** A CLOTURE PETITION WAS FILED IN THE SENATE ON TUESDAY JUNE 6. THE CLOTURE PETITION IS DEBATED JUNE 7, AND VOTED ON THURSDAY JUNE 8. IF CLOTURE PASSES, THERE WILL THEN BE UP TO 30 HOURS OF FLOOR DEBATE AND AMENDMENTS TO THE AKAKA BILL. THE TRANSCRIPTS FROM THOSE FLOOR ACTIONS (BOTH CLOTURE AND THE UNDERLYING BILL) WILL PROBABLY BECOME AVAILABLE ON THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WEBSITE 24-48 HOURS AFTER THE ACTIONS OCCUR. AS SOON AS THOSE TRANSCRIPTS BECOME AVAILABLE (ON A DAY-BY-DAY BASIS) THEY WILL BE COPIED AND PLACED ON A DIFFERENT (USER-FRIENDLY) WEBPAGE. HERE IS THE LINK TO THAT WEBPAGE:
SUMMARY OF NEWS REPORTS AND COMMENTARIES, IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER FOR JUNE, 2006
June 1: (1) National Review editorial by Alston Ramsay describes the "bastardization of history" underlying the Akaka bill, and says "Bad history inevitably makes bad law." (2) Washington Times editorial says the Akaka bill "is an attempt to legalize and codify what the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in 2000: a race-based government" and concludes "The Akaka bill subverts the ideal of equality without racial distinction toward which America strives. Mr. Akaka's legislation should not have proceeded this far, and deserves to be firmly defeated." (3) Tim Chapman of Townhall.com calls the Akaka bill "An unconstitutional act." He says "winning this floor fight will be critical because of how dangerous the Native Hawaiian bill is." (4) Barb Lindsay, national director of One Nation United, describes problems faced in other states where tribes have casinos and businesses.
June 2: (1) The Wall Street Journal has an editorial "The Akaka State? A recipe for Balkanization heads for the Senate floor." The conclusion: "Republicans this week have a chance to get one right by keeping an unconstitutional bill from reaching the floor of the Senate." (2) Akaka Bill -- OHA flier "The Time is Now" mass-mailed May-June 2006 -- Comments and Corrections
June 3: (1) Robert Novak reports on high-profile Republican lobbyists hired by OHA to lobby for Akaka bill; (2) Letter to editor by some Filipino groups supporting Akaka bill; (3) Letter to editor by H. William Burgess condemning Governor Lingle as a traitor to the Republican Party and to Hawai'i's people
June 4: (1) Objective and balanced news report from Advertiser's Washington bureau describing the political situation in the Senate regarding the Akaka bill, the possibility of amendments, lobbying, concerns over unconstitutionality, conflict between protecting unity and celebrating diversity; and brief history of the bill; (2) Advertiser report that both supporters and opponents want the bill to come to the floor; (3) lengthy commentary in Advertiser by Cliff Slater pokes holes in the Native Hawaiian victimhood claims, links corruption of mainland tribes with corruption of Bishop Estate; (4) Advertiser editorial supports the bill; (5) University of Hawaii President supports the bill (but only asserts cultural preservation as his reason)
June 5: (1) Duncan Currie, reporter for The Weekly Standard, publishes lengthy review of Hawaiian political history, and concludes: "The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act remains a noxious affront to E pluribus unum, and to anyone who gives a fig about colorblind justice and equal protection. As the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights concluded last month, it deserves an emphatic rejection--if not from the Senate or the House, than from President Bush."; (2) John Fund, in the Wall Street Journal, asks "Will the Senate impose race-based government on Hawaii?" He concludes "But the Akaka bill is not just another special-interest boondoggle. It too important not to have senators give it the most exacting scrutiny. Creating a race-based government in Hawaii would create a dangerous precedent that could lead to ethnic balkanization on the mainland too."; (3) Mary Katharine Ham, of Townhall.com, describes her conversations with Native Hawaiians who complain the nobody is asking them what they really want. Ham concludes "This "Hawaiian issue" will become a national issue this week. The Akaka bill's attempt to create a race-based government is antithetical to American values. If the Senate knows that the people of Hawaii—even native Hawaiians—believe that, then maybe we can indeed avoid a bad situation." (4) The black leadership network Project 21 issues press release citing U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report and expressing concern that the Akaka bill conflicts with America's "melting pot" philosophy.; (5) Elaine D. Willman, the National Chair for the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA), says "The Akaka Bill is wrong on every level. Tell Congress to make this nightmare go away."; (6) Wes Vernon, Renew America, "Dismantling of the United States: Happening right before our eyes" discusses the balkanization produced by Mexican immigration and Akaka bills; says it's almost as though these two Senate bills could be imagined to be linked as a conspiracy to dismantle America.; (7) National Review reruns "A Race-Based State -- Hawaii wants a segregation that would boggle your mind."
June 6: (1) "The Hill" discusses Senator Frist's strange mingling of conservative and liberal bills this week. "Frist has also brought a skunk to what otherwise would be a conservative garden party by also scheduling the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act. ... Aides to conservative senators say they are discussing ways to tie the bill up on the floor, possibly by offering anti-abortion amendments. But, nevertheless the bill has a good chance of passing, and if it does it will likely be with the support of almost every Senate Democrat and a minority of the Senate Republican Conference."; (2) Tim Chapman, Townhall, reports outcome of cloture is very much in doubt; (3) Peter Kirsanow, member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, published article in The National Review entitled: "A Pandora's Box of Ethnic Sovereignty -- Race-based Hawaii, an island we don't want to travel to."; (4) Honolulu Advertiser reports about OHA and state officials lobbying the Senate; (5) Honolulu Star-Bulletin commentary by group of ethnic Japanese supporting Akaka bill; (6) Ken Conklin webpage "Akaka Bill Endorsements by Ethnic Spokespersons"; (7) Advertiser breaking news reports schedulingof debate on cloture petition; (8) Heritage Foundation Center for Legal and Judicial Studies issues report entitled "The "Native Hawaiian" Bill: An Unconstitutional Approach in Furtherance of a Terrible Idea"; (9) Eagle Forum nationwide call to action
DETAILS OF NEWS REPORTS AND COMMENTARY FOR JUNE 1-6, 2006 (about 90 pages)
National Review Online, June 01, 2006
Bad History, Bad Law
Proponents of the Akaka bill have a twisted sense of history.
By Alston B. Ramsay
It's long been said that Hawaii is the crown jewel of multiculturalism, a place where, throughout its history, the races have coexisted peacefully. A place where a shared sense of purpose and unity has fused people from all over the world into a single entity. A place of such boundless optimism that the state has legally defined the Aloha Spirit as the call to "emote good feelings to others."
How times change: Hawaii no longer celebrates statehood day, because it might be too divisive; T-shirts emblazoned with "The native are restless" are selling briskly; and a 2005 court decision barring a race-exclusive admissions policy at a private school was met by 20,000 protesters. It doesn't seem that many good feelings are being emoted these days—at least, not by the crowd pushing for a new native government with special privileges and rights for those with the proper genealogy.
S. 147, "The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act," was first introduced in the Senate by Hawaii Democrat Daniel Akaka in 1999, and, after a long wait backstage, it is expected to hit the floor in the first week of June. The bill will carve out a new entity in Hawaii that will conduct sovereign-to-sovereign relations with the United States, much as Native American tribes do today. But no one is exactly sure what the new government will look like, because the Akaka bill leaves all the details up in the air. Even the definition of "native Hawaiian" is to be determined at a later date: one drop of blood, two drops, who knows.
Bad history inevitably makes bad law, and the Akaka bill is a case in point. When it is opened up for debate, proponents will cite three findings of "fact": that the United States, in violation of national and international law, overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893; that the Hawaiian people have never ceded the right to govern themselves; and that, as Senator Akaka put it back in 1993, the "deprivation of Hawaiian sovereignty, which began a century ago, has had devastating effects on the health, culture, and social conditions of native Hawaiians." There's nothing quite like misplaced charges of racism and imperialism to move a piece of legislation. But alas, few if any of these allegations are true, at least according to most standard historical sources, including Ralph S. Kuykendall's definitive work on Hawaiian history. Before the demagoguery commences on the Senate floor, it's advisable to examine the relevant allegations.
The tortured genesis of the Akaka bill has its origins in the 1993 Apology Resolution, in which Congress enshrined into law the above claims. (The Senate vote for the resolution was only 65–34, far short of the unanimity one might expect to see in a serious apology.) Though Senator Akaka explicitly stated on the floor that the bill was only what it was purported to be—an apology—it has nonetheless become a rallying cry for proponents of the Akaka bill: Congress has verified the native-government contingent's version of events. Congress, clearly, is not infallible.
The most common trope in the medley is that the United States was complicit in the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. The revolution that toppled the queen, however, was strictly an internal affair, a fight between those who wanted to strengthen the monarchy, and those who wanted a more democratic government. The misperception arises from the U.S. minister's involvement: But he acted outside his authority and was subsequently relieved of his duty by the president, as was the military commander who brought troops ashore to safeguard American property. (These troops did not engage in hostilities, were not prominent, and were ordered to remain neutral.) President Grover Cleveland later intimated that he thought the queen should be restored, but alas, he had no sway over the independent, fully autonomous, internationally recognized Republic of Hawaii.
Considering this, the claim that Hawaiians have never explicitly given up their sovereignty is fool's gold: There never was sovereignty to give up, at least not in any sense which could conceivably justify the recompense demanded by the Akaka bill. A monarchy ruled the country until 1893, and then, after an internal battle, an independent government came into being, which was recognized by all nations as legitimate. The new Hawaiian government pushed for annexation, and finally became a U.S. territory in 1900. Annexation brought with it full suffrage, which marked a first for native Hawaiians, who commanded an absolute voting majority for the next 20 years, and a plurality for 10 years after that. Over the next half century, Hawaii pushed for statehood, with natives often leading the charge. (The nephew of Queen Lilioukalani, the overthrown monarch, introduced into Congress the first Hawaiian-statehood bill in 1919.) Finally, in 1959, Congress extended an invitation of statehood. An astounding 99 percent of eligible voters turned out for the state plebiscite, and 94 percent voted for statehood. The sovereignty debate should have ended right there.
But it didn't. A small but vocal minority has risen during the last 30 years and propagated the myth that native Hawaiians have suffered immensely from the forceful end of the monarchy, and that Hawaiian culture has been destroyed—exact details seem to end there. Insofar as the "culture" is defined merely by a monarch, this may be true. But as defined in any other way, Hawaiian culture has evolved not in opposition to U.S. values, but alongside them. What defined Hawaii throughout the 19th century was its openness to evolution and a concomitant resistance to xenophobia. King Kamehameha I had foreigners as top advisers in the early 1800s, after he had established, by force, the Kingdom of Hawaii. King Kamehameha II ended cultural taboos preventing men and women from eating together; he also abolished the worship of idols by fiat. Kamehameha III introduced a written constitution, which was for all Hawaiians, regardless of race. The kingdom was a crossroads of Pacific trade, and Hawaiian culture developed against an international mise en scène. (At various times, individual groups of migrant workers—Chinese, Japanese—outnumbered native Hawaiians.)
In other words, throughout Hawaii's history, it has been Hawaiians themselves who have cast aside antiquated traditions in favor of Western ideas and advancements on all fronts—economic, technological, civic. There never was a "native" government to speak of, and the collapse of the monarchy in 1893 did not lead to violence or oppression; it led to property rights, universal suffrage, and democracy. The history of Hawaii is not one of victimization, but one of enlightenment, of old traditions merging with new ones, without the civil strife that often accompanies such change. It is the melting pot personified—or, at least, it used to be.
For proponents of the Akaka bill, history as an abstract concept is not intended to enlighten or illuminate; it is instead a blunt instrument, a tool used to bludgeon opponents into enacting poorly conceived legislation. Somehow, this bowdlerized history has managed to escape scrutiny, to the point where it rationalizes overthrowing the fundamental premise that all Americans, regardless of race, religion, or politics, are bound together in a common destiny. If the Akaka bill passes, the bastardization of history will be one of its more pronounced casualties.
—Alston B. Ramsay is an associate editor of National Review.
The Washington Times, June 1, 2006
Hawaiian Sen. Daniel Akaka's seven-year project, the "Native Hawaiian Governmental Reorganization Act" often called simply the Akaka bill, has been labeled many things -- from manifest destiny in reverse to unhinged multiculturalism -- but what it really is is an attempt to legalize and codify what the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in 2000: a race-based government.
The case of Rice v. Cayetano, which came to the Supreme Court from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, challenged the policy established by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs of allowing only native Hawaiians to vote for its trustees. In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court decided that the "Hawaiian only" policy violated the 15th Amendment, overturning the 9th Circuit decision and striking down the voting restriction. Mr. Akaka's legislation would bestow autonomy on native Hawaiians similar to that of American Indians or Native Alaskans -- a precedent of sovereignty that the Supreme Court has recognized.
In his push to get the legislation back on the Senate's agenda, Mr. Akaka asserted that, "those who characterize this bill as race-based fail to understand the federal policies towards indigenous peoples." The language of the bill, however, defines "Native Hawaiians" in terms of lineage, but does not include a host of other factors that are generally used to characterize American Indians. As the bill does not include as a prerequisite the participation in a specific community, a native Hawaiian governing entity could include the 240,000 native Hawaiians living in Hawaii or all of the 400,000 native Hawaiians living across the United States -- the latter making it the more populous than the largest Indian tribe.
It is clear that, as Sen. Lamar Alexander, an ardent opponent of the bill, told an audience at the Heritage Foundation last week, if the bill passed, "for the first time in American history... it would establish a new sovereign nation within the United States based solely on race." In January, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights lodged its opposition to the bill, associating it with "other legislation that would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."
Postponed indefinitely by Hurricane Katrina, the Akaka bill is scheduled to come to the floor when the Senate returns next week. Mr. Akaka has referred to the bill as "my efforts to bring parity to Native Hawaiians." But no matter how thickly veiled the legislation may be in the multicultural rhetoric of making up for past wrongs, the bill smacks of a divisive move toward racial separation, not inclusion.
The Akaka bill subverts the ideal of equality without racial distinction toward which America strives. Mr. Akaka's legislation should not have proceeded this far, and deserves to be firmly defeated.
Townhall.com, June 1, 2006
An unconstitutional act
By Tim Chapman
If Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii gets his way, the Senate next week will pass S. 147, a bill that would for the first time create a race-based system of governing in the United States.
Akaka's bill, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, would erect a new governmental structure to have jurisdiction over American citizens who have "one drop" of Native Hawaiian blood. As many as 400,000 American citizens across the nation would be subject to this new governing body.
Surely, a United States Senate composed of 55 Republicans and at least a handful of right-thinking Democrats could stop this nonsense in its tracks -- or better yet, not even allow such an atrocity to come to the floor for a vote.
But this is not so. Senate leadership, bound by a deal secured by Akaka, has scheduled a vote for next week. The deal was agreed to mostly because Akaka has been doggedly attempting to attach this bill to every high profile train leaving the Senate station. At every corner he has been turned back by conservatives like Sen. Jon Kyl, (R-AZ), with the help of Republican leadership.
