Major Articles Opposing the Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill (Akaka bill) -- January 1 to December 31, 2007. U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander floor speech; Peter Kirsanow, Commissioner, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (2); National Leadership Network of Conservative African-Americans; Ken Conklin in Insight Magazine; Herbert London (President of the Hudson Institute), in Insight Magazine; Wes Vernon in Renew America; Roger Clegg, President and General Counsel, Center for Equal Opportunity; Barb Lindsay, national director and spokesperson on behalf of One Nation United; Jere Krischel, senior scholar for Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, testimony to civil rights committee; Stephen Aghjayan testimony to civil rights committee; Elaine Willman, Chair, Citizens Equal Rights Alliance; PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH; House Republican Study Committee; Knoxville Metro Pulse columnist; Investors Business Daily editorial; Ken Conklin in Molokai Times; GEORGE F. WILL (Washington Post); NEWT GINGRICH (FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE); others in Honolulu newspapers and websites including Jerry Coffee, Ken Conklin(3), Joseph Gedan, Jim Growney, Jere Krischel (2), Grant Jones, Richard Rowland, Andrew Walden, Daniel P. de Gracia II
Here is a table of contents of the articles in the order they appear lower on this webpage. To see the actual articles, in chronological order, scroll down.
Text of Senator Akaka's speech at the time of introducing the Akaka bill on January 17, 2007 INTERSPERSED WITH COLOR-CODED CORRECTIONS AND COMMENTS by Jere Krischel and Ken Conklin
Press release and floor speech by U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R, TN) opposing the Akaka bill, on January 17, 2007 (same day the bill was introduced)
Peter Kirsanow, Commissioner, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, published a lengthy commentary opposing the Akaka bill in National Review on January 18, 2007, entitled "Disunited States; Multiculturalism Run Amok." First sentence: "The worst piece of legislation ever analyzed by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has been brought back from the dead and may be enacted in the next few weeks."
Essay by Ken Conklin: "Akaka Warns: The Natives Are Restless (Schoolyard Bully Wants Your Lunch Money)." Senator Akaka introduced his bill for 2007 with a speech on the Senate floor that included a warning that there will be racial trouble unless the Akaka bill is passed. This is intimidation; demanding appeasement.
February 27, 2007: Article in Hawaii Reporter analyzes an advertisement by OHA in Honolulu Advertiser whose purpose was to persuade everyone that "Hawaiian" properly refers to a racial group rather than to citizens of Hawai'i. "This is what the Akaka bill and OHA are asking for. They ask you to be ignorant of the multi-ethnic history of the Kingdom of Hawaii. They ask you to take an internationally recognized nation, which established equal rights over 100 years before our own civil rights movement, and to undo their progressive political acts." Full text below.
March 30, 2007: Article by Grant Jones on his own blog and also on Hawaii Reporter, entitled: "The Akaka Bill: A Moral Disaster." Full text below.
April 12, 2007: Richard Rowland, President of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, article consists entirely of questions about the Akaka bill which are frightening and unanswered
April 18, 2007: Jerry Coffee, Viet Nam war hero and fellow prisoner of war with Senator John McCain, writes in "Midweek" newspaper: "Why We Don't Need the Akaka Bill"
May 2, 2007: National Leadership Network of Conservative African-Americans opposes Akaka bill and opposes House Committee passing the bill without holding a hearing.
May 7, 2007: Jim Growney, U.S. Citizen and Native Hawaiian: "Study Needs to Be Done on Akaka Bill's Potential Impact; Open Testimony to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee"
May 10, 2007: Jere Krischel, Senior Fellow of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, published his testimony to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee regarding the Akaka bill. Krischel contradicts statements made by Senator Dorgan, Hawaii Attorney General Bennett, and OHA chair Haunani Apoliona.
May 11, 2007: Joseph Gedan published his testimony to the Indian Affairs Committee, focusing on the full partnership between ethnic Hawaiians and newcomers during the Hawaiian Kingdom and continuing today.
May 15-21, 2007: Kenneth Conklin article in Insight Magazine: "Hawaii's racial separatism paves way to eventual secession"
[** Insight Magazine is a conservative weekly on-line magazine published every Tuesday, focusing on issues of national importance, and affiliated with The Washington Times]
May 22, 2007: Herbert London, President of the Hudson Institute, published an article in Insight Magazine (republished in his own Hudson Institute bulletin on May 23) opposing the Akaka bill because it would lead to balkanization.
June 2, 2007: Ken Conklin, 500-word commentary in Honolulu Star-Bulletin, explains how Akaka bill would protect and expand Hawai'i's rising wall of apartheid.
June 6, 2007: Andrew Walden article in Hawaii Reporter "Akaka Bill: Creating a Haven for Corruption?"
August 13, 2007: Wes Vernon article in Renew America "Deliberately further dividing America"
August 17, 2007: Ken Conklin, testimony regarding the Akaka bill to the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, for hearing on August 20.
August 20, 2007: Roger Clegg, President and General Counsel of Center for Equal Opportunity, testimony for civil rights committee for debate with Hawaii Attorney General Robert Bennett. Full text of Mr. Clegg testimony is copied below. It was also made available on the Honolulu Advertiser's online edition at
Full text of Mr. Clegg's testimony was also published in Hawaii Reporter online newspaper on August 15, 2007 at:
August 31, 2007: TESTIMONY OF BARB LINDSAY, NATIONAL DIRECTOR AND SPOKESPERSON OF "ONE NATION UNITED" PRESENTED TO HAWAII ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO U.S. COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS, AUGUST 31, 2007. Published in Hawaii Reporter September 1 2007 at
September 5, 2007 Jere Krischel, senior scholar for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, gave testimony to the Hawaii Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, by invitation. "Debunking Myths Surrounding the Akaka Bill" Full text copied below. Published in Hawaii Reporter September 10, 2007 at
September 11, 2007 Stephen Aghjayan, testimony to civil rights committee regarding his observations from lengthy residency on Swinomish Indian Reservation in the State of Washington, published on the blog of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii at:
October 8, 2007 Elaine Willman, Chair, Citizens Equal Rights Alliance --
"The Akaka Bill: Escalating Separatism, Socialism and Tribalism"
October 22, 2007 U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH issued a statement strongly opposing the Akaka bill and threatening to veto it if it reaches his desk. The President's statement can be seen as a pdf file on official letterhead, and/or as a simple text document, at
The simple text format of the statement is also copied in full below, in chronological order.
October 24, 2007 the U.S. House of Representatives Republican Study Committee issued a 10-page statement strongly opposing the Akaka bill. The statement was printed on colorful letterhead available as a pdf document, and is also available in simple text. To see the document (in either or both formats), go to
October 24, 2007: Peter Kirsanow (member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and also of the National Labor Relations Board), "Multicultural Racism -- The Insidiousness of Hawaiian Separatism" in National Review (online)
October 25, 2007: Knoxville (TN) Metro Pulse (weekly) commentary:
"One Nation...Indivisible -- Scrap the Hawaiian Nation idea"
October 29, 2007: INESTORS BUSINESS DAILY, Editorial: "Hawaii Oh-Oh"
November 21, 2007: Ken Conklin, "Akaka bill bad for everyone", Molokai Times, page A-7
November 29, 2007: GEORGE F. WILL, nationally syndicated columnist, published a major commentary ripping the Akaka bill in The Washington Post and reprinted in numerous newspapers throughout America.
"Social Engineers In Paradise"
By George F. Will
The Washington Post, Thursday, November 29, 2007, Page A25
The commentary drew a large number of comments on the newspaper's blog for this article. The comments make interesting reading to see how some angry Hawaiian sovereignty zealots trash George Will and try to defend the Akaka bill, while many opponents of the Akaka bill come forward to say he told the truth. See:
In view of George Will's comments comparing the Akaka bill's racism with the racism of Hitler's treatment of Jews, and in view of comments saying that comparison is absurd, it is notable that one of the many places where George Will's article was reprinted was the Jewish World Review, whose audience knows the comparison is appropriate.
December 4, 2007: NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, PUBLISHED AN ESSAY OPPOSING THE AKAKA BILL.
"A Race-Based Government in Hawaii? So Much for 'E Pluribus Unum'"
Human Events, December 4, 2007
Also republished in Hawaii Reporter, December 4, 2007
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 based on many historical perspectives: "It's Time We Started Recognizing The United States of America In Hawaii"
FULL TEXT OF EACH ITEM, IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
Text of Senator Akaka's speech at the time of introducing the Akaka bill on January 17, 2007 INTERSPERSED WITH COLOR-CODED CORRECTIONS AND COMMENTS by Jere Krischel and Ken Conklin
** Press release and floor speech by U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R, TN) opposing the Akaka bill, January 17, 2007, as posted on Senator Alexander's own official U.S. Senate website
ALEXANDER OPPOSES NATIVE HAWAIIAN LEGISLATION
January 17th, 2007 - WASHINGTON, D.C. -
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), responding to the reintroduction of the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), announced his opposition and placed the following statement in the Congressional Record:
On the Introduction of the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act
Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, today the Senator from Hawaii reintroduced the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act, a bill that would create a new, race-based government within the borders of the United States. I strongly oppose this bill. This legislation was considered and rejected by the Senate last year; we ought not waste one moment of the Senate's time on it this year. Instead, we should consider legislation that unites us all as Americans. Our nation must remain ‘one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all' – not many nations, divided by race, with special privileges for some. Here are four reasons this bill should be stopped in its tracks:
1. It would create a new, sovereign government within our borders.
2. As noted by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, the bill "would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin."
3. The bill is really about transferring control over "land" and "other assets" to this new, race-based government.
4. Native Hawaiians are not just "another Indian tribe" since they do not meet the requirements under current law of being sovereign for the last 100 years, living as a separate and distinct community, and having a preexisting political organization.
I hope my colleagues will join me in opposing this dangerous piece of legislation
National Review Online, January 18, 2007
Multiculturalism run amok.
By Peter Kirsanow
The worst piece of legislation ever analyzed by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has been brought back from the dead and may be enacted in the next few weeks.
On Wednesday, Senator Daniel Akaka reintroduced the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, also known as the Akaka Bill.
The bill died in the Senate last June when the administration came out against it. Assistant Attorney General William Moschella wrote then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist that "[t]he Administration strongly opposes passage of [the Akaka Bill]. As noted recently by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, the bill risks ‘further subdivid(ing) the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege.' As the President has said, ‘we must…honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one nation out of many peoples" (ellipsis in the original).
A cloture vote on the bill failed 56-41, just four votes shy of the 60 necessary for a final vote. Thirteen Republicans voted in favor of cloture.
The cloture vote took place on June 8, 2006, when Republicans held a 55-44 Senate majority. Now, with seven more Democrat or Democrat-leaning senators, cloture is likely to succeed and the prospects for final passage of the bill appear bright. (Simply because a senator votes for cloture doesn't necessarily mean he will vote for final passage of the bill, but the odds aren't bad.)
The bill was a terrible idea seven months ago. Nothing's changed to make it more acceptable today.
The bill authorizes the creation of a race- based government (the Native Hawaiian Governing Entity (NHGE) for the estimated 400,000 Native Hawaiians living throughout the United States. That government is empowered to negotiate with the U.S. government regarding a broad range of issues, including matters related to criminal and civil jurisdiction, civil-rights protections, the delegation of powers from the U.S. to the NHGE, and the transfer of land, natural resources, and other assets. These negotiations would be carried out by members of the NHGE who've been certified as Native Hawaiian. The bill defines Native Hawaiian as someone who is (1) a direct lineal descendent of the indigenous peoples who resided on what is now Hawaii on or before January 1, 1893 and who occupied and exercised sovereignty over such area; or (2) one of the native peoples of Hawaii who was eligible in 1921 for programs authorized by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act or is a direct lineal descendant of such individual.
A nine-member commission decides who qualifies as Native Hawaiian. Aside from the obvious potential for fraud, the entire racial-identification mechanism is fundamentally repugnant, implicating the odious "one drop rule" contained in the racial-segregation codes of the 19th and early 20th centuries. That, combined with some of the other predicates to creation of the NHGE, renders the act's constitutionality suspect under the Supreme Court's decision in Rice v. Cayetano.
The bases for recognition extended to sovereign Indian tribes are different from those contemplated by the bill for Native Hawaiians. The bill doesn't require a showing of historical political continuity, cultural cohesiveness, geographical continuity, or autonomous community. Rather, race combined with an assertion of prior rule by an entity other than the U.S. are the primary prerequisites for sovereignty.
Given that the bill would confer sovereignty primarily on the basis of race untethered to traditional indices of tribal status, it would be surprising if other races/ethnicities didn't follow the example of the bill. What prevents, say, Acadians, Cajuns, or Mexican Americans from doing the same?
Last year the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a hearing on the Akaka Bill. One of the commission's findings was that the bill appears to be an effort to preserve the racial-preference system administered on behalf of native Hawaiians by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
This creates a Pandora's Box. Loose standards for racial/ethnic sovereignty combined with the potential distribution of racial preferences by a newly recognized sovereign may prove to be a strong incentive for other racial and ethnic groups to establish their own governments wherever members of such groups are concentrated.
Furthermore, the bill promises to be the source of abundant lawsuits. Section 8 (c) (1) of the bill provides as follows:
Nothing in this Act serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.
That provision should be a huge red flag to sober-minded senators; effectively an earmark to end all earmarks. Section 8 ( c ) (1) is a function of the 1993 Apology Resolution in which Congress, on behalf of the United States, apologized to the Native Hawaiian people for the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The Resolution implicates a host of possible claims against the U.S. for losses and "ramifications" related to such overthrow. The statute of limitations for bringing any claim is a full 20 years from the date the U.S. recognizes the NHGE.
There are innumerable constitutional and policy issues raised by the bill. It merits the same fate this year as last.
— Peter Kirsanow is a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He is also a member of the National Labor Relations Board. These comments do not necessarily reflect the positions of either organization.
Essay by Ken Conklin: "Akaka Warns: The Natives Are Restless (Schoolyard Bully Wants Your Lunch Money)." Senator Akaka introduced his bill for 2007 with a speech on the Senate floor that included a warning that there will be racial trouble unless the Akaka bill is passed. This is intimidation; demanding appeasement.
Hawaii Reporter, February 27, 2007
By Jere Krischel
In the Valentine's day edition of The Honolulu Advertiser this year, Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) took it upon itself to inform us with a slick advertisement on page A4 that we must define ourselves by race. Not content to use traditional ethnic terms like "oiwi" or "kanaka maoli", they've decided that the only proper use of the word "Hawaiian" is to refer to a pre-1778 immigrants to the Hawaiian island chain.
Such a bald statement of abject racism cannot go unchallenged - Hawaii is a place, not a race, and all the immigrants to Hawaii, whether before 1778, during the Kingdom period, or as a part of the United States of America, have just claim to the distinction of being Hawaiian.
Their question was stated as "Who is Hawaiian?" Here are their answers, with corrections:
1) Hawaiians are the lineal descendants of the aboriginal, indigenous, native people who lived in Hawai'i and practiced their culture and sovereignty in their homeland prior to the arrival of Captain Cook in 1778.
First of all, before Kamehameha the Great conquered the entire island chain, with the help of his haole partner John Young, people on Maui weren't Hawaiians. Neither were people on Oahu. Or on Kauai. Taken literally to mean those people who can trace lineage to the Big Island pre-1778, this may be strictly speaking, true.
But OHA instead applies the term to only one racial group that was a part of the original, multi-ethnic, fully sovereign Kingdom of Hawaii, asking us to separate ourselves from each other on the basis of blood alone.
In 1839, over 100 years before our own civil rights movement in the United States, Kamehameha III offered up a Declaration of Rights, claiming "God hath made of one blood all nations of men". OHA seems to be woefully ignorant of Hawaiian history in their statement.
2) Native Hawaiians are part of the family of Polynesians who settled throughout the Pacific centuries ago. Similar to the American Indians and Alaska Natives, they are indigenous people of the United States and are integral to the spiritual and cultural fabric of Hawai'i.
Although the first sentence is undeniable, the parallel to American Indians and Alaska Natives is pure fiction. Native Hawaiians were explorers and colonists, much like the first European travellers abroad. The 400 years of relative isolation in the Hawaiian islands before European contact isn't nearly as long as the 12,000+ years experienced by American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Furthermore, they give a grave insult to all the other Hawaiians in Hawaii who do not share their blood - surely all of the various ethnicities and cultures who have been a part of Hawaii for over 200 years are integral to the spiritual and cultural fabric of Hawaii. Get rid of the Filipinos, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese or any other immigrant group to our islands, and you eliminate something that is integral in both the spirit and culture of Hawaii.
3) Unlike other states whose residents are often called by the state's name; ie, Californians, Texans, Georgians, etc. "Hawaiian" in Hawai'i refers to its aboriginal, indigenous, native people.
And finally, OHA's racist decree - Hawaii to them is a race, not a place. No matter if your ancestors have lived here for over 200 years, you have no claim to the distinction of being "Hawaiian". No matter how integral to the spiritual or cultural fabric your ancestors may have been for generations, without the proper blood, you are not worthy.
Hawaiian, in Hawai'i, refers to all the people of Hawaii, regardless of race. He Hawaii kaua - We are Hawaiian.
4) The United States has a special political and legal relationship to promote the welfare of the native people of the United States, including Native Hawaiians.
Of course, the whole point of OHA's ad is to promote the Akaka Bill. As a predicate to getting special racial treatment, they must first establish firmly that they are just like American Indians and Native Alaskans. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Had the Navajo nation been an internationally recognized, multi-ethnic Republic before becoming a part of the United States, would we impose racial segregation upon them, that they had never had before? Had any tribal group included a majority of non-natives when they entered into a political relationship with the United States, would it be fair to dictate a disenfranchisement of the majority of their tribe?
This is what the Akaka bill and OHA are asking for. They ask you to be ignorant of the multi-ethnic history of the Kingdom of Hawaii. They ask you to take an internationally recognized nation, which established equal rights over 100 years before our own civil rights movement, and to undo their progressive political acts.
