CLICK HERE FOR AN INDEX OF ALL MAJOR PUBLICATIONS OPPOSING THE AKAKA BILL FROM 2000 THROUGH NOW (with links to subpages for specific time periods)
Following is a table of contents of the articles in the order they appear lower on this webpage, for the period January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012. To see full text of the actual articles, in chronological order, scroll down below the index.
January 20 and February 24, 2012: Malia Hill, senior policy analyst for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, published this essay in two parts on January 20 and February 24, 2012. The contents of the two parts are consolidated here by Ken Conklin, although some of the formatting looks different. See "The Akaka Bill" at
E Pluribus -- What?
BY JERE KRISCHEL
Hawaii Journal of Public Policy, Vol 1, No 1, May 2012, pp. 25-27
Trends in Federal Indian Policy and Common Law
by Elaine Willman
Hawaii Journal of Public Policy, Vol 1, No 1, May 2012, pp. 28-30.
When in the Course of Human Events it Becomes Necessary
by Elaine Willman
Hawaii Journal of Public Policy, Vol 1, No 1, May 2012, pp. 31-34.
August 31, 2012
Census 2010 Native Hawaiian data -- some political implications
by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
September 18, 2012
Brief Summary of Bad Surprises in the New Akaka Bill
by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
October 17, 2012
Recommendations for Hawaii voters who oppose racial separatism: U.S. Senate; U.S. House; 5 OHA seats; state legislature.
by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
FULL TEXT OF EACH ITEM, IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
** Malia Hill, senior policy analyst for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, published this essay in two parts on January 20 and February 24, 2012. The contents of the two parts are consolidated here by Ken Conklin, although some of the formatting looks different. This essay is a factual description of what's in the Akaka bill and what dangers the bill poses for Hawaii. It's NOT an editorial against the bill, but certainly anyone who thinks about the dangers described in the article would be likely to reach the appropriate conclusion.
In Pursuit, No. 3, January 20, 2012
Also reprinted in Hawaii Journal of Public Policy, Vol 1, No 1, May 2012, pp. 7-15
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
The Akaka Bill (Part 1)
By Malia Hill
Few issues have defined the last few decades in Hawaiian politics as completely as the Akaka Bill, or more formally, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act. At most a fringe issue only a few decades ago, it has now grown to cast a lasting shadow over the state's social and political make-up, and will likely do so for decades to come.
The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii has long been a critic of the Akaka Bill in its various incarnations, not least because of the lack of consideration of the probable long-term results of its enactment. While none of us have a crystal ball that can reveal to us all of the consequences of any legislation, such a sweeping and transformative action as that envisioned by the Akaka Bill will undoubtedly leave a permanent mark on the state. In its capacity as a champion of small government and individual liberty, the Grassroot Institute has raised serious ques-tions about the wisdom of the many versions of Native Hawaiian Reorganization that have been proposed, and will continue to do so. However, it is incumbent upon us to lay out the basis of these objections and explain why we are so concerned about the Akaka Bill and its probable effect upon Hawaii, its people, and its economy.
What is the Akaka Bill?
The name "Akaka Bill" is something of a catch-all term for the various proposals for creation of a separate Native Hawaiian government, most generally along the lines of Native American tribal governments. Often known as the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (or similar), the many different versions of the Akaka Bill have var-ied in their particulars (most especially when proposed with compromises meant to address the various objections to the Bill), but generally include at least:
* The establishment of some form of sovereign government for the purpose of organizing/governing those defined as "Native Hawaiian."
* Some attempt to address land transfer to a Native Hawaiian governing entity and the sub-sequent legal relationship between any Akaka-based government entity and the US government.
As can be expected with such a potentially complicated and sweeping item of legislation, many of the previous versions of the Akaka Bill addressed a number of related issues, from the question of whether a new Native Hawaiian government will be allowed to establish casinos to questions about immunity to local statutes.
What many people may not realize is that the creation of a Native Hawaiian government is not simply an "aid" program of sorts for Native Hawaiians. And, while they may have faint notions of the reservation system associated with Ameri-can Indian tribes, few have considered what the impact of a similar government in Hawaii might be.
There is, in addition to the federal legislative efefforts at creating a Native Hawaiian government, a Hawaii state version of the Akaka Bill, passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Abercrombie in 2011. At the time of its passage, the measure met with little fanfare, as it lacked the ability to confer federal recognition on any Native Hawaiian government, but did authorize a state agency (the Office of Hawaiian Affairs) to begin the creation of a "roll" of Native Hawaiians that would presumably be needed at some point in order to create a defined tribal/government membership.
In general (and due, no doubt to the unique historical considerations present at the time that the Republic of Hawaii became a U.S. territory), most versions of the Akaka Bill have stopped short of fully embracing the Native American tribal model. However, it should be noted that a recent iteration of the Akaka Bill, proposed as an add-on to an appropriations measure in October 2011 by Senator Inouye, lacked any of the previous versions' compromise measures and simply authorized the Secretary of the Interior to recognize Native Hawaiians as a federally-recognized Indian tribe, basing the tribe's membership on the aforementioned state legislation. It is worth noting that this is the most radical of the recent Akaka proposals, as it contained no provisions for future Congressional or state action to limit or define the reach of the newly created Native Hawaiian tribe. (For a further discussion of the implications of federal tribal status, please see Part 2 of this In Pursuit series, to be published on February 17th, 2012.)
Why is the creation of a Native Hawaiian tribe more complicated than other indigenous American groups? In part the question touches on the unique history and culture of Hawaii.
Historical Considerations and the Definition of "Native Hawaiian"
The history of Hawaii, from monarchy and republic to territory and statehood, has become infused with political bias and controversy -- a regrettable situation that has only intensified with the advance of the Akaka Bill. Because, while the Akaka Bill purports to create a Native Hawaiian Government in the mold of the American Indian tribes, one must acknowledge that there are significant historical differences between the two that undermine and confuse the rationale for Akaka's passage and necessity.
The most important difference to note is the fact that the sovereign Hawaiian government that became part of the United States was not (even during the time of the Monarchy) composed exclusively of those of ethnic Hawaiian descent. Hawaii then, as now, was a multi-ethnic melting pot, with
Chinese, Filipinos, Caucasians, and the like all able to claim that they were Hawaiians. Because much of the rationale for creating a Native Hawaiian Government revolves around the existence of a historical sovereign Hawaiian government, the fact that said government was not defined by bloodline or race is telling. It both undermines the claim that the Akaka Bill is anything other than a backdoor attempt at a racial entitlement program aimed at ethnic Native Hawaiians, and creates serious questions about attempts to define who should be eligible to participate in a new Native Hawaiian government.
Historical revisionists and Akaka die-hards might respond that the question is not so much the ethnic makeup of the citizenry of Hawaii at the time of annexation, but rather the manner of annexation and the fact that (prior to the overthrow of the monarchy), leadership of the Hawaiian government was firmly in the hands of Native Hawaiians. Yet this still ignores pertinent historical considerations. For one, annexation of Hawaii was not the simple "takeover" that many envision, but a carefully negotiated arrangement between the two governments that left Hawaii (and its citizens) with a series of rights and privileges that other territorial citizens might envy. The overthrow of the monarchy is another hotly debated issue (and for a full and fascinating account, I recommend Thurston Twigg-Smith's Hawaiian Sovereignty: Do the Facts Matter?, but one fact that cannot be ignored is that Native Hawaiians served on both sides of the overthrow, as did Caucasians and other non-Hawaiians (many of whom held prominent posi-tions within the Kingdom of Hawaii). Thus, any attempts to justify the Akaka Bill based on history is fundamentally flawed.
Moreover, history further demonstrates a serious difficulty in defining who should qualify as a "Native Hawaiian" for the purpose of participating in a new Native Hawaiian government. Even if we were to ignore historical precedent and define it purely by quantum of Native Hawaiian blood (a process that comes with its own constitutionality issues, see below), there still remains the question of "how much is enough" and who determines it. In the end, most proposals depend upon the creation of a board or committee that would be the arbiter of who is qualified to participate, which raises its own issues of ethics and influence. For example, several Native Hawaiian groups, disappointed with the way that other exclusive groups have managed the lucrative Native Hawaiian trusts, oppose leaving such power to the same insiders.
