under the Constitution."
In fashioning the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, Akaka says he simply wants the same government recognition granted to other indigenous groups.
"The intent and purpose of my bill is to bring about and extend a federal policy of self-governance, self-determination to native Hawaiians for the purposes of recognizing a government-to-government relationship with the United States," Akaka said in a recent interview on the radio program "Democracy Now!"
"I feel this is important at this time, because we are the only indigenous group in the United States that does not have this recognition," he says.
Speaking to the House Natural Resources Committee, Hawaii Rep. Neil Abercrombie, also a Democrat, defined the bill this way: "What we're trying to do in Hawaii is get the government out of the lives of native Hawaiians so that they can make their own decisions. The bottom line here is that this is a bill about the control of assets. This is about land, this is about money, and this is about who has the administrative authority and responsibility over it."
But Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, writes in the National Review that the measure is far different from those enacted for American Indian tribes.
"The bill doesn't require a showing of historical political continuity, cultural cohesiveness, geographical continuity or autonomous community," he points out. "Given that the bill would confer sovereignty primarily on the basis of race, untethered to traditional indices of tribal status, it would be surprising if other races/ethnicities didn't follow the example of the bill. What prevents, say, Acadians, Cajuns, or Mexican Americans from doing the same?"
The bill, previously blocked by Republicans in the Senate in June 2006, would create a loosely defined native government to oversee some 2 million acres of land in the islands and about $15 million per year generated by use of that land.
Upon passage of the bill, the new government would negotiate with state and federal authorities over such issues as land ownership, revenue sharing, and criminal and civil jurisdiction.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates direct costs to taxpayers of about $1 million per year through 2010, and less than $500,000 each year thereafter.
The reach of the new government could potentially extend over as many as 400,000 people. About 260,000 people who claim native ancestry live in the islands, with about another 140,000 scattered across the United States.
Critics say local governments would be starved of money and resources by the bill.
"Greed, pure and simple" is motivating Hawaiian activists, One Nation United's Lindsay tells NewsMax. "A small group of native Hawaiian activists think they can get more money, as a tribe, from U.S. taxpayers. And they also want to be given huge amounts of land in Hawaii worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
"They've told local property owners not to worry, they won't take their land, but in the future they should plan on sending property taxes to the new Hawaiian entity rather than the county. This is very much a threat to the tax base and to local governments in Hawaii."
With opposition coming from such White House-friendly groups as the Heritage Foundation and Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, supporters have negotiated with the Bush administration on the final shape of the bill.
Among other things, authors have acceded to a White House demand that the native government be denied the authority to open gambling casinos.
Writes Norquist in an open letter to policy-makers: "The provisions of the bill open a Pandora's Box of potential problems because details are to be negotiated with no limits specified."
** On Sunday July 29, 2007 the Honolulu Star-Bulletin published an editorial favoring the Akaka bill, supporting the accuracy of a Ward Research opinion poll paid for by OHA, and trashing the accuracy of a poll paid for by Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. The Star-Bulletin also published a commentary, and a series of letters, opposing the Akaka bill. Some of those letters address an editorial complaining about the new members of a civil rights committee, which the newspaper had published 12 days previously, on July 17 (see above). However, the opposing essays on July 29 were published in the travel section of the newspaper, not the editorial section where political opinion is discussed. And the editorial of July 29 appears to have the primary purpose of rebutting the commentary and letters to editor which were so long delayed and then printed in the travel section. Was the placement of the opposing views far away in a different section of the newspaper intentional sabotage, or an honest mistake?
On Monday July 30 a "correction" notice was posted:
"In yesterday's edition, Pages E3 and E4 of the Insight section were mistakenly switched with Pages G3 and G4 of the Travel section. The Page E3 "Gathering Place" column by Paul M. Sullivan mentioned on the editorial page appeared in the Travel section. We regret any inconvenience." But of course very few people read correction notices, and the damage was done.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 29, 2007; EDITORIAL
Sovereignty polls not all created equal
Akaka Bill foes contend that the measure is not supported by most Hawaii residents.
OPPONENTS of Hawaiian sovereignty responded to an opinion poll indicating the measure's popularity with their own poll that they contend contradicts it. However, their poll showing a plurality of Hawaii residents oppose sovereignty -- cited in letters to the editor and a "Gathering Place" column on the opposite page -- seems worded in a way to produce such a result.
In 2003, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which advocates the Akaka Bill, hired Ward Research, a professional polling company, to survey public opinion about the bill.
The question was stated: "The Akaka-Stevens bill proposes that Hawaiians be formally recognized as the indigenous people of Hawaii, giving them the same federal status as 560 Native American and Alaska Native tribes already recognized by the U.S. government. Do you think that Hawaiians should be recognized by the U.S. as a distinct group, similar to the special recognition given to Native Americans and Alaska Natives?"
Eighty-six percent of the 303 native Hawaiians polled said yes, and 78 percent of the 301 non-Hawaiian respondents stated support. Other questions regarding Hawaiian self-governance and creation of a Hawaiian government to deal with the state and federal governments received similar support.
In 2005, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, which opposes Hawaiian sovereignty, surveyed 10,000 Hawaii residents and posed the question: "The Akaka Bill, now pending in Congress, would allow native Hawaiians to create their own government not subject to all the same laws, regulations and taxes that apply to other citizens of Hawaii. Do you want Congress to approve the Akaka Bill?" Twenty percent said they support it, 41 percent said they do not and 39 percent gave no response.
The question embodied the negative assertion, refuted by the bill's sponsors, that the bill would make Hawaiians immune from state and federal taxes and laws. As state Attorney General Mark Bennett has stated emphatically, "In fact, native Hawaiians as individuals, as well as the native Hawaiian governing entity, would remain subject to the Constitution and laws of both the United States and Hawaii."
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 29, 2007, COMMENTARY
Civil rights commission should reflect Hawaii's diverse views
by Paul M. Sullivan
THE U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has appointed 14 new members to its Hawaii State Advisory Committee. Some of these new members have opposed the Akaka Bill in the past. In its July 17 editorial, "New civil rights panel might not reflect local sentiment," the Star-Bulletin expressed concern that "instead of reflecting the Akaka Bill's popularity in Hawaii," the advisory committee will instead be merely a "debating club" reflecting diverse points of view. The article asserts that the Commission on Civil Rights "appears to have opted for a balance between pros and cons and departed from its 'eyes and ears' doctrine."
This editorial reflects a misunderstanding of the role of the HISAC and suggests an approach to public debate that is at odds with America's best ideals.
THERE IS NO inconsistency between the HISAC's "eyes and ears" function as the USCCR's observer and reporter of civil rights issues in the islands and its function as a forum for debate and analysis of those issues. Eyes and ears can be untrustworthy when the data are not processed through brains. Reflecting this, federal law and regulations mandate both the reportorial and analytical functions for the USCCR's state advisory committees,.
The importance of diversity of views and independence of thought for USCCR state advisory committees was reaffirmed in the recent Government Accountability Office report cited in the Star-Bulletin editorial. The report pointed out that under federal law, advisory committees such as the HISAC are to "have a balanced representation of views" and "exercise independent judgment without inappropriate influence from the appointing agency or any other party." That GAO report noted approvingly that "(USCCR) policy explicitly requires state advisory committees to incorporate balanced, varied, and opposing perspectives in their hearings and reports."
One central reason for such diversity and debate is that the HISAC has a job to do for the USCCR in support of that commission's federal statutory mandate. As provided by the committee's charter and subject to commission oversight, the advisory committee may choose, or may be called upon, to advise the commission on a wide variety of issues concerning civil rights. The credibility and usefulness of the HISAC's reports to the USCCR depend on the open-mindedness and intellectual integrity of the committee's membership. Diversity of viewpoints and robust debate foster these qualities.
THE STAR-BULLETIN'S editorial seems to suggest that the HISAC should report to Washington what is perceived to be the prevailing or popular sentiment in the islands as expressed in a recent poll supporting the Akaka Bill, apparently without the clutter of dissenting or varying opinions. This is a dangerous standard of reportage, and one which can only undermine the reporter's credibility. There is no universal opinion in the islands on the Akaka Bill. There are other polls than the one cited in the editorial, and they have come to varying conclusions. Many of Hawaii's citizens have spoken out strongly and publicly against the Akaka Bill.
An accurate report to Washington would reflect these various views, not ignore or mask them. As a nation, through our Constitution, we are philosophically committed to vigorous and public debate on vital issues. That principle should continue to guide us.
Paul M. Sullivan is one of the new members of the Hawaii Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He has lived and practiced law on Oahu since 1982.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 29, 2007, LETTERS TO EDITOR
AKAKA BILL DEBATE
Opposition to Akaka Bill is growing louder
In response to the July 17 editorial "New civil rights panel might not reflect local sentiment":
You can't be serious! According to your analysis, the new appointments to the state's advisory panel to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission are part of an anti-Hawaiian sovereignty plot designed to derail the Akaka Bill, which you claim enjoys overwhelming support from the population at large; from a poll commissioned by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs? Why not the Center for Hawaiian Studies next?
You describe voices critical of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement as "shrill." That's the bullhorn trying to be heard over the vociferations of self- righteous indignation. Yeah, dissent can be a real bummer sometimes.
Akaka Bill poll inherently biased
I'm not sure how the Star-Bulletin comes up with the opinion that "local sentiment" is in favor of the Akaka Bill. The poll cited as being in favor of the Akaka Bill was paid for by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the questions skewed toward providing a favorable response. A separate poll by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii had almost exactly the opposite results.
Because our fearless leaders will not allow the public to vote on the most important issue of our time, we are left to our own ideas of what the "majority" opinions are of the people.
If the Akaka Bill is so vital to the existence of our state, then the people should at least be allowed to voice their opinion just as they did when asked if Hawaii should become the 50th state. No one would be surprised if the Akaka Bill failed to be favorable.
Nonbiased survey would help sort it out
Your July 17 editorial about the new composition of the Civil Rights Commission does a disservice to the public by promoting the theory that the public supports the Akaka Bill. Your source for this idea was the Office of Hawaiian Affairs survey, and you were careful to avoid including the survey by Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, which showed overwhelming opposition.
It would do everyone a lot of good if a responsible, nonbiased survey were conducted, so that those promoting racial preference and those opposing it were to have the same data upon which to base their contentions. This is especially important where the will of the public is being proclaimed. The issues addressed in the Akaka Bill are far too great to be trivialized by our hometown newspaper making snarky comments about those who oppose the Akaka Bill as racist legislation.
Ultimately the Akaka Bill will probably land in the Supreme Court, and all of the money and politics will rest on the fundamental principals upon which our nation was founded. This is an important debate that has been cheapened by your editorial.
Sovereignty question should be put to vote
Your July 17 editorial says "New civil rights panel might not reflect local sentiment." But that describes the stacked, old civil rights panel under Charlie Maxwell, where every member supported the Akaka Bill and Hawaiian racial supremacy in general. Their topsy-turvy theory of civil rights was that the Supreme Court's 7-2 decision in Rice v. Cayetano violated the "civil rights" of ethnic Hawaiians to have racially exclusionary government institutions. Wow!
The new panel is deeply divided on the Akaka Bill, just like public opinion. Surveys in 2005 and 2006 that called every listed telephone number in Hawaii found that 67 percent of respondents oppose the Akaka Bill, including half of ethnic Hawaiians.
Our people are divided on the Akaka Bill, as deeply as Hawaii itself will be divided and broken if the bill passes. Put the issue on the ballot where everyone can vote in privacy without intimidation. Note that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Legislature and wealthy institutions getting government money strongly oppose letting us all vote on the Akaka Bill. What does that tell you?
How would patriots view sovereignty opponents?
In response to the Star-Bulletin July 17 editorial "New Civil Rights panel might not reflect local sentiment":
How would Hawaiian national patriot Joseph Nawahi, African national patriot Nelson Mandela, Argentinian national patriot Che Guevara, Irish national patriot Michael Collins, Vietnamese national patriot Vo Nguyen Yap, Indian national patriot Mahatma Gandhi and Italian national patriot Anna Maria Venere, all of whom fought valiantly against fascism, hegemony and foreign invasion, respond to the Hawaiian sovereignty struggle relative to the American, European and Asian colonizers occupying Hawaii while chastising Hawaiians for protecting their Hawaiian national, cultural and aboriginal rights?
** Note: There is a reply letter-to-editor by Richard Rowland, President of the Grassroot Institute, on Sunday August 19. Why the Star-Bulletin waited 3 weeks to publish it is beyond understanding.
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, July 29, 2007
Letters to the Editor
HISTORY PROVIDES GOOD CONTEXT FOR AKAKA BILL
It is quite instructive to read U.S. Congressional records of the debate over the "annexation" of Hawai'i in the late 1800s. Legislative opposition to annexation was blatant in its racism. Today, such attitudes are almost never publicly expressed. They are often couched in such terms as "being color blind."
In 1897-98, tens of thousands of Hawaiian nationals opposing annexation signed the Ku'e petitions. These anti-annexationists were motivated by completely different reasons than the men in Washington, D.C.
It is the same today. There are some very profound and very different reasons that people do not support the Akaka bill. It serves us all to learn more about this.
FORGET THE POLLS, IT'S TIME FOR DISCUSSION
U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono's West Hawai'i field representative, Richard "Dickie" Nelson, recently wrote The Advertiser to criticize the polling conducted by the Grassroots Institute of Hawaii that painted the Akaka bill unfavorably.
Nelson dismissed the GIH's polling questions as biased. Others doubt the credibility of other polls (e.g., a 2006 Advertiser poll) as biased. Regardless, I'm glad to see that Representative Hirono is interested in how informed citizens really feel about this issue.
It seems what's needed is a serious statewide discussion concerning what makes sense to assist those who are in need and are of native Hawaiian ancestry — in the context of the overarching American principle that discrimination solely on the basis of race or ancestry is generally considered antithetical to the U.S. Constitution.
In light of Mr. Nelson's interest on behalf of Ms. Hirono, it's now my impression that Ms. Hirono would like to go beyond a "dueling polls" version of public discourse and instead encourage a discussion that contrasts the likely benefits versus the detriments of the Akaka Bill for the state.
Then, let's have a referendum!
Honolulu Advertiser, Monday, July 30, 2007
Akaka bill may remain stalled until year's end
By Dennis Camire
Advertiser Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — As Congress heads toward a monthlong recess starting late this week, a bill dealing with Native Hawaiian self-government remains stalled on the road to floor action in the Senate and House with little chance for a vote before the fall.
The bill, which would create a process for a Native Hawaiian governing entity to be formed and gain federal recognition, cleared both House and Senate committees in the spring but has not moved since then.
Yet even if the bill clears the House and Senate — where it has been stalled for seven years — it faces an even taller hurdle in dealing with a possible White House veto. Congress has yet to override a veto during President Bush's 6 1/2 years in office.
Still, the state's congressional delegation says that shouldn't stop them from pushing for passage of the bill, first introduced in 2000.
"We've been putting all our time in doing that (getting congressional approval) with the hope that as soon as it goes through, we can get it through the administration," said Sen. Dan Akaka, D-Hawai'i, the bill's lead sponsor.
Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawai'i, said a veto threat shouldn't deter Congress from passing the bill.
"At that point, a lot of it depends on whether the president really wants to get invested in such a thing," he said. "The argument we make to the president is the Congress has passed this. Give it a chance."
Regardless of a veto threat, "first things first," said Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawai'i. "We have to get it out of the House and Senate."
The lawmakers are hopeful they'll get votes on the bill before Congress adjourns for the year, but firm Republican opposition, especially in the Senate, means it would require House and Senate leadership to clear time in an already crowded legislative calendar.
"We're still trying to have it scheduled," Akaka said.
Akaka said a recent extension of the Senate's fall schedule to mid-November could be good news for the bill.
"It gives us a better opportunity to try to get it on (the floor schedule) this year," he said.
Both Akaka and Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawai'i, said they believe they have the 60 votes to overcome procedural roadblocks that Senate Republican opponents have used for years to keep the bill from a vote.
"What we don't want to do is go there (to the Senate floor), give dramatic speeches and nothing happens," Inouye said. "If we are going to go out there, we are going to go because we have the votes."
Abercrombie and Hirono also said they believe they have the votes in the House, which approved the bill once before in 2000, to pass it again this year.
"I think so, although there is a group of vocal opponents to all measures that help Native Hawaiians," Hirono said.
Even some Republican opponents of the bill said it could pass Congress.
"It has a chance," said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., although he added, "I hope it doesn't get through the Senate."
Alexander, one of the leading Senate opponents of the bill, said he thinks the bill would create a race-based government.
"Our Constitution and traditions specifically prohibit that, but it (the vote) may be close," he said.
