SUMMARY: S.310, the Akaka bill, would legalize a host of illegal racially exclusionary programs now coming under court challenge. It would set up a recipe for racial conflict as bloods vs. non-bloods struggle over who gets which pieces of a dismembered State of Hawai'i. That's bad enough. But in the process it would give money and political power to radicals whose long-term goal is to rip the 50th star off the flag -- the secession of Hawaii from the U.S.A. And it would invent a new theory of the Constitution leading inevitably to the further balkanization of America into racial enclaves. Hawaii has already gone far down the road of racial separatism. It has over 160 federally funded programs, two state government agencies, and numerous private institutions, which are all racially exclusionary (including Kamehameha Schools with assets between $8-15 Billion). Some secessionists oppose the Akaka bill because they say it's a sell-out; but other leaders of the independence movement support it as a way to get "reparations" from the "oppressors" during a "transitional period." A book published March 1 explains all this in detail. "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State" by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. See http://tinyurl.com/2a9fqa for a detailed table of contents and the entire Chapter 1 ("The Gathering Storm").
Aloha kakou e na po'e komike.
Ikaika loa ko'u ku'e i ka pila S.310, ka "palapala a Akaka."
Aloha committee members.
I am very strongly opposed to the bill S.310, the "Akaka bill."
I am Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D., a retired professor of Philosophy. Hawai'i has been my home for 15 years. I speak Hawaiian language with moderate fluency, and participate in some aspects of Hawaiian culture. My area of greatest scholarly expertise has now become the issue of Hawaiian sovereignty. In the election of November 2000 I was the first person with no native blood ever to run as a candidate for trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, placing 4th out of 20 candidates for one seat on the board.
In his Senate speech on January 17, 2007 while introducing S.310 Senator Akaka said: "Mr. President, a lack of action by the U.S. will incite and will only fuel us down a path to a DIVIDED Hawai'i. A Hawai'i where lines and boundaries will be drawn and unity severed. However, the legislation I introduce today seeks to build upon the foundation of reconciliation. It provides a structured process to bring together the people of Hawai'i..."
With all due respect, Senator Akaka got it backwards. The clear purpose of his bill is not to unite the people of Hawai'i but to divide us. It is not "to bring together the people of Hawai'i" but rather to separate us along racial lines. The bill authorizes creation of a government that is racially exclusionary, whose members and officers must meet a racial test by passing scrutiny of a committee of genealogists established in the bill itself. The bill then authorizes the newly created racial government to negotiate for money, land, and legal jurisdiction -- a recipe for "us vs. them" racial conflict as bloods vs. non-bloods fight to determine who gets which pieces of the dismembered State of Hawai'i.
This bill is about singling out by race a thoroughly assimilated and widely scattered group of individuals. They share nothing in common, and are indistinguishable from the rest of the people, except for the fact that they possess at least one drop of Hawaiian native blood.
Hawaiian culture and language are the core of Hawai'i's multiracial rainbow -- thousands of people with no native blood participate actively, while many "Native Hawaiians" choose not to participate at all. The Kingdom of Hawai'i was a multiracial nation in which only 40% of the population had any native blood at the time of the revolution of 1893. Throughout the history of the Kingdom most cabinet officers were Caucasian, nearly all the judges were Caucasian, and roughly 20-30% of all the members of the Legislature (both appointed and elected) were Caucasian. The right to vote and hold office was never restricted to ethnic Hawaiians alone. Yet S.310 proposes to create a "Native Hawaiian Governing Entity" unlike any that ever existed since Hawai'i became a unified nation in 1810. The Akaka bill violates the multiracial character of the Kingdom and of today's State of Hawai'i by requiring all the members and officers of the Akaka tribe to have native ancestry, as verified by a team of genealogists.
The Akaka bill repeatedly cites the apology resolution of 1993 (PL 103-150) as justification. That misguided resolution contains numerous historical falsehoods and half-truths which were never scrutinized by Congress, since it was passed without committee hearings and without debate on historical topics.