Currently, the likelihood is that any Native Hawai-ian Government created through the federal government will turn to the state legislation passed in 2011 to determine qualification to participate. That legislation empowered the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to begin to compile a roll of eligible Native Hawaiians through the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission. The state legislation defines eligible Native Hawaiians as one who:
* An individual who is a descendant of the aboriginal peoples who, prior to 1778, occupied and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian islands, the area that now con-stitutes the state of Hawaii; or
* An individual who is one of the indigenous native people of Hawaii and who was eligible in 1921 for the programs authorized by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, or a direct lineal descendent of that individual;
* Has maintained a significant cultural, social, or civic connection to the Native Hawaiian community and wishes to participate in the organization of the Native Hawaiian government entity; and
* Is eighteen years of age or older.
As you can see, an effort has been made, though vaguely, to create a loophole by which this is not merely a race-based program. Still, this same loophole may cause more problems than it solves. By making the qualifications primarily about race, the definition process undermines the historical considerations that are supposed to justify Akaka. But a more historically accurate definition of who constitutes a "Hawaiian" would surely lose the political capital and influence of the bill's primary supporters and undermine the rationale for the Bill. Why is the issue of race so important? That is a question of civil rights, the U.S. Constitution, and the tangled history of the American Indian tribes in the U.S.
Civil Rights and Tribal Questions
Would you be surprised to hear that the United States Commission on Civil Rights opposes the Akaka Bill? It's true. A neutral, bipartisan organization charged with making recommendations on our nations' civil rights issues considered the Akaka Bill and determined that it was discriminatorily race-based. In fact, in recommending against passage of the 2005 version of the Akaka Bill, the Commission characterized it as, "legislation that would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."
As mentioned above, attempts to define who qualifies as Native Hawaiians are at the root of the race problem and Akaka. So long as it is primarily race-based it will run afoul of the strict scrutiny applied to any race-based legislation. And attempts to put Native Hawaiians on par with American Indian tribes ignore not only the historical differences between the tribes and the sovereign Hawaiian government, but also skip over the question of whether tribal status is even desirable for Hawaii and Native Hawaiians. The body of law regarding the treatment of everything from child custody to economic rights differs greatly when tribal status is invoked and poses a large and unheralded social danger for the state of Hawaii. Then there is the question of casino gaming and its proceeds, which cannot be overlooked in the context of tribal government. (Those who thought that gaming would be specifically prohibited under the Akaka Bill should note that the most recent version of the Bill contains no such bar.) So great (and overlooked) is this issue, that we will continue discussion of it at greater length in Part 2 of this paper (to be published in January 2012). For now, suffice it to say that few have truly considered the questions of jurisdiction, immunity, and law that would arise in the case of a Native Hawaiian government, including the creators of the legislation itself.
Social and Cultural Considerations
For a number of reasons, from its size to its isolation to its ethnic makeup, Hawaii has its own unique culture. We see the external hints to it in every conversation about "ohana" and "aloha spirit", but anyone who would deny that it is both real and valuable hasn't been to Newark lately. Hawaii's reputation as "paradise" is about more than just good weather and nice scenery. It's a statement on the people, the welcoming and inclusive culture, and the "feel" of the Islands. Thus, it is ironic that the effort to create a political entity to preserve Native Hawaiian culture has done so much destroy it in a practical sense.
Because that is what Akaka does. It creates division in a community that has traditionally been defined by its unity, and emphasizes race in a place that was previously proud of its heterogeneity. It wasn't long ago that one could happily tell a mainlander who asked about your home that you were "Hawaiian." Now, there is an inherent need to qualify and define that term -- a quandary not felt by New Yorkers, another proud island group full of many races. Passage of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act will only exacerbate the problem. It will literally divide families. Add in concerns about different treatment under the law, economic issues, and other questions of race-based preference, and you have all the ingredients for an increasingly fractured and fractious society. There may be no surer route to destroying the character of the Islands than through passage of the Akaka Bill.
The funny thing about evaluating the economic impact of passage of the Akaka Bill is that so few attempts have been made to do so. Considering how much money is at stake -- not only through Native Hawaiian trusts and real property, but also in terms of how the inevitable changes will affect existing businesses -- it's a startling oversight.
In 2009, in conjunction with the Beacon Hill Institute, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii released a study of the economic impact of the Akaka Bill with a focus on the probable effect of the transfer of lands from the State of Hawaii to the Native Hawaiian Governing Entity (NHGE). The findings of the report were universally negative. This diversion of lands (and their associated lease payments and revenues) from the state to the NGHE was found to have the following effects:
* It would cause a transfer of lease payments currently made to the state by lessees operating or living on state lands ceded to NHGE. At the same time lessees operating or living on this land could expect to see a hefty rise in their lease payments.
* It would exempt Native Hawaiians living or shopping on land ceded to the new "tribal" government from paying state income and excise taxes.
* It would force the state government to replace the lost lease payments and tax revenues with higher income and excise taxes for all other Hawaiian taxpayers.
* It would bring about a significant reduction in the state economy and in the well-being of all Hawaiians, Native and non-Native alike, as measured by key economic indicators.
The authors of the study go on to explain that the state will naturally seek to replace this lost revenue through higher excise and income taxes, which would have a further negative impact on Hawaii's economy. Further analysis found the following possible impacts of the land transfer implicit in Akaka's passage: In our High Case scenario the state would lose 20,793 private-sector jobs, $417.2 million in investment and $1,461 in real per-capita disposable income annually. In the Medium land transfer scenario the state would experience a 3.08% loss in jobs (15,796), a 2.16% decrease in investment ($321.2 million) and a 3.20% decrease in disposable income per capita ($1,119). In the Low Case scenario, the state can expect to lose 9,838 private-sector jobs, $203.4 million in investment and $705 in real per-capita disposable income.
--Sarah Glassman, et. al. The Economic Impact of the Akaka Bill: Unintended Consequences for Hawaii. BHI Policy Study (January 2009). Available at
As dire as those predictions seem, they are still limited to the more tangible and quantifiable consequences. They cannot take into account possible damage to Hawaii's tourism industry due to the loss of the aforementioned "aloha spirit" or the negative press that might follow the social and cultural conflict that could result from the Akaka Bill. Nor can they predict how the loss of land and revenue will impact a state government facing a credit crisis from unfunded liabilities and large projects. More research is needed to give a full picture of the full economic impact of the Akaka Bill -- especially for those who may not have realized how deeply it can affect the wallet of your average citizen of Hawaii.
Unknown impact. That goes to the heart of the problem in discussion of the Akaka Bill in Hawaii. The generous impulse that leads many to believe that the Akaka Bill is little more than a special benefit to help out Native Hawaiians has been exploited by those who don't want the public to look too deeply into the probable effects of a Native Hawaiian Government. This is, in fact, the most radical and transformative piece of legislation for the
state of Hawaii since ... well ... statehood. It has the power to cause significant disruption to Hawaii's economy and permanently change the cultural, social, and political make-up of the State. And, as we will see in Part Two, embracing the tribal model will pose additional legal and economic problems that could prove even more damaging and divisive.
In Pursuit, No. 4, February 24, 2012
Also reprinted in Hawaii Journal of Public Policy, Vol 1, No 1, May 2012, pp. 16-24
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
The Akaka Bill (Part 2)
By Malia Hill
Introduction: Tribe vs. Race
Welcome to post-racial America. Unless you're a professional comedian, you probably don't notice much of a difference, except for the fact that it is now possible to begin sentences with, "If we can have a black president ..." In other words, race remains a volatile issue, and one which most politicians would prefer not to deal with if at all possi-ble. Accusations of racism, no matter how unfair or ill-founded are often treated as the end of an argument, and certainly function as a de facto end to reasoned discussion.
Needless to say, this state of affairs has not done much to advance the way our culture deals with race. It may be said more accurately that, weary from the intricacies of a seemingly-unsolvable problem, Americans are attempting to take a "holiday" from racial issues. This does not mean, however, that racial issues are taking a holiday from America.
On the contrary, savvy activists know that there is no better strategic ground in American politics than in the thorny and tangled realm of racial issues, and will use that advantage to shut down argument and stifle dissent -- even when the issue is far from simple. And there are few better examples of this strategy in action than in the fight over the Akaka Bill. By slowly turning up racial rhetoric -- in fact by casting the "rightness" of support for Akaka in terms of race and (often dubious) historical claims that attempt to evoke the plight of American Indians -- Akaka's supporters have attempted to shut down discussion of the probable impact of the legislation on the State of Hawaii, and indeed on Native Hawaiians in general. What no one has examined until now is whether this effort to sweep Native Hawaiians into the rubric of tribal governance is appropriate or even desirable.
As explained in Part 1 of this series, the Akaka Bill is a catch-all term for federal action (generally Con-gressional legislation) intended to create a sover-eign Native Hawaiian government, generally along the lines of American Indian tribal governance. As mentioned earlier, the details of the Bill (usually bearing the official title of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act) can vary, but usually address:
* The establishment of some form of sovereign government for the purpose of organizing/governing those defined as "Native Hawaiian."