If the delegation manages to get the bill through Congress successfully, the Justice Department could be another roadblock. Justice officials have said they strongly oppose it, stating in May that it would pose serious constitutional issues, a ruling that raises the specter of an almost certain White House veto.
"I would hope that if it passed, the president would veto it," Alexander said.
Sue Tolchin, professor of public policy at George Mason University, said that with Justice Department opposition, a veto is almost certain, and Democrats may have to wait until they acquire more political power in Congress or regain control of the White House.
"The bill appears to be stopped for now," Tolchin said. "Even though it's a lame duck White House, they can hold the line for at least another year and a half."
Hirono said if Bush vetoes the bill, he will have made it "very clear" that he doesn't believe Native Hawaiians are an aboriginal people.
"I'm hoping that other people such as Alaska Natives and American Indians will take note of what the Republican president did," she said. "But I hope that fairness and legal underpinnings of why Congress did this will prevail."
The Hawai'i delegation also agrees it would be almost impossible to overcome a veto in the current closely divided Congress.
"It would be hairy at best," Inouye said.
Ira Rohter, a political scientist at the University of Hawai'i, said it would be hard to see any political rationale for Republicans to go against the president in a veto override vote, especially since a vocal contingent of anti-affirmative-action conservatives is against the bill.
Some Republicans would be needed by the Democrats for an override vote to be successful.
"Why alienate even a small fragment of your base," Rohter said.
Abercrombie, the bill's sponsor in the House, was even more blunt about the possibility of Congress overriding a veto. "We don't have the votes for that," he said.
Although several changes were made to the bill in 2005 to satisfy Justice Department concerns, the state's delegation said nothing more has been done since then about the problems the agency now is raising.
Inouye said the Democratic lawmakers' influence has been limited in the Republican White House and they are hoping for help from Republican Gov. Linda Lingle.
"We've had meetings with the governor," Inouye said. "We think she is going to help us."
Honolulu Advertiser, Monday, July 30, 2007
Hawaiians mark key date in 1843
By Jim Dooley
Hawaiian sovereignty activists commemorated the 1843 restoration of the Kingdom of Hawai'i by British authorities with a brief noontime flag-raising ceremony at Thomas Square yesterday.
As rain showers chased sunlight around the park, some 150 people joined hands in a circle and sang "Hawai'i Pono'i" at 12:30 p.m. as a U.S. flag was replaced with a Hawaiian flag.
The event was called Ka La Ho'iho'i Ea, or Hawaiian Sovereignty Restoration Day.
The park is named for British Adm. Richard Thomas, who ordered the Union Jack replaced by the Hawaiian flag on July 31, 1843, after an unauthorized five-month British occupation.
The event was sponsored by more than a dozen sovereignty organizations, including Ka Pakaukau, Pro-Kanaka Maoli Independence Working Group, Kanaka Maoli Tribunal Komike and DMZ Hawai'i /Aloha Aina.
Sovereignty supporters revived the ceremony in 1985.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS -- NOT SO HAPPY ANYMORE! ETHNIC CLEANSING OF HAWAIIAN HISTORY
SUMMARY: Today's Hawaiian sovereignty independence activists are systematically ignoring heroes of the Hawaiian Kingdom who had no native blood. By removing non-natives from the pantheon of Hawaiian national historical heroes, today's Hawaiian activists show their intentions for the future. They say their movement is about a nation, not a race. They say people of all races will be welcome as citizens in the newly re-established nation. But their clear intention is to make second-class citizens of everyone lacking native blood, giving them only voting rights restricted to certain topics and property rights restricted to certain areas. This webpage explores several Hawaiian holidays (both historical and modern) to show how the ethnic cleansing is being implemented. Holidays include Ka La Ho'iho'i Ea (Sovereignty Restoration Day), Ka La Ku'oko'a (Independence Day), Martin Luther King's birthday, the 4th of July, and a newly created Hawaiian memorial day to supplant Christmas.
KA LA HO'IHO'I EA: SOVEREIGNTY RESTORATION DAY
SUMMARY: July 31, 1843 was the day when a British admiral sailed into Honolulu with a proclamation from Queen Victoria restoring sovereignty to the King Kamehameha III, following a five-month-long rogue British occupation. The day was celebrated as a national holiday for several years thereafter. Since 1985 this holiday has been revived by Hawaiian sovereignty independence activists who symbolically lower the U.S. flag and raise the Hawaiian flag, demanding restoration of sovereignty independent from the United States. Today's independence activists say their movement is about a nation, not a race. They point out that the Kingdom of Hawai'i was multiracial. But in celebrating this holiday, they systematically exclude the hero of the day, a medical missionary with no native blood who served as the King's closest advisor. Rev. Dr. Gerrit Judd almost single-handedly saved the Kingdom's sovereignty in the days following the British takeover, by writing the successful appeal to the British government. He did so in secret, at risk of his life, by candlelight at night in the Royal mausoleum, at a time when the King was suffering alcoholic depression. When Admiral Thomas sailed into Honolulu Harbor, Dr. Judd marched side by side with the King, leading a huge procession to Kawaiaha'o Church. There Dr. Judd stood beside the King on the chuirch steps and read the English-language petition to the crowd in fluent Hawaiian. Only then did the King give his famous one-line reply: "Ua mau ke ea o ka 'aina i ka pono" which is now the official state motto, officially translated as "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness." By removing non-natives from the pantheon of heroes of the Hawaiian Kingdom, today's sovereignty independence activists show their political movement is really about a race and not a nation. They seek independence for a nation of Hawai'i in which all races would be included, but everyone lacking native blood would be second-class citizens with severely restricted voting rights and property rights.
Honolulu Advertiser, July 31, 2007, EDITORIAL
Hawaiian trust ideas bears close watch
In the midst of Year 8 in the push for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians, chances of its passage have improved, but not its chances of becoming law.
The shift in majority to the Democrats may prove helpful if, later in the year, Hawai'i's congressional delegation can help push the issue onto the calendar for a floor vote.
However, those sympathetic to the so-called Akaka bill do not hold the super-majority needed to overcome a likely veto from the White House. Getting even the bill-friendly Republicans and fence-sitters to vote against their party's president will be a long shot.
Nevertheless, it's right that the delegation press for passage anyway.
Demonized as it's been, the Akaka bill still represents a viable approach. It would enable Native Hawaiian representatives to negotiate a final settlement of disputed lands and resources overtaken by the federal government with the overthrow of the monarchy and the subsequent annexation of Hawai'i to the U.S.
Persuading the holdouts that Hawaiians deserve a political status similar to what's accorded to Native Americans and Native Alaskans will take more work, it seems, and final success may not come until a president supportive of the idea sits in the White House.
Meanwhile, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs — custodians of what assets the state has designated for Native Hawaiian benefits — is contemplating a "Plan B" strategy, as it should.
The question is: Will that strategy really make trust funds for Hawaiian programs safer than they are today?
OHA attorneys are reviewing a proposal to create a nonprofit limited liability company (LLC) in which to transfer some of the assets, an idea being pursued by OHA trustee Oswald "Oz" Stender. Stender said this might offer some protection for Hawaiian funds that in theory could be challenged legally and withdrawn.
Of course, OHA has prevailed in such challenges so far, which suggests there is another motive. Stender said it is this: An LLC would be able to pursue real estate and other investments more in the manner of a business, with a measure of privacy that the state's sunshine law wouldn't allow.
This ought to at least give pause to a Native Hawaiian beneficiary, who should have the information needed to hold investors accountable.
They need to watch OHA in the next month, when this project is likely to come to open discussion, and ask how and by whom the nonprofit would be run. A Plan B is a useful concept, but the devil is in the details here.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 31, 2007, Editorial cartoon by Corky
Original URL was
The Maui News, Wednesday, August 1, 2007
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Hawaiians seeking parity and to prevent legal extinction
Mahalo for your July 20 editorial on the stacking of the Civil Rights Commission Hawaii with outspoken and litigious individuals who have dedicated much of their time and energy to their battle against Hawaiians’ quest for federal recognition and protection.
Hawaiians did not have any opportunity to vote for annexation to the United States. They were denied this right in 1893 by a tiny group of residents from America with the aid of the U.S. military.
The manner of annexation was unprecedented; i.e., by resolution of Congress rather than a two-thirds vote of the Senate. Manifest destiny prevailed and racial arguments then about the brown and yellow people here were bantered about in Congress.
We are the indigenous, aboriginal people of Hawaii who are not seeking racial exclusivity (Letters, July 26), but equality with the other two aboriginal groups in America, the Native Americans and the Alaskan Natives.
We merely want to survive as a people in our own homeland and not be assimilated into oblivion by the likes of the new Civil Rights Commission whose new members now will undoubtedly pursue their court cases in another venue, their own backyard.
Repeated legitimate polls and not the so called “push poll” supported by at least five of the new commissioners and Ken Conklin demonstrate, along with the near unanimous support of all of Hawaii’s elected politicians, that federal recognition of Hawaiians is fair and just and should be passed by Congress.
** Ken Conklin's note: Mossman is a trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the chief backer of the Akaka bill, spending millions of dollars of state government money on lobbying and advertising.
Honolulu Advertiser, August 2, 2007, Letters
LET HAWAIIANS DECIDE WHAT IS BEST FOR THEM
Tom Macdonald (Letters, July 24) and many others over the years have stated that the Akaka bill should be put up for an all- Hawai'i vote.
A reminder: The Hawaiians did not get to vote on the acts of treason and war by the U.S. government in the overthrow of their kingdom and in the imprisonment of their queen. Nor did they get to vote on the illegal annexation. The statehood vote was only a choice between remaining a territory or becoming a state. As a territory, Hawai'i had an appointed governor.
Now the Macdonalds want to put justice and the future of the Hawaiians up for a vote by all. Just like same-sex marriage, it will be a majority voting on the rights and justice to a special minority. Many will be the cultural (haole) descendants of the very people who denied the Hawaiians these rights and justice in the theft and annexation.
I am neither for nor against the Akaka bill. It is for the Hawaiians to decide what is best for them.
The Maui News, Thursday, August 02, 2007
Akaka Bill faces hostility
Most of the work of legislative bodies involves promoters of specific measures moving from colleague to colleague rounding up support. That’s been the seven-year-long task for Sens. Dan Akaka and Daniel Inouye in regard to the Akaka Bill.
The bill sets up a process for the establishment of a Native Hawaiian political entity, one that could negotiate on a one-to-one basis with the state and federal governments. Similar setups have been established for Native Americans and the indigenous peoples of Alaska.
The Akaka Bill is vital to protecting Native Hawaiians programs and for all residents of the islands. Hawaii is just another sun, sea and sand resort destination without Hawaiian culture. As it is, the general public enjoys open shorelines courtesy of a governmental policy that goes back to Kamehameha I.
At this point, the political climate in Washington, D.C., is less than favorable for passage of the Akaka Bill. The administration, in the form of the Justice Department, opposes the measure. Observers say it is likely President George W. Bush would veto any Native Hawaiian measure that comes out of Congress. According to Reps. Neil Abercrombie and Mazie Hirono, they have the votes to pass the measure in the House.
That leaves Akaka and Inouye with the task of counting votes in the upper chamber. It takes 60 votes just to get the measure on the floor of the Senate. Akaka and Inouye believe they have those 60 votes. The question is whether there are enough sympathetic votes to override a veto.
Some of the most notable legislators in history – Lyndon Johnson when he was majority leader of the U.S. Senate and Elmer Cravalho when he was speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives – believed firmly in not putting any measure up for a vote until they knew which way that vote would go.
It might be best for the passage of the Akaka Bill – necessary to prevent the legal extinction of Native Hawaiians – to wait until there is a better chance of getting the necessary votes. A more sympathetic administration and Congress could be elected next year. Having the measure voted down or vetoed would do more harm than waiting.
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, August 4, 2007, Letters to the Editor
ALL SHOULD BE ABLE TO WEIGH IN ON AKAKA BILL
Bert West's letter ("Let Hawaiians decide what is best for them," Aug. 2) is not factually correct.
The U.S. government did not overthrow the Hawaiian kingdom nor did it imprison its queen.
Additionally, his contention that only Hawaiians should have a vote in regard to the Akaka bill is both undemocratic and unconstitutional.
It is undeniable that any Hawaiian governing entity will impact the lives of every person in this state.
The U.S. Constitution guarantees all of us a republican form of government, which essentially means a government that every one of us gets to vote for.
The Akaka bill says if you don't have aboriginal Hawaiian blood you don't get a vote.
I believe what the Akaka bill proposes is unconstitutional and should be rejected.
At a minimum, all citizens of Hawai'i should get a chance to weigh in on something that will ultimately affect all of us.
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, August 4, 2007
5 non-Hawaiians seek to join sovereignty list
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Five non-Hawaiians are asking that they be allowed to register with the Kau Inoa Native Hawaiian Registration program that's being sponsored and promoted by the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
But they have yet to receive "Kau Inoa" T-shirts and, judging by what a top OHA official said, they shouldn't be expecting them anytime soon.
Kau Inoa is the highly publicized effort led by OHA to collect names and signatures for a registry of Native Hawaiians — locally and abroad — to help form the voting base for a new government. Applicants must be able to prove they have Hawaiian blood, although there is no specific blood quantum requirement.
Four of the five non-Hawaiian applicants, as well as their attorney, H. William Burgess, were previously involved in legal challenges against Native Hawaiian programs and funding. They argue the programs discriminate based on race.
Burgess said yesterday that his clients want to register for Kau Inoa because "we're standing up and saying that if there's some important decision to be made about the future of Hawai'i, we certainly want our voice heard."
The most notable of the applicants is former Honolulu Advertiser publisher Thurston Twigg-Smith, long a critic of Hawaiian preference policies. The others are Earl Arakaki, Patricia Ann Carroll, Toby Michael Kravet and Garry Paul Smith. Only Smith was not part of the Arakaki v. Lingle lawsuit that sought unsuccessfully to dismantle the funding base for OHA and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
Applying for the registry does not signal support for creating a Hawaiian entity, Burgess said. But he and his clients expect the registry to be used to discuss creation of a new Hawaiian government, he said.
"And since we're all Hawaiian — that is, we are citizens of the state of Hawai'i — we should be entitled to participate in anything that would create a new government in the state of Hawai'i."
Burgess said his clients have received letters from Hawai'i Maoli, the nonprofit arm of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, which is being paid $232,491 annually to serve as Kau Inoa's repository and processing entity, informing them that their information had been added to the database.
However, "they didn't send us T-shirts," Burgess said, a reference to the distinct black with red logo "Kau Inoa, To Build a Nation" T-shirts given to registrants. The T-shirts have become a source of pride to some Hawaiians and a symbol of sellout to others who feel the forming of a government within the existing state does not go far enough.
OHA administrator Clyde Namu'o said applications from non-Hawaiians are kept in a separate file and are not added to the Kau Inoa database.
"The Hawaiian community will need to weigh in on the process, which will be followed for an election of delegates," Namu'o said. "It is highly unlikely that non-Hawaiians will be allowed to participant in delegate election."
Namu'o added: "Mr. Burgess may consider himself Hawaiian, but I do not believe that he is indigenous to Hawai'i. The process of building a Native Hawaiian governing entity will be limited to the descendants of the indigenous people of Hawai'i. This is consistent with the creation of other Native American governments."
Kau Inoa's Web site says registrants "will be part of the new Hawaiian nation and receive benefits provided by the new government. Registrants may also declare their intent to participate in the creation of the governing entity."
OHA officials estimate more than 70,000 Hawaiians have signed up with Kau Inoa, up from about 57,000 last year. The goal is to register about 118,000 people, which is about two-thirds of the total number of Hawaiians and part-Hawaiians in the state.
The sign-up began in January 2004.
The request of the applicants, and their likely rejection, is expected to lead to a lawsuit.
"I'd say that's certainly a possibility, maybe even probable," Burgess said. "If the registry to be used for creating a new government entity is racially exclusive, or if it's restricted by race, that would be the very same problem that the (United States) Supreme Court took care of in Rice v. Cayetano. You cannot do that and it would be very likely that a challenge would be made to that."
The 2000 Rice v. Cayetano decision by the high court struck down the requirement that only voters of Hawaiian ancestry could cast ballots in elections for OHA trustees.
Discussion of a lawsuit is "extremely premature since no one has been harmed," Namu'o said. Nonetheless, he said, "if a lawsuit is filed, we believe that we will prevail."
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 4, 2007
OHA voter roll rankles 5
By Gary T. Kubota
Several Hawaii residents, including former Honolulu Advertiser Publisher Thurston Twigg-Smith, are challenging the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs' efforts to help to create a native Hawaiian governing entity through restricted voting.
