History of the Akaka bill for November and December, 2007. Local civil rights committee continues to be trashed by OHA and Akaka bill supporters; committee votes 8-6 not to make any recommendation to national commission. Nationally syndicated columnist George Will (Washington Post) publishes lengthy commentary trashing Akaka bill, and Hawaii newspapers and politicians trash George Will in return.

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

The history of the Akaka bill during the entire 110th Congress, January 2007 through December 2008, is divided into subpages covering several time-periods. The index of topics for the entire 110th Congress, with links to the subpages, can be found at

This is a subpage covering the history for the period from November 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007.


November 1: (1) The Washington Times publishes 600-word commentary by Senator Akaka and Rep. Neil Abercrombie "Native Hawaiians, proud citizens"; (2-5) Four items from the November issue of the OHA monthly newspaper are of interest regarding the Akaka bill: (2) Letter by Michael Lilly, chair of the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, responds to scathing attacks against him by OHA -- Lilly takes note his ancestors came to Hawaii 170 years ago and some were Kingdom subjects who were Royalists during the events of the 1890s; (3) Letter by Roger Clegg, chief counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, defends his testimony to the civil rights committee and protests the viciousness of Trustee Rowena Akana's personal attacks in her editorial in the October issue; (4) Trustee Akana's new editorial cites statistics from recent OHA poll on Akaka bill, and says "However, anti-Akaka Bill groups like the Grassroot Institute of Hawai‘i (with a membership of a handful of people) and some of the members of the newly formed Hawai‘i Civil Rights Advisory Committee are trying to re-write our Hawaiian history. Like other racist groups who say the Holocaust never happened, the Grassroots Institute would not be happy until Native Hawaiians no longer exist or are driven out from our ‘äina."; (5) Trustee Mossman editorial notes OHA investments and says without the Akaka bill they could be wiped out (i.e., reverted to the State treasury).

November 4: Honolulu Advertiser publishes side-by-side essays (1) in favor of and the Akaka bill written by Amy Agbayani and Linda Colburn who are members of the civil rights committee, and (2) against the Akaka bill written by H. William Burgess who is a member of the civil rights committee.

November 5: Letter in The Washington Times by Roger Clegg (Center for Equal Opportunity), entitled "Back To Jim Crow?" replying to the Akaka/Abercrombie commentary of November 1.

November 6: Letter in The Garden Island News (Kaua'i) by Mark Beeksma: "Akaka Apartheid"

November 8: Tom MacDonald, one of the new members of the civil rights committee, points out how outrageously the old committee was stacked in favor of the Akaka bill and secession.

November 11: (1) Commentary in the Molokai Times newspaper says "Hawaiian Sovereignty Bill is right for America" [response on November 21]; (2) Popular entertainer's letter in Star-Bulletin says Bush calling Akaka bill divisive is absurd in view of divisiveness Bush caused by starting Iraq war, and letter also says Bush threat to veto Akaka bill might be retaliation for anti-Bush demonstrations when he was in Hawaii a couple years previously.

November 13: OHA trustee Oswald Stender attacks civil rights committee member Tom Macdonald and Grassroot Institute. Stender says Macdonald "twisted" the 2001 committee report supporting the Akaka bill because he provided quotes from the 2001 report in which the report endorsed secession for Hawaii.

November 13: OHA suddenly publishes a slick 67-page document attempting to smear the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights just 2 days prior to a long-scheduled public meeting of the committee. The OHA document also tried to twist history to support the Akaka bill and to discredit the previous testimony of the bill's opponents before the committee

November 14: Civil rights activists publish a webpage responding to the 67-page OHA document only one day after it was issued, and one day before the committee meeting.

November 16: (1) Honolulu Advertiser reports on the local civil rights committee meeting of Nov. 15 at which the vote was 8-6 NOT to make any recommendation on the Akaka bill to the national committee; (2) West Hawaii Today (Kona; Stephens Media) provides additional details about civil rights committee meeting; (3) Honolulu Advertiser prints commentary by Michael Moodian favoring the Akaka bill, vitrually identical to the one published in The Molokai Times on November 11.

November 17: One day after everybody else, Honolulu Star-Bulletin finally reports the news about the civil rights committee; but also tells how each member voted.

November 20: Letter responding to Tom Macdonald's letter of November 8 is published by Dave Forman who succeeded Charles Maxwell as chairman of the civil rights committee.

November 21: (1) Ken Conklin responds to Michael Moodian's article in the Molokai Times: "Akaka bill bad for everyone"; (2) H. William Burgess, head of Aloha For All, circulates an e-mail saying "Representative Steve Kagen MD, Member of Congress from Wisconsin, recently wrote to one of his constituents "setting the record straight" on why he voted for the Akaka bill. In doing so, the good Congressman shows that he has been misled by the fraudulent sales pitch used by the bill's promoters." Point/counterpoint rebuttal.

November 23: Michael A. Lilly, Chairman of the local civil rights committee, says that even though the committee voted not to make any recommendation regarding the Akaka bill, the recent series of hearings helped educate the public about the issues.

November 25: Two members of local civil rights committee published a letter saying that the vote to set aside further discussion of the Akaka bill was not an endorsement of the previous committee's support for the bill, as a news report in the same newspaper had claimed. But the offending Star-Bulletin newspaper (which strongly supports the Akaka bill) offended again by writing a headline for this letter which twisted its meaning in the opposite direction!

November 27: 2 letters in Honolulu Advertiser: Richard Rowland, President of Grassroot Institute, says his mission is to be sure the public gets full disclosure on the Akaka bill to make well-informed decision; Su Yates says civil rights committee made wise decision to make no recommendation on Akaka bill, because Akaka bill is about real indigenous rights and not imagined civil rights violations the bill might lead to.

November 29: (1) George Will, nationally syndicated columnist, publishes major commentary opposing the Akaka bill in the Washington Post reprinted in many newspapers throughout America, with numerous public comments on the Washington Post article comment blog; (2) A national convention on tribal education was held in Honolulu and attended by hundreds of tribal members at great expense, and the financial information is being kept secret just as will happen with the Akaka tribe is the Akaka bill passes

November 30: (1) Honolulu Advertiser does not reprint George Will's article, but does publish a "news report" containing a few quotes and reporting outraged reaction from Senator Akaka and other bill supporters.

December 1: (1) "Rez Net News" slanted news report on George Will's commentary; (2) Letter to editor in Hilo newspaper slams George Will's commentary

December 2: (1) Honolulu Advertiser editorial trashes George Will for trashing the Akaka bill; (2) Honolulu Star-Bulletin published a lengthy commentary by Senator Akaka and Representative Abercrombie trashing George Will; (3) Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial trashes George Will

December 3: Maui newspaper fails to print George Will's commentary, but editorial trashes it nevertheless.

December 4: (1) Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, strongly opposes Akaka bill; (2) Letter in Honolulu Advertiser points out that Advertiser editorial trashing George Will did not provide substantive arguments to rebut him.

December 6: Letter in Hilo newspaper says Senator Akaka claims Hawaii's people support the Akaka bill, but he has never offered to prove it by requesting a ballot referendum

December 7: (1) Elaine Willman rebuttal to Oz Stender diatribe about Small Business Hawaii debate on Akaka bill; (2) Sam Slom, state Senator and President of Small Business Hawaii rebuttal to Oz Stender; (3) David Rosen complains Honolulu Star-Bulletin refuses to allow honest debate about Akaka bill and engages in ad hominem attacks; (4) letter says ancestral occupancy of land should not guarantee special rights over more recent arrivals; (5) The Maui News city editor tries to analyze controversial George Will commentary in terms of historical movement from monarchy to democracy, vs. indigenous rights and what was good for ethic Hawaiians; (6) Letter to Kona newspaper complains the George Will commentary should not have been published

December 9: (1) Senator Akaka and Rep. Abercrombie publish letter in rebuttal to George Will, in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; (2) Letter in Honolulu Advertiser rebuts the Advertiser editorial of December 2 that had trashed George Will; (3) Daniel P. de Gracia II, a political scientist specializing in international relations and also a pastor, writes a lengthy and passionate commentary opposing the Akaka bill, entitled: "It's Time We Started Recognizing The United States of America In Hawaii"

December 10: (1) 3 letters in The New York Post responding to George Will's commentary; (2) Jimmy Kuroiwa (member of civil rights committee) says "George Will is correct about the Akaka Bill."

December 13: (1) Thurston Twigg-Smith, grandson of a leader of the Hawaii revolution of 1893, points out that the people of the Republic of Hawaii accepted the revolution just as, a century previously, Hawai'i's people had accepted Kamehameha's conquests. Twigg-Smith ends with "How about demanding that the Akaka Bill should allow for a vote by the governed on this proposed new form of government?"; (2) Richard Rowland, President of Grassroot Institute, criticized Star-Bulletin editorial that criticized George Will. "You owe Hawaii's public more thoughtful analysis."

December 14: Indigenous Australian approves of pro-Akaka Bill opinion expressed by Maui News in editorial criticizing George Will's article

December 16: H. William Burgess replies in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review to a letter from Senator Akaka which had attempted to rebut the article by George Will.

December 18: Haunani Apoliona, OHA chair, gave the annual "State of OHA" speech in which she described OHA's accomplishments AND PLANS TO BUILD A RACIAL SEPARATIST "NATION OF HAWAII" REGARDLESS WHETHER THE AKAKA BILL PASSES OR NOT. Three newspapers reported the speech in various ways: (1) Honolulu Advertiser, (2) Honolulu Star-Bulletin, (3) The Garden Island News (Kaua'i); (4) Full text of Apoliona speech as published in both the OHA website and in Hawaii Reporter

December 23: Letter in The Maui News points out that many "Hawaiian nationals" oppose the Akaka bill including both ethnic Hawaiians and others.

December 27: Editorial commentary in The Wall Street Journal notes that the omnibus appropriations bill just signed by President Bush includes a budget cut for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Commentary says Democrat majority cut the budget because it does not like the USCCR positions opposing the Akaka bill and opposing affirmative action in law school admissions.

December 30: Honolulu Advertiser year-end wrap-up of achievements of Hawaii Congressional delegation says "The past legislative year mixed victories and setbacks for Hawai'i's delegation, from approval of more than $1 billion in federal spending for the state to continued deadlock on the Native Hawaiian government bill."



Washington Times, Nov 1, 2007, Commentary

Native Hawaiians, proud citizens

By Daniel K. Akaka and Neil Abercrombie -

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, known as the Akaka bill, has been wildly mischaracterized and misinterpreted by The Washington Times and others since the bill's consideration and passage last week by the House of Representatives last week. It was branded a "stunning display of racial divisiveness," and the claim was made that it would "further inflame tenuous race relations nationwide." As the House and Senate sponsors of the legislation, we can assure you that our bill simply allows the federal government to recognize Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people of the United States, very much like Native Americans or Alaska Natives.

It recognizes the historic fact that Native Hawaiians were on their land centuries before anyone from the United States ever came ashore. It recognizes the fact that the Kingdom of Hawaii was recognized as a sovereign nation by the United States more than 175 years ago and accorded full diplomatic relations in treaties and conventions in 1826, 1842, 1849, 1875 and 1887, all ratified by Congress.

In 1893, American business interests — tacitly backed by the U.S. military — illegally overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy. Twenty-eight years later, Congress passed the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, setting aside more than 200,000 acres for homesteads and farms for Native Hawaiian families. In addition, 1.8 million acres were ceded from the former Hawaiian royal family. It was no accident, but by deliberate action that the United States and people of Hawaii expressly recognized and preserved the rights of its indigenous people in the 1959 Hawaii Admissions Act. By law, a portion of the revenues from the lands, administered by the State of Hawaii, is intended for the betterment of the Native Hawaiian people.

The purpose of the Akaka bill is to allow the Native Hawaiian people to decide on the organization of an entity to represent them in government-to-government relations with the United States. And the State of Hawaii can transfer responsibility for the administration of the land and dollar assets to a Native Hawaiian government. If, as some suggest, this conveys some sort of special privilege to its citizens, it is certainly not apparent.

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act does not create a program or entitlement. It doesn't require an appropriation. It isn't based on racial groups or set-asides or preferences. It doesn't turn over assets of the U.S. government, nor does it give anyone title to anything they don't already own. It is unfortunate that some who oppose the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act misstate its meaning and effect. It is particularly disappointing that many of the misstatements have come in the name of President Bush and his administration.

The people of Hawaii are not threatened by the prospect of Native Hawaiians reorganizing a governing entity. Rather, they respect and support efforts to preserve the culture and tradition of Native Hawaiians that make our state so special. It is for this reason that we work to continue the reconciliation efforts the United States committed itself to in 1993, as a means to unify all the people of Hawaii and move forward together as a state.

The Akaka bill doesn't divide Americans. Today's Native Hawaiians are proud citizens of the United States. They work hard. They raise families. They pay taxes. And they have been front and center in the ranks of our military for decades. The Akaka bill passed last week in the House by a 108-vote margin. Supporters included 39 Republicans. Until recently, the measure was never partisan in the House.

We hope it will not be partisan in the Senate. It has never been partisan in Hawaii.

Sen. Daniel K Akaka is a Hawaiian Democrat. Rep. Neil Abercrombie is a Hawaiian Democrat.

** Ken Conklin's note: See letter to editor responding to this commentary, in The Washington Times of November 5, below. The letter is by Roger Clegg, President and Chief Counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, and is entitled "Back to Jim Crow?"


Ka Wai Ola (monthly newspaper of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs), Vol. 24, No. 11, November, 2007

** Four items of interest


From page 3 (Letters to editor)

Akaka Bill opinion

This responds to the summary about me in your recent "Who's Who." No one at the Commission on Civil Rights asked, and I have not expressed, my opinion on the Akaka Bill, an opinion which is now evolving as a result of public hearings being conducted by the Hawai‘i Advisory Committee. I particularly appreciated hearing the perspectives presented by your trustees, Haunani Apoliona and Boyd Mossman, and attorney Justice Robert Klein at the Sept. 5 session, as well as from other members of the public, pro and con, at that and other meetings.

To put my background into better perspective, I am a keiki hänau o ka ‘äina in a family of Hawaiian subjects and citizens since the 1840s. An ancestor of our family (J.S. Walker) was a royalist, advisor and minister to Hawaiian monarchs until, according to Queen Lili‘uokalani's book, his death in May 1893 "by the treatment he received from the hands of the revolutionists. He was one of many who from persecution had succumbed to death." I recall my grandfather saying all his older royalist brothers were incarcerated in the Armory during the revolution.

I provide this background to assure you that whatever opinion I may reach about the Akaka Bill will have a unique sensitivity to and appreciation of Hawai‘i's history and her people. I also offer it to debunk false opinions related to a convicted murderer whose cruel treatment of citizens and even fellow convicts was so incorrigible he had to be incarcerated in the federal prison system's highest security facility, Marion.

The debate about the Akaka Bill is important in part because it educates the public about Hawaiians, their history and the plight of their neediest constituents. Hawai‘i would not be Hawai‘i without Hawaiians. Whether the Hawai‘i Advisory Committee ever votes to express an opinion — or not — on the Akaka Bill is for it to decide in the future after full public input on and thoughtful consideration of this most important civil rights issue.

Michael A. Lilly
Hawai‘i Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights


Clegg testimony

In your October issue, Rowena Akana ("Hawai'i's hijacked Civil Rights Advisory Committee") criticizes the testimony that I delivered in August before Hawai‘i's State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In that testimony, I argued that the Akaka Bill is unconstitutional as a matter of law and divisive and unfair as a matter of policy.

Ms. Akana mischaracterizes my testimony in a number of respects, but rather than address them all, I would just suggest that those who are interested read my testimony for themselves and make up their own minds. It is posted on the Center for Equal Opportunity's website at:

Readers with additional questions are welcome to email me at

More troubling is Ms. Akana's lack of civility. She calls those who disagree with her "bozos" and says that in the hearings I "look[ed] like a fool." Now, now. Worst of all, she calls those who oppose the Akaka bill "racists" – not once, not twice, but three times in her short piece. In response, I will just point out that it is the Akaka bill – not its critics – that would use a one-drop rule to create a favored racial group.

Roger Clegg
Center for Equal Opportunity


** From page 23 of the physical newspaper; page 22 of the pdf (a full-page spread on pages 14-15 of the physical edition was copied as a single page in the pdf version)

People of Hawai'i believe in fairness for Hawaiians

Rowena Akana
Trustee, At-large

‘Ano‘ai käkou. According to a poll conducted by Ward Research for OHA, 70 percent of residents surveyed favored the Akaka Bill, while nearly two-thirds of those polled also believe that the issue of race should not be a reason to deny federal recognition to Hawaiians.

However, anti-Akaka Bill groups like the Grassroot Institute of Hawai‘i (with a membership of a handful of people) and some of the members of the newly formed Hawai‘i Civil Rights Advisory Committee are trying to re-write our Hawaiian history. Like other racist groups who say the Holocaust never happened, the Grassroots Institute would not be happy until Native Hawaiians no longer exist or are driven out from our ‘äina. They keep hoping that if they keep repeating the same non-truths over and over again, people will start believing their nonsense.

The poll was conducted by telephone from August 15-27, from a sampling of 380 residents statewide. The sample is representative of the Hawai‘i population by age, ethnicity and island of residence and carries a maximum sampling error of plus or minus 5 percent.

Those surveyed were asked, "Do you think that Hawaiians should be recognized by the U.S. as a distinct indigenous group, similar to the recognition given to American Indians and Alaska Natives?" A solid 70 percent responded "Yes," while 18 percent said "No" and 12 percent didn't know.

I have always had faith that the people of Hawai‘i truly understand the issue of federal recognition for Hawaiians and could not be easily fooled by all the negative doomsday rhetoric of the anti-Akaka Bill naysayers. The poll showed that 84 percent of those surveyed heard of the Akaka Bill and 79 percent were aware of the lawsuits against OHA, DHHL and Kamehameha Schools.

Sixty-seven percent of those polled also said that Hawaiians have the right to make decisions about their land, education, health, cultural and traditional practices, and social policies. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed believe that over 100 federally funded programs for Hawaiians should continue.

The vast majority of Hawai‘i residents want organizations such as the Kamehameha Schools, DHHL and OHA, which are under the constant threat of lawsuits, to be protected through federal recognition. They believe in the fundamental question of fairness and that Hawaiians should be treated equally like other indigenous people, including American Indians and Native Alaskans.

So, to the naysayers I say: stop embarrassing yourself and wasting your time, energy and money on fruitless efforts. You cannot change or rewrite history. OHA only has to educate 18 percent of Hawai‘i residents on the merits of the Akaka Bill, while opponents need to somehow mislead a whopping 64 percent. It takes so much more energy to confuse and mislead people, while it is much easier to just speak the truth.

All these years of spreading lies and misleading people haven't gotten people like H. William Burgess anywhere. People of Hawai‘i know what is right, fair and just. After all, isn't fairness and justice the American way?

Imua e Hawai‘i nei...

For more information on important Hawaiian issues, check out my website at


Akaka Bill key to preservation of Hawaiian assets

Boyd P. Mossman
Trustee, Maui

Aloha nö. I have just returned from New York, where I had occasion to attend a financial seminar given by one of our investment managers. Let me say to those who question our trips that I did not fly first class, stayed only one day, saw no shows, and sat in the middle seat from New York to San Francisco.