* Some attempt to address land transfer to a Native Hawaiian governing entity and the sub-sequent legal relationship between any Akaka-based government entity and the US government.
It should be noted that, faced with a lack of Congressional support for the Akaka Bill, supporters of a Native Hawaiian government, including the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), have indicated their intent to proceed by non-legislative means, i.e. making the case that the Secretary of the Interior has the power to "recognize" Native Hawaiians as a tribe, thus adding it to the roll of federally recognized tribes (and therefore lobbying him to do so despite the fact that this is less a "recognition" of tribal status than a unilateral declaration of it).
The difference between "tribe" and "race" may seem at times like hair-splitting, but it remains significant. In a case like that of Native Hawaiians, it is indeed key, as (in contrast to so existing American Indian tribes) we are already dealing with a distinction between the historical Hawaiian government and the qualifications for participating in a new Native Hawaiian Government.
In short, the independent Kingdom and Republic of Hawaii were demonstrably and unequivocally multi-ethnic in nature, while the current standards of qualification for participation in a Native Hawaiian Government (with the exception of one Constitutionally-problematic loophole) are based squarely on racial background. This is a large part of the reason why the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights opposes the Akaka Bill. (For more on this and other historical considerations, see Part 1 of this series.)
In the end, it comes down to the fact that, historically speaking, the Kingdom (and Republic) of Hawaii were no more a tribal entity than the Kingdom (or Republic) of France. (The similarities are greater than you might at first perceive -- both were sovereign monarchies, recognized as such by other sovereign nations, both experienced revolution and overthrow of the monarchy by those who perceived it as too autocratic, both have made a strong effort to preserve their language and unique elements of their culture, and both eat great food in a way looked askance upon by other, less-adventurous cultures.) Still, the shaky rationale for doing so has not stopped Akaka supporters for at-tempting to hammer the square peg of Native Hawai-ian sovereignty into the round hole of American Indian tribal governance. The question is not "Why would they do this?" The real question is "Is this a good idea?" What is it about the American Indian experience under the federal government that seems so desirable for Native Hawaiians?
The statistics certainly provide no answer -- no good ones, at least. We are accustomed to Native Hawaiians occupying at-risk positions in most measures of health and economic well-being. The plight of the American Indian is no better and, in many cases, is much worse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 15.6% of American Indian and Alaska Native are in "fair or poor health" (compared to 7.5% for Asian/Pacific Islanders), mortality rate is 427.4 per 100,000 population (versus 317.0 for Asian/Pacific Islanders), and infant mortality is at 9.22 per 1000 births (versus 4.78). The suicide rate among American Indians is significantly higher than among other ethnic groups, as are rates of associated mental health disorders (e.g. anxiety, substance abuse, and depression).
Economically speaking, the picture is still bleak -- despite the substantial impact of gaming as a form of revenue for many tribes. Poverty rates continue to be highest for American Indians (28% for those on reservations compared to 18% for Pacific Islanders), and median household income was $35,062 in 2010 (compared to $58,083 for Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders). And while Native Hawaiians certainly have a fair grievance in the way that government entities and private boards have administered their lands and trusts over the years, nothing can compare to the legacy of corruption and mismanagement at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The trust fund scandal that has resulted in the case of Cobell v. Salazar (expected to end in a multi-billion dollar settlement in favor of the tribes) suggests that government mismanagement, delay, and sheer incompetence resulted in losses of tens of billions of dollars in Indian trust funds. Complications in how land is owned and passed down (today, some parcels of Indian trust land have 1,000 different owners) combined with the fact that cumbersome governmental restrictions on use of trust land make it extremely difficult for tribes to develop it for commercial or profitable use have exacerbated both the bureaucratic and economic problems on reservations. The simple principle that adding federal bureaucracy to a group's economic welfare helps neither their economics nor their welfare is writ large in the American Indian experience and should stand as a warning to those pushing for Native Hawaiian tribal status.
The Looming Legal Crisis
Still, as worrisome as the economic trends may be for a Native Hawaiian tribe, nothing can prepare the state for the possible upheaval of the associated legal problems -- especially at that difficult nexus where the law meets family and cultural considerations.
It is significant that in creating a Native Hawaiian tribe, not only would the federal government be breaking precedent in terms of the wholesale creation of a previously non-existent tribal entity, but that they would also be creating these divisions in the midst of a fully-formed, culturally-distinct, racially-mixed geographic area. In other words, the creation of an Akaka tribe creates arbitrary political barriers among a people in an established and intertwined culture. Suddenly, a group of neighbors -- even family members (given the extensive and mixed nature of families in Hawaii) -- can have significantly different rights and privileges within the same state. This was, in fact, a sticking point in the famed "Lingle compromise" version of the Akaka Bill, as the question of Hawaii State jurisdiction over Native Hawaiians for criminal offenses was something that many wanted spelled out in any Native Hawaiian Reorganization. Indeed, the question of jurisdiction in both criminal and civil law remains an article of contention between states and tribes across the country as some push for greater tribal sovereignty while states make the claim that certain offenses must remain under their purview.
The sad truth is that even the most cursory search can find dozens of examples of conflicts arising from the complicated intersection between local and tribal law. Such as:
* Whether tribal sovereignty would allow a Native Hawaiian tribe to hold itself exempt from honoring contracts or promises made;
* Whether the county will be able to collect property taxes or other taxes on tribal land;
* Whether a Native Hawaiian government could remove Native Hawaiian businesses from local taxation by placing the land on which they stand into a federal land trust;
* Whether a Native Hawaiian government would have the power to try (in tribal court) a non-Native Hawaiian spouse or friend who assaulted a member of the tribe on tribal land (bearing in mind that whether the same Constitutional protections exist under tribal law is also a matter of debate);
* Whether tribal lands (either from policy or neglect) can become a sanctuary for criminal activity that state or local government cannot stop;
* Whether a Native Hawaiian government would be able to enroll or disenroll members without appeal;
* Whether a Native Hawaiian government could use such disenrollment power to influence the outcome of tribal elections;
* Whether a Native Hawaiian government could constrain freedom of speech within its jurisdictional boundaries.
And then there is the elephant in the room -- casino gambling. While earlier versions of the Akaka Bill attempted to address this issue (and the widespread public feeling against casino gaming in Hawaii) by explicitly disallowing it, the more recent efforts (such as the "backdoor Akaka Bill" that merely seeks recognition by the Secretary of the Interior) do not address it at all. In either case, however, for those who are concerned that a Native Hawaiian tribe will lead to gaming in the Islands, there is no legislative safeguard against such an occurrence. Even if the Akaka Bill were passed by the Congress with the inclusion of an anti-gaming provision, the combination of the large amount of money at stake, the confusion of local law versus tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction, and the tangled nature of tribal law itself guarantee that there will be ample opportunities for a determined pro-gaming faction to legally challenge or lobby casino gaming into existence. While not all tribes that have entered the gaming business on the mainland have been successful, the suggestion that geography is one of the biggest factors in success (and the marked economic disparity between those with profitable gaming enterprises and those without) make the case that if a Native Hawaiian government did not pursue the introduction of casino gaming, it would be cultural considerations and not economic self-interest that would prevent such a step. Certainly, other groups seeking tribal recognition have done so with the unspoken goal of creating a casino, despite outward protestations to the contrary.
And yet, for all the chaos and division that these economic and jurisdictional problems could bring to Hawaii, nothing has more potential to tear Hawaiian families apart than the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Passed in 1978 with the intent to help preserve Indian culture by giving tribes a legal interest in the raising of children, the ICWA gives any federally-recognized tribe standing in child-custody cases involving Indian children. With Indian children being removed from families at a much greater rate (a situation damaging to both the families and the tribes), the ICWA was intended to protect the integrity of Indian families and the tribal interest in raising children. "Indian children" -- as far as the ICWA is concerned -- means an unmarried minor who is a member of the tribe or is eligible for membership and the biological child of a member of the tribe. The ICWA gives the tribe exclusive jurisdiction over the case when the child is a ward of the tribe or domiciled/residing on the reservation and concurrent (but presumptive) jurisdiction with the state on cases where the child is a non-resident of the reservation. The ICWA is meant to apply to foster care placement, termination of parental rights, and pre-adoptive and adoptive placements of children, and not to divorce cases or juvenile criminal proceedings. In addition, some courts have found an "Existing Indian Fami-ly" (EIF) exception where they interpret the ICWA to only apply to cases regarding the removal of Indian children from an Indian family unit and not to a child who had never been part of an Indian home or culture and probably never would be. However, a number of other courts (and legislatures) have explicitly rejected such an exception.