Now, it appears that opponents have run out of ways to block Akaka, so he will get his vote. And it's expected to be close. Indeed, conservatives haven't even closed ranks to swat the measure down. The bill boasts nine co-sponsors, five of them Republicans: Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Gordon Smith (R-OR). That leaves Republicans little wiggle room if they want to kill the bill.
One GOP Senator who is determined to do just that has been on a rampage against the bill lately. Tennessee's Lamar Alexander has taken to the Senate floor numerous times to decry race-based governing and recently headlined an event at The Heritage Foundation in which he made the case against Akaka's pet project.
Alexander wonders about the timing of the bill. "Why would the Senate do that? Here we have Iran, we have Iraq, we have gas prices … all important issues. Why would we be spending time on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act?" Alexander says the vote is the result of Akaka's deal-making.
Alexander warned the Heritage audience that the vote would be close and that once the issue hit the floor it would be of paramount importance. "If it passes, for the first time in American history … it would establish a new sovereign nation within the United States based solely on race." According to Alexander, this new governing entity would "have government to government relations with the United States of America. That sounds like sovereignty to me.
"The question this bill poses is very fundamental to the existence of our nation," he continued. "It creates a new government based on race. Our constitution guarantees just the opposite: equal opportunity without regard to race." This is a "dangerous piece of legislation and it needs to be stopped in its tracks."
Alexander and other opponents of race-based governing scored a major victory recently when the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report condemning the Akaka bill and urging Senators to vote against it. The Commission's report said that S. 147 "would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege," a development that Alexander referred to as the "further balkanization" of American culture.
In addition, recent polling of Hawaiians themselves gives opponents of race-based governing hope. A poll commissioned by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii showed that by a 2 to 1 margin respondents were against Congress approving the Akaka bill.
The poll also showed Hawaiians overwhelmingly want to vote on the measure in a referendum before Congress considers the bill. But the push for a Hawaiian referendum on the Akaka bill is stymied by a Hawaiian law that says any such referendum must be generated by the state legislature.
Grassroots opponents of the Akaka bill in Hawaii say this state law prevents the majority of Hawaiians from making their voice heard on the issue because large institutions backing Akaka have too much influence over members of the state legislature. As such, the fight will have to be fought on the floor of the United States Senate where Akaka has much more support than he does in his own state.
Alexander hopes conservatives will muster enough votes to stop the resolution, but he is unsure. "It will be a long debate. Several of us are prepared to offer a great many amendments to this." Those amendments will be crucial to conservative efforts to defeat the bill or at least weaken it to the point were it is toothless.
As Alexander and others have noted, winning this floor fight will be critical because of how dangerous the Native Hawaiian bill is. "It's so offensive," says Alexander, "because instead of saying from many one, it says we are going to create a new sovereign nation of American citizens within the United States of America. And what will the admission be? Blood! Exactly what has been ruled throughout our history in the Constitution it could not be."
Tim Chapman is the Director of the Center for Media and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation and a contributor to Townhall.com's Capitol Report.
Hawaii Reporter, June 1, 2006
Will Hawaii Be the Next State to Suffer?
By Barb Lindsay and David Yeagley
We thought your readers would like to know the actual experience of local communities in many states where tribes (like those in Texas) were granted federal recognition and then promptly opened tax-exempt gambling casinos - even though they repeatedly promised, both in writing and verbally, that they would never do so. Remember, "sovereign" tribal nations can change their minds, elect new leadership, and decide to follow a different path than originally planned.
Ethnic Hawaiians seeking federal recognition right now with the Akaka bill (S.3064) are making the same hollow promises.
We would like to believe Congress did not intend for non-Indians to be the principal beneficiaries of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 (IGRA). Yet the fact is that non-Indian investors, lobbyists, politicians, and casino management companies have left behind the poverty-stricken Native American families Congress did intend to help. Non-Indians enrich themselves through IGRA's $20 billion a year Indian casino business. Exhibit A is Jack Abramoff.
We would like to believe Congress did not intend off-reservation communities to suddenly become convenient casino locations. But abuse of IGRA provisions has allowed tribes to go "reservation shopping" anywhere they want - anywhere prime gambling facility venues are found.
We would like to believe Congress did not intend federal "trust" status of tribally-purchased land to enable autonomous (often syndicated) gambling operations to dominate the economy and social character of surrounding communities. But "sovereign immunity" shelters trust land from taxation and virtually all state and local regulation. Thus, too many Native leaders and their coercive, out-of-state casino investors are responsible only to themselves.
We would like to believe Congress did not intend tribal governments to make political contributions from tax-exempt casino profits and taxpayer-funded federal grants without regard to contribution limits that apply to every other for-profit enterprise. In fact, other sovereign governments cannot contribute to election campaigns. But the Federal Election Commission has given a free pass to tribal government "Nations" (and, indirectly, their non-Indian corporate backers) to influence the policy decisions upon which their gambling monopolies depend.
We would like to believe Congress did not intend Indian casinos to adversely affect surrounding communities. But tax and regulation-free casinos eventually destroy local, tax-paying, non-tribal businesses. The lower prices offered by Native businesses attract non-Native clientele, thereby shrinking state and local tax receipts, and contribute to an addictive behavior that severely strains social services - especially when tribes allow 18-year-olds to gamble, like they do in so many states ˜ such as Washington, New York, and California.
We would like to believe Congress recognizes that non-Indian communities are comprised of American citizens - with all rights inherent. But Congress appears to have given Native "sovereignty" a primacy that supersedes U.S. citizenship. This privilege has grown along with casino revenues. The rights of American citizens who are not enrolled members of a casino-owning tribe (which is what would be created under the Akaka bill) have shrunk accordingly.
Politicians, enticed (and intimidated) by huge campaign contributions, have allowed the expansion of Native "sovereignty" and the extension of tax, land-use, and business regulation immunities. We believe Congress never intended this extremely unfair result.
The lure of a tax-free casino has prompted a flurry by ethnic groups to rediscover themselves with the help of outside billionaire interests. (Is it purely a coincidence that ethnic Hawaiians are seeking recognition right now in the midst of an Indian gambling explosion - especially in a state with no legal gambling at all?)
A "reservation shopping" industry has blossomed, with well-financed "rainmakers" lined up at the Interior Department's door. They're also inside congressional offices, influencing federal policies to expedite recognition of new tribes and fee-to-trust decisions. These are the true facts, folks.
The result is a "Gold Rush" of off-reservation Indian casinos across our country - especially in New York, Wisconsin, California, Washington, and Oklahoma. (Will Hawaii soon join this list?) There are four hundred-plus in operation, with many more tax-exempt casinos now awaiting approval.
This well-intentioned jump start of the Native American economy has outraged most residents in local communities where casinos have already opened. Yet fault does not lie entirely with court-created tribal sovereign immunity. Dr. David A. Yeagley, a Comanche Indian and former Oklahoma State University teacher, cites the non-Indians‚ problem with gambling. "To fault Indians for benefiting from the dubious propensities of the greater population is simply blaming Indians for the White Man's weaknesses."
Yeagley suggests the blame really lies with politicians who promote gambling, lotteries, and sharing in Indian casino profits to benefit the state. They ignore the social costs and instead offer under-funded, ineffective palliatives to gambling addicts. Too few community leaders demand legislative solutions.
"The traditional American work ethic has been replaced by the fantasy of wealth without labor," says Yeagley, "and saving money, by buying at Indian businesses, has also become an irresistible temptation."
The same thing will happen in Hawaii if the Akaka bill passes.
Wherever the blame may lie, the concept of "sovereign immunity" has undermined the few, uncertain protections IGRA does give local residents.
State and federal politicians are typically far too willing to deal with casino promoters for a piece of the action. "Sovereign" gambling operations and their ancillary commercial enterprises remain accountable only to themselves. They typically disdain meaningful mitigation of impacts on surrounding communities. Our democratic process is lost in the tidal wave of casino cash.
Shamefully, the vast majority of tribal members are reaping no economic benefits from IGRA riches. Instead, they, together with the unfortunate Americans and small business owners whose communities have fallen prey to "reservation shopping," are the victims of a well-intentioned congressional act that has been superseded by The Law Of Unintended Consequences. Congress is currently debating long overdue reforms. Contact your congressional representatives now, urging them to help find a comprehensive solution, because this problem won't go away on its own.
Voice your opposition to S.3064, too. At the very least, citizens of Hawaii should be allowed to vote on whether or not to balkanize your State and create a new race-based sovereign government carved out of the islands with special privileges only for a few. The future for your State's children - both ethnic Hawaiian and non-Native - depend upon you taking action today.
DR. DAVID A. YEAGLEY, a resident of Oklahoma City, OK, is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation of Lawton, Oklahoma. He is a musician and scholar, with degrees in music, literature, and religion. He formerly taught at Oklahoma State University, the University of Central Oklahoma, and the University of Oklahoma. A number of his compositions are recorded on CD and are available in Barnes & Noble and elsewhere. He's a published author and columnist for David Horowitz‚ FrontPageMagazine.com. He has appeared on Hannity & Colmes, Bill O'Reilly, C-SPAN, and was recently (2005) featured in the History Channel's episode, "Comanche Warriors." He is the Founder and President of The Bad Eagle Foundation. Dr. Yeagley hosts his own web site: http://www.BadEagle.com
BARB LINDSAY is National Director and Spokesperson for One Nation United, a nonpartisan, nonprofit umbrella group dedicated to the comprehensive reform of flawed Federal Indian Policy for the benefit of Indians and non-Indians alike. She earned her graduate degree at the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1975. ONU represents over 300,000 concerned citizens, property owner and community groups, state and national trade associations, many small businesses and local governments, and elected officials in thirty-seven states who joined together in 1984 to work together on FIP reform, including the Environmental Protection Agency's egregious "Treatment As States" policy for tribes, Indian land claims, and other overreaching tribal government actions. ADDRESS: P.O. Box 3336, Redmond, WA 98073-3336 DAYTIME OR EVENING PHONE: 206/660-3085 or 805/523-0524 EMAIL: mailto:email@example.com
Wall Street Journal, Friday, June 2, 2006, Page A18
The Akaka State?
A recipe for Balkanization heads for the Senate floor.
The last time we wrote about the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, in July 2005, we called it secessionist, unconstitutional and un-American. And that was being kind.
Our view of the bill -- which, like Freddy Krueger, refuses to die -- hasn't changed. But now that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has promised to bring it to a cloture vote in the coming days,
it's worth reminding readers what this ugly drama from the beautiful state is all about.
The Reorganization Act -- better known as the Akaka Bill, after its U.S. Senate sponsor, Democrat Daniel Akaka -- would create a sovereign government, similar to existing Indian tribes,
for the roughly 400,000 people who identify themselves as "Native Hawaiians." At a minimum, such recognition would protect dozens of federally funded programs for native Hawaiians that in recent years have come under increasingly successful Constitutional challenges as violations of the 14th and 15th Amendments.
But it would probably do much worse. The Akaka Bill could also lead to discriminatory treatment of non-Native Hawaiians, who already are excluded from private schools run for the exclusive
benefit of the Natives. Vast tracts of land (entire islands, perhaps) might also be set aside exclusively for Native use. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a state agency, acknowledges that the Akaka Bill allows for the "complete legal and territorial independence from the United States and the re-establishment of a Hawaiian nation-state." Years, if not decades, of litigation would follow its passage.
No wonder that, while the bill is popular among Hawaii's political class, including Republican Governor Linda Lingle, it has generated remarkable resistance among Hawaiians. More than 80% of Hawaiians are not "Natives," and, believe it or not, the great majority actually think they are entitled to equal protection under the law and do not want to create a privileged class among them.
As one Kaleihanamau Johnson told the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, "I am of Hawaiian, Caucasian and Chinese descent . . . and do not support the Akaka Bill." She added that if the bill "comes to pass, I will be forced to choose on which side of the fence to stand. I will choose the Anglo-American tradition of the right to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. This will prevent me from recognizing all that is Hawaiian in me. I consider the Akaka bill to be a proposal to violate my rights."
Ms. Johnson is not alone. In its January report, the Civil Rights Commission found that the Akaka Bill would "establish an impermissible racial preference in the establishment and operation of
a governing entity." The report noted that, unlike the Native Americans to which Governor Lingle
tries to liken Native Hawaiians, "membership would be defined solely on the basis of ancestry, not on the basis of geographic, cultural, and political cohesiveness and the presence of an established
community as is done for other Indian tribes."
The Commission also found that "nothing in the [Akaka Bill] guarantees that the race-based entity to be created would be democratic in nature," and that the Akaka Bill "could prompt other native or indigenous entities or other ethnic groups to seek similar rights through self-governance programs."
The Commission went on to recommend against the bill. Extraordinarily, however, its findings were removed last month from the January report, apparently under pressure from Commissioners Michael Yaki and Arlan Melendez, both Democrats. Now it looks as if the bill will pass the Senate if brought to a floor vote. It has the backing of most, if not all, 45 Democrats, as well as Republicans such as Lisa Murkowski and Ted Stevens of Alaska, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Maybe this all seems like a quaint and distant debate. But Hawaii is no less a state than New York or Texas, and the legal precedents established there matter to the mainland. The Akaka Bill should frighten everyone who cares for the American ideal of e pluribus unum, and fears the ethnic Balkanization of the country. Republicans this week have a chance to get one right by keeping an unconstitutional bill from reaching the floor of the Senate.
Akaka Bill -- OHA flier "The Time is Now" mass-mailed May-June 2006 -- Comments and Corrections
Townhall.com, June 3, 2006, excerpt
by Robert Novak
Paid conservative lobbyists have helped grease the way for passage in the Senate this week of the long-pending bill, opposed by the Bush administration, that would give Native Hawaiians the same status as mainland Indian tribes.
A report boosting the bill was written by two Bush administration alumni: former Assistant Attorney General Viet Dinh and former White House aide H. Christopher Bartolomucci. Also lobbying for the measure have been Chuck Cooper, an assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration, and Ben Ginsberg, a longtime lawyer representing the Republican Party. All have been hired by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a quasi-government entity.
The bill is expected to glide through the Senate, with foes unable to collect the 41 votes needed for a filibuster. But prospects in the House are uncertain.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 3, 2006
Letters to the Editor
Filipinos stand with Hawaiians
We urge the Filipino community to stand united with native Hawaiians in their fight to gain federal recognition as one of American's indigenous people.
Some opponents of the Akaka Bill, which provides for federal recognition of Hawaiians, say only Hawaiians would benefit. Critics are raising fears that passing the bill would mean non-Hawaiians would lose jobs, homes, businesses, property or be forced to leave Hawaii. This is a misrepresentation.
The bill provides for a process of negotiation that will include everyone. All ethnic groups will be invited to the table with Hawaiians and the federal government. Through them, we will have a voice on the resources that will be dedicated to the Hawaiian governing entity.
Filipinos are among the newest immigrants to Hawaii, and we cherish the right to participate in the democratic process. We have learned the value of working together to support and protect the values that define our life in Hawaii. Many of our children and grandchildren are part-Hawaiian. Our families, our neighbors, our community and our history make this a special place.