The other four residents taking exception to the "Kau Inoa" voting registry include Patricia A. Carroll, Toby Kravet, Garry P. Smith and Earl F. Arakaki.
Attorney H. William Burgess said yesterday that his non-native Hawaiian clients should be included in the registry, otherwise the exclusion is a violation of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids race discrimination in public voting.
A U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2000 struck down the practice of letting only people with Hawaiian blood vote for Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees.
Trustees are now selected by qualified Hawaii voters, including non-native Hawaiians.
Office of Hawaiian Affairs Administrator Clyde Namu'o said the Supreme Court decision does not apply to the project to develop a voting registry of people of native Hawaiian blood.
Namu'o said state general funds were used to conduct the election of trustees, whereas ceded-land revenues are being used to finance the voting registry.
Under the Admission Act granting Hawaii statehood in 1959, native Hawaiians were named as one of the five entities to receive benefits from ceded lands.
On behalf of native Hawaiians, the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs has been designated to receive the ceded-land revenues.
Burgess said the source of the money has nothing to do with whether the Office of Hawaiian Affairs can restrict the voting registry based on race.
He said the Supreme Court has determined in the past that any elections involving public issues or public officials can not be restricted based on race, and that Namu'o was incorrect in his interpretation.
"He's just whistling in the dark," Burgess said. "He's grasping at straws."
Namu'o said the intent of the registry is to develop an information base that can be used for an election deciding the next step toward developing a native Hawaiian governing entity.
The registry, begun in 2004 to advance federal recognition of native Hawaiians as an indigenous people, has processed more than 70,000 applicants, according to an OHA official.
Namu'o said the election is no different from those conducted by other native American groups.
"These are not government elections," Namu'o said. "If a lawsuit is filed, we believe we will prevail."
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 5, 2007, Letter to editor
Akaka Bill vote would require informed public
The Star-Bulletin recently published four letters to the editor and a commentary discussing the Akaka Bill (Star-Bulletin, July 29). The letters discuss opposite results from polls about the Akaka Bill. Two writers suggest the different results show there is no clear consensus of general support for the bill. Their suggestion is, "Let the people vote on it."
This might be a great suggestion. However, it might be prudent first to ask the public, "What do you know about the Akaka Bill?" An inaccurate description that the Akaka Bill provides federal recognition confuses the general public. The bill does not provide federal recognition, but a process to pursue it.
The next question to ask is, "What do you know about federal recognition and federal Indian law?" Considering that the only law school in Hawaii has offered a federal Indian law course twice, it is likely the vast majority of Hawaii residents are unfamiliar with federal recognition and federal Indian law.
The next question is, "Do you know how different or similar native Hawaiian federal recognition might be to Native Americans and Alaska natives?"
A meaningful referendum of the people requires a voting population educated on the issues, not merely having a vote.
Editor's note: Because of a printing error, the July 29 letters and columns referenced in the letter above appeared in the Travel section (page G3) instead of the Sunday Insight section (page E3). The letters can be found online at starbulletin.com/2007/07/29/editorial/letters.html; the column can be found at starbulletin.com/2007/07/29/editorial/commentary.html
August 7-8: Lawsuit against OHA by native Hawaiians with high blood quantum
SUMMARY: On August 7, 2007 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Judge Susan Oki Mollway of the U.S. District Court in Honolulu to reinstate a lawsuit she previously dismissed. The 5 plaintiffs are native Hawaiians with at least 50% native blood quantum who complain that the State of Hawaii Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) is improperly spending enormous amounts of money on programs for low-blood-quantum ethnic Hawaiians. Those OHA programs include lobbying for the Akaka bill, advertising for the Kau Inoa racial registry expected to be used for a membership roll for the Akaka tribe, small-business loans, etc. The plaintiffs point out that the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920 (HHCA) set aside 203,500 acres of land for Hawaiian Homelands exclusively for the benefit of native Hawaiians of 50% or higher native blood quantum. The Statehood Act of 1959, section 5(f) specified that the new State of Hawaii can use revenues from the ceded lands for any one or more of five purposes, one of which is the betterment of native Hawaiians as defined in HHCA; i.e., at least 50% native blood quantum. In 1978 a state Constitutional Convention created OHA. The Legislature subsequently provided a permanent funding source for OHA of 20% of ceded land revenues. 90% of the money OHA spends comes from current ceded land revenues, and from investment income from previously hoarded ceded land revenues (the remainder of OHA's money comes from annual appropriations of taxpayer dollars from the general fund; and plaintiffs are NOT complaining that those funds are spent to benefit low-quantum ethnic Hawaiians). Plaintiffs complain that ceded-land money should be spent for programs to benefit exclusively native Hawaiians with at least 50% blood quantum; and that the Akaka bill dilutes the moneys belonging to high-quantum native Hawaiians by creating a government that would control those assets, in which every person with a single drop of native blood has voting rights. This webpage provides the full text of the 9th Circuit Court decision, news reports and commentaries about this lawsuit, and commentary by Chief Maui Loa asserting the special rights of high-blood-quantum native Hawaiians. The actual decision of the 9th Circuit Court in Day vs. Apoliona, published Auust 7, 2007, is available in pdf format directly from the 9th Circuit Court's website. Here's the decision (it makes interesting reading).
Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday August 8, 2007
** Excerpts relevant to Akaka bill
5 Hawaiians’ lawsuit against OHA back on
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
A group of five Native Hawaiians who want the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to spend most of its money on people with 50 percent Hawaiian blood or more will get another day in court.
A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco yesterday ordered U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway to hear the case in her Honolulu court after she rejected it last year.
The five Native Hawaiians are suing OHA because they believe the agency has too many beneficiaries. They argue that most of OHA's $28 million annual budget should be spent on people with 50 percent Hawaiian blood or more.
The five men charged that OHA "expended trust funds without regard to the blood quantum contained in the definition of native Hawaiians" as spelled out in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920.
The thrust of the lawsuit is the charge that the trustees have spent trust funds lobbying Congress for passage of the Akaka bill, which seeks to create a government entity that would represent all with Hawaiian blood regardless of their quantum.
Additionally, the lawsuit alleges trustees have "expended trust funds for all-expense-paid vacations and political junkets for themselves and their staff in the guise of lobbying for passage of the Akaka bill."
OHA trustees have previously stated that they have spent at least $1 million lobbying for the Akaka bill.
Under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, money generated by the so-called ceded lands — former Hawaiian crown and government lands — is supposed to benefit those with 50 percent blood quantum.
Currently, about 10 percent of OHA's $28.5 million in funding comes from state taxes, with the rest from ceded lands.
OHA administrator Namu'o said that there are currently no programs designed to benefit 50 percent Hawaiians specifically. In the past, the agency had a homesteader loan program that benefited homesteaders, who need to be at least 50 percent Hawaiian.
The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the homestead act are targeted for 50 percent Hawaiians, he said,
"Our money is not the Hawaiian Homes Commission money," Namu'o said. "The authority for our money comes from the Admission Act that established the public land trust. Obviously the money that (DHHL) gets is specifically for 50 percent Hawaiians. We don't believe that that's true with ceded lands revenue that come off the public land trust."
The Hartford (Connecticut) Courant, August 8, 2007
Reject End Run By Tribes
Applications by Indian tribes seeking formal federal recognition belong in front of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs - not Congress, where a fair, consistent and impartial review can be easily derailed by politics and money from wealthy backers looking to invest in Indian casinos.
Allowing tribes to appeal directly to Congress also reinforces a troublesome precedent, one likely to encourage other tribes to try to avoid the more exhaustive work required as part of the BIA approval process.
The House of Representatives entered this dangerous territory recently when it approved two requests for federal recognition. One is by six Virginia tribes; the other is for North Carolina's Lumbee Indians. Both measures are now before the Senate.
These proposals are nothing less than an end run around the BIA process, and we urge the Senate to oppose them. Such applications belong before the BIA, which has an extensive process and uniform standards for weighing such requests. Among the agency's considerations are a tribe's history, its continuous existence as a community and its political governance.
The BIA's approval process is undeniably long, exhaustive and flawed. Winning federal recognition can take years. Even then, the process is not immune to influence, as shown by the agency's decision in 2002 to grant federal recognition to the Schaghticokes and Eastern Pequot Indians of Connecticut (a decision fortunately overturned by an appeals court in 2005).
But if the BIA approval process is flawed or cumbersome, the answer is to improve the process with increased staffing and better data collection and analysis - not to encourage tribes to circumvent it. Senators should reject these proposals for federal tribal recognition and let the BIA do its work.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 9, 2007, LETTER
There's a better way than the Akaka Bill
There has been much support for the Akaka Bill among Hawaii's congressional delegation, local elected officials from both political parties, Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian communities, and even the news media. I have said many times that I personally cannot support the bill due to its watered-down current stature, which can be attributed to Sen. Dan Akaka's quest to appease all parties involved. I think the world of the good senator from Hawaii -- I've always considered him a personal friend who has maintained an open door policy to all of his constituents -- but I cannot, in good conscience, support his bill as written.
Rather than pursuing the Akaka Bill, I believe Akaka, and our entire congressional delegation, should consider amending the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. This legislation has already passed Congress, and is an existing piece of passed legislation. Our local elected officials and Hawaiian Civic Club leaders who support the Akaka Bill should all band together with our congressional delegation to amend the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, introduced by Hawaii's first delegate to Congress, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, in an effort to ensure that Hawaiians get at least the same benefits and recognition afforded to our Native American counterparts on the U.S. continent.
Whitney T. Anderson
Former state lawmaker
Hawaii Reporter, August 12, 2007
Akaka Bill: It's About 2.2 Million Acres of Land and Hundreds of Millions in Cash
By Tom Macdonald
Finally a member of the Hawaii Congressional delegation tells the truth about Hawaiian "recognition" and the Akaka Bill:
"Speaking to the House Natural Resources Committee, Hawaii Rep. Neil Abercrombie, also a Democrat, defined the bill this way: 'What we're trying to do in Hawaii is get the government out of the lives of native Hawaiians so that they can make their own decisions. The bottom line here is that this is a bill about the control of assets. This is about land, this is about money'..."
"Those of us who wanted to see this issue resolved put in the Akaka bill to enable and encourage the Hawaiians to organize themselves and come to the Interior Department (DOI) to be recognized as a governing entity and take control of the land and money assets that now exist. We're talking about 2.2 million acres of land. And the capital now residing with the OHA is between $350 and $500 million, depending on the stock market, with an income stream from leases on ceded land and so on of tens of millions of dollars. You're talking serious money already in the bank, and millions of dollars coming in every year."
(Interview with Neil Abercrombie, Indian Country Today, March 22, 2005)
Yes, folks, the bottom line in the Akaka Bill is not Hawaiian culture, it's about 2.2 million acres of land and hundreds of millions in cash. So sayeth Congressman Abercrombie.
KHNL TV News 8, August 13, 2007
Hawaiian Movement Supports Kanaka Over Akaka
By: Beth Hillyer
WAIMANALO (KHNL) - Members of a nine-year-old Hawaiian movement say they have established a strong hold on all of the islands. Now they want Hawaii's congressional leaders to support the Kanaka bill over the Akaka bill.
Organizers of this roadside rally pound in stakes and hang brightly painted sheets.
Hawaiian warriors blowing conch shells signify the group's call to educate yourself about the re-instatement process.
"To me the most important is trying to get the Kanaka to make a commitment step inside ask questions and you'll be more aware of why we are out there doing what we are doing," says Henry Noa, Prime Minister.
With Admissions Day in August 21st...
"It's going on 114 years that we have been denied any type of reconciliation any type of rectify an injustice and Admissions Day represents a part of that," says Noa.
Signs question ownership of Hawaiian lands.
Leaders don't support the Akaka bill, but rather passage of their Kanaka bill.
"If a nation once was recognized and it was unlawfully removed it has the right to re-instate itself," says Noa.
They carry a strong message as Admission's Day approaches.
"Instead of returning the nation back to it's rightful people they decided to create a state so here we are in the 50th state of the United State's I'm glad it's still called Hawaii," says Noa.
Organizers are electing officers this fall and they invite you to get involved. We were unable to reach the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for comment.
Hawaii Business Magazine, August, 2007
Q: Is the Akaka Bill good for Hawaii?
[Pro and Con Haunani Apoliona vs. Ken Conklin]
by Haunani Apoliona [photo in article]
chairperson, board of trustees
office of hawaiian affairs
The Hawaiian Federal Recognition Bill is good for Hawaii and good for business. It makes good business sense to support a measure that formally affirms Hawaiians’ special political status as aboriginal indigenous natives, and provides a process for official U.S. recognition of a future Native Hawaiian representative body. This body will be determined by the Hawaiian community. It will not involve secession, land grabs, or gambling, as critics blindly assert.
The goal to combine the assets in the Hawaiian community and strengthen Hawaiian economic contributions and abilities to resolve current problems ultimately helps all state taxpayers, and keeps alive the Hawaiian culture that is so vital to our island life style which attracts visitors to Hawai’i.
The legislation provides a key shield against the legal firestorm that began over a decade ago in Rice v. Cayetano. The litigators have been busy attacking the Hawaiian community, and forcing the diversion of valuable resources to defend ourselves.
Seventy million dollars a year in federal funds flow into Hawaii through various congressional acts for programs in health, education, affordable housing and employment. Litigators are trying to strike the programs down by inaccurately calling them race-based and unconstitutional. These are programs, which, if not federally funded, will significantly divert state resources.
These critics ignore that America’s native people are recognized as groups that are not defined by reference to race or ethnicity, but by the fact that their ancestors exercised sovereignty over the lands and areas that subsequently became part of the United States. The Constitution grants Congress the authority to prescribe a path toward reorganizing and recognizing Native Hawaiians. The bill does not create an impermissible racial classification, but affirms our political indigenous status.
The bottom line … it makes good business sense to support the Hawaiian Federal Recognition Bill.
by Kenneth Conklin, PH.D. [photo in article]
researcher and civil rights activist
The Akaka Bill seeks to protect the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, 160 federally funded programs and their captive institutions and Kamehameha Schools’ admissions policy – all race-based – therefore immoral; probably illegal.
The bill would entrench and accelerate a long-term power grab by Hawaii’s cabal of race-based institutions. Read a 302-page analysis, “Hawaiian Apartheid – Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State.” To protect the “benefits” of institutional racism, this poison-pill bill has a disastrous side-effect – authorizing the breakup of Hawaii.
An Akaka tribal government empowered to negotiate money, land and jurisdictional authority, demands ever more from a smaller, weaker state of Hawaii. A hereditary nobility gets benefits paid by second-class citizens forever, guaranteeing racial conflict and economic uncertainty. Picture Fiji, perhaps Zimbabwe.
Kamehameha lands, plus ceded lands, comprise half of Hawaii, widely scattered. Highly taxed and regulated businesses remaining under the ever-shrinking state government would compete against nearby tribal businesses ungoverned by zoning, labor, regulatory and taxation laws. The state tax base would decline drastically.
Small businesses would suffer when Indian tribes start or expand.
Akaka supporters claim these consequences cannot be predicted, because they’re negotiable. Translation: It’s like driving over a cliff while blindfolded – we cannot foresee exactly what will happen.
Neither tribal members nor Hawaii’s people can vote on sweetheart settlements negotiated between the Legislature and tribal council. Tribe members continue voting for governor and legislators. No other state has 20 percent of its people joining a tribe spending megabucks on political advertising and campaign contributions unregulated due to tribal sovereignty.
Picture former OHA Chair Clayton Hee, representing the Akaka government, negotiating against state Sen. Clayton Hee, representing the state. Shoots! That’s how things work already!
Hawaii Reporter, August 15, 2007
If Akaka Bill Passes, Native Hawaiians Can Claim Special Economic and Political Power and Authority Not Available to Other Ethnic Groups
By Roger Clegg
[This is the testimony of Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a nonprofit research and educational organization that is based in Falls Church, Virginia, regarding the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007. This testimony was submitted to the Hawaii State Advisory Committee of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.]
My name is Roger Clegg, and I am president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a nonprofit research and educational organization that is based in Falls Church, Virginia. Our focus is on public policy issues that involve race and ethnicity, such as civil rights, bilingual education, and immigration and assimilation.
Our chairman is Linda Chavez -- whom, you may recall, was once the staff director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and is now the chair of the Virginia State Advisory Committee. I should also note that I was a deputy in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division for four years, from 1987 to 1991.
The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007, a bill that has been introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, is not the easiest 22 pages of prose that you’ll ever read, but I think I can boil it down to this:
The bill will use a one-drop rule to define membership in an ethnic group, namely Native Hawaiians, whom it will then allow to organize themselves into a governmental entity that can claim a “special political and legal relationship” with the U.S. government of “the type and nature [that the U.S. government] … has with the several federally recognized Indian tribes.”