Though this seems clear cut in theory, in practice, the history of the ICWA is littered with contrary rulings and heartbreaking stories. In fact, it is unclear whether even the original goal of lowering the number of Indian children removed from Indian homes (or placed out-side of the tribe) has been successful, given the variable factors of the best interests of the child and the interests of the tribe under the Act. In the meantime, the ICWA has been invoked to:
* Override the express wishes of the parents;
* Attempt to remove a child from the home in which he was raised to be placed on a reservation hundreds of miles away based upon the tribal identification of the mother who had long-since abandoned him;
* Remove a legally adopted child from the family that had nursed him back to health after he was born addicted to drugs in order to place him with another foster family;
* Remove a toddler girl (on New Years' Eve, no less) from the adopted parents who raised her from birth in order to re-home her with the biological father she never met in a different state.
And the list of similar stories goes on and on. It is important to note a few things here -- especially as they might relate to similar situations under a Native Hawaiian government:
* The ICWA does not require that a child be exclusively or even primarily Indian in his or her ethnic origin.
* The ICWA can be (and has been) used to assert custody rights over a child who is at least half Hispanic (or another cultural background), being raised in a home reflecting that other culture.
* The ICWA can (and does) reach across state lines to act and relocate children.
This is not meant to be an indictment of the ICWA aims in general, but it should be recognized that even the Act's defenders recognize the inherent problems in the Act. Opponents and proponents alike should be concerned about the irregularities and abuses in enforcement of the ICWA. Moreover, in a culture where inter-marriage, casual/informal adoption, and large, multi-racial extended families (which often share in raising children) is the norm, the application of the ICWA to Native Hawaiian families and children has the potential to seriously disrupt the lives of hundreds of children and families in Hawaii (and throughout the United States). Bear in mind that claiming an interest via the ICWA is separate from claiming tribal membership via the enrollment procedures, and that while only about 60,000 people who consider themselves Native Hawaiian claim at least half Hawaiian blood, more than 400,000 people nationwide claim some form of Native Hawaiian ancestry. It is fortunate that the ICWA is not permitted to intrude on custody cases related to divorce (though there is some anecdotal evidence to the contrary), but even applying the ICWA strictly will bring a new level of division to problems of family law and custody within the Islands.
It is interesting, given that the primary motivation for passing the Akaka Bill seems to be rooted in the desire to "help" Native Hawaiians that the mechanism settled upon to do so shows so little historical evidence that this is the best route for success. In fact, given that the experience of American Indian tribes under the Bureau of Indian Affairs has led to a worse state of affairs (according to most socio-economic indicators) than currently experienced by Native Hawaiians, one wonders whether anyone has given full consideration to the impact that tribal status could have on the wealth, land, trusts, and status of the Native Hawaiians. Moreover, given the nightmare of jurisdictional conflicts that will flow between tribal law and local law in the small confines of an island state containing a Native Hawaiian government, it can be certain that everything from criminal law to the tax code to family law will add to the divisive and destructive impact of the Akaka Bill. In light of these revelations, it would behoove those who are truly interested in improving the situation of Native Hawaiians to look past the pat solutions of political opportunists and consider how greater economic and individual freedom (as opposed to the constraints on both that would follow tribal governance) may be the best way forward.
** Comment by website editor Ken Conklin: Most of the references below were taken from an article published in Hawaii Reporter on December 30, 2011:
Bringing Mainland Tribal Troubles to Hawaii
by Kenneth R. Conklin
A greatly extended version of that essay, including full text of each published article, is at
** End of comment
1 See "Suicide Among American Indians/Alaska Natives." Suicide Prevention Resource Center, available at
http://www.sprc.org/library/ai.an.facts.pdf. (Last visited Feb. 14, 2012.)
2 "There can be no ‘agreement' with the tribe." Santa Ynez Valley News, Thursday, October 13, 2011. Available at
3 "Madison County, Oneida Indian Nation claim foreclosure case victory." Oneida Dispatch. October 21, 2011. Available at
http://oneidadispatch.com/articles/2011/10/21/news/doc4ea1ec755e6ff647122649.txt. See also "Seminoles Ask Supreme Court to Hear Gas Tax Dispute." WCTV2. October 22, 2011. Available at
4 "Tribe seeks to shelter land holdings -- If OK'd, Agua Caliente wouldn't have to pay tax on future businesses there." The Desert Sun. December 1, 2011. See also "Tribal annexation would take huge financial toll" Santa Ynez Valley News. December 8, 2011. Available at
5 "Tribal courts lack power over non-Indian abusers." The Rapid City Journal. November 11, 2011. Available at
6 "Deep divisions seen in Unkechaug tribe." News-day. December 11, 2011. Available at
7 Edward Sifuentes. "Ousted tribal members want Congress to help." North County Times. Nov. 13, 2011. Available at
8 "Panel weighs sides in Little Shell Tribe leadership dispute." Great Falls Tribune. December 11, 2011.
9 "Resigning from reservation job." The Bismarck Tribune. October 15, 2011. Available at
10 "Lumbees to choose new leader in Tuesday's tribal election." The Fayetteville Observer. Fayetteville, NC, Mon Nov 14, 2011. Available at
11 Mississippi Choctaw Indian Band v. Holyfield, 490 U.S. 30 (1989).
12 Thomas Sowell. "Routine Cruelty," Oct. 30, 2001. Available at
13 Kiran Khalid and Lee Ferran. "Federal Law Gives Tribe Ruling in Baby Talon's Fate." ABC News. Dec. 16, 2008. Available at
14 Harriett McLeod. "Native American roots trump in adoption battle over toddler." Reuters. Jan. 8, 2012. Available at
About the Author
Malia Hill a senior policy analyst for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, specializing in issues related to transparency and funding.
Published by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
In Pursuit is a regular series evaluating government policies and offering proposals to reform. Nothing in this document should be construed as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation before any legislative body.
If you have any comments or questions about this commentary, please contact us at:
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
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About the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
The mission of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is to promote individual liberty, the free market and limited accountable government. Through research papers, policy briefings, commentaries and conferences, the Institute seeks to educate and inform Hawaii's policymakers, news media and the general public.
The purpose of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is to improve the relationship between the government and the people with the objective of improving the effectiveness of the government, the business climate and in some cases, tradition, to foster an atmosphere in Hawaii that results in maximum personal freedom for every individual. We recognize that personal freedom comes with the price of personal responsibility, accountability and respect for others. We believe each person must be free to succeed or fail in building wealth and in rela-tionships with others.
Founded in 2001 by Richard Rowland, Grassroot Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and the only free market think tank in Hawaii.
Hawaii Journal of Public Policy, Vol 1, No 1, May 2012, pp. 25-27.
E Pluribus -- What?
BY JERE KRISHEL –
Present on the Great Seal of the United States since 1782, its meaning is both simple and profound – "Out of many, one."
Originally it may have been but a literal acknowledgement of the Union of the thirteen colonies, but as the years have gone by it has become a philosophical premise which we apply as a standard of morality.
It is today a clarion call for the respect of diversity, an acknowledgement that while we may have our differences, we are one people, under one law. Each citizen of the United States takes for granted that regardless of their racial background, cultural background, or family history, they are endowed by their Creator, the same unalienable rights as all their other fellow citizens.
The startling truth, however, is that we have a lot further to go before our laws and our country are aligned with this noble motto. Just as the institution of slavery stood as a stain against the noble ideals upon which our constitution was based, today we live under a government which has yet to make good on the motto, ‘E Pluribus Unum.'
While our constitution expressly prohibits denying people equal treatment under the law with the fourteenth amendment, our government has often both willfully and woefully ignored this basic guarantee.
The race-based quota system of affirmative action is perhaps the most visible example of this violation of constitutional rights (with a low point in Grutter v. Bollinger, and some progress recently with Ricci v. DeStefano).
The idea of treating people differently because of their racial background is anathema to the concept of civil rights, and the "fighting fire with fire" philosophy of fixing racial discrimination by using more racial discrimination is hypocrisy at its worst.
However, an even more egregious violation of the principle of equal treatment exists in current Indian law, and an even greater danger is presented to us with the Akaka Bill that has been proposed in various forms for the past ten years.
As it stands today, we have three distinct classes of citizenry in the United States – tribal leaders, tribal members, and non-tribal citizens. Tribal leaders stand generally above the law, with no constitutional checks on their power.
The Supreme Court in its Nevada v. Hicks (2001) case stated, "it has been understood for more than a century that the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment do not of their own force apply to Indian tribes."
