History of the Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill FROM SEPTEMBER 1, 2007 THROUGH October 17, 2007 -- New poll paid for by OHA; Civil rights committee takes more testimony; United Nations adopts Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Hawaiian Civics Clubs annual meeting held in Alaska for solidarity

(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 September 1, 2007 through October 17, 2007.



September 1: Monthly OHA newspaper for September includes a letter to editor from Thurston Twigg-Smith explaining why all citizens of Hawaii have a right to participate in decisions affecting Hawaii's future; and an editorial by trustee Boyd Mossman explaining why the Akaka bill is essential for ethnic Hawaiians.

September 2: (1) Spoof e-mail/cartoon from OHA to Governor Lingle thanking her for supporting racial separatism and for keeping genuine Republican views suppressed; (2) "Belief in equal protection not divisive" -- Advertiser publishes edited transcript of Aloha For All head H. William Burgess hour-long "Hot Seat" online Q&A event of August 27.

September 3: (1) Hawaii Reporter publishes a 4-minute movie (also on YouTube) reminding us there was no celebration of the official Statehood Day holiday; (2) Hawaii Reporter publishes press release by consortium of large ethnic Hawaiian institutions who favor the Akaka bill and who sponsored a huge celebration of Queen Lili'uokalani's birthday yesterday -- a thinly disguised racial solidarity and secessionist event; (3) Photo album with 290 photos from yesterday's Palace event.

September 4: Advertiser commentary by a group of 5 law school students specializing in Indian law says there's no way to predict what will happen if the Akaka bill passes, because each tribe has unique jurisdictional and tax arrangements with federal and state governments.

September 5: (1) Honolulu Advertiser reports poll by SMS research, paid for by OHA, shows most Hawaii residents favor Akaka bill; (2) Advertiser editorial says Congress should straighten out the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, whose individual state panels throughout America have been targeting affirmative action programs. (3) TV news evening report describes the OHA poll, views of opponents, and what happened at civil rights committee hearing. (4) The civil rights committee heard testimony from 5 invited witnesses -- The complete testimony of Jere Krischel for Grassroot Institute and of Haunani Apoliona, Boyd Mossman, and Robert Klein for OHA, are provided on this website; another speaker was Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell testifying for the secessionist movement but his testimony is not yet available.

September 6: Short news report on yesterday's civil rights committee meeting.

September 7: (1) Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial notes that an important question in the OHA Akaka bill poll got only 51% support for creating an ethnic Hawaiian government, and this issue needs further scrutiny because the OHA poll failed to make clear that this is the primary outcome of the bill; (2) Letter to editor by Sandra Puanani Burgess (wife of civil rights committee member) deplores personal attacks on members, and says "The Hawaii Advisory Committee members should not bow to the bullying tactics of this newspaper or Hawaiian separatist organizations, but rather adhere to the important task before them: ensuring that every citizen has equal protection under the law."

September 8: Two letters in Honolulu Advertiser say (1) The general population of Hawaii has no business butting in on ethnic Hawaiians' process of self-determination, such as by participating in Kau Inoa or demanding a vote on the Akaka bill; (2) In the civil rights committee hearings, Roger "Clegg says the Akaka bill would be divisive. No. Sham hearings and bogus issues are divisive."

September 9: OHA Chair Haunani Apoliona commentary trumpets results of poll paid for by OHA and says consequences of Akaka bill cannot be predicted because it all depends on what the Akaka tribe decides to do.

September 11: Stephen Aghjayan, testimony to civil rights committee describes his many years of residence on the Swinomish tribal reservation in the State of Washington.

September 12: 2 letters: (1) Should we see Hawaii's people "sharing a common and glorious future together as equals, or see in their separate pasts a justification for assigning them to separate groups that claim different rights and privileges?"; (2) Ethnic Hawaiians deserve same rights as Native Americans, and amending the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921 is better way to do that than Akaka bill.

September 13: Controversy over civil rights committee visit from national commissioner Michael Yaki on September 5, who was disrespectful to an invited speaker and who appeared on an OHA-sponsored radio program

September 14: Hilo newspaper reports what happened at civil rights committee hearing: "Akaka Bill bashed -- Area residents attack proposal from all directions"

September 15: (1) Kaua'i newspaper reports details of public testimony to civil rights committee, nearly all hostile to Akaka bill; (2) Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, campaigning in Hawai'i, waffles on Akaka bill

September 16: Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial says United Nations approval of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is idealistic but will have very little practical effect worldwide and will be of no help in passing the Akaka bill

September 17: (1) Richard Rowland, President of Grassroot Institute, says intentional vagueness of Akaka bill's consequences makes it a bad idea to pass it; (2) Mayor of the Village of Hobart Wisconsin writes to Congressmember Kagan to oppose Akaka bill as bad for his village.

September 18: (1) letter says there should be referendum on Akaka bill; (2) Article by Wes Vernon opposing Akaka bill reprinted in Hawaii Reporter: "Deliberately Dividing America"

September 19: Hawaii Reporter publishes testimony by Richard Rowland, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, regarding the Akaka bill, previously delivered to the civil rights committee.

October 1: OHA trustee Boyd Mossman, editorial in OHA monthly newspaper, says support for Akaka bill is the mainstream position in Hawaii.

October 4: Arlan D. Melendez is chairman of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony in Nevada and a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. His article published in "Indian Country Today" says the U.S. Commission on Civil Rigts needs to come to the defense of the sovereignty rights of Indian tribes nationwide, and the Akaka bill is an important element in that larger picture.

October 8: Elaine Willman, Chair, Citizens Equal Rights Alliance, "The Akaka Bill: Escalating Separatism, Socialism and Tribalism"

October 16: The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs is having its annual national convention in Anchorage Alaska because the Alaska Federation of Natives supports the Akaka bill and because ethnic Hawaiians want to learn strategies for achieving sovereignty from Native Alaskans

October 17: "The Cherokee Freedmen, Native American Blood Quantum and the Akaka Bill"




Ka Wai Ola O OHA [OHA monthly newspaper], September, 2007
Page 3

Kau Inoa

I read with interest Rowena Akana’s comments on the request by me and four of my associates to register on the Kau Inoa registration list. I assure you we are NOT trying to be harmful to those of Hawaiian blood. In fact, we are doing the things we have been doing for the past 10 years or so to make sure that Hawai‘i remains the kind of place it has been over the years for all of us, non-Hawaiians and Hawaiians alike.

We believe, and the Supreme Court agreed with us in Rice v. Cayetano, that there is a racial over- tone to the Akaka Bill and much of the activities associated with today’s sovereignty efforts. Hawai‘i has never been a place that separated people on the basis of race. Unlike American Indian tribes – who in order to get recognized by Congress as Native Americans, must have a history, among other things, of non- assimilation – Native Hawaiians welcomed and intermarried from the very beginning with every race that came to these islands.

Our desire to play a part in the mas- sive changes in Hawai‘i that would come about if the Akaka Bill were to pass is a voluntary effort on our part. Nothing sinister. We just think Native Hawaiians and the interracial families that make Hawai‘i a treasured place to live are making a tragic mistake to destroy the welcoming spirit that has prevailed here.

Thurston Twigg-Smith
Via the Internet


Ka Wai Ola O OHA [OHA monthly newspaper], September, 2007
page 20 of the physical newspaper; page 19 of the pdf version

Why we need Akaka

Boyd P. Mossman
Trustee, Maui

‘Ano‘ai käkou. You may have heard recently of some of the never-say-die Arakaki suit plaintiffs seeking to register to vote with the Kau Inoa initiative of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. We are grateful to Hawai‘i Maoli, the Hawaiian Civic Club nonprofit organization that is handling the registrations, for their even-handed approach to this type of individual who has nothing better to do than spend time working on lawsuits against the Hawaiian people. Led by Bill Burgess, Thurston Twigg-Smith, and Earl Arakaki, these litigious individuals will not stop their incessant lawsuits until the United States Congress and our president either agree to pass the Akaka Bill, which will give Hawaiians a legal foothold against their lawsuits, or not. Ultimately, the Supreme Court will decide, but with Akaka we can win in the courts.

At OHA, we are diligently seeking to better the conditions of all Hawaiians and are able to do so because thus far we have prevailed in the courts against the likes of the above-named individuals. We fully expect another round of suits and will defend them vigorously; however, we fight with one hand tied behind our back without Akaka, and so the need is vital to Hawaiians to see passage of the bill and thus allow us to protect our very existence as a people.

From another direction, you may have also read of the Hawaiians who are continuing their suit against OHA trustees seeking money damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and injunctions against any expenditures by OHA going to anyone except 50 percent or more Hawaiians. These plaintiffs, including a former trustee of OHA, Sam Kealoha, would have OHA deny any Hawaiian with less than 50 percent blood any benefits, assistance, scholarships, grants, medical care, housing, jobs and representation, whether legal or political, etc., which OHA has been involved in since its creation. They want only 50 percent Hawaiians to receive any benefits of the trust lands and for OHA to stop helping the vast majority of Hawaiians, whom it is now helping.

This attack by Hawaiians on OHA is not unusual, but it is especially egregious in its attempt to deny so many Hawaiians so much. OHA has given millions to help Hawaiians and Hawaiian organizations in the past five years. We work closely with Alu Like, Nä Pua No‘eau, and the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., all of whose services are being challenged by these Hawaiians. I cannot help but wonder how many generations will pass before their posterity will be less than 50 percent and thus not eligible for any benefits, and then how soon before there are no 50 percent Hawaiians and thus all benefits would cease and all lands and funds would be given back to the state. This process would work to accomplish the same thing that Mr. Burgess and his followers are seeking in the courts, and that is to prevent Hawaiians from receiving any kinds of benefits, whether cultural or financial, which they say would be race-based. By pursuing this type of action against their own, these Hawaiians are playing right into the hands of Mr. Burgess and company.

The Akaka bill will secure for all Hawaiians a degree of nationhood where we can all have a say in our future and where Hawaiians can live in peace without spending so much time and money defending ourselves in the courts. We need to preserve what we have. We need to build our people by providing for their needs. We need to build Hawai‘i by strengthening ourselves. We need to survive. We need Akaka.


September 2: Spoof e-mail/cartoon was sent to e-mail boxes of many Hawaii residents, allegedly from OHA to Governor Lingle thanking her for supporting racial separatism and for keeping genuine Republican views suppressed.

FROM: "Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA)"
SUBJECT: Mahalo Linda + "Duke" from Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA)
DATE: Sun, 2 Sep 2007



Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, September 2, 2007

Belief in equal protection not divisive

By H. William Burgess

[On The Hot Seat last week was H. William Burgess, a newly appointed member of the Hawai'i Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and vocal opponent of the Akaka bill. This is an excerpt from that Hot Seat session. To see the full conversation, go to The Hot Seat blog at www.honoluluadvertiser.com/opinion and click on "On the Hot Seat: H. William Burgess of the Hawai'i Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights."]

(Names of questioners are screen names given during our online chat.)

Lily Dorton: You had to know that being appointed to the advisory committee would raise criticism. Why did you not decline and stay simply as an attorney/policy advocate so as to not taint the credibility of the committee? Setting aside the policy options, do you acknowledge that your strategies and those of your allies have been divisive? Why not be more conciliatory in your approach? Even if you oppose Hawaiian programs, don't you at least recognize the social ills of Hawaiians need to be addressed?

H. William Burgess: Service on the committee is an excellent opportunity to engage in public discourse about this important issue. I disagree that my participation will taint the credibility, unless you consider any opinion differing from yours is a taint. Lily, I don't think standing up for equal protection is divisive. Rather it is your advocacy of Hawaiian supremacy which is.

Tom terrific: What is the basic purpose of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission? Is it to protect minorities? Or is it to protect the civil rights of all citizens? Why is there so much controversy over the appointment of seven Republicans to a 17-member committee?

Burgess: The mission is to collect information relating to discrimination or denial of equal protection, evaluate it and submit findings and recommendations to the president and Congress. (See www.usccr.gov/about/mission.htm for a complete mission statement.) The state advisory committees help the commission feel the local pulse. To me, the recommendations of the previous Hawai'i committee reflected only the politics of racial separatism, a disturbing agenda to segregate Hawaiians from non-Hawaiians. The newly appointed committee of seven Democrats, seven Republicans and three independents is a triumph for all the people of Hawai'i because it is more diverse and more representative of Hawai'i's diverse population and viewpoints. In my humble opinion, we members of the Hawai'i Advisory Committee should not bow to the bullying tactics of Hawaiian separatist organizations, but rather adhere to the important task before us: helping the USCCR in its mission so that every citizen of Hawai'i has equal protection under the law.