They ask you to give them the term "Hawaiian" as their own racial label, and to denigrate the integral nature of the spiritual and cultural contributions made by immigrants to the Hawaiian islands after 1778.
They ask you for permission to divide our islands by race with the Akaka Bill.
Hawai'i loa kulike kakou! E ku'e kakou i ka palapala a Akaka!
(All Hawaii, stand together! Let's all resist the Akaka Bill! )
The Dougout blog for Friday March 30, 2007
Hawaii Reporter, March 30, 2007
The Akaka Bill: A Moral Disaster
By Grant Jones
On January 17th, Senator Dan Akaka (D-HI) re-introduced the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act. This bill S. 310, otherwise known as the Akaka Bill, would allow native Hawaiians to form a raced based government. Once this state within a state is created, S. 310 would require automatic recognition by the federal government. There is no requirement for a plebiscite by all the voters of Hawaii on whether a racially exclusive state should be carved out of state lands. Apparently, the numerous Hawaiians now living on the American mainland would also qualify to join this government while living outside of Hawaii.
Supporters of S. 310 claim some form of sovereignty is due Hawaiians because of the 1893 overthrow of the Monarchy. Their claim is that Hawaiians were deprived of their "right" to self-determination by the actions of outsiders. The Hawaiian kingdom established by Kamehameha I had always been multi-ethnic. The opening line of the Kingdom's first Constitution of 1840 states: "'God hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the earth,' in unity and blessedness. God has also bestowed certain rights alike on all men and all chiefs, and all people of all lands." The "God" referred to here is the Christian God of the New Testament, not Kukailimoku, Kane, Pele, Lono or the many others that exist in the Hawaiian pantheon.
The Akaka Bill would establish a government based on racial nationalism. Fundamental to racial nationalism is the idea that certain ethnic groups "own" specific geographically areas. This doctrine holds that real property is owned collectively by the race instead of individuals who are free to sell or trade their property to whomever they choose. Land was "publicly" owned in traditional Hawaiian society. This meant that land was owned by the ruling elite, the Alii. Kamehameha I gave land to those American and Englishmen who helped him in his wars of unification, while retaining the authority to revoke the gift.
Lorrin A. Thurston was one of the principals of the overthrow of 1893; his four grandparents were missionaries who came to Hawaii in the early nineteenth century. A hundred years later Lorrin's grandson, Thurston Twigg-Smith was asked by a Hawaiian boy: "Why did your grandpa steal my land?" The boy's older sister then asked: "Yeah, and why did he steal our culture, too?" The children's mother was beaming approvingly; her youngsters have learned the lessons of racial nationalism all too well. These two questions illustrate the basic premises of both the Akaka Bill and racial nationalism.
The first question's basis is the idea that rights are collective in nature. In the liberal view the purpose of government is to protect the rights of the individual against transgression by criminals. A large part of these rights are property rights, including the right to own, improve and trade land. The citizen is sovereign in the liberal state. The liberal government ensures the right to property by codifying this right into law and providing a process of acquiring and documenting title to land. During the period of 1848-1852 King Kamehameha III did just that with the Great Mahele which divided the land between the Crown, the royalty and the commoners. After the overthrow of 1893 Crown i.e. government land was transferred to the Republic. The so-called "ceded lands" are now held by the state of Hawaii. The liberal philosophy upholds individual rights to life, liberty and property. The racial nationalist view upholds that rights are conferred by membership in a particular ethnic group.
The second question posed to Twigg-Smith illustrates another premise of the racial nationalist: the inability to distinguish race from culture or values from insignificant biological differences. As Thomas Sowell observed in Conquests and Culture: "Cultures are not museum-pieces. They are the working machinery of everyday life." By 1840, as noted above, Hawaiian culture had greatly changed as a result of contact with European ideas. The story of cultural change due to contact with other societies has become the subject of study by the discipline of world history. Cultural values evolve over time and are open to anyone who accepts them.
The ideas that animate the Akaka Bill would turn the clock back over two-hundred years to an allegedly better time. The Akaka Bill is not the representative of a bright future, but the harbinger of an atavistic tribalism. To see the future the Akaka Bill promises Hawaii look at the violence, disorder and racial hostility occurring in Fiji.
Grant Jones is a Big Island writer who has a blog located at
Hawaii Reporter, April 12, 2007
Questions About the Akaka Bill
By Richard O. Rowland
[Dick Rowland is the President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.]
Have you ever seen an essay that is all questions? Want to try it out?
What does the Akaka Bill actually say? Where can you go to find out? Why should you care?
How much state land would the new Native Hawaiian government require? Twenty percent? Fifty percent? More? How would that be determined? Who would decide? Would you have a say in the matter or even a vote? When? Before or after negotiations?
Would the Akaka Bill affect your taxes? Would you have to pay taxes to support the new tribal government?
Who would compose the population of a Native Hawaiian government? Would a blood quota of some sort be necessary to be a citizen of the new government? If a certain percentage of Native Hawaiian blood was required, could you get a blood transfusion from a 100% Native Hawaiian to meet the qualification?
If all persons with any Native Hawaiian ancestry are to be incorporated into a new tribal nation, will that create a caste system in which some Native Hawaiians are more worthy than others? For example, will full-blooded Hawaiians be granted more voting power, more use of available property and money, etc. than those with less? If not, is an individual's percentage of Hawaiian ancestry meaningless? If so, why is any amount at all important?
Would a tribal government be in competition with the Hawaii State government? Why or why not?
Would Hawaii bond ratings be effected? If so, would your taxes increase?
If the electric company had lines that go through land belonging to the new tribal government, would it have to pay special fees? If so, will the cost of electricity go up?
Who would own the ceded lands on which Honolulu Airport sits? How would travel be impacted?
What if you need to go through Native Hawaiian government lands to get to your own property? Could your access be blocked? What could you do about that? What about existing highways? If they run through lands of the new government, will access fees be charged?
Would residents/ buisnesses of the new Native Hawaiian nation be subject to the Jones Act?
If your next door neighbor is part Native Hawaiian, will the Akaka Bill give him special rights? Will it give him any special obligations to you or you to him?
Will the new tribal government be inclined to protect my interests? Why? Why not?
Under which government (Hawaii state or new Native Hawaiian) would Kamehameha School property fall? What would be the effect if it went to the new nation? What about other Native Hawaiian trusts? Same or different?
Why do we need a new government? We don't have enough now? Do American Indian Tribes on the mainland have separate governments? If so, how has that worked out? Is the average Indian better off? Why? Don't Indian Reservations have bad reputations? Who has power and wealth in Indian Nations? Why? How?
Do Indian Nations pay taxes? Are their citizens Americans? Indians? Both? What does that mean?
Do you have a headache? Why? Why don't you ask these questions of Senator Akaka? Or even your state Senator or Representative. Would that give them a headache? Will they give you a personal guarantee of the correctness of their answers?
Why don't you give it a go? Would you like to send us some new questions? Would you like to see more of ours?
Or, would you like to take two aspirin and one day of bed rest?
Midweek (Oahu), April 18, 2007
Why We Don't Need The Akaka Bill
By Jerry Coffee
Most of us here in Hawaii have encountered the curious Mainlander who goes ga-ga when we reveal that we live in Hawaii.
"Hey man, what's it like to live in Paradise?"
I usually reply, "Living in Hawaii seems to encompass all the intrigue, surprise and richness of living in a foreign country, but with none of the inconveniences of a foreign tongue, funny money or weird food. The blend of various races results in a smooth melange of social graces. Aloha Fridays and first birthday luaus, pau hana beer, pidgin English, slippahs and rainbows tend to smooth the hard edges of Western culture. And the Aloha Spirit, it's really tangible; it's in the tropical air!"
I have felt this way about Hawaii since I first stepped off the plane 32 years ago. My family and I looked down on the beach from the window in our room at the Moana and shared in the color and excitement of one of the biggest outrigger canoe regattas of the year. We knew instantly that this was a special place.
As a squadron commander living on base at Barbers Point with my family, we frequented the beaches of the Waianae Coast, made friends easily with families in Nanakuli, appreciated barefoot Hawaiian weddings at Makua Beach, learned the ways of the imu, kalua pig and poi, haku lei and puka shells, slack key and spontaneous hula. We embraced our local friends at squadron "open houses," change-of-command ceremonies and beach parties. We developed a deep understanding of Hawaiian history and culture. Ultimately, we built our home at Maili, bought laulaus and poke at Tamura's, and supported the Waianae Coast Health Center.
I love Hawaii and its differences from the U.S. mainland. And I love Hawaiians who embrace the code of Aloha and have taught it to me.
I support the Hawaiian Home Lands program because it helps Hawaiians stay connected to the land and their heritage, but I'm also saddened that - until now - it has been so badly mismanaged, even under a Hawaiian governor. Although I disagree with OHA's spending priorities, I support income to OHA from ceded lands because that's what was agreed upon decades ago, and I think it's fair. I support the admissions policy of Kamehameha Schools because as a private entity receiving no government funding I believe it has the right to choose its own policies.
But I do not support the Akaka Bill, and here are the reasons why.
* With but a few exceptions, by every objective measure the Hawaiian race and culture is thriving like never before - in music, dance, the arts and the language. Politically, there have never been more legislators, judges and community leaders with Hawaiian blood than now. Economically, average income for Hawaiian families has never been higher, and in some cases exceeds that of other races, even Caucasians. Those achieving the greatest economic success have assimilated - and look forward. Those with the least success have remained separate - and look backward. Hawaiians deserving government economic assistance can always receive it on the basis of need, just as those of other races. In short, the Akaka Bill is unnecessary.
* The Akaka Bill will divide the people of Hawaii into different classes of citizens - Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians - and this at a time when we need to be united as never before both to solve our local problems and to maintain our collective national security. Since Akaka models his proposal on the Native American political entity, we can expect the same excesses that have already occurred with them: immunity from state and local taxes, immunity from established law enforcement, immunity from zoning and environmental laws, immunity from political campaign contribution limits. This is actually happening on the Mainland today.
* Over-reaching claims of ownership of public resources as exemplified by OHA's Clyde Namu'o, who recently claimed that all of Hawaii's well water originated as surface water, which is a state "public trust resource" subject to Native Hawaiians' traditional fishing and gathering rights, and therefore OHA owns most of Hawaii's fresh water - ownership which could pass to a "sovereign Hawaiian government" if the Akaka Bill passes.
And this is just the beginning. I oppose the Akaka Bill precisely because I love Hawaii and the Hawaiian people. Without the equality, trust, mutual respect and appreciation within our existing system - which manages to stay above race most of the time - I truly fear Aloha will die!
National Leadership Network of Conservative African-Americans
Press Release, May 2, 2007
Black Activists Criticize Congressional Plan to Create a Race-Based Hawaiian Government Without a Hearing
Contact: David Almasi at 202/543-4110 x11
Without a hearing, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources is expected to vote on the "Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007" (H.R. 505) on May 2.
Members of the black leadership network Project 21 are expressing concern that the legislation directly conflicts with the spirit of inclusion and equality that civil rights activists fought so hard to create.
Similar legislation in the U.S. Senate (S. 485) is scheduled to be the topic of a hearing in the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on May 3.
"It's a shame that so many continue to risk and suffer so much in the fight for a colorblind and racially equal society only to suddenly have Congress appear so insistently willing to throw it all away," said Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie. "Paving the way for a race-based government to be set up in Hawaii is both immoral and offensive to the legacy of those who fought in the civil rights movement for people to be judged separate from race and ethnicity."
This legislation would create a native Hawaiian government with sovereign immunity akin to that enjoyed by Indian tribes. This proposed government, however, is likely to be determined on racial terms, restricting eligible voters exclusively to those of Hawaiian ancestry. Experts say this limits the voting pool to approximately 400,000 Americans nationwide - roughly 160,000 of whom do not even reside on the Hawaiian Islands. Critics say the proposal would create a virtual caste system on the Hawaiian Islands and might even allow those affiliated with this race-based government to ignore various laws and safety regulations.
A similar Hawaiian racial governance plan was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Rice v. Cayetano. A decisive seven-to-two decision that was handed down in 2000 overturned a "Hawaiian only" provision for voting for the trustees of the state's Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), a quasi-governmental native Hawaiian lobbying organization.
While this proposal for a race-based government has found support among the Hawaiian political class and their paid advocates, a May 2006 poll commissioned by the Grassroots Institute of Hawaii found almost 67 percent of the population of Hawaii opposed this proposal as it was introduced in the previous session of Congress, and over 80 percent generally oppose race-based preferences. Almost 70 percent of Hawaiian residents would also prefer to see a statewide referendum on the issue rather than having it decided solely at the federal level.
"Liberals who support these proposals are simply continuing in their contemptible efforts to subvert and divide people along racial lines - even going so far as to incite racial acrimony where none exists," said Project 21's Massie. "Obfuscation through the use of seemingly innocuous verbiage and feel good language makes their intent no less wrong and certainly no less dishonest. This was wrong before, and it is just as egregious today."
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or Project21@nationalcenter.org, or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.
Hawaii Reporter (online), May 7, 2007
Study Needs to Be Done on Akaka Bill's Potential Impact
Open Testimony to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
By Jim Growney, U.S. citizen and Native Hawaiian
There is concern in this community that there has not been a single study done about the negative social/economic impacts that the proposed Akaka bill could have on the native Hawaiian community, and the spillover effects that an adverse outcome could have on the non-native Hawaiian majority in the state of Hawaii.
The proponents of this legislation have not put forth a position paper that outlines the advantages that the Akaka bill would have for native Hawaiians, yet this issue is vitally important to our small community. My concern is that the advantages both social and economic are not readily apparent, but the disadvantages are all too obvious, and should certainly be addressed. Here are some of the concerns that come readily to mind.
* The administration and certain segments of Congress have expressed concerns about the constitutionality of this legislation. In view of these concerns, is there a possibility that the bill could be delayed by legal challenges that address the question of constitutionality? And could these challenges delay implementation indefinitely while they are being resolved?
* The legislation prevents the Hawaiian nation from introducing any forms of legalized gambling, which is providing the mainstay of revenues for the American Indian tribes. Where then will the new sovereign nation of Hawaii generate the revenues needed to run the nation and care for its citizens? Will it by necessity compete with State of Hawaii businesses by offering tax-free goods and services free of federal and state taxes? Will it be permitted to allow nonunion foreign nationals to produce goods and provide services at lower cost to compete with businesses located in the United States?
* What will be the economic impact on the state of Hawaii of having 50 percent of its land and the revenues generated by these lands transferred to the Hawaiian nation? Could this have an adverse impact on the Hawaii economy, and if so, how severe will it be?
* What will the impact on non-Hawaiian spouses, adopted children, and non-Hawaiian in-laws, of being denied citizenship in the new Hawaiian nation because of their race?
* One of the major reasons for given for introducing the Akaka bill was to protect Hawaiian racial entitlements, which appeared to be jeopardized by the Supreme Court decision, Rice versus Cayetano. Will this create a permanent underclass of native Hawaiians, who will be entitled to welfare assistance based on their race, even when their Hawaiian blood quantum has diminished to almost nothing? If welfare dependence is not good for non-Hawaiians of every race, how could it possibly be good for Hawaiians?
* Is there reason to be concerned that the Akaka bill could have severe social and economic consequences for the non-Hawaiians living in a significantly smaller State of Hawaii? And if the creation of the new Hawaiian nation harms the economy of the State of Hawaii, is there a possibility that this could generate racial discord and animosity in a state that has always been a symbol for racial harmony and cooperation?
The people of Hawaii deserve answers to these and a host of other questions. Before this legislation passes, Congress should determine the benefits and shortcomings of this legislation by initiating extensive and exhaustive economic and social analysis to guarantee that creating a sovereign nation of native Hawaiians does not adversely impact the economic and social structure of the state of Hawaii, which will be home to Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians for generations to come.
Mahalo and aloha for your consideration,
Hawaii Reporter, May 10, 2007
Need for Akaka Bill Built on False Premises
Open Letter to U.S. Senators and Representatives
By Jere Krischel
Much of the difficulty with this Akaka Bill and its supporters is that they are starting from false premises. In his opening statement, Senator Dorgan wrote:
"It allows for the Native Hawaiian people to once again have an opportunity at self-governance and self-determination."
Contrary to Senator Dorgan's implication, the Native Hawaiian people have both self-governance and self-determination this very moment, only not as a separate racial group. Also contrary to Senator Dorgan's implication, there has never been any race-based government in the entire history of the Hawaiian islands, including before western contact in 1778, and in fact, the Hawaiian Kingdom's first constitution explicitly declared all people "of one blood", and maintained itself without reference to race.
Senator Dorgan continues, stating:
"They were here long before my ancestors showed up. They had their own governments and provided for the general welfare of their people."
If Senator Dorgan will accept that the Hawaiian Kingdom was a government that "provided for the general welfare" of native Hawaiians, he should also respect that that government was not race-based. Although until 1893 the head of state had been native Hawaiian, the government did not have any racial qualifications for the office of the monarch, nor any of the offices of government. Had Bernice Pauahi Bishop accepted the monarchy from Lunalilo, her husband, Charles Reed Bishop, born in New York, could have ascended to the throne.
Simply put, we should respect the fact that the Hawaiian Kingdom was a legitimate and independent nation that was not race-based, and was not solely for native Hawaiians. To undo the civil rights afforded to people of all races in the Hawaiian Kingdom, and create a solely race-based entity for the first time in Hawaiian history, is misguided, misinformed, and wrong.
Senator Dorgan establishes some of his false premises:
* 1) Before any Americans settled on the Hawaiian islands, there existed a sovereign Native Hawaiian government.
False. Prior to 1778, there was no singluar native Hawaiian government - warring chiefdoms existed up till 1810, when Kauai finally surrendered to Kamehameha the Great. Not to mention that the unification of the Hawaiian islands was aided, abetted, and guided by non-native Hawaiians such as John Young. If we were to restore the government to before western contact, we should be restoring the original chiefdoms, not the unified government created by the cooperation between natives and non-natives.