This exemption from the basic protections afforded to other citizens places tribal members in the most disparaged class of the three, leaving them at the whim of their tribal governments.
While under tribal jurisdiction, non-tribal citizens fare just as poorly, but they at least have the wherewithal to escape from the reservation, while tribal members face the threat of tribal expulsion, confiscation of the lands their family may have lived on for generations, and even loss of custody of their own children.
Today, there are 565 federally recognized tribes which may freely violate the constitutional rights of their members. The Shinnecock Nation, backed by Gateway Casino Resorts, with only 1,292 members, became number 565 on October 1, 2010, after all appeals to their recognition (including objections from other already established casino tribes) were exhausted.
The Shinnecock, and the other 564 federally recognized tribes, are granted exemptions from state and local jurisdictions, creating a special class of citizenry not subject to the rights and laws of their peers.
These federally recognized tribes also have access to lucrative federal assistance programs (regardless of any tribal casino income), funded by non-tribal taxpayers and controlled exclusively by tribal leaders. So instead of ‘E Pluribus Unum,' the truth is that today we live in a country governed by ‘E Pluribus Pluribus,' with a constant, yet often overlooked, division of people into different strata of citizenship.
The Akaka Bill serves as yet another continuation of that deplorable trend, promising to "reorganize" everyone with the smallest drop of native Hawaiian blood into an Indian tribe, with all the equal protection problems that come with it.
Specifically constructed to protect current race-based programs targeted at native Hawaiians, the Akaka Bill is a headlong dive into the constitutional loophole provided by Indian Law, and promises to divide the State of Hawaii in the most wrongheaded manner imaginable.
From a purely self-interested point of view, it's no wonder that future Akaka Tribe leaders want to get in on the Indian Tribe game – between the casino money, and the federal dollars appropriated (regardless of whether or not a tribe is economically self-sufficient), even the most reasonable and rational person might be sorely tempted.
An investigation into recent native Hawaiian grants handed out by the government at
While only a drop in the bucket compared to the more than 4 billion spent on Indian tribes every year (the BIA is unable to give any exact number), there is no question that we're talking a lot of money, and a lot of temptation. It will be a long road for our country, to repair the self-inflicted wounds of ‘E Pluribus Pluribus.'
Ending the second and third class citizenship status of existing Tribal Law, and preventing the enactment of further injustices like the Akaka Bill will not be easy – the forces arrayed against a nation of one people, under one law, have resources common citizens simply cannot match.
But in the end, no matter how long or difficult the struggle, the United States will one day live up to its noble ideals of its founding – E Pluribus Unum.
Hawaii Journal of Public Policy, Vol 1, No 1, May 2012, pp. 28-30.
Trends in Federal Indian Policy and Common Law
In the past few years there has emerged a near harmonic convergence
of major segments of our country and its governance that now has Federal Indian Policy on a path for serious difficulty, and perhaps, some form of major transition. The segments are:
• The escalating national debt that absolutely must be contained.
•The malaise of the existing economy.
•The increasingly burdened middle-class taxpayer.
•The reduction of Indian-influenced power-brokers, even growing apathy in Congress (Gone are Senators Nighthorse-Campbell, Daschle, Dorgan, etc.)
•The hypocrisy of the Obama Administration that courts tribal governments for donations and votes, then ignores them consistently.
•Substantial Supreme Court rulings that are incrementally constraining and reducing Federal Indian Policy at the common law level.
•The increased level of citizen activism wrought by escalating Indian casinos and tribal over-reaching to govern non-tribal lands and citizens.
The above recipe, all simultaneously in play, sets a stage forecasting
needed change or substantial transitions coming in federal Indian policy. My concern "at the 40,000-foot" level of this set of issues, is that our country could soon have a Brown v. Board of Education "moment" in Indian country that will be completely traumatic, and likely quite ugly, unless collective foresight of bright minds can be anticipatory of coming changes, with reasonable strategies and policies at the ready. The community pain in the gap from the time the U.S. Supreme Court brought about integration
to public schools, and state national guards forced implementation
is not a scenario this country needs to repeat in current "Indian Country" that is predominantly populated with non-Indians.
Over the past several years U.S. Senator Akaka and his dreams for Hawaii have escalated interest and disdain for Indian policy among his colleagues in Washington, DC. Inflammatory words such as "racist," and incendiary commentary to provoke guilt and shame in today's American over yesterday's past with Indians...are two of many propaganda tools that no longer work for the national Indian "industry" per se.
On February 28th 2012, the New York Onondaga's "traveled to Washington DC" to file an Appeal for return of 4,000 square MILES of New York, including the entire city of Syracuse. They launched a major discussion at the National Press Club, convinced that New Yorkers would recognize the historic harm, feel the guilt, pain and shame…and support the return of yes, 4,000 square miles of New York State, long ago purchased from the Onondagas – in fact, likely purchased repeatedly from the Onondagas. I cannot imagine folks in Syracuse suddenly thinking, "Ohmygawd, we are guilty and we must give 4,000 square miles back to the Onondagas right away … everybody leave Syracuse!"
The point here is threefold:
1. Old tribal propaganda strategies are OLD now…and not working;
2. New transitional policies are urgently needed that could reduce the federal budget, and the indentured servitude of taxpayers subsidizing
566 tribal governments in perpetuity;
3. Congress needs to hear the signals that the High Court is sending and commence a federal Indian policy strategy that could conceivably transition tribal governments to tribal non-profit corporations owned/operated by their current members.
It seems appropriate to continue health, education and cultural funding to cohesive tribal communities (non-profits). But the duplicative cost and associated conflicts of tribal police, tribal jurisdiction, and tribal governments co-located upon existing local, county and state governments is a luxury (and I think homeland security risk) our national debt and the American taxpayer can no longer afford. As important, the current legal frailty of Morton v. Mancari (1975) could force that Brown v. Board of Education moment
within a year or so. And this country needs to be ready.
We just have to be prepared…It is not too soon to gather bright minds from Indian country, local government, federal elected officials,
and think tank policy analysis, to examine trends in federal Indian policy today, with guidance and recommendations for the day when Indian Country gets its Brown v. Board of Education moment within a year or so. And this country needs to be ready.
The national economy and urgent need for equality of all citizens will drive the timing. I think the clock is ticking.
*Elaine Willman is of direct Cherokee ancestry and a current board member of Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA), an organization of community groups in 25 states. She is also the author of "Going To Pieces, the Dismantling
of the United States of America."
1 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)
2 Coin, G. "Onondaga Nation seeks public's support in land claim fight." The Post Standard. (February 28, 2012) Available at
3 Department of Interior. "Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs," 75 FR 66124 (October 27, 2010)
4 Morton v. Mancari, 417 U.S. 535 (1974)
Hawaii Journal of Public Policy, Vol 1, No 1, May 2012, pp. 31-34.
When in the Course of Human Events it Becomes Necessary
It is a phone call from some stranger in Lima, Ohio or Lynden, Washington, frantic about a monstrous tax-free tribal casino plunging into their quiet community, uninvited and unwelcome. It is a call from a young mother whose beautiful 2-year old child has been abducted by a kangaroo tribal court and missing to her for over 115 days. It is Nebraska neighbors anguishing over the brutal beating of a fellow farmer on his own land – beaten by tribal police. It is the faces of U.S. citizens in Slamanca, New York, in the 1990's, forced to stand in long lines to sign "Surrenders" to the Seneca Nation of Indians, turning over to a tribal government, the deeds to their homes, with no compensation.
Long before a few colonists could imagine freedom, the yearning
for it intolerable. Securing freedom became necessary in the 1700's. Daily engaging in the pursuit of freedom was a priority for which men and women risked their lives.
In this 21st century, we are in another necessary time for this country. Only it is not the British that are coming. It is tribalism, socialism, collectivism – federal Indian policy and extreme multiculturalism that has regulated U.S. taxpayers into muzzled, indentured servants who must remain politically correct and fund escalating costs of political and financial support for ethnic systems taking this country apart.
Freedom and equality are losing the battle to a keenly orchestrated
global Indigenous Movement spreading like a cancer through the United States. Like diabetes, the onset eludes us until the system has fallen.
As the 4th of July approaches again, I tend to review beloved old documents like our Declaration of Independence.
My life path has forced me through a complex internal debate. Descending from Cherokee ancestry, I grew up in Spokane, Washington, learned to sled Manito Hill, and was a schoolgirl admirer of Chief Joseph and Sacajawea. I equally cherished Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and Lewis and Clark. We can barely speak of these men in this new millennium.