Chelsea: You cite Grassroot Institute polls, which are described as illegitimate "push polls" by professional research companies (see the American Association of Public Opinion Research policy against push polls). Every poll commissioned by The Honolulu Advertiser finds a majority of the people here support the Akaka bill and programs that help Native Hawaiians. As a lawyer, how can you use illegitimate information to build a case against Native Hawaiians?

Burgess: The two surveys by Grassroot Institute, one in 2005 and the other in 2006, are the most comprehensive and accurately worded ever taken. Over 15,000 Hawai'i residents responded and two out of three said "No, they do not want Congress to pass the Akaka bill."

Scott Hovey: You claim the virtues of democracy and hold that you will never let anything prevent you from exercising democracy and the power to vote. Curiously, Hawaiians never were allowed to vote on a provisional government. That was brought about by tyrannical non-Hawaiians. Hawaiians never got to exercise democracy when it came to annexation. Proponents of annexation at the time knew that Hawaiians would not approve of it. Hawaiians never got to vote on becoming a territory. In fact, it wasn't until Hawaiians became a minority group in the 1950s that a vote was taken on statehood. Why, if you veil your animosity toward Hawaiian programs of healing and education and other social problems behind democracy, do you not want Hawaiians to be allowed to make any democratic choice for their own freedom and association? Isn't it hypocritical to hide behind the virtues of democracy while denying the political right of a people to decide their own political fate? Why do you have the right to vote in all elections, but Hawaiians don't have the right to vote to decide their own political destiny? Can you see the hypocrisy in claiming democracy while denying it to those you are against?

Burgess: The residents of O'ahu were not allowed to vote when Kamehameha the Great conquered their island, either. But the government of the Republic of Hawai'i proposed annexation, and the U.S. accepted it. As to the population, Hawaiians were a minority of the population by 1890. Native Hawaiian delegates consistently fought for statehood until it was finally achieved in 1959. Ninety-four percent of the voters said Yes to statehood.

Lee Lopez: Did Paul Sullivan or any other Hawai'i State Advisory Committee member provide paid or pro-bono legal, or other services in support of any of the various litigations filed to end Native Hawaiian programs?

Burgess: Sorry, that's privileged.

L. Leilani Mills: You are the lawyer for Arakaki and others attempting to use the federal courts to unravel Hawaiian programs such as DHHL (Department of Hawaiian Home Lands) and OHA (Office of Hawaiian Affairs). You sue Hawaiians. You have demonstrated a bias against Hawaiians. How can you serve as a credible (committee) member?

Burgess: My legal work in support of equal protection was fully disclosed. To my knowledge, it is not a disqualification for membership. Oz Stender, for example, was a member previously, as were many whose positions in favor of racial discrimination were well known.

Robert Ellis: There are Hawaiian independence activists that join with you in opposing the Akaka bill. Do you support these Native Hawaiians in their position for independence?

Burgess: No.

Bronson Pooalanui: Your arguments against the Akaka bill are full of inflammatory "coulds": It could lead to this, it could lead to that. At (a recent) advisory committee meeting, the president of the Alaska Federation of Natives said 30 years ago the same kinds of attacks were made against Alaska natives, but none of that happened. Instead, Alaska natives are contributing to the economy. Would you dispute what she's saying?

Burgess: Yes, Alaska is different from Hawai'i and from the lower 48 (states). The treaty with Russia recognized the existence of tribes, and the Organic Act provided that Alaska natives' claims to land would be recognized. Nothing like that is in either the Annexation Act or in Hawai'i's Organic Act, because there were and are no tribes in Hawai'i, and there are no Native Hawaiian land claims.

Ikaika Limahana: You make it sound like passage of the Akaka bill would immediately turn everything in Hawai'i upside down. On the contrary, the proposed plan/timeline for reorganizing and federally recognizing a Native Hawaiian government contains many internal and external checks and balances. It would ultimately require the approval of key state and federal agencies, and it requires the state Legislature and Congress to give final approval. It would take a long time and be subject to the scrutiny and strict regulation every step of the way. I think it's a bit inflammatory to say the passage of the Akaka bill would lead to the "breakup of the United States," as you have previously stated, don't you?

Burgess: Somehow the fact that it will take awhile to bring the Hawaiians-only government to life doesn't give me much comfort. Would taking away your rights be OK if I promise it will take two years?

TB: Why are you doing what you are doing?

Burgess: I do it just because I don't like to see the aloha spirit turned into apartheid. Hawai'i's too special for that.

Steven: What is your main goal while serving on HSAC? Is it to promote civil liberties to all people including Hawaiians? What would you really like to accomplish within two to three years?

Burgess: Yes, I promote equal civil rights for everyone, including Native Hawaiians. I'd like to end government discrimination in Hawai'i within two or three years.

Louise Yee Hoy: How many of the sitting HSAC are members of your organization, "Aloha for All" or the Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i?

Burgess: Sorry, that's privileged.

Bill Prescott: Regarding the return of ceded lands to Hawaiians, Rubellite Johnson, noted authority on Hawaiian history, was quoted saying, in return for Kamehameha III's desire to be annexed as a state of the union, the king's debt of several million dollars to Lloyd's of London had to be paid off first. The U.S. agreed to pay the debt but required the king to cede all public lands. Is this right?

Burgess: Yes, Ruby K. is right that the kingdom under Kamehameha III was not that much in debt in 1854. Kalakaua later incurred the London loan which threatened to bankrupt the kingdom. In the 1898 Annexation Act, the U.S. assumed the debt of the Republic of Hawai'i up to $4 million. That exceeded the value of all the ceded lands at that time, based on Thrum's Annual Reports. The Annexation Act also required that except for the lands used for military or naval purposes or set aside for the local government, all revenues and proceeds of the ceded lands would be used solely for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Hawaiian Islands for educational and other public purposes. This was the beginning of the ceded lands trust. Accordingly, in the 1900 Organic Act, the U.S. transferred control of most of the ceded lands to the Territory of Hawai'i for the use and benefit of the inhabitants of Hawai'i for educational and other public purposes.

Michael: Your favorite phrase is "race based" and you have managed to get others to use that phrase a lot. But do you acknowledge that America's indigenous 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? If you agree with that, how can you argue the Akaka bill creates a "race based" government?

Burgess: The sine qua non for federal recognition of a Native American group is continuous existence since 1900 to the present as at least a quasi sovereign polity in a distinctly Indian community separate from the surrounding non-Indian population. The over 400,000 Native Hawaiians counted in Census 2000 were found in all 50 states and in all the about 50 census tracts of the state of Hawai'i, thoroughly blended in with the rest of Hawai'i's intermarried multiracial population. Such a widely scattered group could never qualify for recognition as a tribe under the mandatory criteria applicable to Native Americans. The definition of "Native Hawaiian" (anyone with at least one ancestor indigenous to Hawai'i) in the Akaka bill is essentially the same ancestral definition the Supreme Court in Rice v. Cayetano held to be a racial classification because it uses ancestry as a proxy for race. Never before in the history of Hawai'i has there been a government established with the clear intent of preferential treatment of one race over all others.


September 3 Hawaii Reporter 4-minute movie published on YouTube recalls total lack of celebration of official Statehood Day holiday, and includes photos of disruption of last year's attempted celebration:



Hawaii Reporter, September 3, 2007

Queen's Birthday Attracts Record Attendance at Iolani Palace

By Mona K. Wood, 9/3/2007

HONOLULU – ‘ONIPA‘A: A BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION FOR QUEEN LILI‘UOKALANI drew over 5,000 attendees, both kama‘aina and malihini, today at ‘Iolani Palace. The event also doubled the previous attendance record for ‘Iolani Palace tours for one day, with almost 3,000 taking the free tour offered by Friends of ‘Iolani Palace and the Hawai‘i Pono‘i Coalition, the organizers of today’s event.

“We have had 2,700 people tour the palace so far today,” said Kippen de Alba Chu, Executive Director of 'Iolani Palace, at 3:30 p.m., as more groups entered the palace. “That is more than double our previous record.”

According to the volunteer palace docents leading the tours today, a typical day sees 200~500 people taking guided and unguided tours, and these are primarily visitors. On the occasional “free kama‘aina” days, they’ve reached 1,000 visitors.

In addition, Bob and Paulette Moore registered over 100 voters at the Hawaiian Vote – No Vote, No Grumble! booth, and answered over 300 inquiries, keeping them busy throughout the day. Several halau hula and Hawaiian musical groups kept the crowd of approximately 30% visitors and 70% local entertained. Visitor numbers were stronger in the morning, many heading to the palace grounds after being dropped off by the E Noa Tour trolley across the street at the King Kamehameha statue.

There was a targeted effort by the Hawai‘i Pono‘i Coalition to welcome everyone to the event as an educational forum about Hawai‘i’s history and culture, including visitors. E Noa Tours was aware of the event and advised their drivers to encourage passengers’ attendance, NetWork Media provided free PSAs on their hotel in-room television stations, The O‘ahu Concierge, a newsletter for concierge and front-of-house personnel featured the event, and hotel chains like Sheraton, Hilton, Outrigger, Ohana, and ResortQuest Hawai‘i, provided event information to their guests.

“The visitor industry was overwhelmingly supportive of the event,” said Mona Wood, PR for the Hawai‘i Pono‘i Coalition. “They could see the great value for our visitors to learn more about the Native Hawaiian culture and history at such a venue as this, actually mixing with Native Hawaiians and learning directly from us, sharing with us.”

Of course, the Hawai‘i Pono‘i Coalition also wanted kama‘aina to attend and had an aggressive publicity campaign aimed at the local market. And they did not disappoint. Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians, alike, came. Palace docent Leilani Marino said, “It was amazing to hear, from almost all of the kama‘aina who came today, that this was their very first time stepping into the palace. There was a sense of awe, even some tears, but, most of all, a real sense of joy that they finally came.”

The special Sunday prayer service at noon featured over a dozen kahu (ministers) and 150 choral voices under the direction of Nola Nahulu.

“It was very appropriate to have the prayer service and choral music for the Queen’s birthday,” said Wayne Kaho‘onei Panoke, ‘Onipa‘a event director. “She was a religious person and loved music, so that was very fitting, and many attendees came especially for the service, as well.”

This is the first of several events throughout the year supported by the Hawai‘i Pono‘i Coalition. The next planned event will be a celebration of King David Kalakaua’s birthday on November 16th. That event will be an evening concert featuring music by and for the “Merrie Monarch,” King Kalakaua. More details are forthcoming, but the event, like today’s, will be free and open to everyone.

“We decided to have events throughout the year as a proactive way to educate people – Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians, alike – about our history and culture,” said Vicky Holt Takamine, kumu hula and founding member of the Hawai‘i Pono‘i Coalition. “When you see us on the news, it’s usually reactive...a response to some kind of injustice to Native Hawaiians. We want to be proactive and educate and share with others so that they can really understand the issues we face. We want our list of supporters to be organic and grow to include any and all organizations, companies, and individuals who support Native Hawaiian rights.”


Hawai‘i Pono‘i is the title of the Hawai‘i national anthem, written by King Kalakaua in 1874. Literally translated “Hawai‘i’s own,” Hawai‘i Pono‘i connects us to the history of the islands and the heritage of its Indigenous people, a heritage that enriches us all. The Hawai‘i Pono‘i Coalition was formed to educate those who live in and visit these islands about Hawai‘i’s true history, its Native Hawaiian people, and the culture that makes Hawai‘i a place like no other. ‘O ka po‘e i aloha i ka ‘aina – the people who love the land – come join us!

Participation in the Coalition is open to any group or individual who supports Native Hawaiian rights. Participating organizations include:
** Ken Conklin's note: Every one of these is a race-based institution working to pass the Akaka bill, which is based partly on the apology resolution of 1993 in which the U.S. apologized to ethnic Hawaiians for overthrowing the Kingdom of Hawaii. Lili'uokalani was the monarch who was overthrown.

Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
Friends of ‘Iolani Palace
‘Ilio‘ulaokalani Coalition
Kamakakuokalani [** Center for Hawaiian Studies]
Kamehameha Schools
King William Charles Lunalilo Trust
Na Pua A Ke Ali‘i Pauahi, Inc. [Kamehameha alumni associations]
Native Hawaiian Bar Association
Native Hawaiian Legal Corp.
Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA)
PA‘I Foundation
Queen Lili‘uokalani Trust and Children’s Centers

For more information, please call (808) 224-8068, or visit
http://www.huiohawaiiponoi.org .
Mona K. Wood is a spokesperson for this event. Reach her at


** There's a slideshow with 290 photos placed on the internet by one of the secessionist zealots who attended the Palace event on September 2. The numerous photos at the end that were taken indoors were at an event in a building on Palace grounds (the "old archives") where the participants celebrated the resistance to the annexation of Hawaii by a group of about 21,000 ethnic Hawaiians who signed a petition in 1897 opposing annexation.