The Hawaiians lost their sovereignty and way of life in 1893, when their kingdom and nation was overthrown with U.S. government support. One hundred years later, Congress apologized and promised a process of reconciliation. The Akaka Bill provides an opportunity to correct that historic injustice to restore the dignity, honor and respect for Hawaiians, these islands' indigenous people, our host culture.
As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first contract laborers from the Philippines -- the Sakadas -- we give thanks to the people who welcomed us. Mabuhay to all native Hawaiians. We stand with you.
Edmund C. Aczon, Hawaii Carpenters Union, Local 745
Amy Agbayani, National Federation of Filipino American Associations
Dean Alegado, Ethnic Studies Professor, University of Hawaii
Ben Cayetano, Governor of Hawaii 1994-2002
Jake Manedeg, Fil-American Citizens League
Nic Musico, Filipino Coalition for Solidarity
Abelina Madrid Shaw, Attorney-At-Law
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, June 3, 2006
Letters to the Editor
GOVERNOR BETRAYING HER PARTY AND PEOPLE
At the Republican Party Convention in Hawai'i last weekend, Gov. Lingle said, "I will never put the party's interests above the interests of the people of Hawai'i."
By supporting the Akaka bill, she betrays the people (by refusing to ask their approval before spending millions of tax dollars to lobby Congress to sanction and help break up the state of Hawai'i and segregate its people by race); and she betrays the Republican Party by trashing two of America's highest principles: "All men are created equal" and "United we stand."
What I do not understand is why a governor who raised her right hand and swore to represent and care about all the people of Hawai'i would want to break her state into pieces and give away some or all of its "public lands, reefs, territorial waters, natural resources, governmental power and authority and civil and criminal jurisdiction" to a new sovereign nation that would govern "the Native Hawaiian people" separately. This, while still allowing Native Hawaiians to continue to share equally in what is left of the state of Hawai'i?
What did the rest of us, including the large majority of us whose ancestors had nothing to do with the overthrow or annexation, do to deserve this demotion and disruption?
H. William Burgess
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday June 4, 2006
Akaka bill close to floor debate
By Dennis Camire
Advertiser Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — Even though opposition remains strong, several senators say opponents will not be able to continue blocking the historic Native Hawaiian Recognition Bill, also known as the Akaka bill, from finally coming to the floor for debate this week.
One of the chief opponents, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., told a panel at the conservative Heritage Foundation a week ago that the bill is "a truly dangerous piece of legislation and needs to be stopped in its tracks."
Even though the bill has drawn broad support, Alexander's remarks show the depth of sentiment by the opposition.
But, he conceded, there may not be enough votes for the opposition to block debate.
If the bill ultimately succeeds, Alexander said, it won't be because it's good legislation but because of the "great respect" the Senate has for Hawai'i's two Democratic senators and Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, who all support it.
He warned, though, "in this case, the principle is more important than our respect. If we go down this road, we're on the path toward gradually becoming a 'United Nations' of balkanized governments instead of one nation in which our allegiance is based upon our ideals and commitments rather than race and ancestry and tribes."
Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., a co-sponsor of the bill, said the vote to debate the bill would be "very close."
"After debate in our (Senate Republican) conference the other day, it seems to me that a lot of holes were punched in the arguments of the opponents," he said.
The bill, originally introduced in 2000, would create a process for a Native Hawaiian government to be recognized by the U.S. government, similar to the political status given to Native American and Alaskan Native tribes.
The state's two senators — Daniel Akaka, the bill's author and chief sponsor, and Daniel K. Inouye — are confident they have the 60 votes needed to overcome the procedural roadblock that some conservative Republican senators threw up last summer to stop the bill.
But even if a first vote to bring the bill to the floor is successful, as many as three more may be needed to pass it under Senate procedures. The whole process may require a week or more of Senate floor time.
AMENDMENTS TO BILL
Republican opponents, such as Alexander and Rep. Jon Kyl of Arizona, also are planning to offer amendments to the bill.
Some possible amendments that have been mentioned include requiring a statewide referendum on a Native Hawaiian government, applying the Bill of Rights and all U.S. civil rights to the new government and stripping out any racial classification.
Even if eventually approved, time is running out to get the bill through the House. If it doesn't receive approval from both chambers, supporters would have to start all over again when a newly elected Congress convenes in January.
"Our principal enemy in the House is time," said Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawai'i, a House sponsor of the bill. "Assuming it gets out of the Senate ... we would be down to under 40 work days in the House before the scheduled adjournment."
Case and Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawai'i, said House passage is still possible since they believe a majority of House members would vote for it.
"Whether we're able to get it out of committee and take it to the floor for a vote will depend on whether the White House wants to fight us or not," Abercrombie said. "I don't expect the (House Republican) majority to put a bill on the floor that the White House is actively opposing."
The Bush administration has not taken a position on the bill, although the Justice Department raised concerns about it last summer, especially the constitutionality of recognizing Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people similar to Indian tribes.
A revised version of the bill, introduced last month, addresses most of the objections by prohibiting Native Hawaiians from bringing land claims against the United States in court and barring a Native Hawaiian government from authorizing gambling.
But the Justice Department said it still has constitutional concerns.
Lobbying on both sides is continuing at a stepped-up pace.
Some Republicans, such as Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, remain on the fence.
"I have concerns about how it defines the Native Hawaiians as a nation, but I haven't taken a stance yet on the bill," he said.
Akaka said he is talking with Republican senators to address their concerns, if any.
Lingle and state Attorney General Mark Bennett plan to be in Washington tomorrow and Tuesday to talk with Republican senators.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the assistant minority leader, also are checking the vote count among Democratic senators, Akaka said.
The bill's backers expect support from the Senate's 44 Democrats, one Independent — James Jeffords of Vermont — and at least six Republicans, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona, chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona said she is confident there are more than the minimum required 60 votes for the measure to pass cloture.
She worries, however, that opposing Republican senators could derail a floor debate by throwing procedural obstacles in the way.
Apoliona believes those senators are resorting to that tactic because they know if the bill ever gets a fair hearing it will pass the Senate and the House of Representatives and become law.
"Ultimately, the opponents of the bill need to pay attention to the fact that Native Hawaiians are aboriginal and indigenous peoples to this country. And under the United States Constitution the Congress has the right and authority to legislate on behalf of aboriginal and indigenous natives," she said.
Opponents have launched a campaign to get their message out, including through editorials and articles in newspapers and magazines, and on the Internet.
One new piece of ammunition they have been using is a report from the Republican-majority U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which recommended that Congress reject the bill. A draft copy of the report, which the commission approved, criticized the bill as a measure that "would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."
In many ways, the constitutional and racial issues surrounding the bill have become a Rorschach test on guarantees of equality and fairness.
"The question this bill poses is very fundamental to the existence of our nation," Alexander said. "If it passes, for the first time in American history ... it would establish a new sovereign nation within the United States based solely on race."
Alexander and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, say the bill's requirement that those participating in a Native Hawaiian government have some Native Hawaiian blood is what makes the bill unconstitutional.
"The question is, can you fix a constitutional problem with a statute?" Cornyn said. "I don't think you can."
Alexander also said a fundamental issue posed by the bill is diversity in the nation's population versus national unity.
"Our diversity is magnificent but that is not what made the United States of America a magnificent country," he said. "Even more magnificent and our greatest accomplishment has been to turn all that diversity into one nation — not based on race, not based on ancestry but primarily based on a few founding principles, which are found in our founding documents, our common language and our history as a country."
Akaka maintains that the bill is about treating indigenous people of Hawai'i the same as other indigenous people of the U.S.
"There's only one group that was there (in Hawai'i) first," Akaka said. "And our country is one that does care about its indigenous people. I'm looking for parity here for the indigenous people of Hawai'i."
Still, opponents of the bill counter that Hawaiians don't meet the federal rules for recognition as applied to Indian tribes.
Alexander said if the Hawaiians received recognition, other groups could as well, such as people descended from the Hispanics who lived in Texas before it became a state or religious groups such as Hasidic Jews or the Amish.
U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Michael Yaki said some opponents of the bill believe whenever race or ethnicity are recognized "there is a slippery slope that leads you right back to all the things they are against, such as affirmative action or special programs for minorities."
Yaki, a Democratic member of the commission, said the Native Hawaiian bill gets at the heart of the debate about immigration and affirmative action, which is whether diversity is a national strength or a weakness.
• • •
History of the Native Hawaiian Recognition Bill
July 2000: Sen. Daniel Akaka and others introduce the bill in Congress to gain federal recognition for Hawaiians. Supporters say the Native Hawaiian Recognition Bill — dubbed the Akaka bill — would help to right the wrong of the U.S.-backed overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 and that it is necessary to fight off the legal challenges against programs set up to help Hawaiians. Opponents say the bill creates a separate government entity that is race-based and therefore unconstitutional. Some Hawaiian groups also oppose the bill, saying it does not go far enough.
Summer/fall 2000: The bill passes a vote in the House, but stalls and finally dies in the Senate amid political squabbling about concerns such as its cost and disagreements about the scope of Hawaiian sovereignty.
Summer 2001: The Hawai'i Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recommends that the federal government take steps to provide more help for Hawaiians, including enacting provisions in the bill. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs begins lobbying efforts in support of the bill.
Spring/summer/fall 2003: The bill remains stalled by Republicans in both the House and Senate, some of whom say it will give race-based benefits to Hawaiians.
Fall 2004: The push for federal recognition intensifies in Congress. U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye says he's planning to attach the legislation to one of the 12 appropriations bills still moving through Congress; and a key House committee approves the bill.
January 2005: Although the bill failed to come up for a vote in 2004, Hawai'i's congressional delegation is promised that the bill will get hearings and a vote in 2005.
March 2005: The Senate Indian Affairs Committee unanimously approves the bill and sends it to the full Senate for consideration under an agreement reached with Senate leadership.
June 2005: Congressional leaders schedule a Senate debate and a vote on the bill for the week of July 18 and local officials say they expect it to pass.
July 14, 2005: The Department of Justice raises "serious policy concerns" about the bill. Among other issues, the department wants to shorten or eliminate the time allowed for monetary claims by Hawaiians; add language that explicitly prohibits gambling; and allow non-Hawaiians to sit on the panel that would chart the course of a sovereign Hawaiian entity.
July 20, 2005: A group of as many as six Republican senators move to stop the bill from coming to the floor for a debate.
July 29, 2005: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., starts the cloture procedure that could eventually force a debate and floor vote.
Sept. 6, 2005: A vote scheduled on whether the Akaka bill will get a full airing on the Senate floor is postponed as Congress focuses on the needs of Gulf Coast residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Sept. 16, 2005: Akaka issues an amendment to the bill as a means to appease White House officials and some opponents of the bill.
May 4: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights votes to recommend that Congress not pass the bill.
May 8: Akaka vows to take to the Senate floor each day to educate colleagues about the bill and the issue of sovereignty until a cloture vote is scheduled, a promise he kept through May 11.
May 11: Akaka announces on the Senate floor that when the senators return from their May recess, Frist will petition for a cloture to force the bill to the floor despite opponents' objections. Approval of the petition by 60 of the 100 senators would force a vote on the bill. The vote on cloture could be held Tuesday. If approved, debate could begin Thursday.
Key to becoming law
The Akaka bill must pass both the Senate and House of Representatives in the same two-year session of Congress for it to become law. The current session runs until the end of 2006.
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday June 4, 2006
Foes hope bill reaches Senate floor
By Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writer
Even opponents in the debate over the Native Hawaiian recognition bill can agree on one thing: They would like to see the legislation pass a cloture vote and move to the floor of the U.S. Senate for debate.
From that point their viewpoints on the legislation take a drastic departure.
"I'd want it voted down," said H. William Burgess, an ardent opponent of the bill and member of the group Aloha for All. "That would sort of drive a stake into its heart and we wouldn't have to keep going through this dance every year."
Burgess opposes the bill with the same passion that others favor it. If the bill is passed and implemented, Congress would in essence break up the state and give away some or all of the state's public lands, natural resources, reefs, territorial waters, and most of its governmental powers of authority, Burgess said.
"It would basically put about 80 percent of the state into a position of servitude to a new congressionally created hereditary elite," he said.
Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele, a Hawaiian activist, believes the bill is a welfare approach that would reduce Hawaiians to wards of the government.
"I'm not for anybody making up their mind for us and then laying the plan on the table after they've decided what to do for us," he said. "... I see the bill going down. It's too controversial and there's too much politics going on."
Kanahele would like to see the creation of an independent nation of Hawaiians, tied in part to what's known as the "apology bill." That 1993 bill, authored by Akaka, acknowledged the U.S. role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and apologized to Hawaiians on behalf of the nation.
Former Hawai'i Supreme Court Justice Robert Klein is among those who strongly support the bill because they say it gives Hawaiians an opportunity to achieve political status.
And that, Klein maintains, is the right thing to do.
"It's up to the Hawaiians whether they take advantage of the situation and form their own government," he said.
"We really hope the naysayers will come out on the short end of the vote. We know that they're working very hard on their positions."
The naysayers, according to Klein, fail to understand that what's good for Hawaiians is beneficial to the entire population.
"Although the bill helps the Hawaiian people, by helping them you help everyone else. If you can't provide Hawaiian people with appropriations and support, you're still going to have the problems that are created by people who are poor or in jail or have health issues," he said.
"And Hawaiians are prominent in those negative categories. We need to resolve the problem that's been kicking around for 113 years."
** Note: A footnoted version of this important article is available at
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, June 4, 2006
Plight of Native Hawaiians not dire
By Cliff Slater
Among members of Congress, there seems to be a misunderstanding that Native Hawaiians are a tribe, living together, speaking Hawaiian, poor, downtrodden and underprivileged. In short, that they are like Indian tribes as described by the 2003 U.S. Senate Budget Committee:
"Regardless of where (native Americans) reside, however, they continue to rank at near the bottom of nearly every social, health, and economic indicators, as compared to all other groups of American citizens. They continue to suffer the highest rates of unemployment and poverty, live in substandard housing, have poor health, receive an inadequate education and contend with disintegrating social systems."
This is far from the case with Native Hawaiians, who have integrated themselves into the general population as evidenced by their lifestyle and living standards. A statistical review reveals more similarities to Hawai'i's general population than differences.
According to the state Data Book and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Data Book, the average household income of Native Hawaiians is 9 percent less than Hawai'i's people as a whole, while the unemployment rate for Native Hawaiians is greater (6.4 percent versus 3.8 percent).
Native Hawaiian households with annual incomes of $200,000 or more are a smaller percentage than Hawai'i generally (1.4 percent versus 2.8 percent) with smaller percentages earning $50,000 or more (45.3 percent versus 57.3 percent). And 18.3 percent of Hawaiians are below the poverty level, versus 12 percent of Hawai'i residents overall.
Compare these data with the American Indians whose "unemployment rate hovers near 50 percent" and whose average annual per-capita income is $8,284.
There is a Native Hawaiian underclass, as has developed with other minorities. This boosts the crimes and incarceration rates, single-mother birth rate, and drug use. However, remove this class from the statistical base, make due allowance for a lower-than-average age for Native Hawaiians, and we find that they are, for the most part, remarkably similar to the rest of Hawai'i society.