Congress has twice engaged in careful consideration of what the U.S. owes ethnic Hawaiians, especially in light of the events of 1893 that resulted in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. On both occasions Congress concluded that the U.S. owes "Native Hawaiians" exactly what it owes everyone else; nothing more and nothing less. (1) In 1894 the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs held two months of hearings, taking sworn testimony in open session under cross-examination. Its 808-page "Morgan report" concluded that the U.S. neither conspired with the revolutionists beforehand, nor aided them during the revolution. (2) The Native Hawaiians Study Commission spent more than two years gathering expert comments from historians, cultural experts, and social scientists, and delivered its final report to the Senate and House on June 23, 1983. The Commission found that Native Hawaiians have higher rates than other ethnic groups for indicators of dysfunction in health, education, income, etc. The commission concluded that the U.S. has no obligation (and indeed it would be bad public policy) to remedy those problems in any way other than the usual assistance given by government to all people afflicted with difficulties. For discussion of both the NHSC and Morgan reports, and links to the full text of both documents, see http://tinyurl.com/f4cqt
S.310 is not about recognizing a small group of Indians on a contiguous patch of land in some remote area far from surrounding population. Ethnic Hawaiians comprise 20% of the entire population. They live in all neighborhoods, work at the same professions and jobs, pray in the same churches, and play the same sports, together with everyone else. Their "tribal" lands (the "ceded lands" plus Kamehameha Schools' land holdings) would comprise about 50% of the entire state, and would be located in a very large number of widely scattered enclaves throughout all the islands. The word "apartheid" seems quite appropriate for describing the situation, reminiscent of the race-based laws and Bantustans of pre-Mandela South Africa. The partitioning of India to create Pakistan comes to mind, as an exchange of populations would be needed (what has lately come to be called "ethnic cleansing") if "Native Hawaiian" lands were to be populated by a majority of "Native Hawaiians."
The primary purpose of this bill is not merely to recognize ethnic Hawaiians as an "indigenous people." It is not, as the bill's sponsors say, merely to provide equality or parity among Native Americans, Native Alaskans, and "Native Hawaiians."
The primary purpose of this bill is to suddenly make legal a plethora of illegal racially exclusionary institutions and programs. These institutions and programs have grown wealthy and powerful over the past 30 years, to the point where the entire political establishment of the State of Hawai'i has fallen under their domination. Of course the government of Hawai'i and its large institutions favor S.310 as a way to maintain their power structure and to ensure the continued flow of federal dollars through their overflowing coffers.
Hawai'i already has over 160 federally funded programs that are racially exclusionary, for the benefit of ethnic Hawaiians. In addition the State of Hawai'i has two government agencies providing benefits exclusively to ethnic Hawaiians, controlling perhaps a Billion dollars in financial assets plus over 200,000 acres of "Homelands" plus about 60 square miles now owned by the Office of Hawaiian affairs on two islands. In addition there are a large number of private institutions providing benefits exclusively for ethnic Hawaiians; most notably Kamehameha Schools whose assets are somewhere between 8-15 Billion dollars (depending how its vast land holdings are valued).
The Akaka bill is a brand new kind of bill, based on an unprecedented theory of the Constitution. It is not a simple federal recognition of an Indian tribe. The theory is that Congress has the power under the Indian Commerce Clause to single out any group of so-called "indigenous" people whose ancestral lands were ungulfed by the United States; authorize them to form a tribe-like governing entity even if they never were organized that way before; and empower them to negotiate for the transfer of money, land, and jurisdictional authority. If that can be done for ethnic Hawaiians then it can also be done for ethnic Mexicans seeking to establish a Nation of Aztlan -- all persons of Mexican ancestry possessing at least one drop of Aztec or Mayan blood and living in those portions of the U.S. that were formerly part of Mexico. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of heretofore unknown Indian tribes would spring up as groups of "indigenous" people not now eligible to join an existing tribe would demand the right to form a new tribe of their own. Perhaps the concept could be extended to other groups not indigenous to America but whose history makes us sympathetic to the historical injustices they have suffered and their current neediness -- how about creating a Nation of New Africa for all descendants of America's African slaves?
Passing the Akaka bill would accomplish the following highly undesirable purposes: (1) It would give a legal stamp of approval to programs that are currently illegal and coming under court challenge; (2) It would give added financial and political power to virulent racial separatism which is already growing strong in Hawai'i; (3) It would fuel a drive for ethnic nationalism whose ultimate goal is the complete secession of Hawai'i from the United States; (4) It would put Congress on record supporting a new theory of the Constitution that would lead to further racial balkanization throughout America.
On March 1, 2007 my book was published: "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State." Please see http://tinyurl.com/2a9fqa for a detailed table of contents and the entire Chapter 1: "The Gathering Storm." I encourage every member of this committee to purchase the book and read it carefully.
As noted above, the government and large institutions of Hawai'i favor S.310. Please rescue our people from being dragooned into an apartheid regime by a bunch of "fat cats."