Now, as I was saying, as trustees with a fiduciary duty to our beneficiaries, we need to understand and ensure that our investments are being made wisely and for the benefit of our Hawaiian people. OHA trustees are unfortunately also politicians, and politicians have no requirements which would qualify them to be trustees of any kind of trust; thus, OHA has a spotty history of board fulfillment of fiduciary responsibilities because of the envelopment of politics, which has seemingly often blocked their vision heretofore.

For politicians to be making decisions regarding hundreds of millions of dollars in trust is scary, especially if they are uneducated and ignorant of complex financial principles and strategies. Thus it is that we trustees are able to be further educated and informed today by attending these seminars and visiting with our investment managers on a regular basis to keep them on target and ensure the security of the trust. With trustees who are now all at least college educated and committed to the mission of OHA, our trust fund has nearly doubled in the last five years, despite our use of sub- stantial amounts for grants, land purchases and other large ticket items.

Future expenditures can be expected in the area of affordable housing, as well as health, education, business and economics, governance, and communications. And as OHA gains more respect and appreciation from the community, our influence will continue to grow and Hawaiians will be able to prepare for a governing entity within the United States which will give them back some of that which they lost in 1893 and preserve for their posterity a degree of self-determination by which Hawaiians can help themselves and continue to receive benefits as the indigenous people of Hawai‘i.

Now, if we should lose in the courts because we did not get the Akaka Bill passed, so much for trustees, or benefits to Hawaiians, or the continued legal existence of an entire indigenous people. We have taken a firm stand for federal recognition because of this and have the best interests of our beneficiaries in mind. Not only do we have the vote of the people of Hawai‘i, we have the confirmation of multiple legiti- mate polls, the support of every legislator and county elected official in Hawai‘i with the exception of two, the strong support of the state administration and the governor, and the strong support of our congressional delegation and Congress. We do, however, have the opposition of Hawaiians who want only complete independence and others who accuse us of race discrimination -- both groups who would deny to Hawaiians any benefits being received today from the government.

So what of the continued existence of programs such as the Hawaiian Cultural Center which I saw in Utah, funded by the Administration for Native Americans, the lands recently acquired by OHA, Hawaiian Homes lands, Kamehameha lands and assets, all the programs and help given by Alu Like, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, Nä Pua Noeau, language schools, the census, gathering and access rights, our identity as "Hawaiians," and all other OHA programs? Contrary to our opponents, OHA will defend these programs in the courts, and with the help of the Akaka Bill will win.


Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Akaka Bill - On both sides, a question of civil rights

** Ken Conklin's note: The following are two essays that were published side by side in the newspaper. The first is written by two supporters of the Akaka bill who are also members of the civil rights committee, Amy Agbayani and Linda Colburn. The second is by an opponent of the Akaka bill who is also a member of the civil rights committee, H. William Burgess.


It was no surprise to read that William Burgess, our fellow Hawai'i State Advisory Committee member to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, wants the Akaka bill to "end up in the trash can where it belongs" (Advertiser Oct. 25).

We have witnessed firsthand his venom for this measure, and his push to get the HISAC to vote down the Akaka bill and then use that as ammunition in the upcoming debate before the U.S. Senate.

He is, after all, actively pursuing litigation against a number of Hawaiian organizations. And he's not alone on the newly constructed committee appointed this year by the USCCR, which (surprise!) voted last year against the Akaka bill.

One of Burgess' clients sits with us, along with a member of the Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i and others who have signed petitions against federal recognition for Native Hawaiians.

There is an obvious conflict. They oppose the Akaka bill because its passage would protect the programs they are suing. The USCCR powers stacked this commission to fit their agenda.

We may now be part of the HISAC minority, but we intend to put up a fight in our support for federal recognition, which we consider an important civil rights measure.

We note that the last position taken by the HISAC was in support of legislation formally recognizing the political status of Native Hawaiians. The 2001 HISAC report, "Reconciliation at a Crossroads," said:

"The Hawai'i Advisory Committee considers the denial of Native Hawaiian self-determination and self-governance to be a serious erosion of this group's equal protection and human rights."

We feel that is the case today and are alarmed that the USCCR is now ignoring that report and is in the forefront to roll back or eliminate all the gains made through past civil rights issues.

For example, the USCCR in January 2006 held its own Akaka bill briefing without seeking or obtaining input from HISAC. The USCCR then reconstituted the local committee and appointed Bill Burgess and his friends. Now the USCCR wants a report, as the Akaka bill is the only measure this committee so far has been tasked to address (surprise again!).

We also disagree with the White House position paper opposing the bill. The administration claims Native Hawaiians cannot be compared with other indigenous peoples given the "substantial historical and cultural differences."

Again, from the "Reconciliation at a Crossroads" report:

"The history of the Hawaiian nation has many parallels to the experiences of Native Americans. There is no rational or historical reason, much less a compelling state interest, to justify the federal government denying Hawaiians a process that could entitle them to establish a government-to-government relationship with the United States. That process is available to Native Americans under the Indian Commerce Clause of Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution."

We will continue to back federal recognition to protect the civil rights of all Americans, and that would include Native Hawaiians. We urge Congress to pass the Akaka bill and we urge the president to ignore the misinformation from the critics and sign the bill. As the last HISAC report on the Akaka bill said, further delays are not acceptable. "The federal and state governments must break the cycle of promises made to the Native Hawaiian people, only to be broken thereafter. The Hawai'i Advisory Committee concludes that true reconciliation between Native Hawaiians and the United States can serve as both a reaffirmation of the democratic ideals upon which our nation was founded and a worthy example of peaceful dispute resolution for the international community."

Hawai'i has long been in the forefront of civil rights. We are proud that our values respecting ethnic differences, cultural sensitivity and fairness have so far stood the test of time.

The Akaka bill is today's headline, but if it fails, America's other indigenous groups, Native Americans and Alaska Natives, will come under attack, followed by legal assaults on affirmative action and equal opportunity laws. That's the big picture that is so depressing to those of us who passionately believe in civil rights.

By Amy Agbayani and Linda Colburn


Is it "respectful" to Native Hawaiians to treat them as children, incapable of ever growing up and acting as responsible adults; congenitally unable to hold private property or compete in a democratic market economy; as permanent victims permanently dependent on government guardians?

Is it "the right thing to do" to put them into the same legal category as federally recognized Indian tribes whose rank and file members, despite billions of federal and casino largesse, continue in grinding poverty, addiction, family violence and despair?

With all due respect to the views of our friends who promote the Akaka bill, I suggest the answer to all those questions is "no." It is just plain nuts for the United States to go into the most integrated state and reverse course.

First, let's look at what the Akaka bill (S. 310/H.R. 505) would do. It proposes to create a Native Hawaiian "tribe" or "governing entity" where none now exists; and to do so using a test for participation in the process virtually identical to that which the Rice decision held to be racial.

The avowed purpose of creating the new government is to "protect" Native Hawaiian entitlements from scrutiny under the Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. It is therefore clear that the new government cannot and will not be required to treat all persons equally. On Oct. 24, U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake moved to recommit to make the Native Hawaiian governing entity subject to the U.S. Constitution and federal and state civil rights laws. The bill's proponents refused that perfectly reasonable request.

The bill further provides that once formed, the new entity would be deemed recognized by the U.S. as "the representative governing body of the Native Hawaiian people." The bill then authorizes the state and federal governments to negotiate with the Native Hawaiian governing entity for the transfer of some unspecified amount of its land, natural resources, governmental power and civil and criminal jurisdiction.

Let me emphasize that.

In my view, the Akaka bill would sanction the breakup and giveaway of unlimited amounts of the state of Hawai'i's land, power and domain.

It is a given that the lands to go to the new government would include: the 200,000 acres of Hawaiian Home lands now held in trust for "native Hawaiians" ("not less than one-half part of the blood of the races inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands previous to 1778"); the island of Kaho'olawe and at least some of the other ceded lands or revenues which are held in trust for all citizens of Hawai'i; and all lands, property and assets (including about $400,000 of ceded lands revenues) now held by OHA.

As noted in the opposing commentary, I represent Hawai'i citizens (including some of Native Hawaiian ancestry) challenging the constitutionality of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. They believe those programs and other "entitlements" have harmed, not helped, Native Hawaiians.

My clients also believe that, as part of a global settlement terminating those programs and as a positive alternative to the Akaka bill, existing Hawaiian homesteaders should be allowed to acquire the fee simple interest in their homestead lots for no, or at a discounted, consideration. They would then have all the joys, pride, responsibilities and respect as other homeowners.

Census 2000 and the Census 2005 American Community Survey for California demonstrate that Native Hawaiians are quite capable of making it on their own without special treatment.

Our national experience with racial and political segregation, like that of the rest of the world, demonstrates that no good comes from such things; that the advantages of the dominant race or class, if any, are transitory; and such segregation plants seeds of hatred that flourish generations after the inevitable abolition of the formal structures of segregation.

Collectivist schemes like the Akaka bill represent the road to serfdom. Private property and a democratic market economy enrich the masses. In life, as in sports, it is best when we all play the game by the same rules.

By H. William Burgess


Thw Washington Times, Monday November 5, 2007, Letter to editor

Back to Jim Crow?

There is much to take issue with in "Native Hawaiians, proud citizens" (Op-Ed, Thursday) by Sen. Daniel K. Akaka and Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii Democrats, but by far its most fundamental problem is its assertion that the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act — also known as the "Akaka bill" — "isn't based on racial groups ... or preferences" and "doesn't divide Americans."

This is precisely what the bill does and is designed to do.

The bill was proposed because the Supreme Court ruled several years ago that preferences for native Hawaiians are a kind of racial and ethnic discrimination, and are therefore presumptively unconstitutional. In order to shore up such preferences, the sponsors of the Akaka bill are using the ingenious ploy of declaring native Hawaiians to be an Indian tribe, preferences for which the court generally allows. To be a member of this new "tribe," the bill explicitly uses a one-drop rule (a bloodline measure of a person's race), just like in the bad old days of Jim Crow.

So the Akaka bill is indeed "based on racial groups," and it is designed to provide racial and ethnic "preferences" and, thus, to "divide Americans." This effort is transparently unconstitutional, since native Hawaiians are not and never have been organized as an Indian tribe. This is why the Bush administration, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, responsible senators and representatives and constitutional scholars are opposing the bill.

President and General Counsel
Center for Equal Opportunity
Falls Church [Virginia]


The Garden Island News (Kaua'i), Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Letter to editor

Akaka Apartheid

The Akaka bill was recently passed by the federal House of Representatives. I am opposed to this law for a number of reasons:

Division: This law would split the sovereign and democratic state of Hawai‘i into two separate and competing governments. Jesus said it quite clearly, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand." This bill will split our state into two separate "kingdoms," weakening our state to the point that we will no longer have the strength that comes from standing together.

In setting up the United States, the founding fathers gave a great deal of sovereign power to the individual states. Since then, the federal government has been slowly and surely taking power away from the states and centralizing power and decisions in Washington, D.C. The federal government knows what it is doing with the Akaka bill. It is the classic "divide and conquer" strategy. By carving Hawai‘i up into separate governments, the only government left that will be strong enough to make any major decisions will be the federal government. More and more of our lives will be dictated by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

Racism: The Akaka bill is racist. This is a simple fact. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of the day when his children would be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Guess what, the federal government now has a plan of formalized racism for Hawai‘i, the Akaka bill. This is a system of special rights and privileges for people with a certain percentage of a certain race. What kind of business can you do? How many fish can you legally catch? What kind of house can you legally build on your property? The answer to all these kinds of questions will depend on the color of your skin. The federal government will be forcing us to take a giant step backward, away from Rev. King's dream and into a legally racist society. Even the old Hawaiian Kingdom was not racist like the Akaka bill. People of all different races were proud citizens of the old Hawaiian Kingdom.

Resentment: Nobody, especially in America, wants to legally be a second-class citizen. If they are forced to be an underclass, they will resent it. I grew up as a fourth-generation resident of Washington state. I loved hunting and, while I bagged several deer, I dreamed of one day bagging a magnificent bull elk. I never did get an elk. One elk would have been a lifetime memory for me. Yet, I would hear stories of Native Americans shooting down entire herds of elk in winter snows of the off-season, when they had nowhere to hide, cutting out the prime steaks, and leaving the rest to rot. There are also stories of endangered salmon runs starting up the river and Native Americans putting nets across the entire river, capturing 100 percent of the precious few salmon that made it back to lay their eggs and sustain the species. Whether or not these and so many other stories are true, the fact is that the apartheid legal system of Washington state allows for and promotes these kinds of inequities and abuses. As a result of this apartheid system, a great number of people in Washington (myself excluded) despise the Native Americans.

In Hawai‘i, just the opposite seems to be true. It seems that almost everyone here (including myself) loves and cherishes the Native Hawaiian people. We love their genuine spirit of aloha. We respect them for their great navigational history and are fond of their beautiful culture. We are sad to see some of them owning no real property in the land of their ancestors. I am afraid that if the federal government forces us into an Akaka Apartheid system, much of this love for the Hawaiian people would gradually be poisoned into resentment.

Mark Beeksma


Honolulu Advertiser, November 8, 2007


I am writing as one of the new "stacked" majority members of the Hawaii State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, which Amy Agbayani and Linda Colburn objected to so strongly in the Nov. 4 Focus section.

Strangely, they had no problem with "stacking" when the earlier HISAC was "stacked" with Akaka bill supporters, such as themselves.

On more substantive matters, Ms. Agbayani and Ms. Colburn are unhappy that their 2001 pro-Akaka bill recommendations to the commission were ignored when the commission went on record opposing the Akaka bill in 2006.

After reviewing the 2001 HISAC's rather extreme recommendations, however, I don't think any reasonable person would fault the commission for ignoring them. Their recommendations included the rather drastic step of having Hawai'i added to the United Nations' list of "non-self governing territories" and other "international solutions."

The 2001 HISAC stated that it was "fully cognizant of the concern expressed by some that international resolution would necessarily involve secession, a drastic endeavor over which this nation purportedly fought a civil war...(but) the principle of self-determination necessarily contemplates the potential choice of forms of governance that may not be authorized by existing domestic law. Whether such a structure is politically or legally possible under the law is secondary, however, to the expression of one's desire for self-determination."

So Hawai'i's secession from the United States is OK as long as it expresses the "desire for self-determination"!

And since secession from the United States might not be legal and might have unpleasant consequences, the 2001 HISAC said "the process should allow for international oversight by nonaligned observers of international repute," presumably to protect Native Hawaiians from the United States.

This is pretty extreme stuff coming from an official state government committee supposedly representing our community. I submit that the current more-balanced HISAC is much more representative of current community opinion than the prior "stacked" HISAC ever was.

Tom Macdonald

** NOTE: A letter in response by Dave Forman, who succeeded Charles Maxwell as committee chair, was published on November 20 and is copied below, in chronological order.


The Molokai Times, November 11, 2007

** Note: A virtually identical commentary by Michael Moodian was published in Honolulu Advertiser on November 16, at

Hawaiian Sovereignty Bill is right for America

Dr. Michael A. Moodian

In October, the House made progress toward federally establishing sovereign status for Native Hawaiians when it passed the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Bill, which was originally drafted by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI). Full passage of the bill would result in a landmark for ancestral descendants of the indigenous people of Hawaii by allowing for a process to establish parity with over 550 Alaska Native and Native American groups recognized by the U.S. government.

The bill makes sense for various reasons. For one, self-governing rights could be extended to Native Hawaiians, which would allow for a government-to-government type of relationship between the U.S. and the Native Hawaiian governing body. Native Hawaiians have historically been addressed by Congress in a fashion similar to Native Americans and Alaska Natives. It is time for Native Hawaiians to receive the same rights of sovereignty. The bill also allows for protection of Hawaiian-only programs, ultimately helping preserve a culture that was partially lost after a 19th century government overthrow.

January will mark 115 years since Queen Lili'uokalani was deposed from her throne and the Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown in a purported act of American imperialism. In 1993, President Clinton signed the Apology Resolution into law, which acknowledged that "the Native Hawaiian people never directly relinquished to the United States their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people over their national lands, either through the Kingdom of Hawaii or through a plebiscite or referendum." Months after the overthrow of the queen, even President Grover Cleveland decried that the takeover was an "act of war, committed with the participation of a diplomatic representative of the United States and without authority of Congress."

What is most noteworthy is that the Apology Resolution states that Congress "expresses its commitment to acknowledge the ramifications of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, in order to provide a proper foundation for reconciliation between the United States and the Native Hawaiian people." Additionally, the law "urges the President of the United States to also acknowledge the ramifications of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii and to support reconciliation efforts between the United States and the Native Hawaiian people." Passage of the Akaka Bill into law is a significant step toward such reconciliation and the acknowledgement of such ramifications.

In addition to support from Sen. Akaka, Sen. Inouye (D-HI) and various other legislators from Hawaii, support has come from Senate and House members throughout the nation. As Rep. Kucinich (D-OH) stated on the House floor, "This is really about making sure that language and culture and history are preserved. It also is consistent with the law which created the admission of Hawaii to this Union on August 21, 1959." He added, "This act is an act that needs to be passed so that we can keep unfolding the real purpose and quality of America."

Unfortunately, there is a tough road ahead. First, there is the challenge of the bill passing the Senate. Assuming that this happens, President Bush has already threatened a veto, claiming that the bill is discriminatory and divisive. What the President does not understand is that the United States has a responsibility to Native Hawaiians that is similar to our responsibility toward other indigenous peoples. Failure to meet this responsibility would be unjust, dishonorable and inconsistent. If the bill eventually makes it to a presidential veto, it is unlikely that either the House or Senate would have the required number of votes to overturn such a decision.

Here's hoping that the recent passing of the Akaka Bill by the House indicates building momentum for the sovereignty movement. Recognition of dignity and honor to one of America's first peoples is vital to preserving the rich culture of Native Hawaiians and making amends for the transgressions of the past.

Dr. Michael A. Moodian is a professor of organizational leadership at Chapman University. His first book, "Contemporary Leadership and Intercultural Competence," will be released in 2008 by Sage Publications.


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 11, 2007, letter to editor

And Bush calls the Akaka Bill divisive?

It is difficult to believe that George W. Bush, who is known as the "Great Divider" for what he has done to our country and the world, could possible cite "divisiveness" as a reason for a planned veto of the Akaka Bill (Star-Bulletin, Oct. 23).

I suspect it is his way of getting back at Hawaii for the cold reception he received when he came here for a GOP political fundraiser in the run-up to his attack on Iraq in early 2003. We've seen him fire top generals who did not agree with his warmongering. Why should Hawaii's peacemakers be any different?

We all recall the 500-plus pro-peace, anti-war Hawaii residents who waited at the entrance to the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel while Bush was sneaked into the hotel via a back entrance (Star-Bulletin, Oct. 24, 2003). That was before the rallies of millions of people all over the world who protested Bush's acts and his arrogance. In Honolulu, he was prevented from even seeing the concerned American patriots urging him to stop and think before starting what has become the killing fields of this generation, a war without end.

Maybe some opponent of the bill showed Bush pictures of that Hilton gathering.

Keith Haugen


Honolulu Advertiser, November 13, 2007, LETTER TO EDITOR


Tom Macdonald shows his true colors as a member of the right-wing Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i by twisting the 2001 report by the Hawai'i State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Letters, Nov. 8).