Because there has been so much intermarriage by Hawaiians, only 1 percent of Hawaiians are now pure-blooded, and only 10 percent of Native Hawaiians have 50 percent or more Hawaiian blood. A perusal of lists of Hawaiian names is a good indicator. For example, of the nine Native Hawaiian trustees of the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, only two have Hawaiian last names.
Because so few qualify for the former legal definition of "native Hawaiian" — those with at least 50 percent Hawaiian blood — what has evolved is the current definition of "Native Hawaiian" (capital N) for the Akaka bill as anyone having an indigenous Hawaiian ancestor. This means that anyone with as little as 1/256th Hawaiian blood is a "Native Hawaiian." Many native Hawaiians (small n) object to this watering down of the definition.
While 5 percent live on leased land in the Hawaiian Home Land areas, the other 95 percent live in the larger community. Only 60 percent of Native Hawaiians even live in Hawai'i. The other 40 percent live in all of the other 49 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
Only 1 percent of Native Hawaiians speak Hawaiian as their primary language, but even they also are fluent in English. Thus, 99 percent of Hawaiians have English as their primary language. Most Native Hawaiians do not speak Hawaiian beyond a few words.
The Akaka bill states:
"Despite the overthrow of the government of the kingdom of Hawai'i, Native Hawaiians have continued to maintain their separate identity as a single distinct native community through cultural, social and political institutions, and to give expression to their rights as native people to self-determination, self-governance and economic self-sufficiency."
With due deference to Sen. Akaka, that is a real stretch.
Since the 1970s, there has been a revitalized interest in Hawaiian culture, but it has been by all racial groups.
For example, at the Women's Correctional Center, classes on native plants, lei-making and care of lo'i (taro patches) are being taught by a group of predominantly Caucasian people to inmates who are predominantly Native Hawaiian.
Native Hawaiians may engage in traditional Hawaiian activities such as hula and canoe-paddling, but so does the rest of the population.
We all enjoy Hawaiian music, but it is not aboriginal Hawaiian music. Instead, it is Western music that Hawaiians and others have modified and adapted. The favored musical instruments are of European origin. For example, the 'ukulele originally was Portuguese and the guitar Spanish.
All of Hawai'i's ethnic groups, the Filipinos, Koreans, Chinese, Japanese and more, engage in their own regular cultural activities.
Native Hawaiians are not a tribe anything like native American Indian tribes. That is because at the arrival of Western culture, Hawaiians embraced it enthusiastically rather than rejecting it. At the time of Cook's arrival in 1778, the Hawaiian Islands were each governed by a separate chief, with an aboriginal culture and no written language. Within 60 years, Hawai'i had developed a reputation as one of the most literate nations in the world.
Hawaiians openly embraced Western immigration, customs, technology and capital. The constitutional monarchy established in 1840 was modeled on Britain's. The Hawaiian monarchs had a palace and were received as royalty by Queen Victoria in England.
Despite the racism that prevailed at the time, the Hawaiians were treated differently. Intermarriage with Caucasians was confined mainly to Hawaiians. While Hawai'i's leading clubs excluded Asians and other ethnic minorities, Hawaiians were not excluded. At the time of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which ended such exclusionary policies, the president of the exclusive O'ahu Country Club was a Native Hawaiian.
The history and condition of Native Hawaiians cannot be equated with that of American Indians.
What should concern us is the excessive amounts of money that native tribes in the U.S. are spending on political influence — and the possibility that a Native Hawaiian government might do the same.
Professor Randall Roth and Judge Sam King's book, "Broken Trust: Greed, Mismanagement & Political Manipulation at America's Largest Charitable Trust" (University of Hawai'i Press, 2006) reveals a corrupt Hawai'i political environment that created, and allowed to continue, Bishop Estate trustees taking million-dollar annual salaries and engaging in other unsavory acts. If it had not been for the Internal Revenue Service forcing their ouster, those trustees would still be in office.
This should serve as a warning.
Time magazine reported four years ago: "And leaders of small, newly wealthy tribes now have so much unregulated cash and political clout that they can ride roughshod over neighboring communities, poorer tribes and even their own members. The amount of money involved is staggering. Last year, 290 Indian casinos in 28 states pulled in at least $12.7 billion in revenue. Of that sum, Time estimates, the casinos kept more than $5 billion as profit."
What has happened in many states is that excessive contributions are made to elected officials by American Indian tribes seeking to expand their reservations. Expanded areas are then used for tax-free retail gasoline and cigarette sales, and some of the profits generated are used for more political influence ad infinitum.
This is very real influence. With gambling or without, a Native Hawaiian government will have a great deal of money in hand to influence political decisions.
It is likely to eventually have control of the 30 percent of Hawai'i's land that is held in trust for Hawaiians by various entities including the $10 billion Kamehameha Schools (formerly Bishop Estate), the Hawaiian Home Lands Commission and the island of Kaho'olawe.
This land is separate from that owned by wealthy Native Hawaiian private estates such as the $2 billion Campbell Estate and the thousands of individual Native Hawaiian families who own their own homes.
And then there is the cash hoard of $400 million held by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a quasi-state agency, which spends lavishly on Washington attorneys and lobbyists such as Patton Boggs.
The Akaka bill has never been voted on in Hawai'i, and rarely publicly discussed. Virtually the entire political establishment in Hawai'i supports the Akaka bill. However, while a few individual businesses have endorsed it, not a single business organization has taken a position on it.
Informal online and telephone polls indicate that informed Hawai'i residents, including possibly even Native Hawaiians, are opposed to it.
If the people of Hawai'i are opposed to the Akaka bill but the politicians are wholeheartedly in favor of it, one might be forgiven for thinking that we should follow the money.
After a protracted and expensive period of trying to sign up Native Hawaiians for a native roll, only 12 percent of Native Hawaiians signed and, ironically, many of these opposed the Akaka bill.
The last vote that Hawaiians cast on the issue of sovereignty was in 1959, when 95 percent of Hawai'i's citizens voted for statehood. A majority of Native Hawaiian voters, then, must also have voted for statehood.
In the end, we have to consider who is likely to benefit from a Native Hawaiian government. Judging from American Indian governments, it will not be the least affluent. With no requirement for secret ballots, the elites will most likely control it, and they will be the ones to benefit.
The tragedy is that a better result would ensue if Native Hawaiians were to relinquish a race-based policy and instead adopt the Basques' policy of defining a Basque as someone who speaks the language and understands the culture. It would result in cultural revival, ensure that lower-income Native Hawaiians would get their due share of funds (along with other low-income people), and end the divisiveness that race-based policies always engender.
Cliff Slater is a regular columnist for The Advertiser. A footnoted version of this article is available at www.cliffslater.com.
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, June 4, 2006
Hawaiian recognition will involve everyone
The fate of the controversial Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill could be decided in the coming days, with the U.S. Senate poised to bring the measure known as the Akaka bill to the floor for debate.
And while Hawai'i residents won't cast a vote in that decision, other critical decisions will be made on the home turf. Now would be the perfect time to reflect on what the result could be, and on our collective role in shaping it.
The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act sets in motion an open-ended process, but it is not a process that lies outside the influence of all citizens. To some extent, Hawai'i residents have already voted to extend a measure of self-determination to Hawaiians by approving a slate of state constitutional amendments after the 1978 Constitutional Convention. The Akaka bill would add the federal imprimatur to this, but the process — and the influence of the general public — does not end there.
Nobody knows for certain what form this Hawaiian government will take. Congress will weigh in again before that political entity receives formal recognition.
Negotiations among federal, state and Hawaiian leaders will then work on a settlement — an accord that can't be inked without the approval of our elected representatives in the Legislature and in Congress. Indeed, constitutional changes may be required, which means all citizens will have a direct vote in the process.
All of that lies in the murky future, and that's why many voters feel uneasy. Governments can't always avoid venturing into uncharted territory, and while any future settlement may comprise land and money, its parameters are unknown.
Amendments to the Akaka bill sought to respond to critics and narrow the powers of any future Hawaiian entity. One wise change specifically states that the bill does not authorize gambling. While this does not preclude gambling, any movement in that direction would require further changes to state and federal law. Another change shortens the time frame for Hawaiian claims to be filed, reducing some of the uncertainty.
Such changes will help keep the process focused on resolution rather than festering endlessly.
And enactment of the Akaka bill could help end lawsuits challenging established Hawaiian programs, a more immediate benefit.
With collective guidance, the process envisioned by the Akaka bill could finally move Hawai'i beyond the pains of its past, toward a future that its indigenous people could help direct.
Let's hope the Senate will let this process begin.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 4, 2006
UH backs Hawaiians' quest for sovereignty
by David McClain
THE University of Hawaii's name bespeaks our roots in this community, and our values as well. As its president, I am among many who believe federal recognition for native Hawaiians is an important step in strengthening Hawaii's multicultural society.
Federal recognition, as outlined in the Akaka Bill, provides a process for Hawaiians to revive and perpetuate their cultural and sovereign heritage. And it allows all of us to focus on the ethics of early Hawaiians -- sharing, collaboration and conservation -- as a model of sustainability for the future of Hawaii, and indeed for our increasingly globalized, "island earth" world.
The early Hawaiians were remarkable people -- risk-takers sailing uncharted oceans, nourishing barren lands, creating a productive system balancing harvests from the land and sea, and extending aloha into relationships of respect and reciprocity among people.
Today, on each of our 10 campuses, we are teaching and practicing what Hawaiians did hundreds of years ago. We can sustain the spirit and creativity of the Hawaiians by supporting federal recognition and participating in the process of forming a Hawaiian governing entity.
The University of Hawaii is the only public university in America's only island state. Our primary mission as chronicled in our Board of Regents' policy is "to provide environments in which faculty and students can discover, examine critically, preserve and transmit the knowledge, wisdom and values that will help ensure the survival of the present and future generations with improvement in the quality of life."
For our island society, that reservoir of knowledge, wisdom and values must include the wisdom of Hawaiians and their indigenous culture. Our strategic vision is tied to the ancient Hawaiians' reverence for the land and their practice of sharing its diverse but finite resources for the benefit of all who live here.
The University of Hawaii already has made a commitment to provide educational leadership and support for the Hawaiian community. We believe it is the right thing to do, to honor and respect Hawaii's first people.
David McClain is president of the University of Hawaii.
The Weekly Standard, June 5, 2006
Aloha Means Goodbye
Will the Senate vote for Hawaiian separatism?
by Duncan Currie
FOR NEARLY AS LONG as Hawaii has been a state, its most famous pop culture icon has been the organ-playing singer Don Ho. Born in Honolulu in 1930, Ho claims Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, and German ancestry. Few figures better epitomize the Aloha State's proud history of ethnic intermingling and racial comity. Its senior senator, Democrat Daniel Inouye, has hailed Hawaii as "one of the greatest examples of a multiethnic society living in relative peace."
Inouye made that remark in 1994, on the 35th anniversary of Hawaiian statehood. It is no small irony that, in June 2006, he is cosponsoring a bill that would fracture Hawaii along ethnic lines and create a de facto apartheid system of racial privileges.
That bill is the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, the outgrowth of legislation first introduced by Hawaii senator Daniel Akaka in July 2000. It would essentially grant Native Hawaiians the same sovereign "tribal" status that American Indians and Native Alaskans enjoy, and permit them to form a race-based governing entity. After much wrangling, Akaka has been promised a cloture vote on his measure sometime this week.
Don't expect a filibuster. The Akaka bill has five Republican cosponsors. The entire Democratic caucus appears to be in favor. Hawaii governor Linda Lingle, a Republican, is behind it, as are Hawaii's state legislature and its two congressmen, Democrats Neil Abercrombie and Ed Case. (Abercrombie has sponsored a companion bill in the House.) Should it come up for a floor vote, it would presumably need only one Senate Republican to join the five GOP cosponsors to ensure passage. And Lingle has told the New York Times that at least six Republicans are on board.
One can only hope they have not actually read the legislation. For the Akaka bill would promote a baleful hodgepodge of specious history, racial separatism, and legal codes reminiscent of Jim Crow.
START WITH THE REVISIONIST HISTORY. The Akaka bill largely stems from the 1993 Apology Resolution, in which Congress expressed its "deep regret" for the January 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, an event that led to U.S. annexation of Hawaii five years later. The Apology accused U.S. minister to Hawaii John L. Stevens of conspiring with American military forces and "non-Hawaiian" insurgents to topple the monarchy. It further hinted that the interests of American sugar planters were central to the conspiracy.
These claims are dubious, at best. According to the Morgan report, an 800-page document issued by Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Tyler Morgan of Alabama in February 1894, the U.S. troops who landed in Honolulu during the (nearly bloodless) coup were peacekeepers, seeking to ensure the safety of American citizens and defend their property. The revolt was mostly a domestic struggle, brought on by Queen Liliuokalani's bid for quasi-despotic powers.
If you discount the Morgan findings as biased--Hawaii was a grossly politicized issue even in the 1890s--consider the work of the late Ralph S. Kuykendall, widely deemed a preeminent historian of the Hawaiian islands. In The Hawaiian Kingdom, Kuykendall acknowledges that Stevens, a fervent annexationist, sent mixed messages during the uprising. He did indeed ask Captain Wiltse, the commander of the USS Boston, docked in Honolulu Harbor, to send the Marines ashore.
But Wiltse had already issued the order himself, in accordance with standard naval and diplomatic protocols. Moreover, his instructions were that U.S. troops should "remain neutral in any conflict" and exercise "strict impartiality . . . in preserving order and protecting property"--which they did. As for the sugar planters, they "were conservatively inclined" and came to oppose the monarchy only reluctantly.
Whatever the peripheral extent of U.S. aid to the rebels, the 1893 revolution was remarkably peaceful--not a single person died. By contrast, the Hawaiian Kingdom itself was forged in 1810 after decades of savage warfare led by the future King Kamehameha I.
WHICH BRINGS US to the Akaka bill's next piece of dodgy history: the racial dynamics of that kingdom. For membership purposes, the legislation defines "Native Hawaiian" as anyone whose lineage traces back to the "the aboriginal, indigenous, native people" who "occupied and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian archipelago" before 1893, or whose relatives were eligible for the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act in 1921 (which required at least one-half blood relation to the Polynesians living in Hawaii before 1778, when Captain Cook arrived).
The Akaka bill thus implies that, prior to 1893, Hawaiian politics was a racially exclusive affair limited solely to Native Hawaiians. This is patently untrue. Under the monarchy, both the executive and legislative branches of government were multiracial. The Hawaiian Kingdom boasted Caucasians (or "haoles"), Chinese, Japanese, and other non-natives.
Since the Akaka bill stipulates no precise blood quantum, the new tribe would apparently get to decide the racial worthiness of its prospective members. There are an estimated 400,000 people scattered throughout Hawaii and the broader United States who identify as either partly or wholly Native Hawaiian. (Though that number would likely swell if the Akaka bill became law.) Unlike Indian tribes, they are not geographically segregated--quite the opposite. They make up about 20 percent of the Hawaiian population, but are sprinkled across the archipelago. Widespread intermarriage has further attenuated the strength and cohesion of Native Hawaiian culture.