Members in this group will be made separate and distinct from the rest of the people in your state, will be able to claim preferences more easily than other racial and ethnic groups, and will be able to claim special economic and political power and authority in Hawaii.
I don’t like this bill, and the objections to it fall into two basic categories: first, that it is unconstitutional; and, second, that even if it were constitutional, it would be a bad idea. Although the bill itself can be hard to follow, the problems with it are straightforward. The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007 Is Unconstitutional
Let me talk about the constitutional problems first. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment makes it illegal for any state to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment makes it illegal for the federal government to deny equal protection as well. The definition of “equal protection” can be complicated, but one thing that it definitely applies to is treating people differently because of their race or ethnicity.
The Supreme Court, in its 2000 ruling in Rice v. Cayetano, ruled explicitly that Native Hawaiians are an ethnic group, and that it is illegal to give anyone preferential treatment on account their membership in that group.
Putting this together means that Congress cannot pass a law that gives Native Hawaiians the special right to organize into a separate group that can claim, in turn, still more special rights. It’s as simple as that.
Now, how can anyone think he can get around this? You really can’t, but here is the argument that is being made: There’s another part of the Constitution--Article I, Section 8, clause 3--called the Commerce Clause.
It provides: “The Congress shall have Power … To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes ….” So the argument is that, since Congress has authority to regulate commerce with Indian tribes, therefore it has the power to create what are essentially new Indian tribes, based on membership in an ethnic group.
If that sounds like a weak argument to you, you are exactly right.
For starters, of course, no one can claim with a straight face that this bill is about regulating commerce, let alone regulating commerce with Indian tribes. More fundamentally, the Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to deal with Indian tribes, not to create new ones.
The fact that the Commerce Clause gives Congress authority to deal with “foreign Nations” has never been claimed to give Congress the power to create new foreign nations, and the fact that Congress is given authority by the Commerce Clause to deal with the states doesn’t give it authority to create new states.
That latter power is explicitly set out in Article IV, Section 3, clause 1--and indeed the fact that the Framers felt that they had to spell it out there proves that they cannot have thought that they had already created that power in the Commerce Clause (and if the Commerce Clause doesn’t give Congress the power to create new states, then how can the same words in it give Congress the power to create new Indian tribes?).
Let me add that the Commerce Clause argument is the best argument that the proponents of this bill have for its constitutionality. And even if you think there is something to it, I don’t know why whatever power Congress has to recognize Indian tribes should trump the Equal Protection limitations on what Congress can do. (Other clauses sometimes cited are the Treaty Clause, the Debt Clause, and the Property Clause, but there is even less of a connection between any of them and the necessity of creating an ethnicity-defined new Indian tribe.)
Let me also give you my opinion of what is going on here. There are people who would like to give special preferences to Native Hawaiians, and to maintain the special programs they already have. But they know that such preferences will likely be struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional, since--as I have discussed--Native Hawaiians are an ethnic group and it is unconstitutional to give one ethnic group a special preference over another ethnic group or groups.
So the supporters of this kind of ethnic preference had the ingenious idea getting Congress to declare that Native Hawaiians are no longer an ethnic group; instead, they are now an Indian tribe, and the Supreme Court has said--Morton v. Mancari (1974)-- that giving preferences on the basis of membership in an Indian tribe is not ethnic discrimination. Very clever.
But, as has been pointed out, this calls to mind Lincoln’s joke about how many legs a dog has if you call a tail a leg--the answer is still four, since calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it one. Calling Native Hawaiians an Indian tribe will not make them one, at least if there are limits on whom Congress can declare to be an Indian tribe.
As the U.S. Department of Justice has noted in its recent testimony (at page 12) [link:
Although the Supreme Court has consistently acknowledged Congress’s broad power to determine when and how to recognize and deal with Indian tribes, it has also observed that a predicate for the exercise of this power is the existence of a “distinctly Indian communit[y].” United States v. Sandoval, 231 U.S. 28, 45-46 (1913).
Moreover, the Court has cautioned that Congress may not “bring a community or body of people within the range of this power by arbitrarily calling them an Indian tribe,” id. at 46, and that the courts may strike down “any heedless extension of that label” as a “manifestly unauthorized exercise of that power,” Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 215-17 (1962).
The U.S. Department of Interior has a well-developed set of regulations for determining whether an “Indian group” is an “Indian tribe.” The focus of those regulations is on whether the group is already a distinct political community, not whether it might become one once recognized. Native Hawaiians do not come close to passing muster under DOI regulations, nor under the criteria that the Supreme Court itself has laid out [see DOJ testimony, again at page 12].
One of your fellow Hawaiians, Kenneth Conklin, has noted [letter to '''The Washington Times''', November 30, 2004, page A18] that, according to the 2000 census, there are more than 400,000 Native Hawaiians, including 240,000 in Hawaii, 60,000 in California, and 100,000 scattered throughout each of the other 48 states; this would be larger than any other tribe and, at 20 percent of Hawaii’s population, a much larger percentage of the state than any other tribe makes up in any other state.
The vast majority of Hawaiians with Native Hawaiian blood are of mixed ethnicity (versus what the vast majority of those living on Indian reservations consider themselves to be). This is simply not an Indian tribe.
I am in good company in seeing these constitutional problems. The United States Department of Justice has noted them this year, in testimony before Congress that I have already cited:
A Senate report has likewise pointed out these and other problems:
I urge you all to read these two documents. And, of course, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has opposed passage of this bill because 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.” http://www.usccr.gov/
The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007 Is Bad Policy
But even if you thought that Congress had the authority to pass this bill, it would still be a bad idea for it to do so.
The United States is a multiracial, multiethnic society. It always has been, and indeed its multiethnicity increases every year. Hawaii also has this multiracial and multiethnic description, if not more so.
In such a society, it is simply untenable to have a legal regime where some of us are singled out for special treatment, whether that special treatment is better or worse than everyone else, because of skin color or what country our ancestors came from or when our ancestors came here.
It would be especially dangerous to pick a large group out of that population, and not only allow them special treatment, but give them a separate government and rights. What could be more divisive than that?
Let’s face it: The reason that preferences for some groups have a visceral appeal is because of the fact that some groups were better treated and others worse treated in our history, and so superficially it seems fair to “make up” for this past discrimination by discriminating in the other direction, especially if the group continues to lag in some way.
Now, I’m not an expert on your state’s history, and I know that people have different opinions about who did what to whom and why a hundred or 114 or 229 years ago. But let’s just assume for the sake of argument this morning that Native Hawaiians have suffered historical wrongs.
Even making that assumption--which many do not share--you would have to admit that similar or worse wrongs have been suffered by African Americans, and the Irish, and the Jews, and the Japanese, and the Chinese, and so forth. All of them can claim historical wrongs--and also to have a cultural heritage worthy of continuation, by the way.
But if you start fudging the laws to give groups that have suffered historical wrongs a mechanism to claim special treatment--call it tribal status, call it reparations, call it whatever you like--then where do you stop?
You have simply made it inevitable that there will be more division, more resentment, more stigmatization. And, of course, these wrongs are always far enough in the past that it is impossible to say with certainty that this person over here today is entitled to be given something from that person over there today, since they may have little in common with the original victim and wrongdoer except their respective skin colors. Indeed, most Native Hawaiians today are descendants of both the supposed victims and the supposed oppressors.
But, it is claimed, these are not just historical wrongs: There are social disparities to this very day, and someone will show that Native Hawaiians have more poverty and less health care, and more substance abuse and less education, and so forth. Here again, I’m going to assume for the sake of argument that these disparities exist--although I know that there is vigorous disagreement over particular points.
Even making this assumption, though, you would have to acknowledge that often these social disparities are suffered by other groups, too--by, for instance, African Americans, and Latinos, or at least some subgroups of African Americans and Latinos, and some Asian groups, but not most of them, and even some white subgroups, and so forth. Do we slice and dice every race into those subgroups and, if some of those subgroups suffer some social disparity, then make them all into Indian tribes?
Of course not. The logical thing to do is to try to help poor people, and people who lack access to health care, and people with substance abuse problems, and people who go to failing public schools--but help all of them, regardless of skin color or ethnicity. There are plenty of poor whites, plenty of Asians who go to lousy public schools, plenty of Jews who abuse drugs, plenty of Irish who don’t get good medical care.
And, I should add, there are also plenty of Native Hawaiians who are healthy and wealthy, and hardly in need of any special preference. Separating people into a new Indian tribe on the basis of ethnicity is, to say the least, a very odd and inefficient way to go about helping them.
Let me end my discussion with one last point, which is too often lost in debates of this kind. Even if you think that there might be some good that is accomplished by this legislation, you also have to ask: Does this possible good outweigh the undeniable costs--the divisiveness, the unfairness, and so on--including the unforeseen consequences of creating a huge, powerful, ethnically-defined government within a government?
The bill deliberately and dramatically encourages a separatist mindset; it institutionalizes an us-versus-them approach to public policy; it requires a division, a literal dis-integration of your islands’ peoples. Is that what you want? Conclusion
In conclusion, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization legislation is unconstitutional and, even if it weren’t, it would still be a bad idea. It is divisive, unfair, and discriminatory. Whatever legitimate purposes it claims can be accomplished in other, more direct, less unfair and--especially--less divisive ways.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to testify today. I look forward to trying to answer any questions the Committee may have.
Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, August 16, 2007
U.S. Agency will hold public hearings on Akaka bill
By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Government Writer
A Hawai'i advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold several public briefings on a Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill, which may lead the committee to decide whether to continue to endorse the bill.
The commission's staff in Washington, D.C., directed the advisory committee to hold the briefings because it wanted local input on the bill, which would recognize Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people with the right to self-government. Members of the advisory committee voted yesterday at its first meeting — a conference call with Washington — to schedule the briefings.
The commission has opposed the bill, arguing it would discriminate based on race, but the advisory committee — the commission's local "eyes and ears" — has supported it in the past. The makeup of the 17-member advisory committee shifted with the appointment of 14 new members in July, including several conservatives who oppose the measure, known as the Akaka bill for its sponsor, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i.
Michael Lilly, a former state attorney general and the committee's chairman, said it would be up to the committee whether to take a new vote on the Akaka bill but said he would prefer waiting until at least October, after members have had a chance to digest what they have heard in the briefings.
"This is going to be the committee's ultimate decision what it wants to do — if anything," Lilly said. "It may choose to do nothing."
H. William Burgess, an attorney on the advisory committee who has opposed the Akaka bill, said the committee should eventually take a new vote. The Akaka bill has been pending in Congress since 2000 and could come up again before the U.S. Senate by the end of the year.
"I would think the committee should take a position on the Akaka bill one way or another," Burgess said. "My feeling is it's the most important civil rights issue now facing Hawai'i."
Some members of the advisory committee said the briefing schedule was rushed and question why the commission's staff in Washington wants immediate local input on the Akaka bill when the commission has already publicly opposed the bill. Some believe the commission is trying to engineer a local vote against the bill before it comes back before Congress.
Two committee members who support the Akaka bill, Robbie Alm, senior vice president of public affairs for Hawaiian Electric Co., and Amy Agbayani, director of the Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity program at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, wrote a letter to Lilly this month saying they were disappointed the committee's agenda had apparently been set without a full discussion among its members.
"We do not understand why this process is being rushed," Alm and Agbayani wrote.
Lilly said yesterday's agenda item on the Akaka bill was directed by the commission's staff in Washington but said the advisory committee, now that it has had its first meeting, would decide how to proceed in the future. He noted the committee voted overwhelmingly yesterday to adopt the briefing schedule.
"They wanted input, for the commission, on the Akaka bill," Lilly said of the Washington staff. He said he wanted to assure committee members "that we were not going to rush any final decision, at all."
The briefings start Monday afternoon at the state Capitol with a presentation by state Attorney General Mark Bennett, an Akaka bill supporter, and Roger Clegg, president and general counsel for the Center for Equal Opportunity in Virginia, who has lobbied against the bill. Other briefings are planned for Maui on Wednesday, Kaua'i on Sept. 7 and the Big Island on Sept. 10. The advisory committee and some commissioners and Washington staff also have scheduled an orientation meeting and Akaka bill briefing for Sept. 5 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Hawaii Reporter, August 17, 2007
The Akaka Bill: What Tribal Sovereignty Would Mean to Hawaii
By Lyle Beckwith
Senior Vice President of Government Relations for the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS)
Before creating a new Indian tribe and introducing the concept of tribal sovereignty to Hawaii on a massive scale, it may be wise to consider some of the lessons learned in other parts of the country.
Tribal sovereignty – while an important governmental principle that should be honored as such – breaks down when tribes get involved in commercial activity. Our system of commerce just doesn’t work when some businesses operate outside of the constraints of the law. That is why, for example, Congress has taken sovereign immunity away from every foreign nation in the world when those nations act in a commercial (rather than governmental) capacity.
Based on the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, if France or another nation decides to sell cigarettes or gasoline, they are subject to suits under U.S. law, just like any other business that sells those products. Native American tribes, however, are not. This has caused problems in states from coast to coast.
When states want to enforce their laws against tribal businesses that sell to citizens of that state, they can’t do it because of sovereign immunity. When businesses enter into contracts with tribal businesses, they can’t enforce those contracts unless sovereign immunity is waived. When American citizens are injured by tribal businesses (such as if they don’t maintain their premises in a safe manner), those citizens can’t sue to recover for their injuries.
You may ask whether these problems really occur? Unfortunately, these problems come up every day – particularly when tribal businesses sell cigarettes and gasoline through smoke shops, truck stops, or similar retail outlets.
Cigarettes, liquor, and gasoline may seem like odd products for tribes to sell. The reason these are often the businesses tribes open first on reservations is that state and local taxes are a large percentage of the cost of these products. Tribes have found that they can use their sovereignty to protect against the imposition of state and local taxes when they sell these products.
The result is that cigarettes and gasoline can be sold on the reservation at a price that undercuts off-reservation competitors. Not surprisingly, those off-reservation businesses lose sales – and sometimes close entirely.
This creates a vicious cycle for states and local governments. They lose excise and sales tax revenues on cigarettes and gasoline. Then they lose additional income, sales, and property taxes when off-reservation businesses lose business or close.
The problem, of course, is that these tribal businesses thrive by marketing their products to people who are not members of the tribe. Those consumers are liable for the taxes on their purchases – though most of them don’t know it and the tribal businesses have no incentive to point it out. Finding these consumers and getting them to pay the taxes is very difficult and, in some ways, unfair because these consumers have been duped. In the end, this amounts to an elaborate scheme of tax evasion.
Some might be tempted to ignore these violations of the law on the theory that it helps make up for past wrongs committed against Native American tribes. Unfortunately, however, this system harms the tribes more than it helps them.
One of the pillars of the U.S. economy that has helped encourage entrepreneurship and economic growth is a sound legal system that gives Americans the chance to protect their property rights.
But that pillar isn’t there when dealing with Indian tribes.
That is a major reason why U.S. businesses are reluctant to invest in on-reservation businesses or joint ventures with tribes. Those businesses must constantly worry that their investments will be lost and that they will have no recourse to the courts due to tribal sovereignty. The result is that there are few on-reservation investments (with casinos being one of the few exceptions) and most tribal economies continue to stagnate.
And, in truth, it hurts the businesses that form on the reservation. These businesses too often rely upon their ability to evade taxes on sales and, therefore, don’t have an incentive to innovate and diversify to improve their businesses in other ways. This creates a ceiling on the growth of these businesses and, ultimately, on reservation economies.
What does this mean for Hawaii? It means that granting sovereignty can have many problematic, unintended consequences. If those problems aren’t dealt with, then businesses and local governments throughout Hawaii as well as any tribe(s) created are likely to suffer, not benefit, from passage of the Akaka bill.
TESTIMONY OF ROGER CLEGG
PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL
CENTER FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
THE NATIVE HAWAIIAN GOVERNMENT REORGANIZATION ACT OF 2007
BEFORE THE HAWAII STATE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
UNITED STATES COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS
August 20, 2007
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to testify this morning before the Committee.
My name is Roger Clegg, and I am president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a nonprofit research and educational organization that is based in Falls Church, Virginia. Our focus is on public policy issues that involve race and ethnicity, such as civil rights, bilingual education, and immigration and assimilation. Our chairman is Linda Chavez--whom, you may recall, was once the staff director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and is now the chair of the Virginia State Advisory Committee. I should also note that I was a deputy in the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division for four years, from 1987 to 1991.