In attacking fellow HISAC members Amy Agbayani and Linda Colburn, Macdonald slices and dices a portion of the 2001 report to push the Grassroot "big lie" that the Akaka bill will lead to secession. Land grabs and gambling are also part of the Grassroot campaign of misinformation and scare tactics.

Macdonald also falsely claims the previous HISAC was "stacked" with Akaka bill supporters. Not true. The previous HISAC was formed years before the Akaka bill was ever an issue.

These contortions are not a surprise, because it's what Macdonald and his fellow HISAC members with ties to Grassroot do all the time.

Grassroot Institute is the group that commissioned "push" polls claiming most Hawai'i residents oppose the Akaka bill. When the U.S. House voted to approve the Akaka bill, Congressman Neil Abercrombie took to the House floor and denounced the Grassroot polls cited by opponents.

The legitimate polls, including one in The Honolulu Advertiser, continue to show majority support for the Akaka bill in spite of the ongoing misinformation campaign.

That gets us to Macdonald's second point in defending the Commission on Civil Rights stacking the HISAC in an effort to get the Hawai'i committee to oppose the Akaka bill. If the majority in Hawai'i favors the Akaka bill, how is it that the current HISAC, with Macdonald, Bill Burgess and others leading the charge, is reflective of our state's population?

Oswald Stender
Former member, Hawai'i State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and trustee, Office of Hawaiian Affairs


On November 13, 2007 OHA suddenly published a 67-page document which tried to smear the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights just two days before a long-scheduled public meeting. The document also tried to twist history to support the Akaka bill and tried to discredit earlier testimony opposing the bill.

OHA's 67-page document is entitled "Correcting the Record: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and Justice for Native Hawaiians." It can be downloaded in pdf format from the OHA website at
and a list of appendices can be downloaded at


A rebuttal to OHA's 67-page document was published by civil rights activists one day later. It is entitled "Correcting OHA's Deceptive 'Correcting the Record'." It was written by a few civil rights activists operating under urgent time pressure with zero budget, to counteract the slick OHA document produced by a large staff with large budget over a period of about two months. The civil rights rebuttal describes how the previous civil rights committee from 1996 to 2006 was overwhelmingly stacked with supporters of race-based government and private programs, and worked closely with OHA and the powerful race-based institutions to counteract the Rice v. Cayetano decision, to facilitate development of the Akaka bill, and to support the Akaka bill throughout the first six years it was pending in Congress. The rebuttal straightens out some of the twisted Hawaiian history presented in the OHA report. This rebuttal can be found at


Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, November 16, 2007

Hawaii advisory panel rejects Akaka bill stand

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

A U.S. Commission on Civil Rights advisory panel, which this year got several new members who are opposed to Native Hawaiian federal recognition, voted 8-6 yesterday to not take a position on the Akaka bill.

The vote was seen as a victory for supporters of the bill, named after its sponsor, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i. Akaka bill opponents had been hoping the Hawai'i State Advisory Committee would go on record against the bill.

In July, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission added 14 new members to the 16-member Hawai'i advisory committee, including several outspoken activists against Native Hawaiian federal recognition.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, dominated by Republicans and independents, is on record against the bill, but the Hawai'i advisory committee has favored federal recognition.

The purpose of the Hawai'i committee is to advise the Washington-based commission on civil rights matters. Since being reconstituted, it has spent the bulk of its time looking at the issue of federal recognition for Native Hawaiians.

Those who oppose the bill wanted a vote yesterday to send a message to Washington, D.C., where the U.S. Senate has not yet heard the measure. The House of Representatives approved the bill last month. But those who favor the Akaka bill said there had not been a careful enough analysis done on the issue to make a decision.

Of the 12 new appointees who voted, which included Democrats, Republicans and independents, six voted for a vote on the Akaka bill and six were opposed. Both of the two holdovers who voted on the issue opposed a vote on the Akaka bill. One member of the Hawai'i committee was not present, and Chairman Michael Lilly did not vote, saying he did not need to.

Akaka bill supporters, including the four members of Hawai'i's congressional delegation, have criticized the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, charging it with trying to stack the local committee to reverse its longstanding support for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians.


The Civil Rights Commission staff in Washington directed the advisory committee to hold a series of briefings statewide to seek input on the bill. The panel received conflicting testimony during meetings held in September.

Lilly said he did not expect the issue to come up again with the current makeup of the committee.

A contingent of committee members led by H. William Burgess, a leading opponent of federal recognition, pushed to have a vote on the issue yesterday. Burgess pointed out that scores of people had testified at public meetings across the state. "This committee has spent the time," he said. "You've heard enough to be able to decide today."

But Robbie Alm, another committee member, said he believed current members needed to have more time to analyze the data if it wanted to make a recommendation. Alm also said he believed the discussion was a futile one. "I think, frankly, that the Civil Rights Commission has made up its mind," Alm said.


In arguing against a vote, several committee members said the Akaka bill is a political issue and not one dealing with civil rights.

Burgess rejected that argument. "This bill is about civil rights. What could be more important than a bill that could deprive the citizens of a part of this state?"

Committee member Vernon Char said he felt obligated to vote up or down on the matter. "We're charged with a duty, we should all stand up," he said.

Committee member James Kuroiwa Jr. said he was disappointed that no vote on the Akaka bill was held. "You get all these people come to voice their opinion and we're not getting their voices forward," he said. "It's like they wasted their time coming out and giving their position."

Supporters of the Akaka bill see federal recognition as a first step in rectifying the wrongs inflicted on Native Hawaiians when U.S. citizens helped with the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. They also believe federal recognition is needed to stave off legal challenges that have been mounted against Hawaiians-only programs such as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs established by the federal and state governments, programs they also believe are needed to rectify the impacts of the overthrow.


Some opponents of federal recognition, however, say programs reserved for the benefit of Hawaiians discriminate against non-Hawaiians and that a separate Native Hawaiian entity could lead to a divided Hawai'i. Other opponents of the bill believe it does not go far enough in addressing the wrongs committed against Hawaiians.

OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona, whose agency has been a key target for Burgess and others opposed to Hawaiians-only programs, said she was pleased by the committee's decision yesterday to not take a position on the Akaka bill. Apoliona noted that earlier in the day, committee members had decided to focus on the disparity in criminal rights and fair housing. "Those are civil rights issues," she said. "I think now they can get on with their priorities and do their job as a civil rights advisory committee."

Committee member Linda Colburn said she's hopeful that she and her colleagues will now be able to put aside their differences and tackle some of those other issues. "I think it's a more constructive use of our energies," she said. "There's a lot of talent at this table, and to have it grinding away at impasse time and time again is a waste of that talent."


West Hawaii Today (Kona), November 16, 2007

State advisory panel makes no recommendation on Akaka Bill

by Nancy Cook Lauer
Stephens Media Capitol Bureau

HONOLULU -- A state advisory panel voted Thursday not to make a recommendation about the Akaka Bill to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an action that lets stand an earlier panel's recommendation supporting the bill.

Instead, members of the Hawaii State Advisory Committee decided by an 8-6 margin to concentrate the remainder of their two-year terms on two other civil rights issues -- the disproportionate percentage of Native Hawaiians in prison and fair housing.

"The Akaka Bill, I really don't see as a civil rights matter. I think it's political," said committee member Amefil "Amy" Agbayani. "The Akaka Bill is a hot potato."

The Akaka Bill, which last month passed the U.S. House and now awaits a Senate vote, would pave the way for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians.

Proponents say indigenous Hawaiians, like Native Americans, deserve certain considerations for inhabiting land and having governments that were taken over by the United States. Opponents say the bill violates constitutional guarantees of equal protection by establishing a race-based class with special privileges.

Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the board of trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a major proponent of the Akaka Bill, left the meeting relieved that the committee decided not to make a recommendation. "It's good because now they're going to focus on the real issues," Apoliona said.

Committee member Bill Burgess, an attorney who has represented clients in lawsuits challenging Native Hawaiian preferences, pushed the committee to make a recommendation. He noted that people from all over the state flocked to public hearings, with most opposing the bill. "A lot of people (were) grateful that they had an opportunity to be heard," Burgess said. "They're very aware of the Akaka Bill, and they're very worried about the consequences of the bill."

The committee encountered criticism early on by those, including Apoliona, who charged that the Bush administration, which opposes the bill, "stacked" it with opponents to bring about a foregone conclusion.

"We have no analysis. We have no comprehensive report," said committee member Linda Colburn, who voted against making a recommendation. "We got off to a real rocky start, and we're likely to have little credibility with respect to our position."

But committee member Thomas Macdonald also wanted to see a recommendation. An opponent of the Akaka Bill, Macdonald said it would put 2.2 million acres of land and more than $500 million into the hands of just 20 percent of the population. "This is about land. This is about money," Macdonald said.

Committee Chairman Michael Lilly, who did not vote and has declined to state his position on the Akaka Bill, said he's been "very conflicted" on the issue. He said his ancestors weren't of Hawaiian blood, but they were subjects of Queen Liliuokalani and stood with her during the overthrow.

"My grandfather said he was Hawaiian. They all lost their queen and their nation in 1893," Lilly said. "I frankly wish the Akaka Bill could rectify all the wrongs that have been done. ... We'll never ever know. I only hope that whatever happens, it can be pono. I don't know if that's going to be."


Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, November 16, 2007
COMMENTARY by Michael Moodian was virtually identical to the one published in The Molokai Times on November 11 [see above]


** One day after everybody else, Honolulu Star-Bulletin finally reports the news about the civil rights committee; but also tells how each member voted.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 17, 2007

Panel tables Akaka Bill debate

Discussion on the Akaka Bill was spiked Thursday by the Hawaii State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

The panel voted 8-6 against taking a new vote on the bill to grant federal recognition to native Hawaiians. "We believe the previous report is an excellent one and identifies the issues," said committee member Amy Agbayani. The 2001 panel report supported the bill.

The vote thwarted the federal commission's effort to get local support for its position against the bill. In July the eight-member commission appointed 17 members to the advisory panel, including six people active in issues concerning Hawaiian sovereignty or the bill.

The commission said last year that the bill would "discriminate on the basis of race or national origin." The Bush administration based its position against the Akaka Bill on the commission report.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs applauded the local committee decision. "This Hawaii committee was being positioned into making a decision through manipulation by majority members of the USCCR in Washington, D.C.," said OHA board Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona in a release.

Agbayani said the local panel "will not be discussing native Hawaiian issues" during its two-year term.

Voting to table further debate were Agbayani, Robert Alm, Daphne Barbee-Wooten, Jennifer Benck, Linda Colburn, Michelle Nalani Fujimori, Wayne Tanna and Jackie Young. Voting to continue debate were H. William Burgess, Vernon Char, Rubellite Johnson, James Kuroiwa, Thomas MacDonald and Paul Sullivan. Members Kheng See Ang and Kealoha Pisciotta did not attend the Thursday meeting at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Chairman Michael Lilly abstained from voting.


Honolulu Advertiser, November 20, 2007, Letter to editor


In his zeal to reiterate opposition to the Akaka bill, Tom Macdonald (Letter, Nov. 8) mischaracterizes the Hawai'i State Advisory Committee's 2001 report. Recommendation No. 4 (out of nine) states, "International solutions should be explored as alternatives to the recognition of a Native Hawaiian governing entity." The report calls upon our government to "engage in a dialogue with Hawaiian leaders to examine the issues surrounding as wide a variety of options for reconciliation as possible."

Macdonald's incomplete quotes omit the 2001 report's recognition, also acknowledged by the Supreme Court in Texas v. White (1868), that withdrawal from the Union would be authorized if the other states give their consent to such a drastic endeavor — clearly a "remote" possibility.

The 2001 HISAC report simply suggests that "the United States should give due consideration" to Native Hawaiian claims for justice under international law. By comparison, Macdonald has revealed the eagerness of yet another member of the new HISAC majority to silence minority voices.

Macdonald's repeated characterization of HISAC's 2001 report as "extreme" reveals an attitude toward international law that is eerily reminiscent of the Bush administration's violations of the Geneva Conventions (concerning the treatment of noncombatants and prisoners of war). In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006), even the ultra-conservative U.S. Supreme Court recognized that international law is deeply embedded in our legal system.

Even more glaring is Macdonald's omission of the fundamental context provided by our country's broken promises to its indigenous people — not to mention African-Americans. The 1980 and 1991 HISAC reports exposed Native Hawaiian justice claims and the compelling need for reconciliation. However, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights utterly failed to address these substantive issues in its 2006 report.

David Forman
Past HISAC Chair


Molokai Times, November 21, 2007, page A-7

Akaka bill bad for everyone

By Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

It saddened me to read Michael Moodian's commentary pushing the Akaka bill ("Hawaiian Sovereignty Bill is right for America," Nov. 14). That "liberal" academic condescendingly imagines he knows what's best for some poor downtrodden minority. He spouted the usual propaganda almost as though OHA paid him to write it.

America is a multiracial society; Hawaii even more so. It's a bad idea to single out a particular racial group and create a separate government exclusively for them.

Forty to 50 years ago there were proposals for a Nation of New Africa for all Americans of African ancestry. Black separatists created "Nation of Islam" churches and race-based businesses. They boycotted American holidays in favor of African holidays or even newly-invented ones. Fortunately, Dr. Martin Luther King rescued "his people" and all America from racial separatism. He led us toward a goal of full integration with unity and equality for all.

The Akaka bill would empower the very things Dr. King fought against. The title of my book describes it well: "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State." (not in bookstores: use the library or visit http://tinyurl.com/2a9fqa ).

America recognizes 562 Indian tribes. A few thousand people having their own government on one iso- lated reservation is a small disruption in an otherwise multiracial state with millions of people. But in Hawaii we would have an apartheid regime — a racially separatist Akaka tribe governing 20 percent of Hawaii's people and controlling perhaps half the land, scattered throughout most parts of all islands. Who will live under which laws in which places? Turf wars and racial antagonism will be forever worsened.

Kamehameha the Great unified all Hawaii for the first time in 1,500 years, only by using British guns, cannons, ships, and advisors. His government was multiracial right from the beginning. John Young (British) was such an important military leader that Kamehameha appointed him governor of his home Hawaii Island and gave him a house right beside Pu'ukohola Heiau. Young's grave is in Mauna Ala (Royal Mausoleum), guarded by a pair of pulo'ulo'u (sacred kapu sticks). Throughout the Kingdom most cabinet officers and many Legislators (both appointed and elected) were Caucasians. Thousands of Caucasians and Asians were native-born or naturalized subjects of the Kingdom with full voting and property rights. Kalakaua built ‘Iolani Palace on the backs of Asian plantation laborers.

What Kamehameha joined together and what we all built together, let not Akaka rip apart.

How would the Akaka bill affect Molokai, and ethnic Hawaiians? Anyone with a drop of native blood can join the Akaka tribe; and it seems voluntary. But Hawaiians are showing they don't like this idea. After four years only 17 percent of Hawaiians have signed up for Kau Inoa despite untold millions in advertising. But the remaining 83 percent cannot avoid getting sucked in if the Akaka bill passes. Once the tribe is formed, all federal and state benefits will go only to the tribal council, who will distribute them only to tribal members. Join or lose out. Tribes in other states are notorious for corruption and nepotism — leaders give benefits to family, friends, and whomever pays bribes and kickbacks. Would you trust current OHA leaders to treat you fairly?

The Akaka bill says settlements between the tribe and State of Hawaii need approval only by the tribal council and state Legislature. No ratification by tribal members and no referendum for voters. Remember the La'au Point controversy? Were you happy how OHA trustees and state Legislators sided with wealthy outside developers against the local people of Molokai? Will you be happy with Clayton Hee and Collette Machado deciding whether you get tribal healthcare, or who should get child custody following a divorce?

E ku'e kakou i ka palapala a Akaka.

Dr. Conklin is a retired professor of philosophy who has lived in Kane'ohe for 15 years. He participates in Hawaiian cultural activities, speaks Hawaiian language, and maintains a large web site about Hawaiian sovereignty at http://tinyurl.com/6gkzk.


From: "H. William Burgess"
To: "Aloha4all"
Subject: Fact Check Rep Steve Kagen on Akaka bill
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2007

Aloha all,

Representative Steve Kagen MD, Member of Congress from Wisconsin , recently wrote to one of his constituents "setting the record straight" on why he voted for the Akaka bill. In doing so, the good Congressman shows that he has been misled by the fraudulent sales pitch used by the bill's promoters.

To see his letter and correction of the misstatements, please see:



Honolulu Advertiser, November 23, 2007, Letter to editor


The Hawai'i Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights voted not to make a recommendation on the Akaka bill. The commission has been in opposition.

Our six public hearings generated great public interest. We heard from supporters and opponents of the bill, which was authored by a friend, Sen. Daniel Akaka. As a keiki o ka 'aina in a family of Hawaiian citizens since the 1840s, I reflect a perspective infrequently expressed. My kupuna kane, grandfather, born in Hawai'i in 1885, was a royalist, as were his father and older brothers who were arrested by the revolutionaries and held in the armory.

According to Queen Liliuo'kalani's book, his father, J.S. Walker, died during the revolution "by the treatment he received from the hands of the revolutionists. He was one of many who from persecution had succumbed to death."

To the extent the premise of the Apology Resolution and the Akaka bill is that the revolution deposed a queen only of Native Hawaiians, they are wrong. On that infamous January day in 1893, Hawaiian citizens of all ethnic backgrounds lost their queen and nation.

The Akaka bill provokes strong responses. Supporters point to the unlawful U.S.-backed revolution that should be made pono. Opponents are of two camps. One says our Constitution gave Hawaiians parity and the right to vote. Separatists want independent recognition, which Dr. Blaisdell said would be multiracial. All sides claim polls show the public supports them. Regardless, the issue has never been voted on.

Our consideration of the bill helped educate the public about Hawaiians and the plight of their neediest constituents. Regardless of one's stand, we can all agree that Hawai'i would not be Hawai'i without Native Hawaiians.

Michael A. Lilly
Chairman, Hawai'i Advisory Committee


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 25, 2007

Akaka Bill was tabled, not voted down

** Ken Conklin's note: The headline placed by the newspaper editors onto this letter gives an impression backwards from what the letter's authors clearly say. The headline should say: Akaka bill was tabled, not endorsed by default. The newspaper strongly favors the Akaka bill, and the headline writer was clearly trying to twist the letter's intent.**

As two new members of the Hawaii State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (HISAC), we are writing in response to the Nov. 17 article "Panel tables Akaka Bill debate." Through a quotation of Amy Agbayani, the article gave the impression that the current HISAC elected not to take a position on the Akaka Bill because it believed the 2001 report prepared by the previous HISAC sufficiently covered the issues. In fact, the current HISAC has not taken a position on the 2001 report. Our decision last week was narrow; the HISAC voted to discontinue discussion on the Akaka Bill and not provide any recommendation regarding the Akaka Bill to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

The Akaka Bill is obviously an issue of tremendous importance to the people of Hawaii. During the past months the HISAC received testimony from numerous people statewide who gave thoughtful and passionate arguments for and against the Akaka Bill. We are very appreciative of the insights shared by those who testified. The majority who voted to table the Akaka Bill discussion did so for a variety of reasons, including concerns that the new HISAC members had not been thoroughly briefed on this complex issue and that the recent public testimony had not been analyzed.

Last week we voted to address two civil rights issues in Hawaii during our two-year term: first, discrimination in the criminal justice system, and second, if time allows, fair housing. We will strive to provide meaningful information on one or both of these issues to the people of Hawaii and the commission.