Now in the my mid-'60s, having lived within the exterior boundaries of a large Indian reservation for 16 years has caused me serious discovery and reflection. I made a deeply personal decision to continue honoring my ancestry with reverence for Native American culture, while refuting every effort of a tribal government to govern, tax or regulate me or other U.S. citizens. I pledge allegiance only to the government that I elect and in which I may participate.
Our founders for whom it became necessary never dreamed that in a new and free United States, our own elected officials would delegate powers to separate sub-governments that remove Constitutional and civil rights of any citizen, much less native American or mine.
So words in the beloved Declaration ring fearfully true these days, with simple substitutions:"…That to secure these (certain unalienable) Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changes for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government,
and to provide new Guards for their future Security.
Such has been the patient Sufferance of these American Indians and citizens; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter federal Indian policy. The history of the present Congress is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having indirect "Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny" over these American Indians and other citizens.
Congress has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving Congressional assent to their acts of pretended legislation.
A mere 50 States hosts 566 tribal governments, with 274 more "tribes" in line for federal recognition and their casinos. These tax-exempt governments that refute the U.S. Constitution, can ignore state and local laws, and are using millions of slot machines to initialize additional land and tax grabs, pushing far off reservations to the direct harm of one community after another. An annual 27 billion dollar gambling monopoly has not reduced federal funds paid by taxpayers to tribal governments. Mainstream American business is now forced to compete in a marketplace with an escalating tax-exempt, federally subsidized "national Indian Economy: rapidly overpowering the highly taxed and regulated, primary national economy.
Who can blame Native Hawaiians for demanding the same scheme? Almost every single elected official in the State of Hawaii, cowed by political correctness and in denial of their Oaths of Office, would literally dismantle the State of Hawaii they are elected to serve. Having recently lost Congressional efforts to tear apart our youngest state, radical Hawaiian politicos have ramped up ongoing assaults to force separate, race-based government, with a chant, "Last Star On, First Star Off!"
Here on the mainland, the Atzlan Movement certainly smells the money and power of future federally subsidized "separate Mexican Indigenous homelands." Somewhere around 12-20 million illegal immigrants is no fluke; they are most heavily populating the seven southwestern States at risk of disuniting when the Atzlan Movement challenges, and they will, the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
As separatism seeps across the fabric of America, gated Muslim communities in Little Rock, Arkansas and Baltimore, Maryland are now in place. Simple planning tools such as homeowner or condominium association covenants, planned developments and land use guidelines, are being skewed to create further balkanization so that Muslims may create community enclaves in numerous zip codes where Muslim law trumps local law.
And what do these organized groups have in common with each other? They consistently play the Victim or race cards, and consistently espouse anti-American propaganda.
The insanity of Congress and the Executive branch of government
is to spend billions and permit the spilling of blood of our young military to free whole countries of tyranny of tribalism in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, while sanctioning and funding the rampant spread of tribalism and separatism across our 50 states – all this while radical ethnic mentalities give standing ovations to radicals like Ward Churchill when he rants that the solution to world peace is to get the United States "off of the North American continent." Our country's citizenship and borders either merit meaning and protection, or it will will soon be over. I simply do not have another country. I only have this country that I cherish.
If only for my grandchildren and their heirs, it has become life changing necessary for me to continue an aggressive allegiance to ‘One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, With Liberty and Justice For all." There is nothing within the preceding statement foundational to America's future that supports divisible race-based governments, even when created by Congress.
What was necessary in the 1700's is equally and urgently necessary
today: ‘the History of the present Executive Administration and Congress is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object and Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these American Indians and other citizens."
How long we continue to celebrate America's Independence Day depends upon whether citizens and their elected officials find it necessary to secure our guaranteed unalienable rights and the domestic tranquility.
1 Department of Interior. "Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs," 75 FR 66124 (October 27, 2010)
2 National Indian Gaming Commission, "NIGC Announces 2010 Industry Gross Gaming Revenues," press release no. 175, July 2011.
3 Mak, T. "Immigration border busts take big dip, Customs says." Politico(December 13, 2011 Available at
Hawaii Reporter, August 31, 2012
Census 2010 Native Hawaiian data -- some political implications
BY KENNETH R. CONKLIN, PH.D. -- Data focused on Native Hawaiians from Census 2010 have important political implications for Hawaii and all of America. The implications concern the Akaka bill and/or Act 195 state-recognized tribe; and victimhood claims asserted by the Hawaiian grievance industry as a way of demanding sympathy, money, and political power.
WHY SINGLE OUT NATIVE HAWAIIANS FOR SCRUTINY?
There is no other ethnic group in Hawaii that has some of its leaders pursuing racial separatism, demanding to create a race-based government empowered with land, money, and jurisdictional authority. The major vehicles for doing that are the proposed federally recognized tribe under the Akaka bill,
and the state-recognized tribe put in motion under Hawaii Act 195 of 2011.
That's why it's important to analyze demographic data focused on Native Hawaiians. There are already severe conflicts of interest when state government officials who are themselves Native Hawaiian make decisions about transferring land and other state assets to race-based institutions that will provide benefits exclusively to their own racial group (as in the recent transfer of $200 Million ocean-front land in Kaka'ako to OHA). A compilation of information about more than 850 race-based government grants to benefit Native Hawaiians exclusively, totaling more than $322 Million, is at
See analysis of the problem of race-based conflict of interest at
Following is a very brief summary of major Native Hawaiian data from Census 2010. For detailed analysis and numerous internet links to Census data, see
80,337 "PURE HAWAIIANS" IN HAWAII, AND 156,146 NATIONWIDE. REALLY?
That's how many people checked ONLY the race box for "Native Hawaiian" even though the instructions were clear that people could check multiple boxes reflecting multiple ancestries. In reality there are probably fewer than 5,000 people with 100% Hawaiian native blood. That means 75,000 people in Hawaii and 151,000 people nationwide are so zealous about Hawaiian activism that they chose to ignore and disrespect their non-native ancestors, even when those non-natives comprise most of their heritage. Anecdotal evidence is clear that OHA, Kamehameha Schools, and other Hawaiian institutions often encouraged their beneficiaries to report only their Native Hawaiian ancestry, in hopes of increasing government handouts and strengthening public perception of Hawaiians as "a people" who are unique, distinct, and separate, and therefore eligible for federal recognition.
527,077 "NATIVE HAWAIIANS" NATIONWIDE INCLUDING 289,970 IN HAWAII
That's how many people checked the race box for "Native Hawaiian" with or without also checking additional race boxes. In Hawaii that's an increase of 21% above year 2000, while nationwide it's an increase of 31%. Clearly Hawaiians are flourishing, even more on the continent than in Hawaii. The number might well explode as hundreds of thousands more suddenly remember their smidgen of Hawaiian blood if a Native Hawaiian government begins distributing land and annual payments. There's a chart in the Hawaii state databook showing the number of ethnic Hawaiians (both "pure" and total) in the top 18 states. California continues to lead the pack with 74,932, an increase of 24.8% since 2000.
If the Akaka bill passes, then the California branch of the Akaka tribe would be the largest federally recognized tribe in California. The fake Hawaiian tribe of 527,077 would be far larger than any of the genuine tribes in America. The largest tribe is Navajo, with 332,129. There are 819,105 Cherokees, but they are divided among several different tribal governments. Both the Akaka bill and Act 195 specify that there shall be only one Native Hawaiian tribe.
Although the Akaka bill says the Hawaiian tribe cannot have gambling casinos and cannot benefit automatically from government handouts given to all tribes, those restrictions might be ruled unconstitutional, or can easily be changed by future legislation. The genuine tribes should be very afraid that a Hawaiian tribe would overwhelm all of them in competing for a shrinking pot of federal handouts and for casino customers in every state.
Shortly after Barack Obama became President, a letter was sent to him raising racial and demographic issues in relation to the Akaka bill, and appealing to the civil rights experience of African-Americans who chose the integrationist dream of Dr. Martin Luther King rather than the racial separatist nightmare of (the early) Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan. The letter pointed out that (in Census 2000) 240,000 ethnic Hawaiians comprised 20% of Hawaii's population, while 40 million blacks comprised 13% of America's population. Just imagine how divisive and racially incendiary it would be to gather all America's black people and create a race-based government for them, authorized to negotiate for huge areas of land and jurisdictional authority. The impact of the Akaka bill [or Act 195] on Hawaii would be 50% more severe than that, because the percentage of ethnic Hawaiians in Hawaii's population was half again larger than the percentage of blacks in America's population. [Likewise, in Census 2010, 50 million Hispanics comprise 16% of America's population while Native Hawaiians are 21% of Hawaii's population, so the Akaka bill would be 30% more traumatic for Hawaii than creating a "Nation of Aztlan" would be for all of America.] See the Obama letter at
SHOULD HAWAII TAXPAYERS GIVE BENEFITS TO A QUARTER MILLION OUTSIDERS?