The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007, a bill that has been introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, is not the easiest 22 pages of prose that you'll ever read, but I think I can boil it down to this: The bill will use a one-drop rule to define membership in an ethnic group, namely Native Hawaiians, whom it will then allow to organize themselves into a governmental entity that can claim a "special political and legal relationship" with the U.S. government of "the type and nature [that the U.S. government] … has with the several federally recognized Indian tribes." Members in this group will be made separate and distinct from the rest of the people in your state, will be able to claim preferences more easily than other racial and ethnic groups, and will be able to claim special economic and political power and authority in Hawaii.
I don't like this bill, and the objections to it fall into two basic categories: first, that it is unconstitutional; and, second, that even if it were constitutional, it would be a bad idea. Although the bill itself can be hard to follow, the problems with it are straightforward.
The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007 Is Unconstitutional
Let me talk about the constitutional problems first. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment makes it illegal for any state to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The Supreme Court has ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment makes it illegal for the federal government to deny equal protection as well. The definition of "equal protection" can be complicated, but one thing that it definitely applies to is treating people differently because of their race or ethnicity. The Supreme Court, in its 2000 ruling in Rice v. Cayetano, ruled explicitly that Native Hawaiians are an ethnic group, and that it is illegal to give anyone preferential treatment on account their membership in that group.
Putting this together means that Congress cannot pass a law that gives Native Hawaiians the special right to organize into a separate group that can claim, in turn, still more special rights. It's as simple as that.
Now, how can anyone think he can get around this? You really can't, but here is the argument that is being made: There's another part of the Constitution--Article I, Section 8, clause 3--called the Commerce Clause. It provides: "The Congress shall have Power … To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes …." So the argument is that, since Congress has authority to regulate commerce with Indian tribes, therefore it has the power to create what are essentially new Indian tribes, based on membership in an ethnic group.
If that sounds like a weak argument to you, you are exactly right.
For starters, of course, no one can claim with a straight face that this bill is about regulating commerce, let alone regulating commerce with Indian tribes. More fundamentally, the Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to deal with Indian tribes, not to create new ones. The fact that the Commerce Clause gives Congress authority to deal with "foreign Nations" has never been claimed to give Congress the power to create new foreign nations, and the fact that Congress is given authority by the Commerce Clause to deal with the states doesn't give it authority to create new states. That latter power is explicitly set out in Article IV, Section 3, clause 1--and indeed the fact that the Framers felt that they had to spell it out there proves that they cannot have thought that they had already created that power in the Commerce Clause (and if the Commerce Clause doesn't give Congress the power to create new states, then how can the same words in it give Congress the power to create new Indian tribes?).
Let me add that the Commerce Clause argument is the best argument that the proponents of this bill have for its constitutionality. And even if you think there is something to it, I don't know why whatever power Congress has to recognize Indian tribes should trump the Equal Protection limitations on what Congress can do. (Other clauses sometimes cited are the Treaty Clause, the Debt Clause, and the Property Clause, but there is even less of a connection between any of them and the necessity of creating an ethnicity-defined new Indian tribe.)
Let me also give you my opinion of what is going on here. There are people who would like to give special preferences to Native Hawaiians, and to maintain the special programs they already have. But they know that such preferences will likely be struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional, since--as I have discussed--Native Hawaiians are an ethnic group and it is unconstitutional to give one ethnic group a special preference over another ethnic group or groups. So the supporters of this kind of ethnic preference had the ingenious idea getting Congress to declare that Native Hawaiians are no longer an ethnic group; instead, they are now an Indian tribe, and the Supreme Court has said--Morton v. Mancari (1974)-- that giving preferences on the basis of membership in an Indian tribe is not ethnic discrimination. Very clever.
But, as has been pointed out, this calls to mind Lincoln's joke about how many legs a dog has if you call a tail a leg--the answer is still four, since calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one. Calling Native Hawaiians an Indian tribe will not make them one, at least if there are limits on whom Congress can declare to be an Indian tribe.
As the U.S. Department of Justice has noted in its recent testimony (at page 12) link:
Although the Supreme Court has consistently acknowledged Congress's broad power to determine when and how to recognize and deal with Indian tribes, it has also observed that a predicate for the exercise of this power is the existence of a "distinctly Indian communit[y]." United States v. Sandoval, 231 U.S. 28, 45-46 (1913). Moreover, the Court has cautioned that Congress may not "bring a community or body of people within the range of this power by arbitrarily calling them an Indian tribe," id. at 46, and that the courts may strike down "any heedless extension of that label" as a "manifestly unauthorized exercise of that power," Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 215-17 (1962).
The U.S. Department of Interior has a well-developed set of regulations for determining whether an "Indian group" is an "Indian tribe." The focus of those regulations is on whether the group is already a distinct political community, not whether it might become one once recognized. Native Hawaiians do not come close to passing muster under DOI regulations, nor under the criteria that the Supreme Court itself has laid out [see DOJ testimony, again at page 12].
One of your fellow Hawaiians, Kenneth Conklin, has noted [letter to The Washington Times, November 30, 2004, page A18] that, according to the 2000 census, there are more than 400,000 Native Hawaiians, including 240,000 in Hawaii, 60,000 in California, and 100,000 scattered throughout each of the other 48 states; this would be larger than any other tribe and, at 20 percent of Hawaii's population, a much larger percentage of the state than any other tribe makes up in any other state. The vast majority of Hawaiians with Native Hawaiian blood are of mixed ethnicity (versus what the vast majority of those living on Indian reservations consider themselves to be). This is simply not an Indian tribe.
I am in good company in seeing these constitutional problems. The United States Department of Justice has noted them this year, in testimony before Congress that I have already cited: http://indian.senate.gov/public/_files/Katsas050307.pdf A Senate report has likewise pointed out these and other problems: http://rpc.senate.gov/_files/Jun2205NatHawSD.pdf I urge you all to read these two documents. And, of course, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has opposed passage of this bill because 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 Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007 Is Bad Policy
But even if you thought that Congress had the authority to pass this bill, it would still be a bad idea for it to do so.
The United States is a multiracial, multiethnic society. It always has been, and indeed its multiethnicity increases every year. Hawaii also has this multiracial and multiethnic description, if not more so. In such a society, it is simply untenable to have a legal regime where some of us are singled out for special treatment, whether that special treatment is better or worse than everyone else, because of skin color or what country our ancestors came from or when our ancestors came here. It would be especially dangerous to pick a large group out of that population, and not only allow them special treatment, but give them a separate government and rights. What could be more divisive than that?
Let's face it: The reason that preferences for some groups have a visceral appeal is because of the fact that some groups were better treated and others worse treated in our history, and so superficially it seems fair to "make up" for this past discrimination by discriminating in the other direction, especially if the group continues to lag in some way.
Now, I'm not an expert on your state's history, and I know that people have different opinions about who did what to whom and why a hundred or 114 or 229 years ago. But let's just assume for the sake of argument this morning that Native Hawaiians have suffered historical wrongs.
Even making that assumption--which many do not share--you would have to admit that similar or worse wrongs have been suffered by African Americans, and the Irish, and the Jews, and the Japanese, and the Chinese, and so forth. All of them can claim historical wrongs--and also to have a cultural heritage worthy of continuation, by the way.
But if you start fudging the laws to give groups that have suffered historical wrongs a mechanism to claim special treatment--call it tribal status, call it reparations, call it whatever you like--then where do you stop? You have simply made it inevitable that there will be more division, more resentment, more stigmatization. And, of course, these wrongs are always far enough in the past that it is impossible to say with certainty that this person over here today is entitled to be given something from that person over there today, since they may have little in common with the original victim and wrongdoer except their respective skin colors. Indeed, most Native Hawaiians today are descendants of both the supposed victims and the supposed oppressors.
But, it is claimed, these are not just historical wrongs: There are social disparities to this very day, and someone will show that Native Hawaiians have more poverty and less health care, and more substance abuse and less education, and so forth. Here again, I'm going to assume for the sake of argument that these disparities exist--although I know that there is vigorous disagreement over particular points.
Even making this assumption, though, you would have to acknowledge that often these social disparities are suffered by other groups, too--by, for instance, African Americans, and Latinos, or at least some subgroups of African Americans and Latinos, and some Asian groups, but not most of them, and even some white subgroups, and so forth. Do we slice and dice every race into those subgroups and, if some of those subgroups suffer some social disparity, then make them all into Indian tribes?
Of course not. The logical thing to do is to try to help poor people, and people who lack access to health care, and people with substance abuse problems, and people who go to failing public schools--but help all of them, regardless of skin color or ethnicity. There are plenty of poor whites, plenty of Asians who go to lousy public schools, plenty of Jews who abuse drugs, plenty of Irish who don't get good medical care. And, I should add, there are also plenty of Native Hawaiians who are healthy and wealthy, and hardly in need of any special preference. Separating people into a new Indian tribe on the basis of ethnicity is, to say the least, a very odd and inefficient way to go about helping them.
Let me end my discussion with one last point, which is too often lost in debates of this kind. Even if you think that there might be some good that is accomplished by this legislation, you also have to ask: Does this possible good outweigh the undeniable costs--the divisiveness, the unfairness, and so on--including the unforeseen consequences of creating a huge, powerful, ethnically-defined government within a government? The bill deliberately and dramatically encourages a separatist mindset; it institutionalizes an us-versus-them approach to public policy; it requires a division, a literal dis-integration of your islands' peoples. Is that what you want?
In conclusion, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization legislation is unconstitutional and, even if it weren't, it would still be a bad idea. It is divisive, unfair, and discriminatory. Whatever legitimate purposes it claims can be accomplished in other, more direct, less unfair and--especially--less divisive ways.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to testify today. I look forward to trying to answer any questions the Committee may have.
Akaka bill -- Testimony of Ken Conklin submitted August 17, 2007 for a hearing by the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Hawaii Tribune-Herald (Hilo), Friday August 17, 2007
Hawaiian sovereignty to be debated at state Capitol
by Nancy Cook Lauer
Stephens Honolulu Bureau
HONOLULU -- Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett and a former attorney in the Reagan and Bush administrations will debate Hawaiian sovereignty Monday before the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
The meeting, scheduled for 1 p.m. in the state Capitol, will be the first time the newly appointed advisory committee gets together, following criticism from some groups that the 17-member board is weighted too heavily against the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007, also known as the Akaka Bill.
The legislation would create a process for a Native Hawaiian governing body to be formed and to gain formal recognition from the U.S. government. Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye, both D-Hawaii, have expressed new confidence the bill will pass because Congress is controlled by Democrats, who generally have shown to be more supportive of the proposal.
But critics have remounted arguments the Native Hawaiian sovereignty effort would violate the Constitution, as well as create a race-based government that could divide the state along ethnic lines.
Bennett, a Republican in Gov. Linda Lingle's administration, will argue for the bill. Speaking in opposition will be Roger Clegg, president of the Falls Church, Va.-based Center for Equal Opportunity, which bills itself as a think tank for "color blind equal opportunity."
Bill sponsor Akaka will not attend the event, said his press secretary, Jesse Broder Van Dyke. For one thing, he wasn't invited.
"He doesn't want to interfere with the process or distract them from their work," Van Dyke said. "He hopes they will look at all sides of this and give it a fair hearing."
The Civil Rights Commission was criticized by several Hawaii officials last month when it appointed new members to its Hawaii Advisory Committee. Some said it was an attempt by the Bush administration to pick members with an ideological bias.
State advisory committees help the federal commission stay abreast of local issues, but some said the commission didn't listen to its last advisory committee when it opposed the Akaka Bill last year. The advisory committee had favored it.
"I am concerned that the group does not appear to reflect the position of the majority of the people of Hawaii on one of the most important issues facing our state, namely the Akaka Bill," U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, a Democrat representing Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District, said in a statement.
The newly named advisory committee members include H. William Burgess, the attorney for a group that unsuccessfully challenged policies of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Burgess noted that he's just one of 17, adding he's looking forward to the presentations as well as public comments in what could become a long afternoon.
"This will be our first official get-together," Burgess said. "I'm hoping we get a good airing of all sides and possible consequences of the bill."
Nancy Cook Lauer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 19, 2007
New panel to hear revised Akaka Bill
STORY SUMMARY »
The Hawaii advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold its first public hearing tomorrow on the "Akaka Bill" since new members, some of whom are critics of the measure, were appointed to the board. Some committee members objected to the short notice before the hearing. U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka's bill would recognize native Hawaiians status as an indigenous people and establish a process for official U.S. recognition of a native Hawaiian representative body. Opponents say the bill is racially discriminatory. The committee will discuss changes made to the bill in an attempt to meet objections from the Justice Department and the White House.
FULL STORY »
By Alexandre Da Silva
Some members of Hawaii's advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights are raising concerns about their first public hearing tomorrow to debate a bill to federally recognize native Hawaiians, claiming its scheduling was rushed and the agenda set without consultation.
At least three of the committee's 17 newly elected members sent letters to Chairman Michael Lilly complaining that the meeting was "suddenly" arranged by the commission's staff in Washington, D.C. A public hearing notice was posted in the Federal Register on Aug. 8.
"This seems highly unusual and does not follow the open, transparent process that needs to be in place," wrote member Jackie Young. "It appears that the process has turned into one that is dictated by the bureaucracy in Washington regardless of local community input."
Member Robert Alm, senior vice president for public affairs at Hawaiian Electric Co., said he will miss the meeting because of the short notice.
"Is there some kind of rush to judgment here? Is there going to be an attempt to have a bunch of meetings in August and say, 'OK, we checked with the public already, let's vote?' " he asked. "That's not OK. The public needs time to be notified."
The hearing on the so-called Akaka Bill, named after Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, comes six years after the state committee -- which helps the national commission analyze local civil rights cases -- issued a 56-page report urging the federal government to "accelerate" passage of the measure. The commission, however, denounced the bill last year as being racially discriminatory, a reference used by the Bush administration to reject the legislation.
William Burgess, a staunch Akaka Bill opponent recently appointed to the committee, said tomorrow's meeting is timely because people need to debate changes made to the bill's language since its introduction seven years ago.
"It was a little bit rushed," he said. "But I don't think it is a rush considering the importance of the bill."
He noted other public hearings are set for Wednesday on Maui, Sept. 7 on Kauai and Sept. 10 on the Big Island. Panelists at tomorrow's meeting, at 1 p.m. at the state Capitol auditorium, include state Attorney General Mark Bennett, who will back the bill, and Roger Clegg, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity in Sterling, Va., who argues the bill is unconstitutional and race-based.
The meetings on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act come as supporters fear that Burgess and other critics of the bill now sitting on the Hawaii committee may push for a new report that could negatively influence Congress.
"The public perception of the committee being stacked now is a very real concern," said David Forman, outgoing chairman of the committee.
The appointments of attorneys Burgess and Paul Sullivan, as well as James Kuroiwa Jr., who joined taxpayers in a lawsuit challenging state funding of Hawaiian programs, were made to make the committee diverse, said Kenneth Marcus, staff director of the commission.
Marcus, a Bush appointee, said he has tried since 2004 to add balance to local civil rights committees all across the country that have been considered too liberal, a move that has created some controversy in Washington. In April, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he was concerned about allegations that nominations to advisory committees in his home state of Michigan and in Virginia were done without proper consultation by Marcus.
"This has led to some controversy by people who don't want a change in this area. We've had criticism by some, and others have been pleased by it," Marcus said. "I would have concerns if everyone felt the same way about important civil rights issues and I'm pleased we have individuals across the spectrum."
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 19, 2007
Civil rights panel's politics color Akaka bill hearing
It has taken decades for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to earn its well-respected legacy — and now the agenda of one administration threatens to topple that. The agency is being used by the government to advance conservative ideas about civil rights, including a rollback of affirmative action. That national drive is playing out this week in Hawai'i in hearings over the Native Hawaiian federal recognition legislation.
The commission itself is a small federal agency, but one that has had a powerful influence on national policies concerning fair treatment of people who may have been marginalized because of their minority status. Most often, its work has aimed to protect citizens facing institutional racism, but it also has dealt with issues of rights for indigenous people.
It is assisted in this mission at the local level by state advisory committees. And in Hawai'i, this state panel has given official support to the idea of federal recognition for Hawaiians one of its centerpiece issues. The idea since has taken shape as the Akaka bill, named for its sponsor, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.
Despite that longstanding position of its advisory panel, the national Commission on Civil Rights last year took a stand against the Akaka bill, one that was timed strategically to deter what was then a Republican majority from allowing the bill to progress.
That strategy continues.
Under the Bush administration, the commission has opted to reorganize the state advisory committees resulting in term limits for committee members, a maneuver that turned over many positions. The Western region of state committees had about 130 members, and under the new plan 78 of them termed out.