Amy Agbayani
Jennifer A. Benck
Members, HISAC


Honolulu Advertiser, November 27, 2007
2 letters to editor

AKAKA BILL [** 2 letters **]


Oswald Stender wrote (Letters, Nov. 13) attacking the Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i (GRIH) in response to a letter from Tom Macdonald, who wrote without consultation with GRIH.

Stender mentions "push" polls, identified by questions that push respondents in a desired direction. All OHA polls on the Akaka bill are push polls in the sense that they imply there will be only good results for Hawai'i and the nation.

The GRIH poll implied the possibility of major negative impact and obvious racial discrimination. The Akaka bill creates an empty Native Hawaiian governing entity to be filled with people, land and laws via government negotiation. Nature abhors a vacuum. It takes no great mental leap to see that a host of unplanned and unintended consequences would ensue. After all, people, land, power and money are at stake. We've seen it before.

The goal of GRIH is to foster public education and debate on the Akaka bill and other issues. Our experience is that the more a subject is discussed, the more knowledgeable all citizens become, to the betterment of all.

How does Stender know that it is a "big lie" that the Akaka bill will lead to secession? The language in the bill could lead anywhere. A solution would be to add a few specifics to the bill itself, an action consistently rejected by proponents. The idea of a blank check apparently appeals to them.

How does that look to you?

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


I congratulate the Hawaii State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission for a wise decision to refrain from sending a resolution for or against the Akaka bill to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

It is right. The Civil Rights Commission is not the place to rule on this matter. It is an issue of indigenous rights and redress.

The committee can now put its focus where it belongs — instances of housing, employment and education discrimination that have actually occurred as opposed to the imagined civil rights discrimination that opponents erroneously claim could occur if the bill passes. Although it has been shown over and over again that no civil rights losses will be incurred by the non-natives in Hawai'i if the Akaka bill passes, Mr. Burgess still beats the dead horse because it furthers his racist-based agenda.

The bill became an issue to the Civil Rights Commission because Republicans in Congress are desperate to overturn the affirmative action laws before the Bush administration ends, as they promised when elected to office.

They seized upon the Akaka bill as a means to an end. Sadly, a tiny minority of our local residents aided their cause at the expense of Native Hawaiians.

The Civil Rights Commission has had a noble mission based on the blood, tears, sweat and ultimate sacrifice of many during our history. I salute the members of our committee who held steadfast to those beliefs.

Su Yates


The Washington Post, Thursday, November 29, 2007, Page A25
** Also the New Hampsire Union Leader
** Also Long Beach (CA) Press-Telegram
Jewish World Review
and many others nationwide.

Social Engineers In Paradise

By George F. Will

"I decide who is a Jew around here."
-- Hermann Goering in 1934, when told that a favorite Munich art dealer was Jewish.

Under legislation that the House of Representatives has voted 261 to 153 to foist on Hawaii, Goering's role would be played by a panel empowered to decide who is a "Native Hawaiian" and entitled to special privileges and immunities. Because there are perhaps only 7,000 "pure" Native Hawaiians, "Hawaiian blood" will inevitably be the criterion, and the "one-drop rule" probably will prevail. Goering would have approved of this racialist sorting-out.

Those designated Native Hawaiians would be members of a new "tribe" conjured into existence by Congress. But Congress cannot legitimately do that.

In 1959, 94 percent of Hawaiians, including a large majority of Native Hawaiians, voted for statehood. Opposition was strongest among Southern Democrats in Congress, who, with the civil rights revolution simmering, were wary of Hawaii's example of multiracial harmony.

Today, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, when accurately described, is opposed by a large majority of Hawaiians and supported by only a bare majority of the approximately 240,000 Native Hawaiians in the state. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Akaka, is a genuflection by "progressives," mostly Democrats, to "diversity" and "multiculturalism."

It would foment racial disharmony by creating a permanent caste entitled to its own government -- the Native Hawaiian Governing Entity -- within the United States. The NHGE presumably would be exempt, as Indian tribes are, from the Constitution's First, Fifth and 14th amendments. It would, Akaka says, negotiate with the state of Hawaii and the United States concerning "lands, natural resources, assets, criminal and civil jurisdiction, and historical grievances."

Reparations? We shall see. Independence -- secession? "That could be," Akaka, 83, has said, depending on "my grandchildren and great-grandchildren."

The seeds of this weed were sown in 1993, when Congress passed a tendentious apology for supposed U.S. complicity -- which was neither clear nor essential -- in the peaceful 1893 overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani's monarchy by Hawaiian residents. The novelty of America apologizing for a monarch's fall was followed in 2000 by a Supreme Court ruling overturning a Hawaiian law that excluded everyone except Native Hawaiians from voting in a statewide election for trustees of a state agency. This, the court said, violated the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection of the laws and proscription of racial discrimination in voting.

This ruling raised doubts about the constitutionality of the racial spoils system administered by that agency, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Which is perhaps why Akaka decided the reorganization act was necessary despite what he has called, with weird defensiveness, his state's "perceived harmony."

There are 400,000 Native Hawaiians nationwide who will be eligible to participate in creating the NHGE. Native Hawaiians are 20 percent of Hawaii's population. They are defined as direct lineal descendants of indigenous peoples who lived on the islands before 1893 and who exercised sovereignty then -- an unintelligible provision because the queen monopolized sovereignty. She, however, was more enlightened than Akaka. She did not distinguish between Native Hawaiians and immigrants, who served in her government.

Under President George Washington, the U.S. government's Indian policy was a facet of foreign policy because tribes were considered foreign nations. The Constitution speaks not of native "peoples" but only of "Indian tribes." Akaka's legislation would create a Native Hawaiian "tribe" as a nation within the nation.

Unlike Indians, however, Native Hawaiians' land was not taken by force. They are not a compact community -- they are woven into the fabric of one of America's most polyglot states. They chose to bring themselves under the Constitution by embracing statehood.

Congress does not create tribes; it recognizes them according to settled criteria: Tribes were nations when the Constitution was written and are geographically separate and culturally distinct communities whose governments have long continuous histories. As the state of Hawaii has said, "The tribal concept simply has no place in the context of Hawaiian history."

Virtually all Democrats and a few inexplicable Republicans support this legislation, which will further inflame the ethnic grievance industry. Imagine the lesson that some descendants of Hispanics who lived in the Southwest before 1848 would learn from it. A Republican president would veto it. A Democratic president would sign it -- Sens. Biden, Clinton, Dodd and Obama support it -- but the Supreme Court would shred this plan for different laws for different races. Still, the legislation is an important symptom of Democrats' constitutional flippancy and itch for social engineering.

"One nation, indivisible"? Not for the House majority or the Senate committee that has approved Akaka's mockery of the Pledge of Allegiance.


** Ken Conklin's note: There were a large number of comments posted on the Washingtom Post blog for this article. Some were angry, some were "witnessing" by sovereignty zealots trying to "educate" George Will, many were supportive and appreciative of what he wrote. The comments can be seen at:


** Ken Conklin's note: Be patient. This article begins by discussing an event in Hawaii where hundreds of members of Indian tribes attended a national conference on tribal education, but irresponsible tribal and government expenses were covered up. Then the relevant point is made regarding what would happen if the Akaka bill passes.

http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?a601255d-58c7-4a50-b930- c1caa8f9d28c
Hawaii Reporter, November 29, 2007, editorial

Federal Inquiry Focuses on Indian Trips to Hawaii

by Malia Zimmerman, editor

U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, recently asked for a federal inquiry into the claim that more than 362 people representing the Navajo tribe traveled to the National Indian Education Association's conference held at Honolulu's convention center in late October 2007, including many who used federal or tribal money to pay for their trips.

Domenici's letter to Inspector General Earl Devancy from the Department of Interior is highlighted in a Nov. 17 article by Troy Turner of The Farmington Daily Times: "If federal dollars were misappropriated or misused in any way related to this conference in Hawaii, then appropriate action must be taken."

A Nov. 3 article in The Farmington Daily Times revealed: "362 people claiming ties to the Navajo Nation preregistered at a cost of $400 each to attend the American Indian Education Association conference in Hawaii during October. Most are believed to have attended, with many more signing up on site. The number of preregistered Navajo was more than five times the tally of any other tribe sending representatives. Although some of the travelers may have gone at their own expense, many are known to have used Navajo government money or Advertisement federal funds intended for schools.

The Daily Times questions "why fewer representatives from both the schools and the government could not have traveled and produced the same results from the conference, and if the money spent would have been better served going to student programs and needs."

See the story here:

The editors say that their reports "set off a firestorm of reader response, largely from upset Navajo tribal members demanding better use of the money intended for schoolchildren and from taxpayers demanding better accountability."

The Salt Lake Tribune also is looking into the allegations, says their reporters ran into trouble getting information: "Tribe officials refused to release many details about who beyond top administrators traveled and at what cost, but similar travel made to the Hawaii conference by other non-tribal districts in the region, which sent up to eight representatives, cost at least $1,400 per person. At that rate, the 362 Navajo representatives would have accounted for at least $506,800 in travel costs." The Daily Times experience was the same. The staff went to extreme measures to get accurate information for their report on this trip, sending out 147 Freedom of Information requests to Navajo, federal government officials, and school administrators throughout New Mexico and Arizona, including school districts on the Navajo Nation reservation that act independent of the Navajo government.

The Daily Times explains why it is difficult to get information: "Because the Navajo Nation is considered a sovereign nation, many of its records and documents are not subject to the same scrutiny as other state and federal offices that must adhere to open-records law. Attempts to reach President Shirley were denied by his spokesman, George Hardeen, who told one reporter he would no longer help the newspaper."

Interestingly, there are many similarities between the way the Navajo leaders and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) leaders respond to requests for information on expenditures.

OHA wants to set up its own "tribal government" for the native Hawaiians here through federal legislation nicknamed the Akaka Bill -- a government that OHA will ultimately help to run.

The bill recently passed the House of Representatives and has a good chance of passing the Senate too. Although President George Bush announced he is strongly opposed to the current version and will likely veto it, he's out as of the end of 2008, and many candidates vying for president have already supported or voted for the Akaka Bill.

Currently the Office of Hawaiian Affairs won't release information to the media on how many millions of dollars its board of directors has spent on first class travel and accommodations to the mainland to lobby for the Akaka Bill, on lavish parties held under the guise of signing up native Hawaiians into its "Kau Inoa" program, and on advertising and lobbying for the Akaka Bill, even though the agency must abide by state law.

OHA has already run amok yet its leaders continue to gain more power, more money and more public land every year because anyone who challenges the office is deemed "politically incorrect" and a racist. The arrogance and purported financial mismanagement within OHA already dwarfs the Broken Trust scandal surrounding the Bishop Estate highlighted in the book, "Broken Trust," by Randall Roth and Judge Samuel King.

Just imagine if OHA suddenly becomes the agency in charge of its own separate government with all native Hawaiians registered with Kau Inoa required to be a part of the new sovereign nation, that, as the Daily Times puts it "not subject to the same scrutiny as other state and federal offices that must adhere to open-records law."

None of Hawaii's congressional delegation is willing to question OHA – as U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici has questioned the Navajos - and the Hawaii delegation supports the Akaka Bill – heck the Akaka Bill is named for Hawaii's U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka.

The bottom line is that if the Akaka Bill passes, that means a great deal of "cha-ching" for taxpayers with little or no accountability by the sovereign government that gets to spend it; even more power, money and land going to a few; less chance for scrutiny by the media and public.

On a positive note, we'll never run out of stories for Hawaii Reporter.


** Ken's note: The Honolulu Advertiser continues its "advocacy journalism" by NOT printing George Will's article (which they could easily do) but by instead publishing its own more lengthy article describing portions of what Mr. Will wrote and focusing on attacks on Will's article. This way Hawaii's people can be kept ignorant of what George Will actually said, even while the Akaka bill gets more publicity and gets defended against attacks by "outsiders."

Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, November 30, 2007

Hawaii senator calls column 'disgusting'

By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Staff Writer

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i, yesterday criticized nationally syndicated Washington Post columnist George F. Will for an essay that assailed the push for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians, calling it "absolutely outrageous" that Will would compare the movement to Nazism and the persecution of the Jews.

"It is disgusting that George Will would write a commentary about the quest of Native Hawaiians for the opportunity to manage their own resources based on so many complete misunderstandings and falsehoods about the situation in Hawai'i," Akaka told The Advertiser.

In the column "Social Engineers In Paradise" that appeared yesterday on www.washingtonpost.com as well as other newspaper Web sites, Will equates the Akaka bill to Nazism and calls it "a mockery of the Pledge of Allegiance."

Will likened a panel that would be formed to determine who is Native Hawaiian to Hermann Goering, Hitler's second-in-command in Nazi Germany, who was convicted of war crimes in Nuremberg and sentenced to death. "Goering's role would be played by a panel empowered to decide who is a 'Native Hawaiian' and entitled to special privileges and immunities," Will wrote.

Akaka said, "It is absolutely outrageous that he would compare this quest for justice to the horrors perpetuated by the Nazis on the Jews and other vulnerable people in Europe before and during World War II."

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, nicknamed the Akaka bill in honor of its chief sponsor, creates a political process that could lead to federal recognition of a government entity that would represent Native Hawaiians.

The bill passed out of the House in October and is awaiting a vote in the Senate.

Will wrote that the bill "would foment racial disharmony by creating a permanent caste entitled to its own government — the Native Hawaiian Governing Entity — within the United States."

Will pointed to the Rice v. Cayetano case in which the U.S. Supreme Court forced the state to open up OHA elections to all voters and not just Hawaiians. "This ruling raised doubts about the constitutionality of the racial spoils system administered by that agency, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs," he wrote.

Will also said in the column that "unlike Indians ... Native Hawaiians' land was not taken by force."

Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, called the article "shameful" and took exception to Will's comment about the overthrow.

"Mr. Will clearly lacks an understanding of our history (and) to suggest that 'Native Hawaiians' land was not taken by force' ignores the facts," Apoliona said. "Further, it ignores the fact that thousands of Hawaiians signed a petition opposing the annexation of Hawai'i to the United States. "

Akaka agreed. "Mr. Will alters history to claim the overthrow was peaceful and 'Native Hawaiian land was not taken by force,' which is plainly untrue and ignores the involvement of armed U.S. agents."

Apoliona also said it was wrong for Will to compare a Native Hawaiian government to Nazism.

"The issue is whether Hawaiian is a political or racial class," Apoliona said. "We are indigenous. No different than American Indians and Alaska Natives. To draw comparisons to Nazism is irresponsible.

"American Indians and Alaska Natives would be offended by this, and so are we."

H. William Burgess, an attorney for several parties who have mounted challenges against OHA and other Hawaiian programs, applauded Will's column.

"It's quite well done," Burgess said. "I think it's quite significant because it shows the national media are starting to pay close attention to the Akaka bill. They're starting to look at it and see the flaws and dangers of the Akaka bill."

Burgess said it was fair for Will to equate the Akaka bill to Nazism. "It's somebody using race as a reason to do horrendous things, so it's certainly an accurate comparison in that respect," he said. "I mean, do the critics of what (Will) said really believe the Akaka bill doesn't represent a government that is based on race?"

Burgess also backed Will's comment that Native Hawaiian lands were not taken away. "Whose land was taken by force? Certainly, the overthrow did not deprive anybody of any lands," Burgess aid. "The monarchy didn't own the land, it held the lands for the subjects of the kingdom, and the new government continued to hold the lands for the people of Hawai'i. Not a square inch of land was stolen. It didn't affect private titles at all."

Supporters of the Akaka bill see federal recognition as a first step in rectifying the wrongs inflicted on Native Hawaiians when U.S. citizens helped with the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. In 1993, Congress and President Clinton issued an apology for the U.S. government's role. Supporters also believe federal recognition is needed to stave off legal challenges that have been mounted against Hawaiians-only programs established by the federal and state governments, programs they also believe are needed to rectify the impacts of the overthrow.

Opponents, however, oppose the bill on the grounds that it and Hawaiians-only programs discriminate against non-Hawaiians. They argue that resources that should be distributed among all Hawai'i residents are being unfairly given only to Hawaiians.

Also opposed to the Akaka bill and federal recognition are those who believe much more is needed to address wrongs against Hawaiians. Some of those opponents believe Hawai'i should be restored as a nation wholly independent of the U.S.


RezNet News ("Reporting from Native America"), perhaps December 1, 2007

Post's Will Opposes Recognition Bill

By Greg Small

HONOLULU (AP)- Washington Post columnist George F. Will's relating of the Native Hawaiian recognition movement with one of Adolph Hitler's most infamous Nazi followers has drawn the ire of Sen. Daniel Akaka.

Will's Thursday column, "Social Engineers In Paradise," takes aim at a congressional bill that would give Native Hawaiians federal recognition similar to that of American Indians.

The column begins with a 1934 quotation from Hermann Goering, Hitler's air force chief as well as a top aide: "I decide who is a Jew around here."

Will wrote that under the legislation, "Goering's role would be played by a panel empowered to decide who is a 'Native Hawaiian' and entitled to special privileges and immunities."

Akaka, D-Hawaii, a Native Hawaiian and the bill's author, responded to the column Friday, saying he was disappointed "Will would write a commentary about the quest of Native Hawaiians for the opportunity to manage their own resources based on so many complete misunderstandings and falsehoods about the situation in Hawaii."

Akaka called it is "absolutely outrageous" that Will compared the systematic atrocities of the Nazis against Jews "to the efforts of our host culture to exercise control over their culture and their destiny."

The House approved the so-called Akaka bill 261-153 in October, with the White House threatening a veto, saying the legislation would divide Americans "along suspect lines of race and ethnicity." The measure is awaiting a vote in the Senate.

The bill would give the 400,000 people nationwide of Native Hawaiian ancestry the right to form a governing entity that could negotiate with state and federal governments over such issues as control of natural resources, lands and assets.

Will wrote that "when accurately described," the bill, which he labeled "Akaka's mockery of the Pledge of Allegiance," is opposed by "a large majority" of Hawaii residents and supported by only "a bare majority" of Native Hawaiians. Akaka responded that the measure, known as the Akaka bill, has the backing of nearly every elected official in Hawaii, whether Democrat or Republican. GOP Gov. Linda Lingle has lobbied Congress to pass the bill.

"He rewrites history and reinterprets the Constitution," Akaka said of Will. "He proclaims to know what the people of Hawaii think. But he refused to speak with me or my staff before publishing the column, which is unfortunate, because we would have been eager to explain the true purpose of the bill."

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act is "carefully crafted legislation designed to provide a framework within which Native Hawaiians can come together to develop a governing entity that will then be able to address many unresolved issues," Akaka said.

Greg Small is an Associated Press writer.


Hawaii Tribune-Herald (Hilo), Saturday December 1, 2007, letter to editor

Will analysis flawed

Although space constraints preclude a point by point refutation of George Will's error riddled column, his many distortions nonetheless demands a response. Mr. Will's implicit comparison of restoring some measure of Hawaiian self-determination to the mass genocide of Nazi Germany is simply outrageous and indefensible.

He is wrong in his assertion that Congressional authority is limited to recognizing indigenous people "whose governments have long continuous histories." The U.S. Constitution imposes no such limits on Congress' authority. On the contrary, Congress has previously restored the government-to-government relationship with the Menominee Nation through a process very similar to that outlined by the Akaka bill. Indeed, it is simply perverse to argue that Congress may not afford recognition to Hawaiians because they lack an existing indigenous government when the United States was directly responsible for extinguishing that entity.