Then click the yellow button "View slideshow"


Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Too early to determine Akaka bill impact

By Moani Crowell, Scott Hovey Jr., Derek Kauanoe, Greg Schlais and Anosh Yaqoob

As members of the Native American Moot Court Team at the William S. Richardson School of Law, we wish to comment on some of the claims that have been made about the Akaka bill. We are neither advocating for or against the Akaka bill. However, based on our experience and education, we believe it is far too early to make certain assertions against the Akaka bill and its potential legal consequences.

The Akaka bill is undoubtedly important proposed legislation that will have widespread effect in the Hawaiian Islands. Residents understandably have concerns. In providing responses to valid concerns, some in our community have replied with comments that either cannot be made legitimately at this time, or come from sources inadequately familiar with federal Indian law and policy.

There have been many assertions in the media about the Akaka bill through comparisons of settlement agreements with federally recognized Indian tribes, but usually looking only at one type of settlement.

It is important to clarify that federal Indian law is one of the most complex, and often confusing, areas of the law for practitioners, policymakers, students and professors. The law comprises thousands of overlapping statutes, treaties, executive orders, court precedents and administrative regulations.

Federally recognized Indian tribes do not compose a single monolithic entity to which we can compare Native Hawaiians. There are more than 500 federally recognized tribes — each with its own relationship with the federal government.

Some relationships are based on treaties, while others are based on legislation. Moreover, legislation for one tribe will not necessarily be the same as legislation for another tribe.

Legally unsupportable conclusions that have been made thus far include suggestions that non-Native Hawaiians will be absolutely excluded by a Native Hawaiian governing entity, that Native Hawaiians will be immune from criminal and civil laws, and that Native Hawaiians will not have to pay taxes.

These claims have been made based on experiences with Native Americans. Comparisons to Native Americans and federal Indian law are made because this subject area, within the context of U.S. domestic law, is the one most applicable to our situation. While other legal regimes (i.e. international law) may be applicable, within the context of U.S. domestic law, federal Indian law is most applicable to our situation here at home.

The language of the Akaka bill currently allows only for Native Hawaiian participation in the early stages of self-governance under U.S. law, but the bill does not prevent future inclusion of non-Native Hawaiians as citizens of a federally recognized Hawaiian government.

If we want to compare this situation to Native Americans, precedents support both sides of the issue, depending on the tribe. There are precedents of Indian tribes including non-Indian people as citizens or tribal members. Likewise, there are tribes that have excluded "non-tribal" individuals from complete membership.

Further, nowhere in the text of the Akaka bill can language be found exempting Native Hawaiians from the authority of the U.S. Constitution or the civil and criminal laws of the state and federal governments. The bill's text itself actually provides that "nothing in this Act alters the civil or criminal jurisdiction of the United States or the State of Hawai'i."

A review of legislation between federally recognized tribes and the federal and state governments shows that a number of legislative acts have provided state governments with varying measures of jurisdiction over American Indian reservations, depending on the specific kinds of offenses at issue.

Additionally, there is a misconception that as a result of the Akaka bill, Native Hawaiians will not have to pay taxes like all other Hawai'i residents. Nothing in the bill provides immunity from taxation for Native Hawaiians. Again, a review of legislation with federally recognized tribes shows that, depending on the terms of approved agreements, many tribes do pay taxes.

Language in some agreements specifies that payments will be paid in lieu of taxes. In other words, whether we call them taxes or payments, tribes are paying for governmental services at different levels of government. Considering how current tax laws may be applied to members of a federally recognized Native Hawaiian entity, until negotiations actually occur, it is too early to assert what the outcome will be.

As a moot court team that has achieved success in competition against other law schools in the field of Federal Indian law, we are simply stating that many public assertions being made about the Akaka bill are misdirected at legislation that only opens dialogue on these issues, and does not actually constitute a settlement.

The writers are returning members to the Native American Moot Court Team at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa. They wrote this commentary for The Advertiser.


Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Most back Akaka bill: OHA poll

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

A significant majority of Hawai'i residents support federal recognition and the Akaka bill, according to a poll released yesterday by Ward Research Inc. that was paid for by the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Those polled expressed broad support for giving Hawaiians federal recognition similar to what's granted to American Indians and Alaska Natives, the right of Hawaiians to govern themselves, the continuation of federally funded Hawaiian programs and protecting institutions such as Kamehameha Schools, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and OHA.

Support erodes to just over half, however, when there is mention of creating a new Hawaiian governing entity.

The disparate groups that oppose the Akaka bill and programs that give preference to Hawaiians, after seeing the poll, said the questions were misleading and did not go to the heart of the debate over federal recognition.

The Ward poll comes at a time of renewed interest in the Akaka bill, which has yet to have a vote before either the full House or Senate. A newly reconstituted Hawai'i advisory committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which is in the middle of holding a series of meetings locally on the Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill, has been criticized by Akaka bill supporters for being stacked with those who oppose it.

The 17-member advisory panel is holding a briefing and planning meeting at 2 p.m. today in the South Pacific Ballroom of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

The Ward poll was conducted by telephone Aug. 15-27. It interviewed 380 residents state-wide and carries a statistical margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent. The key results:

Seventy percent said "yes" when asked if Hawaiians should be recognized by the United States as a "distinct indigenous group ... similar to the recognition given to American Indians and Alaska Natives; 18 percent said "no."

Sixty-seven percent said "yes" when asked if Hawaiians should have a right to make decisions about their land, education, health, cultural and traditional practices, and social policies; 22 percent said no.

Eighty-three percent said "yes" when asked if they support the continuation of federally funded programs for Hawaiians in the fields of health, education, employment, economic development and housing.

Sixty-five percent said they agree that Kamehameha Schools, and programs such as DHHL and OHA, should be protected with passage of a federal bill that recognizes Hawaiians as an indigenous people.

Sixty-four percent said "no" when asked if Native Hawaiians should be given federal recognition, even if because of race.

Fifty-one percent said they agree when asked if a Hawaiian governing entity should be formed to represent Hawaiians in their dealings with the state and federal governments.

"Clearly the poll demonstrates that those who challenge the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act do not speak for the majority of Hawai'i residents, who believe that what is good for the indigenous population, Native Hawaiians, is good for all for Hawai'i," OHA trustees Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona said in a prepared release.

H. William Burgess, of the group Aloha For All, which says federal recognition discriminates against non-Hawaiians and opposes policies and programs that give preference to Hawaiians, said the poll is misleading.

The Akaka bill would give Hawaiians even more rights than Native Americans and Alaska Natives, he said. The poll "doesn't tell (the public) the main thing the Akaka bill does, that is to allow the creation of a separate government and giving away to that new government land, government authority, natural resources ... civil and criminal jurisdiction," Burgess said.

Supporters have responded to that charge by insisting that the state and federal governments would not give away anything drastic, but Burgess said that possibility should not be even be considered.

Ikaika Hussey, of Hui Pu, an umbrella organization of Hawaiian groups that oppose federal recognition on the grounds that it doesn't go far enough in addressing the wrongs against Hawaiians, said the debate between Akaka bill supporters and those like Burgess is too narrow.

"Self-determination includes all kinds of options, including the right to independence," Hussey said.

Like Burgess, Hussey said the poll questions were misleading.

In a June 2006 Hawai'i Poll conducted for The Advertiser by Ward, 63 percent of 602 registered voters sampled said "yes" when asked if a Hawaiian entity should be formally recognized by Congress as a distinct group similar to the special recognition given to American Indian tribes. That poll also showed only 48 percent of those responding agreed that "a sovereign Hawaiian nation or a Hawaiian government of some kind that would represent the Hawaiian people in their dealings with the state and federal government and would work for the betterment of the Hawaiian people" should be formed.


Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Congress should keep civil rights on track

At this moment in Hawai'i, the attention of the U.S. Commision on Civil Rights is sharply focused on Native Hawaiian federal recognition, because hearings of its state advisory committee are ongoing over the next week. But the impact of its work goes well beyond the Akaka bill.

Following the advisory panel's first hearings on the bill, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs conducted a poll that highlights broad support for federal recognition. When asked whether Hawaiians should be recognized as a distinct indigenous group, similar to the recognition given to American Indians and Native Alaskans, 70 percent of respondents statewide said "yes."

Opinions about the details of self-governance are a little cloudier. Although two-thirds of those responding to the poll said Hawaiians have a right "to make decisions about their land, education, health, cultural and traditional practices and social policies," only 51 percent said "that an entity of some kind should be formed."

There shouldn't be too much stock placed in any individual poll, but weighed with previous readings, there's clearly too much broad support for federal recognition to be dismissed. The position to be taken by the advisory committee should be part of the complete picture, but kept in context.

That's where Hawai'i's congressional delegation has a role. The delegation has written to the commission to voice its concern over how the advisory panel agenda seemed dictated by the commission and arrayed around this single issue.

Hawai'i's committee came under fire with the recent appointment of several outspoken opponents to the bill. Similarly, a spotlight has been placed on panels across the nation for their pursuit of an anti-affirmative-action agenda.

"I have never seen such a concentrated effort to block anything that is race-based," said U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, in a meeting with The Advertiser's editorial board. "Anything with 'Native Hawaiians' is seen as race-based to them."

But this concern needs to be telegraphed to other members of Congress — to be aware of the commission's change in course and watch how it uses its influence on lawmakers. Anyone who believes in civil rights advocacy should be concerned about where the new course is leading.


KGMB 9 TV Transcript of 6 PM and 10 PM television news
Wednesday, September 5,2007 06:09 PM

Akaka Bill Stirs More Debate
Brooks Baehr - bbaehr@kgmb9.com

A poll conducted by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs shows a majority of people in Hawaii are in favor of federal recognition of native Hawaiians as spelled out in the Akaka Bill.

If passed into law, the Akaka Bill would require the federal government to recognize native Hawaiians as an indigenous people with the right to self-government.

OHA questioned 380 people.

It asked, "Do you think that Hawaiians should be recognized by the U.S. as a distinct indigenous group, similar to the recognition given to American Indians and Alaska Natives?
70% answered yes. 18% answered no. The other 12% of people said they did not know.

OHA told KGMB9 the poll is an accurate reflection of the opinions of the people of Hawaii. Akaka Bill opponents say the questions were crafted to solicit favorable support for the bill.

Meanwhile, there is more controversy surrounding the Akaka Bill. Some claim a local civil rights committee asked to comment on the bill is stacked against recognition for Native Hawaiians. Others say the committee should not be criticized until it has had a chance to do its job.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights voted six to two against the Akaka Bill last year, but has since formed a Hawaii State Advisory Committee to hold public briefings and gather local input on the bill.

Wednesday the Hawaii State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a planning meeting in Waikiki.

There is concern among those who support the Akaka Bill the advisory committee is stacked with people who are opposed to the bill.

"In the middle of August we were very expressive and vocal about our concerns about the composition of this committee and the manner in which the reach from Washington D.C. and the Civil Rights Commission from Washington D.C. seem to be manipulating this local committees agenda," said OHA chairperson Haunani Apoliona.

One of the two commission members who voted in favor of the bill last year came all the way from the capitol to sit in on the advisory committee's meeting. Commissioner Michael Yaki also believes the committee was set up to help squash the Akaka Bill.

"The single purpose of why the Hawaii SAC was set up the way it was was to create additional opposition. It is as if to say ... the commission is one thing. We're from all over the country. But to say that the Hawaii State Advisory Committee takes a position against the Akaka Bill, my colleagues on the commission believe will help make it more difficult to pass in the congress," Yaki told KGMB9.

Honolulu attorney Bill Burgess is one of the 17 members of the advisory committee. He is vocal in his opposition to the Akaka Bill, but says he knows of no effort to build a committee slanted against the bill. "I mean the committee as far as I can tell is has a great diversity. It's not stacked," Burgess said.

Wednesday's Advisory Committee was just a planning meeting with no public testimony, but the public will have an opportunity to comment on the Akaka Bill during hearings next week.

There will be a meeting Wednesday, September 12 between 1 pm and 5 pm at the State Capitol on Oahu. Thursday the advisory committee will accept testimony between 12:30 pm and 4:30 pm at the state office building in Hilo. And on Friday, September 14 people on Kauai will have a chance to comment from 1pm to 5 pm in the auditorium at Kauai Community College.


On Wednesday September 5, 2007 the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a public session with testimony limited to five individuals who had been invited for the purpose of providing a diversity of viewpoints.