* 2) The United States recognized this sovereign Native nation, and negotiated 4 treaties with it.
Again false. The sovereign nation which the United States had treaties with, the Hawaiian Kingdom, was not a "Native nation". It was a multi-racial and multi-cultural nation that afforded equal rights to all of its citizens, regardless of ancestry. The Akaka Bill promises to undo the equality that existed in the nation we had treaties with.
* 3) Once non-natives began settling in Hawaii, the Native Hawaiian government allowed them representation in the government.
False. The Kingdom of Hawaii government allowed them representation - there was no "Native Hawaiian" government of any sort. From the very beginning of unification, John Young, the "white ali'i", was part of the government, and he was distinctly non-native.
* 4) But the non-natives wanted control of the Hawaiian government.
This is so terribly misleading it must be considered false - there were non-natives who wanted control of the Hawaiian government, but these included both Reform Party members interested in annexation with the United States as well as royalists interested in perpetuating a corrupt monarchy. Walter Murray Gibson was famously the "minister of everything", and worked his way into power by appealing to racial demagoguery with the support and friendship of King Kalakaua. Claus Spreckels, aka "King Spreckels", was a non-native who held King Kalakaua in deep debt, and used his influence to line his pockets a great deal. Queen Liliuokalani had a personal psychic of german descent who pushed her to support an ill-fated lottery bill that helped bring about her downfall.
To assert that somehow non-natives were vying for control of the government against natives is a blurred reading of history. Both royalist and annexationist parties had native and non-native supporters - frankly, the vast majority of commoners in the islands had little to do with the machinations of power by the elites. It wasn't until becoming a Territory of the United States, in 1900, that the franchise of voting was made without property requirements, and at that point more native Hawaiians than ever had "self-determination" and "self-governance". Before then, government was in the hands of the elites, be they native or non-native or mixed.
* 5) In 1893, the United States Minister utilized American soldiers to assist non-native revolutionaries in overthrowing the Native Hawaiian government.
False. If anything Minister Stevens simply refused to support Liliuokalani's government in a moment of constitutional crisis.
Liliuokalani had hand-picked a cabinet and forced through a controversial lottery bill and opium bill just before the 1893 Hawaiian Revolution. When she approached her cabinet with plans to abrogate the constitution she had sworn an oath to, they balked. She raged at them, and fearing for their lives, they approached their political enemies in the Reform Party. Once that was set in motion, her government was effectively over. The fact that Minister Stevens ordered troops landed to protect American lives and property, under strict orders of neutrality, may have depressed royalist morale, but it was a far cry from direct assistance.
* 6) Although President Grover Cleveland urged Congress to restore the Native Hawaiian Queen to power, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ratified the actions of the non-native revolutionaries. The Senate justified its ratification by describing the Native Hawaiian government as a domestic dependent nation, the same description given by the United States Supreme Court to Indian tribes in 1831.
Senator Dorgan is completely mistaken here - not once in the Morgan Report is the Kingdom of Hawaii described as a "domestic dependent nation". From the Morgan Report, p380-381:
"The independence of Hawaii as a sovereign State had been long recognized by the United States, and this unhappy occasion did not suggest the need of renewing that declaration. The question presented in Honolulu on and after the 12th of January, 1893, was whether the Queen continued to be the executive head of the Government of Hawaii. That was a question of fact which her conduct and that of her people placed in perilous doubt until it was decided by the proclamation of a new executive. Pending that question there was no responsible executive government in Hawaii. On the 17th of January that doubt was resolved to the satisfaction of the American minister, and of all other representatives of foreign governments in Hawaii, in favor of the Provisional Government. This recognition did not give to the Government of Hawaii the legal or moral right to expel the troops of any government, stationed in Honolulu in the period of interregnum, until it had so firmly established its authority as to give to foreigners the security to provide for which these troops had been landed. Good faith and an honest respect for the rights of friendly nations would certainly require the withdrawal of all further interference with the domestic affairs of Hawaii as soon as that government had provided security that was reasonably sufficient for the protection of the citizens of the United States. But the Government of the United States had the right to keep its troops in Honolulu until these conditions were performed, and the Government of Hawaii could certainly acquiesce in such a policy without endangering its independence or detracting from its dignity. "
The closest wording Senator Dorgan may be citing is on page 383-384:
"We have always exerted the privilege of interference in the domestic policy of Hawaii to a degree that would not be justified, under our view of the international law, in reference to the affairs of Canada, Cuba, or Mexico.
The cause of this departure from our general course of diplomatic conduct is the recognized fact that Hawaii has been all the time under a virtual suzerainty of the United States, which is, by an apt and familiar definition, a paramount authority, not in any actual sense an actual sovereignty, but a de facto supremacy over the country. This sense of paramount authority, of supremacy, with the right to intervene in the affairs of Hawaii, has never been lost sight of by the United States to this day, and it is conspicously manifest in the correspondence of Mr. Willis with Mr. Dole, which is set forth in the evidence which accompanies this report.
Another fact of importance in considering the conduct of our diplomatic and naval officers during the revolution of January, 1893, is that the annexation of Hawaii to the United States has been the subject of careful study and almost constant contemplation among Hawaiians and their kings since the beginning of the reign of Kamehameha I. This has always been regarded by the ruling power in Hawaii as a coveted and secure retreat—a sort of house of refuge—whenever the exigencies of fate might compel Hawaii to make her choice between home rule and foreign domination, either in the form of a protectorate, or of submission to some foreign sovereign."
Asserting that our de facto supremacy over the country made it a "dependent domestic nation" is clearly a stretch. In fact, the Morgan Report states on page 382:
"The United States has assumed and deliberately maintained toward Hawaii a relation which is entirely exceptional, and has no parallel in our dealings with any other people."
Let me repeat that once more:
"HAS NO PARALLEL IN OUR DEALINGS WITH ANY OTHER PEOPLE."
One must assume that this includes Indian nations.
Senator Dorgan also fails to acknowledge that after being given the evidence of the congressional investigation completed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (http://morganreport.org), President Cleveland reversed his stance, and acknowledged both the Provisional Government and the Republic of Hawaii as the legitimate governments of the Hawaiian nation.
Attorney General Mark J. Bennett also relies on several false premises. Mr. Bennett states:
"Native Hawaiians are not asking for privileged treatment--they are simply asking to be treated the same way all other native indigenous Americans are treated in this country."
In fact, "native indigenous Americans" are not guaranteed tribal membership by the mere fact of their ancestry. The Bureau of Indian Affairs requires the satisfaction of 7 criteria before recognizing a tribe, none of which are present in the Akaka Bill. They are:
* 83.7a - The petitioner has been identified as an American Indian entity on a substantially continuous basis since 1900.
* 83.7b - A predominant portion of the petitioning group comprises a distinct community and has existed as a community from historical times to the present.
* 83.7c - The petitioner has maintained political influence or authority over its members as an autonomous entity from historical times until the present.
* 83.7d - A copy of the group's present governing documents including its membership criteria.
* 83.7e - The petitioner's membership consists of individuals who descend from a historical Indian tribe or from historical Indian tribes which combined and functioned as a single autonomous political entity.
* 83.7f - The membership of the petitioning group is composed primarily of persons who are not members of an acknowledged North American Indian tribe.
* 83.7g - Neither the petitioner nor its members are the subject of congressional legislation that has expressly terminated or forbidden the federal relationship.
Far from asking for the same treatment, the Akaka Bill specifically avoids treating native Hawaiians the same way other "native indigenous Americans" are treated.
Mr. Bennett also states incorrectly:
"Native Hawaiians are not only indigenous, but also share with other Native Americans a similar history of dispossession, cultural disruption, and loss of full self-determination"
Hawaii had no Trail of Tears. Hawaii had no smallpox blankets, and no Little Bighorn, and no wagon trains of settlers moving in and taking territory.
The "cultural disruption" referred to was a choice of the native Hawaiians - their queen Kaahumanu, was the one who abolished the old religion and embraced the christian missionaries who visited in 1820. The adaptation of the native Hawaiian people to western ideas, values, government and technology was a voluntary disruption, and one of the greatest points of pride for the Hawaiian people.
Mr. Bennett's final abandonment of logic and reason happens when he states:
"Finally, some opponents of the bill contend that because the government of the Kingdom of Hawaii was itself not racially exclusive, that it would be inappropriate to recognize a governing entity limited to Native Hawaiians. This objection is absurd. The fact that Native Hawaiians over one hundred years ago, whether by choice or coercion, maintained a government that was open to participation by non-Hawaiians, should not deprive Native Hawaiians today of the recognition they deserve."
Apparently, according to Mr. Bennett, the integration of civil rights in a government is not something we should be worried about undoing. Perhaps he could also argue that the fact that white Southerners, over one hundred years ago, whether by choice or coercion, maintained a government that was open to participation by non-whites, should not deprive these people of separate racial recognition as existed pre-Civil war.
The progression of civil rights simply should not be undone by the whim of legislators and the claims of victimhood by racial separatists. One could hardly imagine limiting the Akaka Bill to include only males of certain property requirements, as was the case during the Kingdom of Hawaii. One could hardly imagine limiting the Akaka Bill to include only those of royal blood. Why would anyone imagine it was a good idea to limit self-determination by race?
Why on earth do people somehow assume that a fully integrated population, such as part-native Hawaiians, should be considered as a distinct racial entity? Most part-native Hawaiians have more in common with other Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino and Europeans than they do with other part-native Hawaiians. Yet somehow Mr. Bennett can see his way clearly to segregating people based on this fractional amount of blood into a separate racial group.
Haunani Apoliona also engages in perpetuating false premises. She states:
"Within a little over 20 years of annexation, the Native Hawaiian population had been decimated. Native Hawaiians had been wrenched from their traditional lands, compelled to abandon their agrarian and subsistence ways of life, forced into rat-infested tenement dwellings, and were dying in large numbers."
Examining the Native Hawaiians Study Commission Report of 1983, which has a table on page 69 "ETHNIC STOCK: 1900 TO 1960", shows the following native Hawaiian and part-native Hawaiian population numbers:
* 1900: 37,576
* 1910: 38,409
* 1920: 41,713
Far from being decimated, the native Hawaiian population grew by several thousand during the years following annexation. Under the rule of King Kalakaua, from 1884 to 1890 the native Hawaiian population went from 44,232 to 40,622, making it arguable that native Hawaiian prosperity and health was significantly increased due to annexation.
Furthermore, our first two Congressional representatives from the Territory of Hawaii were native Hawaiian (Robert Wilcox and Prince Kuhio) - far from being disenfranchised, native Hawaiians were the largest voting bloc in the islands for years after annexation due to the restrictions on Asian voting. They controlled the Territorial Legislature, and dominated the government for decades.
Far from being wrenched from traditional lands, or compelled to abandon subsistence living, native Hawaiians actively participated in the transformation of Hawaii into an industrial society. Nobody compelled them to do anything, nor forced anyone into "rat-infested tenement dwellings" (as opposed to rat-infested grass huts). Apoliona's creative fiction is simply that - imagination.
Hawaii is my homeland, and my family has been there for over 100 years, before the fall of the monarchy. Much of my family has part-native Hawaiian blood, and much of my family does not. All of my family deserves to be treated equally.
Please, I implore you, do not support S.310. Its justification is based on false premises, sincerely believed but factually incorrect. Its implementation would divide my people by race, and grant special privileges to an extremely integrated and heterogeneous group. It serves to divide rather than unite, abandons the civil rights granted to all people in the Hawaiian Kingdom, and mistakenly places native Hawaiians into a box that does not apply to them.
The people of Hawaii, of all races, have lived together as one people since the unification of the islands in 1810. The people of Hawaii, of all races, have enjoyed more and more self-determination throughout the years, as we have transformed from a Kingdom to a Republic, to a Territory, to a State. The people of Hawaii, of all races, deserve to be treated equally, with aloha for all.
Jere Krischel is a Senior Fellow with the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, born and raised in Hawaii and currently living in California with his wife and two young children. Reach him via email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Hawaii Reporter, May 11, 2007 (as slightly revised May 13)
Racial Harmony in Hawaii Will Be Marred by Akaka Bill
By Joseph Gedan
Hawaii Reporter, May 11, 2007 (as slightly revised May 13)
Racial Harmony in Hawaii Will Be Marred by Akaka Bill
By Joseph Gedan
The proponents of the Akaka Bill seek to have Congress recognize and restore an exclusive, Hawaiian race-based sovereign political entity. The question is, did such an entity ever exist? It makes no sense to attempt recreate such a sovereign entity without an historical perspective. If we want to recapture something of the past, we must examine that past and
particularly the character of the evolving Hawaii government after European discovery.
In prehistoric times, only Polynesians inhabited Hawaii. This was by happenstance, not design. When European explorers first landed on Hawaiian shores they found a stone age population with a ruling hierarchy. They made contact with ruling chiefs, marked their charts and left. The discovery, however, brought missionaries, mariners and travelers to Hawaii. The
missionaries came to preach while others came to rest and/or re-supply. Many of the later travelers were attracted to Hawaii and its people, and decided to settle in Hawaii.
Those who settled in Hawaii had to accept the rule of the individual island chiefs. Kamehaheha, the great then consolidated island rule. This was the beginning of the island monarchy and the Kamehameha dynasty. Foreigners were then subject to the rule of a single monarch, Kamehameha. Under Kamehameha, many foreigners became trusted advisors and a few held high office.
It was during the reign of Kamehameha III that monarchy took on a western style and the concept of citizenship began to develop. Newcomers were welcomed as full citizens and a great many served in important government posts which was the pattern throughout the reigns of succeeding monarchs. Intermarriage was commonplace. It was the beginning of a successful,
integrated and peaceful multiracial community of which we are so proud.
The concept of a raced based sovereign entity, such as the American Indians have, and suggested by the Akaka Bill's proponents was specifically rejected by the Hawaiian monarchy. Kamehameha III in the Declaration of Rights of 1839 said that, "God hath made of one blood all nations of men...." and refers to rights, "given alike to every man...." Equal rights to all, without
reference to ethnicity, is the proud tradition of the Kamehameha III. This tradition persisted through the reigns of all succeeding Hawaiian monarchs. That tradition should be supported by the United States Congress, not challenged by it through the Akaka Bill.
The Hawaii experience is the opposite of that of the native American Indian tribes. The pilgrims came to North America with their own political and social structure. The settlers and the American Indians concurrently maintained strictly separate political and social communities.
Congress has recognized that peculiar history of American Indians and has accommodated it. There is no such history in Hawaii. There is nothing for Congress to recognize. The experience of the American native Indian tribes has no relevance to Hawaii and certainly does not support the Akaka Bill.
A second rational for the Akaka bill is as recompense for what has been characterized as the United State's overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. This is a gross distortion of history. It is undisputed that the United States Government opposed the overthrow. President Cleveland took an interest in the issue because it was alleged by Queen Liliuokalani that the United States
minister in Hawaii, without authority, lent support to the coup plotters. After an investigation, President Cleveland found that his minister did act wrongly. He rebuked his minister and sensing some liability for his minister's unauthorized conduct, demanded that the provisional government restore Queen Liliuokalani to her throne. However, the leadership of the provisional government refused to comply. It would have taken an armed force to dislodge the provisional government and such an action was not taken. Today it is an open question whether or not the Queen could have earlier quashed the plot or whether or not the coup would have been successful without the US minister's support.
It is now some 114 years since that disputed incident and 109 years since Hawaii became a part of the United States. Following annexation in 1898, native Hawaiians became full participants in territorial affairs with Prince Kuhio acting as Hawaii's first delegate to congress. And more recently during statehood, as illustrated by Senator Akaka, native Hawaiians have served in critical posts, as governor, judges (including Supreme Court chief judge), congressmen, mayors, state legislators, university professors and labor leaders. Hawaii has been a great success story for all. In that context, the Akaka bill makes no sense and is divisive.
Within Hawaii's multiracial population, a sense of racial harmony has long been considered Hawaii's unique blessing, but it can be fragile. That blessing helps us overcome our anthropological beginnings which carries with it a natural tension between races, ethnic groups, religions, etc. The best communities are identified by how well they get past that tension. However, even in progressive communities there will always be those on the fringes harboring racial bigotry. Some measure of anti-white bigotry has been Hawaii's dirty secret.
The Akaka Bill shortcomings are worse than just being unwarranted and making no sense. It takes us backwards not forwards and heightens inter-racial tensions which can send anti-haole bigots who are on the fringes, over the line. We need to nurture our blessing, not undercut it. One wonders if there were more talk of racial togetherness rather than racial division, would
the recent spate of anti-white hate crimes have occurred?
Insight Magazine, May 15-21, 2007
[** Conservative weekly on-line magazine published every Tuesday, focusing on issues of national importance, and affiliated with The Washington Times]
To see the front page with list of all this week's articles, go to
To see this particular article go to
Hawaii's racial separatism paves way to eventual secession
Commentary by Kenneth R. Conklin
There's trouble in paradise, and it threatens all of America. Racial separatism and ethnic nationalism are growing stronger in the Aloha State, with the U.S. as current accomplice and future victim.
Hawaii's gathering storm has been building strength for several decades. Most people don't recognize the danger. Some Hawaii politicians and community leaders who do recognize the danger prefer to ignore it, or to appease a growing Evil Empire by giving it money, land, and political power. Most U.S. senators were unaware of the issue until June of 2006. That's when the Senate spent several hours discussing the "Akaka bill." Every Democrat and several Republicans voted to bring to the floor an outrageous bill to authorize an apartheid regime for Hawaii.
In the 110th Congress the Akaka bill is S.310 and H.R.505. It has already passed its committees in both the Senate and House, with floor action likely soon.
Race-based institutions have grown so powerful they now control Hawaii's political establishment. A state government agency, eagerly supported by the Democrat legislature and Republican governor, is pushing the Akaka bill with millions of dollars in lobbying and advertising. It would authorize a racially exclusionary government to include 240,000 citizens of Hawaii (20 percent of the state's population) and 160,000 citizens of other states. Only one drop of native blood is required to be considered "Native Hawaiian."