That naturalized immigrants and other foreigners resided in the Hawaiian Kingdom is likewise irrelevant, given Congress' broad authority to delineate those who fall outside of any indigenous group it chooses to recognize.

Simply put, the Akaka bill would establish a process whereby members of the Hawaiian community would elect representatives to an Interim Governing Council, whose responsibility would include the drafting of organic documents for a Hawaiian governing entity. Once these governing documents have been approved by the Secretary of the Interior, elections will be held to determine the officers of the Native Hawaiian Governing Entity. Only upon the reconstitution of this governing entity would federal recognition be granted, followed by three-way negotiations between the new entity and the federal and state governments over the transfer of lands and other assets and governmental authority.

It bears repeating that federal recognition, in and of itself, would convey no tangible resources or authority to the governing entity without additional negotiation and passage of further legislation.

Peter Dunn-Aurello


Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, December 2, 2007

Will shows ignorance in Akaka bill column

A journalist of national repute, one would assume, does some homework before positioning himself on the complexities of Hawaiian history. That assumption would be wrong in the case of columnist George Will, who's plainly decided it's not worth the effort. Instead, his latest piece, in which he compares the implementation of the federal recognition bill to the racial policies of Nazi Germany, is merely an ill-informed parroting of the usual right-wing screed on this issue.

Even worse, Will declined an opportunity to become better informed. U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, sponsor of the bill, said that he invited Will to meet with him to discuss the legislation, adding that the writer never took him up on the offer. Akaka was, understandably, livid about the column. "Mr. Will alters history to claim the overthrow was peaceful and 'Native Hawaiian land was not taken by force,' which is plainly untrue and ignores the involvement of armed U.S. agents," he said.

Yes, the coup was bloodless. But to call it peaceful corrupts the meaning of "peace." And to suggest Hawaiian citizens gave up their sovereignty willingly is a simple falsehood, ignoring the widespread petitioning against annexation.

Yes, most Hawaiians voted more than a half-century later for statehood, but that doesn't mean they embraced the initial takeover, any more than other native groups who lost their lands rejected full-fledged American citizenship when that choice was offered.

Even the act of constituting a political entity that's disbanded is not unprecedented. Will should have remembered that Native Alaskans formed corporations to govern assets.

The so-called Akaka bill, rather than being the harbinger of horror as its detractors claim, actually formalizes a recognition of Hawaiians as native people already accorded by Congress through many entitlements and programs dating back to the 1920s.

Readers who had thought better of Will's professionalism have a right to feel dismayed by this shoddy work.


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 2, 2007

Outrageous and inaccurate
Historical fact and good taste elude columnist in his challenge to Hawaiian sovereignty

by Sen. Daniel Akaka and Rep. Neil Abercrombie

Washington Post columnist George F. Will's distasteful column on the Akaka Bill, published in the Star-Bulletin Friday, demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of Hawaiian history and insensitivity to the rights of native people in Hawaii and across the nation. It is disappointing and outrageous to compare the systematic atrocities of the Nazis against Jews to the efforts of our host culture to exercise control over their culture and their destiny. Hawaiians, like our nation's other indigenous people, share a history as political entities, exercising governance on lands which later became the United States.

As indigenous people they also share a similar experience with foreign settlers in which a clash of cultures occurred. Hawaiians suffered enormously from introduced diseases, the imposition of Western laws and culture that forever altered their way of life, and loss of their lands. As a result of this exchange Hawaiians fell to the lowest levels of the socioeconomic ladder in their own homeland.

The U.S. government played a key role in this sad saga in 1893, when U.S. Minister to the Kingdom John Stevens formally supported Westerners seeking to overthrow Queen Liliuokalani by ordering armed U.S. troops to land in Honolulu and take up military positions at key government buildings to intimidate the queen. To avoid bloodshed, she agreed to step down temporarily, believing that the United States would restore her to the throne when it learned what had happened. And, in fact, after incoming President Grover Cleveland received a full accounting of the facts, he characterized the action of Minister Stevens and the U.S. troops as an "act of war" and called for restoration of the kingdom.

The queen did everything possible to re-establish the kingdom, and a vast majority of Hawaiians signed petitions opposing annexation. After William McKinley became president in 1897, the U.S. Senate refused to approve the renewed annexation treaty by the required two-thirds vote, so a joint resolution was passed by a simple majority of both houses, a procedure that remains controversial. A total of 1.8 million acres of the kingdom's Crown and Government Lands were thereby "ceded" to the United States, without the consent of or compensation to Hawaiians.

Once Hawaii became a territory, it was illegal to use the Hawaiian language in public schools, and teachers even went to Hawaiian homes to scold parents for speaking Hawaiian to their children at home.

All aspects of the Hawaiian culture were suppressed, and Hawaiians were taught that their culture was inferior and irrelevant.

Nonetheless, the spirit, vision and talent of the Hawaiian people has never disappeared, and we have seen a true Hawaiian renaissance in the past generation. The Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act of 2007 (frequently called the Akaka Bill) would provide a framework within which the Hawaiian people can design a governing entity and negotiate for a return of cultural resources. It would enable the Hawaiians to be autonomous in ways similar to American Indians and Alaska Natives, with control over their local affairs, while still operating within the American political community.

This type of relationship is firmly established in the U.S. Constitution, and there is certainly nothing un-American or unpatriotic about it. Our country has recognized and the courts have upheld the special political and legal relationship the United States has with its indigenous people. It is the status that the Constitution recognizes in Indian tribes that was later extended to Alaska Natives, as indigenous people, and it is on this same basis native Hawaiians seek parity.

More than 500 native groups now have this type of relationship within the United States, but to date Hawaiians have not been federally recognized. The time is long overdue to rectify that situation.

The Akaka Bill would lead to negotiations addressing issues related to land and resources in Hawaii. No privately owned land could be taken or would be at risk during this process. As the people of Hawaii know, the federal and state governments continue to control most of the acres that were "ceded" at the time of annexation. While negotiations between the native Hawaiian governing entity, state of Hawaii and United States may address transfer of land or governmental authority, any agreements reached will require implementing legislation. Thus any land transfers would require approval by the state Legislature and federal government, so all interests will be represented.

Virtually every elected official in our state supports the Akaka Bill. Our state Legislature has repeatedly passed resolutions supporting Hawaiian self-determination. We are taken aback that a nationally syndicated columnist did not make a greater attempt to understand the true history of Hawaii. We, the people of Hawaii, can speak to our history and our values on our own.

Sen. Daniel Akaka and Rep. Neil Abercrombie are, respectively, the Senate and House sponsors of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act. George F. Will's column appeared on A13 of Friday's Star-Bulletin. It can be viewed online at washingtonpost.com, the site requires registration.


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 2, 2007

Will got facts wrong on sovereignty bill

Columnist George F. Will wrote that the Akaka Bill should be cast aside as racist.

George F. Will took provocation to its outer limits this past week in a column denouncing Hawaiian sovereignty. His argument would have been stronger if it had been backed up by indisputable facts. Unfortunately, the column, which ran on the Star-Bulletin op-ed page Friday, was flawed by what he apparently assumed was correct information, but was not.

The highly regarded Washington Post columnist was so inflammatory that the sovereignty bill authored by Sen. Daniel Akaka would be unconstitutional because of racial discrimination that he compared it with Hermann Goering's 1934 statement, "I decide who is a Jew around here."

Will cited the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of 2000 in Rice v. Cayetano that non-Hawaiians could not be excluded from the election of Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees because that would amount to racial discrimination. The high court's decision was based on its conclusion that Hawaiians lack the sovereign status equivalent to that of Indian tribes. That is the main purpose of the Akaka Bill, to give them that status as indigenous peoples, which Congress has the plenary authority to do.

As noted by Akaka and Rep. Neil Abercrombie in a rebuttal column on the cover of this section, Will wrongly stated that the 1993 apology resolution by Congress was "for supposed U.S. duplicity -- which was neither clear nor essential" in the 1893 overthrow of the kingdom. The duplicity was as clear as can be.

Will asserts that "a large majority" of Hawaii residents oppose the bill. Will obviously was referring to the responses to loaded questions asked in a poll conducted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, which opposes the bill. A more reliable poll, conducted in August by Ward Research for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, showed that 70 percent of Hawaii residents support Hawaiian sovereignty.

Will called Queen Liliuokalani "more enlightened than Akaka" by allowing immigrants to serve in her government. Attorney General Mark Bennett responded to a similar assertion by columnist Bruce Fein two years ago that "it is extremely ironic that one who opposes the Akaka Bill because it is, in his mind, racist, would use native Hawaiians' historical inclusiveness, and 'aloha' for all races, as a reason to deny native Hawaiians their deserved recognition."


Maui News, Monday, December 03, 2007

Will attacks Akaka Bill

George Will is respected as an erudite, conservative pundit. His syndicated column is published in hundreds of newspapers, including The Maui News on an irregular basis. Thousands more read him on the Washington Post Web site. And millions more know him from Sunday rant shows on television.

Will is popular with fans of cud chewing on the Potomac – including capital policymakers. While he normally ruminates on political machinations, last week he put together a column that even his fans should find distasteful.

Beginning with a reference to racist Nazis, Will goes on to attack an attempt to give Native Hawaiians legal standing as "a genuflection by 'progressives,' mostly Democrats, to 'diversify' and 'multiculturalism.'"

He couldn't be more wrong. He goes on: "The seeds of this weed were sown in 1993, when Congress passed a tendentious apology for supposed U.S. complicity – which was neither clear nor essential – in the peaceful overthrow of Queen Liliu'okalani's monarchy by Hawaii residents." A more blatant misrepresentation or willful ignorance of history would be hard to find.

Normally a writer who wraps his arguments in reasoned prose, Will bares his constitutional supremacy fangs in an attack on the Akaka Bill, formally known as the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act. He calls the legislation "an important symptom of Democrats' constitutional flippancy and itch for social engineering."

No, Mr. Will, the Akaka Bill recognizes a legitimate claim. Hawaii is the only sovereign nation, with foreign treaties to prove it, that the United States ever swallowed whole at the behest of expatriate Americans. Will's column panders to those who are more than ready to fight giving Native Hawaiians legal standing in a land that was theirs 12 centuries before there was a United States.

More than 100 years of history since the fifth-column overthrow can't be ignored, but the Akaka Bill provides a future for Native Hawaiians and a culture that benefits everyone in the islands. George Will is not the first to belittle the inherent rights of Native Hawaiians. He probably won't be the last.


Human Events, December 4, 2007

Also republished in Hawaii Reporter, December 4, 2007

A Race-Based Government in Hawaii? So Much for 'E Pluribus Unum'

By Newt Gingrich [former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives]

Has it somehow escaped House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the authors and supporters of this bill that hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their last full measure of devotion in the American Civil War to preserve a nation dedicated to liberty and equality among all men and women, regardless of race?

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act would not only create a race-based government in Hawaii, but also its racial jurisdiction could extend to include governance over the thousands of native Hawaiians living throughout the United States. State legislatures in all 50 states may potentially be required to accommodate two tiers of sovereignty -- one for native Hawaiians, another for everybody else.

The Senate should reject this misguided bill. If it doesn't, the President should veto it. And all presidential candidates should affirm, by their opposition to this legislation, that America is more than a collection of competing, aggrieved ethnicities.

By their opposition to this bill, all men and women who lead -- or seek to lead -- this nation should affirm that the motto found on the Great Seal of the United States -- "E Pluribus Unum" -- still stands:

Out of Many, One.


Honolulu Advertiser, December 4, 2007, LETTER


Your Dec. 2 editorial frowns on the facts offered by George Will in his Nov. 29 Washington Post column criticizing the Akaka bill. However, it responds to them only viscerally.

You compare Sen. Daniel Akaka's bill to the corporations structured under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). There is no comparison.

Under ANCSA, eligibility for benefits for members of the 266 or so federally recognized tribes requires a minimum 25 percent Alaska Native blood quantum (46 USC 1602).

Under Akaka's bill, a tribal requirement is waived, as is a blood quantum requirement, which even prior laws applicable to Hawaiians have required. A person with 1/10 of 1 percent or less Hawaiian blood would qualify as a Native Hawaiian for purposes of the bill's applicability. All that is overreaching to the max.

Will's article was accurate, and your editorial failed to rebut its facts.

Timothy C. Titus


Hawaii Tribune-Herald (Hilo), Thursday December 6, 2007, letter

Akaka bill's support

Washington Post columnist George Will claims that the Akaka bill is opposed by a majority of Hawaii residents. Senator Akaka, in an attempt to refute Will's claim, asserts that his bill has the backing of nearly every elected official in Hawaii, which is no refutation at all. Of course our elected officials support the bill. The political consequences of opposing it would be costly.

The fact is that nobody knows whether the people of Hawaii support the Akaka bill. We've never been asked. I should have thought that Senator Akaka would have sought a referendum of the people on his proposed bill to demonstrate grass-roots support; unless, of course, he wasn't confident of that support.

T. J. McAniff


Hawaii Reporter, December 7, 2007

Setting the Record Straight on the Small Business Hawaii Debate Over the Akaka Bill

By Elaine Willman

Comments by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Oz Stender in the recent Office of Hawaiian Affairs Ka Wai Ola newsletter regarding an October Small Business Hawaii breakfast meeting that I spoke at is factually inaccurate on so many levels it begs response, beginning with his following statement:

"The keynote speaker, Elain Willman of Citizens Equal Rights Alliance, claims to be of Indian descent and gave reasons as to why recognition for her tribe was not a good thing. She claims that the tribe continued to live in poverty and ignorance and could not govern themselves. She concluded that recognition for Hawaiians would offer them the same fate. I did not hear compassion for her people nor did I hear any solutions on what she was going to do to help them survive this malaise."

(( See the full article here: http://www.oha.org ))

First, I was not the keynote speaker; I shared the morning in equal time with a lovely attorney by the name of H. K. Bruss Keppeler from the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce whose supportive positions on the Akaka Bill were also clearly reported to the attendees but apparently ignored by Mr. Stender.

Second, my mother and grandmother were both enrolled members of the Cherokee tribe, North America's largest federally recognized Indian tribe and most certainly not known for its "ignorance…poverty…" or "inability to govern itself." If Mr. Stender did not acknowledge or hear Mr. Keppeler and his strong statements in support of the Akaka Bill, it's quite likely he would not hear my compassion or get other facts straight as well.

To describe Native Hawaiians who disagree with Mr. Stender as "token" Native Hawaiians is as despicable as entirely disregarding Mr. Keppeler's presentation. The Small Business Hawaii leaders made concerted efforts to present a balanced program that shared the perceptions of those who support and those who oppose the Akaka Bill. Not once during the event were inflammatory words such as assimilation or annihilation expressed. Such egregious language springs solely from Mr. Stender's mind; not mine – and not Mr. Keppeler's.

My position, and that of Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) is expressed best with our theme for the past 30 years: "Many cultures, One people, One law." All American Indians became full U.S. citizens in 1924. Equal treatment under the law does not equate to either assimilation or annihilation. I recall sharing at the October event that I believe that the elderly immigrant who became a naturalized U.S. citizen yesterday, the infant child born 5 minutes ago in the United States – and me, are entirely equal under the U.S. Constitution and our respective State Constitutions.

Equality under one set of laws provides you and me the opportunity to cherish our various ancestries, practice whatever cultural and religious traditions we choose, and civilly express our opinions without denigrating each other as equal citizens of the United States. I personally value the integrity of the Amish community as the highest example of a people choosing to honorably preserve their ancestry, religion and culture without demands of federal subsidies, nor attitudes of superiority over other fellow U.S. citizens.

The Amish do not burden taxpayers by insisting upon federal dollars in order to honor their ancestry. They do so of free will and live in a country where such a cultural choice is highly respected. The Amish do the obvious. They earn respect because they know genuine respect cannot be demanded.

Equality under the law does not create the radical polarized extremes of assimilation or annihilation expressed by Mr. Stender, The depth of history, beauty and culture of Native Hawaiians is foundational to the image and wonder of the Aloha State and should forever be preserved. Culture is not government. Government is not culture. I oppose all Congressional actions, including the Akaka Bill, which continue to systematically separate and ethnically dismantle the greatest country on Earth with apartheid and balkanization. Not a single U.S. citizen is more special than another under our U.S. Constitution.

See related story: "Oped in Office of Hawaiian Affairs Newsletter: Knowingly False, Disrespectful and Divisive" [below]

Elaine Willman is the National Chair for the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance. Reach her at mailto:Toppin@aol.com


Hawaii Reporter, December 7, 2007

Oped in Office of Hawaiian Affairs Newsletter: Knowingly False, Disrespectful and Divisive

By Sam Slom

I have known and respected Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Oz Stender for several decades, but his malicious December column in Ka Wai Ola, "Fight cultural annihilation," and his likening a public educational and informational meeting to the movie, "Bury Me At Wounded Knee," is knowingly false, disrespectful, and serves to validate critics and skeptics of the Akaka bill's perceived divisiveness. ( See his article here: http://www.oha.org ) It begs a response.

Mr. Stender writes about coming to our monthly October 2007 Small Business Hawaii (SBH) networking breakfast – he wrongly calls us "Small Business Association". As President and Executive Director of Small Business Hawaii, moderator for the program that day, and one who welcomed him, let me briefly set the record straight.

A sold-out crowd of more than 80 people attended the breakfast program that morning at The Pineapple Room, Ala Moana, to hear the well advertised topic: "The Pros and Cons of the Akaka Bill's Impact on Hawaii Small Business."

While it is certainly true that several of the people who introduced themselves and mentioned their opposition to the bill, the vast majority were there to hear both sides and make up their own mind.

All participants, including Mr. Stender, stood up, introduced themselves and could say anything they chose. Mr. Stender chose to say that Hawaiians in the room were in a minority "again." But the program was open to everyone in the public. At no time, was any disrespect or lack of courtesy shown to Mr. Stender, or anyone else in that room even though there were honest differences of opinion.

Mr. Stender attacks one of our speakers, Elaine Willman of the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA), even saying she "claims" to be of Indian descent. Ms. Willman's credentials are well known. I need not defend her.

(See her response here: "Setting the Record Straight on the Small Business Hawaii Debate Over the Akaka Bill" )

Mr. Stender did not discuss what Ms Willman said, only who she was. One wonders where was Mr. Stender when Native pretender and former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill was in Hawaii?

I mention that Ms. Willman was one speaker -- not a keynote speaker as Mr. Stender asserts. Interestingly, Mr. Stender would not have your readers know that not only was the program balanced but the other speaker was well respected attorney and Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce spokesman, Bruss Keppeler, who was warmly received. I wonder why he neglected to mention that important fact?

Not content with attacking Ms. Willman, Mr. Stender tries to put down several Native Hawaiians who were present, and spoke up, calling them "tokens." How disrespectful, degrading and patronizing from an OHA Trustee.

For Mr. Stender to talk about the group's desire to "annihilate" Native Hawaiians who refuse to "assimilate," is beyond belief, irresponsible, and totally false. What motivated Mr. Stender to write this is unfathomable to me. There was nothing said or implied during that meeting that would lead any rational person to come to his conclusion or choice of volatile words unless they wanted to advance their own personal or political agenda.

This diatribe clearly shows the need for more open, public discussion about the Akaka Bill and a closer look at its supporters and their agenda.