This raises serious constitutional questions. Everyone agrees that Congress can recognize existing Indian tribes. But can it create a new "tribe" at the behest of a particular ethnic lobby? Probably not; and if so, only in the rarest of circumstances. Surely there are Hispanic separatists in the American Southwest who would love to get their own sovereign "nation" as reparations for the Mexican War. The Akaka bill would encourage them to press their case.
It would also designate a privileged caste of Hawaiians who could feasibly be subject to a different legal regime than their next-door neighbors--all on the basis of race. The racially chosen Hawaiians might enjoy special tax and welfare benefits. They might be able to petition state and federal officials over land and natural-resource spats, which would no doubt trigger an avalanche of lawsuits. And their new government would presumably be exempt from important bits of the U.S. constitution, as Indian tribes are.
Given two recent court precedents, the Akaka bill would almost certainly invite a constitutional challenge. Last summer, the Ninth Circuit Court struck down a pro-native racial preference policy at an elite Hawaiian private school. In 2000, just months before Akaka introduced his legislation, the Supreme Court ruled against race-based statutes governing the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. (Voting rights in OHA elections had been restricted to Native Hawaiians who fulfilled a blood quota--which, the Court said in Rice v. Cayetano, violated the Fifteenth Amendment.)
ARE SUPPORTERS OF the Akaka bill aware of these facts? Do they know that recent polling by the anti-Akaka Grassroot Institute of Hawaii found that 67 percent of Hawaiians oppose the legislation? Or that, according to the same poll, some 70 percent of Hawaiians desire a statewide referendum before the matter goes to Congress?
The five GOP cosponsors include Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, and Gordon Smith of Oregon. The one Republican who may tip the scales is John McCain of Arizona, who initially opposed the bill but has dropped hints that he might vote for it under certain conditions. "Here in Washington," McCain told the Honolulu Advertiser last June, "it's hard for us to go against the view of the governor, the legislature--Republican and Democrat--the senators, and the congressmen."
Should Akaka win over McCain, that could clinch Senate approval for Native Hawaiian sovereignty. The House would have to approve its own bill, but it passed nearly identical legislation six years ago. As for the White House, Justice Department officials have raised both legal and pragmatic concerns, such as the prospect of tribal casinos and potential interference with U.S. military bases. But few expect George W. Bush to make the Akaka bill his first presidential veto.
That is unfortunate. The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act remains a noxious affront to E pluribus unum, and to anyone who gives a fig about colorblind justice and equal protection. As the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights concluded last month, it deserves an emphatic rejection--if not from the Senate or the House, than from President Bush.
Duncan Currie is a reporter at The Weekly Standard.
Wall Street Journal, Monday, June 5, 2006
Pluribus Sine Unum
Will the Senate impose race-based government on Hawaii?
JOHN FUND ON THE TRAIL
America's motto is "E pluribus unum," Latin for "Out of many, one." Some U.S. senators seem to be reading it backward. This week the Senate will consider legislation that would create an independent, race-based government for Native Hawaiians. If the bill becomes law, it would create a racial spoils system that would hand special privileges to up to one-fifth of the state's population--including many with only a trace of Hawaiian blood. It could inspire mainland groups such as Hispanic separatists to seek similar spoils, should they ever gain enough political leverage.
The notion is the obsession of Sen. Daniel Akaka, an 81-year-old Democrat whose 16-year Senate record has been so undistinguished that Time magazine listed him in April as one of the five worst senators calling him "living proof that experience does not necessarily yield expertise." Mr. Akaka, whose term ends this year, faces a tough challenge in the September Democratic primary from Rep. Ed Case, and is thus desperate to show he is still legislatively relevant.
The Akaka bill was born out of an angry reaction to the 2000 case of Rice v. Cayetano, in which the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 7-2 vote, declared unconstitutional a system under which non-Native Hawaiians were barred from voting for or serving as trustees of the state's Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Fearful of losing control of the rich patronage pot that the office, with its $3 billion trust fund, has become, its supporters decided to up the ante and try to skirt the 15th Amendment's mandate for equal voting rights by requiring that the federal government recognize Native Hawaiians in the same manner it recognizes separate governments for American Indians and Alaskan Eskimos.
The U.S. Civil Rights Commission issued a report earlier this year that destroyed the notion that the Indian tribe analogy is appropriate. Native Hawaiians, who freely voted in large numbers to join the U.S. as a state in 1959, have never asked to be recognized as an Indian tribe. They not only lack their own system of laws but are dispersed throughout Hawaii and have a high rate of intermarriage with other groups. "The Akaka bill would authorize a government entity to treat people differently based on their race and ethnicity," said Gerald Reynolds, the commission's chairman. "This runs counter to the basic American value that the government should not prefer one race over another."
In Hawaii, debate over the ramifications of the Akaka bill has been stifled, as almost all of its elected officials have signed on to it for fear of being branded insensitive or racist. But none of them want to test the measure by consulting the state's voters directly on the Akaka bill. A Grassroots Institute poll last week showed some two-thirds of Hawaiians oppose the bill, including a near-majority of Native Hawaiians.
That raises the question of who exactly is a Native Hawaiian today. Hawaii is a tremendous "melting pot" success story, with a variety of ethnic groups living in relative harmony. High rates of intermarriage mean that less than 1% of the people are pureblood Native and speak Hawaiian as their primary language. Only a tenth are more than 50% Hawaiian blood. Of the nine Native Hawaiian trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, only two have Hawaiian surnames.
The difficulty of finding purebloods means that it takes as little as 1/256th Hawaiian blood--that is, a single Hawaiian great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent--to be counted as a "Native Hawaiian" today. Over 40% of those so classified don't even live in Hawaii. Yet Mr. Akaka insists that "Native Hawaiians have continued to maintain their separate identity as a single distinct native community." As Cliff Slater, a columnist for the Honolulu Advertiser, puts it: "That is a real stretch. Since the 1970s there has been a revitalized interest in Hawaiian culture, but it has been by all racial groups."
The potential dangers of approving the Akaka bill--which has already won House passage in a previous Congress--are immense. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee warns that establishing "a new sovereign nation within the United States based solely on race . . . could turn the United States into the United Nations." Linda Chavez, a former executive director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, warns that other groups could use the precedent of a new Native Hawaiian government to lodge their own demands. She notes that a group of Hispanic separatists in Arizona once tried to get legislation passed that would have barred anyone whose ancestors were not living in Arizona at the time of the 1848 Mexican War from living in most areas of the state.
Supporters of the Akaka bill refuse even to disavow the idea of secession from the United States. Last July, Rowena Akana, a trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, told National Public Radio that "if the majority of Hawaiian people want secession, then that's the way we'll go." That same month, NPR asked Sen. Akaka about the possibility of secession, and he said, "That is something I leave for my grandchildren to decide."
Despite all this, the Akaka bill is at least an even bet to win a Senate majority this week. Democrats, who long ago bought into racial spoils politics, are largely on board. The Bush administration has chosen to remain neutral. Linda Lingle, who in 2002 became Hawaii's first Republican governor in 40 years, is convinced the bill is will help her party win over Hawaiian voters. She has been remarkably successful in convincing some GOP senators, such as Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Norm Coleman of Minnesota, that the bill is benign. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a quasi-state agency, has spent lavishly on a snow job for senators, including its hiring of the top lobbying firm of Patton Boggs.
But the Akaka bill is not just another special-interest boondoggle. It too important not to have senators give it the most exacting scrutiny. Creating a race-based government in Hawaii would create a dangerous precedent that could lead to ethnic balkanization on the mainland too.
Townhall.com, Jun 5, 2006
Did anyone ask the Hawaiians?
By Mary Katharine Ham
If I told you there would be a bill coming to the floor of the United States Senate this week that would create a sovereign government based on race, would you believe me? You can be forgiven for being skeptical. It sounds ridiculous.
If I told you that when it comes to the floor—most likely on Thursday of this week—that it's not at all unlikely that it will pass, would you believe me then?
It's time to start believing. The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act comes to the floor this week. Among its goals, according to a report from the United States Commission on Civil Rights:
--Recognize a right of the Native Hawaiian people to reorganize the Native Hawaiian governing entity to provide for their common welfare and to adopt appropriate organic governing documents.
--Establish a commission to certify that the adult members of the Native Hawaiian community proposed for inclusion on the roll meet the definition of Native Hawaiian as "an individual who is one of the indigenous, native people of Hawaii."
--Authorize the United States to enter into negotiations with the governing entity to lead to an agreesment addressing specified matters including the transfer of lands, natural resources, and other assets."
After a briefing in January, the commission issued a report that portrayed the Akaka bill as "discriminatory and divisive."
This bill has been skulking around the Senate for six years now. Unfortunately, when Hawaiian senators Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye go looking for supporters for something called the "Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act," they find a lot of support from obliging fellow senators who assume the bill is a "Hawaiian issue," and that the Hawaiian delegation can be trusted to speak for Native Hawaiians.
But one of the many problems with the bill is that no one has asked the Native Hawaiians themselves about this "Hawaiian issue."
I spoke with Kilikina Kekumano and Leon Siu of the Koani Foundation--both Native Hawaiian activists opposed to the Akaka bill. They are opposed largely because the legislation seeks to deal with a Hawaiian issue without ever consulting the people of Hawaii about it.
Kekumano, who was adopted as a young girl by a mainland American family and now flies between her family's land in Virginia and Hawaii while working on this issue, says the Akaka bill will create racial division in Hawaii where there has been none.
"I guess I got mad reading the newspapers…telling everyone that this is what the Hawaiians want," she said.
It is not what they want, she contends. And, polls seem to back her up. A poll conducted by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in March of 2005 showed that 74 percent of Hawaiians were against the Akaka bill and federal recognition.
A conservative think-tank in Hawaii, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, commissioned a survey in 2005, which showed that 67 percent of Hawaii residents were against the Akaka bill, and 48 percent of Native Hawaiians surveyed agree.
The Institute's most recent survey shows that 70 percent of Hawaiian residents want to vote on the Akaka bill before it's considered on a national level, and 67 percent of residents continue to oppose the Akaka bill.
That's all Siu wants—a say. He pointed out that no hearings have been held in Hawaii on the current or any previous version of the Akaka bill, despite the immense impact it may have on the state.
"We're not opposed to the government helping us do something," he said, "but together as a community, we should figure out what's best."
Kekumano is concerned that the racial preferences and race-based government will create "at least strong animosity between the people who have always lived together…We don't have specific barriers between race. This would create an incredible apartheid really," she said.
Supporters of the bill claim that the Akaka bill will just grant to Native Hawaiians the same recognition given to other Native American tribes. Unlike other Native American tribes, however, Native Hawaiians were never a racially and culturally separate sovereign entity.
When King Kamehameha became ruler of all the Hawaiian islands in 1810, the Kingdom of Hawaii welcomed the contributions and participation of non-natives. Even supporters of the Akaka bill admit that the Kingdom of Hawaii was a minority ethnically Hawaiian. The Akaka bill would create a racially separate entity that has never before been separate.
I grew up in the South. I've seen my share of racial tension. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that you don't create racial separatism where there is relative racial harmony. I can't imagine anything more counterproductive.
The Akaka bill would be a disaster for all the people of Hawaii, according to Kekumano and Siu. It would divide them in ways they've never been divided, turn neighbor against neighbor. The majority of Hawaiians know this, and many Native Hawaiians agree.
"We can avoid a bad situation by simply letting Hawaiians have a say," Siu said.
This "Hawaiian issue" will become a national issue this week. The Akaka bill's attempt to create a race-based government is antithetical to American values. If the Senate knows that the people of Hawaii—even native Hawaiians—believe that, then maybe we can indeed avoid a bad situation.
Mary Katharine Ham is the former Senior Writer and Associate Editor for Townhall.com.
Project 21, national center, press release, June 5, 2006
Black Activists Say Proposal to Create Separate, Race-Based, Hawaiian Government Conflicts with America's "Melting Pot" Traditions
For Release: June 5, 2006
Contact: David Almasi at 202/543-4110 x11
Members of the black leadership network Project 21 are expressing concern that legislation now under consideration in the U.S. Senate conflicts with America's "melting pot" philosophy.
Senators are expected to vote as early as this week on "The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act" (S. 147). This bill would create a native Hawaiian government with sovereign immunity akin to that enjoyed by Indian tribes. This proposed government, however, is likely to be determined on racial terms, restricting eligible voters exclusively to those of Hawaiian ancestry. Experts say this limits the voting pool to approximately 400,000 Americans nationwide - roughly 160,000 of whom do not reside on the Hawaiian Islands.
Critics say the proposal would create a virtual caste system on the Hawaiian Islands and, perhaps allow those affiliated with this race-based government to ignore various laws and safety regulations.
A similar plan for Hawaiian racial governance was found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Rice v. Cayetano. A decisive 7 to 2 decision in 2000 overturned a "Hawaiian only" provision for voting for the trustees of the state's Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), a quasi-governmental native Hawaiian lobbying organization. The OHA is now a chief proponent of S. 147.
"Allowing a race-based native Hawaiian government would create an Orwellian situation where equality and privilege is based on race and ethnicity," said Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie. "To think of such a thing in this day and age is abhorrent. To actually attempt to codify such a notion in America, after the abolition of such racial hierarchy as slavery here and apartheid abroad, is contemptible. This plan proves that racism and bigotry can still find a foothold in our society."
While this race-based government finds support among the Hawaiian political class and their paid advocates, a May 2006 poll commissioned by the Grassroots Institute of Hawaii found almost 67 percent of the population of Hawaii opposes S. 147, and over 80 percent generally oppose race-based preferences. Almost 70 percent of Hawaiian residents would also prefer to see a statewide referendum on the subject matter of S. 147 rather than having it decided solely at the federal level.
Furthermore, a majority of commissioners of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recently approved a report critical of S. 147. Commission chairman Gerald Reynolds said the bill "would authorize a government entity to treat people differently based on their race and ethnicity."
"This proposal is evidence of the complete disregard elected officials, on all levels, appear to have for the will of the people they are sworn to represent," said Project 21's Massie. "Nearly 70 percent of all Hawaiians oppose the legislation, yet they seem to be ignored. Those who have taken an oath to act in the best interest of the people now appear poised to thumb their noses, turn their backs and do what will benefit them and their colleagues."
For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or Project21@nationalcenter.org, or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html. New Visions Commentaries can be found at http://nationalcenter.org/P21NewVisions.html.
Hawaii Reporter, June 5, 2006
The Akaka Bill: Indigenous or Indivisible?
By Elaine D. Willman
U.S. Senators Akaka and Inouye of Hawaii would enslave American taxpayers to perpetually fund another separate, race-based government that we do not elect. Federal Indian policy already requires the redirection of American tax dollars to some 561 federally recognized tribal governments. Some 274 additional Indian "tribes" are seeking such entitlement, along with a congressionally sanctioned gambling monopoly. Taxpayers are permanently indentured to annually fund these private, race-based governments.
With S. 3064, "The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act," Congress may soon move the future of the United States in a direction that further reduces the rights of all citizens to a bondage and subservience to special race-based governments. American citizens, including naturalized citizens and hopeful immigrants, will become the permanent, "debtor" citizens whose federal taxes will be forever garnished for the support of separate governments, based upon "a single drop of blood." This is Plessey v. Ferguson (1896) incarnate, only it is not about separate-but-equal. It is about separate and superior.