Most support for the Akaka bill comes from Hawaii's large race-based institutions seeking to protect the vast wealth and political power they already enjoy. Polls show that 2/3 of all Hawaii's people, including about half of the "Native Hawaiians," oppose this bill. But the political establishment responds to the money and power of the institutions, and fears to go against a swing-vote of the 20 percent of citizens who have a drop of native blood and are regarded (wrongly) as a monolithic voting bloc.
Some see the Akaka bill as a path to secession. Most independence activists accuse supporters of the Akaka bill of selling out; yet most supporters of the Akaka bill privately dream of eventual independence for Hawaii. Some independence activists accept the Akaka bill as a short-term pragmatic necessity to acquire ever-larger amounts of money, land, and power to fuel a drive for complete secession of the entire State of Hawaii from the United States.
Over 160 racially exclusionary federal programs, plus massive state government programs, plus private race-based institutions valued at $8-15 billion, already provide a substantial amount of racial supremacy to a group that also shares all the benefits available to everyone else. At the end of 2006, nearly 60,000 of America's 400,000 ethnic Hawaiians had already signed a racial registry that would probably become the nucleus of the phony tribe's membership roll.
The situation in Hawaii is unlike any other state in regard to the severity of impact a tribal "recognition" would have on the population as a whole. No other state has 20 percent of its people eligible to join a single tribe, whose members would then be active participants on both sides of negotiations between the tribe and state government over money, land, and political power. No other state has an Indian tribe whose reservation lands, under tribal laws very different from the state's laws, would comprise 40-50 percent of the entire state in a great number of large and small enclaves scattered everywhere.
The Akaka bill to create a phony Indian tribe for ethnic Hawaiians threatens all America because it is based on a new theory of the U.S. Constitution which would encourage and accelerate the racial balkanization of our nation. The theory is that the Indian Commerce Clause authorizes Congress to single out any ethnic group (especially if they are "indigenous") and give them group rights similar to an Indian tribe, even if the group has never functioned as a tribe and even if its members are widely scattered and thoroughly assimilated into the general population. If that theory applies to ethnic groups in general, the Amish could seek tribal status, along with Louisiana Cajuns; and perhaps a Nation of New Africa for all of America's blacks. If the theory is restricted to so-called "indigenous" people whose ancestral lands were engulfed by the United States, then America's people of Mexican ancestry (most of whom have a drop of Aztec or Mayan blood) could demand the right for MEChA to form a Nation of Aztlan controlling those parts of America which formerly belonged to Mexico.
Hawaii is widely known as a paradise. We have a beautiful environment and excellent weather for enjoying it year-round. We are also known as a social paradise—the most racially diverse and harmonious state in America, with the highest percentage of intermarriage producing the world's most beautiful children.
Every racial or ethnic group in Hawaii is a minority. All are represented at every level of government, business, labor, media, etc. Governors and U.S. senators have been Chinese, Filipino, ethnic Hawaiian, Japanese, Jewish, and white. All races are found among owners of multimillion dollar corporations, laborers who work for them, farmers and fishermen, homeless people and prison inmates. Most neighborhoods have all racial groups represented among both homeowners and renters. We live, work, play, and pray in a fully integrated multiracial society. Many Hawaii citizens have a long list of ethnicities in their genealogies, and are very proud to recite them.
If there were to be an ethnic Hawaiian state within the State of Hawaii, its land base could only be filled with people through an exchange of populations similar to what was done when India (mostly Hindu) broke apart to create Pakistan (mostly Muslim). The Akaka bill is not intended to recognize a small Indian tribe living in a compact remote area. Ethnic Hawaiians comprise 20 percent of the state's population, and demand more than 50 percent of the state's land, especially if Kamehameha Schools (Bishop Estate) lands were included. Thus, the best name for the Akaka bill is apartheid—which literally means "apartness."
Hawaii's two Sens. Dan Inouye and Dan Akaka have spent their entire Senate careers as members of the Indian Affairs Committee. Hawaii is the only state which has both of its senators serving on that committee. Why would Hawaii's senators want to serve on the Indian Affairs committee when there have never been any Indian tribes in Hawaii? The obvious answer is: filling the pork barrel. Whenever major legislation was introduced to provide housing, health care, or education for all of America's real Indian tribes, Inouye and Akaka made sure to insert "and Native Hawaiians" into the bills. Over the years more than 160 federally funded programs intended for real Indian tribes have brought billions of dollars into Hawaii for ethnic Hawaiians. Since this "free" money then circulates through Hawaii's economy, the business community and politicians like it. The race-based institutions are sustained and strengthened by federal dollars flowing through their coffers, while other institutions are co-opted by the money they earn providing services. Thus Hawaii's Evil Empire thrives with federal assistance and constantly pushes for more.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has cited in legal briefs the fact that there are over 160 federally funded race-based programs for ethnic Hawaiians. OHA argues that the establishment of those programs over a period of about 30 years proves that there is a political "trust relationship" between the U.S. government and ethnic Hawaiians as a group. That claim of a political relationship is asserted in order to argue that the race-based programs are not subject to "strict scrutiny" under the 14th Amendment equal protection clause, but are subject only to a "rational basis test" appropriate to the government-to-government relationships between the U.S. on one side, and the states and the Indian tribes on the other.
It's time to put a stop to Hawaiian apartheid. The Akaka bill should be defeated, Hawaii's plethora of government-funded racially exclusionary programs should be ended, and Kamehameha Schools should be desegregated. Can't we all just get along together?
- Kenneth R. Conklin is a retired professor of philosophy. His book, "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State," has just been published. Go to http://tinyurl.com/2a9fqa for more details about the book.
Insight Magazine, May 22, 2007
The Hudson Institute (New York), May 23, 2007
Bill Sets Precedent for National Balkanization
by Herbert I. London
Once again the Akaka Bill, designed to secure self-governance rights for native Hawaiians, is being seriously entertained by the Democratic-controlled Congress. Indigenous Hawaiians contend that their ancestral rights were abrogated when the United States colonized the island archipelago in 1893. Despite having been defeated by last year's Congress, this bill is back on the agenda like a bad penny.
Gregory Katsas, deputy associate attorney general, said in testimony prepared for the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee that the Hawaiian legislation would serve to divide the islands along racial and ancestral lines and become a precedent for national balkanization. "Whatever might be said about past injustices, generations of Americans have fought and died to achieve a single, indivisible country that respects the freedom, equality and heritage of all of its citizens," Katsas argued.
Should the bill become law, it would secure self-government rights for native Hawaiians even though they now represent one percent of the islands' population and a total dispersed population of 400,000 nationwide. [* Note from Ken Conklin: Mr. London seems to be referring to "pure Hawaiians" when he give the figure of one percent. Ethnic Hawaiians as defined in the Akaka bill, with as little as one drop of native blood, comprise 20% of Hawaii's population *] Presumably this small segment of the population could negotiate with state and federal authorities for control of natural resources and land.
Sen. Byron Dorgan, North Dakota Democrat, maintains that "Native Hawaiians, just like Indian tribes, are the first Americans. They were here long before my ancestors showed up." Senator Akaka, as the sponsor of the bill, concurred. "Native Hawaiians were disenfranchised," he said.
While most native Hawaiians support the measure, some radical groups oppose it, arguing this bill will put Hawaiians under federal control thereby militating against the goal of sovereignty.
But the essential reason for opposing the bill is Katsas' concern that it will be a precedent for others who will claim preferential treatment and a separate government. Acadians, for example, who form the base of Louisiana's "Cajun Country" are descendents of those who settled in the area after being deported from Nova Scotia in 1755 and might use the bill to claim an Acadian government for Louisiana.
While legislators in Hawaii claim the bill is fair, equitable and constitutional, the last point is questionable since the Constitution does not countenance secession or possible separation from the nation. Moreover, in attempting to redress the wrongs of the past, the bill introduces wrongs of the present. In what sense is it fair for one percent of the population to have a right to dictate to the other 99 percent?
Opening this Pandora's Box has no end. Every group with ancestral ties to the nation's founding could conceivably demand preferential treatment. History is filled with mistreatment and claims of malfeasance, but addressing every concern with special treatment would divide the nation in ways that duplicate conditions prior to the Civil War.
It is noteworthy that an America already balkanized by race and ethnicity is now put in the position of having to consider ancestral rights. Groups seeking privilege have now found refuge in the courts and politicians who pander to subcultures.
What the supporters of the Akaka bill do not seem to realize is that Hawaii is a state within the United States with all of the privileges and limitations this status confers. Lincoln fought to keep the union intact arguing that secession violated the spirit and intent of the Constitution. Should we now abrogate tradition and law to redress the allegations of wrongs committed more than a century ago? And if so, why stop with native Hawaiians?
America has become a land of those with grievances. Perhaps one day, the grievants will awaken to a land composed of principalities with little that unites them. The idea of America will be erased without a trace of what held us together. E pluribus unum will be "e unum pluribus." I hope Congress recognizes what is truly at stake when it considers the Akaka bill for more than the future of Hawaiians is on the agenda.
Herbert London is president of Hudson Institute and professor emeritus of New York University.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 2, 2007
Book explains attack on Hawaiians-only programs
by Kenneth R. Conklin
Why do civil rights activists attack Hawaiians-only institutions? What's wrong with the Akaka bill?
The aloha spirit, Hawaiian culture, and Hawaiian language are the core of what makes Hawaii special, belonging to all Hawaii's people regardless of race. Hawaii is under attack from racial separatism and ethnic nationalism. Benevolent intentions spawned nightmarish separatist institutions -- more than 160 federally funded, racially exclusionary programs, plus two racially exclusionary state government agencies, plus the $8 billion Kamehameha Schools, and more.
I speak the Hawaiian language with moderate fluency and participate in some Hawaiian cultural activities. Investment of time and effort proves my love and respect. Before helping clean a heiau, I gave an opening chant, offered a prayer to the ancient gods and presented ho'okupu when others (including Hawaiian children on a school trip) were unable or unwilling to do so.
Princess Bernice Pauahi's will founding Kamehameha Schools does not exclude non-Hawaiians. Her mere "preference" for "children of aboriginal blood" applies only to the single category of "orphans and indigents." All 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges agree the issue is the trustees' admissions policy, not the will. That policy has turned a great school into an ugly engine of racial separatism.
The conglomerate of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and institutions spawned by the federal programs can properly be called an "evil empire." Empire because its enormous wealth and political power have come to dominate Hawaii's Legislature and media, reaching to the mainland as well. Evil because racial preference leads to racial entitlement, then racial separatism, then a race-based government (Akaka bill), then permanent conflict and hatred over how to carve up Hawaii along racial lines. Look to Bosnia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Fiji and Iraq for ethnic/religious strife.
My new book, "Hawaiian Apartheid -- Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State," explains all this. The entire first chapter is at
, along with the detailed table of contents.
The book describes the existing evil empire of racial separatism, along with how the Akaka bill would protect and expand it. The ethnic nationalist movement is explored -- how it is based on a form of religious fascism, what it means for people with no native blood and how the Akaka bill would empower secessionists.
Other chapters examine important historical falsehoods; junk-science victimhood claims serving tycoons of the Hawaiian grievance industry; anti-Americanism and anti-military activism; bogus claims to indigenous status; sovereignty frauds and scams; and an agenda for future action to revive unity, equality and aloha for all.
The Filipino Cultural Center and the Cherry Blossom Festival neither control the Legislature and media nor demand a race-based government. So civil rights activists do not attack them.
Why can't attorney David Rosen's kids be happy with Punahou? Why did Martin Luther King's "Negroes" feel they had to march through suburban streets and go to (private) church in an all-white suburb? Why did they have to drink at the "whites only" fountain when they had their own nearby?
Kenneth R. Conklin has a doctorate in philosophy and is a retired professor. He lives in Kaneohe.
Hawaii Reporter, June 6, 2007
Special from Hawaii Free Press
Akaka Bill: Creating a Haven for Corruption?
By Andrew Walden
Proponents claim the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007 (Akaka Bill, S 310) will protect Hawaiian entitlements and assets. But the strong connections between the Broken Trust scandal of the late 1990s and the 2000 introduction of the "Akaka Bill" should raise questions about the wisdom of creating what will amount to a Hawaiian Indian reservation.
If the Akaka Bill passes the U.S. Senate and U.S. House and is approved by the President, corrupt politicians and their cronies, (both Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian), could find their activities shielded from federal and state law enforcement by ‘tribal' law.
Rather than being protected, Native Hawaiians organized into an Indian tribe may find themselves unable to halt activities that could endanger the entire Hawaiian patrimony.
According to the text of the Akaka Bill, "The purpose of this Act is to provide a process for the reorganization of the single Native Hawaiian governing entity and the reaffirmation of the special political and legal relationship between the United States and that Native Hawaiian governing entity for purposes of continuing a government-to-government relationship."
By "reorganizing" a native Hawaiian government, the Akaka Bill goes far beyond what is necessary to protect Hawaiians-only admissions at Kamehameha Schools and Native-Hawaiian-only eligibility for leases with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
Use of the term, "government to government relationship" clearly directs the process towards establishing a Hawaiian Indian reservation and away from the model of the Alaskan Native Corporations, which are corporate entities, not government entities.
Why should this matter? Alaskan Native corporations have been very successful at making native assets serve native Alaskans. The Alaskan success stands in sharp contrast to Indian reservations which are often a third-world nightmare of corruption, drugs, poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. Yet the political class in Hawaii is almost 100 percent behind the Akaka Bill and the Hawaiian Indian reservation it would create.
What are the possible reasons for rejecting the successful model of Alaskan Native Corporations in favor of the unsuccessful model of Indian reservations? Contrary to popular opinion, Indian reservations already have a history in Hawaii.
An Oct. 12, 1999, article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin describes the efforts of Bishop Estate trustees in 1995 to evade oversight of the unorthodox doings which were soon to be exposed as the "Broken Trust" scandal.
The Trustees' self-serving investments had caused Bishop Estate losses over $264 million in 1994 alone. Their reaction? To avoid scrutiny, they commissioned a plan formulated by ex-Governor John Waihee's law firm to move Bishop Estate corporate headquarters out of Hawaii -- to the windswept plains of the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian reservation in South Dakota. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin explains:
"In an apparent attempt to circumvent state and federal oversight, the Bishop Estate paid Washington D.C.-based (law firm) Verner Liipfert Bernhard McPherson and Hand more than $200,000 to look into moving the estate's legal domicile, or corporate address, to the mainland, sources said.
"Verner Liipfert, whose local office is headed by former Gov. John Waihee, identified the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation as the top relocation prospect after reviewing the legislative, tax and judicial environments of 48 mainland states and Alaska.
"The study was part of a broader effort by the former board members to lobby against federal legislation limiting trustee compensation and to convert the tax-exempt Bishop Estate to a for-profit corporation."
The trustees' efforts are also described in The Cheating of America by Charles Lewis and Bill Allison of The Center for Public Integrity. They quote former Hawaii Attorney General Margery Bronster explaining Bishop Estate's proposed move to Cheyenne River:
"Their main motivation was to avoid oversight from the State Attorney General and the IRS."
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin further points out:
"Gregg Bourland, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribal council … said there is good reason for an entity like the Bishop Estate to make inquiries about changing its domicile to the South Dakota reservation ...
"Since the 1800s, the Cheyenne River Sioux have had a government-to-government relationship with the United States which allows them to operate their own police force, court system and legislative functions.
"Such a system may shield the trust from Hawaii Probate Court jurisdiction, although Bourland was unsure if the IRS would continue to oversee the trust."
"Government to government relationship" describes the relationship desired by the scandalous Bishop Estate trustees.
Whether relocated to South Dakota or creating the Indian Reservation here, such a move would shield Bishop Estate not only from the Federal government but also from the investigations that Bronster was forced to launch as Broken Trust revelations emerged in the press.
According to Lewis and Allison, the activities Bishop Estate trustees were attempting to shield included:
• Giving themselves significant pay raises, even while programs at the school were being cut;
• Investing in questionable ventures recommended by a trustee's personal acquaintances, including an Internet directory of would-be-adult-film actors and casting agents;
• Frequenting adult entertainment clubs and casinos using money from the charitable trust's coffers, reportedly inviting state legislators on such trips; and
• Lobbying Congress to defeat or alter legislation designed to give the IRS more authority to penalize their multi-million dollar compensation packages.
As U.S. District Judge Samuel King told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin: "It's another indication of how arrogant, greedy and insensitive this whole bunch is ... Their claim that they are supporting Princess Pauahi's will is laughable."
Lokelani Lindsey, the last of the five Broken Trust Bishop Estate trustees, was forced to resign Dec. 16, 1999. Further investigation of the scandal was quickly halted.
A few months later, in 2000, the first version of the so-called "Akaka Bill" was introduced by Sen. Daniel Akaka. Is this a coincidence?
Of the four members of the Hawaii congressional delegation now co-sponsoring the Akaka Bill, three were in Congress in 1995 and 1996. They were also personally and extensively involved in failed lobbying efforts to protect the Bishop Estate trustees from IRS oversight and enforcement.
According to the Hawaii best-selling book "Broken Trust", Senators Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye, co-sponsors of the Akaka Bill, and Rep Abercrombie, co-sponsor of HR 505, the House version of the Akaka Bill, fought to shield the Bishop Estate trustees.
"Broken Trust" (page 210) explains Bishop Estate trustees: "…lobbied against the enactment of intermediate sanctions, spending nearly $1 million of trust funds in the process….Despite the trustees' efforts and behind the scenes support from Hawaii's Congressional delegation (except for Representative Patsy Mink who stood up to the trustees), Congress passed the intermediate sanctions bill in 1996."
The ‘intermediate sanctions' law authorized the IRS to fine individual wrongdoers when charity assets (such as Bishop Estate) are stolen or misused.