Samuel M. Slom is the President of Small Business Hawaii and a Hawaii State Senator representing Hawaii Kai to Diamond Head on Oahu. Reach him at mailto:SBH@lava.net


Hawaii Reporter, December 7, 2007

Why Won't the 'Honolulu Star-Bulletin' Allow A Fair Debate on the Akaka Bill?

By David B. Rosen

Author's Note: The Honolulu Star-Bulletin's Editorial Board refused to print the following commentary.

For purposes of fair disclosure, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin should consider including the following disclaimer on all pieces it publishes regarding the Akaka Bill: This paper's editorial board has decided that the Akaka Bill is good and that all those who do not actively support it are bad and will be attacked accordingly.

Excluding attacks made against this writer, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin's Editorial Staff has anonymously accused former Hawaii attorney general Michael Lilly (who has not publicly stated his position on the Akaka Bill and who is descended from a citizen of the Kingdom of Hawaii) of being a racist, and recently attacked nationally published commentator George Will by accusing him of getting his facts wrong after Will noted the obvious – that the Akaka Bill's use of race as a binary classification is unconstitutional.

At the same time, the Bulletin has allowed proponents of Hawaiian entitlement programs to rewrite history with factually untrue statements and has perpetuated the same myths itself. Just a sample of these lies were made by Senator Akaka and Congressman Abercrombie in their OpEd on Sunday: "Once Hawaii became a territory, it was illegal to use the Hawaiian language in public schools, and teachers even went to Hawaiian homes to scold parents for speaking Hawaiian to their children at home. All aspects of the Hawaiian culture were suppressed, and Hawaiians were taught that their culture was inferior and irrelevant."

While it is true that an 1896 law enacted by the Republic of Hawaii required English to be used as the medium in which instruction was carried out in public schools, to suggest that there was ever any law banning the speaking of Hawaiian (or any other language) or that public school teachers in Hawaii were encouraged or allowed to engage in such conduct is untrue. In making and perpetuating such inflammatory statements, Akaka, Abercrombie, and the Star Bulletin appear to be following the advice of another Nazi, Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Minister of Propaganda, who in disenfranchising German Jews advised: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

Given the undisputable importance of this issue, we owe it to each other to be honest and fair in debating the merits of Hawaiian sovereignty (whatever that may mean) and whether the society it would create would be better or worse than what we currently have.

David B. Rosen, Esq., is a Honolulu-based attorney


Hawaii Reporter, December 7, 2007

The Nonsensical Akaka Bill

By Authur E. Lemay

I have a great deal of trouble understanding what has motivated U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka to file the legislation nicknamed the "Akaka Bill." The bill, a mirror version of which was introduced in the U.S. House by Congressman Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives, with the support of a large number of Democrats in Congress, in fact, the majority. Fortunately the Akaka Bill has not come up for a vote in the Senate this year.

I find the concept of Hawaiian native rights to be repugnant to our democratic society and a racist exclusionary principle. Yes, the native peoples of Hawaii came to the islands from unknown places in Polynesia and lived for centuries culminating in the annexation of Hawaii to the United States in the 19th century. Now, Hawaii was not conquered, plundered, or otherwise taken by force. Hawaii's citizens voted to join the U.S. for reasons, which they felt were justified at the time.

Now, it seems that those who can trace their ancestry back to that time feel that somehow this gives them special rights. Oh, really? Why does ancestral occupancy bestow rights any more valid than someone who arrives in a jet plane and pays good money to buy a property on Hawaii and establishes residency? Or, perhaps arriving in a dugout canoe generations ago is some kind of magic token passed down to all the lineal descendants who were somehow more deserving than those who arrived more recently? But if a Polynesian who is descended from the same family who came to Hawaii who shares the same genetic pool, and is closely related to native Hawaiians comes to Hawaii should he be treated as a "haole", or welcomed as part of native Hawaiian society?

Well, we all want to preserve our cultural heritage, we are who we are in our genes handed down by our ancestors and this heritage is our patrimony, our essence, and our connection with the stream of humanity from whence we came. So, Hawaiian culture is essential to those with native blood, speaking Hawaiian is a wonderful connection with the ancient past, and the tradition of the "ohana" or "family" and everything Hawaiian is something to be celebrated in our American society which permits and encourages the cultural diversity and freedoms we all cherish.

However, Hawaii is a part of the United States, and the reason why Hawaiians joined the United States in 1959 with more than 95 percent of the population's support, is as valid today as it was then.

It seems to me that Senator Akaka is suffering from a fantasy that Polynesian families who came to Hawaii before others and are racially different, somehow deserve special rights. Well, if this passes into law, it will generate a precedent, which will challenge the unity of America.

My wife's ancestor who came to California with Junipero Serra was given a Spanish land grant of all the property from San Francisco to present day San Jose. As a descendant of the very earliest family in Alta California and a descendant of the last Mexican Governor of Alta California, if she, and the descendants of other Spanish families of that period asked for special rights -- it would be considered a joke.

And, the Akaka bill is a joke too. A bad, divisive joke on every loyal American who believes we are all Americans now, and if the those descended from native Hawaiians (if the term means anything) amounting to about 20 percent of the current population believe they should secede from the US, they should mount a petition drive.

But, Hawaii as a sovereign entity? It makes no sense. Special rights and an independent government like an Indian tribe? Have any Hawaiians visited native tribal operations in the US? Have native Hawaiians no sense?

It seems they do not, and the United States Congress does not either.

Arthur E. Lemay can be reached at mailto:arthur@lemay.ws


The Maui News, December 7, 2007, regular Friday commentator

By EDWIN TANJI, City Editor

The conflict generated by a George Will essay about the intent and effects of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act sought by Sen. Daniel Akaka and the Hawaii congressional delegation involves interpretations of history.

There are differences of opinion – matters of interpretation – of the "meaning" of the events in 1893, when a group of business executives, several of whom were part of the government, overthrew the government.

By Will's interpretation, the 1893 event was a largely peaceful transfer of power from a quasi-feudal monarchy to a more representative governmental system that protected basic rights – especially private property rights.

Sanford Dole, L.A. Thurston and other members of the Committee for Safety that appealed for assistance from the American Navy were justifiably concerned that Liliu'okalani would reverse the process of democratizing the government systems that had been working to their benefit – and, in their view, to the benefit of the economy of the islands.

The justifications for the 1893 revolution, if seen as an inevitable movement to liberal democracy, were echoed a century later when political scientist Frank Fukuyama produced his 1989 essay on the "End of History," declaring the inevitability of democratic processes.

"What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the endpoint of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."

Replace "Cold War" with something like "arbitrary monarchal power" and the revolutionaries of the Hawaii Provisional Government are justified in displacing the old with a vision for a rule of law and individual rights. The revolution assured that the lands in sugar, pineapple or pastures, and the water systems installed to provide for those enterprises, could not be summarily nationalized by the monarchy.

If there is no recognition of an inherent right of the ethnic group that had established that monarchy, then Will can pronounce that claims of Hawaiian sovereign rights are nothing more than a claim of racial distinctions that have no place in a democratic society based on individual rights.

Fukuyama's landmark justification for conservative ideology notes that "Hegel's historicism" infers unity of human social development that is not based on ethnic inheritance derived from tribal or territorial claims:

"The notion that mankind has progressed through a series of primitive stages of consciousness on his path to the present, and that these stages corresponded to concrete forms of social organization, such as tribal, slave owning, theocratic, and finally democratic egalitarian societies, has become inseparable from the modern understanding of man.

"Hegel was the first philosopher to speak the language of modern social science, insofar as man for him was the product of his concrete historical and social environment and not, as earlier natural right theorists would have it, a collection of more or less fixed 'natural' attributes."

Ethnic Hawaiians conversely argue that they are heirs to a political system that was a "natural" attribute – a system of government evolved by natural law whose sovereignty was usurped by a group intent on protecting the entitlements they had been granted by the sovereign monarchy. The monarchy was a sovereign government overthrown by individuals not of their race; the race of the monarchy is claiming sovereign rights to the islands of their ancestors.

For them, the displacement of Liliu'okalani was not some justifiable revolutionary cause.

For them, the revolutionaries of the Provisional Government engaged in an illegal overthrow.

The Hawaiian monarchy was created by those who shared in a prehistoric ethnic tribal identity of the islands, and to the extent that they did not support the overthrow, the monarchy has a legitimate existence that is based on the consent of the governed.

Thailand remains a prototype of a sovereign tribal society evolving from a monarchal system to develop its own form of democratic representation, albeit enduring periods of chaotic uncertainty during which the West ridiculed its traditions. Hawaii might have evolved through the same process as a sovereign nation.

George Will would claim that it was better for Hawaiians that it did not.


West Hawaii Today (Kona), Friday, December 7, 2007

George will column
Unbelievable story

Unbelievable, just unbelievable that a reputable newspaper such as West Hawaii Today would print such a bigoted, racially biased, mean-spirited article by a Washington Post correspondent who obviously did not do his research on the history of Hawaii, the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani and the circumstances leading up to that sad day, and the Hawaiian people who just happened to be the real indigenous people of these Islands, and people wonder where's the aloha spirit.

Isn't it obvious, the real Hawaiian indigenous people are strangers in their own land. Why even the American Indians own land on their reservation and have their own sovereignty and autonomy. While the Indians were fighting off the encroachment of land-loving foreigners, the so-called country of Hawaii was a stable, viable, literate and visible sovereign nation with diplomatic ties to other foreign nations such as England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and even Russia.

But that's OK, the easy-going, hospitable, indigenous people of Hawaii are on the move to a new ninth island where they can get well-paying jobs, home ownership, and hope for a better future since they certainly can't get all of that in their own land. Did I forget to mention prejudice, too?

Sorry about that, oh yeah, that's right there's no prejudice in Hawaii.

Oh by the way, let me illuminate you about the ninth island, it's located close to an Indian reservation in the middle of the desert in a place called Las Vegas.

Faith A. Bean

(*Editor's note: The correspondent is columnist George F. Will, whose commentary is printed on the editorial page, labeled "opinion.")


The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Sunday, December 9, 2007

Hawaii's 'tribal' politics

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, or Akaka Bill, has been wildly mischaracterized and misinterpreted since its passage by the U.S. House of Representatives on Oct. 24, nowhere more so than in George Will's recent column ("Tribal politics," Nov. 29 and PghTrib.com). Mr. Will claimed that under the bill, "Native Hawaiians would be members of a new 'tribe' conjured into existence by Congress."

As the House and Senate sponsors of the legislation, we can assure you that our bill conjures into existence no new "tribes."

Rather, it acknowledges the historic fact that Native Hawaiians were on their land centuries before anyone from the United States ever came ashore and allows the federal government to recognize Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people of the United States, very much like Native Americans or Alaska natives.

The Akaka Bill enables the Native Hawaiian people to decide on the organization of an entity to represent them in government-to-government relations with the U.S. And the State of Hawaii will be able to transfer responsibility for the administration of cultural resources to a Native Hawaiian government recognized by the United States. If, as Mr. Will states, this somehow conveys special privileges or immunities to its citizens, they are certainly not apparent.

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act does not create a program or entitlement. It doesn't require an appropriation. It isn't based on racial groups or set-asides or preferences. It doesn't turn over assets of the U.S. government, nor gives anyone title to anything he or she don't already own.

It is unfortunate that some who oppose the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act misstate its meaning and effect.

Sen. Daniel K. Akaka and Rep. Neil Abercrombie
Washington, D.C.


Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, December 9, 2007, Letters to the Editor


The Honolulu Advertiser editorial of Dec. 2 on the Akaka bill indicates that journalist George Will did not do his homework for his Nov. 29 column in The Washington Post. It appears to be The Advertiser that didn't do the homework.

Will made the point that both Goering of Nazi Germany and the Akaka bill endeavor to incorporate people into a given ethnic classification. Will was unwise in featuring the comparison, lest it be taken out of context and be confused with racial policies. But it is the ensuing analysis of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai'i in 1893 that puts The Advertiser in a controversial position.

Contrary to The Advertiser's editorial, historical data support Will's contention that no native land was taken by force by the U.S. in the 1893 overthrow.

The 1894 congressional Morgan Report exonerated the U.S. of complicity in the overthrow and negated President Cleveland's Blount report, which is largely a review of the opinions of Queen Lili'uokalani and her Cabinet.

Contrary to The Advertiser, there is no historical evidence of land theft by the U.S. It is well documented that the overthrow was instigated by Hawai'i residents, of whom all but one were subjects of the queen. After the overthrow, a republic was formed and this republic requested annexation by the U.S.

Frank Scott


Hawaii Reporter, December 9, 2007

It's Time We Started Recognizing The United States of America In Hawaii

By Daniel P. de Gracia, II

When I went to school in the Continental United States, every morning after the first bell rang, we as students stood on our feet with our right hand placed over our heart as we declared the following oath:

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

Established by Title IV of the United States Code, the Pledge is something that every mainland citizen of the United States of America learns to confess. It is a special oath that binds us to these United States, and it is also a mission statement for what we as citizens hope to accomplish. In school, whether we are white or black, brown or yellow, tall or short, skinny or fat, we all learn together that what makes us special is the fact that we are all one Nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

For those of you who don't have degrees in political science, the definition of the word "nation" is "a people who share common customs, origins, history, and language." It is through that understanding of "nation" that by our Pledge we come into agreement with Benjamin Franklin who said "We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately" - meaning united we stand, divided we fall.

At an early age, we are taught to love the United States of America, to take pride in our citizenship, and to resist with all our being the destruction of its foundations by any enemy, foreign or domestic. At an early age, we are taught that the power of the United States is rooted in the corporate authority of the millions of American souls who willingly choose to be one Nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

When I meditate on the Akaka Bill, I tend to wonder what is going on here in Hawaii. Did Hawaii students learn the Pledge of Allegiance in the same way we did in the Continental United States, or did you have a disclaimer attached, telling you that the Pledge was the confession of an illegal government that deposed your Queen and brought shame upon your people? I really don't understand how the idea of "Native Recognition" or "Restored Sovereignty" even gets entertained in the 21st century.

The people who have preached these things have deceived those who believe them into longing for a future which doesn't exist. Ratification of the Akaka Bill will mean failure, stagnation, and social stratification for the "Native" Hawaiian people, not success. Your best hope for your children is found not in the Akaka Bill, but in the central tenets of our Pledge of Allegiance which calls for one Nation - and an American one at that.

I hear people complaining all the time about how they want the government to just "give" them their own tract of land along with free education, free health care, and free handouts for the rest of their life because they are suffering "generational frustration over the loss of their Kingdom." I gotta be honest with you, if that's your idea of "social equity" then the Kingdom you plan to "reinstate" will be nothing more than a welfare state. That's right: the Akaka Bill is a manifesto for the creation of a third world state inside a first world state, one that will have such excessive desperation and poverty that it will drain the finances of the rest of the Union.

I don't see how even the most liberal and calloused kupuna could dare to call that "pono." Welfare doesn't work because it makes people dependent on others for their success. What does work, ladies and gentlemen, is faith and persistence, because that teaches people to endure hardship and to fight for their destiny.

I'm so sick of hearing people talk about measuring "blood count" with a special government agency or doing all this ridiculous genealogical research to determine if someone is worthy of being bestowed with the "special status." I call it ridiculous because there are thousands of people outside our borders who, at any given point in time, would gladly swap places with you to have the glory of calling themselves American citizens.

These are the people who are willing to work and not complain, the people who will save their money and be accountable for themselves and their children, who would gladly vote in every election that comes their way, who would make the business to serve their neighbors, and who would use to the maximum the blessings of freedom to attain glory, honor, and praise not only for themselves, but for the God they believe in.

These are the people who get no handouts, who get no special treatment, who in fact are usually mistreated more than most but restrain their voices and steel their determination to overcome the labor pains of destiny. Their "special status" comes from their willingness to overcome blood, tears, and broken hearts to be, above all else, Americans.

Former Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes spoke of such things when he attended "I Am an American" Day in New York City on May 18, 1941, boldly declaring,

"What constitutes an American? Not color nor race nor religion. Not the pedigree of his family nor the place of his birth. Not the coincidence of his citizenship. Not his social status or his bank account. Not his trade nor his profession. An American is one who loves justice and believes in the dignity of man. An American is one who will fight for his freedom and that of his neighbor. An American is one who will sacrifice property, ease and security in order that he and his children may retain the rights of free men. An American is one in whose heart is engraved the immortal second sentence of the Declaration of Independence. [We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.]"

I find Sen. Akaka's actions to be disgusting and repulsive to every moral fiber of my being. As a U.S. Senator, he swore to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution. Allegiance to the U.S. Constitution means more than just giving it a nod and recognizing it exists. "True faith and allegiance" to the Constitution means supporting and preserving the spirit of what makes us Americans.

It means encouraging Americans to stay American and bestowing no special favor upon anyone because of race, religion, or age. All of you who are perpetuating this social stratification between "Americans" and "Native Hawaiians" ought to be ashamed for breaking the trust and familial bond of our Republic.

I really wonder if some of you understand how great and how wonderful it is to be an American, or if such things are excluded from Hawaii textbooks and Hawaii classrooms. America's impact on the world and it's symbolism as a land of liberty was so rich that even former Israeli Prime Minister Golda "the Iron Lady" Meir remarked that as she signed the Israeli Declaration of Independence, tears flooded her eyes as her mind traced back not to the Jews but to her memories from school when she learned about how the American Founding Fathers signed the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Meir said, "After I signed, I cried. When I studied American history as a schoolgirl and I read about those who signed the Declaration of Independence, I couldn't imagine these were real people doing something real. And there I was sitting down and signing a declaration of independence."

Golda Meir went to school in the Russian Empire, and yet she developed a healthy respect and admiration for America. But what does that say for all of you who went to school here in Hawaii, U.S.A. who have jumped on this Akaka Bill bandwagon of "generational frustration over loss of Queen and kingdom?" What does that say for those of you who think white people are the enemy, who think that the U.S. Government is out to get them, who think that the 302,957,000 souls of this United States owe you a "special status"? I think it really says something that there are Israeli citizens who are more American than Americans born in Hawaii.

Those of us who went to school in the U.S. Mainland didn't learn about the "Law Of The Splintered Paddle," but we did learn about a certain 23-year old officer who enlisted in the Army of the Potomac by the name of Robert Gould Shaw, who became Colonel over the all-black Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Infantry, and how he wrote to his family from the front with words like "A great many people say they are ashamed of their country, but I feel proud that we have at last taken such a long step forward as to turn out the pro-slavery government which has been disgracing us so long" and "the closer we adhere to Right and Justice, the better it will be in the end, and that, if we want God on our side, we must be on His side."

We learned about how he and the 54th charged against the Confederate installation at Fort Wagner through cannon fire and grapeshot, and how he was tragically slain alongside his black comrades so that the United States of America could be one Nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. But most importantly, we learned how before the Civil War, we thought of ourselves as citizens of New York, Maryland, Virginia, and other respective States, but after the War, we all thought of ourselves as Americans.

Hawaii, it's time we stopped being natives and start being citizens of the United States of America. Speaking to a crowd after the death of civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Senator Robert Kennedy remarked, "Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world." I wish that Senator Akaka and all those who push so hard for "Native" status here in Hawaii would read and reflect upon those words. We need to join the 21st century and start living like citizens who do more than just sit under a coconut tree and collect reparations.