Hawai'i saw 14 new members appointed to its 17-member panel, including several members who have a clear agenda and are almost certain to tilt future votes against the Akaka bill. Among them are outspoken opponents such as lawyer H. William Burgess, who has represented groups challenging Hawaiian-only government programs, and Paul Sullivan, an attorney who has written against federal recognition.
Tomorrow, this newly constituted panel is convening the first of a series of community hearings (see box). The panel's first meeting, as well as this week's hearings, were rushed onto the calendar, and there seemed no truly urgent reason to give public notice such short shrift. The hearing could have been held later to afford more public comment and a wider spectrum of views. Isn't that the intent?
On the national level, other state committees are being stacked with members who vocally oppose affirmative action. It's expected to see the political bent of government agencies change to mesh politically with the sitting administration. What's disturbing about the revolution at Civil Rights is that the state committees are meant to be formed closer to the grass-roots level. Increasingly, these state panels have been directed from Washington, said a former official.
John Dulles, a former regional director and a civil rights analyst who recently retired from the agency, said many of the nominees to the committees have originated with the commission's administration, rather than from the grass roots as had been the case in previous administrations.
"I do not think the beltway in D.C. should be driving the agenda in civil rights," Dulles said. "This was driven by a very narrow specific objective and that was to abort the Akaka bill."
Nationally, the handling of the state panels has been cited in a critical report by the Government Accountability Office. And U.S. Rep. John Conyers, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, has written a letter criticizing a failure to achieve "fairly balanced membership" on the committees. Surely, this demands some oversight by leaders on Capitol Hill.
Back at home, Hawai'i residents should be encouraged to speak out at the hearing, but to be aware of the context. Regardless of one's position on the Akaka bill, while witnessing political theater it's essential to know who is running the show.
A forum on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization and Recognition Act (Akaka bill) is set for 1 p.m. tomorrow at the State Capitol Auditorium.
After informational briefings there will be time allotted for public comments. E-mail or call to reserve a spot for verbal comment: Barbara de la Viez, (202) 376-7533, email@example.com.
A second forum has been set for 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Maui Community College science building. To reserve a spot for comment: Angelica Trevino, (213) 894-3437, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 19, 2007
Akaka bill good for Native Hawaiians; failure not an option
By Clyde Namu'o, Office of Hawaiian Affairs Administrator
On The Hot Seat last week was Office of Hawaiian Affairs Administrator Clyde Namu'o.
Here is an excerpt from that session.
To see the full conversation, go to The Hot Seat blog at
and click on the posting titled: "On the Hot Seat: OHA Administrator Clyde Namu'o." (Names of questioners below are screen names given during our online chat).
Kawika Kaina: What is the goal for the Kau Inoa registry? And what does OHA wish to accomplish by registering all Hawaiians? How does Kau Inoa fit in with the various sovereignty movements already present in Hawai'i? Does Ho'oulu Lahui Aloha have the same goal as the rest of the movements? How does it differ?
Clyde Namu'o: The goal of Kau Inoa is to register all Hawaiians regardless of where they live. The first step in creating a Hawaiian governing entity is to create a registry of individuals who are eligible to participate in the creation of the entity. The process of creating a governing entity will probably include a convention of some sort where Hawaiians will decide upon the type of government which they would like to create. Signing up for Kau Inoa does not commit you to a particular form of governance.
Ni: Clyde, you are quoted in last Wednesday's Advertiser as saying: "Our money is not the Hawaiian Homes Commission money," Namu'o said. "The authority for our money comes from the Admission Act that established the public land trust. Obviously the money that (DHHL) gets is specifically for 50 percent Hawaiians. We don't believe that that's true with ceded lands revenue that come off the public land trust."
Do you not realize that the ceded lands revenues slotted for Native Hawaiians in the Admissions Act use the same definition as the HHCA? Specifically, section 5(f) of the Admission Act, in describing the stated use of the ceded lands revenues, states:
"(f) The lands granted to the State of Hawaii by subsection (b) of this section ... shall be held by said State as a public trust for ... the betterment of the conditions of native Hawaiians, as defined in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, as amended[.]"
Given that very clear and unmistakable definition, how can you take the position that you "don't believe (restriction to 50 percent Hawaiian) is true with ceded land revenues"?
Namu'o: It is clear that ceded lands revenues under the Admissions Act were intended to be used for the five enumerated purposes set forth under the law. OHA is charged under the constitution of the state of Hawai'i and the statutes that created OHA with administering to the needs of all Hawaiians. OHA's mission is thus broader than that of the Hawaiian Homes Commission under the law.
K45: How much Section 5(f) monies has OHA spent lobbying for the Akaka bill these past seven years?
Namu'o: Because OHA is lobbying for more than one legal issue at a time, i.e., the Akaka bill and similar measures, it is difficult to determine exactly what portion of the funds spent can be attributed solely to federal recognition. Advocacy is OHA's legal mandate. We are the only state agency and Hawaiian agency with this mandate. The state of Hawai'i stands to lose $50 million to $70 million per year in federal funds currently coming into the state for Native Hawaiian programs without the Akaka bill. State funds may need to be found to fill the void. To prevent these negative consequences, OHA has spent several million dollars in its effort to pass the Akaka bill. This is a small amount in comparison to what Native Hawaiians and the state stand to lose if we do not have a shield from federal lawsuits.
Politically-akamai Geezer: Exactly what are OHA's management plans for Waimea Valley and why all of the great secrecy? Many haoles like myself have tried to think of OHA as a Hawaiian organization but are beginning to view OHA more as a state agency — which it indeed is — because of OHA's failure to be transparent as state law requires regarding your decision-making processes (or a lack thereof) on matters that affect us all. Why so? You have no traditional authority or elective mandate to wield this kind of unfettered autocratic power.
Namu'o: It is not our intention to be secretive. There is a community stewardship hui that we have been working with and met with just last week. Laura Thompson is the chairperson. Please be in touch with us because we want the community to be involved.
Politically-akamai Geezer: So no comment about OHA's plan(s) for Waimea Valley?
Namu'o: OHA is in the process of negotiating an interim lease with the National Audubon Society. We expect that this lease will probably expire sometime early next year. We are in the process of putting together a plan for life after the Audubon Society. Please stay tuned for details. Please also know that the OHA trustees are fully committed to preserving all of the beauty that is Waimea Valley.
Chris: Can you state OHA's current position on development of 875 acres of ocean-front mansions at La'au Point? Peter Nicholas, CEO of Molokai Ranch, has written recently that he is open to alternatives to developing La'au. The bottom line is will OHA support the farmers and the overwhelming majority of the community who voted against the La'au development candidates? Or will OHA support a billion-dollar investment corporation from Singapore?
Namu'o: OHA has not taken a position on the development of La'au Point. OHA has consistently supported farmers and the Hawaiian community to preserve natural resources on all the islands and, in fact, the entire archipelago (as evidenced with Papahanaumokuakea). As to Molokai Ranch, OHA trustees voted to "support the collaborative efforts toward community input and planning." We hope the Moloka'i community will continue its dialogue and work toward identifying a solution that can help to bridge the differing views in the community.
Concerned: I am appalled at the legal attacks on Hawaiians. Having to defend ourselves in court requires the use of trust funds that could be better spent on helping Hawaiians. What can we do to stop the lawsuits?
Namu'o: We are also appalled. The best way to stop the lawsuits is to seek federal recognition. Learn about the Akaka bill and share the information with your 'ohana and friends. Federal recognition is nothing to be feared. In fact, by preserving Hawaiian culture and assets, we help Native Hawaiians to thrive and be fully participatory in the broader society. As Gov. (Linda) Lingle has said, what is good for Hawaiians is good for Hawai'i.
Lonz08: What is OHA doing with its money? I see a new office building in Kapolei. Instead of more scholarships or home loans to Hawaiians who don't have 50 percent. Is OHA for all Hawaiians?
Namu'o: OHA is not planning to construct an office building in Kapolei. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is planning a building in Kapolei. In 2005 OHA awarded $5,751,426 in grants to nonprofit organizations in the community who provide services or benefits to Hawaiians. During that same period OHA committed $7,501,426 in multi-year commitments. In 2006, OHA awarded $7,951,689 in community grants with an overall future commitment of $17,846,689. In addition, OHA maintains an aggressive advocacy program to Hawaiians in the areas of native rights, education, health, housing, human services, economic development and governance. At least 20 percent of OHA's overall budget goes directly to the Native Hawaiian community in the form of grants, scholarships and other initiatives.
Ken Adams: With the Kau Inoa movement and in light of the recent lawsuits filed, how do you feel about non-Hawaiians who wish to participate in the decision-making process and should they be allowed to? I would think it would be a benefit to hear alternative points of view to better strengthen your own. Otherwise you do not get the entire picture.
Namu'o: Like other native nations in the U.S., such as the American Indians and Alaska natives, this is an attempt to build a native nation. It is for Hawaiians to come together and decide what their nation will look like. After forming a nation, they may choose to include non-Hawaiians the way other native nations have.
Many Hawaiians have non-Hawaiian spouses and family members who want to show their support for Hawaiians, and so we are considering ways in which they will be able to do so. The Rice decision pertained to state funds for state elections. These are not state funds and this is not a state election.
Robert Ellis: I understand the Hawai'i Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is being stacked with folks who oppose the Akaka bill. What is OHA's position on that?
Namu'o: It appears the national Commission on Civil Rights has intentionally appointed people to the Hawai'i committee who oppose the Akaka bill. In fact, they oppose civil rights and affirmative action for all minorities and indigenous people. That is disturbing. They are using the Civil Rights Commission to actually take away the rights of Native Hawaiians and others. OHA submitted nine names for consideration, and not one was selected. We need to speak out about the manipulation and deceit that is going on. Please contact the chairperson, Mike Lilly, and let him know you object to the way his committee is not following procedures outlined in the Federal Register and appears to be fast-tracking a particular agenda.
Kyle K: It seems there is no longer steam behind getting the Akaka bill through. Yet the opposition seems to have it together. What's OHA's strategy anyhow? Wake up, folks.
Namu'o: We're working really hard. We need everyone's help, including yours and your 'ohana, to speak to everyone you know about why this is important for Hawaiians and Hawai'i. Unlike the opposition, we don't rely on push polls and misinformation. The opposition has billions of dollars and a network of think tanks as part of a nationwide agenda. They are a formidable foe, but we believe we will prevail. We continue to work closely with Hawai'i's congressional delegation and Governor Lingle.
Lisa: Do you think that casinos would help or hurt us? The monies could go to Hawaiian programs, etc.
Namu'o: The Akaka bill does not call for gambling. In fact, Hawai'i is one of only two states that do not allow gambling. (The other is Utah.)
Many people in Hawai'i (including Hawaiians) are not in favor of bringing gambling to Hawai'i. As Native Hawaiians, we recognize the opposition to gambling and are culturally sensitive to other peoples' concerns.
John K: Does OHA have any input to Hawaiian Home Lands or any other state agency regarding affordable housing? Also, why hasn't OHA put more information out to the public regarding what OHA does and its goals, accomplishments and activities? OHA needs to be more visible.
Namu'o: We work with Hawaiian Home Lands, although they have their own appointed commissioners, and OHA is in the process of putting together a housing plan that will include affordable housing once it is reviewed and approved by the trustees. OHA has an excellent morning talk radio show that highlights daily various goals and accomplishments and partners. Please tune in to AM 940 KKNE from 7-9 a.m. We also have produced a detailed grants report which highlights all that OHA has given out in the last 2 1/2 years and we would encourage you to review this report on OHA's Web site at www.oha.org
Coral: I am a non-Hawaiian and I want to support Hawaiians. How can I support you?
Namu'o: We appreciate all of the support from the many non-Hawaiians like yourself who have stepped forward. The best way to help Hawaiians is to continue to step forward and be counted by speaking up, writing letters to the editor, and talking to your 'ohana and friends about Hawaiian history and how important the preservation of Hawaiian culture and values is to keeping Hawai'i this very unique place that we call home.
Kekoa: Do you have another plan if the Akaka bill fails, and what is that plan please?
Namu'o: If there is a delay in passing the Akaka bill, there is no reason why the Hawaiian community cannot begin the process of organizing a Hawaiian governing entity. This is why Kau Inoa is so important, and we encourage all Hawaiians to sign up. As regards the Akaka bill, failure is not an option.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 19, 2007
Letter to editor
Exactly what are one's 'aboriginal rights'?
Regarding Eric Po'ohina's July 29 letter to the editor, "How would patriots view sovereignty opponents?": I have difficulty absorbing his declaration of "Hawaiian national, cultural and aboriginal rights."
Are these "rights" in addition to the rights of other U.S. citizens? By what means and where are they codified? Are there any obligations or responsibilities attached to those who have them? Do they constitute a claim of assets or spiritual strength from those who do not have them? And finally, what in the world is an aboriginal "right"? Does it include a "right" to return to primitive living standards? If so, how is he being impeded? By whom?
I am perplexed.
Richard O. Rowland
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Civil Rights panel's push for briefings disputed
By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Government Writer
The chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights said yesterday the commission has no plans to reconsider its opposition to a Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill before the bill is expected to come before Congress later this year.
Gerald Reynolds, a Kansas City, Mo., attorney appointed to the commission by President Bush, also said the commission and its staff is not attempting to dictate the agenda of its Hawai'i advisory committee, which began a series of public briefings on the bill yesterday afternoon at the state Capitol.
The commission's staff in Washington, D.C., had urged the Hawai'i advisory committee to schedule the public briefings, and had contacted expert panelists and set in motion the public notice requirements, before committee members had agreed. The committee adopted the briefing schedule during a conference call with the commission's staff in Washington, D.C., last Wednesday, although a few committee members complained the process was rushed.
"The commission has no business directing any (state advisory committee) to do anything. We can have conversations. We can make recommendations. But we cannot dictate anything," said Reynolds, who traveled to the Islands in part to answer criticism about the commission's role in setting the committee's agenda.
Complaints about the process arose again yesterday, with several people asking about the need for public briefings in Hawai'i when the commission has no plans to reconsider its opposition. The Hawai'i advisory committee has supported the bill, known as the Akaka bill for its sponsor, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i, but several new members were appointed in July who share the commission's belief that it is unconstitutional because it is based on race.
'ITS OWN AGENDA'
Some Akaka bill supporters believe the briefings are being staged in the hopes the committee will take a new vote and oppose the bill, which could be used by the commission and Republicans in Congress to help block its passage.
The state's congressional delegation — Akaka, U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, all Democrats — wrote a letter to the commission last week describing the briefings as "highly irregular and counter-productive."
"It would almost appear that the commission has its own agenda and its own timetable, that it considers more important than ensuring that the (Hawai'i advisory committee) members are properly prepared and available to perform their important functions," the delegation wrote.
Reynolds said the briefings would give new members on the committee the opportunity to hear arguments for and against the bill. He said state advisory committees across the country have been reconfigured through term limits and now reflect more balanced viewpoints. The Hawai'i advisory committee had been strongly in favor of the Akaka bill, but many suspect a new vote would be close.
ABOUT THE BILL
The Akaka bill would recognize Native Hawaiians as indigenous people with the right to self-government, similar to American Indians and Alaska Natives. The bill, which has been before Congress since 2000, would create a process for Hawaiians to potentially have more authority over land and cultural decisions.
Gov. Linda Lingle, the congressional delegation, the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and much of the state's political establishment is in favor of the bill, but many conservatives oppose it as unconstitutional because it classifies people based on race. Some Native Hawaiians who want more independence — and those who want the restoration of the Hawaiian kingdom — oppose the bill as capitulation.
Most of the 17 members of the advisory committee have already taken a position on the bill, so the briefings may have the most influence on the few who say they are undecided.
State Attorney General Mark Bennett, a supporter, and Roger Clegg, of the Center for Equal Opportunity in Virginia, an opponent, spoke yesterday. Bennett argued that federal recognition is political, not racial, and is up to Congress to decide. Clegg countered it would give Hawaiians preferential treatment based solely on their race.
Public briefings are planned for tomorrow on Maui, Sept. 7 on Kaua'i, Sept. 10 on the Big Island and a newly scheduled Sept. 12 meeting on O'ahu. An orientation and briefing for the committee is also set for Sept. 5 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
"It's very important to educate the public," said Michael Lilly, a former state attorney general and the committee's chairman, who wanted the additional briefing. "Second, it's also to educate the panel. I've learned a lot, even as a lawyer."
Vernon Char, a committee member who is undecided, said he has thought about the Akaka bill over the years but has never been forced to take sides. "I want to listen to all of the testimony that is proffered before making a commitment," he said.
Honolulu Advertiser, August 21, 2007
Article discussion forum
The Advertiser's own Derrick DePledge wrote
"The Hawai'i advisory committee had been strongly in favor of the Akaka bill, but many suspect a new vote would be close."