One of the speakers was Mr. Jere Krischel, senior scholar of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. His testimony is available on this website at

Three speakers represented the Office of Hawaiian Affairs: Haunani Apoliona (Chair of OHA), Boyd Mossman (OHA Maui Trustee), and Robert Klein (former justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court and frequent litigation attorney for OHA). Their written testimony was posted on the OHA website as a combined single document encrypted pdf file which was downloaded and then uploaded to this website at

OHA created a webpage describing the event of September 5 and providing some photos, at
A collection of 91 photos, including all 17 members of the Hawaii Advisory Committee and all 5 people who testified on September 5, is on the OHA website at

A fifth speaker was Dr. Richard Kekuni Blaisdell, M.D. Dr. Blaisdell has been advocating for an independent nation of Hawai'i for several decades, and leads a coalition of several sovereignty groups known as Ka Pakaukau, who share the same objective. Unfortunately Dr. Blaisdell's testimony is not yet available, but it has been requested and will be posted here as soon as he sends it.


Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, September 6, 2007

Akaka bill testimony mixed

An advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights heard conflicting testimony yesterday at a meeting in Honolulu to gather information about a proposed Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill.

A handful of invited speakers disagreed on whether the long-stalled Akaka bill would help or hurt the cause of Hawaiians.

"Our community in Hawai'i, represented by virtually every elected official at every level of government, clearly favors passage of the bill," said Haunani Apoliona, one of three Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees to testify in support of the bill.

But others said the bill would either damage efforts to create an independent Hawaiian nation or discriminate against others based on race, observers said.

The Civil Rights Commission's staff in Washington, D.C., directed the advisory committee to hold the briefings because it wanted local input on the bill.

In the past, the committee has supported the bill, but it recently received several new members, including some who are outspoken opponents of the Akaka bill. The committee took no action or position on the bill yesterday.

There was no opportunity for members of the public to testify at yesterday's briefing, but several public hearings are scheduled across the state next week.

The hearing schedule:

Honolulu: Wednesday, 1 to 5 p.m., state Capitol.
Hilo: next Thursday, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., State Office Building, 75 Aupuni St.
Lihu'e: Sept. 14, 1 to 5 p.m., Kaua'i Community College Performing Arts Center, 3-1901 Kaumuali'i Highway.


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 7, 2007, EDITORIAL


Sovereignty poll results should be scrutinized

A poll conducted for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs shows support for sovereignty.

A new public opinion poll on Hawaiian sovereignty continues to show broad support by island residents, but backing of a key ingredient in the Akaka Bill received only a thin majority, raising questions about whether support of the bill itself is based on ignorance or misunderstanding. The survey probably was conducted to counter a revamped federal civil rights advisory committee's expected opposition to the Akaka Bill granting sovereignty to Hawaiians, but it might do more damage than help.

The telephone poll of 380 residents, conducted by Ward Research for the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, indicated that 70 percent support Hawaiian sovereignty while 18 percent oppose it. A similar poll conducted by Ward Research for OHA two years ago showed support by 68 percent and opposition by 17 percent. It also showed wide majority support for Hawaiian rights, plus federally funded programs and state agencies serving Hawaiians.

But one question posed in the new survey was troublesome: "There has been talk about creating a Hawaiian governing entity that would represent the Hawaiian people in their dealings with the state and the federal government. Do you agree or disagree that an entity of some kind should be formed?"

Actually, there has been more than talk about such a governing body. The Akaka Bill explicitly calls for a "native Hawaiian governing entity to negotiate with federal, state and local governments, and other entities." Only 51 percent of the poll's respondents support it, while 34 percent disagree.

We have criticized a 2005 poll taken by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, which opposes sovereignty, because of a loaded question designed to elicit negative reactions to the Akaka Bill. The newest OHA poll deserves similar scrutiny for a misleading question implying that a Hawaiian governing entity is being talked about but is not part of the Akaka Bill.

Hawaii residents need a clear understanding of the Akaka Bill's potential to help preserve existing Hawaiian benefits that the poll shows are favored by so many.


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 7, 2007, Letter to editor

Civil rights group should reflect diversity

The staged hysteria concerning the new members to the Hawaii Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is nothing more than an attempt to discredit anyone who might dare to disagree with the Hawaiian separatist establishment. The Star-Bulletin's slander ("Our opinion," Aug. 22) of committee chairman Michael Lilly because of a limerick 28 years ago spoofing a convicted murderer, who happened to be of Hawaiian ancestry, is beyond the pale.

The mission of the USCCR is to achieve for every citizen equal legal protection under the Constitution regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability or national origin. (See www.usccr.gov/about/mission.htm for a complete mission statement.) The state advisory committees help the USCCR feel the local pulse. The recommendations of previous Hawaii committees reflected only the politics of racial separatism and an agenda to segregate Hawaiians from non-Hawaiians. The newly appointed committee of seven Democrats, seven Republicans and three Independents is a triumph for ALL the people of Hawaii because it is more diverse and more representative of Hawaii's diverse population and viewpoints.

The Hawaii Advisory Committee members should not bow to the bullying tactics of this newspaper or Hawaiian separatist organizations, but rather adhere to the important task before them: ensuring that every citizen has equal protection under the law.

Sandra Puanani Burgess


Honolulu Advertiser, September 8, 2007, Letters to editor


Justin Hahn (Letters, Aug. 23) feels that William Burgess and company just want a "say in the political process determining the future of their home."

The truth of the matter, however, is that Burgess and those sharing his beliefs don't just want to get involved in determining the future of "their home."

Rather, they seek to meddle into Hawaiian lands programs, Kamehameha Schools and other areas of interests that are, quite frankly, not their business.

Since 1921, Hawaiians have had lands set aside for them under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. Almost immediately, these lands became a political football as everyone and his brother tried to figure out how to get a piece of them at little cost.

Additionally, Hawaiians are plagued by non-Hawaiians trying to determine our right to self-determination. Hawaiians deserve the same rights, no more nor less, afforded to Native Americans. The best way to achieve this is by amending the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, which is an existing piece of federal legislation.

Hahn seems to advocate for allowing the general populace to vote on Hawaiians' right to self-determination. I'd like to point out that Hawaiians were never afforded the right to vote on the overthrow, or annexation, and therefore we should determine our future for ourselves.

Whitney T. Anderson


The hearing held by the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission on Aug. 19 was embarrassing. The committee was recently stacked with opponents to the Akaka bill who are being used by Mainland far-right Republicans to dismantle affirmative action, which has nothing to do with native rights or Hawai'i.

The hearing was held without proper notice for local speakers, but Mr. Roger Clegg, president of The Center for Equal Opportunity, was given a 20-minute opening statement, question and answer time, rebuttal time, and a lead story in The Advertiser. He represents a neoconservative East Coast think tank which fights bilingual education in schools and Affirmative Action college admissions. What does that have to do with the Akaka bill?

Mr. Clegg admitted he is unfamiliar with Hawai'i's situation and is no expert on the matter.

Meanwhile, the people who really know the issue, including the former chairman of the state committee, were given only three minutes to speak.

Clegg says the Akaka bill would be divisive. No. Sham hearings and bogus issues are divisive.

Su Yates


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 9, 2007

The majority have spoken: Hawaiians deserve self-determination

by Haunani Apoliona

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs welcomes the scrutiny the Star-Bulletin calls for in reviewing a poll on Hawaiian issues (Our Opinion, Sept. 7). The poll was conducted for OHA by Ward Research, a professional polling company. Pollsters spoke via telephone with 380 residents, and the sample is representative of the Hawaii population by age, ethnicity and island of residence.

As the Star-Bulletin editorial reports, the poll found widespread support for federal recognition proposed in the Akaka Bill. This tracks with previous scientific polls, and counters the unscientific "push polls" used by opponents of federal recognition who claim the majority of residents oppose the Akaka Bill.

The scientific poll shows an overwhelming majority of residents in Hawaii do not agree with conservative critics who say Hawaiians are a race, not an indigenous, native people.

A clear majority believe Hawaiians have a right to make decisions about their land, education, and health, cultural and traditional practices.

This poll found overwhelming support of federally funded programs for Hawaiians. And a clear majority agree that organizations like Kamehameha Schools, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and OHA should be protected from litigation through federal recognition.

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed support the formation of a governing entity, a number that tracks with previous scientifically conducted polls.

The Star-Bulletin's assertion that the results from that question "might do more damage than help" misses the point. And comparing this poll question to the "push polls" conducted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is undeserved.

Getting a majority of Hawaii residents to support a Hawaiian governing entity speaks volumes in light of the barrage of misinformation being spewed by the Grassroot Institute and its well-financed army of critics both here and in Washington, D.C.

The 51 percent shows that more than half of Hawaii residents don't buy into the "big lies" and "propaganda" from anti-Akaka critics that the Akaka Bill will bring secession, land grabs and gambling, or that it will restrict civil rights of non-Hawaiians and eliminate taxes paid by Hawaiians and their businesses.

OHA fully understands that there's much work to do in allaying the fears in our community fanned by these fear mongers of misinformation. We know some in our community want to know the details of what the entity will bring once it is formed, following the passage of the Akaka Bill.

Some ask why those details can't be provided now, before the bill is passed.

The answer is simple: No one can define the governing entity until the democratic process begins with the election of representatives who will ultimately design the form of this entity. Other native people, such as the Alaska Natives, created corporations. American Indians adopted nation-within-a-nation models. Native Hawaiians will design and adopt a model appropriate to native Hawaiians.

The bottom line is that an overwhelming majority of residents support federal recognition of Hawaiians.

Yes, the Star-Bulletin correctly points out that OHA is concerned that the recently revamped Hawaii State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will vote against the Akaka Bill in an effort to derail the legislation in Washington.

The committee is composed of members from the Grassroot Institute and those who litigate against Hawaiians, such as H. William Burgess, along with others who have signed anti-Akaka Bill petitions.

We don't believe this committee reflects the majority view of the residents of Hawaii, as evidenced in not only this latest poll but in previous scientifically conducted polls.

All of Hawaii should be concerned, as there are pressing civil rights issues for this HSAC to tackle rather than be manipulated by the Washington, D.C., USCCR.

Haunani Apoliona is chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.


Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, blog, September 11, 2007

By Stephen Aghjayan

The following is a letter to the Hawaii Advisory Committee of the United States Commission on Civil Rights by Stephen Aghjayan.

I am writing you about the grave and negative consequences our state faces from the potential passage of the Akaka Bill. The proponents of this bill like to say that all they are asking is for is the Federal recognition that other native peoples have. There is never any discussion as to how Federal Indian Policy (FIP) and the reservation system is working on the mainland. I can speak a little to this point.

Prior to moving to Hawaii I lived for twenty years within the boundaries of the Swinomish Indian Reservation in WA State. For over 15 of those years I lived on leased Indian trust land. I have first hand experience with Federal Indian Policy and how Federally recognized tribes (FRT) operate and interact with their neighbors and those they do business with.

Long before 9-11 my experiences and observations were such that I was characterizing FRT as “little terrorist entities in our midst”. I witnessed an attitude among many tribal members that they are tribal members first and Americans second. Many of them like to talk about that their tribe is “sovereign” and the Lummis in particular claim they have never been conquered.

These individuals put their tribal interests above all else. In many places particularly on our borders tribes are involved in the all kinds of illegal trafficking and activities. Tribes are able to flout their congressionally granted so called “sovereign immunity” to misbehave and then not face any consequences.

It used to be that the BIA kept the Tribes in check but since 1974 and the Indian preference in hiring act we now have a situation where the BIA works for the Tribes benefit, not so much for the rest of us. I can see the same thing happening in respect to any Native Hawaiian governing entity.

As the president of the West Shore Tenants Association which represented mainly non tribal members I have experience in bringing grievances against unfair tribal actions into both tribal and federal courts.

Our association was formed in response to 300%-500% land rent increases and what we believed was an illegal utility assessment that was imposed unequally upon tribal and non tribal members to the detriment of the non tribal members. We were unsuccessful in our Tribal Court appeal which found that we could be discriminated against by the tribal utility authority.

FRT compete with local, county and state governments for money, power and resources and they do it with the backing of our tax dollars. Any Hawaiian governing entity would be doing the same thing.

Most tribes have more lawyers working for them on a per capita basis than do the communities around them. One of the things you find out when dealing with tribes is that they will often do things that are wrong and or illegal but they force you to have to challenge them in court to stop them. They will try to get you to go into tribal court first where the playing field is not so level. If you find your self trying to fight a FRT in Federal Court you are fighting not only the Tribe but generally the BIA and the Dept. of the Interior as well. Battling tribes becomes a war of attrition. The financial burden of challenging them with all the Federal monies at their disposal and the bevy of lawyers at their command is daunting. They don't have to be right, they just have to outlast you. Small towns and counties are often bullied into signing agreements and memorandums of understanding in an attempt to avoid litigation. This almost always leads to the diminishment and transfer of the rights of non tribal members and the resources of local governments to the tribes.