Repeated surveys have shown that 67% of all Hawai'i's people, including about half of all ethnic Hawaiians, are opposed to the Akaka bill. See results of a survey published July 5, 2005 which phoned every household in Hawai'i http://tinyurl.com/cwxgg and another similar survey released May 23, 2006 http://tinyurl.com/k5hxc . See also "Akaka Bill -- Roundup of Evidence Showing Most Hawaii People and Most Ethnic Hawaiians Oppose It" at http://tinyurl.com/omewe . Perhaps the strongest evidence that ethnic Hawaiians themselves do not support this bill is the fact that only about 15% of the 401,000 ethnic Hawaiians elibigible to sign up on a racial registry have done so during a period of more than three years of a massive outreach program that included perhaps millions of dollars of advertising on TV, radio, and newspapers, plus mailouts, signup tables at shopping malls and community events in Hawai'i and across America.
But why should you have to rely on surveys and reading of tea leaves to figure out whether Hawai'i's people want to partition their state? As you elected officials know very well, the most clear-cut survey of public opinion is the one provided by secret ballot voting on election day.
The Akaka bill is the most important piece of legislation affecting the State of Hawai'i since the 1959 statehood vote. Our people deserve the right to be heard on this issue before Congress forces something upon us that we do not want. While it is true that federal recognition of Indian tribes is never an issue for voter referendum, it is also true that no Indian tribe comprises 20% of a state's entire population (indeed, no state has 20% of its population being Indians of all tribes combined). Supporters of the Akaka bill will readily acknowledge that S.310 is not about creating an Indian tribe. Therefore the normal procedures for recognizing Indian tribes should not be applied to this bill, and a plebiscite is clearly in order.
For several years opponents of this bill have been demanding that a referendum be held on election day to determine the will of the people. Hawai'i has no procedure for voter-initiated referendum. But the Legislature has the power to place a referendum question on our ballot. Despite repeated demands for a referendum on the Akaka bill, our arrogant political leaders have refused. They said holding a referendum would cause a delay. But if they had agreed to a referendum in November 2004 or 2006, the results would now be known!
Here are my three wishes, in order of priority:
1. Please defeat S.310.
2. If you support S.310, please give respect to the people of Hawai'i by postponing any action on the Akaka bill until such time as a statewide ballot referendum has been held.
3. If you support S.310 and feel you cannot wait for a referendum to make your decision, then please at least insert an amendment into the bill requiring that the bill will have no force or effect unless the people of the State of Hawai'i approve it in a general election by a majority of all ballots cast (blanks on this question count as "no" votes).
Thank you for considering my views on S.310. Aloha.
Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
46-255 Kahuhipa St. Apt. 1205
Kane'ohe, HI 96744
tel/fax (808) 247-7942
To: U.S. Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs
For: Hearing of May 3, 2007 regarding S.310
This is supplemental testimony, in response to the testimony of Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett.
Akaka Bill -- Bad Law and Bad Public Policy
Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
46-255 Kahuhipa St. Apt. 1205.
Kane'ohe, HI 96744.
tel/fax (808) 247-7942.
Mark Bennett holds the title of Attorney General of the State of Hawaii. He is supposed to represent ALL the people of Hawaii. Shame on him for supporting S.310, the Akaka bill, whose purpose is to divide the people, land, and resources of Hawaii between those who have native blood and those who do not. Shame on him for proposing to violate the civil rights of all who lack native ancestry and the civil rights of those with native blood who refuse to join the Akaka tribe. His testimony for the May 3 hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee is an abomination. (Hawaii Reporter, May 1, 2007 http://tinyurl.com/yqsypr )
The Akaka bill explicitly calls for negotiations among the Native Hawaiian Governing Entity (tribal council) and the state and federal governments to see who will get which pieces of a shattered State of Hawaii. The negotiated agreement is not required to be ratified by either the members of the tribe nor by the citizens of Hawaii. Our legislature has been outrageously generous already in handing over enormous resources to OHA, DHHL, etc. Does anyone imagine they will have any backbone in defending the rights of non-natives?
So here's what happens. Those who join the tribe continue to be citizens of the state. Thus 20% of our population can participate on both sides of the negotiations. For example, state Senator Clayton Hee, formerly Chairman of OHA, can use his right hand (citizen of Hawaii) to take land and money from the state, and give it to his left hand (tribal member) on behalf of the tribe. Talk about conflict of interest!