This is not the only connection between the Hawaii Congressional co-sponsors of the Akaka Bill and the Broken Trust scandal. "Broken Trust" (page 163) explains that in August 1997, after the first Broken Trust essay was printed in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "(Senator) Daniel Akaka defended the trustees. He said the (nearly $1 million per year) level of (Bishop Estate trustees') compensation was not too high: If anything, the trustees deserved to be paid more."
Are the Broken Trust conspirators still powerful in Hawaii's political system? The 2006 Democratic Senatorial Primary pitted U.S. Senator Dan Akaka against then Congressman Ed Case.
In contrast to Akaka's support for the corrupt trustees, Case championed measures to control trustee compensation and reform trustee selection throughout his 1990s legislative career.
When Case was a state Representative in 1998, he proposed a state Native Hawaiian Autonomy Act to establish a State-recognized native Hawaiian corporation. His proposal was shouted down as "denying Native Hawaiians the right to self-determination" by many of the same shady political figures who were at that very moment profiting from the pillaging of Princess Pauahi's Estate.
Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey was ordered off the board in May 1999 after the IRS threatened to revoke Bishop Estate's tax-exempt status due to the actions of the trustees.
Lindsey had invested Bishop Estate money in the ‘adult' website and had appointed Rockne Freitas (now Chancellor of Hawaii Community College) to micro-manage the Kamehameha School on her behalf. She called the dismissal of trustees, "the second overthrow."
Broken Trust (page 262) describes Bishop Estate trustee Henry Peters in 1999 reacting to his ouster claiming the real intention of the IRS was to end admissions preferences for Hawaiians at Kamehameha.
Of course, no such effort was made by the IRS. On the contrary, when new trustees were named, the IRS established conditions to avoid taking Bishop Estate's tax-exempt status, thus saving the estate about $1 billion which was then available to fund Hawaiian-only education.
A State-recognized Native Hawaiian Corporation as envisioned by Case would likely eliminate the legal threats against Hawaiians-only admissions at Kamehameha Schools and Hawaiians-only eligibility for DHHL leases.
Such a move would certainly ease federal recognition of a Native Hawaiian Corporation which definitely would end any legal threat to Hawaiian preferences.
Lifting the lawsuit threat would also eliminate the justification for creating the Hawaiian Indian reservation, which those with ill, self-serving intentions need to shield their illegal activities from state and federal law enforcement.
So they shout about "the lawsuits" to keep native Hawaiians distracted. All the while, they can plot ways to scam from native Hawaiians and their entitlements.
Andrew Walden is the publisher and editor of Hawaii Free Press, a Big Island-based newspaper.
Renew America, August 13, 2007
Deliberately further dividing America
by Wes Vernon
Some forty years ago when the civil rights movement eliminated legally enforced segregation (Jim Crow), we were told repeatedly that this would end ethnic and racial divisions in America. We were all Americans, and we would all share in the benefits of our unique society.
There are some who did not get that message. For years, they have perpetrated and relished the politics of "ethnic identity."
The 50th state
When Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959, there were those who warned that Hawaii's multiple ethnic makeup would make it difficult, if not impossible, for that territory to assimilate into American society.
They were wrong — at least for the first 41 years of Hawaii's statehood. Every year, Hawaiians would mark the anniversary of statehood with parades, fireworks, speeches, and American flags flying high. In 2000, then-Governor Ben Cayetano put an abrupt halt to all that.
In more recent times, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal visited the Hawaiian Islands and found a totally different attitude. Instead of a celebration of the islands' Americanism, the streets there have been taken over by demonstrators crusading for "Native Hawaiian rights," and for the Akaka bill (more on that below).
Ethnic identity: We're not all Americans now
Anyone visiting the beautiful island of Hawaii until recently would have marveled at the harmony and color-blind mentality that has existed there.
Obviously, the multiculturalist busybodies were not about to allow that to stand. No way. They can't have a multiracial society living in harmony. That's not the kind of thing that generates angry voting blocs. Just as politicians desire to have as many poor people out there amongst the populace as possible — the better to keep them angry and vulnerable to the siren songs of the class-hatred mongers — so too are they desirous of having an angry agitating racial minority well-organized so as to enable politicians to play on their fears of injustices, real and imagined. Never mind that polls show Hawaii's opposition to the Native Hawaiian Bill, including among the Native Hawaiians, themselves.
Thus, the Akaka Bill
As this column noted on September 5, 2005, and June 5, 2006, there is legislation pending on Capitol Hill that would lead to the creation of a race-based government — the Native Hawaiian Governing Entity (NHGE) for the estimated 400,000 Native Hawaiians — not just in Hawaii itself — but living throughout all 50 states of the USA.
The Akaka Bill — so named after Hawaii's junior Senator Daniel Akaka — would empower that separate nation's government to negotiate with the U.S. government on a broad range of issues — including criminal and civil justice jurisdiction, civil rights matters, and delegation of powers from the U.S. to the NHGE — as well as transfer of land, natural resources, and other properties.
If it ain't broke, fix it anyway
And what defines a "Native Hawaiian"? Anyone who is a direct descendent of the "indigenous people who resided on the islands on or before January 1, 1893," or one of the "native peoples of Hawaii who was eligible in 1921 for programs authorized by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act or is a direct lineal descendent" of such a person.
When you consider all the inter-marriages over the years and the fact — again — that these people are scattered hither and yon all over America, one can imagine that this would — if enacted — lead to more racial conflict and of course, the enrichment of the trial lawyers (might have known they were involved somehow) as a result of legal confusion that would surely follow.
I'm an Indian, too?
Advocates of the Akaka Bill argue that all they're doing is providing the same rights to Native Hawaiians as those accorded the American Indians (or "Native Americans") and Alaska Natives.
A memo written last year by Heritage Foundation scholars Edwin Meese (a former U.S. Attorney General) and Todd Gaziano argues that the analogy does not work.
"Hawaiians [regardless of blood purity] are not and cannot be an American Indian tribe," they write. "The term 'Indian tribes' mentioned in the Constitution has a fixed constitutional meaning that cannot be changed by a simple act of Congress. They are limited to the pre-existing tribes of North America, or their offshoots, that were thought to be 'dependent nations' at the time of the framing of the Constitution. Such American Indian tribes must have an independent existence and predominately separate 'community' apart from the rest of American society, and their government structure must have a continuous history for at least the past century."
"By these standards," Meese and Gaziano conclude, "Hawaiians could never qualify as an Indian tribe."
The status of the bill
On May 2, a House Committee approved the 2007 version of the Native Hawaiian Bill. On May 10, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs did likewise.
The Bush administration, which had held back from taking any position in public up until then, surprised the senators at the last minute with a position strongly and openly opposing it.
This fall, it is likely the full Congress will take it up for a vote. The question is whether it will pass both houses with a veto-proof majority. If it does not, then a presidential veto would probably kill it, unless enough arms could be twisted to provide the two-thirds majority required to override.
If this is allowed to sail through — to the total disregard of our Constitution and Bill of Rights — then what will follow? An African-American nation, an Hispanic-American nation? (The latter would feed into the movement in some quarters to take back the southwest U.S. for Mexico.) Chinese American? German American?
Our congressmen and senators need to hear from you. Is the United States of America to be torn asunder?
Wes Vernon is a Washington-based writer and veteran broadcast journalist.
© Copyright 2007 by Wes Vernon
** Note by Ken Conklin: Wes Vernon previously published two important articles opposing the Akaka bill, coming at crucial times. One was published in September 2005 days before the Akaka bill was scheduled to come to the Senate floor (but got blown away by Hurricane Katrina); the other was published in June 2006 just days before the bill was the topic of debate on the Senate floor for 5 hours during a two day period regarding the cloture motion that failed.
"Sneak attack of the racial/ethnic dividers"
Renew America, September 5, 2005
"Dismantling of the United States: Happening right before our eyes"
Renew America, June 5, 2006
August 17, 2007: Ken Conklin, testimony regarding the Akaka bill to the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, for hearing on August 20.
TESTIMONY OF ROGER CLEGG
PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL
CENTER FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
THE NATIVE HAWAIIAN GOVERNMENT REORGANIZATION ACT OF 2007
BEFORE THE HAWAII STATE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
UNITED STATES COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS
August 20, 2007
Full text of Mr. Clegg testimony is copied below. It was also made available on the Honolulu Advertiser's online edition at
Full text of Mr. Clegg's testimony was also published in Hawaii Reporter online newspaper on August 15, 2007 at:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to testify this morning before the Committee.
My name is Roger Clegg, and I am president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a nonprofit research and educational organization that is based in Falls Church, Virginia. Our focus is on public policy issues that involve race and ethnicity, such as civil rights, bilingual education, and immigration and assimilation. Our chairman is Linda Chavez--whom, you may recall, was once the staff director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and is now the chair of the Virginia State Advisory Committee. I should also note that I was a deputy in the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division for four years, from 1987 to 1991.
The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007, a bill that has been introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, is not the easiest 22 pages of prose that you'll ever read, but I think I can boil it down to this: The bill will use a one-drop rule to define membership in an ethnic group, namely Native Hawaiians, whom it will then allow to organize themselves into a governmental entity that can claim a "special political and legal relationship" with the U.S. government of "the type and nature [that the U.S. government] … has with the several federally recognized Indian tribes." Members in this group will be made separate and distinct from the rest of the people in your state, will be able to claim preferences more easily than other racial and ethnic groups, and will be able to claim special economic and political power and authority in Hawaii.
I don't like this bill, and the objections to it fall into two basic categories: first, that it is unconstitutional; and, second, that even if it were constitutional, it would be a bad idea. Although the bill itself can be hard to follow, the problems with it are straightforward.
The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007 Is Unconstitutional
Let me talk about the constitutional problems first. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment makes it illegal for any state to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The Supreme Court has ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment makes it illegal for the federal government to deny equal protection as well. The definition of "equal protection" can be complicated, but one thing that it definitely applies to is treating people differently because of their race or ethnicity. The Supreme Court, in its 2000 ruling in Rice v. Cayetano, ruled explicitly that Native Hawaiians are an ethnic group, and that it is illegal to give anyone preferential treatment on account their membership in that group.
Putting this together means that Congress cannot pass a law that gives Native Hawaiians the special right to organize into a separate group that can claim, in turn, still more special rights. It's as simple as that.
Now, how can anyone think he can get around this? You really can't, but here is the argument that is being made: There's another part of the Constitution--Article I, Section 8, clause 3--called the Commerce Clause. It provides: "The Congress shall have Power … To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes …." So the argument is that, since Congress has authority to regulate commerce with Indian tribes, therefore it has the power to create what are essentially new Indian tribes, based on membership in an ethnic group.
If that sounds like a weak argument to you, you are exactly right.
For starters, of course, no one can claim with a straight face that this bill is about regulating commerce, let alone regulating commerce with Indian tribes. More fundamentally, the Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to deal with Indian tribes, not to create new ones. The fact that the Commerce Clause gives Congress authority to deal with "foreign Nations" has never been claimed to give Congress the power to create new foreign nations, and the fact that Congress is given authority by the Commerce Clause to deal with the states doesn't give it authority to create new states. That latter power is explicitly set out in Article IV, Section 3, clause 1--and indeed the fact that the Framers felt that they had to spell it out there proves that they cannot have thought that they had already created that power in the Commerce Clause (and if the Commerce Clause doesn't give Congress the power to create new states, then how can the same words in it give Congress the power to create new Indian tribes?).
Let me add that the Commerce Clause argument is the best argument that the proponents of this bill have for its constitutionality. And even if you think there is something to it, I don't know why whatever power Congress has to recognize Indian tribes should trump the Equal Protection limitations on what Congress can do. (Other clauses sometimes cited are the Treaty Clause, the Debt Clause, and the Property Clause, but there is even less of a connection between any of them and the necessity of creating an ethnicity-defined new Indian tribe.)
Let me also give you my opinion of what is going on here. There are people who would like to give special preferences to Native Hawaiians, and to maintain the special programs they already have. But they know that such preferences will likely be struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional, since--as I have discussed--Native Hawaiians are an ethnic group and it is unconstitutional to give one ethnic group a special preference over another ethnic group or groups. So the supporters of this kind of ethnic preference had the ingenious idea getting Congress to declare that Native Hawaiians are no longer an ethnic group; instead, they are now an Indian tribe, and the Supreme Court has said--Morton v. Mancari (1974)-- that giving preferences on the basis of membership in an Indian tribe is not ethnic discrimination. Very clever.
But, as has been pointed out, this calls to mind Lincoln's joke about how many legs a dog has if you call a tail a leg--the answer is still four, since calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one. Calling Native Hawaiians an Indian tribe will not make them one, at least if there are limits on whom Congress can declare to be an Indian tribe.
As the U.S. Department of Justice has noted in its recent testimony (at page 12) link:
Although the Supreme Court has consistently acknowledged Congress's broad power to determine when and how to recognize and deal with Indian tribes, it has also observed that a predicate for the exercise of this power is the existence of a "distinctly Indian communit[y]." United States v. Sandoval, 231 U.S. 28, 45-46 (1913). Moreover, the Court has cautioned that Congress may not "bring a community or body of people within the range of this power by arbitrarily calling them an Indian tribe," id. at 46, and that the courts may strike down "any heedless extension of that label" as a "manifestly unauthorized exercise of that power," Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 215-17 (1962).
The U.S. Department of Interior has a well-developed set of regulations for determining whether an "Indian group" is an "Indian tribe." The focus of those regulations is on whether the group is already a distinct political community, not whether it might become one once recognized. Native Hawaiians do not come close to passing muster under DOI regulations, nor under the criteria that the Supreme Court itself has laid out [see DOJ testimony, again at page 12].
One of your fellow Hawaiians, Kenneth Conklin, has noted [letter to The Washington Times, November 30, 2004, page A18] that, according to the 2000 census, there are more than 400,000 Native Hawaiians, including 240,000 in Hawaii, 60,000 in California, and 100,000 scattered throughout each of the other 48 states; this would be larger than any other tribe and, at 20 percent of Hawaii's population, a much larger percentage of the state than any other tribe makes up in any other state. The vast majority of Hawaiians with Native Hawaiian blood are of mixed ethnicity (versus what the vast majority of those living on Indian reservations consider themselves to be). This is simply not an Indian tribe.
I am in good company in seeing these constitutional problems. The United States Department of Justice has noted them this year, in testimony before Congress that I have already cited: http://indian.senate.gov/public/_files/Katsas050307.pdf A Senate report has likewise pointed out these and other problems: http://rpc.senate.gov/_files/Jun2205NatHawSD.pdf I urge you all to read these two documents. And, of course, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has opposed passage of this bill because it "would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."
The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007 Is Bad Policy
But even if you thought that Congress had the authority to pass this bill, it would still be a bad idea for it to do so.
The United States is a multiracial, multiethnic society. It always has been, and indeed its multiethnicity increases every year. Hawaii also has this multiracial and multiethnic description, if not more so. In such a society, it is simply untenable to have a legal regime where some of us are singled out for special treatment, whether that special treatment is better or worse than everyone else, because of skin color or what country our ancestors came from or when our ancestors came here. It would be especially dangerous to pick a large group out of that population, and not only allow them special treatment, but give them a separate government and rights. What could be more divisive than that?
Let's face it: The reason that preferences for some groups have a visceral appeal is because of the fact that some groups were better treated and others worse treated in our history, and so superficially it seems fair to "make up" for this past discrimination by discriminating in the other direction, especially if the group continues to lag in some way.
Now, I'm not an expert on your state's history, and I know that people have different opinions about who did what to whom and why a hundred or 114 or 229 years ago. But let's just assume for the sake of argument this morning that Native Hawaiians have suffered historical wrongs.
Even making that assumption--which many do not share--you would have to admit that similar or worse wrongs have been suffered by African Americans, and the Irish, and the Jews, and the Japanese, and the Chinese, and so forth. All of them can claim historical wrongs--and also to have a cultural heritage worthy of continuation, by the way.
But if you start fudging the laws to give groups that have suffered historical wrongs a mechanism to claim special treatment--call it tribal status, call it reparations, call it whatever you like--then where do you stop? You have simply made it inevitable that there will be more division, more resentment, more stigmatization. And, of course, these wrongs are always far enough in the past that it is impossible to say with certainty that this person over here today is entitled to be given something from that person over there today, since they may have little in common with the original victim and wrongdoer except their respective skin colors. Indeed, most Native Hawaiians today are descendants of both the supposed victims and the supposed oppressors.
But, it is claimed, these are not just historical wrongs: There are social disparities to this very day, and someone will show that Native Hawaiians have more poverty and less health care, and more substance abuse and less education, and so forth. Here again, I'm going to assume for the sake of argument that these disparities exist--although I know that there is vigorous disagreement over particular points.
Even making this assumption, though, you would have to acknowledge that often these social disparities are suffered by other groups, too--by, for instance, African Americans, and Latinos, or at least some subgroups of African Americans and Latinos, and some Asian groups, but not most of them, and even some white subgroups, and so forth. Do we slice and dice every race into those subgroups and, if some of those subgroups suffer some social disparity, then make them all into Indian tribes?
Of course not. The logical thing to do is to try to help poor people, and people who lack access to health care, and people with substance abuse problems, and people who go to failing public schools--but help all of them, regardless of skin color or ethnicity. There are plenty of poor whites, plenty of Asians who go to lousy public schools, plenty of Jews who abuse drugs, plenty of Irish who don't get good medical care. And, I should add, there are also plenty of Native Hawaiians who are healthy and wealthy, and hardly in need of any special preference. Separating people into a new Indian tribe on the basis of ethnicity is, to say the least, a very odd and inefficient way to go about helping them.
Let me end my discussion with one last point, which is too often lost in debates of this kind. Even if you think that there might be some good that is accomplished by this legislation, you also have to ask: Does this possible good outweigh the undeniable costs--the divisiveness, the unfairness, and so on--including the unforeseen consequences of creating a huge, powerful, ethnically-defined government within a government? The bill deliberately and dramatically encourages a separatist mindset; it institutionalizes an us-versus-them approach to public policy; it requires a division, a literal dis-integration of your islands' peoples. Is that what you want?