Another key issue in this debate is that Tribal members can vote in US elections and do so to elect people who will be supportive to their interests to the detriment of the general citizen taxpayer. Allowing Native Hawaiians to vote for both their own government as well as in State and local elections would almost certainly have the same negative impacts.

The fact that tribal governments impact non tribal members is very problematic in a Constitutional sense. Article 4 section 4 of the US Constitution guarantees us all a republican form of government which essentially means a government that we all get to vote for. Neither current tribal governments on the mainland or the proposed new Hawaiian governing entities are republican in nature. It is undeniable that any Hawaiian governing entity would impact every citizen of the State of Hawaii yet only those with Hawaiian blood would get to vote for it.

I believe that current FIP is deeply flawed both in its legal underpinnings and in its real world consequences and that the same can be said in regard to the potential consequences of the passage of the Akaka Bill.

I ask the commission to not support the creation of a raced based and non republican form of government here in Hawaii.

Stephen Aghjayan writes from Lihue, HI.


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 12, 2007, letters

Committee should be blind to island mosaic

Isn't the debate over Hawaii's civil rights advisory committee membership backwards? To illustrate, here is a question I would administer -- in a hospital's newborn nursery -- to each member: Candidate, as you look at your newest fellow citizens, do you:

A: See them sharing a common and glorious future together as equals, or

B: See in their separate pasts a justification for assigning them to separate groups that claim different rights and privileges?

Doesn't anyone remember America's battle to destroy the evil dishonesty of "separate but equal"? Or when its schools still taught what made America different from, and superior to, the "old countries"? Specifically, that America's nationality is defined in terms of common ideals instead of a common bloodline, and that the Creator endowed "sovereignty" in individuals who are ruled only with their shared consent vs. in "sovereigns" -- monarchs, tribal chiefs, high priests, etc. -- who ruled subjects with no "self-evident" rights.

That's why I can be an American -- just like you, but had my four immigrant grandparents gone to, say Japan, France or Africa instead, no one would accept me as "Japanese," "French" or "Afro-Anything."

So, instead of debating the membership of people pledged to honor Hawaii citizens' born-equal rights, shouldn't we debate membership of people who view America as a mosaic that assigns newborn infants to color-coded boxes that keep them segregated from one another literally forever?

George L. Berish


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 12, 2007, letters

Protect Hawaiian lands by amending law

Those who are pleased with the recent reshuffling of the Hawaii civil rights advisory committee use the guise that they just want a say in the political process determining the future of their home. The truth, however, is that these folks don't just want to get involved in determining the future of "their home." Rather, they seek to meddle into Hawaiian lands and other programs that are not their business.

Since 1921, Hawaiians have had lands set aside under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. Almost immediately, these lands became a political football as everyone and his brother tried to figure out how to get a piece of them at little cost. We are plagued by government entities awarding cheap leases of our lands to big-box retailers and other non-Hawaiian causes, which have no financial benefit to the Hawaiian people. In fact, such leases are actually detrimental to the mission of these programs.

Additionally, Hawaiians are constantly bombarded by non-Hawaiians trying to determine our right to self-determination. Hawaiians deserve the same rights, no more no less, afforded to Native Americans on the U.S. continent; it's also pertinent to point out that Native Americans on the continent were never one single nation united under one government that was recognized globally, as Hawaii was before the overthrow.

The most efficient way to achieve self-determination is by amending the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, rather than crafting new legislation. I believe, as did our first congressional delegate, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana'ole, that all Hawaiians, regardless of blood quantum and residency, should and can have the opportunity to benefit from such programs and participate in this process.

Whitney T. Anderson


West Hawaii Today (Kona)
Thursday, September 13, 2007

Controversy follows Akaka bill, advisory committee

by Nancy Cook Lauer
Stephens Capitol Bureau

HONOLULU -- Accusations of politics continue to swirl around an advisory committee working to make recommendations about the Akaka Bill to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Several members of the Hawaii State Advisory Committee said Wednesday they're considering filing a complaint about Michael Yaki, a pro-Akaka commission member who sat in on a Sept. 5 meeting of the committee. Yaki is the second commission member to attend an advisory committee meeting this year -- Commission Chairman Gerald Reynold attended the first meeting of the committee in August.

Committee members will be in Hilo Thursday to solicit public input about the Akaka Bill, which sets up a process for formal federal recognition of Native Hawaiians. The meeting starts at 12:30 p.m. at the State Office Building on Aupuni Street.

Advisory Committee Chairman Michael Lilly, in a discussion before the meeting Wednesday, asked fellow committee members whether they wanted to add a discussion of Yaki's behavior to the day's agenda. Lilly said Yaki, unlike Reynold, was "disruptive" during the Sept. 5 meeting and "disrespectful" to a speaker.

In addition, noted committee member Vernon Char, Yaki was later on a radio show criticizing the makeup of the committee and saying it was biased against the Akaka Bill, more formally known as Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007.

"I would make a complaint to the commission itself," Char said, "if we are being undermined before we've even deliberated."

At the suggestion of commission staff analyst Barbara de La Viez, who said she objected strongly to the issue being brought up in a public forum with reporters present, committee members agreed to send her e-mails instead of discussing it at the meeting.

Lilly told Stephens Media after the meeting that regardless of the visits by commission members, he felt that "we have complete control of our committee," without interference from the commission. He doesn't know whether to expect frequent visits by commission members or not, he said.

"It was a complete surprise to me that they showed up," Lilly said.

The advisory committee was reorganized after a previous advisory committee recommended passage of the Akaka Bill, a recommendation that Civil Rights Commission overruled last year. Yaki wrote an impassioned dissenting opinion to that vote. Fourteen of the 17 advisory committee members are new, and several have demonstrated anti-Akaka ties.

Yaki characterized the flak about his visit as a way to "distract from the message by attacking the messenger." He said his interview on Na Oiwi Olino Radio, a broadcast of the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, was well within his free speech rights.

"I have every legal right to participate in state committee activities," Yaki told Stephens Media in a telephone interview. "I will not hesitate to speak my mind. I am concerned that my colleagues in Washington, D.C., tried to create a committee that would act quickly to oppose the Akaka Bill. I'm hoping they will make their own independent judgments and not have the people in D.C. tell them how to do it."


Hawaii Tribune-Herald (Hilo), September 14, 2007

Akaka Bill bashed
Area residents attack proposal from all directions

by Peter Sur
Tribune-Herald Staff Writer

The proposed "Akaka Bill" giving Native Hawaiians self-governing rights came under attack from all sides Thursday at a three-hour public hearing in Hilo.

Twenty-eight speakers addressed a subcommittee of the Hawaii State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to air their views on the bill. Most spoke in opposition, and said the bill either promoted a class of second-class citizens or failed to remedy the injustices of the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.

Despite the opposition, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs pointed to an OHA-funded study of 300 Hawaiians that found 82 percent support for the Akaka Bill last month. Just 10 percent opposed it, and 8 percent didn't have an opinion.

The Akaka Bill is known more formally as the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007 and was introduced by U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawaii. The bill seeks to protect programs that benefit Hawaiians from lawsuits by establishing a relationship between the U.S. government and a Native Hawaiian governing entity.

Many of Wednesday's speakers lectured the committee on Hawaiian and American history and law, and how the panel was a sham.

Kihei Soli Niheu spoke first, addressing the group in Hawaiian and then adding in English that "once again the commission doesn't provide a Hawaiian interpreter. That is a violation of civil rights. I want to make sure that is put out on the record." After explaining his background as an opponent of nuclear power in Hawaii, he cut down the Akaka Bill.

"The Akaka Bill represents the interests of the agents of the United States of America. The agents have no authority. There's an Office of Hawaiian Affairs that's illegal because it's mandated by the occupiers."

It went downhill from there. Others hit at the advisory committee because only seven of the 17 committee members were present.

Moanikeala Akaka, a former OHA trustee and outspoken Hawaiian activist, provided the biggest fireworks of the day.

"This has nothing to do with race. It has nothing to do with the color of my skin. This is a political issue for the theft -- I repeat -- the theft of our Hawaiian nation. It appears as though this group has been stacked up against us, and most of you have been appointed are trying to dismantle any sort of justice for our Hawaiian people. For the theft of our Hawaiian nation. This fact cannot be denied, this theft I'm referring to."

Akaka, no relation to the bill's author, directly addressed committee member H. William Burgess, an outspoken opponent of the Akaka Bill.

"We're quite aware of the fact that the decks have been stacked by appointees who have as their goal the dismantling of Hawaiian programs and any kind of justice that our people deserve. They have names like 'Aloha for All' (founded by Burgess) when they mean 'all but we kanaka maoli,' whose country has been stolen." She called the panel a sham and a farce under the Bush administration and called on members to resign.

Asked later by Burgess to explain her stance on the bill, Moanikeala Akaka paraphrased U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye: "The U.S. Justice Department has watered down the Akaka Bill so much that it is worthless."

Members of the advisory committee that were present included Amy Agbayani, Robbie Alm and Michelle Nalani Fujimori, all Democrats, and Burgess, Jennifer Benck, James Kuroiwa and Thomas J. MacDonald, all Republicans.

The committee took heat from Moanikeala Akaka because it was reorganized after a previous advisory committee recommended passage of the bill, which the Civil Rights Commission overruled last year. Fourteen of the 17 committee members are newly appointed, including some who strongly oppose the bill.

"I find it to be very discriminatory," said Mary Cabatbat of the bill.

"Where is our backup plan for the Akaka Bill?" asked Bert Kauhi. "You know it's dead."

"The Akaka Bill violates our civil rights in many different ways," said Hanalei Fergerstrom of the Temple of Lono. "I am an advocate for the Hawaiian Kingdom."

"The Akaka Bill oppresses us," said Jo-Ann Lei Kalamau, daughter of the late Hawaii Island OHA Trustee Linda Dela Cruz. She added the bill would "treat us as if we were always in bondage."

Dela Cruz' successor, Trustee Robert K. Lindsey, was one of the few who spoke in favor of it.

"The Akaka Bill is about fairness in U.S. policy, protection of Native American culture and existing programs, and justice," Lindsey said. "This legislation is consistent with the U.S. Constitution, more than 150 federal measures enacted since 1910, and the Hawaii State Constitution. ... The Akaka Bill protects Native Hawaiian rights, trusts, assets and programs, and will protect and preserve Native Hawaiian culture.

"Although these programs target the Hawaiian community, it benefits all who call Hawaii home. Perpetuation of distinct, living cultures requires self-determination, and that is necessary for the Native Hawaiian culture as well." The next speaker, Jojo Tanimoto, also supported the bill, calling it "justice."

Hilo attorney Curtis Narimatsu said his father and others who fought in World War II as members of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team "did not come (back) here to become second-class citizens."

The Harp family -- Isaac, Tammy and their daughter Cherish -- each testified against the bill.

"It's a race-based issue and it should be thrown in the rubbish can," Isaac Harp said.

Later, committee member Alm acknowledged that it would be "a challenge" to reconcile differing views on the Akaka Bill, but added that "I hope we find a way."

Burgess, who raised eyebrows with his appointment to the advisory committee, said he knew that members of the previous panel had a vested interest in approving the Akaka Bill and keeping Hawaiians in a "state of dependency" when it came before them.

"They had strong opinions of the Akaka Bill opposite to mine, but simply having strong opinions didn't disqualify them and shouldn't disqualify those that feel the other way."

The committee wraps up its tour of the islands with a hearing on Kauai today.


The Garden Island (Kaua'i), September 15, 2007

Kaua‘i weighs in on Akaka bill

by Lester Chang

Native Hawaiians from Kaua‘i or kanaka maoli — the indigenous people of Hawai‘i — yesterday lodged heated comments for and against a congressional bill to give federal recognition to Native Hawaiians.

Kawika Cutcher, Sharon Pomroy and others said they support the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007, also known as the Akaka Bill, only because it will protect federally funded programs for future generations. But at the same time, they said they hope the bill will open the way for the secession of Hawai‘i and the return of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. “I support the bill, but it is not the end,” Pomroy said during a break in the meeting of the Hawai‘i State Advisory Committee of the United States Commission in Civil Rights at the Kaua‘i Community College in Puhi.

Even as Pomroy gave lukewarm support for the bill, it received a full endorsement from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which said the federal legislation will protect interests of Native Hawaiians.

But Puanani Rogers, Mahelani Sylva, Rupert Rowe and James Kimokeo Jr. said they didn’t buy that story, adding that the bill, if passed, will result in Hawaiians losing more control of their lands and assets. “My presentation is that the Akaka bill is not for us, because they are going to take away all our rights,” Kimokeo Jr. said. The advisory committee held four previous hearings elsewhere in Hawai‘i to collect public comments. The meeting on Kaua‘i yesterday was the fifth and final gathering.