In Iraq, we have hundreds of thousands of soldiers, sailors and airmen who are in harm's way against a gauntlet of snipers, mines, improvised explosive devices, suicide bombers and terrorists all so that the Iraqi people can live in a democracy. Approximately three thousand brave men and women will never see their husbands, wives, sons, daughters, and families again because they died so democracy could flourish. How ridiculous do you think it seems that while our boys and girls die for democracy abroad, our locals kick and scream for the re-establishment of a monarchy at home?

If you're thinking that a "new" Kingdom of Hawaii will be the next Principality of Monaco or Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, you are profoundly in error. With all due respect and reverence, a new Kingdom of Hawaii would be more like the next Liberia - a state founded in 1847 by freed African American slaves who opted not to be Americans but rather create a government of their own.

Despite being underwritten by the United States, to this day Liberia is a third world country racked by excessive poverty, disease, and ethnic tensions. If you look historically at every single nation that either broke away from the United States or was founded by disaffected Americans, you will find that every single one of them resulted in either failure or mediocrity. If Hawaii has sustainability problems as "The State of Hawaii" how much worse do you think things will be when you're a welfare kingdom lead by a puppet monarch?

That's why, in my opinion, Hawaii needs a dose of fresh air when it comes to philosophy and doctrine. I'm tired of listening to people go on and on about how the Queen was overthrown by evil Americans. Why don't we talk about how Nazi Germany was overthrown because of persistent and righteous Americans? Or how fascist Japan didn't invade or set foot in Hawaii because of Doolittle's thirty seconds over Tokyo, or Nimitz's daring ambush at Midway Island?

The fact of the matter is, the United States of America is the greatest nation to ever tread Planet Earth, and we went from a land of cattle herders and farmers to a republic that put men on the Moon and sent probes into the deepest reaches of our Solar System. If you ask me, every other kingdom and principality pales in comparison to the contribution America has made to the human race. So why don't we drop this petty pursuit of native recognition and start recognizing America?

Daniel Paul de Gracia, II, is a political scientist specializing in international relations, a pastor at the International Christian Church and Bible School in Honolulu, and a former candidate for state Representative. He lives in Waipahu.


The New York Post, December 10, 2007

3 Letters to editor


December 10, 2007 -- With the likes of Sen. Daniel Akaka, we surely have met the enemy, and he is us ("Hawaiian Apartheid," George Will, PostOpinion, Dec. 1).

We continue to re-elect politicians who cater to the minority voice among us, as if they actually speak for the majority of the people of this country.

Will native Puerto Ricans and Virgin Islanders also be constituted as native tribes? If so, why not go all the way and rule the Satmars of Kiryas Joel a tribe?

What we have elected to Congress is a bunch of ungrateful elites who think that the people are better off without a country and a common language.

It's time to strip them of their power and boot them off the public treasury.

Lee Anthony Nieves
Charlotte, NC


Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Akaka are in favor of group rights in Hawaii.

What do they have against the old saying, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander"?

James J. Ring


George Will wildly mischaracterizes our efforts to formally recognize Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people of the United States.

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act acknowledges the historic fact that Native Hawaiians were on their land centuries before anyone from the United States ever came ashore.

Virtually every elected official in Hawaii - Republican and Democrat - supports our bill.

It does not create an entitlement or require an appropriation, and it isn't based on racial groups, set-asides or preferences.

The American Bar Association supports passage and process for Native Hawaiians to restore self-governance "similar to that which American Indian and Alaska Native governments possess under the Constitution to govern and provide for the health, safety and welfare of their members."

We must not neglect or forget our responsibility to our nation's indigenous people. Now is the time to extend federal recognition to Native Hawaiians.

Sen. Daniel Akaka


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 10, 2007

George Will is correct about the Akaka Bill

George F. Will's Nov. 30 column, was introduced with "I decide who is a Jew around hear," a quote from Hermann Goering in 1934 when told that a favorite Munich art dealer was Jewish.

What a thought-provoking quotation that applies to the Akaka Bill in its selection and separation of the people by race in Hawaii.

The response to Will's column has been immediate as expected. But all the responses are based on the 1993 Apology Bill that is full of half-truths and statements from individual interpretation of Hawaiian history.

Those in opposition to Will's column sidestepped the findings of the U.S. Senate Report No. 227 (The Morgan Report) based on sworn testimony (including James Blount's) and notarized statements presented at the Senate hearing.

The hearing began on Dec. 27, 1893 and continued through Feb. 13, 1894, with its finding submitted to Congress with debate on the floor on Feb. 26, 1894.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations found that Ambassador John L. Stevens and the United States were not complicit in the "overthrow" by the subjects of a Kingdom of a corrupt government (the monarchy) and in the establishment of the Provisional Government later to become the Republic of Hawaii.

Jimmy Kuroiwa


Maui News, Thursday, December 13, 2007
Letters to Editor

Residents of 18th-century Hawaii accepted republic

Interesting commentary in the Dec. 7 “Haku Mo’olelo” by by Ed Tanji. I don’t agree there’s any legitimacy to today’s Native Hawaiian claims to sovereignty simply because there were Hawaiians who did not support the overthrow. They lost the revolution fair and square.

This is a major reason for confusion over where everyone stands on that subject. Sure, the overthrow was “illegitimate.” All revolutions are.

Also “illegitimate” attacks on existing governments include conquering and taking over the lands and people of the next valley or the next island, as Kamehameha did so successfully. But you don’t find descendants of those who were pushed over the pali claiming they didn’t agree to being treated that way and therefore their descendants still own Nuuanu, or whatever.

The test is how things progressed from the date of illegitimacy. The 18th-century residents of Oahu and the other islands he conquered accepted Kamehameha as their new king, and the residents of 19th-century Hawaii accepted the Republic of Hawaii as their new government.

Native Hawaiians lost a try in 1895 at a counterrevolution. Failing that, they ran for office and dominated the republic’s Legislature, petitioned for statehood and voted for annexation. They dominated the political scene until World War II.

One certainly can argue they preferred a democratic, representative form of government to that of a monarchy. Tanji mentioned “consent of the governed.”

How about demanding that the Akaka Bill should allow for a vote by the governed on this proposed new form of government?

Thurston Twigg-Smith


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 13, 2007, Letter to editor

Pro-Akaka Bill opinion lacked substance

The Dec. 2 lead editorial in the Star-Bulletin, "Will got facts wrong on sovereignty bill," was stridently uninformed. That there are two (or more) sides to the Akaka Bill proposal is obvious. What needs to be looked at carefully is the evidence.

First, when you say "the duplicity was clear as can be," it is apparent that you have never read the Morgan Report of 1894 or the Native Hawaiians Study Commission report of 1983. Both were federally mandated and contain extensive sworn testimony and analysis of all available documents. Both concluded there was no U.S. culpability. Yes, it is remotely possible that the two reports might be in error but to say, as you did, that the situation was the opposite and "clear as can be" is not reasonable or helpful.

Finally, you say the questions asked in the Grassroot Institute poll were "loaded." That implies that the "more reliable poll" by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs was not. Yet a look at the questions in the OHA poll reveals empty, feel-good questions that lack substance. That makes for a more reliable poll?

You owe Hawaii's public more thoughtful analysis.

Richard O. Rowland
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii


Maui News, December 14, 2007, letter to editor

Indigenous Australian approves of pro-Akaka Bill opinion

This is obviously a bit belated, but I just wanted to thank you for your Dec. 3 editorial, “Will attacks Akaka Bill.” I’m an Aboriginal girl from Australia and am an avid follower of developments in indigenous rights worldwide.

I’ve been following the Akaka Bill and can’t believe how much negative copy there is out there. When I read George Will’s column, it just made me even more mad, although I was happy to notice that the New York Post published a response from Sen. Dan Akaka.

I can’t understand how people could argue against recognizing, as you said, the inherent rights of Native Hawaiians. But I can tell you, it doesn’t surprise me either. These sort of arguments are being built all over the world.

As an indigenous Australian myself, I’ve seen how indigenous rights are falsely labeled divisive and as tools for disadvantaging non-indigenous people. It’s simply not true and the arguments against recognizing indigenous rights and acknowledging past abuses are usually shallow.

The Maui News editorial was very different from most of the other opinions I have read and I just wanted to congratulate you on it!

Amy McQuire
Canberra, Australia


Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hawaii's racial politicking

George Will got it right in his column claiming that Congress would create a privileged new "tribe" with the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act ("Tribal politics," Nov. 29 and PghTrib.com).

Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, Rep. Neil Abercrombie and other promoters of Akaka's bill make no bones about it: The whole idea of the bill is to protect existing special status and entitlements for Native Hawaiians that won't survive strict scrutiny under the Constitution ("Hawaii's 'tribal' politics," Letters, Dec. 9 and PghTrib.com).

To accomplish this dubious goal, the bill would sponsor creation by Native Hawaiians of a new government "of the Native Hawaiian people" that is immune from the equal protection clauses of the Fifth and 14th Amendments.

Without those bothersome restrictions, the new Native Hawaiian governing entity would be free to favor some and deprive other persons of "life, liberty or property, without due process of law" or the "equal protection of the laws." In short, the Akaka bill is a plan to give racial supremacy to Native Hawaiians in a government that is not required to protect individual liberty.

H. William Burgess


Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hawaiian agency creating government

By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Staff Writer

Look for the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs to take the next steps toward creating a Native Hawaiian government entity in the coming year, regardless of whether the Akaka bill is passed by Congress this year.

[** Ken Conklin's note: see "Office of Hawaiian Affairs -- Watching the Moves It Makes to Expand the Evil Empire (acquiring huge parcels of land, building a headquarters for the "nation", considering purchase of a TV station, etc.)" at

http://tinyurl.com/wv59r ]

"Even as we await passage of the Akaka bill, we are moving forward toward building our nation, continuing with Kau Inoa registration nearing 80,000 and sketching preliminary plans for a nation-building convention in 2008," OHA board Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona said in the annual State of OHA address yesterday at St. Andrew's Priory Cathedral.

[** Ken Conklin's note: Fewer 80,000 have signed up with the racial registry out of more than 400,000 eligible (that's less than 20%), even after 4 years and untold millions of dollars spent on massive advertising and community outreach. See
http://tinyurl.com/22ekaa ]

After her speech, Apoliona said OHA will begin to at least plan such a convention this year.

OHA Administrator Clyde Namu'o said after the address that a convention probably can't be held until 2009.

"There will be a lot of logistical issues to be worked out, in terms of having a discussion of how delegates will be elected, what topics will be covered and the ratification process for whatever documents the nation-building convention comes up with," he said.

OHA has been criticized for wanting to play too large of a role in the formation of a new government entity.

Namu'o, however, said it will be up to Native Hawaiians to decide how the process proceeds. "There will be a lot of policy issues that need to be discussed, and those aren't decisions OHA should be making by itself, but really that the Hawaiian community should be making," he said.

Namu'o said the convention may or may not dovetail with the Akaka bill, the effort in Congress that would establish a process by which a Native Hawaiian government entity may be established and eventually recognized by the federal government.

The bill passed out of the House earlier this year but has not yet been scheduled for a vote before the Senate. President Bush has publicly come out against the bill.

"The ultimate goal of the nation-building discussion is creation of some type of governing structure for Native Hawaiians," Namu'o said. "This can be done regardless of what happens with the Akaka bill."

In her speech, Apoliona also touched on the possibility that lawmakers, and then Hawai'i residents, could choose to hold a state constitutional convention in 2010.

Last week, Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona threw his support behind a 2010 constitutional convention.

Apoliona yesterday warned that opponents of OHA could use the convention as an attempt to dismantle the agency. OHA was created at the state's last constitutional convention in 1978.

Native Hawaiians must be prepared to participate, she said. Those who oppose Hawaiians-only programs and agencies, of which OHA is one, will continue their efforts and will likely try to use a constitutional convention to advance their agenda, she said.

"We must determine now how we will get involved so the Native Hawaiian voice is heard regarding what happens to our homeland, to our native people, and our natural, public, social and economic resources for the good of all of Hawai'i," Apoliona said.

Apoliona won mainly favorable comments from those attending her address.

Wayne Kaho'onei Panoke, project director for the "No Vote No Grumble" drive to get Native Hawaiians to register and vote in state elections, applauded Apoliona's call to action.

"It's time to move forward and bring everybody to the table collectively," Panoke said.

Former OHA Trustee Moanikeala Akaka, who has often been at odds with establishment Native Hawaiians, said she agrees with Apoliona that Hawaiians need to unite to fight against those who challenge Hawaiian causes.

But Akaka said she also believes Hawaiians should continue to express their differences on other issues. "Not all Chinese people get along together, nor do all Japanese or all haoles are in total agreement with each other," she said. "This is a democracy."

Apoliona said her suggestion that Hawaiians should "stop grumbling" should not be viewed as a call to stop debate among Hawaiians on all issues.

"It doesn't mean stop challenging or questioning," she said. "It's really about focusing our energy and disciplining our effort to set the goals and move towards achievement of those goals. You can't do that when you're scattered in so many directions."


Some of the accomplishments of the past year listed by Office of Hawaiian Affairs board Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona:

Purchased the Wao Kele o Puna Rainforest on the Big Island and Waimea Valley on O'ahu, both for preservation.

Awarded nearly $4 million to 78 projects that provide services and programs that affect the Hawaiian community and separately funded 14 trustee programs totaling $6 million that help people on all islands.

Launched the Malama Loan Program, a restructured Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund of $29 million that assists Native Hawaiians with their businesses, education and home improvements.

Provided $2.2 million for Native Hawaiian charter schools.


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 18, 2007

OHA leader urges unity in facing future hurdles

A state constitutional convention could be pivotal for Hawaiians

Native Hawaiians must "stop grumbling" and work together to face future challenges, such as organizing a government and fending off legal challenges to entitlements, a key official says.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona outlined the challenges ahead for Hawaiians in her State of OHA address yesterday.

"We must seize the moment and stop grumbling," Apoliona said in her speech at St. Andrew's Cathedral downtown. "What is needed is thoughtful, focused, disciplined, compassionate and humble collective effort."

Apoliona said Hawaiians are on the "threshold of critical decisions," first and foremost being the organization of a governing entity as set forth in the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, also known as the Akaka Bill.

The U.S. House of Representative advanced the measure this year, and the Senate is expected to consider it in 2008.

Apoliona also noted that a potential constitutional convention in 2010 would be critical for Hawaiians to maintain gains they already have achieved. Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona said last week he would seek to have voters decide next year whether to hold a "con con" to review the state Constitution.

"We know those who question our right to exist as a unique, aboriginal, indigenous, native people will continue to file lawsuits against OHA and other native Hawaiian entities," Apoliona said.


Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona noted that the agency's budget has grown to $42 million, and she listed the OHA accomplishments in the past year, including:

» Awarding nearly $4 million to 78 projects that provide services and programs that help the Hawaiian community.

» Launching the Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund of $29 million to assist native Hawaiian businesses, education and home improvement.

» Approving $1.5 million to Hawaii Habitat for Humanity for a five-year project to assist Hawaiian families in a homeownership program.

» Providing $500,000 in funding to community health groups to meet the needs of Hawaiians.


The Garden Island News (Kauai), December 18, 2007

OHA trustee: ‘Time for realism and maturity’

By Rachel Gehrlein - THE GARDEN ISLAND

Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees Chairperson Haunani Apoliona delivered the 5th annual “State of OHA” address yesterday morning in Honolulu.

She called upon Native Hawaiians to “seize the moment” as critical decisions could affect the Hawaiian community in the new year.

“Since 2000, Native Hawaiians have faced some of our most difficult legal and political decisions,” Apoliona said. “We have won some court cases while others continue. We know those who question our right to exist as a unique, aboriginal, indigenous, native people will continue to file lawsuits against OHA and other Hawaiian entities. Political risks exist as well.”

Apoliona outlined three premises critical to OHA.

First, “Just the nature of who we are as Native Hawaiians, we can make Hawai‘i and the world a better place,” she said.

Apoliona said malama ‘aina is the core of who Native Hawaiians are and Hawaiian cultural practices align with the global desire to protect the environment.

“What we bring from our culture as Native Hawaiians, as native people, is what the world and what this nation sorely needs,” she said. “Just by the ‘nature of who we are,’ holding close to our cultural values, we can help to make Hawai‘i, the nation and the world a better place.”

Second, “Native Hawaiians are on the threshold of critical decisions,” she said.

“Probably the most critical decision we face is organizing our Native Hawaiian government, our 21st century political system,” Apoliona said.

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, also known as the Akaka Bill, passed through the U.S. House and will soon be heard in the U.S. Senate.

Apoliona points out, as passage of the Akaka Bill is pending, Native Hawaiians are moving forward in building their nation, with Kau Inoa registrations nearing 80,000 and preliminary plans for a nation-building conference in 2008.

The possibility of a state Constitutional Convention in 2010 asks the question of how it will affect Native Hawaiians.

“If a state Constitutional Convention is held, Native Hawaiians must be in the mix,” she said. “We must determine now how we will get involved so the Native Hawaiians’ voice is heard regarding what happens to our homeland, to our native people and our natural, public, social and economic resources for the good of all of Hawai‘i.”

Apoliona says Native Hawaiians can run as delegates and be instrumental in raising issues and providing solutions. The last state Constitution Convention was held in 1978; a session that created OHA.

The third and last premise was Native Hawaiians “must seize the moment and stop grumbling.”

“The political climate and the social and economic demand unfolding before us, light a pathway of opportunity for the Native Hawaiian community,” Apoliona said. “But the experience will only be an opportunity if we are prepared and ready.”

Apoliona urges Native Hawaiians to stay informed and do their homework because they will soon be in the formative stages of re-establishing a Native nation.

Apoliona announced that OHA increased its annual budget to $42 million, with 70 percent of expenditures going directly toward program services.

She said the OHA Board of Trustees completed four rounds of grant approvals along with multi-million dollar appropriations to the community.

Three of the grants have directly impacted Kaua‘i: OHA has awarded $38,500 to Papa Laua‘e o Makana to support cultural learning activities related to the history of Kalihiwai Bay for elementary students and the community; $28,500 to Ho‘omana to support job training development for young adults with special needs; and $36,211 to the Waipa Foundation (on behalf of Kaua‘i Team Challenge) to support a mentoring program for at-risk youth.

“These grants are good for Kaua‘i,” Don Cataluna, the Kaua‘i OHA Trustee, said.

Cataluna said he was glad the Waipa Foundation got a grant because “I like what they are doing.”

“With OHA’s assets, present and future, and what OHA has been able to help catalyze for the Hawaiian community in recent years, the moment is now,” Apoliona said. “We need to seize this opportunity. No one can do it for us. It is time for realism and maturity.”

• Rachel Gehrlein, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) or rgehrlein@kauaipubco.com.


** Full Text of Haunani Apoliona speech as published on OHA website December 17 and also in Hawaii Reporter on December 19 **

Office of Hawaiian Affairs, December 17, 2007

Hawaii Reporter, December 19, 2007

As Native Hawaiians, We Must Seize the Moment and Stop Grumbling
State of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs

By Haunani Apoliona

[This State of Office of Hawaiian Affairs speech was presented by Haunani Apoliona, Chairperson, Board of Trustees, on Monday, December 17, 2007, 11:00 a.m. at St. Andrew’s Cathedral]


Aloha mai käkou e nä ‘öiwi ‘ölino mai Hawai‘i a Ni‘ihau a puni ke ao mälamalama. Aloha e nä küpuna, nä mäkua, nä ‘öpio, nä keiki a me nä kamaiki e ‘äkoakoa mai nei, ma këia hale pule la‘ahia ‘o St. Andrew’s Cathedral, a maloko i ko käkou mau hale ‘ohana a puni ke ao mälamalama. Aloha e nä kama‘äina a me nä malihini kekahi. Aloha nö käkou a pau loa. Aloha.