In conclusion, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization legislation is unconstitutional and, even if it weren't, it would still be a bad idea. It is divisive, unfair, and discriminatory. Whatever legitimate purposes it claims can be accomplished in other, more direct, less unfair and--especially--less divisive ways.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to testify today. I look forward to trying to answer any questions the Committee may have.
TESTIMONY OF BARB LINDSAY, NATIONAL DIRECTOR AND SPOKESPERSON OF "ONE NATION UNITED" PRESENTED TO HAWAII ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO U.S. COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS, AUGUST 31, 2007. Published in Hawaii Reporter, September 1 2007.
Public Comment and Testimony offered by:
Mrs. Barbara M. Lindsay on behalf of the membership of One Nation United (ONU) to the Hawaii State Advisory Committee and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Submitted August 31, 2007
My name is Barb Lindsay. I am National Director
and Spokesperson for One Nation United. I'm writing
to you on behalf of the Board and Membership of One
Nation United to oppose the Akaka bill because of
the severe harm it threatens to do to property owners
throughout America . I'm also writing to you to warn
you of the severe damage the Akaka bill would cause
to the civil liberties and constitutional rights of most
Native Hawaiians - - based upon the experience of
thousands of tribal members who currently suffer under
the "plenary power" of Congress over tribal property
and the experience of thousands more individual
Native Americans who have suffered greatly under
the unchecked political power of tribal government
leaders over the lives of individual enrolled members.
One Nation United (ONU) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan
501(c)4 public educational umbrella group dedicated
to the defense of private property rights, our free
enterprise system, and the rule of law - - ALL of
which are seriously threatened by the Akaka bill.
ONU represents tens of thousands of concerned
citizens, property owner groups, many businesses
large and small, various local governments, academics,
clergy, state and national trade groups, numerous
law enforcement leaders, and elected officials in
thirty-nine states across America .
The damage the Akaka bill threatens to property
owners arises because of the precedent the bill
sets for the balkanization of America through
allowing thousands of newly assembled Indian
groups to demand federal recognition to "tribal"
status. Nearby businesses and local governments are
hurt when tribes refuse to collect or remit sales and
excise taxes lawfully owed on purchases made by
non-tribal customers at Indian retail establishments.
How can any local business compete against the
lower, tax-free pricing at the tribal businesses? And
when the tax-collecting businesses close their doors,
local governments lose the taxes formerly collected
by these non-tribal retailers, as well.
The Akaka bill is not a simple federal
recognition of one Indian group, following the
criteria set forth in Title 25 of the Code of
Federal Regulations. Everyone knows, if those
regulations applied to Hawaii, Native Hawaiians
would fail to meet those criteria. That's
why the only way for Native Hawaiians to get
federal recognition is through a special bill like
this one proposed in Congress, which abandons
the CFR criteria and bases recognition on blood
The Mashantucket Pequot "tribe" of Connecticut ,
a phony new tribe unable to qualify for federal
recognition according to the standard requirements,
successfully lobbied Congress to get a "special"
bill passed (similar to the Akaka bill). Sen. Dan
Inouye, then chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs
Committee, was primarily responsible for getting
that tribe recognized. Inouye was able to accept
hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal campaign
contributions from that "tribe" and its affiliated
contractors because tribes are quasi-sovereign and,
therefore, exempt from most campaign contribution laws.
Please understand that Hawaii State legislators and
federal elected officials would also be influenced by
the Akaka tribe in a similar way if this bill became law.
Once recognized, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe
built the world's largest (tax-exempt) gambling casino
(called "Foxwoods") in a residential suburban area,
causing tremendous hardship to the local community;
a community powerless to stop it because of tribal
sovereign immunity. A book written by Jeff Benedict
describes the extremely corrupt process leading to this
Tribe's congressional recognition: "Without Reservation:
The Making of America's Most Powerful Indian
Tribe and the World's Largest Casino." Likewise,
the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is currently spending
many millions of dollars on lobbying and advertising to
promote the misguided and unconstitutional Akaka bill.
The huge profits generated by this phony new "tribe"
in Connecticut encouraged other alleged tribes to
redouble their well-funded efforts to get recognized,
including the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation of Kent
and the Eastern Pequots of North Stonington . The
Eastern Pequots were, in fact, granted "recognition"
by the BIA. But there was such an outcry of
opposition from the Connecticut Attorney General,
CT Governor, and both U.S. Senators, that the BIA
reconsidered its decision and ultimately reversed
it. Just as federal recognition of the Mashantucket
Pequot tribe spurred other groups to seek "tribal"
status, passage of the Akaka bill would, likewise,
do the same.
Even the highly controversial Congressional
recognition of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of
Connecticut was based upon a mistaken "history"
of that group as allegedly functioning as a tribe.
And Native Hawaiians, likewise, fail to have the
sort of "history" or current characteristics that are
clearly required under 25 CFR 83.7. They simply
fail to meet the requirements, which is why they
seek to circumvent them by action of Congress.
This is why the Akaka bill is based on an entirely
new theory of the Constitution - - to the effect
that Congress has the power to assemble and
create a "tribe" out of any group of indigenous
people, even if they are widely scattered, completely
assimilated, and have no history at all of a racially
exclusionary government over the same unified
territory over where they now seek to claim tribal
Hawaii Attorney General Bennett frequently cites
the Lara decision as a precedent for upholding the
power of Congress to create new tribes. But no!
The Lara decision only affirms that Congress has
the right to resuscitate a tribe that was previously
recognized and later de-certified. The Lara decision
simply did not say that Congress could arbitrarily
create a "new tribe" out of thin air.
If Congress successfully asserts such new power in
the case of Native Hawaiians, then thousands of
other Native American groups will soon demand
recognition based upon this same theory. They might
even be able to file lawsuits demanding "equal"
treatment or "legal parity" with Native Hawaiians.
Perhaps this explains why some organizations
representing many tribes support the Akaka bill
- - they hope to generate more "new tribes" for
their organizations. When will this balkanization
of America stop?
Although I am not authorized to speak on behalf
of my own Tribe, the Western Cherokee Nation of
Arkansas and Missouri, my views certainly do
represent those of thousands of Native American
individuals who would not wish to see Native
Hawaiians facing many of the same difficulties
suffered by most tribal members across America .
Congress exercises its plenary power over Native
American tribes through the Bureau of Indian
Affairs. We have all read the numerous news
reports in recent years about the outrageous
corruption and terrible inefficiency at the BIA.
In particular, most of us are familiar with the
Cobell-Norton lawsuit made necessary by the fact
that the BIA lost or mismanaged hundreds of
billions of dollars held in trust for Indian tribes.
Likewise, most people are familiar with the devastating
conditions prevailing on most Indian reservations,
where the BIA has utterly failed in its "trust"
responsibilities to Native Americans who live
under its wardship.
We cannot imagine why Native Hawaiians would want
to willingly place themselves under the "wardship" of
the federal government? Rather, we attribute the actual
support for the Akaka bill to Hawaii government
officials seeking to protect and increase the flow of
federal tax dollars to Hawaii and to large institutions
there made wealthy and powerful by the fact that
enormous amounts of our federal tax dollars are flowing
into their bureaucracies. Yet it's unclear how much of
this taxpayer funding actually "trickles down" to the
needy individuals who are supposed to benefit from it?
We've all read many news reports about individual
tribal members having their constitutional rights
and civil liberties repeatedly abused by their own
tribal leaders. Remember, each tribe writes its own laws,
often maintain their own courts, and has limited tribal
sovereignty - - which prevents individual members
from seeking the protection of most federal and state
laws. They cannot sue their own governments, even for
financial transparency, because of tribal "sovereign
immunity" from suit. Unfairly, federal money is given to
tribal leaders, who then decide whether or not to pass any
of it along to their individual members and which members
should receive how much. Under these legal conditions,
it's easy to see why individual tribal members suffer such
severe intimidation - - especially since they cannot seek
any recourse in either our federal or state court systems.
Families with mixed marriages are also split apart
because the laws applying to one spouse and their
children do not also apply to the other spouse. In tribal
child custody cases, federal law unwisely establishes a
presumption in favor of the "Native American"
spouse and in favor of tribal government jurisdiction
over state jurisdiction, thus, depriving the non-Indian
spouse of the protections he or she would normally
enjoy under the laws of our land as an American citizen.
Finally, we shall close with a rebuttal to a concept
often asserted by the supporters of the Akaka bill.
They say that Native Hawaiians are the "only
indigenous group" not recognized by the federal
government. They say Native Hawaiians deserve
to get the same federal recognition given to Native
Americans and to Native Alaskans. It must be noted,
however, that the federal government does not give
any recognition to Native Americans as a group. Rather,
federal recognition is given ONLY to individual "tribes"
- - 562 at latest count - - based on each tribe's unique
political history. Federal recognition is not given to
the entire racial group of Native Americans. In fact,
most Native Americans do not qualify for membership
in any tribe. Across America, hundreds of "groups" are
now seeking recognition as tribes, while many have been
refused. Hawaii's pro-Akaka officials should not be
claiming Native Hawaiians are somehow "discriminated
against" by comparison to Native Americans.
Please oppose the unconstitutional Akaka bill, S.310 and
H.R.505. It would sadly divide all American citizens by race.
Barb Lindsay, National Director & Spokesperson
One Nation United
P.O. Box 3336
Redmond , Washington 98073-3336
Tel: 206-660-3085 or 818-707-0619
On September 5, 2007 Jere Krischel, senior scholar for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, gave testimony to the Hawaii Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, by invitation. Here is that testimony.
Debunking Myths Surrounding the Akaka Bill
Aloha, members of the committee, and thank you for inviting me, and giving me this opportunity to share my mana'o on this topic close to my heart.
Aloha also to the esteemed Mr. Mossman, Ms. Apoliona, Mr. Klein and Mr. Blaisdell - I have a great respect for all of them and their many accomplishments, even though I believe they are on the wrong side of particular issues. I am very grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts, and listen to theirs.
I have several themes in my presentation today --
1) a discussion about the historical basis for the Akaka Bill, or any form of race-based sovereignty;
2) a short side trip into a discussion of individual and collectivist civil rights;
3) some notes about the dramatic difference between what is proposed in the Akaka Bill, and current Native American/Alaskan tribal recognition law;
4) the history of the Akaka Bill and efforts to obtain and retain race-based benefits;
5) and finally, some words about the dangers of dividing our interconnected people by race, and some thoughts about considering everyone in Hawaii as Hawaiian.
First, some ancient history.
Much has been made of the supposed parallel between Native Hawaiians and Native Americans and Alaskans. The argument that it is only fair to treat Native Hawaiians the same way we treat some groups of Native Americans and Alaskans has been eloquently put forth by Akaka Bill supporters on several occasions. On its face, this appears to be a simple matter of protecting what seem to be self-evident and reasonable special privileges. However, the truth is far more complex.
One could argue that there are concrete differences in the ancient history of Native Americans and Alaskans and Native Hawaiians, but the more important differences are post-contact. Although all of the groups suffered from diseases they were exposed to by contact with the larger world, Native Hawaiians share none of the history of total oppression, subjugation, or political and cultural devastation that was common in the North American narrative.
We are all very familiar with the story of initial contact in Hawaii - Captain Cook, initially mistaken for a god, was killed in battle on the Big Island as he tried to recover some stolen goods. The narrative gets a bit fuzzy when it comes to Kamehameha - we all learn in school that he conquered the islands, and pushed people over the Nuuanu Pali, but we rarely hear of his close advisor and in-law John Young, a British sailor who was central to Kamehameha's military success and the government of the unified Kingdom. Where historical fact completely falls apart in the common perception, especially in the past 30 years of aggressive historical revisionism, is the fall of the Hawaiian monarchy.
Although well covered by Kuykendall and Russ, two prominent historians of Hawaii in the 20th century, the Hawaiian Kingdom and the Hawaiian Revolution have been reinterpreted and misinterpreted time and time again over the past 30 years, both by activist scholars as well as some of our most powerful politicians. The 162 U.S. peacekeepers landed during the revolution have gone from passive albeit sympathetic observers of the local rebels, to a full scale invasion force and part of a deep conspiracy. The letter of Grover Cleveland to Congress on December 18, 1893, proclaiming the overthrow an "act of war", is made prominent and definitive - ignoring his referral of the matter to Congress, the results of their investigation exonerating the U.S. troops from any misconduct, and his acceptance of the new Republic of Hawaii as the lawful government of the Hawaiian Islands. The imprisonment of Queen Liliuokalani, instead of being known as a reaction to her involvement in the 1895 counter-revolution against Republic of Hawaii, is blamed on the United States instead, and even mistakenly dated to the 1893 overthrow.
Here are some undisputed historical facts often glossed over --
* The Hawaiian islands were unified by Kamehameha with non-native Hawaiian aid and advice, most prominently by John Young -- and this Kingdom was not race-based in its inception;
* The Hawaiian Kingdom, under Kamehameha III in 1840, established equal rights regardless of race, with the first constitution declaring all men "of one blood";
* In 1887, in response to the corruption of Kalakaua, a new constitution was forced upon the Hawaiian Islands by Kingdom residents and subjects primarily of European descent and leaders of the business and political establishment -- the first constitution which limited voting by race in the history of Hawaii. If you were to guess that native Hawaiians were those forbidden to vote because of race, you'd be wrong -- it was Asians who were disenfranchised, and Asians who did not regain their rights until well after annexation to the United States;
* The groups which organized the anti-annexation petitions in 1898, later embraced joining the United States, establishing the Hawaiian Independent Party, and sending both Robert Wilcox and Prince Kuhio to congress;
* In 1959, over 94% of the people in Hawaii voted for Statehood, including the vast majority of native Hawaiians.
This steady increase in political power for ordinary native Hawaiians, this continuous exercise of the individual right to self-determination through the ballot-box and civic participation, hardly speaks of a "history of suffering", as described by Akaka Bill proponents. Queen Liliuokalani herself acknowledged in her later years that "The best thing for [Native Hawaiians] that could have happened was to belong to the United States ."
==Peoples versus people==
Moving on from history, let's talk about what "civil rights" really are.
Although certainly the United States Commission on Civil Rights is dedicated to the protection of civil rights, this term has become ambiguous over the years. At first, the idea of equality was an individual one - that an individual person could not be treated differently, and that each individual deserved the full protection and exercise of their civil rights. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 represents one such codification of individual rights, stating "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." This is a commitment to equal treatment of every individual.
Another idea about civil rights has emerged since then, one that is inherently in conflict with the idea of individual civil rights - the idea of collective civil rights. The current Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which has not been ratified by the United Nations, states "Indigenous peoples have the right to the full and effective enjoyment of all of the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are recognized in the Charter of the United Nations and in the human rights law;" One can argue whether or not such different treatment of individuals according to what "peoples" they belong to is a good or bad thing - but one cannot avoid the inherent conflict between trying to treat each individual equally, but treating groups of people un-equally.
And how does this relate to the Akaka Bill? The question before us, even if you were to whitewash all the history, and ignore all the precedent, and accept every spurious claim made by native Hawaiian victimhood activists, is one between a collectivist idea of civil rights, and an individual idea of civil rights.
John R. Bowen, in Anthropology Today, Vol. 16, No. 4. (Aug., 2000), pp. 12-16., wrote:
"…the trope of indigenous/foreigners has been invoked to justify violence. Christopher Taylor (1999) points out that some Rwandan Hutus, in justifying their violence against Tutsi people, drew on narratives that depicted the Hutus as Rwanda's 'indigenous people' who had been conquered by Tutsis."
At what point does a collective right of the Hutus, as "indigenous" people, trump the individual right of a non-indigenous Tutsi to avoid genocide? When the concepts of individual civil rights and collective civil rights come into conflict, which one should hold sway? At what point does a collective right of people who share even the smallest bit of genetic background, trump the individual civil rights of their cousins, aunts, uncles and neighbors?
==Race-based by any other name==
Moving on from individual rights versus collectivist rights, let's talk about the dramatic difference between the Akaka Bill and current Native American/Alaskan tribal law.
Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett has argued that the Akaka Bill is not race-based -- a common refrain that simply does not stand up to strict scrutiny, nor the judicial record. Both Rice v. Cayetano and the United States Commission on Civil Rights report of May 4, 2006 make it clear that "descendants of the native indigenous people" is simply a proxy for race.
Mark Bennett has also argued that the Akaka Bill simply asks "to be treated the same way all other indigenous Americans are treated in this country." Yet the Akaka Bill notably lacks any of the 7 criteria required by the BIA for tribal recognition:
The petitioner has been identified as an American Indian entity on a substantially continuous basis since 1900.
A predominant portion of the petitioning group comprises a distinct community and has existed as a community from historical times to the present.
The petitioner has maintained political influence or authority over its members as an autonomous entity from historical times until the present.
A copy of the group's present governing documents including its membership criteria.
The petitioner's membership consists of individuals who descend from a historical Indian tribe or from historical Indian tribes which combined and functioned as a single autonomous political entity.
The membership of the petitioning group is composed primarily of persons who are not members of an acknowledged North American Indian tribe.
Neither the petitioner nor its members are the subject of congressional legislation that has expressly terminated or forbidden the federal relationship.
Membership in Native American and Alaskan tribes is not given to anyone who has any amount of Native American or Alaskan blood -- but the Akaka Bill would create a new government for anyone with even the smallest racial tie to pre-1778 immigrants to Hawaii. Far from asking for parity with Native Americans and Alaskans, the Akaka Bill goes much further, obliterating all qualifications except for race.
==Follow the money==
So why are we here talking about separating native Hawaiians apart from their neighbors, colleagues and family to form their own separate government?
A cynical person might say it's all a matter of money and self-interest. Ever since the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, which awarded 40 million acres and nearly 1 billion dollars, thought has been given to getting that same kind of prize for native Hawaiians.