Michelle Nalani Fujimori, vice chairperson of the committee, said the group will sort through the input and send it to the federal commission as the bill makes its way through Congress.

The bill establishes a process to extend self-governance and self-determination to Hawaiians, the indigenous people of Hawai‘i. Native American and Alaska natives were afforded the same privileges through similar federal laws.

The Akaka bill does not allow Hawai‘i to break away from the United States, does not allow private lands to be taken, does not authorize gaming and does not create a reservation in the state.

But if the bill becomes law, Rowe said some Native Hawaiians will become strangers in their own lands because only those with at least 50 percent Hawaiian blood are eligible for home and farm leases from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. “The race of Hawaiians should not be based on an liquid measurement,” he said.

According to Rogers, the bill disregards the will of Hawaiians. “Since its inception (about seven years ago) we have been ignored many times,” Rogers said. She said the United States illegally overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, leading the way to an equally illegal occupation of Hawai‘i since that time. “I am kanaka maoli and indigenous to this ‘aina (land), not to the United States,” Rogers said.

Sylva said the 1893 overthrow has been an open sore in the Hawaiian community and the Akaka bill is just salt on the wound. “The bill has nothing to do with righteousness. It supports a lie,” Sylva said.

Ken Taylor, a resident who is not Hawaiian, voiced similar sentiments and wished more Hawaiians would unite under one cause.

Cutcher, an Army veteran who was involved with intelligence work, said he and many kanaka from Kaua‘i who served in the military are “fed up” with westernized practices that have that invalidated the kanaka culture. While he would like to see Hawai‘i secede from the United States, enactment of the bill, he said, will protect hundreds of millions in federal dollars for Hawaiian programs.

Pomroy voiced similar sentiments and said he wants to join the Hawaiian governing body spelled out in the bill once the measure becomes law so that he can advocate for use of the funds to benefit kanaka.

But in voicing support for the bill, Clyde Namuo, administrator with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, said in a prepared statement that the measure will establish a process for federal recognition of Hawaiians.

Contrary to points made at earlier commission hearings or sessions, Namuo said Native Hawaiians are indigenous people, the Department of Interior will not take lands held in trust for Hawaiians, and that actions on the bill will not occur without public input.

But Commissioner William Burgess said it was his impression that Hawai‘i residents will not have anything to say about the bill until it becomes law, at which time a new Hawaiian government entity to work with the federal and state governments would be created.


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 15, 2007

Kucinich says state knows to reject war
The candidate for president says he feels a "strong connection" linking him to Hawaii

By B.J. Reyes

In his 2004 presidential campaign, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio had his best showing in Hawaii -- where he won 32 percent of the state's Democratic Caucus vote and finished second behind eventual nominee John Kerry. So in the run-up to the 2008 bid for the White House, Hawaii was a logical stop along the way. "I have a strong connection to Hawaii, and Hawaii has a strong connection to me," Kucinich said yesterday in an interview with the Star-Bulletin. "I see it and I feel it."

Regarding legislation specific to Hawaii, Kucinich said he hopes to speak with Sen. Daniel Akaka in detail about issues related to native Hawaiian recognition and the so-called Akaka Bill.

"There needs to be not only an understanding of native Hawaiians' history, but of what happened when the territories were taken by the United States government; what happened when Hawaii became the 'property' of the United States of America; what effect that had on native Hawaiians and how that changed their rights," he said.

"Whatever the people of Hawaii feel is fair and the right thing to do, I can support."


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 16, 2007


United Nations’ dream declaration won’t help indigenous people

The U.N. General Assembly has approved a declaration calling for greater rights for indigenous peoples.

ADVOCATES for native peoples have won a feel-good declaration by the United Nations that will not further their cause. Instead, the nonbinding U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples lacks realistic goals that could have furthered the development of self-governing entities in Hawaii and elsewhere. What has been hailed by some as a landmark declaration was instead a missed opportunity.

The declaration was approved by the U.N. General Assembly last week by a vote of 143-4, with 11 abstentions. Importantly, the negative votes were cast by the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The approval followed more than two decades of negotiations, ending with the exclusion of the United States and Australia from talks where final agreement was reached on the amended text.

The provision that killed any opportunity for the big players to support the declaration stated that "indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired." Implementation of such a policy could reopen U.S. negotiations with Indian tribes and strip non-Hawaiians of land ownership in the islands.

"It appears to require recognition of rights to lands now lawfully owned by other citizens, both indigenous and nonindigenous," said Parekura Horomia, New Zealand minister of Maori affairs. "This ignores contemporary reality and would be impossible to implement."

Most of the declaration is laudable, calling on nations to honor religious and cultural traditions, grant indigenous peoples the right to manage their own education systems and protect natives against discrimination. General Assembly President Haya Al Khalifa called it "a triumph for indigenous peoples around the world." However, it is no triumph when it is nonbinding and is rejected by the countries that have the most authority over native peoples.

One provision that could have been useful if the United States had signed on says: "Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions."

Limiting the goal of autonomy to that would have put pressure on the Bush administration to accept Hawaiian sovereignty as proposed by Sen. Daniel Akaka. The White House has indicated that it opposes the Akaka Bill, and the hallucination of a land grab made rejection of the U.N. declaration too easy.

"We're not standing against the issue," said Benjamin Chang, a spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the U.N., calling the text confusing and unclear. "We want one that is universal in its scope and can be implemented. What was done (Thursday) is not clear. The way it stands now is subject to multiple interpretations and doesn't establish a clear universal principle."


Honolulu Advertiser, September 17, 2007, letter to editor


It was great to see the Island Voices column on Sept. 4 by the University of Hawai'i law school students ("Too early to determine Akaka bill impact").

Their analysis reveals that the bill is largely empty. It is to be filled in by agreement among appointed negotiators from the new governing entity, the State of Hawai'i and the United States, all of whom will be "from the government and here to help you," which Ronald Reagan identified as terrifying words.

If one assumes the Akaka bill passes at some point, then the headline would read, "Too late to do anything about Akaka bill impacts."

Since political power, land and money are at stake, you can be sure the lobbying will be fierce and Joe Public will be a helpless bystander.

It is never too early to avoid being too late with the Akaka bill.

Richard O. Rowland
President, Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i


Hawaii Reporter, September 17, 2007

Akaka Bill is Bad for America
Proposed Legislation Dedicates Scarce Financial Resources to Promote Ethnic Divisions Within Our Great Nation and Expands the Role of Government

By Richard Heidel

This letter was sent on September 11, 2007 to Congressman Steve Kagen from Richard Heidel, the Mayor of the Village of Hobart, Wisconsin, and the Village board

Dear Congressman Kagen:

We are writing to express our opposition to the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act of 2007 (S.310 and H.R.505).

The proposed legislation would dedicate scarce financial resources to promote ethnic divisions within our great nation and, at the same time, expand the role of government in an attempt to fix a system that does not appear to be broken.

The following paragraphs highlight what S. 310 and H.R. 505 would do and why we are opposed to such action.

According to a summary of the legislation, S. 310/H.R. 505 would, in part:

(a) allow for the reorganization and federal recognition of a single and separate Native Hawaiian government entity to serve as the representative government body for Native Hawaiian people;

(b) create an Office for Native Hawaiian Relations within the Office of the Secretary of the Interior;

(c) create a Native Hawaiian Interagency Coordinating Group; and

(d) create a nine-member Commission charged with establishing, maintaining, and certifying the adult members of the Native Hawaiian community. The fiscal note prepared by the Congressional Budget Office states that “implementing S. 310 would cost about $1 million per year over the 2008-2010 period and less than $500,000 in each subsequent year…”. The Village of Hobart is opposed to the legislation because it sets a precedent for thousands of Native American groups to seek federal recognition as independent Tribes.

Federally recognized Tribes may refuse to adhere to local zoning or environmental regulations, refuse to collect or remit sales and excise taxes owed on non-tribal transactions, and may impart greater influence over elections due to their exemption from campaign contribution laws.

The continued creation of separate tribal governing bodies –bodies that are sovereign and exempt from the laws that are applicable to the rest of the country-is contrary to the whole concept of being one united nation.

The Village is also opposed to the legislation because it allows Native Hawaiians to obtain federal recognition as a Tribe even though federal criteria for such recognition have not been met. Separate legislation would not be necessary if Native Hawaiians met the “Mandatory criteria for Federal acknowledgement” specified in the Code of Federal Regulations (25 CFR 83.7).

Finally, we are opposed to the legislation because it is a waste of our scarce financial resources and an unnecessary expansion of government bureaucracy.

At the federal level, $1 million per year may not seem like much, but at the state level it is equivalent to annual funding for Wisconsin’s School Breakfast Program ($1,055,400 in 2006-07) or Medical Assistance payments for day treatment services for persons with mental illness ($1.1 million in 2005-06).

S. 310/H.R. 505 proposes using similar funding levels to create new offices, commissions and coordinating groups – money that could be spent on providing direct services to those in need.

We ask you to please vote against S. 310/H.R. 505 when given the opportunity.

Richard Heidel is the mayor of the Village of Hobart, Wisconsin.


Honolulu Advertiser, September 18, 2007, letter to editor


Is the fox guarding the chicken coop? I'm talking about the OHA poll on the public's attitude toward passage of the Akaka bill.

Put the issue to a public vote. If more than 60 percent of the people polled supported many of the proposed resolutions in the bill, then there should be no problem in getting broad public approval and proving to Congress that indeed the citizens of Hawai'i want the Akaka bill passed.

Otherwise, there will always be the suspicion that these polls and surveys conducted by interested parties have been salted or influenced in some way to skew them to the desired result.

It's time to show an example and do the right thing by having the public actually express their beliefs.

Paul Tyksinski


Hawaii Reporter, September 18, 2007

Deliberately Dividing America

By Wes Vernon

Some 40 years ago when the civil rights movement eliminated legally enforced segregation (Jim Crow), we were told repeatedly that this would end ethnic and racial divisions in America. We were all Americans, and we would all share in the benefits of our unique society.

There are some who did not get that message. For years, they have perpetrated and relished the politics of “ethnic identity.”

The 50th state

When Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959, there were those who warned that Hawaii’s multiple ethnic makeup would make it difficult, if not impossible, for that territory to assimilate into American society.

They were wrong — at least for the first 41 years of Hawaii’s statehood. Every year, Hawaiians would mark the anniversary of statehood with parades, fireworks, speeches, and American flags flying high. In 2000, then-Governor Ben Cayetano put an abrupt halt to all that.

In more recent times, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal visited the Hawaiian Islands and found a totally different attitude. Instead of a celebration of the islands’ Americanism, the streets there have been taken over by demonstrators crusading for “Native Hawaiian rights,” and for the Akaka bill (more on that below).

Ethnic identity: We’re not all Americans now

Anyone visiting the beautiful island of Hawaii until recently would have marveled at the harmony and color-blind mentality that has existed there.

Obviously, the multiculturalist busybodies were not about to allow that to stand. No way. They can’t have a multiracial society living in harmony. That’s not the kind of thing that generates angry voting blocs. Just as politicians desire to have as many poor people out there amongst the populace as possible — the better to keep them angry and vulnerable to the siren songs of the class-hatred mongers — so too are they desirous of having an angry agitating racial minority well-organized so as to enable politicians to play on their fears of injustices, real and imagined. Never mind that polls show Hawaii’s opposition to the Native Hawaiian Bill, including among the Native Hawaiians, themselves.

Thus, the Akaka Bill

As this column noted on September 5, 2005, and June 5, 2006, there is legislation pending on Capitol Hill that would lead to the creation of a race-based government — the Native Hawaiian Governing Entity (NHGE) for the estimated 400,000 Native Hawaiians — not just in Hawaii itself — but living throughout all 50 states of the USA.

The Akaka Bill — so named after Hawaii’s junior Senator Daniel Akaka — would empower that separate nation’s government to negotiate with the U.S. government on a broad range of issues — including criminal and civil justice jurisdiction, civil rights matters, and delegation of powers from the U.S. to the NHGE — as well as transfer of land, natural resources, and other properties.

If it ain’t broke, fix it anyway

And what defines a “Native Hawaiian”? Anyone who is a direct descendent of the “indigenous people who resided on the islands on or before January 1, 1893,” or one of the “native peoples of Hawaii who was eligible in 1921 for programs authorized by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act or is a direct lineal descendent” of such a person.

When you consider all the inter-marriages over the years and the fact — again — that these people are scattered hither and yon all over America, one can imagine that this would — if enacted — lead to more racial conflict and of course, the enrichment of the trial lawyers (might have known they were involved somehow) as a result of legal confusion that would surely follow.