Say what? Good golly; this is amazing!
So how come ALL the newspapers and TV stations were saying the newly reconstituted committee was "stacked"? All the media were using that same word "stacked", no doubt copied from an OHA propaganda talking-points memo.
But now the Advertiser's very own Derrick DePledge confesses the old committee is the one that was truly stacked in favor of the bill, while the new committee is so closely divided nobody knows how it will vote.
Let's see the DePledge quote again. And where was DePledge when the Advertiser kept repeating the mantra that the new committee was "stacked" against the bill?
"The Hawai'i advisory committee had been strongly in favor of the Akaka bill, but many suspect a new vote would be close."
Looks like Advertiser should listen to its own reporters instead of parroting whatever propaganda OHA hands them.
Want to see how terribly stacked the old committee was? Read
"Hawaii Advisory Committee to U.S. Commission on Civil Rights -- New members appointed July 13, 2007; Its history of supporting racial supremacy 1996-2006" at
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 21, 2007
D.C. team slams civil rights panel
Hawaii's delegates to Congress decry the composition of the advisory committee
By Richard Borreca
Hawaii's four-person congressional delegation is joining a growing protest over the composition of a Republican-appointed federal committee for Hawaii on civil rights.
The committee held a public briefing at the state Capitol auditorium yesterday on the so-called Akaka Bill, a bill in Congress to recognize a native Hawaiian governmental entity.
The bill has been stalled by Republican opponents in the U.S. Senate.
Yesterday, supporters of the bill made public a letter from the congressional delegation to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, protesting the composition of the Hawaii committee, which includes several vocal opponents of the Akaka Bill.
"It would almost appear that the commission has its own agenda and its own timetable," the congressional delegation wrote.
No members of the Hawaii congressional delegation appeared at yesterday's hearing.
Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, said the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has misused its powers by stacking the local committee with opponents to the native Hawaiian recognition bill.
In the public briefing, Apoliona said she "was appalled" by the number of people against the Hawaiian recognition bill on the committee.
Nine of the 17 members are on record as opposing the so-called Akaka Bill, Apoliona said.
The federal commission is shaping the local committee "to further promote a biased agenda against the aboriginal, indigenous, native people of Hawaii by aiding and abetting litigants who seek to end native Hawaiian programs," Apoliona said to a crowd of about 250.
One of the newly appointed members of the commission is William Burgess, a private attorney who, along with his wife, has sued the state and OHA, saying they had been denied equal benefits because of programs for native Hawaiians.
Burgess said his views are well known, and he thinks it helps the commission to have people with different views.
"She seems to be saying she doesn't like people who disagree with her to be on the commission," Burgess said of Apoliona. "We are not by any means stacked. There are 17 members, and some feel they have a different point of view."
Asked whether he thought he was put on the committee because of his view against the Akaka Bill, Burgess said, "Probably."
"I testified before them, so I assume it would have something to do with it," he said.
Committee Chairman Mike Lilly, former Hawaii attorney general, said the committee would have another hearing on Oahu on Sept. 12.
He added that he was not sure the committee would offer up a position on the Akaka Bill, but said that any decisions made by the Hawaii committee members would not be a mandate to the federal Civil Rights Commission.
The previous local committee, which had more Democrats on it, had supported the Akaka Bill, although the federal commission opposed it last year.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Tuesday August 21, 2007
Letter to editor
Akaka Bill is about control of land, money
At last a member of Hawaii's congressional delegation has told the truth about what the Akaka Bill is all about.
Speaking to the House Natural Resources Committee recently, Abercrombie said, "The bottom line here is that this is a bill about the control of assets. This is about land, this is about money ..."
The "land" is state land, ceded land and Hawaiian Homes land.
The money is money currently in the state treasury, or money that would go into the state treasury in the future.
This former state land and money would end up in the hands of a new, separate Hawaiian government, and would be used exclusively for the benefit of native Hawaiians. No haoles, Japanese, Chinese, or Filipinos need apply.
This is what Hawaiian "recognition" means.
Do you still support "recognition" ?
KITV 4 News
Hawaiians Say Bush Administration Sabotaging Akaka Bill
Groups Angered With Opponents To Hawaiian Rights Appointed To Committee
POSTED: 9:25 am HST August 21, 2007
UPDATED: 10:28 am HST August 21, 2007
HONOLULU -- Native Hawaiian leaders on Monday accused President George W. Bush's administration of trying to sabotage the Hawaiian Recognition Bill, or Akaka Bill.
The criticism focuses on appointment of several outspoken opponents of Hawaiian rights to a committee on civil rights.
"I must say I am appalled," Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona said.
She said the new civil rights advisory committee has been stacked against Native Hawaiians, with a majority now hostile to all Hawaiian programs.
"(It raises the) specter of questionable and biased Washington D.C.-based control over our Hawaii advisory committee," Apoliona said.
The new panel includes the attorney and allies who fought Hawaiian programs in court and on Monday challenged Hawaiian recognition.
The man who oversaw the appointments, the chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, said that until now the committee was biased toward Hawaiian rights.
"It's important that there is vigorous debate and that all views in Hawaii are represented. That was not the case in the past, but we have that now," U.S. Civil Rights Commission Chairman Gerald Reynolds said.
The panel has no real power, but if it were to vote against the Akaka Bill, that would provide ammunition against the bill in Congress.
Even though he opposes the Akaka Bill, the civil rights chairman denied stacking the committee's votes.
If the committee turns against the bill, it will first have to hear from many of its supporters.
The committee will travel to Maui and return for its last hearing on Oahu on Sept. 12.
** Next to the "news report" on the TV station's website was a poll. Here are the results as of 8 AM Hawaii time the following morning, Wednesday August 22:
Do you support the Native Hawaiian Recognition Act, also called the Akaka Bill, before Congress?
Choice Votes Percentage of 947 Votes
Yes 335 35%
No 612 65%
** The 65% opposing the Akaka bill in the KITV poll is nearly identical with the 67% opposition recorded in both 2005 and 2006 on a telephone survey that called every Hawaii household having a publicly listed phone number (In 2006 there were about 20,000 households who answered the phone survey)
** Needless to say, the TV station chose NOT to report its own poll results in its TV newscasts.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 22, 2007, EDITORIAL
Civil rights panels are constructed to oppose sovereignty
The U.S. Civil Rights Commission's Hawaii advisory committee has begun hearing testimony on proposed Hawaiian sovereignty.
ADVOCATES of Hawaiian sovereignty understandably are concerned about a revamping of a federal advisory committee for Hawaii on civil rights. The newly constructed committee, which heard testimony this week, is likely to oppose the Akaka Bill, as the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights did last year. Members of Congress should fully understand that the commission now is in lockstep with President Bush, who has indicated his opposition to the bill.
Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, says nine of the 17 members of the Hawaii advisory committee are on record as opposing the Akaka Bill. The state's congressional delegation has protested the committee's composition in a letter to the commission. Prior to its reconstruction, the advisory committee endorsed the Akaka Bill in 2001.
Three years ago, after longtime commission chairwoman Mary Frances Berry, who is black, and liberal vice-chairman Cruz Reynoso, a Latino, stepped down, Bush appointed black conservative Republicans Gerald A. Reynolds and Ashley L. Taylor to replace them. The commission changed from a 5-3 liberal majority to the present 6-2 conservative majority.
Reynolds, who attended this week's committee hearing, has been a critic of preferences for minorities and voted against endorsement of the Akaka Bill. In recent years, the commission has moved to reconstruct the state advisory committees to reflect that change of ideology.
When told that the vast majority of Hawaii residents indicated support of the Akaka Bill in a reliable poll two years ago, Reynolds told the Star-Bulletin's editorial board that the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling by the Supreme Court in 1954 may not have reflected public opinion but nevertheless was correct. Reynolds said he believes the Akaka Bill is unconstitutional.
Newly appointed to the Hawaii committee are H. William Burgess, plaintiff's attorney in a lawsuit challenging the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, plaintiff James Kuroiwa Jr. and lawyer Paul Sullivan, who has called the Akaka Bill "morally, politically and socially wrong."
The new chairman of the Hawaii committee is Michael Lilly, state attorney general under former Gov. George Ariyoshi. Lilly has not stated his opinion of the Akaka Bill. Among the allegations against Lilly during his failed Senate confirmation in 1985 was an accusation by the late David Schutter that Lilly was a "racist." Schutter then was a law partner of future Gov. Ben Cayetano, who as a state senator was among those who led the effort to reject Lilly's confirmation.
Lilly denied being a racist but conceded that he should not have written a limerick in 1979 that was interpreted as derogatory toward a native Hawaiian defendant, Kenneth Lono, who was contesting his transfer to a mainland prison. The poem said Lono "got sent back to Hawaii, so now he can eat his fish and poi."
The committee charged with evaluating Hawaiian sovereignty requires a chairman who has learned from past indiscretion.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 23, 2007
Lingle vows Akaka Bill support
Gov. Linda Lingle says a federal commission's recommendation on the native Hawaiian recognition bill will have no bearing on her administration's efforts to win support for the legislation in Congress.
"Whether they will be fair or not remains to be seen, but it's irrelevant as far as our efforts in Washington," Lingle said yesterday. "They will continue as enthusiastically as they have been."
Lingle was responding to concerns raised by Hawaii's congressional delegation, among others, over the composition of Hawaii's advisory panel to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, which held a hearing on the so-called Akaka Bill this week.
Critics say the Republican-appointed committee is stacked with opponents of the measure.
Lingle, a staunch supporter of the Akaka Bill, which would recognize a native Hawaiian governing entity, repeated her support yesterday in a speech to the Sixth Annual Native Hawaiian Convention.
"This commission will do what it will do. We don't control that," she said. "I wanted them to know we won't stop in our efforts. We believe it's the right thing for the Hawaiian people and for the state of Hawaii, and we'll continue to make our case."
Hawaii Tribune-Herald (Hilo), August 23, 2007
Akaka holds hope for Hawaiian recognition
by Nancy Cook Lauer
Stephens Honolulu Bureau
HONOLULU -- U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka couldn't make a promised trip to Alaska this summer to meet with American Indians on both sides of the oil drilling debate there, but he found many have come to him at a multi-cultural conference that kicked off Tuesday at the Hawaii Convention Center.
Akaka, D-Hawaii, is one of dozens of local, state and federal officials scheduled to speak at the joint convention of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.
For the first time, the conference has brought together Native Hawaiians, American Indians, the Alaska Federation of Nations and members of Asian Pacific nations and the Pacific islands.
"I know the relationships built in this conference will make a huge difference in the lives of these communities, wherever you come from," Akaka said.
Wednesday's agenda includes remarks by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, Billy Kenoi, executive assistant and candidate for mayor of Hawaii County, Gov. Linda Lingle and Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona.
Akaka said before his speech that he still held hope that his bill, paving the way for sovereignty for Native Hawaiians, will be heard this year. He said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., may not get to it this year because of a heavy schedule of bills, but Akaka thinks he's got the votes to move it forward.
"I've asked the leader for it, and it's in his hands now," Akaka said.
Some Native Hawaiian leaders seem impatient for the bill to move.
"Many of us are concerned about our future as Hawaiian people," said Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Robert Lindsey. "What little we have left even that, a certain element of our society would like to take away."
The convention ends Friday with a town hall roundtable with U.S. Reps. Neil Abercrombie and Mazie Hirono, both D-Hawaii, and a Hawaiian Grammy Awards gala.
In between, a projected 800 conference-goers will attend workshops on affordable housing, community organizations, leadership, financial education and embracing culture and traditions.
"We find, as a group, we have many things in common," said Lisa Hasegawa, executive director of National CAPACD.
Hawaii Reporter, August 24, 2007
Political Tittle-tattle: News and Entertainment from Hawaii's Political Arena
No Rules (at Outback and OHA)
At Outback restaurant, the theme is "No Rules."
That might be good for a dinner order, but the Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees have taken the slogan to heart.
At the Akaka Bill hearing at the Hawaii State Capitol this week, Office of Hawaiian Affairs chairwoman Haunani Apoliona said she wants Native Hawaiians to be recognized as Native Indians.
But this elected state official still won't admit how much of the Hawaiians' money she and other OHA trustees have spent on lobbying, public relations, legal fees for the Akaka Bill; and for themselves on their first class travel all over the United States, on fancy hotels, gala events, and perks for friends and family.
Hawaii Reporter has requested this information since August 2005 to no avail.
OHA trustees are already excluding themselves from American law without consequence, ie Hawaii's open government law. They’ve also refused to be accountable for the money they’ve been entrusted with. Just imagine if they become tribal members, and can make their own laws and police force and judiciary funded with the taxpayers' money.
'No rules' is just about the right way to describe these outlaws who want to take over a new Hawaiian nation that they are helping to create with taxpayer money.
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 26, 2007
There's broad support for bill that would give Hawaiians due respect
By Mark Bennett
The following is an excerpt from testimony given before the Hawai'i Advisory Committee to the United States Civil Rights Commission on Aug. 20.
** Full text of the Bennett testimony was offered by Advertiser in an encrypted pdf at
The Akaka bill is fair, equitable, just, constitutional and long overdue. It affords formal federal recognition to Native Hawaiians — a recognition that has been extended for decades to other Native Americans and Alaska Natives. It will have the effect of preserving existing programs for Native Hawaiians, and provides for future negotiations between the United States, the state of Hawai'i, and representatives of Native Hawaiians. These negotiations could, for example, provide for the transfer to a Native Hawaiian governing entity of the assets that are currently held in trust by OHA (the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs), for the benefit of Native Hawaiians.
Contrary to its critics' claims, the Akaka bill does not allow gambling, provide for secession or anything like it, give anyone immunity from civil suits or criminal prosecution, create or recognize land claims, or provide any tax benefits or detriments.
The Akaka bill has strong bipartisan support, including from Gov. Lingle and Lt. Gov. Aiona, almost every state legislator, and our mayors and county councils. It has this support because it is fair and just on every level, as there is no principled or historical reason to treat Native Hawaiians as second-class compared to America's other native peoples.
To those who claim the bill sanctions illegal race-based preferences, I say nonsense, and point first to the 1959 Hawai'i State Admission Act, in which the Congress both prohibited any provision in the Hawai'i Constitution "repugnant to the Constitution of the United States," and required the Hawai'i Constitution to provide specific benefits and protections to Native Hawaiians.
Congress could not, would not and did not condition Hawai'i's entry into the Union on Hawai'i's violating the U.S. Constitution. Nor has the Congress acted unconstitutionally for almost a century in passing more than 100 acts for the benefit of Native Hawaiians. Indeed, never, in the more than two centuries of the republic, has the Supreme Court struck down the recognition of an aboriginal people by the Congress — and it would not do so here.
Those who use legal arguments to attack the bill do so to mask their real goal — eliminating any benefits or recognition for or to any of America's native people, regardless of the wrongs that have been committed against them. And those same individuals are those who have sued (so far unsuccessfully) to terminate all programs that benefit Native Hawaiians. They wish, for example, to end the Hawaiian Homes program, and to end education and health benefits that are specifically directed to Native Hawaiians. We have fought against those attacks and will continue to do so.
Native Hawaiians do not seek special or privileged treatment. Native Hawaiians simply seek a status equal to that of other Native Americans, and that is why I and so many others support the Akaka bill.
Mark Bennett is the state attorney general.
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 26, 2007
Bill would violate Constitution, create dangerous division
By Roger Clegg
The following is an excerpt from testimony given before the Hawai'i Advisory Committee to the United States Civil Rights Commission on Aug. 20.
** Full text of Clegg testimony was provided by Advertiser at
The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007, a bill that has been introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, is not the easiest 22 pages of prose that you'll ever read, but I think I can boil it down to this:
The bill will use a one-drop rule to define membership in an ethnic group, namely Native Hawaiians, which it will then allow to organize itself into a governmental entity that can claim a "special political and legal relationship" with the U.S. government of "the type and nature (that the U.S. government) ... has with the several federally recognized Indian tribes."
Members in this group will be made separate and distinct from the rest of the people in your state, will be able to claim preferences more easily than other racial and ethnic groups, and will be able to claim special economic and political power and authority in Hawai'i.
I don't like this bill, and the objections to it fall into two basic categories: First, that it is unconstitutional; and, second, that even if it were constitutional, it would be a bad idea.
Let me talk about the constitutional problems first. The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment makes it illegal for any state to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment makes it illegal for the federal government to deny equal protection as well. The definition of "equal protection" can be complicated, but one thing that it definitely applies to is treating people differently because of their race or ethnicity.
The Supreme Court, in its 2000 ruling in Rice v. Cayetano, ruled explicitly that Native Hawaiians are an ethnic group, and that it is illegal to give anyone preferential treatment on account of their membership in that group.