(Translation Greetings to our esteemed fellow Native Hawaiians from Hawai‘i to Ni‘ihau and around this brilliant world. Aloha to the elders, adults, youth, children, and toddlers who have assembled here at this sacred church, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, in your family homes, and around this brilliant world. Greetings to longtime residents and newcomers alike. Greetings to us all. Aloha.)

Welcome to the 5th annual gathering relating to the State of OHA and the Hawaiian community. We are very honored to share this time with you here in the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew, as well as with those who are joining us throughout our state, the nation and the world.

We are pleased to share our message from this prominent sanctuary and pu‘uhonua in Hawaiian history with ties to King Kamehameha IV (Alexander Liholiho ‘Iolani) and Queen Emma in 1862, who commissioned the building and construction of this Cathedral of Saint Andrew (St. Andrew’s Cathedral) nearly 150 years ago.

The Status of OHA

The year 2007 marks OHA’s 27th anniversary since the swearing in of its first board of trustees. These near thirty years have presented crossroads to paths unchartered as well as rough roads, seemingly endless, full of obstacles and challenges. We pause today to reflect on possibilities just three years away from the close of this decade.

The very bedrock of Native Hawaiian self-determination, quasi independence, was shaken by the U.S. Supreme court ruling against OHA declaring the "OHA election of Hawaiians by Hawaiians" as unconstitutional. That happened at the end of 2000. Since that time, emboldened opponents of Native Hawaiians continue to wield the hammer of the Federal Courts to shut us down once and for all; but, so far without success.

Native Hawaiians and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs have stood steadfast well into this decade of change and we will continue to stand steadfast "mau a mau." We have reached out to those of common mission and values. We have reached out to those to stand with us on common ground, Native and non-Native, kama'äina and malihini alike have worked together for Native Hawaiians and for Hawai'i during this tumultuous decade of change, and we will continue to do so "mau a mau."

Particularly over the past six years, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, trustees and staff together have diligently and intentionally worked to reach new levels of professionalism with our partners and our community. Trustees and staff together have worked to hone our discipline, our political will and our focus, working from the facts and doing our homework in as objective a manner as possible.

OHA’s experienced administrator Clyde Nämu'o, in his tenure, has nurtured stability and performance by the working hands of an Office that some, in years past , predicted was on the brink of "implosion."

Since 2000, Native Hawaiians have faced some of our most difficult legal and political challenges. We have won some court cases while other cases continue. We know those who question our right to exist as a unique, aboriginal, indigenous, native people will continue to file lawsuits against OHA and other Hawaiian entities. Political risks still exist as well.

With that as our context, I would like to highlight a few of OHA’s challenges and accomplishments this past year, then focus on where we could direct our energies as Native Hawaiian people.

I would like to share three (3) premises , 'ekolu mana'o ha'i, 'ekolu mana'o nui, with you today.

I. Mana'o nui 'ekahi.

The first premise is that: Just by the nature of who we are as Native Hawaiians, we can make Hawaii and the world a better place. What do I mean by "the nature of who we are"?

Throughout the world there is great concern about survival of the planet, global warming, the environment, and our quality of life. Native Hawaiians, just by virtue of stepping forward, can help with those concerns. Our island lifestyle and respect for limited natural resources has been the legacy of our ancestors, generation to generation. We are experts in caring for the environment.

Mälama äina goes to the core of who we are as a people. Our cultural practices and our values are all about caring for the 'äina, loving our motherland, not just to use, but to conserve and replenish. These traditions and values coincide with the global desire to protect the environment to secure and sustain a certain quality of life for future generations.

At OHA, opportunity has emerged for us to play a direct role in caring for Hawai'i’s natural resources by holding title to key properties in the Hawaiian culture spectrum, to mälama 'äina, Wao Kele O Puna on Hawai'i island and Waimea Valley on O'ahu.

Concurrently, we have joined the County of Maui, community advocate groups and Hawaiian beneficiaries in a contested water case being heard before a hearings office of the State Water Commission for eventual review by the State Water Commission, a case that may not be resolved until well into 2008 and likely will be challenged in State Circuit Court and the Hawai'i Supreme Court.

This is an economic and political milestone, a historic moment for determining who controls the public trust asset we know as water: is it a public entity or a private corporation?

Indeed as an island native and non-native community, we are on the cusp of significant resource management and stewardship questions and policy implications.

Native Hawaiians by virtue of the traditions and values of our ancestors are in a position to demonstrate how caring for the environment is done. If there is the will and discipline, we are also in a position to lead on these issues for the good of Native Hawaiians and Hawai'i.

There exists a global yearning for better relationships, spirituality, and the essence of inner mana. This is a basic need of human beings yet it is difficult to find on a broad level in any nation or culture.

Our ancestors were experts in relationships with the universe. They knew how to balance man, nature, and god. They understood that harmony and balance meant survival and well-being. True to our nature, Native Hawaiians strive to live with deep regard and reverence to this concept, lökahi, through which we seek to keep these major life forces in balance.

What we bring from our culture as Native Hawaiians, as native people, is what the world and what this nation sorely need. As Native Hawaiians, we hold this gift. Just by "the nature of who we are," holding close to our cultural values, we can help to make Hawai'i, the nation and the world a better place.

II. Mana'o nui 'elua

The second premise I would like to leave you with today is that: We Native Hawaiians are on the threshold of critical decisions. What kind of decisions am I speaking of?

A. Probably the most critical decision we face, is organizing our Native Hawaiian government, our 21st century political system. The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (Akaka Bill) passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives in October of this year and will be heard in the U.S. Senate.

Allies and supporters, Native people and non-Native people who support justice and fairness, are working diligently to inform and enlighten Republican Senators to support the bill and urge President Bush to sign it.

But even as we await passage of the Akaka Bill, we are moving forward toward building our nation, continuing with Kau Inoa registrations nearing 80,000 and sketching preliminary plans for a nation-building convention in 2008.

Our formal Native nation, will enhance the opportunity to manage our assets and make decisions as a group, using this self-determined process to include Native Hawaiians, wherever they may reside.

B. Another threshold for decision is the looming possibility of a State Constitutional Convention in 2010. Certain sectors in the community are promoting the issue and fanning the fire for a State convention. How might a State Constitutional Convention affect Native Hawaiians? Will it be helpful or not?

If a State Constitutional Convention is held, Native Hawaiians must be in the mix. We must determine now, how we will get involved so the Native Hawaiian voice is heard regarding what happens to our homeland, to our native people and our natural, public, social and economic resources for the good of all of Hawai'i.

We can run as state con con delegates. We can support Native Hawaiians who will run as state con con delegates. We can be instrumental in raising issues and providing solutions that don’t scare others away. We can help to garner support for issues by organizing our communities and even organizing our families. And, we must vote.

The 1978 State Constitutional Convention produced some great advancements for Native Hawaiians, such as, 'ölelo Hawai'i as the official second language of the State of Hawai'i; the constitutional mandate for upholding traditional and customary native gathering practices; the constitutional mandate instituting Hawaiian studies in public education; and the establishment of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

A 2010 State Con Con, if there is one, could build upon that beginning, OR, it could reverse progress and eliminate these past Constitutional advancements.

I believe the group that continues to sue and litigate against Native Hawaiians in the Federal Court will be mounting a strategy to accomplish elimination of these constitutional mandates that I mentioned.

C. Another threshold for critical decision-making is one that will make or break the ultimate survival of our Native nation, and the success or failure of our self-determination efforts ---- What will be the fibers that run through our decision-making as we form a nation? What aspects of our history and culture will we draw upon to make decisions to benefit all of Hawai’i nei?

Will we bring the best from our past into the future? Will we have the courage and the will to guide our decisions for nation, policy and motherland, that elevate our cultural values, our spiritual values, balance of god, man, and nature --- lökahi--- and weave them throughout---for the well-being of Native Hawaiians and for the well-being of Hawai'i and all who live here.

III. Mana'o nui 'ekolu

The third and final premise I would like to leave you with today is that: We must seize the moment and stop grumbling.

'A'apo mai i ka 'ike, 'a'apo mai i ka maopopo pono, 'a'apo mai i ka lei o ka lanakila. Mai namunamu, he mea ho'opaumanawa këlä. E kükulu a'e käkou no ke ea o ka 'äina me ke aloha a me ke aho nui.

The political climate and the social and economic demands unfolding before us, light a pathway of opportunity for the Native Hawaiian community. But the experience will only be an opportunity if we are prepared and ready.

We must reflect seriously and commit in a measured timeframe to do all that we, individually and collectively, can do to stay informed.

We must do our homework because before too long, we will be in the formative stages of re-establishing a Native nation of our choosing. We will need spiritually mature, culturally grounded, reasonable and results-oriented Native Hawaiian thinkers and leaders --- driven by service --- not self-service --- for the Hawaiian community; and, we will need wise and compassionate leaders in the greater community at large.

Certain sectors of our community have done a phenomenal job of displaying leadership and pushing for achievement against all odds.

One example is in Hawaiian education.

On their own, without a nation, and with minimal funding, the Native Hawaiian education community has established

• Hawaiian language pre-schools;
• Hawaiian language immersion schools for K-12;
• Audio and video libraries of küpuna who are native speakers;
• Hawaiian language radio programs and newspaper columns;
• A Hawaiian language lexicon committee;
• A Center for Hawaiian Studies within the University of Hawai'i;
• B.A., Master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in Hawaiian language and culture;
• Its own indigenous college at UH Hilo;
• After-school science and culture-based programs;
• Hawaiian teacher training programs;
• Hawaiian language websites;
• Culturally-appropriate college preparatory programs, LSAT preparation programs, alternative high school programs;
• And Hawaiian culture-based charter schools; that are all exhibiting a track record of success.

The opportunities are there as evidenced by those in Native Hawaiian education. If we want to be leaders in Hawai’i, we must broaden that span of social and economic influence by increasing participants and initiatives.

As Native Hawaiians we hold an important key to Hawai'i’s future. We must recognize it, believe it, handle it with respect and exercise humility while working in a unified effort.

The key is a gift at the core of what we value as a people embodied in our kuleana that has been passed to us from generations before us.

This gift will not flourish by force or demand, but rather will grow and mature by living and being the nature of who we are.

We can call on these values and traditions for balance and well-being, not only for Native Hawaiians but for all. But we must lead, on an individual basis, then on a collective basis, until it affects all of Hawaii, the emerging critical mass driven by this certain spirit of our ancestors and culture.

We can begin by having respectful interaction and exchange, instead of standing on the outside and saying, "How come?" Or, "Who said"? We must take responsibility for ourselves. We gotta "get a grip" and "leave a legacy," as Auntie Mälia Craver would say.

What is needed is thoughtful, focused, disciplined, compassionate and humble collective effort. Our success means the rest of Hawai'i benefits. If Hawaiians are doing better, there is a positive impact on everyone. Life will be better for all of us.

It is with that intent OHA has supported through grants and other actions the numerous outcomes listed in the 8-page supplement of 2007 OHA actions attached to this message.

We proudly announce that OHA increased its annual budget to $42 million, with 70% of expenditures going directly to program services. In 2007, the OHA Board of Trustees completed four rounds of grant approvals along with board initiatives to include the multi-million dollar appropriations to support community empowerment.

The following are but a few of the hundreds of outcomes cited in the written supplement provided to you with these remarks. OHA:

• Awarded nearly $4 million to 78 projects providing services and programs that impact the Hawaiian community and funded 14 Trustee initiatives totaling more than $6 million for projects addressing needs on all islands.

• Launched the Mälama Loan Program in a restructured Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund of $29 million to assist Native Hawaiian businesses, education, and home improvements.

• Provided grants of $100,000 each to Family Promise of Hawaii, Institute for Human Services, Catholic Social Services, and ALU LIKE’s Ho'äla Hou division to address outreach to homeless families, emergency homeless shelter, Homeless Transitional Project, and incarcerated Hawaiian youth and adult services.

• Provided $500,000 in funding to several community health groups to meet health needs in the Hawaiian community.

• Approved $1.5 million to Hawai'i Habitat for Humanity for a 5- year project to assist Hawaiian families statewide in a first-time homeownership program with up to $20,000 in matching funds for each home loan.

• Awarded over $300,000 in scholarships and program assistance to pre-schoolers attending Wai’anae Coast Early Childhood Center and the Tütü and Me program on Moloka’i.

• Provided the final third year of funding for Native Hawaiian Charter Schools in the amount of $2.2 million (a total of $6.6 million).

• Provided $903,000 in scholarships to Native Hawaiians pursuing a college degree; and granted $500,000 to College Connections Hawai’i for 500 students in their Native Hawaiian Scholars program.

• Awarded a two-year $500,000 grant for rehabilitiation and renovation of Kalaniana'ole Hall, on Moloka'i homestead land in Kalama’ula.

• Awarded a two-year $750,000 grant to support Ho'okuläiwi: 'Aha Ho'ona'auao 'Öiwi Center for Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Education, based at UH Mänoa and leeward O'ahu, Nänäkuli.

• Awarded $500,000 to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to support the Home Ownership Assistance Program (HOAP). With OHA’s assets, present and future, and what OHA has been able to help catalyze for the Hawaiian community in recent years, the moment is now .

We need to seize this opportunity. No one can do it for us. We need to do it ourselves. Pau grumble. It is time for realism and maturity. It is a matter of stewardship and kuleana, to seize this moment and not squander it, for it will not come again.


As I close let me say, these mana'o nui leave many things to think about it. But we can no longer just think about them. We must commit and we must act.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Administrator Nämu'o and all our OHA staff from Hawai'i to Washington D.C., we say mahalo, thank you for working with us throughout the year and for having faith that those of us who are lucky enough to work at OHA in service to our community and Hawai'i will continue our diligence and commitment to our mission, our responsibility, our kuleana, to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians.

From the third verse of Hawai'i Pono'ï........Let us bear the message for our song not yet complete.

"Hawai'i pono'ï, e ka Lähui ë, 'o kau hana nui, e ui ë." Those true to Hawai'i, the Hawaiian people, your great duty is to prevail.

Mahalo and aloha.


The Maui News, Sunday December 23, 2007, Letter to editor

Native Hawaiian support for Akaka Bill not universal

Let’s be clear on this. Many Hawaii nationals – that is, Native Hawaiians – are against the Akaka Bill (Editorial, Dec. 3) and kau inoa (registering) being used for this purpose.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has been derelict in its trust to hear our side of the issue, and we have been purposely snubbed and ignored to forward OHA’s U.S. political agenda. They never wanted to hear from us at the onset; neither did Hawaii’s U.S. Congress people. They want us to fit into the U.S. racist box of conformity.

We are very cognizant of the facts and expect the U.S. to de-occupy our nation-state as required of it. This tribal governing entity that they want to shove into our faces is rebuked by all Hawaii nationals, kanaka maoli and non-kanaka maoli, who recognize our kingdom still exists, albeit under U.S. belligerent occupation. That is not speculation but a fact.

The attempt to have their little U.S. organization to usurp the jurisdiction and authority of the Hawaiian kingdom to acquiesce in the U.S. demands to negotiate with themselves to continue the theft is unconscionable and unlawful.

We will not participate within their clubhouse governing entity but will fight them and all those against the U.S. belligerent de-occupation of our nation-state. Stop the deception and get the facts.

David M. K. Inciong II
Pearl City, Oah


The Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2007, page A10

Too Much Good Sense

Imagine the media outrage if a Republican Congress reduced funding for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Yet that's exactly what Democrats did in the omnibus spending bill that President Bush signed yesterday. Not that we're complaining.

The commission, which does fact-finding and issues reports but has no enforcement power, marks its 50th anniversary next month. Needless to say, the country has made enormous racial progress since the Eisenhower Administration. And the federal government already handles discrimination allegations through the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, among other agencies.

By way of explaining the funding cut, however, lawmakers didn't mention redundancy or obsolescence. Instead, they said, "The Appropriations Committees have serious reservations about the Commission's current capacity and commitment to fulfilling its civil rights mission in a fair and effective manner." In other words, Democrats are hot and bothered because liberals no longer run the place, and they don't like the positions the commission has been taking of late.

Last year, for example, the commission criticized the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, which is very popular with Democrats. Sponsored by Democratic Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, it would create a sovereign government for native Hawaiians that could lead to discriminatory treatment of non-natives who make up more than 80% of the state's population. A commission majority noted that the Akaka bill would "establish an impermissible racial preference in the establishment and operation of a governing entity."

Other commission reports that haven't sat well with the political left include "Affirmative Action in American Law Schools," which found that "admitting students into law schools for which they might not academically be prepared could harm their academic performance and hinder their ability to obtain secure and gainful employment." And in 2005, the commission described how several federal agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Education and Energy, had failed to consider race-neutral procurement practices as required by the 1995 Supreme Court decision, Adarand v. Pena.

The timing of the funding cut is also odd given that the commission has rarely been better managed. Back in the 1990s, a Government Accountability Office report referred to the commission under liberal activist Mary Frances Berry as "an agency in disarray" and said it lacked "basic management controls." Ms. Berry, who served at the agency for more than 20 years before her term expired in 2004, had turned it into her personal fiefdom. Things got so bad that when Mr. Bush named Peter Kirsanow to fill a vacancy in 2001, Ms. Berry refused to seat him until a federal court forced her to do so.

The agency has since put its own house in order under current Chairman Gerald Reynolds. Last month it earned an unprecedented second consecutive clean financial audit. If anything today's commission deserves a medal for good governance, not a reprimand from Congress. Today's commission is also truer to its original conception as promoting equal rights, which is what really drives the left mad.

However, as long as the agency exists, so will the temptation to politicize it. Perhaps the best course is to defund it completely, which might happen if the agency keeps up the good work.


Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, December 30, 2007
** Excerpts related to Akaka bill

Hawaii congressional delegation's year mixed

By Dennis Camire
Advertiser Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — The past legislative year mixed victories and setbacks for Hawai'i's delegation, from approval of more than $1 billion in federal spending for the state to continued deadlock on the Native Hawaiian government bill.

Democrats took control of the House and Senate for the first time in a dozen years, only to see clashes develop over taxes, budgets and money for Iraq.

U.S. Reps. Neil Abercrombie and Mazie Hirono, both Democrats, said they were frustrated by Senate Republicans who blocked votes on House-passed bills that would have provided money for the Iraq war while also establishing troop withdrawal timelines.

A bill to create a future Native Hawaiian government also cleared the House but remained stalled in the Senate because of Republican objections.

Abercrombie, Hirono and Sen. Daniel K. Inouye cited the failure to pass the Native Hawaiian bill as one of their biggest disappointments this year. U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka said he remains committed to bringing the bill up for a Senate vote. (Inouye and Akaka are both Democrats.)

Abercrombie criticized President Bush for what he described as the president's lack of desire to compromise with Congress.

"He simply says, 'I won't do it,' threatens the veto and then, because of the Republican Party being bound to him like a sinking ship to an anchor, they all go down together" in failing to get legislation approved, he said.

Another success was steering more than $1 billion in federal spending for programs and construction to Hawai'i this year, more than half for military construction.


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