I’m an Indian, too?

Advocates of the Akaka Bill argue that all they’re doing is providing the same rights to Native Hawaiians as those accorded the American Indians (or “Native Americans”) and Alaska Natives.

A memo written last year by Heritage Foundation scholars Edwin Meese (a former U.S. Attorney General) and Todd Gaziano argues that the analogy does not work.

“Hawaiians [regardless of blood purity] are not and cannot be an American Indian tribe,” they write. “The term ‘Indian tribes’ mentioned in the Constitution has a fixed constitutional meaning that cannot be changed by a simple act of Congress. They are limited to the pre-existing tribes of North America, or their offshoots, that were thought to be ‘dependent nations’ at the time of the framing of the Constitution. Such American Indian tribes must have an independent existence and predominately separate ‘community’ apart from the rest of American society, and their government structure must have a continuous history for at least the past century.”

“By these standards,” Meese and Gaziano conclude, “Hawaiians could never qualify as an Indian tribe.”

The status of the bill

On May 2, a House Committee approved the 2007 version of the Native Hawaiian Bill. On May 10, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs did likewise.

The Bush administration, which had held back from taking any position in public up until then, surprised the senators at the last minute with a position strongly and openly opposing it.

This fall, it is likely the full Congress will take it up for a vote. The question is whether it will pass both houses with a veto-proof majority. If it does not, then a presidential veto would probably kill it, unless enough arms could be twisted to provide the two-thirds majority required to override.

What’s next?

If this is allowed to sail through — to the total disregard of our Constitution and Bill of Rights — then what will follow? An African-American nation, an Hispanic-American nation? (The latter would feed into the movement in some quarters to take back the southwest U.S. for Mexico.) Chinese American? German American?

Our congressmen and senators need to hear from you. Is the United States of America to be torn asunder?

Wes Vernon is a Washington-based writer and veteran broadcast journalist. This article was first published on the Renew America web site and is reprinted in the Grassroot Institute column with permission.


Hawaii Reporter, September 19, 2007

Setting the Record Straight on Grassroot Institute's Position on the Akaka Bill

By Richard O. Rowland

This is the testimony of Richard O. Rowland for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii (GRIH) to the Hawaii State Advisory Committee and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on September 11, 2007. See more at

I am Dick Rowland, President of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a non-partisan, non-profit public policy analysis and educational institution based in Honolulu. Thank you for this opportunity to address this panel. It is understood that there have been several verbal attacks on Grassroot Institute of Hawaii before this panel in the last few days. I have come to clear the air by giving you the five key concerns we have regarding the proposed Akaka bill.

First, we believe that much more public debate and discussion of this legislation and how it will affect Hawaii and the nation are needed. This hearing contributes to that purpose. Thank you.

Second, we refuse to believe that persons of native Hawaiian ancestry are in any way inferior to persons of other ancestry. The reason we make this point is that proponents of the bill constantly cite poor education, unemployment or under employment, poor health, social unrest, homelessness etc among persons of native Hawaiian ancestry as a reason to enact the Akaka bill.

Third, and related to the above point, even if we were somehow incorrect in our confidence in the immense inherent capabilities of all human beings including those of native Hawaiian ancestry, we reject the idea that the solution to inferior performance is a law to create political superiority of one ancestral group over those of all other ancestry. That is exactly what the creation of a separate, exclusive Native Hawaiian Governing Entity accomplishes and it does so in perpetuity.

Fourth, the Akaka bill is intended to be imposed upon Hawaii from the federal government level without any provision for the explicit consent of the people of the State of Hawaii. A vote of the people of Hawaii should be required before Congress acts. Fifth, the Apology Resolution of 1993 passed by Congress implied that the U.S. supported the overthrow of the Queen of Hawaii in 1893. That conclusion is bad history, thoroughly refuted by two earlier extensive studies ordered by Congress that reach the opposite conclusion. Accordingly, we believe the Apology bill should be rescinded. In any event the people of Hawaii should not be punished by allowing the confiscation of land owned by the people of Hawaii, worth billions of dollars and transferring it without compensation to the new Hawaiian government.

In summary, GRIH is not explicitly opposed to the Akaka bill.

Instead, we object to:

1) The lack of adequate debate and discussion to develop full understanding of the proposed bill by the people of Hawaii and the nation.

2) The notion implied by backers of the bill that those of native Hawaiian ancestry are somehow inferior or inadequate. We believe that to be false.

3) The notion that such supposed inadequacy could be corrected by perpetual superiority imposed by law.

4) The absence of any provision for the people of Hawaii to approve the Akaka bill prior to action by the US government.

5) The imposition of all costs for implementation of the bill on the innocent people of Hawaii.


Ka Wai Ola [Office of Hawaiian Affairs official monthly newspaper]
Vol. 24, No 10, October 2007, page 20
The October issue can be downloaded only in its entirety; 3.5 megabytes:

Hawaiian recognition supporters are the mainstream majority

Boyd P. Mossman
Trustee, Maui

By the time you read this article, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission road show will have come and gone, with the national group poised now to rely upon any recommendation against the Akaka Bill as further grounds to demonstrate that the people of Hawai'i object to racial discrimination by Hawaiians against all others. More accurately, should the local committee find the bill discriminatory, it will be the recently appointed majority of its members -- consisting of some of the harshest, most strident critics and opponents of the bill in the United States -- who will have decided on behalf of us all. It will be a travesty of justice should this occur, and, just as last year, the Senate opponents and administration will undoubtedly use the commission's adverse findings to argue against the bill.

I know this will not disappoint those who rail against the bill because it is too little too late, even though the reason for their opposition is totally opposite the commission's. Yet the two blindly join forces to defeat the mainstream Hawaiians who are merely seeking to preserve what they have today, including their identity as a distinct indigenous people and Congress' recognition of them via bills providing assistance for so many Hawaiian needs. This unholy alliance of opposite purposes to defeat the popular middle ground smacks of the 'a'ama syndrome. [crabs in a bucket pulling each other down]

Hawaiians on all sides need to realize that stopping Akaka will severely affect their ties to the land, the sea, their iwi and their 'ohana. Their sovereignty cannot ever be returned in any form unless we are successful in passing Akaka. Sure the state could recognize a Hawaiian government, but how long before the next lawsuit? With Akaka, Hawaiians can defend themselves in the federal courts. Kamehameha Schools. DHHL, numerous Hawaiian nonprofits -- even private enterprises and farmers -- survive, and Hawaiian rights that are provided for in our state constitution, including access, gathering, burial, etc., can be protected.

For Hawaiians who buy the equal protection, everybody the same, civil rights, discrimination argument, the defeat of the bill may satisfy their principles of citizenship and compliance with the 14th Amendment but they fail to recognize that this is a political, not a civil rights, issue. If Indians and Eskimos are indigenous, and if they have received recognition from Congress as peoples who have had their homelands taken away from them, why shouldn't Hawaiians, an indigenous people also receive the same recognition? Have Hawaiians so assimilated into the rest of society that they cannot be recognized as a distinct people? One might just look at the homeless, the imprisoned. the indigent, the unemployed, the less educated and ill to see that Hawaiians are not assimilated.

Have the Hawaiian societies and organizations not continued to exist as distinctly Hawaiian? Has 'olelo Hawai'i not been revived and recognized as an official language of Hawai'i? Has Kamehameha Schools not continued to perpetuate the Hawaiian people through education? Has Congress itself not recognized Hawaiians as a people deserving of help in numerous areas, with Hawaiian Homes leading the way, follow by aid in education, health, housing, legal issues, employment, etc.? And have the peopIe of Hawai'i not recognized the uniqueness and importance of its indigenous peoples as reflected in its constitution and laws?

With the recent Ward Research poll concluding that a significant majority of Hawai'i's people, including Hawaiians, favor recognition of Hawaiians by Congress, and roughly 20-25 per cent are opposed, with a small percentage clueless, Hawaiians should stand together with non-Hawaiians for passage of the Akaka Bill and preservation of the Hawaiian people.


Indian Country Today, October 4, 2007

Melendez: Commission on Civil Rights must strengthen support for Indian country

by: Arlan Melendez

How can the federal government begin to reclaim its credibility as a protector of civil rights in Indian country? In September, the House of Representatives finally passed the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act, but Congress has yet to pass the Indian Health Care Reauthorization Act and other legislation. The politicization of the Department of Justice, with its changing priorities for the Civil Rights Division and pressure to fire U.S. attorneys who took Indian country issues seriously, remains a long-term problem. While there is reason to hope the new environment in Washington, D.C., will continue to produce positive change on these issues, one government body that should be pushing for protection of Native peoples bears special scrutiny - the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

The commission was created by President Eisenhower 50 years ago this fall as part of the 1957 Civil Rights Act to serve as the ''conscience'' of the nation as it confronted discrimination. The commission was empowered to hold formal investigatory hearings and gather evidence of discrimination - particularly with respect to race, ethnicity and the exercise of the right to vote. The agency is supposed to tell the harsh truths of discrimination to the media, public and national leaders. In addition to the commission, the 1957 act also established new laws to protect voting rights and created the Civil Rights Division within the department. The key idea behind the 1957 legislation was that only a mix of national publicity, stricter laws and heightened federal prosecution of cases would actually change the nation.

In the past, the Commission on Civil Rights' dealings with Indian country were mixed. There were some helpful early publications, like its 1972 American Indian Civil Rights Handbook. The commission called the FBI to answer for its lax law enforcement in Indian country in a hearing in 1979. Some of the commission's state advisory committees that act as the ''eyes and ears'' of the agency at the local level also examined discrimination against Native Americans.

But the commission historically did not focus much on Indian issues, and at times its approach was scandalous. Some may recall then-chairman William Barclay Allen, who resigned in 1989 after his arrest in an alleged kidnapping of a child from the White Mountain Apache Reservation while conducting an ''investigation'' of how tribal custody cases were handled. Charges were dropped and apologies given for having given the child a ride from school without asking her mother's permission. But it seems hard to separate the chairman's bizarre actions from the apparent disregard for tribal sovereignty during the commission's hearings on the Indian Civil Rights Act in 1988.

More recently, the commission took much greater interest in Indian country when Elsie Meeks became the first American Indian appointed to the commission. During her term, the commission issued two key reports. The 2003 report, ''Quiet Crisis: Federal Funding and Unmet Needs in Indian Country,'' gives an overview of the government's failure to meet its trust responsibilities; and the 2004 report, ''Broken Promises: Evaluating the Native American Health Care System,'' has detailed findings and recommendations for changes to the IHS. In 2001, the agency also called for an end to the use of American Indian images and team names by non-Native schools.

However, my appointment to the commission (after Meeks) followed a takeover of the agency by conservative commissioners who have shown a disturbing turn away from support of Native people. The majority of commissioners issued a report in 2006 recommending against passage of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (commonly known as the ''Akaka bill''), which would recognize the rights of Native Hawaiian people to their own government and self-determination. There has been broad support in Hawaii and among tribes for the Akaka bill, but the commission's current majority isn't listening. They wrongly frame the issue as being about creating a ''race-based'' government rather than recognizing the inherent sovereignty and cultural identity of indigenous people who the U.S. military helped overthrow and strip of their lands.

In reaching their position on Native Hawaiian recognition, the majority of commissioners ignored my dissenting comments, the dissent of the only other Democratic commissioner (who is part-Hawaiian), those who spoke in support of the bill at a public meeting in January 2006, and the previous advice of the agency's own Hawaii state advisory committee. In fact, the agency's Bush-appointed staff director in August hastily set meetings on the Akaka bill by a new Hawaii state advisory committee full of different appointees. The manner and timing of the new Hawaii state advisory committee's discussions of the Akaka bill are suspicious. The majority on the commission already rejected this Native rights bill and now appears to be trying to overturn past state support.

Will the Commission on Civil Rights turn around? Today's commission is a shadow of its former self. It is largely inactive and often dismissed for its extreme positions. Like the DOJ and so many other federal agencies, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights needs to be reformed so that it can regain its independence, quality of work, and bipartisan support. I remain hopeful about reform, but it will require courage and support from everyone who sees the need for a strong federal agency to act as the ''conscience'' of the nation in stopping discrimination. So many of the civil rights problems in Indian country continue because the rest of our nation hasn't heard or understood what's happening.

In November, the commission will briefly examine discrimination against American Indians in reservation border towns. I hope that the agency will seize the opportunity to resume its vocal support of Native communities. There must be a renewal of the whole Commission on Civil Rights in this 50th anniversary year that will make the agency an enduring voice for the civil rights of all Native peoples in this country.