If Congress passes the patently unconstitutional Akaka Bill (Senate Bill 3064), the message to American citizens is that some citizens, based on race alone, are federally preferred and superior to other citizens. There is not an iota of language within the United States Constitution that condones or sanctions such inequality. The whole cloth of the U.S. Constitution requires and guarantees a "Republican form of government." No exceptions. None.
Hawaii's Governor, its U.S. senators, the Hawaiian legislature and major news publications in Hawaii, have consistently stonewalled every effort of Hawaiian citizens to hold a plebiscite (vote) on the concept of the Akaka Bill, before Congress acts upon it. Apparently, decisions of elected officials that we do elect are no longer the business "of the people, for the people, by the people."
As Congress caves to growing international and domestic Indigenous movements, each of the 50 stars on the flag is correspondingly dimmed. The American taxpayer is further enslaved to deliver his/her hard-earned tax dollars to be redirected for the needs and desires of private, separate race-based governments that we do not elect.
The Akaka Bill opens an even more ominous legislative and legal door: It could set the precedent for the next indigenous population, the Aztlan and La Raza movements, to challenge the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo for the return of 525,000 square miles of "Mexican Indigenous homelands" surrendered by the Treaty.
Rubellite Johnson is a Native Hawaiian scholar, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Hawaiian and Indo-Pacific Languages at the University of Hawai'i and "Living Treasure of Hawaii" for her work in translating early Hawaiian-language documents. Ms. Johnson puts things into simple, elegant clarity: "We are all indigenous people of the Earth, and should not be separated by race."
Is our Nation's foundational compass shifting from the cornerstone of unity to appeasement of powerful indigenous movements? Have we so succumbed to the entitlement mentality that ensuring equality is extinct?
Have our country's leaders assumed the sackcloth and ashes of shame foisted upon our national psyche by over-hyped indigenous movements finding victory in victimhood?
No. We do not have another country. We either have one United States, one government, one people, or an unraveling welfare caste system breaking down by blood quantum into a debtor-creditor society.
The Akaka Bill is wrong on every level. Tell Congress to make this nightmare go away.
Elaine D. Willman, the National Chair for the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA), can be reached via email at mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to http://www.citizensalliance.org/
Renew America, June 5, 2006
Dismantling of the United States: Happening right before our eyes
As Congress returns this week, two very dangerous threats to this nation are on the table. Taken together, they facilitate a pattern: an attempt — however uncoordinated — to dismantle and bring down the United States. The Senate amnesty illegal immigration bill and the Native Hawaiian bill, if passed, could lead to the undoing of the U.S.
Illegal immigration has been well-publicized. What is not as well known is a campaign — encouraged by the government of Mexico (see last week's column, Invasion: Are We Still a Nation?) — to carve out a racist nation in the western United States. The idea is to build up the Mexican immigrant population (legal and illegal) to a majority in those states and then take control of them, expel the non-Mexicans, and let the "ethnic cleansing" begin.
UPI and the Washington Times report that Mexican President Vicente Fox's government is "conducting a well-financed campaign to shape [U.S.] public opinion in favor of more Mexicans coming into the United States."
Laws in Mexico against non-Mexican citizens meddling in Mexico's internal political affairs are not matched by any enforced laws here in America against non-American citizens meddling in U.S. affairs. The Mexican government is "working through a coalition of U.S.-based immigrant rights groups, Mexican-American organizations and grassroots Hispanic groups to lobby U.S. lawmakers and civic leaders for amnesty for the estimated 12 million illegals in the United States."
Just thought you would like to know who's targeting the people you send to Washington in case you have any "nativist" notions that they're here to work for you, not for Vicente Fox.
Native Hawaiian bill: Unlike the immigration bill, this effort to pull apart and dismantle the United States has been operating largely under the radar. Now it is advancing to the forefront.
The Native Hawaiian bill would create a different kind of race-based government on our soil. The measure typifies the "solution" in search of a problem. In the process, the "solution" actually creates a problem where none had existed.
It would create a separate nation of "Native Hawaiians," not just those living in Hawaii, but those living anywhere across the United States. All that is required for one to qualify for membership in the separate nation is one drop of "Native Hawaiian" blood.
Its backers do not deny that this balkanization of America could ultimately lead to secession. It is an attempted end-run around the Constitution and the Supreme Court. In 2000 in Rice vs. Cayetano, the justices ruled unconstitutional a law that said only Native Hawaiians could vote for the trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Billions of dollars were at stake, to say nothing of political clout, so defenders of racial preferences met in secret and came up with other ways to get around the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Never let it be said they would be constrained by mere nuisances such as "the equal protection of the laws" or that the right to vote "shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
The Akaka bill (so named for its author, Hawaii Democrat Daniel Akaka) seeks to shoehorn Native Hawaiians, wherever located, into the federal Indian law system. The resulting government would be called a tribe.
That represents a serious distortion of the constitutional and historical standards of recognizing Indian tribes. The courts have ruled that only those people who have long operated as an Indian tribe, live as a separate and distinct community (geographically and culturally), and have a pre-existing political structure can be recognized as a tribe. Native Hawaiians do not meet any of these criteria.
A leading opponent of the bill — Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander — not known as an intractable hothead — says the Akaka bill "is so offensive because instead of saying that from many one, it says we are going to create a new sovereign nation of American citizens within the United States of America. And what will the admission be? Blood! Exactly what has been ruled throughout our history in the Constitution it should not be."
A report prepared under the direction of Senator Jon L. Kyle (R-Ariz.) notes that when Hawaii became a state in 1959, there was a broad consensus in Congress and in the nation that Native Hawaiians would not be treated as a separate racial group, and that they would not be transformed into an "Indian tribe."
A "solution" in search of a problem? Absolutely. Visitors to Hawaii have marveled that in this arguably most integrated of all the 50 states, people of so many races have lived in harmony — the ideal color-blind society. But of course, the racial and ethnic dividers can't have that. A society where races live together peacefully would deprive them of the luxury of playing the race card. How could they gain political power if they can't pit one group of people against another? Can't have that. The racial hostility must continue. Only then can they hope to score with their divisive talking points.
It's not as if the people of Hawaii are clamoring for this pernicious piece of mischief. A poll commissioned by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii finds the people of the state against the bill by a 2 to 1 margin. Moreover, nearly 80% of Native Hawaiians are opposed to it. What is driving the push for the measure is a grab for political and financial power, using guilt trip "political correctness" as the wedge issue. Akaka's bill has the backing of the state's Republican Governor Linda Lingle. Political pull apparently has more influence than the plain will of the people on the island state.
There is nothing in the bill that says anything about what kind of government the new Native Hawaiian "nation" would be. A democratic republic where the people rule? Don't bet on it. Perpetrators of this scheme are already ignoring the will of the people of Hawaii themselves, including the Native Hawaiians. One can see how much "respect" they really have for "representative democracy."
It looks as if the Senate — the same Senate that produced the monstrously flawed amnesty immigration bill — will hold a vote on the Akaka bill in the week ahead. That vote promises to be close. Akaka has lined up nine co-sponsors, five of them Republicans: Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.).
So the pro-Mexico racist movement for a new nation in the western states combined with the Native Hawaiian bill would seem to indicate a clear pattern: chaos and the breakup and downfall of the United States of America.
This column is not prone to accept conspiracy theories that are not accompanied by credible evidence and/or strong eyewitness testimony. No outright coordinated conspiracy can be detected in this case.
Nonetheless — if — if — someone somewhere were pushing a button to order an elaborate stealth process whose purpose was to destroy this nation, that someone could not do a better job than to put these two plans simultaneously on a fast track.
Your voice to your United States senators is our best hope. It is best to phone their offices here in Washington. That is far more effective than e-mail. And in the case of the Akaka bill, there is not enough time for snail mail.
Wes Vernon is a Washington-based writer and veteran broadcast journalist.
National Review Online, June 05, 2006
A Race-Based State
Hawaii wants a segregation that would boggle your mind.
An NRO Flashback
Editor's note: This piece by Ramesh Ponnuru appeared in the July 18, 2005, issue of National Review.
Republicans have shown precious little courage in fighting government policies that distribute benefits based on race in recent years. There have been no legislative efforts to rein in racial preferences in federal contracts, and the Bush administration gave a qualified blessing to racial preferences in college admissions when the Supreme Court was considering the issue. Now we are going to see whether Republicans can at least oppose the creation of new race-based subsidies.
Sen. Daniel Akaka, a Democrat from Hawaii, is sponsoring a bill to create a race-based government for "Native Hawaiians." It may well pass, thanks to the support it has gotten from a few Republicans, including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Norm Coleman of Minnesota.
Hawaii has an Office of Hawaiian Affairs that provides benefits to "Native Hawaiians"—that is, to descendants of the racial majority of the islands at the time they became part of the United States. Until recently, the board of the agency was restricted to Native Hawaiians, and only Native Hawaiians were allowed to vote in elections for board members. In 2000, however, the Supreme Court ruled (over the dissent of two liberals) that the racial restrictions on voting violated the Fifteenth Amendment. (That's the one that, well, prohibits racial restrictions on voting.) In the course of explaining their decision, the justices cast doubt on the constitutionality of the whole scheme of benefits for Native Hawaiians.
The Akaka bill heads off the threat of colorblind government by treating Native Hawaiians as akin to an Indian tribe. The tribes get to govern themselves. Under the bill, Native Hawaiians would be treated similarly—or so the bill's supporters claim. Native Hawaiians will get the sustained prosperity and good government that Native Americans so famously enjoy. Or the Native Hawaiians could choose to go back to monarchy, the form of government that was overthrown in 1893. The new government, whatever its form, will negotiate with Hawaii and the federal government over lands, natural resources, and civil and criminal jurisdiction. The Bill of Rights does not fully apply to Indian tribes, and even those elements of it that do theoretically apply are hard to enforce. The Native Hawaiian government would not have to comply with the Bill of Rights, either.
The new government could choose to sever ties with the United States. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs promotes the bill as a step toward letting Native Hawaiians "exercise their right to self-determination by selecting another form of government including free association or total independence."
Critics of the bill, however, say that Native Hawaiians are not analogous to Indian tribes. The federal government did not create sovereign tribes so much as recognize them. Generally, the tribes existed as tribes before the areas in which they lived got statehood. The federal government made treaties with them, or passed statehood-enabling laws that recognized them. In a few other cases, tribes have been recognized after demonstrating that they had formed a separate and distinct community exercising sovereignty over the previous century.
Native Hawaiians aren't a separate and distinct community. They aren't geographically separate. Native Hawaiians who live in Hawaii live in the same neighborhoods, and go to the same stores, churches, and schools, as the other four-fifths of Hawaiians. So federal recognition of their "tribal" status would mean that a Native Hawaiian storeowner would be effectively exempt from state sales taxes while his non-Native competitor down the street would remain subject to them. There is no marked cultural separation of Native and non-Native Hawaiians, either: Intermarriage rates are quite high in Hawaii.
Nor have Native Hawaiians exercised political sovereignty. There are no pretenders to the old Hawaiian throne. There wasn't a purely race-based government in Hawaii even before 1893. The queen had subjects who had come, or whose ancestors had come, to Hawaii from all over the world. The government included officials of many races. Nor was the sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian race recognized at the time Hawaii became a state. The rhetoric of statehood advocates at that time (the 1950s) was that of the melting pot, not of racial separatism. Yet the Akaka bill's criterion for participating in the new government is being able to document lineal descent from the indigenous people of Hawaii. (The bill does not specify how much Native Hawaiian blood must flow in a person's veins for him to qualify—one drop would apparently count.)
Jon Kyl, a Republican senator from Arizona, has led the opposition to the bill. "It is the antithesis of the American concept of E pluribus unum and could begin the balkanization of the United States based strictly on race and ethnicity." If Aztlan and other Latino separatists ever acquired some political strength in California and the Southwest, the Akaka bill would be a handy precedent for them.
But Kyl doesn't have much company. Congress has a track record of pandering on Hawaiian issues: In 1993, it officially apologized for America's alleged role in the overthrow of the monarchy. (Apparently that was illegitimate, although it was perfectly fine for that line of monarchs to take over Hawaii in the first place.) There is no Democratic opposition to the Akaka bill, and several Republicans are supporting it. Alaska's congressional delegation has long worked with Hawaii's. The senators from Hawaii voted to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a priority for Alaska lawmakers that just barely passed the Senate. Alaska's Republican senators, Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski, are co-sponsors of the Akaka bill.
But the Alaska connection isn't the only reason some Republicans are supporting the bill. In 2002, Hawaii elected Linda Lingle, the first Republican governor of the state for 40 years. She backs the Akaka bill. She is said to see her position as a prerequisite for increasing the party's share of the Native Hawaiian vote. And she has brought Republicans elsewhere with her. Gordon Smith of Oregon might have co-sponsored the bill in any case. But it is hard to believe that Lindsey Graham would be co-sponsoring it if not for Lingle.
Kyl has been fighting the bill for almost as long as it's been around. Last year, though, he was forced to make a partial retreat. Senator Stevens and Hawaii's Daniel Inouye attached the Native Hawaiian bill as an amendment to the bill funding the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services. Kyl couldn't very well defeat that bill, especially as a member of the Senate Republican leadership. And supporters of the Akaka bill were threatening to hold up bills important to Arizona if he tried. So Kyl and other opponents of the bill—notably Pete Domenici of New Mexico and majority leader Bill Frist—cut a deal promising a vote on the bill in 2005.
Kyl is going to try to amend the bill to make it less noxious. He may, for example, try to take out its strict racial classifications. If the bill passes, action will move to the House—where it has received even less scrutiny than it has gotten in the Senate.
Benjamin Ginsberg, a well-connected Republican lobbyist—he was counsel to the Bush campaign in 2000 and most of 2004, and he works at the powerhouse firm of Patton Boggs—is working for the bill. There is no money on the other side of the issue. Ted Olson, Bush's former solicitor general, has been so appalled by the legislation that he has done a little pro bono work against it.
In short, everyone with an interest in the bill—Lingle, the Alaskans, Ginsberg—wants it to pass. The only people who want it to fail—Kyl, Olson—do so for reasons of principle. That's the state of play right now: It's interest vs. principle. You know which way to bet.
The Hill, June 6, 2006
Right just doesn't get Sen. Frist
By Alexander Bolton
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has both pleased and outraged conservatives with his Senate schedule this week, and they are once again left scratching their heads over what to make of him.
Is he one of them? Does he want to be president?
The Senate will vote this week on cutting off debate on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages, an issue conservatives have clamored for since the 2004 election. It will also vote to quash a potential filibuster of the estate-tax repeal, another high priority for conservatives.
But Frist has also brought a skunk to what otherwise would be a conservative garden party by also scheduling the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka (Hawaii).
Conservative senators and activists hate that bill, which would allow native Hawaiians to establish their own government entity to "safeguard their welfare," according to a description by the Congressional Research Service.