I've recently been given the opportunity to research the presidential papers regarding the Native Hawaiians Study Commission, held during the Reagan administration, through a Freedom of Information Access request. The records of notes, meetings and memos have shown that the Native Hawaiians Study Commission Act of 1980 was strongly promoted by Hawaii politicians, with the hope of reaping similar reparations. However, the Native Hawaiians Study Commission report of 1983, after significant deliberation, concluded (and rightfully so), that there was no basis for any reparations. Needless to say, the report was a disappointment to many who thought that money and land were just around the corner.
A decade later, after 3 years of cunning legislative maneuvering, in 1993 the Apology Resolution was passed and signed by Bill Clinton, ignoring the findings of the Native Hawaiians Study Commission and providing the foundation for future claims. Akaka himself stated on September 4, 1999:
"I wanted the United States to admit liability for the 1893 overthrow to neutralize the 1983 Native Hawaiians Study Commission's Majority Report conclusion that the U.S. government was not liable for the loss of sovereignty or lands of the Hawaiian people in the 1893 overthrow."
And now, for the past 7 years, Akaka has tried to leverage that symbolic resolution into concrete legislation protecting and extending special race-based privileges. Mr. Mossman has been rather blunt about it himself, flatly stating that the Akaka Bill is meant to protect against equal-rights lawsuits, to preserve "the benefits and entitlements received by Hawaiians today".
==The melting pot==
So why does this bill seem so dangerous, so offensive to the spirit and culture of Hawaii?
Hawaii is a particularly special place in the world. It has been the quintessential melting-pot, with a wonderful mix of cultures and immigrants from all over this planet throughout its history. It is probably one of the most absolutely human places on this earth. Thanks to the basic view held forth by the first constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii, that all people were "of one blood", Hawaii has been the birthplace of new "indigenous" groups of people with mixed ancestry, with no other homeland or presence on the planet but in the Hawaiian islands. Where else, besides Hawaii, can you find a homeland for someone who is Japanese, Chinese, German, Irish, Spanish and Filipino? And where else in the world can you find a homeland for someone who is Japanese, German, native Hawaiian, and English? And why would you dare to treat those two people differently, simply because of a fractional part of their ancestry?
Race is a terribly divisive and pernicious concept. Asians were once considered so foreign that they could never be anything but "alien" in the United States, much less Hawaii. On July 26, 1894, regarding the refusal of the vote to Chinese in Hawaii, the Advertiser wrote, "Chinese is an alien in Hawaii, as he is everywhere away from the land of his birth. He brings the Orient with him." Champ Clark, congressional representative from Missouri, said in 1898, protesting the thought of the annexation of Hawaii: "How can we endure our shame when a Chinese Senator from Hawaii, with his pigtail hanging down his back, with his pagan joss in his hand, shall rise from his curule chair and in pigeon English proceed to chop logic…"
Today we recognize as self-evident the lunacy of asserting that a given racial group is so foreign as to never be truly "American". Such attitudes are those of xenophobic racial supremacists living in isolation from others, with a distinctly twisted concept of American identity. Why then, do we accept blithely the implication that every other racial group in Hawaii except for those with the smallest bit of pre-1778 immigrant blood, is so foreign as to never be truly "Hawaiian"? Hawaii is a place, not a race, and the insistence that anyone who does not have the proper pre-1778 immigrant bloodline cannot be truly Hawaiian is just as vile as aspersions made against other immigrant groups in the past and present.
==Laying the blame on your cousins==
Though it may be considered impolite to mention, most native Hawaiians are not mostly native Hawaiian. According to OHAs own research, only 10% of people with partial native Hawaiian ancestry have 50% or more native Hawaiian ancestors. This high rate of intermarriage is a direct function of treating people as equals, and not discriminating by race in matters of love. I assert that this is what we should aspire to, not some racial separatism, as well-intentioned though it may be.
One particularly disturbing aspect of the idea of splitting our state into "native" and "non-native" is the fact that most native Hawaiians are only part-native Hawaiian. People speak of native Hawaiians as oppressed, or endangered, or somehow worthy of special treatment because of the past. But within most native Hawaiian's ancestry, are all the other races being asked to have lesser privileges and lesser rights. If someone's great-grandmother was native Hawaiian, but their other 3 great-grandmothers and 4 great-grandpas were all haole, why are they given credit for the sufferings of one of the eight, but not blame for the oppression dealt out by the other 7? Why is it that non-native Hawaiian cousins, who only differ from their native counterparts in the smallest amount, must bear the burden of their own ancestry as well as the 7/8ths left over?
This one-drop rule, reminiscent of Jim Crow laws in the segregated South, is pernicious in its application now as it was then. If your grandma was an annexationist, and your grandpa was a royalist, should you be blamed for the overthrow? Should you be given reparations for the overthrow? Take Strom Thurmond -- should his part-black daughter be given special privilege because her ancestors were slaves, or should she be made to pay because her ancestors were slave owners?
==We are one people==
Although at one point in time, the people living in Hawaii could be considered fairly distinctly, this moment is far in the past. Whereas we were once easily categorized into just Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Filipino, Caucasian, and native Hawaiian, those lines have blurred over the centuries. Like a jar of different colored sand, layered upon one another, once shaken, it can never be split up into its component parts.
We of Hawaii, of all races, are one people. We are sisters, brothers, aunties, uncles, calabash cousins, children, parents, tutus, wives, husbands, schoolmates, neighbors and friends. Even when we don't share the same blood, we share the same heart. To divide us by our genetic lineage is counter to the very essence of Hawaii .
My mother went to Maryknoll with Ms. Apoliona. I went to the same school as Mr. Twigg-Smith, right across the street from their school. Twigg-Smith fought in the same war as Senator Inouye. My father sailed with Nainoa Thompson with the Hokule'a from Hawaii to Tahiti in 1985 on the escort vessel Dorcas. My cousins have gone to Kamehameha Schools, and even Senator Akaka is related to me, an only slightly more distant cousin. We are all related, all intertwined, and I'd bet that nobody in this room is much more than a few degrees separated from each other by marriage, by blood or hanai.
Akaka Bill supporters, and supporters of collectivist rights for native Hawaiians often insist that their motivation is to help improve the demographic statistics for health, wealth and education for native Hawaiians. However, they are confounded by the high rate of intermarriage and the low rate of blood quantum, and the imprecise application of the infamous "one-drop" rule of the Jim Crow era (a time when a white woman could give birth to a black child, but a black woman could never give birth to a white child…today the claim seems to be that a Japanese woman can give birth to a native Hawaiian child, but a native Hawaiian woman could never give birth to a Japanese child).
Worse than that, the social ills they are attempting to remedy are directly harmed by the imprecise nature of racial classification -- what we need in Hawaii is targeted help, based on need, to those who need it. Using race as a proxy for need only misdirects resources that could be used to attack the problems cited by racial collectivists. When we use the one-drop rule to measure the demographic performance of a given group, we must be careful not to confuse correlation with causality -- although as a group, native Hawaiians may have more needs than other groups, it does not mean that they have those needs because they are native Hawaiian.
About the only thing that can be said in favor of it is that if the new race-based government was able to wrest reparations from the federal government, the other 49 states may be forced to contribute to the economy of the islands for a lie told about the history of the islands over 100 years ago by radical activists.
==Conflating race and culture==
Another stated premise of the Akaka Bill is to protect existing race-based programs and therefore protect and preserve Hawaiian culture.
But how can we separate out the contributions of all the non-native Hawaiians to the culture of Hawaii for the past 200 years? The highest example of Hawaiian cultural revival, celestial navigation, was re-introduced by a white man and a Micronesian sailor. Even the preservation of the Hawaiian language itself owes deep debts to the missionaries who helped codify the Hawaiian alphabet, and worked tirelessly to expand literacy in the Hawaiian Kingdom. The preservation of culture, any culture, is not dependent on racial boundaries or classifications, and this is especially true for a group which has since the moment of contact in 1778, embraced all humans as equals.
Hula does not require special blood. Honoring Pele does not require special blood. Speaking olelo Hawaii does not require special blood. Having a deep spiritual connection to the lands and waters of our islands does not require special blood. Eating fish and poi does not require special blood. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, about Hawaiian culture that requires us to divide ourselves by race in order to preserve it. Every program of OHA, every class taught at Kamehameha Schools, every plot of land leased by DHHL would be just as effective at preserving the Hawaiian culture if they did not discriminate by racial background. A Portuguese homesteader with a cheap lease can work the land just as effectively as his part-Hawaiian cousin. A Japanese student can learn and study ancient Hawaiian song, dance and religion, just as well as their part-Hawaiian cousin could. A Filipino man can just as easily learn to be a professor of Hawaiian language, and pass on the ancient tongue of Hawaii just as well as his part-Hawaiian brother in-law.
OHA Trustee Boyd Mossman seems to conflate the idea of race and culture, and has spoken of the "people who make Hawaii Hawaii." He has spoken of the "people whose home, whose aina, whose spirit these islands are." He has fretted that without the Akaka Bill, "Hawaiians will be no different from Californians, Georgians or New Yorkers." But what is wrong with being a Californian, or Georgian? Why is Hawaii not the home, not the aina, not the spirit of the fourth, fifth and sixth generations who immigrated to Hawaii after 1778? Why aren't all Hawaiians, regardless of race, the people who make Hawaii Hawaii ? Why is the beautiful, mixed culture of Hawaii today something that needs to be owned and mastered by one race, and one race alone? Why do we need to set up racial hierarchies like they did in the old plantation days, and put native Hawaiians above Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese and Filipino?
The native Hawaiian population in 1778 has been estimated to be upwards of 300,000. It reached its nadir in the late 1800s, with only 39,000. Since annexation and statehood, it has blossomed to over 400,000, spread all across the United States and the rest of the world. By the end of this century there will be over 4 million if the trend continues. Although at one time, an argument could have been made that native Hawaiians were on the brink of extinction, this is absolutely no longer true. Native Hawaiians are thriving and growing, prominent in both industry and government in the Hawaiian Islands and the United States.
One of the fears expressed by Akaka Bill supporters is that somehow, without a focus on race, the culture of Hawaii will somehow be diminished or lost. They seem to be of a belief that without the proper bloodline, somehow the culture and practices aren't genuine -- akin to believing that Mozart can only properly be played by Austrians, or French only spoken by those of native Gallic descent, or that the Pope must be Italian. Not only is this fear unfounded, but it threatens to drive the culture they wish so desperately to preserve to extinction.
Culture survives by expanding its reach, not by limiting it. The future of olelo Hawaii will be bleak if we only teach it to part-native Hawaiian children. On the other hand, if every child in the State of Hawaii was required to take at least a year of Hawaiian language, olelo Hawaii would be strengthened and preserved in perpetuity. Same thing with hula, or celestial navigation -- we preserve the culture by making sure that *everyone* is exposed to it, and enriched by it. Limiting our target audience to those with the proper bloodline only serves to retard the growth and advancement of culture.
Hawaiian music is a particularly apt example -- although we have some ancient Hawaiian song, chants and music, today Hawaiian music is much more than the product of a single race. The guitar Ms. Apoliona plays on was brought here by Europeans. Same thing with the ukulele played by Braddah Iz. The influences of the blues, reggae, rock, pop, classical, jazz - they all have become a part and parcel of Hawaiian music.
So is Hawaiian music any less Hawaiian if played by a Filipino? Is it any less Hawaiian when sung by a Japanese person? It is any less Hawaiian if it uses instruments, scales and chords imported from abroad?
Of course not. To preserve these things we shouldn't discriminate. Hawaiian culture, Hawaiian language, Hawaiian music and Hawaiian dance are not race-based. They don't discriminate. Having the proper bloodline doesn't make you better at them, nor does having the "wrong" bloodline make you any worse.
==OHA for all Hawaiians==
It has been clearly admitted that the Akaka Bill is an attempt to protect existing race-based programs from legal challenge. Unable to convince the courts to ignore the 14th and 15th amendment, proponents of race-based programs hope to legislate their way out of their inherent unconstitutionality.
And why? What is it about race-based programs that make them any more effective than race-blind programs?
Let us for a moment imagine that OHA served anyone in Hawaii, regardless of race. Imagine for a moment that their programs to improve the health, wealth and education were open to all people in need, rather than just a single racial group. Would this prevent OHA from helping needy native Hawaiians? Of course not! A health program would be just as effective at helping a part-native Hawaiian family to avoid diabetes if it included helping their Portuguese neighbors. A program to help jump-start small businesses would be just as effective at helping a part-native Hawaiian entrepreneur if it included helping their Japanese cousin. A program to help improve literacy and education would be just as effective at helping a part-native Hawaiian high-school drop out if it included helping their haole friend.
Now, I understand that there are 160 federal programs which have had "native Hawaiian" tacked onto them, and that this federal pork may only be available to the State of Hawaii when it plays the race card. Getting the U.S. congress to fund race-blind programs in Hawaii may be a harder sell than preying upon some sense of white-guilt they may have. Maybe this is the only good reason for the Akaka Bill -- but this is a dangerous path to follow. Although this federal money may seem like it comes for free, it costs us our soul. To get this money, we need to divide ourselves by race, deny our brothers, sisters and cousins, and forsake the values which have made Hawaii into the special place that it is.
My family has been in Hawaii for over 100 years. My extended family has been in Hawaii since before 1778. And all of my family deserves to be treated equally. That is what we should mean when we talk about "civil rights" -- civil rights are the rights we ALL share. Civil rights do not discriminate. I pray that the Hawaii Advisory Committee helps protect the civil rights of all humans in the State of Hawaii, and that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights does as well.
Mahalo, and thank you for letting me share my mana'o.
Native and indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands, without direct pre-1778 ancestry
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, blog, September 11, 2007
By Stephen Aghjayan
The following is a letter to the Hawaii Advisory Committee of the United States Commission on Civil Rights by Stephen Aghjayan.
I am writing you about the grave and negative consequences our state faces from the potential passage of the Akaka Bill. The proponents of this bill like to say that all they are asking is for is the Federal recognition that other native peoples have. There is never any discussion as to how Federal Indian Policy (FIP) and the reservation system is working on the mainland. I can speak a little to this point.
Prior to moving to Hawaii I lived for twenty years within the boundaries of the Swinomish Indian Reservation in WA State. For over 15 of those years I lived on leased Indian trust land. I have first hand experience with Federal Indian Policy and how Federally recognized tribes (FRT) operate and interact with their neighbors and those they do business with.
Long before 9-11 my experiences and observations were such that I was characterizing FRT as “little terrorist entities in our midst”. I witnessed an attitude among many tribal members that they are tribal members first and Americans second. Many of them like to talk about that their tribe is “sovereign” and the Lummis in particular claim they have never been conquered.
These individuals put their tribal interests above all else. In many places particularly on our borders tribes are involved in the all kinds of illegal trafficking and activities. Tribes are able to flout their congressionally granted so called “sovereign immunity” to misbehave and then not face any consequences.
It used to be that the BIA kept the Tribes in check but since 1974 and the Indian preference in hiring act we now have a situation where the BIA works for the Tribes benefit, not so much for the rest of us. I can see the same thing happening in respect to any Native Hawaiian governing entity.
As the president of the West Shore Tenants Association which represented mainly non tribal members I have experience in bringing grievances against unfair tribal actions into both tribal and federal courts.
Our association was formed in response to 300%-500% land rent increases and what we believed was an illegal utility assessment that was imposed unequally upon tribal and non tribal members to the detriment of the non tribal members. We were unsuccessful in our Tribal Court appeal which found that we could be discriminated against by the tribal utility authority.
FRT compete with local, county and state governments for money, power and resources and they do it with the backing of our tax dollars. Any Hawaiian governing entity would be doing the same thing.
Most tribes have more lawyers working for them on a per capita basis than do the communities around them. One of the things you find out when dealing with tribes is that they will often do things that are wrong and or illegal but they force you to have to challenge them in court to stop them. They will try to get you to go into tribal court first where the playing field is not so level. If you find your self trying to fight a FRT in Federal Court you are fighting not only the Tribe but generally the BIA and the Dept. of the Interior as well. Battling tribes becomes a war of attrition. The financial burden of challenging them with all the Federal monies at their disposal and the bevy of lawyers at their command is daunting. They don't have to be right, they just have to outlast you. Small towns and counties are often bullied into signing agreements and memorandums of understanding in an attempt to avoid litigation. This almost always leads to the diminishment and transfer of the rights of non tribal members and the resources of local governments to the tribes.
Another key issue in this debate is that Tribal members can vote in US elections and do so to elect people who will be supportive to their interests to the detriment of the general citizen taxpayer. Allowing Native Hawaiians to vote for both their own government as well as in State and local elections would almost certainly have the same negative impacts.
The fact that tribal governments impact non tribal members is very problematic in a Constitutional sense. Article 4 section 4 of the US Constitution guarantees us all a republican form of government which essentially means a government that we all get to vote for. Neither current tribal governments on the mainland or the proposed new Hawaiian governing entities are republican in nature. It is undeniable that any Hawaiian governing entity would impact every citizen of the State of Hawaii yet only those with Hawaiian blood would get to vote for it.
I believe that current FIP is deeply flawed both in its legal underpinnings and in its real world consequences and that the same can be said in regard to the potential consequences of the passage of the Akaka Bill.
I ask the commission to not support the creation of a raced based and non republican form of government here in Hawaii.
Stephen Aghjayan writes from Lihue, HI.
Hawaii Reporter, October 8, 2007
The Akaka Bill: Escalating Separatism, Socialism and Tribalism
By Elaine Willman
Hawaii’s Akaka Bill (Senate Bill 310 and House Bill 505) is not just about Hawaii. This article attempts to explain why this bill is so strongly opposed across the mainland, and the entire country. It is important to understand how significant the Akaka Bill is to the Hispanic and Indian community as well.