There are more than 237,000 "Native Hawaiians" living outside Hawaii among the other 49 states, which is about 45% of the entire racial group. A major policy decision for the Hawaii legislature will be whether to transfer State of Hawaii land and money to the control of a future federally recognized Akaka tribe, or to the Act 195 tribe which the legislature is in the process of creating.
Both Act 195 and the Akaka bill make it clear that Hawaii residence is not a requirement for tribal membership. The only requirements for membership are to have at least one drop of the magic blood and to have some sort of easy-to-obtain affiliation with some sort of Hawaiian cultural group (perhaps a hula halau, canoe club, or civic club).
Thus state government land, money and jurisdictional authority, which now belong to all the people of Hawaii, will be transferred to a tribe which has nearly half its people who are not citizens of Hawaii. Those outsiders will receive benefits from the tribe (given to the tribe by Hawaii citizens), and those outsiders will also participate as equals in making decisions about the allocation of tribal resources.
IN 2010 THE MEDIAN AGE OF NATIVE HAWAIIANS IN HAWAII WAS ONLY 26, COMPARED TO A MEDIAN AGE OF 42 FOR THE REST OF HAWAII'S PEOPLE
The age gap of 16 years has huge consequences for interpreting data portraying Native Hawaiians as having lower income, greater drug abuse, and higher incarceration rates than the rest of Hawaii's population. Someone who is only 26 years old is obviously just getting started in a career and therefore not earning as much as someone well-established at age 42. Young people get drunk, do drugs, and commit crimes much more than middle-aged people(especially violent crimes meriting harsher penalties). The victimhood statistics touted by the Hawaiian grievance industry are attributable to youth, not to race.
FAILURE TO CONSIDER BLOOD QUANTUM CAUSES HUGE DISTORTIONS WHEN INTERPRETING DATA
How blood quantum is counted (or not counted) is another major factor in explaining the Hawaiian victimhood claims. The Census does not ask "What percentage of your ancestry is Native Hawaiian?" Neither do any of the hundreds of "studies" comparing Native Hawaiian victimhood against the victimhood of other races.
Who gets counted as "Native Hawaiian" seems to be everyone with a drop of Hawaiian native blood, even if he has 31/32 of his ancestry being Caucasian or Filipino or Japanese. But someone with only one drop of Caucasian blood would never be counted as Caucasian. So if low quantum Hawaiians are counted as Hawaiian while low-quantum Caucasians or Filipinos are not counted as Caucasians or Filipinos, then of course the grievance industry can scream that "Native Hawaiians have the worst statistics for drug abuse" or "Native Hawaiians are disproportionately impacted by incarceration and severity of sentencing."
Michelle Obama has 1/32 Caucasian ancestry (her great-great-great grandfather was a white slave-owner). Judging by her appearance and cultural background she could never "pass for white." But she would be counted as entirely Caucasian if the statistical techniques used by the Hawaiian grievance industry were applied to all racial groups.
The best way to allocate social or medical outcomes to racial groups would be to award fractional tally marks to each race according to the fraction that race has in someone's ancestry. Thus if someone incarcerated has 1/32 Hawaiian blood, 3/32 Chinese, 3/8 Caucasian, and 1/2 Filipino, those would be the fractional tally marks allocated to each of those races when studying allegations of disproportionate incarceration. Such fractional tallies would also allow us to see whether being "more Hawaiian" correlates with having worse social and medical outcomes.
But the tycoons of the Hawaiian grievance industry will never analyze data that way, nor will they take account of the age gap, because then their victimhood claims would vanish like morning mist during sunrise.
Hawaii Reporter, September 18, 2012
Brief Summary of Bad Surprises in the New Akaka Bill
BY KENNETH R. CONKLIN, PH.D. --
This is a brief summary of the bad surprises in the new version of the Akaka Bill:
• Tribal casinos in Hawaii even if the state legalizes only church bingo
• Grabbing for federal, state, and even private lands in Hawaii
• Akaka tribe casinos competing against genuine tribes on mainland
• Grabbing federal handouts away from genuine tribes
• Pig in a poke -- recognizing a tribe before it's created
• Race the only requirement enforced for tribal membership
• Balkanize America -- any "indigenous" group can now be a tribe
This essay is only a very brief summary. Space available in a newspaper does not allow lengthy quotes, documentation, or detailed explanations. For those, please see
Until now the bill prohibited the Akaka tribe from engaging in any form of gambling in Hawaii or anywhere else. The new version authorizes full-blown tribal casinos in Hawaii if the state ever legalizes any form of gambling, even only church bingo. Previous versions prohibited the Akaka tribe from using the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act; the new bill authorizes it.
This new bill allows the Akaka tribe, by far the largest tribe in America, to bully the genuine but much smaller mainland tribes by competing against them in two ways which previous versions of the bill prohibited.
(a) The Akaka tribe can put casinos in 48 other states (excluding Utah) even if the State of Hawaii does not allow gambling in Hawaii. Because of a Supreme Court ruling in 2009 (Carcieri vs. Salazar), new tribes (recognized after the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934) are prohibited from placing land into trust, which is the only way for a tribe to have casinos, liquor stores, gas stations, and tobacco shops exempt from local zoning or labor laws, making huge tax-exempt profits. The Akaka bill contains a "Carcieri fix" exclusively for Senator Akaka's own wannabe tribe -- a lovely golden parachute for himself and all 527,077 members of his blood brotherhood in Hawaii and everywhere else; but no such fix for the other new tribes.
(b) Previous versions prohibited the Akaka tribe from receiving benefits automatically from programs routinely available to all the federally recognized tribes. The new bill reverses that. The new bill emphasizes the Akaka tribe is an Indian tribe with all the rights and privileges of every federally recognized tribe. In view of America's $16 Trillion national debt, the pot of money available for tribal benefits is shrinking. Now comes the phony Akaka tribe -- the largest tribe in America -- elbowing out the real tribes.
Someone should tell the mainland tribes the time has come for them to oppose the Akaka bill if they don't want their turf to be invaded by Hawaiian casinos and have their government handouts reduced to accommodate a rapacious Akaka tribe.
But it's not only the genuine Indian tribes or Hawaii opponents of legalized gambling who should be worried. The new Akaka bill threatens everyone in Hawaii and the rest of the United States, in many ways. Here are some of those threats.
Virtually all lands in Hawaii are at risk to be taken over by the Akaka tribe. That's because the new bill removes language from previous versions that prohibited the Akaka tribe from making use of the Indian non-intercourse act.
From 1790 to 1834 a series of six laws were passed by Congress to protect Indian tribes from unfair or deceptive land transactions. These Indian non-intercourse laws said land transactions with tribes would be lawful only if Congress approved them. During recent decades numerous tribes have gone to court demanding huge amounts of land or money based on claims that tribal lands were sold without Congressional approval a century or two ago. Often those lands now have entire towns on them, or farms and factories. Thousands of homeowners have been unable to get mortgages or to sell their homes because of the cloud on their land title. Thus private lands are attacked along with federal, state and municipal lands.
Under the new bill, armed with the Indian non-intercourse act, the Akaka tribe will be free to file lawsuits to take control of nearly all federal and state lands (the "ceded lands") or to receive massive compensation for them, similar to what has happened on the mainland even in long-established towns in Maine, New York, and many other places. All Hawaii harbors, airports, roads, beaches, schools, etc. are at risk, along with the entire Northwest Hawaiian Islands Reserve. Privately owned lands could be at risk because they were originally granted to Hawaiian natives in the Mahele of 1848 and then later sold to someone with no native blood.
The new Akaka bill is a pig in a poke -- it asks Congress to grant federal recognition to a tribe which has not yet been created. The bill's accompanying news release on Senator Akaka's official website has a headline calling this a "streamlined bill." Indeed, it's lean and mean. It's streamlined in the way a sniper bullet to the heart could be called a streamlined version of a hand grenade or roadside bomb. The tribe will be recognized immediately when the bill is passed -- before its members have enrolled, before a tribal council has been elected, before a tribal constitution has been written and ratified, etc.
Part of the bill's streamlining is deferring the process for creating the tribe to Hawaii Act 195 (2011) and to the Kana'iolowalu racial registry process set up by the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission. Thus Congress washes its hands of oversight or responsibility for what happens.
Act 195 says that someone is qualified for membership in the Akaka tribe if he is 18 years of age, has Hawaiian native blood, and "Has maintained a significant cultural, social, or civic connection to the Native Hawaiian community."