Putting this together means that Congress cannot pass a law that gives Native Hawaiians the special right to organize into a separate group that can claim, in turn, still more special rights.
But even if you thought that Congress had the authority to pass this bill, it would still be a bad idea for it to do so.
The United States is a multiracial, multiethnic society. Hawai'i also has this multiracial and multiethnic description, if not more so.
In such a society, it is simply untenable to have a legal regime where some of us are singled out for special treatment.
It would be especially dangerous to pick a large group out of that population, and not only allow them special treatment, but give them a separate government and rights. What could be more divisive than that?
Roger Clegg is president and general counsel for Virginia-based Center for Equal Opportunity.
** On Monday August 27, 2007 from noon to 1 PM the Honolulu Advertiser devoted its weekly one-hour real-time discussion board "Hot Seat" to the Akaka bill and the newly reconstituted civil rights committee. On the "Hot seat" was attorney H. William Burgess, responding to questions. There were so many questions and personal attacks that he was overwhelmed at the beginning; but over the course of several hours he responded to the most important questions. There were 124 entries, some fairly lengthy. The Advertiser will publish a summary on Sunday September 2. The full record is available at:
Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, August 29, 2007
VOLCANIC ASH [column with accompanying blog]
Ideological taint mars Akaka bill hearings
By David Shapiro
The reshaped Hawai'i advisory committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights scheduled hearings on the Akaka bill for Hawaiian political recognition in such a hurry that even some members of the panel had trouble making the first briefing.
The Hawai'i hearings were initiated from Washington, where the Bush administration has loaded civil rights enforcement agencies with conservative opponents of affirmative action, and the national commission sent its chairman to Honolulu to bird-dog the proceedings.
If these hearings were a fair-minded attempt to determine the facts and assess local public opinion on the Akaka bill, they could be of much value.
But since that's so obviously not the case, the pre-ordained findings against the Akaka bill that will emerge deserve no weight whatsoever.
Gerald A. Reynolds, chairman of the national civil rights commission, said when he was here for last week's hearing that there's no chance the Washington panel will reverse its opposition to the Akaka bill.
So what legitimate reason could there be for the rush-rush local hearings if no change is possible?
The play seems clear now that the Bush administration has stacked the 17-member local advisory board with a majority of members on record as opposing the Akaka bill: Hurry to reverse the local panel's longstanding support of the Akaka bill — and validate the opposition of the national commission — before Congress possibly takes up the measure later this year.
The four members of Hawai'i's congressional delegation have rightly questioned whether the reconstituted local advisory panel, which now includes active litigants against Hawaiian native rights, fairly represents the diversity of Hawai'i's population or the range of local opinion.
U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka, U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono complained in a letter to the commission that the local briefings are "highly irregular and counter-productive."
"It would almost appear that the commission has its own agenda and its own timetable," they said.
The civil rights commission has based its opposition to protecting Native Hawaiian rights on the view that Hawaiians are a racial minority and not an indigenous people like American Indians and Alaskan natives, who enjoy federal political recognition that protects their native assets.
This race-based view is a political choice, not a legal imperative; there is no logical basis for treating Hawaiians differently from other native groups.
If Native Hawaiians were properly recognized as an indigenous people, as the Akaka bill would provide, claims of racial discrimination in Hawaiian programs like the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Kamehameha Schools would become moot.
You don't hear arguments about second-class citizenship for non-natives and "separate but equal" status in Alaska, where the federal government settled claims with the native people in 1971. We haven't seen non-natives in Alaska stripped of their property rights or that state secede from the union, as opponents of Native Hawaiian rights disingenuously claim could happen here if the Akaka bill becomes law.
What have Hawaiians done to deserve being treated with blatant hostility and disrespect in their native land — or be singled out as some kind of evil-doers by the Bush administration in its ideological dismantling of federal programs that once protected minority rights?
What business does the civil rights commission have giving special standing to self-interested litigants seeking to claim traditional Hawaiian assets as their own?
The current hearings are not an intellectually honest attempt to arrive at the facts, but a political power play to find the most-expedient path to a preconceived outcome.
The appropriate response is to ignore the hearings and any findings that come from them.
Midweek (O'ahu), August 29, 2007
GOP Insults Hawaii’s Host Culture
By Dan Boylan
On the weekend preceding the 2000 General Election, Republican Linda Lingle and her running mate Duke Aiona and Democrat Mazie Hirono and hers, Matt Matsunaga, met in a televised debate before representatives from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
I watched that debate, and along with almost everyone I know who did, I came away convinced that Lingle and Aiona bested the Democrats. Lingle seemed to express genuine concern for the plight of Hawaii’s first people: their alienation from the aina that had once been theirs alone, the disproportionate number of homeless and incarcerated among them, and their continued position at the bottom of Hawaii’s economy.
Lingle’s promise of a fairer deal for the Islands’host people - and the presence of the part-Hawaiian Aiona at her side - certainly contributed to her victory in 2000.
On several fronts, Lingle’s administration has done well by Hawaiians. Micah Kane at the Hawaiian Homes Commission has worked well with all parties concerned to put more Hawaiians back on the land. He’s demonstrated a willingness to forgo partisanship and work with anyone, of any political denomination to improve the lot of Hawaiians - his people.
Early on in her administration, Lingle threw her support behind the Akaka Bill - the long-stalled federal legislation designed to grant Hawaiians the recognition enjoyed by every other indigenous people in the United States. Many Hawaiians believed that her influence with the president and the Republican-dominated Congress would finally deliver passage of the bill.
It hasn’t happened. Instead, Republican idealogues on the National Civil Rights Commission recently appointed Hawaii residents H. William Burgess, Paul Sullivan, James Kuroiwa, Reubellite Johnson and Tom McDonald to the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission. All have either been party to suits against Hawaiian agencies, gone on record in opposition to the Akaka Bill, or both.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs sent a list of nine candidates for local commission. None received an appointment.
In other words, the National Civil Rights Commission stacked the deck - well-stacked the deck - against the Akaka Bill. Then they announced hearings on the bill in Honolulu.
Oh, the Republican Party of George W. Bush and the dearly departed Karl Rove - old white guys, still trying to fashion national political realignment on the debris of Iraq and battered American minorities, from blacks to gays to Native Americans to Hawaiians.
Ain’t they grand? In their final days they’ll stack courts and commissions with those who’ll fight a rear guard action against the demographically inevitable American future: one in which the United States will be a nation of minorities, including those indigenous peoples - Native American and Hawaiian - who’ve been victims of western germs and land thievery.
I mean to heap neither scorn nor derision on Gov. Lingle, but she’s running with the wrong crowd. She deserves better than so-called civil rights advocates in her national Republican Party who feel that the host people of her state unequal to every other indigenous people in the country.
Lingle deserves better, but she also needs to say something - something supportive of the Akaka Bill, something critical of her national political party that would so insult Hawaii’s host culture by appointing Burgess, Sullivan, Kuroiwa and McDonald to the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission.
Clyde Namuo, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs administrator, has condemned the Republican-dominated National Committee on Civil Rights for “intentionally (appointing) people to the Hawaii committee who oppose the Akaka Bill.”
Namuo argues that opposition to the Akaka Bill has “billions of dollars and a network of think tanks as part of a nationwide agenda. They are a formidable foe, but we believe we will prevail. We continue to work closely with Hawaii’s congressional delegation and Governor Lingle.” Good. But Hawaii’s congressional delegation and especially Gov. Lingle have a responsibility to renounce - or persuade - those in Washington and Hawaii who use the cover of civil rights to destroy the hard-won institutional progress Hawaiians have made in recent years.
Testimony submitted on August 31; published September 1, 2007
in Hawaii Reporter at
From: Barb Lindsay
Sent: Friday, August 31, 2007
Subject: USCCR testimony from One Nation United (ONU)
To the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR)
Attention: "Delaviez, Barbara" email@example.com;
and "Angie Trevino" firstname.lastname@example.org;
Public Comment and Testimony offered by:
Mrs. Barbara M. Lindsay on behalf of the membership of One Nation United (ONU) to the Hawaii State Advisory Committee and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
August 31, 2007
My name is Barb Lindsay. I am National Director
and Spokesperson for One Nation United. I'm writing
to you on behalf of the Board and Membership of One
Nation United to oppose the Akaka bill because of
the severe harm it threatens to do to property owners
throughout America . I'm also writing to you to warn
you of the severe damage the Akaka bill would cause
to the civil liberties and constitutional rights of most
Native Hawaiians - - based upon the experience of
thousands of tribal members who currently suffer under
the "plenary power" of Congress over tribal property
and the experience of thousands more individual
Native Americans who have suffered greatly under
the unchecked political power of tribal government
leaders over the lives of individual enrolled members.
One Nation United (ONU) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan
501(c)4 public educational umbrella group dedicated
to the defense of private property rights, our free
enterprise system, and the rule of law - - ALL of
which are seriously threatened by the Akaka bill.
ONU represents tens of thousands of concerned
citizens, property owner groups, many businesses
large and small, various local governments, academics,
clergy, state and national trade groups, numerous
law enforcement leaders, and elected officials in
thirty-nine states across America .
The damage the Akaka bill threatens to property
owners arises because of the precedent the bill
sets for the balkanization of America through
allowing thousands of newly assembled Indian
groups to demand federal recognition to "tribal"
status. Nearby businesses and local governments are
hurt when tribes refuse to collect or remit sales and
excise taxes lawfully owed on purchases made by
non-tribal customers at Indian retail establishments.
How can any local business compete against the
lower, tax-free pricing at the tribal businesses? And
when the tax-collecting businesses close their doors,
local governments lose the taxes formerly collected
by these non-tribal retailers, as well.
The Akaka bill is not a simple federal
recognition of one Indian group, following the
criteria set forth in Title 25 of the Code of
Federal Regulations. Everyone knows, if those
regulations applied to Hawaii, Native Hawaiians
would fail to meet those criteria. That's
why the only way for Native Hawaiians to get
federal recognition is through a special bill like
this one proposed in Congress, which abandons
the CFR criteria and bases recognition on blood
The Mashantucket Pequot "tribe" of Connecticut ,
a phony new tribe unable to qualify for federal
recognition according to the standard requirements,
successfully lobbied Congress to get a "special"
bill passed (similar to the Akaka bill). Sen. Dan
Inouye, then chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs
Committee, was primarily responsible for getting
that tribe recognized. Inouye was able to accept
hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal campaign
contributions from that "tribe" and its affiliated
contractors because tribes are quasi-sovereign and,
therefore, exempt from most campaign contribution laws.
Please understand that Hawaii State legislators and
federal elected officials would also be influenced by
the Akaka tribe in a similar way if this bill became law.
Once recognized, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe
built the world's largest (tax-exempt) gambling casino
(called "Foxwoods") in a residential suburban area,
causing tremendous hardship to the local community;
a community powerless to stop it because of tribal
sovereign immunity. A book written by Jeff Benedict
describes the extremely corrupt process leading to this
Tribe's congressional recognition: "Without Reservation:
The Making of America's Most Powerful Indian
Tribe and the World's Largest Casino." Likewise,
the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is currently spending
many millions of dollars on lobbying and advertising to
promote the misguided and unconstitutional Akaka bill.
The huge profits generated by this phony new "tribe"
in Connecticut encouraged other alleged tribes to
redouble their well-funded efforts to get recognized,
including the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation of Kent
and the Eastern Pequots of North Stonington . The
Eastern Pequots were, in fact, granted "recognition"
by the BIA. But there was such an outcry of
opposition from the Connecticut Attorney General,
CT Governor, and both U.S. Senators, that the BIA
reconsidered its decision and ultimately reversed
it. Just as federal recognition of the Mashantucket
Pequot tribe spurred other groups to seek "tribal"
status, passage of the Akaka bill would, likewise,
do the same.
Even the highly controversial Congressional
recognition of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of
Connecticut was based upon a mistaken "history"
of that group as allegedly functioning as a tribe.
And Native Hawaiians, likewise, fail to have the
sort of "history" or current characteristics that are
clearly required under 25 CFR 83.7. They simply
fail to meet the requirements, which is why they
seek to circumvent them by action of Congress.
This is why the Akaka bill is based on an entirely
new theory of the Constitution - - to the effect
that Congress has the power to assemble and
create a "tribe" out of any group of indigenous
people, even if they are widely scattered, completely
assimilated, and have no history at all of a racially
exclusionary government over the same unified
territory over where they now seek to claim tribal
Hawaii Attorney General Bennett frequently cites
the Lara decision as a precedent for upholding the
power of Congress to create new tribes. But no!
The Lara decision only affirms that Congress has
the right to resuscitate a tribe that was previously
recognized and later de-certified. The Lara decision
simply did not say that Congress could arbitrarily
create a "new tribe" out of thin air.
If Congress successfully asserts such new power in
the case of Native Hawaiians, then thousands of
other Native American groups will soon demand
recognition based upon this same theory. They might
even be able to file lawsuits demanding "equal"
treatment or "legal parity" with Native Hawaiians.
Perhaps this explains why some organizations
representing many tribes support the Akaka bill
- - they hope to generate more "new tribes" for
their organizations. When will this balkanization
of America stop?
Although I am not authorized to speak on behalf
of my own Tribe, the Western Cherokee Nation of
Arkansas and Missouri, my views certainly do
represent those of thousands of Native American
individuals who would not wish to see Native
Hawaiians facing many of the same difficulties
suffered by most tribal members across America .
Congress exercises its plenary power over Native
American tribes through the Bureau of Indian
Affairs. We have all read the numerous news
reports in recent years about the outrageous
corruption and terrible inefficiency at the BIA.
In particular, most of us are familiar with the
Cobell-Norton lawsuit made necessary by the fact
that the BIA lost or mismanaged hundreds of
billions of dollars held in trust for Indian tribes.
Likewise, most people are familiar with the devastating
conditions prevailing on most Indian reservations,
where the BIA has utterly failed in its "trust"
responsibilities to Native Americans who live
under its wardship.
We cannot imagine why Native Hawaiians would want
to willingly place themselves under the "wardship" of
the federal government? Rather, we attribute the actual
support for the Akaka bill to Hawaii government
officials seeking to protect and increase the flow of
federal tax dollars to Hawaii and to large institutions
there made wealthy and powerful by the fact that
enormous amounts of our federal tax dollars are flowing
into their bureaucracies. Yet it's unclear how much of
this taxpayer funding actually "trickles down" to the
needy individuals who are supposed to benefit from it?
We've all read many news reports about individual
tribal members having their constitutional rights
and civil liberties repeatedly abused by their own
tribal leaders. Remember, each tribe writes its own laws,
often maintain their own courts, and has limited tribal
sovereignty - - which prevents individual members
from seeking the protection of most federal and state
laws. They cannot sue their own governments, even for
financial transparency, because of tribal "sovereign
immunity" from suit. Unfairly, federal money is given to
tribal leaders, who then decide whether or not to pass any
of it along to their individual members and which members
should receive how much. Under these legal conditions,
it's easy to see why individual tribal members suffer such
severe intimidation - - especially since they cannot seek
any recourse in either our federal or state court systems.
Families with mixed marriages are also split apart
because the laws applying to one spouse and their
children do not also apply to the other spouse. In tribal
child custody cases, federal law unwisely establishes a
presumption in favor of the "Native American"
spouse and in favor of tribal government jurisdiction
over state jurisdiction, thus, depriving the non-Indian
spouse of the protections he or she would normally
enjoy under the laws of our land as an American citizen.
Finally, we shall close with a rebuttal to a concept
often asserted by the supporters of the Akaka bill.
They say that Native Hawaiians are the "only
indigenous group" not recognized by the federal
government. They say Native Hawaiians deserve
to get the same federal recognition given to Native
Americans and to Native Alaskans. It must be noted,
however, that the federal government does not give
any recognition to Native Americans as a group. Rather,
federal recognition is given ONLY to individual "tribes"
- - 562 at latest count - - based on each tribe's unique
political history. Federal recognition is not given to
the entire racial group of Native Americans. In fact,
most Native Americans do not qualify for membership
in any tribe. Across America, hundreds of "groups" are
now seeking recognition as tribes, while many have been
refused. Hawaii's pro-Akaka officials should not be
claiming Native Hawaiians are somehow "discriminated
against" by comparison to Native Americans.
Please oppose the unconstitutional Akaka bill, S.310 and
H.R.505. It would sadly divide all American citizens by race.
Barb Lindsay, National Director & Spokesperson
One Nation United
P.O. Box 3336
Redmond , Washington 98073-3336
Tel: 206-660-3085 or 818-707-0619
Send comments or questions to:
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