This month, Frist will give conservatives a floor vote on an amendment that would ban burning the American flag, but he will also likely let stem-cell legislation reach the chamber floor for a vote before the July recess, GOP aides say.
A lobbyist for one prominent socially conservative group said Frist's staff has called the stem-cell vote "unavoidable," but some conservatives are skeptical because Frist determines the schedule. One conservative GOP aide said Frist has not yet agreed to allow Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) an accompanying vote on a bill favored by social conservatives that would ban embryonic cloning.
Conservatives such as former Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese and Todd Gaziano, director of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the conservative Heritage Foundation, call Akaka's legislation unconstitutional and say it could allow native Hawaiians to exempt themselves from "whatever aspects of the United States Constitution and state authority [they] thought undesirable." The Family Research Council, an influential group representing Christian conservatives, also opposes it, saying it could open the door to legalized gambling in the Aloha State.
Aides to conservative senators say they are discussing ways to tie the bill up on the floor, possibly by offering anti-abortion amendments. But, nevertheless the bill has a good chance of passing, and if it does it will likely be with the support of almost every Senate Democrat and a minority of the Senate Republican Conference.
If conservative GOP senators such as Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), John Ensign (Nev.), Tom Coburn (Okla.) and John Cornyn (Texas) square off against the Hawaii bill, as they are expected to, it would be the second time in a month that the conservative heart of the Senate GOP conference has rebelled against a bill Frist has brought to the floor. Passage would begin to establish a trend in which bills pass the Senate floor with overwhelming Democratic support and the backing of few Republicans.
"Frist is the leader of what may be a Republican majority but isn't a conservative majority," said Michael Franc, vice president of government relations for the Heritage Foundation.
He explained that because chamber rules often require the support of 60 lawmakers and Republicans control only 55 seats, coalitions are sometimes a mix of Democrats and liberal Republicans. The discipline that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) has imposed on his caucus has made it more difficult for Frist to pass bills amenable to the majority of Republicans with the support of a handful of Democratic defectors. Immigration was an example of that.
"The Democrats have been very effective at turning that majority into a dysfunctional one," Franc said. "You have to give credit to Reid and others for sowing this kind of discontent among Republicans in the Senate."
One veteran GOP aide wondered whether past majority leaders would have allowed major legislation to pass with a minority of Republicans supporting it. "The thing I keep hearing is if [Sen.] Trent Lott [R-Miss.] was still majority leader that would never have seen the floor," the aide said.
On Fox News last month, Frist acknowledged that the immigration bill was not popular but argued that the Senate had to address the problem of nearly 12 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S., and of what he called the hemorrhaging of immigrants across the U.S.-Mexican border. A Frist aide said the problems could not be addressed if the Senate did not pass legislation and send a bill to negotiations with the House.
The Senate majority may have seemed dysfunctional lately, but Frist has had successes. He helped pass the 2003 Medicare act, which many congressional observers thought would be difficult. Many conservatives still grumble about the cost of that vote. Frist also navigated Democratic opposition to pass long-stalled energy and transportation reauthorization legislation last year.
While the tactics of passing bills on the Senate may be easy for Frist and his staff to justify in Washington, it is more difficult for them to make their case outside the Beltway.
"Senator Frist in some instances has been a strong advocate for certain issues that are of importance to conservatives such as his work on passing the Bush tax cut, his continuing efforts to try to repeal the death tax, his work to assist the administration in getting their political appointees approved particularly on the judiciary, but at the same time he's been disappointing to conservatives on issues involving federal spending, and immigration," said William Lauderback, executive vice president of the American Conservative Union, who served as deputy campaign manager on Frist's first Senate campaign, in 1994. "If the senator's future political ambitions encompass a run for the presidency he will not be able to position himself as a true conservative."
Laudenbach said that Frist was regarded as a leader of very high integrity and that Republican and Democratic senators respect him, but that, in the final analysis, "he's not been a strong majority leader. In some instances he's been disappointing."
Amy Call, Frist's spokeswoman, defended her boss. "Senator Frist has been a strong advocate throughout his time in the Senate for the things he believes in and will continue to be," she said. "He is guided by what he feels is the right thing to do and will continue to be guided by that."
Townhall.com, June 6, 2006
Outcome of Native Hawaiian vote very much in doubt
A Senate vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to the Native Hawaiian bill is likely to occur this Thursday. Opponents of race-based governing need 41 votes to deny cloture and therefore kill the bill.
Various hill sources confirm that opponents of the Akaka bill have absolutely no idea how that vote will resolve itself. This is one of those rare instances in the Senate where the outcome of a scheduled vote is all but certain. According to one Senate source, opponents of race-based governing may be as close as one vote shy of the requisite 41 votes. That figure should be enough to get conservatives cranking on all cylinders in order to apply the necessary pressure to the U.S. Senate.
The National Review online, June 06, 2006
A Pandora's Box of Ethnic Sovereignty
Race-based Hawaii, an island we don't want to travel to.
By Peter Kirsanow
The Senate is scheduled to begin debate this week on the worst piece of legislation ever analyzed by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (S.147), also known as the Akaka bill, is riddled with a bewildering array of legal, operational, and procedural infirmities that defy meaningful description in fewer than 10,000 words. So let's consider just one of the consequences that could flow from the act's passage: a proliferation of petitions for racial and ethnic separatism.
The act authorizes the creation of a race-based government (the Native Hawaiian Governing Entity ["NHGE"]) for the estimated 400,000 Native Hawaiians living throughout the United States. That government is empowered to negotiate with the U.S. government and the State of Hawaii regarding an astonishing range of issues, including matters related to criminal and civil jurisdiction, civil-rights protections, the delegation of powers from the U.S. to the NHGE and the transfer of land, natural resources, and other assets. These negotiations would be carried out by members of the NHGE who've been certified as Native Hawaiian under the act. The act defines a Native Hawaiian as someone who is (1) a direct lineal descendant of the indigenous peoples who resided on what is now Hawaii on or before January 1, 1893 and who occupied and exercised sovereignty over such area; or (2) one of the native people of Hawaii who was eligible in 1921 for programs authorized by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act or is a direct lineal descendant of such individual.
Who determines who qualifies as Native Hawaiian? The act establishes a nine-member commission that will certify that individuals meet the above definition of Native Hawaiian. The members of the commission must themselves be Native Hawaiians with "expertise in the determination of ancestry and lineal descendency" (Query: Who determines whether the commissioners meet the Native Hawaiian definition? Well, maybe the secretary of the Interior. But how does that person -or his deputies—have "expertise in the determination of ancestry and lineal descendency"?)
Even aside from the obvious potential for fraud, the problems with the act's racial definition have an almost cartoonish quality. Only one person exercised sovereignty over the Hawaiian Islands in 1893: Queen Liliuokalani. A precise reading of this provision of the act would, therefore, grant Native Hawaiian status only to the queen's direct lineal descendents—presumably a relatively small cohort.
On the other hand, the provisions granting Native Hawaiian status to "lineal descendants" of individuals eligible in 1921 for programs authorized by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act is, practically, limitless. It implicates the odious "one drop rule" contained in the racial-segregation codes of the 19th and early 20th centuries. That, combined with some of the other predicates to creation of the NHGE renders the act's constitutionality questionable under the Supreme Court's decision in Rice v. Cayetano.
The bases for recognition extended to sovereign Indian tribes are different from those contemplated by the act for Native Hawaiians. The act doesn't require a showing of historical political continuity, cultural cohesiveness, geographic contiguity, or autonomous community. Rather, race combined with an assertion of prior rule by an entity other than then U.S. are the primary prerequisites for sovereignty.
Given that the act would confer sovereignty primarily on the basis of race untethered to traditional indices of tribal status, it would be surprising if other racial/ethnic groups didn't follow the example of the act. What prevents, say Acadians, Cajuns, or Mexican Americans from doing the same?
Earlier this year the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a hearing on the Akaka bill. One of the commission's findings was that "[t]he Office of Hawaiian Affairs currently administers a racial preference system in the form of a substantial public trust for the benefit of Native Hawaiians. The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005 appears to be an effort to preserve that system in the face of litigation anticipated over the next several years."
Congressional approval of lax standards for racial/ethnic sovereignty combined with the potential distribution of racial preferences by the newly created sovereign may prove to be a powerful incentive for other racial and ethnic groups to establish their own governments.
—Peter Kirsanow is a member of the National Labor Relations Board . He is also a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights . These comments do not necessarily reflect the positions of either organization.
Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, June 6, 2006
Island leaders lobby for Akaka bill
By Dennis Camire
Advertiser Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — Backers of the Native Hawaiian recognition bill kicked off a lobbying blitz yesterday in advance of an expected procedural vote Thursday in the Senate, where the bill has been stalled since July.
Hawai'i Gov. Linda Lingle with state Attorney General Mark Bennett and Micah Kane, director of the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, stopped by several Republican senators' offices.
"We're trying to basically provide information, answer questions and rebut misinformation," Bennett said. "We've found a receptive audience with everyone we've talked to."
Bennett said he remains "cautiously optimistic" about the bill's chances. "But I don't know," he said. "Like with our state Legislature, until the votes are counted you don't know how it's going to turn out."
The bill's chief sponsor, Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i, has been talking with both Republican and Democratic senators about the legislation and remains optimistic that it will be approved, said Donalyn Dela Cruz, spokeswoman for the senator.
"But the senator is not taking anything for granted," she said. "He continues to speak with colleagues, and each time he has an opportunity to go to the floor or is in (the Democratic) caucus, he is talking about the bill."
The bill, originally introduced in 2000, would create a process for a Native Hawaiian government to be recognized by the federal government, similar to the political status given to Native American and Alaskan Native tribes.
A group of conservative Republican senators stalled the bill in July over concerns that it was unconstitutional because it would create a race-based government. They have used Senate procedures to bottle up the bill since last year, despite promises from the Senate Republican leadership to bring it to the floor for debate and a possible vote.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said last month that he would try again to break the roadblock and is expected to take the first step today with a motion to force the measure to the floor despite the opponent's objections — known as cloture.
After debate tomorrow the Senate is expected to vote Thursday on the motion, which needs 60 votes to be successful. If it is, a full debate on the bill will follow and up to three more votes may be needed to pass it under Senate procedures. The whole process could take up to a week of Senate floor time.
So far, Lingle and the others have spoken with Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and key staff members in the offices of Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, a co-sponsor of the bill, and George V. Voinovich, R-Ohio.
Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and Clyde Namu'o, administrator for the office, were expected to arrive today to begin a sweep through the offices of Republican senators who haven't yet decided their positions on the bill. An additional six OHA trustees are expected to join them tomorrow.
Namu'o said the trustees plan to meet with Republican senators such as Snowe, Orrin Hatch of Utah, and Elizabeth Dole and Richard M. Burr of North Carolina to talk about the bill.
"We're going to be knocking on doors," Namu'o said.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 6, 2006
Hawaiians deserve federal recognition through Akaka Bill
Members of Hawaii's AJA community support self-determination for host culture
WE WANT our native Hawaiian friends and neighbors to know that their struggle for self-determination has the strong support of the Japanese-American community.
Through our experience of the wartime mass internment of our families and our decades-long struggle to win redress for this injustice, we have faced the same attacks by those who ignore historical facts.
In 1993, Congress apologized to native Hawaiians for the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, and admitted taking 1.8 million acres of ceded land without the "consent of or compensation to the native Hawaiian people or their sovereign government."
The same act, Public Law 103-150, calls for a process of reconciliation, and the first step is federal recognition for native Hawaiians.
This is how a democratic nation corrects mistakes against its own citizens. Japanese-Americans have witness this process. We were the target of a racial campaign of fear in the early days of World War II. More than 110,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans were taken from our homes and imprisoned for the duration of the war. Our families lost their homes and businesses.
Forty years later, Congress apologized and offered reparations to the victims of the mass internment.
Native Hawaiians have been waiting for more than 100 years. Why must they wait longer? Other indigenous peoples -- the American Indians and Alaskan natives -- already have received federal recognition.
Federal recognition will allow native Hawaiians to form a governing entity which can then negotiate with the federal and state governments on the specifics of self-governance. The Akaka Bill begins this process. This is about fairness and justice, and this is why we support the native Hawaiian cause.
The ties between our two communities are deep and long. Japanese-Americans remember what it was like when our grandparents were immigrants to the Kingdom of Hawaii. They were treated with aloha by native Hawaiians. Under the Hawaii Constitution of 1852, they were allowed to become subjects of the Kingdom with suffrage rights.
After the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893 and annexation in 1898, the U.S. government denied the privilege of becoming citizens to persons of Japanese ancestry. We did not regain that right until 1953.
We are eternally grateful to the native Hawaiians who welcomed our grandparents to their homeland, and treated them with respect and fairness. The Japanese-Americans owe a debt of gratitude to native Hawaiians. It is our privilege to stand by the native Hawaiian people and support their right to self- determination.
This essay was submitted by:
David Ige, State Senator
Carol Fukunaga. State Senator
William Kaneko, American Bar Association, Individual Rights & Responsibilities Council Member
Karen Nakasone, Japanese-American Citizens League
Russell Okata, Hawaii Government Employees Association
Scott Saiki, State Representative
Ted Tsukiyama, Veteran, Military Intelligence Service
Akaka Bill Endorsements by Ethnic Spokespersons
by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
From time to time we see newspaper commentaries signed by a few individuals who claim the right to speak on behalf of entire ethnic groups allegedly supporting the Akaka bill.
In some cases those individuals are celebrities like former Governor Ariyoshi or former Governor Cayetano. They use the prestige they gained through being elected by ALL the people to claim to speak on behalf of their particular ethnic group. Do Hawai'i's people of Japanese ancestry acknowledge that George Ariyoshi speaks on behalf of all Hawaii citizens of Japanese ancestry? Do Hawai'i's people of Filipino ancestry give Ben Cayetano the right to speak on behalf of them all?
Of course anyone -- even a celebrity -- can speak on behalf of himself and even perhaps his family. But doesn't it seem odd to imagine that anyone can be a spokesperson for an entire ethnic group with hundreds of thousands of members? Some blacks loudly proclaim that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas most certainly does NOT speak for them!
I think the people of Hawai'i are proud to be Americans, proud of their individual accomplishments, and too smart to blindly follow the opinions of a celebrity elected by others. The fact that a famous white baseball player has his face on a cereal box has never made me feel loyalty to that brand of cereal just because I share the celebrity's ethnicity.
Some recent newspaper commentaries supporting the Akaka bill were signed by heads of ethnic-focused groups like the Japanese American Citizens League, the Fil-American Citizens League, or the National Federation of Filipino American Associations. In such cases there is a measure of credibility. The claim to speak on behalf of an entire ethnic group should be measured by the percentage of members of that entire ethnic group who are also members of the organization. Anyone will quickly see that such ethnic organizations have small membership rosters. Furthermore, the loudness and frequency of advocacy by such organizations seems to be inversely proportional to their size -- small groups make big noises surprisingly often. The Napoleon complex -- little guys feel a need to strut.
In the case of the Akaka bill it must also be noted that organizations endorsing that racist bill are left-wing groups focused on affirmative action, historical grievances, and reparations for their own ethnic groups.