Since the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, an escalation of federally recognized Indian tribes and attendant reservations now stands at 562 separate tribal governments, with over 270 additional tribes seeking separatism (federal recognition) based upon race and history. Among these tribes are over 370 lucrative Class III tribal gambling facilities, over 40 of which have plunked down into urban, off-reservation locations, redirecting vast sums of an area’s disposable income. This is a burgeoning, imposing jurisdictional and economic fabric to layer across America, one that is almost entirely subsidized by citizen taxpayers and consumers.
There are significant distinctions between local state subdivisions such as counties, cities and towns, and tribal governments. The former must adhere and operate within the confines of the U.S. Constitution and State Constitutions; the latter are self-determining and have substantial “add-ons” unavailable to local jurisdictions. State subdivisions must be republic in form with clear separations between legislative, executive and judicial branches; tribal governments are often ruling families elected in many tribal communities without a secret ballot. Where tribal governments adopt constitutions and simulate equity between their legislative, executive and judicial branches, the reality is that these leadership lines are blurred and clan or family-related.
Local county and city governments may not initiate and operate profit centers. Tribal governments may do so in an unlimited manner, and are guaranteed a monopoly on gambling if desired, and on Native American product protections. Tribal governments may also own casinos, hotels, resorts, golf courses, retail and industrial facilities, etc. Local governments may not participate in the American marketplace or elections, but tribal governments do so with almost no regulatory oversight. Local governments do not receive annual federal subsidies commensurate with those guaranteed to Indian tribes for health, education, law enforcement, housing, courts, land acquisition, economic development, cultural programs and preservation.
Local governments do not have immunity from litigation. Tribal governments do. Tribal wealth management seminars have been ongoing since the first one held in Tampa, Florida in November 2004. Local governments may not accrue “wealth” or profit.
Private businesses owned by tribal members have competitive advantages by way of exemptions from state and local permits, fees, taxes and other regulations required of all other local businesses. So the dueling economy is one of not just constraints upon local government jurisdictions, and advantages of tribal government jurisdictions. It is also a similar unevenly weighted marketplace and commerce. Opening a new tribally owned business is considerably less costly to an owner than to any other businessperson who would have to compete. Initial investment for startup businesses reduces the return on investment or profits. With significantly lower initial investment, tribally owned businesses have very clear advantages that tend to cause competitors to incur substantial loss or close.
As this comparison of governing systems and the marketplace is understood, it is easy to realize the incentives and opportunities that some Native Hawaiians (having one drop of Hawaiian blood) seek a separate tribal government likely to be clearly lucrative and capable of financially and politically dominating neighboring local governments.
The poverty and squalor within which most tribal families live on Indian reservations on the mainland is evidence of a top-down governing authority within tribal governments wherein tribal members have little say about tribal revenue and profit centers. Tribal members who, from loyalty to their culture remain on reservations, are beholding to meager per capita distributions, and some get none. It is a tragic but true consequence that Congress never intended but Congress protects tribal governments, not individual tribal citizens. The very same would be true for a federally recognized Native Hawaiian “tribal government.”
Individual Native Hawaiians enrolled in such a separate government would lose the constitutional and civil rights protections that they currently take for granted. All of federal Indian policy upon which the Akaka Bill is organized, is oriented to support tribalism as a governing system, not the individual Indian citizen. Even the Indian Civil Rights Act passed to remedy this enormous flaw, continuously and conveniently lacks enforcement power over tribal governments when they are abusive of their members.
So why is the Akaka Bill also important to Native Americans and Hispanics? And why is it being watched by other ethnocentric governments of the world? The short answer is to grow the numbers and power of the voices of separate race based governments hosted in the 50 states. If Congress reaches into America’s demographics and sets up even one more race as a separate government in the United States, the legal and legislative door is wide open for the radical Reconquista and Aztlan movements of the Mexican Indigenous to rush through and challenge the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The goal, in concert with massive illegal immigration, is to establish separate Mexican Indigenous “homelands” within the seven southwestern states of California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Texas.
Conflicting government systems operating within a state impose serious jurisdictional and civil rights issues. Add to that a legally and intentionally imbalanced marketplace that creates a primary economy and secondary tax-exempt “national Indian economy” subsidized by, profiting from and eroding the primary taxed economy. Separate race-based governments are turning taxpayers into indentured servants.
We must stand on the principle of a country that is united in its respect for all cultures and determination to provide equal protection of laws for all American citizens. However, the escalation of separate racial governments within the United States is a most attractive future outcome for adversaries of the United States. Divide and conquer is a truism historically. So call it what you will: socialism vs. capitalism, tribalism v. democracy, ethnocentrism v. equality: passage of the Akaka Bill is the lynchpin that will launch the most serious domestic crisis this county has known since the Civil War. It will be the next Civil War.
Elaine Willman, MPA, is Chair of Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) a national organization of community education groups and citizens in 28 states who reside within or near federally recognized Indian reservations. Ms. Willman is author of "Going To Pieces...The Dismantling of the United States of America," a non-fiction reflection of the voices on and near 17 Indian reservations in the United States. Contact: Phone: 509-865-6225; or mailto: email@example.com
On October 22, 2007 U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH issued a statement on official stationery strongly opposing the Akaka bill and threatening to veto it if it reaches his desk.
See the official letterhead statement in pdf format at
Following is the statement in simple text (minus the letterhead and Presidential seal).
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503
October 22, 2007
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
[sent to the House Rules Committee]
H.R. 505 – Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007
(Rep. Abercrombie (D) Hawaii and 7 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly opposes passage of H.R. 505. As the U.S. Civil Rights Commission recently noted, this legislation “would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege.” The President has eschewed such divisive legislation as a matter of policy, noting that “we must . . . honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one nation out of many peoples.” This bill would reverse this great American tradition and divide the governing institutions of this country by race. If H.R. 505 were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.
H.R. 505 would grant broad governmental powers to a racially-defined group of “Native Hawaiians” to include all living descendents of the original, Polynesian inhabitants of what is now modern-day Hawaii. Members of this class need not have any geographic, political, or cultural connection to Hawaii, much less to some discrete Native Hawaiian community. Proponents of the bill seek to analogize Native Hawaiians to members of existing Indian tribes. As one Federal court recently explained, however, “the history of the indigenous Hawaiians...is fundamentally different from that of indigenous groups and federally-recognized Indian Tribes in the continental United States.”
Closely related to those policy concerns, H.R. 505 raises significant constitutional concerns that arise anytime legislation seeks to separate American citizens into race-related classifications rather than according to their own merits and essential qualities. In the particular context of Native Hawaiians, the Supreme Court has invalidated state legislation containing similar race-based qualifications for participation in Native Hawaiian governing entities and programs. Given the substantial historical and cultural differences between Native Hawaiians as a group and members of federally recognized Indian tribes, the Administration believes that tribal recognition is inappropriate and unwise for Native Hawaiians and would raise serious constitutional concerns. The Administration strongly opposes any bill that would formally divide sovereign United States power along suspect lines of race and ethnicity.
On October 24, 2007 the U.S. House of Representatives Republican Study Committee issued a 10-page statement strongly opposing the Akaka bill. The statement was printed on colorful letterhead available as a pdf document, and is also available in simple text. To see the document (in either or both formats), go to
National Review online, October 24, 2007, 4:00 a.m.
The insidiousness of Hawaiian separatism.
By Peter Kirsanow
The House of Representatives is poised to pass the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (known in the Senate as the “Akaka Bill”), the apogee of an aggressive multiculturalism that has manifested itself in local, state, and federal legislation in the last two decades. The bill faces a certain White House veto, but it’s unclear whether there are enough votes in the Senate to sustain it. If the Senate overrides the veto, it will speed the country’s embrace of a form of post-nationalism (already held by many elites) — a confederation of various races, ethnicities and interest groups competing for special privileges, exemptions and recognition.
The Akaka Bill creates a race-based government for native Hawaiians. Even its supporters don’t deny that the bill could lead to outright secession. In the meantime, the bill will produce a regime of racial preferences, reparations, and lawsuits fueled by ethnic grievance, victimhood, and entitlement.
The Akaka Bill is just the most audacious manifestation of an accelerating trend toward elevating racial/ethnic identity over American citizenship. Hyphenated-Americans have existed throughout our history; Americans have never suffered from a shortage of ethnic, cultural or regional pride. But for most of that history official primacy wasn’t given to race/ethnicity; and when such primacy was accorded, it supported the loathsome institutions of slavery, segregation and Jim Crow, institutions eradicated at a staggering price in lives, blood and societal upheaval.
Too many politicians, it seems, slept through history class. They blithely repeat the mistakes of the past.
Today government policies encourage tribalism and reward racial obsessives. State privileges and benefits are dispensed on the basis of skin tone and ancestry. The Supreme Court says that state universities can prefer some races over others. Federal, state and local governments award billions of dollars of contracts, not on the basis of who has more qualifications, but who has more melanin. Voting districts are designed to cluster voters by race and ensure that candidates of the right race are elected.
The phrase “equal treatment” has been supplanted by the platitude “celebrate diversity.” As Thomas Sowell has shown — repeatedly — societies organized around the latter phrase without the former as a predicate are usually riven by strife, discord, and civil war.
Yet “diversity” remains the feel-good term for our times. In many quarters it trumps freedom of speech, due process, equal protection and other annoyances actually contained in the Constitution. Not surprisingly then, witnesses appearing before Congress or federal agencies these days are as likely to be petitioning for special treatment as equal treatment; for “racial sensitivity” as colorblindness. The general welfare often is a concern secondary to ethnic advantage.
While government bureaucracies, media and the academy promote slow-motion American balkanization, the ranks of those trying to preserve our national unity dwindle. Washington, D.C. is waist-deep in special pleaders making their cases to politicians eager to appear progressive, sensitive and tolerant. Quite often, the politicians yield. Last year’s cloture vote on the Akaka Bill was 56-41, that is, 56 senators of the United States of America, including 13 from the party of Lincoln, thought a bill that would create a separate race-based government was worthy of consideration; a bill whose proponents acknowledge secession as a possibility merits a vote. And the 2006 election added to congress even more members likely to be sympathetic to the bill.
The Akaka Bill would provide the incentive and rationale for other ethnic groups to push for separate, privileged legal status. A century and a half ago a war costing 600,000 lives couldn’t sever the country. Now, strategic use of the words “victim,” “race,” “oppression,” and “disadvantage” may be all it takes.
The Akaka Bill is a legislative abomination on steroids. Its spirit runs counter to our animating principles and national ideal. As I’ve stated before, the bill is the worst piece of legislation ever analyzed by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (that’s saying something). In a few weeks the members of the world’s greatest deliberative body will have a chance to kill the bill for a second time and reaffirm that we are one nation, indivisible.
— Peter Kirsanow is a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He is also a member of the National Labor Relations Board. These comments do not necessarily reflect the positions of either organization.
Knoxville (TN) Metro Pulse (weekly), Week of October 25
Scrap the Hawaiian Nation idea
by Barry Henderson
Oddities transpiring in Washington, D.C., often give us pause. One of those quizzical items is before Congress now. It would formally recognize and approve of a racial divide in the state of Hawaii and pave the way for a separate Polynesian-based nation within the state. Though it is likely to be found unconstitutional, it has passed the House by the stunning vote of 261-153.
Titled the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, the legislation would establish an American-Indian style tribe for native Hawaiians, however that distinction might be defined, allowing for the formation of a tribal government not bound by U.S. law or even our Constitution. The bill is moving along, having been passed by the Indiana Affairs Committee of the Senate, where it failed by only four votes last year. The Bush administration has vowed to veto it. It may be one of the rare instances where I’d agree with a Bush veto. The whole idea is an abomination against the spirit of the Republic.
Where to start? In the 1990s, I spent considerable time in Hawaii during a period when native Hawaiian nationalism was in full bloom. It was an interesting time to be a Haole, the Hawaiian term for foreigner, which is used derisively toward Caucasians. It was my first experience with being discriminated against as a minority, and it was an eye-opening one. It allowed me to sense personally for the first time in my life some of the feelings that racial discrimination generates among minority members.
These were not debilitating feelings in my case, though, because I was consciously grounded in my U.S. citizenship and my appreciation of the racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity that goes to make up the American melting pot.
Native American Indian tribes were never afforded the unmitigated opportunity to dive into that melting pot, and the un-American gesture of consigning them to reservations was Washington’s way of perpetuating tribal distinctions. We allowed them to form tribal governments as a part of that misguided patronization, and we’ll have to live with it, at least for the foreseeable future, and so will the tribes.
Such was never the case in Hawaii, where there were no enforced reservations established, where intermarriage among races was a common practice, and where Hawaiians, including island natives and all other citizens of those islands who voted, claimed U.S. statehood by an overwhelming margin in 1959.
So now some of the natives of Polynesian ancestry want out of that contract. It’s ironic, to say the least, what with the state’s population being among the most diverse in the nation. In-migration from the mainland and from Asia has contributed mightily to the melting-pot status of the 50th state, although African Americans are still underrepresented there. The frictions among racial and ethnic groups—and such expressions still do exist—seem almost healthy as the pot is continually stirred, tending to diminish those frictions.
Don’t let Congress give up and allow one racial group, meaning the native Hawaiians however defined, to form its own government within our government. It would set an awful precedent for furthering ethnic separatism elsewhere in the nation, where ethnic pride and prejudices might be exploited to motivate new nations, based on tribalism, within our own. Don’t let Congress divide us against ourselves. Assimilation into the United States of America and its unique culture has made this country what it is, despite initial tendencies by immigrants to live and function within their own distinct neighborhoods.
Siding with conservatives is usually difficult for me. But in this instance it is easy. Defeat the Native Hawaiian bill or veto it. If Congress overrides a veto, it will be up to the courts to declare it unconstitutional, which they surely would. Don’t, under any circumstances, allow the native Hawaiians independence from the rest of us. That’s a formula for America’s ultimate failure.
INESTORS BUSINESS DAILY, Monday, October 29, 2007, EDITORIAL
Congress: Nearly five decades after statehood, the U.S. House passes a bill classifying American citizens by race and establishing apartheid in Hawaii. Is the U.S. about to have its own separatist movement?
We have observed that if there was ever a place that came close to Martin Luther King's dream of people being judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, it is Hawaii.
"One of the greatest examples of a multiethnic society living in relative peace" is how the state's longtime U.S. senator, Democrat Daniel Inouye, once described it.
Last Wednesday, the House voted 261-153, with an incredible 39 Republicans in the majority, to approve the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, sponsored by one of Hawaii's two representatives, Democrat Neil Abercrombie.
The other, Democrat Mazie K. Hirono, says: "This is a historic vote and one that helps to perpetuate righteousness by righting a historic wrong."
The bill would essentially classify "native Hawaiians" as the rough equivalent of an American Indian tribe, with similar rights to form a separate governing entity with the power to negotiate with state and federal governments over issues such as control of natural resources, lands and assets.
But under the definition of "tribe" established by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, "native Hawaiians do not qualify as a tribe." The people who make up a tribe must be geographically isolated as a group like, say, the Navaho or Cherokee nations.
The 400,000 or so "native Hawaiians" are interspersed among the general populations of all 50 states. And, unlike American Indians, native Hawaiians didn't have their lands taken by force but willingly joined the United States.
We're not sure what "historic wrong" Rep. Hirono wants to righteously correct. This bill, and a similar one sponsored by Hawaii's other senator, Democrat Daniel Akaka, was spawned by a historically flawed resolution passed in 1993 and signed by President Clinton.
It apologizes for America's aiding and abetting the overthrow a century earlier of the Native Hawaiian government of Queen Liliuokalani — in effect stealing Hawaii from the Hawaiian people.
Except it didn't happen quite that way.
Hawaiian scholar Rubellite Johnson, who helped establish the Hawaiian studies program at the University of Hawaii, says much of the supposed historical justification for this legislation is "a distortion of the truth." Not only was the U.S. "not directly involved" in the forced abdication of Queen Liliuokalani, Johnson says, but most of the Hawaiian monarchy supported U.S. annexation.
In any event, the issue was available for discussion in 1959. That's when native Hawaiians voted for statehood in a plebiscite that officially transferred sovereignty to the U.S. and rendered moot the question of whether Hawaii was stolen from its people.
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar effort to create a state-sanctioned, race-based entity composed of native Hawaiians back in 2000. In Rice v. Cayetano, it ruled that under the 15th Amendment, which forbids discrimination in voting based on race, a race-based government in Hawaii was unconstitutional.
Ambercrombie's legislation would establish an American Quebec, only worse, and could become a conduit for reparations and other subsidies at the expense of U.S. taxpayers, much as reparations are demanded for the institution of slavery.
The fact that the measure is being taken seriously lends encouragement to other segments of the ethnic grievance industry, such as those who insist the southwest United States was stolen from Mexico. Would they demand similar recognition?
Not even a presidential veto may stop this bill. Hillary Clinton voted for the Senate version in 2006, and she would undoubtedly sign it into law as president.
Presidential candidate John Edwards is fond of saying there are two Americas. Prepare for two, three, and maybe even more.
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
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
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
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.
George F. Will, nationally syndicated columnist, published a major commentary ripping the Akaka bill in The Washington Post and reprinted in numerous newspapers throughout America.
"Social Engineers In Paradise"
By George F. Will
The Washington Post, Thursday, November 29, 2007, Page A25
The commentary drew a large number of comments on the newspaper's blog for this article. The comments make interesting reading to see how some angry Hawaiian sovereignty zealots trash George Will and try to defend the Akaka bill, while many opponents of the Akaka bill come forward to say he told the truth. See:
In view of George Will's comments comparing the Akaka bill's racism with the racism of Hitler's treatment of Jews, and in view of comments saying that comparison is absurd, it is notable that one of the many places where George Will's article was reprinted was the Jewish World Review, whose audience knows the comparison is appropriate.
** Here is George Will's article.
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.
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, wrote a short but important essay opposing the Akaka bill.
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.
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.
You may now
GO BACK TO THE INDEX OF ALL MAJOR PUBLICATIONS OPPOSING THE AKAKA BILL (with links to other subpages)
SEE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE AKAKA BILL
GO BACK TO OTHER TOPICS ON THIS WEBSITE