Members of the tribe get all the benefits of the tribe AND all the benefits of the leftover state, while non-members get only the benefits of the leftover state. Thereby we have tribal members as first-class citizens while everyone else is merely a second-class citizen. This sets up a hereditary elite, vioilating the Constitution's prohibition against titles of nobility. Those people who have a drop of native blood but who reject racism make the very honorable choice not to join the tribe -- a decision which causes them and their descendants to lose the first-class status to which the Akaka bill entitles them. This is political extortion -- either join the tribe or lose your benefits!
Mr. Bennett spent a lot of his testimony to claim that the Akaka bill is not unconstitutional. Clearly he's worried about it. I'm not a lawyer, but I can see what's going on.
The Akaka bill is not a simple recognition of an Indian tribe. This is the creation of a brand new fake tribe out of thin air, where no tribe has ever existed before. Bennett says the Akaka bill would simply put Native Hawaiians on a par with Native Americans and Native Alaskans. But he fails to mention that neither "Native Americans" nor "Native Alaskans" are federally recognized. Recognition goes to about 562 individual tribes, each with their own separate and distinct membership rolls, tribal councils, and set of laws. "Indians" are not recognized as a racial group -- most Indians do not belong to any tribe and would not be eligible to join one. "Native Hawaiians" would be the only racial group to be recognized in its entirety, as one single entity. At more than 401,000 members (7 years ago in Census 2000) it would be America's largest "tribe."
Bennett cites legal decisions upholding the right of Congress to re-recognize a tribe which was previously de-recognized (terminated). He seems to say that the overthrow of the monarchy was the termination of the Native Hawaiian tribe which the Akaka bill would now re-recognize.
But the "tribe" which was the Kingdom of Hawaii was multiracial. All persons born in Hawaii or naturalized into the Kingdom were subjects (citizens). By the time of the revolution in 1893 only 40% of the population had any native blood.
Bennett dismisses this inconvenient truth by saying that the generosity of the Native Hawaiians in welcoming non-natives should not now be held against them to deny federal recognition to a racially exclusionary group. But it wasn't merely generosity by natives to newcomers. It was equity. It was an exchange of full equality in return for expertise and financial investment. The Kingdom was built with the help of Caucasians, and included Caucasians as cabinet members and legislators (both apponted and elected). Tens of thousands of Asian laborers contributed sweat-equity and some also became Kingdom subjects. There were non-natives among the King's closest advisers and governing officials from before the Kingdom was unified in 1810 right up until the revolution of 1893. Kamehameha The Great appointed Englishman John Young to be Governor of his home Hawaii Island.
In recent years there have been struggles within the Seminole and Cherokee tribes regarding the status of the Freedmen. There were black slaves owned by tribes, who later became free. The Freedmen were full members of those tribes, with voting rights and financial benefits. Just a few weeks ago there were court hearings over the Cherokees' expulsion of 2800 Freedmen descendants -- black people expelled by vote of the tribe because they lack Cherokee native blood. The Cherokee, and Seminoles, probably do not have the legal right to expel them. Mr. Bennett's careless dismissal of non-native rights to belong to an Akaka tribe puts him in the position of expelling the non-natives even before the extinguished tribe has been re-recognized and given a chance to exercise self-determination.
The Akaka bill actually relies on a whole new theory of the Constitution, which goes like this. Congress has the power to single out any group of so-called "indigenous people" whose lands have been engulfed by the United States, and create a tribe for them even though they were never organized as a tribe. Just think how many hundeds or even thousands of brand new Indian tribes will spring forth as millions of people with a bit of Indian ancestry who are not now eligible to join any tribe decide to band together and invent one. Just think about people with a drop of Mexican ancestry ("indigenous" because of Aztec or Mayan blood) living in those states which were formerly part of Mexico, deciding to come together and create a Nation of Aztlan (the organization MEChA is already pursuing that effort). That's the Pandora's box whose lid Mr. Bennett seems eager to open.
Two books are recommended, which focus directly on this issue of the balkanization of America in general and Hawaii in particular:
Elaine Willman, "Going to Pieces: The Dismantling of the United States of America." (privately published, 2006, Equilocus, P.O. 1280, Toppenish, WA 98948). The Citizens Equal Rights Alliance has its website at
. To obtain a copy of Willman's book go to
Kenneth Conklin, "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State" (print-on-demand, E-Book Time, March 1, 2007). Detailed table of contents and entire Chapter 1 "The Gathering Storm" free at
or order book direct from publisher at
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