The OHA Akaka bill flier mass-mailed in May/June 2006 listed some groups supporting the Akaka bill -- National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN), Governors' Interstate Indian Council (GIIC), Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, National Indian Education Association, Tribal Education Departments National Asasembly, Virginia Indian Tribal Alliance for Life. All these Indian tribal organizations fear that defeat of the Akaka bill would raise doubts about whether U.S. federal Indian policy might come under closer scrutiny. In particular, the Alaska Federation of Natives is worried that defeat of the Akaka bill would raise doubts about the Constitutional validity of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Several Alaska native corporations have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. There must be a reason why! Hawai'i Senators Akaka and Inouye (both Democrats) have traded votes with Alaska Senators Stevens and Murkowski (both Republicans) whereby Akaka and Inouye vote in favor of drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge in return for Stevens and Murkowski voting for the Akaka bill.
The OHA flier also lists these ethnic organizations favoring the Akaka bill -- Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans, National Organization of Pacific Islanders in America, Organization of Chinese Americans. All of these are focused on race or ethnicity; all see their particular ethnic group as victims of white oppression; all see their particular ethnic group as entitled to reparations for historical grievances, so that passing the Akaka bill would smooth the way for them to get reparations for their own groups.
When government is seen as an unlimited treasure chest of money, land, and power waiting to be plundered in the name of need or grievance; then each group is happy to support other groups demanding "justice" because they imagine their own turn will soon arrive. People who focus on ethnic identity are always happy to see ethnicity being elevated to greater importance than individuality. They thrive when people are given goodies based on race or group affiliation rather than individual accomplishment or individual need. They prefer to balkanize us rather than bring us together.
Two ethnic organizations identified on the OHA flier as supporting the Akaka bill deserve our special attention. They are the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). Those organizations, along with MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan), have a longstanding campaign to recognize the Southwest United States as part of a Greater Mexico. They believe that people of Mexican (Aztec indigenous) ancestry should be entitled to freely enter the United States and eventually to reclaim for Mexico those lands that previously were a part of Mexico. They believe that anyone with at least one drop of indigenous Aztec blood, living in the part of Mexico which was engulfed by the United States -- "indigenous" people who never consented to become a part of the United States -- should be entitled to independence from the United States. This theory should sound familiar to the people of Hawai'i.
To pass the Akaka bill is to empower racial identity politics, balkanization, and the eventual breakup of the United States.
People with no Hawaiian ancestry who support racially exclusionary programs, the Akaka bill, and the resulting balkanization of Hawai'i, are like those Jewish businessmen who politically and financially supported Hitler's rise to power. They thought Hitler would bring Germany out of an economic depression and get Germany out of its crushing debt under the Treaty of Versailles. In supporting Hitler for short-term gain, they failed to foresee their own destruction in the holocaust that followed. Historian Bryan Mark Rigg recently published a book entitled "Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military." From personal interviews and archival research, Rigg estimates there were 150,000 Jews who served in Hitler's military, including decorated veterans and high-ranking officers, in return for being designated "honorary Aryans." Perhaps that's similar to non-natives joining Ka Lahui as "honorary citizens" and similar to Governor Lingle getting an OHA-issued race card (paid for with government money) identifying her as an honorary Hawaiian.
Moses had Authority to speak on behalf of God, and led his people to the Promised Land. By supporting the Akaka bill as ethnic spokesmen, former Governors Ariyoshi and Cayetano would lead "their people" down a path to second-class citizenship under a hereditary elite of a different ethnic group. They would lead "their people" to live in a shrunken and impoverished State of Hawai'i where huge pieces of land, money, and political power have been handed over to the exclusive use of an ethnic group which also continues to participate in the shrunken State. Governor Lingle, and Attorney General Bennett, should heed historical hindsight to see what happened to their own ethnic group when one race was singled out for power while their own was singled out for oppression and extermination.
Asians in Hawai'i have a proud history of overcoming economic hardship and discrimination. In the 1800s some Japanese and Chinese came to Hawai'i as crewmembers on ships, or as skilled craftsmen or businessmen. But most came as indentured servants with contracts to labor on sugar plantations. Very few became naturalized as subjects of the Kingdom of Hawai'i, with voting rights. Then, in 1887 a new Constitution proclaimed by King Kalakaua stripped even those few Asians of voting rights. That Constitution was mostly the work of white property owners who forced it on the King to limit the King's powers. But it is notable that the King signed it to save his own monarchy rather than stand on principle to defend Asian rights. In truth, both the haoles and the Hawaiians were very glad to protect their racial oligarchy against a looming Asian majority. During most of the Territorial period the laws of the United States prevented Asian immigrants from becoming citizens, although Asians born in Hawai'i were citizens and could vote when they became old enough. Eventually the laws were changed. Race became irrelevant to voting rights and property rights.
Asians have now had the same economic and political rights as whites and Hawaiians for more than 5 decades. It is unimaginable that Asians would want to relegate themselves to second-class citizenship once again under the guise of "indigenous" rights.
The OHA flier mass-mailed in May-June 2006 -- comments and corrections.
Honolulu Advertiser article (July 6, 2003) about Governor Lingle getting an OHA-issued race card (paid for with government money) identifying her as an honorary Hawaiian.
Playing Favorites -- Da Punahele Race
Pride and Prejudice -- What It Means To Be Proud of a Person, Group, Nation, or Race; Racial Profiling, Racial Prejudice, and Racial Supremacy
"Native Hawaiians as the State Pet or mascot: A Psychological Analysis of Why Hawai'i's People Tolerate and Irrationally Support Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism"
Hawaiian Nationalism, Chicano Nationalism, Black Nationalism, Indian Tribes, and Reparations -- Akaka Bill Sets a Precedent for the Balkanization of America (109th Congress: S.3064, S.147RS and H.R.309)
Fiji and Hawaii Compared -- Racial Supremacy By Law in Fiji Resembles What Hawaiian Sovereignty Activists Are Seeking (both Akaka bill and independence proposals) [Note that in Fiji the Native Fijians have racial supremacy guaranteed by law over the Asian descendants of sugar plantation workers]
Honolulu Advertiser, Breaking News, Posted at 1:56 p.m., Tuesday, June 6, 2006
Move forces Senate discussion on Akaka bill
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Senate leaders announced this evening that it will decide Thursday if there will be a vote on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, better known as the Akaka bill.
Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell filed a cloture petition on the issue, essentially forcing a discussion to decide whether there should be a full-scale debate on the Akaka bill. McConnell said discussion on the cloture will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time tomorrow. The matter will continue on Thursday.
"I am grateful to the Senate leadership for filing cloture on my bill," said Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, lead sponsor of the measure. "I look forward to the vote and am confident that many of my colleagues will support the motion to proceed."
To be successful, supporters of cloture must get at least 60 of the 100 senators to agree, and the vote is expected to be close. Gov. Linda Lingle and at least seven members of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs have been in Washington, D.C., trying to lobby non-committed senators or their staffers.
The cloture vote became necessary because six Republican senators have blocked the bill from coming up for debate on the floor.
Said Akaka: "My bill is about process and fairness. It is time for the Senate to debate this legislation."
The Akaka bill initiates a process that could lead to establishment of a federally recognized Native Hawaiian entity.
Supporters maintain that besides being the right thing for the U.S. government to do, the Akaka bill is needed to stave off the legal challenges against programs that give preference to Hawaiians.
Some opponents say it discriminates based on race or national origin. Other opponents, however, say it doesn't do enough to address the wrongs done to Hawaiians.
Akaka and other supporters of the bill have fought for six years to get the measure passed.
The Heritage Foundation
Center for Legal and Judicial Studies
June 6, 2006
The "Native Hawaiian" Bill: An Unconstitutional Approach in Furtherance of a Terrible Idea
by Edwin Meese III and Todd Gaziano
The U.S. Senate is scheduled to begin debate as early as June 7, 2006, on the misleadingly named "Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005" (S.147). The proponents of this bill, some motivated by seemingly benign purposes and others by a desire to benefit from special preferences, argue that it redresses ancient wrongs done to early Hawaiians by various powers, including the United States. The bill purports to authorize the creation of an exclusively race-based government of "native" Hawaiians to exercise sovereignty over native Hawaiians living anywhere in the United States. This "Native Hawaiian Government" could allegedly exempt these Hawaiians from whatever aspects of the United States Constitution and state authority it thought undesirable. Not only is this a terrible idea; it is also unconstitutional.
The United States Supreme Court ruled decisively that this approach violates the Constitution in Rice v. Cayetano (2000). Yet the proponents of S.147 believe they can bypass this ruling simply by enacting a law that calls the descendants of so-called "aboriginal" Hawaiians an American Indian tribe. The bill would require the federal government to create a database of persons with one drop or more of "aboriginal" Hawaiian blood, organize elections for an "interim government" of this alleged "tribe," and finally recognize the sovereignty and privileges and immunities (or lack thereof) that the new government establishes for its "tribal members." Although Hawaii correctly argued in the Rice litigation that descendants of aboriginal Hawaiians are not an American Indian tribe, state officials have changed their minds—because that is the only way they can practice racial discrimination on behalf of a favored interest group. Hopefully, the United States Constitution is not so easily circumvented.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recently conducted a public hearing and considered the constitutional and policy problems with S.147. On May 18, 2006, the commission issued its report recommending against passage of the bill "or any other legislation that would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying decrees of privilege." The commission's report also notes that every single public comment sent to it opposed the legislation, but for those from Hawaiian government entities, corporations, and those who are employed by them.
The approach embodied in S.147 has three fundamental defects.
First, a Hawaiian analogy to American Indian tribes does not work. Hawaiians (regardless of blood purity) are not and cannot be an American Indian tribe. 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 preexisting tribes within 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, Hawaiians never could qualify as an American Indian tribe. The fact that they were "aboriginal" people is of no constitutional significance. That does not make a tribe. As the Supreme Court correctly noted in Rice, Hawaii was a feudal kingdom when the first sailors and western missionaries arrived on the islands and was ruled by a powerful king in a feudal monarchy, not unlike some in Eastern Europe and the Far East at the time. America has incorporated voluntarily or by conquest many areas controlled by other monarchs, republics, or other nation-states. Monarchies, republics, and other nation-states simply are not Indian tribes. Even if aboriginal Hawaiians were once organized in tribal governments, they have had no type of "Native Hawaiian Government" for over 100 years.
Finally, there is no independent and separate community of "native" Hawaiian descendants, as tribal designation requires. Hawaii is the most integrated and blended society in America and perhaps the world. There are no "native" Hawaiians living apart from other Americans. Hawaiians, whether they have pure, part, or no "aboriginal blood," all live in the same neighborhoods, go to the same schools and churches, and participate in the same community life.
Congress simply cannot create an Indian tribe, as that term is understood in the Constitution, or "recognize" an Indian tribe that never existed. If it could somehow do so, there would be no end to racial separatist "nations" that Congress could carve out of the United States population and exempt from the United States Constitution. This cannot be.
Second, no government organized under the United States Constitution may create another government that is exempted from part of the Constitution. Yet, this is what S.147 purports to do by allowing the "native" Hawaiian government to grant preferences and exempt itself from portions of the Bill of Rights as it sees fit. The "Indian law exception" is controversial enough, but it can exist only because real Indian tribes are not created by Congress or the states but existed prior to the formation of either. Real Indian tribes predate the Constitution, even if some of them have split or reorganized for various reasons. Congress could end the treaties with existing Indian tribes (leaving the merits of such an action aside) if it chose to do so, because these "dependent nations" are still subject to some control. But Congress simply can't create new governments, new nations, or new tribes on its own, and then exempt them from portions of the Constitution. If it could, the restrictions on government in the Bill of Rights and elsewhere would be of extremely limited value.
Third, the Fourteenth Amendment does not allow such naked discrimination as the bill purports to enable. The Fourteenth Amendment was adopted precisely to prevent a state from excluding certain of its residents from the privileges and immunities of citizenship, especially on the basis of race or ethnicity. The Fourteenth Amendment begins with the proposition that: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside." The next sentence of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits any state from abridging any of the "privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." This same section also prohibits the denial of equal protection to any person within a state's jurisdiction. Thus, all United States citizens who reside in Hawaii are equally citizens of Hawaii and are entitled to enjoy all the privilege and immunities common to other citizens, including the protection against discriminatory laws—especially racially-discriminatory laws.
Apart from the insurmountable constitutional defects with S.147, trying to create a separate "Native Hawaiian Government," is a terrible idea on policy grounds. It would be an insult to the independent Indian nations to have their centuries-old governments trivialized, and there would also be no end to the number of purely racist separatist governments that could be formed if Hawaiians were "made" a tribe. Real Indian tribes were not and are not organized along "racial" lines.
There are 562 tribes that the Bureau of Indian Affairs recognizes, and no one thinks that each represents a separate and distinct race. At the time of the framing, many tribes allowed Europeans and Americans to join and other members to leave. In short, they were not and are not "racially" exclusive. If sharing one drop of aboriginal Hawaiian blood makes a tribe, then Chicanos, Latinos, African Americans, Mexicans, and indeed members of any ethnicity could become a tribe if Congress so decrees.
Even if Congress did no more harm than create a separatist Hawaiian government, that act would help destroy the wonderful and admirable blended society that does exist in Hawaii, where intermarriage and the cultural mixing of Asians, Americans, Europeans, and others is a model for the rest of the United States. A government based on "aboriginal" bloodlines would surely damage Hawaii's melting pot culture.
There are legitimate ways to preserve ancient Hawaiian culture and to protect historic trust properties for the benefit all Hawaiians, and all Americans. For example, Congress could charter a new non-profit entity to advise the government and educate the public on Hawaiian culture and history—for the benefit of all Americans who cherish them. Alternatively, S. 147 could be dramatically altered to cure its constitutional and policy defects, such as by forbidding any entity comprised of only one race from exercising any government powers, receiving any public land or other government benefits, or exercising any treaty powers. Short of such radical amendment, we believe Members of Congress and the President are bound by the oath they took to support the Constitution not to give effect to measures that violate it.
(S. 147 is unconstitutional for more reasons than could be explained in a brief paper. Those seeking a broader and more detailed analysis of the bill's constitutional shortcomings should read Senator Jon Kyl's June 22, 2005, paper for the Republican Policy Committee.)
Edwin Meese, a former U.S. Attorney General, is Chairman, and Todd Gaziano is Director, of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation
 If an effort to prevent S.147 from being considered by the full Senate fails, a substitute version of the bill, S.3064, will likely take its place. This substitute, while addressing several of the policy concerns associated with S.147, has the exact same constitutional and general policy defects.
|June 6, 2006|
Say No To Race-Based Governments
Tell Your Senators to Vote No on the Akaka Bill!
It is round two of the Senate's ploy to pass S. 3064, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2006. This bill creates a Hawaiian race-based government by establishing a Native Hawaiian "tribe" that can accept or reject any part of the Constitution as it sees fit. Urgent action is needed.
If passed, there is no turning back. This bill will create a sovereign entity which could negotiate treaties with other nations, establish its own theocracy, and ignore the Bill of Rights! The Senate must reject this racist bill.
The Senate will vote this week!
Call your Senators and tell them to vote NO to S. 3064, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act.
Capitol Switchboard: (202)-224-3121
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