But that third requirement is in Act 195 only as a pretext to give the appearance of being a political group and not merely a racial group. In reality the signup sheet for the Kana'iolowalu registry stringently enforces the age and racial requirements by demanding documented proof; but does not require any documentation regarding cultural or civic connection nor even the name of a single group to which the applicant allegedly belongs. Hawaiian groups like hula halaus and canoe clubs are open to people of all races. But members with Hawaiian blood are the only ones who can apply to join the Akaka tribe. This shows it's all about race and not about "cultural, social or civic connection to the Native Hawaiian community."
The Akaka bill accelerates the racial balkanization of Hawaii and the entire United States.
It authorizes the people and lands of Hawaii to be divided along racial lines into different governments with different laws. We're talking about 21% of Hawaii's people, not just some small tribe in the boondocks of Wyoming. We're talking about perhaps half the land of Hawaii's main eight islands plus the entirety of the 1200 mile long, 400 mile wide Papahanaumokuakea National Marine Reserve running all the way to Kure Atoll, with all its islands, rich fishing grounds, and seabeds waiting to be mined. We're talking about neighbors across the street living under different civil and criminal laws, and a child-custody presumption automatically favoring an ethnic Hawaiian parent in a divorce.
The Akaka bill reaches throughout America. There are more than 237,107 Native Hawaiians living in states outside Hawaii, including 74,932 in California. The new Akaka bill encourages nationwide racial balkanization by redefining the word "tribe" in the Constitution to mean "indigenous people." So instead of about 560 tribes, there could be thousands of them as Congress seizes a power never envisioned in the Constitution, to single out any group of so-called indigenous people and create a government for them regardless whether they were ever previously organized like that. The leaders of the "Nation of Aztlan" movement note that nearly all Mexican-Americans are "indigenous" because they have at least one drop of Aztec or Mayan blood. They demand the right to create a race-based government controlling all U.S. lands that were formerly part of Mexico: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and portions of Nevada, Colorado, etc. The Akaka bill sets a precedent empowering such a scenario. That's one reason "La Raza" favors the bill, along with advocates for a reconquista.
It's time for Congress and the Hawaii legislature to realize the tremendous damage being done by the Akaka bill, Act 195, etc. The damage is not only to property and government, but to the Aloha Spirit and to our very souls as we face a future of racial separatism and ethnic nationalism. Please stop this nonsense. The situation with the Akaka bill is similar to the Honolulu rail project. Politicians colluding with wealthy, powerful institutions spewing massive propaganda initially persuade the public to go along with it. But as implementation gets closer to becoming reality, people see the bad consequences more clearly and rebel against it. Let's stop it. Now!
Hawaii Reporter, October 17, 2012
Recommendations for Hawaii voters who oppose racial separatism:
U.S. Senate; U.S. House; 5 OHA seats; state legislature.
BY KENNETH R. CONKLIN, PH.D. --
** Excerpts directly focused on Akaka bill
Aloha dear readers,
As you know I'm in favor of unity, equality, and aloha for all. See
With those principles in mind, I have recommendations for voting in the election of 2012.
I believe racial separatism and ethnic nationalism are the greatest threats to long-term peace and stability in Hawaii. Yes, it's true that our nation and state face great difficulties related to budget deficits, unemployment, taxation, foreign policy, etc. But racial strife is a far greater threat than any of those things. Consider Bosnia, where Europeans of three different ethnicities were living, working and playing together and intermarrying (similar to Hawaii), until Serbs, Croats, and Muslims started killing each other, engaging in ethnic cleansing and racial separatism. Consider Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Darfur, East Timor, Sri Lanka, etc. where ethnic strife led to civil war and mass atrocities.
We in Hawaii must do all we can to defeat racial separatism. I appeal especially to conservative Republicans who think it's very important to win Republican control of the U.S. Senate and keep control of the House. But my friends, I say to you that there comes a time when we who live in Hawaii must give top priority to what's best for Hawaii, even if it means we send to Congress people who will vote the wrong way on national issues. I will vote against candidates who agree with me on most issues but who push for the Akaka bill, racially exclusionary programs, and racial separatism.
The only reason the Akaka bill has never passed in 12 years is because of the principled opposition of Republicans who have repeatedly blocked it in the Senate. If a leftwing Democrat and a conservative Republican both support the Akaka bill, I will vote for the Democrat rather than send a Republican to represent Hawaii who will make deals in the Republican caucus to undermine Republican opposition to the Akaka bill. Lingle's top federal priority during her 8 years as Governor was to pass the Akaka bill. On October 16, in her televised debate with Hirono, Lingle once again said that as a Republican she will work inside the Republican caucus to pass the Akaka bill, in a way Hirono cannot do. Djou gave a 30-minute interview on OHA radio touting his ability to persuade fellow Republicans to pass the bill. Let's keep them out of Congress. For a much more in-depth analysis, including published information showing how strongly Lingle and Djou pushed the Akaka bill, see
Linda Lingle, Charles Djou, and Kawika Crowley have abandoned both the national and the state Republican Party platforms that strongly oppose the Akaka bill. So conservative Republicans should not hesitate to abandon those candidates. I will hold my nose and vote for Mazie Hirono for U.S. Senate, and recommend a vote for Colleen Hanabusa for U.S. House District 1. Those two contests might be close, so please don't abstain from voting -- Hirono and Hanabusa must get more votes than Lingle and Djou to ensure the right outcome. I live in House District 2, where Republican candidate Kawika Crowley favors the Akaka bill and also wants to rip the 50th star off the flag to make Hawaii an independent nation. Democrat Tulsi Gabbard will easily defeat Crowley, so there's no need to vote for Gabbard merely to defeat Crowley. Thus I can afford to vote a principled blank showing disapproval of both candidates.
Five OHA seats will be on the ballot November 6. Everyone can vote regardless of race. Everyone can vote for all 5 seats regardless of island designation of candidates. This is our chance to fundamentally change OHA. The general principle is: throw the bums out! But for whom should you vote?
The incumbent for the OHA at-large seat is Haunani Apoliona. She served as trustee and chair of the OHA board for many years, always pushing the Akaka bill. Let's toss her out! Fortunately there's a truly outstanding candidate running to replace her -- Keli'i Akina, Ph.D. Dr. Akina is a professor both in Hawaii and in China. He strongly opposes the Akaka bill and the Act 195 state-recognized Akaka tribe. He believes that Hawaiians of the blood and Hawaiians at heart should work together for the betterment of us all and to reform OHA. He is the opposite of a racial separatist. I strongly endorse him and hope you will vote for him. Read his powerful, inspiring commentary in the September 7, 2012 issue of Hawaii Reporter:
For the OHA Kaua'i seat I recommend a vote for Jackie Burke, because she opposes the Akaka bill. She opposes it for the wrong reason -- she's a secessionist advocating an independent nation of Hawaii. And she supports the racially exclusionary government handouts for ethnic Hawaiians. So I certainly do not endorse her. I only recommend a vote for her because she's the least bad among the candidates, and most importantly because she opposes the Akaka bill.
For the Hawaii Island seat, I'll vote for incumbent Robert Lindsey. He favors the Akaka bill but does not push it aggressively. He works humbly and quietly but effectively to get OHA to spend its money on programs that actually help needy people.
Finally, what about the state legislature? One candidate stands out above all others as a champion of unity, equality, and aloha for all -- a man who not only opposes the Akaka bill but has traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby against it at a time when it was vitally important to have an elected official from Hawaii telling U.S. Senators that we oppose the bill. I'm talking, of course, about the only Republican in the Hawaii state Senate, Sam Slom. Senator Slom also organized a celebration of Statehood Day in front of the former Capitol of the Territory of Hawaii where the transition to statehood took place (Iolani Palace). He bravely stood with a group of Hawaii patriots there who were assaulted with vile language and threats of violence from Hawaiian sovereignty hooligans who consider the Palace to be their Capitol of a still-living Kingdom of Hawaii. Senator Slom has consistently voted against resolutions in the legislature supporting the Akaka bill. He was the only legislator out of 25 in the Senate and 51 in the House who voted against Act 195 (2011) that established a state-recognized Akaka tribe and a racial registry to begin organizing it. So I strongly endorse Senator Sam Slom for re-election. May he live long and prosper!
In other contests for the state legislature my general inclination is to support Republicans because they usually seem more eager than Democrats to cut spending, reduce taxes, reduce bureaucratic and tax policies that harm small businesses. Republicans also may be more willing than Democrats to step away from "political correctness" and perhaps get some courage to oppose racial entitlements, OHA, and the demands that will inevitably be made for transfer of land, money, and jurisdictional authority to the Akaka tribe.
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