Arlan D. Melendez is chairman of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony in Nevada and a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The views he expresses are his own and may not be shared by other commissioners.


Hawaii Reporter, October 8, 2007

The Akaka Bill: Escalating Separatism, Socialism and Tribalism

By Elaine Willman

Hawaii’s Akaka Bill (Senate Bill 310 and House Bill 505) is not just about Hawaii. This article attempts to explain why this bill is so strongly opposed across the mainland, and the entire country. It is important to understand how significant the Akaka Bill is to the Hispanic and Indian community as well.

Since the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, an escalation of federally recognized Indian tribes and attendant reservations now stands at 562 separate tribal governments, with over 270 additional tribes seeking separatism (federal recognition) based upon race and history. Among these tribes are over 370 lucrative Class III tribal gambling facilities, over 40 of which have plunked down into urban, off-reservation locations, redirecting vast sums of an area’s disposable income. This is a burgeoning, imposing jurisdictional and economic fabric to layer across America, one that is almost entirely subsidized by citizen taxpayers and consumers.

There are significant distinctions between local state subdivisions such as counties, cities and towns, and tribal governments. The former must adhere and operate within the confines of the U.S. Constitution and State Constitutions; the latter are self-determining and have substantial “add-ons” unavailable to local jurisdictions. State subdivisions must be republic in form with clear separations between legislative, executive and judicial branches; tribal governments are often ruling families elected in many tribal communities without a secret ballot. Where tribal governments adopt constitutions and simulate equity between their legislative, executive and judicial branches, the reality is that these leadership lines are blurred and clan or family-related.

Local county and city governments may not initiate and operate profit centers. Tribal governments may do so in an unlimited manner, and are guaranteed a monopoly on gambling if desired, and on Native American product protections. Tribal governments may also own casinos, hotels, resorts, golf courses, retail and industrial facilities, etc. Local governments may not participate in the American marketplace or elections, but tribal governments do so with almost no regulatory oversight. Local governments do not receive annual federal subsidies commensurate with those guaranteed to Indian tribes for health, education, law enforcement, housing, courts, land acquisition, economic development, cultural programs and preservation.

Local governments do not have immunity from litigation. Tribal governments do. Tribal wealth management seminars have been ongoing since the first one held in Tampa, Florida in November 2004. Local governments may not accrue “wealth” or profit.

Private businesses owned by tribal members have competitive advantages by way of exemptions from state and local permits, fees, taxes and other regulations required of all other local businesses. So the dueling economy is one of not just constraints upon local government jurisdictions, and advantages of tribal government jurisdictions. It is also a similar unevenly weighted marketplace and commerce. Opening a new tribally owned business is considerably less costly to an owner than to any other businessperson who would have to compete. Initial investment for startup businesses reduces the return on investment or profits. With significantly lower initial investment, tribally owned businesses have very clear advantages that tend to cause competitors to incur substantial loss or close.

As this comparison of governing systems and the marketplace is understood, it is easy to realize the incentives and opportunities that some Native Hawaiians (having one drop of Hawaiian blood) seek a separate tribal government likely to be clearly lucrative and capable of financially and politically dominating neighboring local governments.

The poverty and squalor within which most tribal families live on Indian reservations on the mainland is evidence of a top-down governing authority within tribal governments wherein tribal members have little say about tribal revenue and profit centers. Tribal members who, from loyalty to their culture remain on reservations, are beholding to meager per capita distributions, and some get none. It is a tragic but true consequence that Congress never intended but Congress protects tribal governments, not individual tribal citizens. The very same would be true for a federally recognized Native Hawaiian “tribal government.”

Individual Native Hawaiians enrolled in such a separate government would lose the constitutional and civil rights protections that they currently take for granted. All of federal Indian policy upon which the Akaka Bill is organized, is oriented to support tribalism as a governing system, not the individual Indian citizen. Even the Indian Civil Rights Act passed to remedy this enormous flaw, continuously and conveniently lacks enforcement power over tribal governments when they are abusive of their members.

So why is the Akaka Bill also important to Native Americans and Hispanics? And why is it being watched by other ethnocentric governments of the world? The short answer is to grow the numbers and power of the voices of separate race based governments hosted in the 50 states. If Congress reaches into America’s demographics and sets up even one more race as a separate government in the United States, the legal and legislative door is wide open for the radical Reconquista and Aztlan movements of the Mexican Indigenous to rush through and challenge the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The goal, in concert with massive illegal immigration, is to establish separate Mexican Indigenous “homelands” within the seven southwestern states of California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Texas.

Conflicting government systems operating within a state impose serious jurisdictional and civil rights issues. Add to that a legally and intentionally imbalanced marketplace that creates a primary economy and secondary tax-exempt “national Indian economy” subsidized by, profiting from and eroding the primary taxed economy. Separate race-based governments are turning taxpayers into indentured servants.

We must stand on the principle of a country that is united in its respect for all cultures and determination to provide equal protection of laws for all American citizens. However, the escalation of separate racial governments within the United States is a most attractive future outcome for adversaries of the United States. Divide and conquer is a truism historically. So call it what you will: socialism vs. capitalism, tribalism v. democracy, ethnocentrism v. equality: passage of the Akaka Bill is the lynchpin that will launch the most serious domestic crisis this county has known since the Civil War. It will be the next Civil War.

Elaine Willman, MPA, is Chair of Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) a national organization of community education groups and citizens in 28 states who reside within or near federally recognized Indian reservations. Ms. Willman is author of "Going To Pieces...The Dismantling of the United States of America," a non-fiction reflection of the voices on and near 17 Indian reservations in the United States. Contact: Phone: 509-865-6225; or mailto: toppin@aol.com


KTUU TV Channel 2 News, Anchorage, Alaska
Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Native Hawaiians gather in Anchorage for political unity

by Jill Burke

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- There is music. There is singing. And there is the joy of gathering together. But the focus at the Association of Hawaiian Civic Club's annual convention is galvanizing indigenous Hawaiians politically.

Native Hawaiians from around the nation are in Anchorage this week, gathering to work on issues ranging from education and health care to nation building. Native Hawaiians and Alaskans, especially Native Alaskans, share a strong cultural and historic connection.

In addition to education and healthcare, Native Hawaiians are a people who want federal recognition, much the same as that enjoyed by Alaska Natives and other indigenous people with "American Indian" designated status.

Dee Jay Mailer, the chief executive officer of Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii, spoke to convention attendees Wednesday and shared some words from Princess Ke Ali'i Bernice Pauahi Paki Bishop, the founder of the schools.

"Times will come when you feel you are being pushed into the background. Never allow this to happen," Mailer said. "Stand always on your own foundation. But you will have to make this foundation."

The Kamehameha schools' legacy and mission is to teach the children of native lands their heritage and culture. These edicts were left in the will of Bishop and are ancestrally mandated.

"For nation building, it is important for a nation to have an education system that supports native people," Mailer said. "Our school is one way that we educate the native people."

But education is only one prong of the strategy.

Indigenous Hawaiians also want sovereignty, the right to assert themselves and to negotiate as their own government.

They're here in Alaska because Native Alaskans have achieved that right.

The Hawaiians are exploring whether the experience of Alaska's native peoples can help them in their efforts. "We believe in ourselves and Alaska people have been a great example to our efforts," said Mahealani Wendt from the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs.

The Hawaiians have the support of Alaska Natives. They also have the self-determination and sovereignty that natives here say is worth defending, no matter what. "If indigenous people anywhere go unrecognized, it threatens those who have already achieved federal recognition," said Leprimn Gumilgit Gagoadin, a member of the Simshian dance group.

Bryan Mallot, a senior fellow at the Alaska Native Policy Center, echoed that sentiment and said the sovereign status of indigenous Alaskans could be called into question, overtime. "So we feel passionately about the rights of other aboriginal groups," he said.

This passionate quest continues to play out at the Anchorage Hilton this week, while Hawaiians get a taste of the Last Frontier and prepare to shape a political legacy to last generations.


Hawaii Reporter, October 17, 2007

The Cherokee Freedmen, Native American Blood Quantum and the Akaka Bill

By Don Newman

The controversy over the Cherokee freedmen is a perfect example of what could happen in Hawaii should the Akaka bill pass.

The Cherokee freedmen were black slaves that were held by the Cherokee nation and freed by Treaty with the U.S. in 1866 after the conclusion of the Civil War and guaranteed all Native Cherokee rights (Article 9) at that time. Then in 1983 because of political infighting, the then presiding Principle Chief, Ross Swimmer, began to work to convince the tribal council to strip the freedmen of their Cherokee citizenship because they supported his opponent. Eventually he was successful in revoking their citizenship.

Swimmer was able to do this by establishing a “blood quantum” requirement for citizenship in the tribe. Up until that point anyone who had been included in the Federal Government Dawes Commission “rolls,” which were open from 1898 to 1914, were considered citizens of the tribe. These Dawes rolls applied to what are known as the “Five Civilized Tribes” and served as the criteria for tribal membership. (An interesting aside is that the Dawes Commission was authorized March 3, 1893 -- less than 2 months after the Hawaiian Revolution that deposed Queen Liliuokalani.)

The significance of the Dawes Rolls is that while the black slave freedmen were included on the rolls, their ancestry, even when they had Cherokee ancestors, was not always noted. This opened the door for Principle Chief Swimmer to revoke their citizenship and voting rights once the act requiring the blood quantum was passed and assured defeat of his opponent.

The Cherokee Nation Constitution passed in 1975 defines as citizens those who were included in the Dawes Rolls and makes no specific mention of blood quantum.

Although there have been several court battles concerning this state of affairs over the years, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Cherokee nation have yet to resolve the conflict.

On March 3, 2007, the Cherokee Nation voted on, and passed, an amendment to its constitution that codified the blood quantum requirement. This has created a huge amount of tension between the Cherokee freedmen and the tribe. The freedmen consider themselves as part of the tribe and the majority of the Cherokee Nation doesn’t.

The issue was complicated at the recent Congressional Black Caucus annual conference held on Sept. 28, 2007. While black speakers initially focused on educating the American people about America’s “full history” and why reparations are necessary, the worm turned when it came time to examine the Cherokee freedmen case.

The panel was to take up the case of the freedmen but it became a slugfest against the Cherokee Nation. The epithet of “racism” was directed at the Cherokee Nation and Rep. Diane Watson, D-California, has introduced legislation to strip $300 million in federal subsidies as well as suspending the tribe’s authority to operate casinos until the issue is settled to the satisfaction of Congress, which also means to the satisfaction of Rep. Watson. There is something supremely ironic in the Congressional Black Caucus accusing Native Americans of “racism.”

All of this is fascinating on its own but becomes crucial to Hawaii when considering the ramifications of the Akaka bill for the state of Hawaii. The “blood quantum” requirements of the Akaka bill are basically the same as those adopted for the Cherokee Nation. The heritage argument is nearly identical, a single drop of blood quantum becomes the central axis of one’s identity for legal and political purposes. And in the case of the Cherokee Nation, voting rights.

So what happens here if the Akaka bill passes? There will become a division of this community like none that anyone has ever seen. What of the Micronesians, the Samoans and other Pacific Islanders that come here that aren’t of Hawaiian heritage according to blood quantum but are just as Polynesian as any Hawaiian? Do they just continue to sleep in the parks and elsewhere as they are now because there is no affordable housing for them to inhabit?

What becomes of the Hawaiian Sovereignty movement that considers the Akaka bill a sellout to the American government? The situation with the Cherokees shows just how much such “treaties” and other agreements can be abrogated and changed when it suits someone’s political ambitions.

All this calls into question what will be the real result of the Akaka bill if and when it is passed. The bill, for example, says that gaming cannot be justified under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, but that is not to say that it cannot be negotiated as a separate privilege of Hawaiian Sovereignty with the newly reformed Native Hawaiian government. There is nothing in the Akaka bill that precludes this.

And this is the real issue. The money to be acquired through gaming, more commonly known as gambling, is what now drives so much of the politics in many states, such as California, and will eventually drive the politics of the state of Hawaii as well.

If you, as a voter, think that corruption has permeated Hawaiian politics, you haven’t seen nothing yet (pardon my vernacular) until the gaming interests enter this state. The homespun style (Keep the Country Country) that so many treasure will simply fade away. A Native Hawaiian government created by legislative fiat will have no responsibility to anyone. Not you, not the Sierra Club, not the unions, not to anyone.

The newly reformed Native Hawaiian government will be free to do whatever it pleases in the long run. Creating a separate sovereign entity within the U.S. has its own proven track record, which is a trail of corruption. The vast majority of Native Americans do not benefit from their tribal regimes and it is only the ruling elite that typically benefits. This is what Hawaii can expect as well if the Akaka bill passes.


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(c) Copyright 2007 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved