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History of the Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill (Akaka bill) from January 1, 2012 to August 2, 2012. Linda Lingle, likely Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, and Ed Case, former Congressman running for the Democrat nomination for Senate, both publicize their strong support for ethnic Hawaiian racial entitlements in general and for the Akaka bill in particular. Rep Tom Cole (R,OK), an enrolled member of an Indian tribe and cosponsor of Akaka bill, speaks at Lingle fundraisers in Hawaii. July 20: A ceremony at Liliuokalani's home kicked off a year-long process to recruit ethnic Hawaiians to sign up on a racial registry organized under Act 195 of the 2011 legislature.


January 1, 2012: State of Hawaii Office of Hawaiian Affairs monthly newspaper report on speeches made at the "State of OHA" annual meeting emphasizes OHA's continuing efforts to pass the Akaka bill and to implement state Act 195 [a state clone of the federal Akaka bill].

Jan 3: Senator Inouye tells constituents "I am very disappointed to report that I was compelled to give up our recognition provision at the end of the Conference [on omnibus spending bill in December 2011]." Inouye said that the Republicans who opposed the Akaka Bill would have demanded "anti-environmental" provisions that would have "set back our nation's air and water protections for many years" in exchange for federal recognition. Inouye also said he will "continue to fight" for the Akaka Bill's passage.

Jan 9: Honolulu Civil Beat online newspaper article says that in view of longtime Congressional inaction on the Akaka bill, OHA is hoping the Bureau of Indian Affairs will grant administrative recognition to the Hawaiian tribe; comment by Ken Conklin shows that cannot happen if BIA follows the law, because "Native Hawaiians fail to meet the requirements laid out in 25 CFR 83.7.

Jan 11: Former Governor Lingle, Republican, running for the U.S. Senate, trumpets her bipartisanship and her ability to get her fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate to support the Akaka bill (she takes credit for getting a few Republican Senators to co-sponsor the bill in previous years).

Jan 13: John Fund, Wall Street Journal columnist, says Akaka bill is dead and notes that community activists persuaded Senate Republicans to block it despite near-unanimous support for Akaka bill by Hawaii politicians.

Jan 20: Malia Hill, of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, published Part 1 of a 2-part brochure describing the Akaka bill and its dangers for Hawaii's economic and social environment. Part 2 was published February 24. The two parts are consolidated for this website at February 24.

Jan 22: Major article in Honolulu Star-Advertiser describes how the Act 195 roll commission is working to reach out to enroll ethnic Hawaiians throughout America, how this effort facilitates the Akaka bill, and how OHA will eventually turn over its assets to the Act 195 tribe (including the $200 Million Kakaako land settlement being proposed in the legislature).

Jan 26: Once again, in 2010 Hawaii state and county government agencies spent far more money lobbying in Washington D.C. than private companies did, according to 2011 U.S. Senate lobbyist disclosure reports. The two biggest spenders were OHA pushing the Akaka bill, and the Honolulu rail project seeking federal funding.

February 24: Malia Hill, of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, published Part 2 of a 2-part brochure describing the Akaka bill and its dangers for Hawaii's economic and social environment. Part 1 was published January 20. The two parts are consolidated for this website at February 24.

April 1: OHA trustee Peter Apo uses OHA monthly newspaper to publish a summary of an article by a professor of law at the University of Guam: "International law and federal recognition of the Hawaiian nation" The article rejects the Akaka bill but favors using the United Nations process for decolonization.

April 6: Honolulu Star-Advertiser publishes a lengthy interview with former Governor John Waihee, who now heads the legislature-created commission to build a roll of members for the Native Hawaiian tribe created under Act 195. Waihee makes it very clear that this is about restoring the never-relinquished sovereignty of the nation of Hawaii, and he describes a future political entity where only people with Hawaiian blood have voting rights but everybody else who wants to help can also sign up.

April 18: International Business Times lengthy article describes Akaka bill, supporters and opponents. "It is unlikely that the bill will be passed before Akaka's retirement, and it is uncertain if it will be reintroduced in his absence next year. In the event that the Akaka Bill leaves with its author, Native Hawaiian concerns will fall even further by the wayside in Washington politics."

April 28: The Maui News publishes a puff piece touting Esther Kia'aina, candidate in the Democrat primary for Hawaii 2nd Congressional district. The main plank in her platform is to push the Akaka bill, which she would be the best candidate to do, on account of her experience during 17 years as legislative assistant to Senator Akaka, and chief of staff to Congressman Ed Case and to Guam Territorial Delegate Robert Underwood. She has also worked as land asset manager for Kamehameha Schools, and chief advocate for OHA.

May 2012 monthly publications: (1) May issue of the University of Hawaii Law School student publication Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal has a major article by two recent graduates defending the Akaka bill and the right of Congress to grant federal recognition to a group based on genealogical descent alone, in rebuttal to an article published two years previously in the same journal. Links to download both articles are provided.; (2) Jere Krischel article lamenting how the racial separatism of the Akaka bill violates America's founding motto "E Pluribus Unum"; (3) Elaine Willman "Trends in Federal Indian Policy and Common Law" says America is now at a crisis point where major trends are converging to force a sudden major change in federal Indian policy; (4) Elaine Willman "When in the Course of Human Events it Becomes Necessary" says the racial separatism of the Akaka bill fits right in with the racial separatism of the Hispanic "Aztlan" movement and the Islamist communities using condominium law to try to operate under Islamic law.

May 8 and 15: Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, former Governor Linda Lingle, will hold fundraisers in Honolulu and Kona, focused on her support for the Akaka bill, featuring guest speaker Rep. Tom Cole (R,OK), the only enrolled member of an Indian tribe serving in Congress, who has been a co-sponsor of the Akaka bill throughout his 10 years in Congress.

May 16: Richard Rowland, President of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, says the Akaka bill would cause poverty for Native Hawaiians, like what is found on Indian reservations.

May 19: (1) Retired General Robert Lee, Linda Lingle's campaign manager, deplores Democrat attacks on Rep. Tom Cole (R,OK) who is joining Lingle's campaign fundraisers in Hawaii as a speaker in support of Akaka bill; (2) Ed Case, former member of Congress running for the Democrat nomination for U.S. Senate, publishes a major statement describing 10 principles all focused on his strong support for Hawaiian racial entitlements in general and the Akaka bill in particular

May 20: (1) Derrick DePledge, Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporter, publishes article devoted entirely to summarizing the positions on the Akaka bill by all the Hawaii candidates for U.S. Senate; (2) Keith Rollman, campaign manager for Senate candidate John Carroll, publishes online comment to DePledge article providing entirety of what Carroll sent to DePledge including Carroll's position supporting Hawaiian racial entitlements (especially the Hawaiian Homelands), presumably to make it clear that Carroll's opposition to Akaka bill does not make him "anti-Hawaiian"; (3) DePledge posts an online entry in his newspaper blog saying that Akaka/Inouye will likely try to attach Akaka bill to a spending bill requiring only 51 votes to pass in order to avoid a cloture fight on a free-standing bill, which would require 60 votes; and DePledge provides text of Akaka's spokesman asserting that ethnic Hawaiians "remain the only federally recognized indigenous people without a government-to-government relationship with the U.S."; (4) Ken Conklin's online comment points out the doublespeak self-contradiction in what the Akaka spokesman said.

May 21: TV news report about Senate candidate Linda Lingle speaking about the Akaka bill at campaign fundraiser in Kona (Hawaii Island), accompanied by Congressman Tom Cole (R,OK) who is a cosponsor of it.

May 24: (1) Congressman Tom Cole (R,OK), at a campaign fundraiser for Linda Lingle in Honolulu on May 23, severely criticized his fellow Republicans in the House and Senate for blocking the Akaka bill.; (2) John Carroll, candidate for U.S. Senate in the Republican primary, criticizes Tom Cole and Linda Lingle, pointing out the racial divisiveness of the Akaka bill and the history of the Kingdom of Hawaii proclamation that all people are of one blood.

May 25: Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute, criticizes Cole/Lingle for making personal attacks on Akaka bill opponents rather than discussing the fundamental issues.

May 27: Letter to editor (Memorial Day weekend) says "The Hawaiian people want their sovereignty just as much as the American colonialists wanted their independence from Great Britain, but they want to achieve it in a peaceful manner."

June 1, 2012: A play sympathetic to the push for race-based Hawaiian sovereignty was produced 15 years ago and is now being performed again throughout the month of June.

June 30: Former Governor Lingle, running for U.S. Senate, issues a press release expressing joy that the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the Corboy lawsuit regarding race-based property tax waivers on Hawaiian homelands leases. Lingle promises to work to pass the Akaka bill as a way to put an end to such lawsuits.

July 1, 2012: OHA trustee Peter Apo says he is sympathetic to the Hawaiian independence activists who think the Akaka bill will yield a condition of being under house arrest but free to rearrange the furniture; however, he believes the United Nations is totally impotent to restore true sovereignty.

July 13: Televised debate among 4 leading candidates for Congress for Hawaii's second district has all 4 supporting Akaka bill. One candidate is Esther Kia'aina, who works as public spokesperson for OHA and previously served as staffer for Senator Akaka, Representative Ed Case, and Guam Representative Robert Underwood. She helped push through the Apology Resolution in 1993.

July 20-25: Numerous newspaper and TV stations published news reports about Kana'iolowalu -- the process begun on July 20 whereby the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, created under SB1520=Act195 of the 2011 legislature, will take one year to recruit ethnic Hawaiians to sign up for the racial registry.

August 1, 2012: Peter Apo, OHA trustee, has part 2 of his essay in the OHA monthly newspaper regarding what happens next with federal recognition for ethnic Hawaiians.


Ka Wai Ola [OHA monthly newspaper], January 2012, pp. 14-17

Mana'o Ho'oulu Lahui Aloha -- Envisioning the growth of our beloved nation

by Treena Shapiro

** Excerpts related to the Akaka bill and/or Hawaii Act 195

Native Hawaiians are urged to stand firm – and stand together – moving into what could be a pivotal year in the community's history. Roughly 400 people attended the State of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs ceremony at St. Andrew's Cathedral on Dec. 14, where speakers offered heartfelt and inspiring reflections and set the stage for the coming year.

Thunderous applause filled the cathedral as OHA Trustee Colette Machado made an impassioned call for unity. "Today's our day to 'onipa'a, to move together in all that we can do so that we can restore a government that our children and the generations to follow don't need to lament over (past wrongs)," she said. "And I stand here in front of all of you, asking all of you to lay your weapons down, lay your spears down, and embrace with aloha."

OHA will continue to work to achieve federal recognition in Congress, where passage of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, or the Akaka bill, would allow Native Hawaiians to establish a sovereign governing entity, Machado said in prepared remarks handed out to attendees.

Referring to Queen Lili'uokalani, the Hawaiian Kingdom's last monarch, Machado said that from the trove of music and written words the Queen left behind are two sentences that "hits hard in my na'au." Those words are: "I could not turn back the time for political change, but there is still time to save our heritage. You must remember never to cease to act because you fear you may fail," she said, quoting the Queen.

Former Gov. John Waihe'e III followed Machado with a powerful keynote address. Waihe'e, Hawai'i's first Native Hawaiian governor, is Chairman of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, which is tasked with preparing and certifying a roll of Native Hawaiians qualified to participate in nation building. The five-member commission was created over the summer with the signing of Act 195, a state law recognizing Native Hawaiians as the sole indigenous people of Hawai'i. ... He pointed to the growing number of schools for Native Hawaiian children as a sign of progress. "We have reawakened a nation and it will never be put back to sleep again," he said. Hawaiians must stand united to make sure they preserve the rights they have as they move toward self-determination and reunification. "Today, perhaps because of how far we've come, we are being besieged on all sides," he said. Hawaiian rights are being threatened, and cherished institutions challenged, he warned.

Waihe'e said Hawaiian recognition by the state simply reaffirmed what Native Hawaiians already knew. "What we as a commission are committed to, and why we are committed to the work ahead, is we believe that we will lay the foundation for the restoration of Native Hawaiians' self-[determination].

Here is the full text of Chairperson Machado's prepared remarks for the 2011 State of OHA: [excerpts relevant to the Akaka bill and/or Hawaii Act 195]

... I would like us to reflect upon this theme shared with us by master kumu hula and cultural and spiritual leader Dr. Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele. Here is Hawai'i, he moku, he kanaka. As Känaka 'Öiwi, we are Hawai'i and Hawai'i is us. Our islands, our way of life and our Känaka 'Öiwi are truly unique. ... If we keep connected with our ancestral foundation, we will build a strong sovereign governing entity which will be embraced by all of our people.

A call for unity

Since the Rice v. Cayetano decision, the system of law out of which OHA was created has been invoked in numerous lawsuits aimed at preventing OHA, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and our Ali'i Trusts from providing services to Känaka 'Öiwi. OHA's primary strategy to protect all of these Native Hawaiian organizations and the services that we provide has been the passage of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, or the Akaka bill.

OHA spent 10 years pursuing the passage of the Akaka bill and dealt with multiple obstacles along every step of that path. We will not give up. We are committed to gaining federal protection of Känaka 'Öiwi rights. Within the last year, OHA has started to open up alternate legislative and executive routes in coordination with Sen. Daniel Akaka, Sen. Daniel Inouye and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. President Barack Obama is a strong partner in this effort. OHA will aggressively pursue these legislative and executive paths throughout the next year.

Here at home, the Hawai'i State Legislature took the initiative, with the support of Gov. Neil Abercrombie, to pass Act 195, which states, "The Native Hawaiian people are hereby recognized as the only indigenous, aboriginal, maoli people of Hawai'i." This provides a solid foundation for the State of Hawai'i to stand with OHA against any future challenges to Native Hawaiian entitlements. It also bolsters OHA's federal strategy by sending a clear message to the federal government to endorse the recognition of Känaka 'Öiwi as the indigenous people of Hawai'i. The appointment of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission by Governor Abercrombie under Act 195 opened a pathway toward the re-establishment of a Native Hawaiian governing entity. OHA is an active partner in this process, providing financial and administrative support. We are fortunate that former Gov. John Waihe'e III is leading this effort and we are honored that he will present today's keynote address.

I call upon the leaders and members of our communities and organizations to unite around this process. For myself, I support this as the best last chance for my generation to deliver the sovereign governing entity for our "Lähui Aloha." ...

Honolulu Civil Beat, January 3, 2012
Blog entry by Adrienne LaFrance

Inouye 'Very Disappointed' About Akaka Bill

Sen. Daniel Inouye sent an email wishing his constituents hauoli makahiki hou on Tuesday, and reflecting upon much of his work as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee in recent weeks.

While Inouye described his committee's successes, he also wrote of the "fiscal and political limitations" he faced in 2011.

"One such limitation I found particularly disappointing was that I was unable to attain federal recognition for Native Hawaiians—the Akaka Bill…" Inouye wrote. "I am very disappointed to report that I was compelled to give up our recognition provision at the end of the Conference."

Inouye said that the Republicans who opposed the Akaka Bill would have demanded "anti-environmental" provisions that would have "set back our nation's air and water protections for many years" in exchange for federal recognition. Inouye also said he will "continue to fight" for the Akaka Bill's passage.

Honolulu Civil Beat, January 9, 2012

Federal Recognition for Native Hawaiians Could Come Via Interior Dept

By Chad Blair

Frustrated with a 10-year congressional fight to obtain federal recognition and form a nation-within-a-nation government, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has decided to follow a path that has led several American Indian tribes to success.

OHA is not giving up on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, known as the Akaka bill.

But faced with the reality that U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, for whom the bill is named, is retiring after this year and that the political environment in Washington, D.C., is as polarized as it has ever been, OHA and Hawaii's delegation having been exploring other routes.

One of those would bypass Congress altogether and seek recognition from the U.S. Department of the Interior, a process used by Native American tribes.

"It is possible that Hawaiians could achieve recognition through an alternate route — alternate from the legislative route," said Clyde Namuo, OHA's longtime CEO until he retired Dec. 30. "It would not require congressional approval, but you would need to convince the Secretary of the Interior that they have the authority to do it. And we believe that there is adequate precedence to establish that you can do it."

Tribal Path

Native American tribes can be recognized through a federal acknowledgment process. The problem, according to Namuo, is that the process applies only to Alaska and the Lower 48 states.

"The rules never changed to include Hawaii," he said. "So we are not permitted to apply under that law."

But OHA has learned through its research consultants that there have been four separate incidents where the Interior Department did recognize tribes outside the acknowledgment process.

The key, said Namuo, is having an Interior secretary and U.S. president who are sympathetic toward Hawaiian recognition — something OHA believes is the case with Secretary Ken Salazar and President Barack Obama.

"You need the stars to align," said Namuo, who explained that Interior recognition may have to wait until after the elections this year. "Even if they acknowledge that they have the authority, they are still going to want to go through a process. And that's why the state roll commission is critical."

Namuo is referring to the state legislation, signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in July, that recognizes Hawaiians as the state's indigenous population and establishes a Native Hawaiian Roll Commission to begin a process of counting qualified Hawaiians who will form a new government.

"The Native Hawaiian governing entity is the entity that would apply to the Secretary of the Interior for recognition," said Namuo. "Without the entity, you wouldn't have that happen."

"The governing entity process can be done without any federal law," he said. "Sen. Inouye has said numerous times that you don't need a federal law to organize a Native Hawaiian community."

Unlike Native Americans, whose tribal structure and leadership have been intact for centuries, Hawaiians don't have a comparable leadership group in place that speaks for the Native Hawaiian community.

Kau Inoa

Namuo is careful to stress that OHA is a state agency that would be separate from a governing entity.

Though the roll commission, headed by former Gov. John Waihee, is administratively attached to OHA — OHA will fund its operations — it cannot effect policy.

Which isn't to say there aren't ties between OHA and the commission.

For example, Namuo said the names of 110,000 Hawaiians collected by OHA beginning in 2004 through a program called Kau Inoa — it means, roughly, to sign up or place names — could become the basis for a roll. Those registered for Kau Inoa would have to agree to let their names be used and to meet qualifying criteria set by the roll commission.

There are other connections between OHA and the roll commission: John Waihee IV, the former governor's son, is a current OHA trustee.

And, Namuo was named executive director of the commission, it was announced Thursday, on a volunteer basis. State law prohibits "retirees" from working for the state for one year after leaving their position.

"Gov. Waihee asked me, and I could not tell him no," said Namuo. "After all, Chair (Colette) Machado and I both urged Gov. Abercrombie to pick him as chair of the commission."

Half a Million Strong?

Machado said she is not giving up on the Akaka bill. But she describes the last decade as "10 years of yo-yos, up and down."

"I am hopeful, but if you look at the roll commission, it could potentially help shape a Hawaiian constitution," she said. "Excuse me if I'm pushy, but, you know the song 'Sonny's Been Waiting'?"

Machado is referring to a Henry Kapono song called "Broken Promise" about Sonny Alohalani Kaniho, who fought to get Hawaiians on Hawaiian home lands. It includes this refrain:

Sonny's been waiting / Sonny's been waiting his turn in line / Sonny's been waiting / Why should he wait until he dies?

Machado said the timeline for the Interior recognition is 18 months to two years. She gave Civil Beat sample copies of several Native American constitutions and bylaws, including Arizona's Hopi Tribe, which was recognized by Henry Ickes, the Interior Secretary in 1936.

"This is parallel," Machado said of the Interior plan. "If the Akaka bill fails, we can still move forward at the state level. When you read this (she points to the constitutions and bylaws) you can see how hopeful it can be for Native Hawaiians, even if we are doing this with the state first rather than from the federal government down."

Machado pointed to another Indian tribe as a model.

"The Navajo is the largest on the continent," she said. "We have over 500,000 Hawaiians here and on the continent. We don't want to say this too loud, but we are larger than the Navajo."


** Online comment by Ken Conklin

OHA and its apologists, including Chad Blair, are getting desperate and flailing around to try to figure out some way -- any way -- to push forward on racial separatism for ethnic Hawaiians. Federal recognition through the Bureau of Indian Affairs is now getting hyped.

About 12 years ago I wrote a webpage "Indian Tribe Status for Kanaka Maoli?" at

A subpage is entitled "What Criteria Must Be Met for Federal Recognition of Tribal Status? Why Do Some Alleged Tribes Fail to Get Recognition?" at

There are 7 mandatory criteria for tribal recognition, which can be found in 25 CFR 83.7 (the federal equivalent of the Hawaii Revised Statutes). My webpage describes those seven criteria. It's very clear that the "Hawaiian Tribe" fails to meet most of them. Failing to meet even just one of them means that a so-called tribe cannot be recognized.

The most obvious items where the "Hawaiian tribe" fails to be a real tribe have nothing to do with Chad Blair's explanation that only mainland and Alaskan tribes are eligible. These reasons are not mere "technicalities" like that. These are very obvious, commonsense concepts of what a "tribe" should look like. A tribe is a group of people who have always lived separate and apart from surrounding non-native communities, with its own laws and religion separate and distinct from those non-native communities; a tribe has always had its own government which has maintained significant authority over its members from before European contact continuously through the present

25 CFR 83.7 requires "A predominant portion of the petitioning group comprises a distinct community and has existed as a community from historical times until the present." But ethnic Hawaiians are thoroughly assimilated in the larger community of all Hawaii residents, intermarried and dispersed throughout all neighborhoods and occupations.

25 CFR 83.7 requires "The petitioner has maintained political influence or authority over its members as an autonomous entity from historical times until the present." The "Hawaiian tribe" obviously fails on this one. Ethnic Hawaiians became citizens of the U.S. at annexation in 1898, 26 years before Indians were granted U.S. citizenship in 1924. Most importantly: there has NEVER been a government controlling all the Hawaiian islands where native Hawaiians were the only leaders and/or citizens of the government. The Kingdom of Hawaii was fully multiracial, with most of the cabinet officers and department heads being Caucasians, as well as many members of the legislature.

Two wannabe tribes whose petition for federal recognition are identified in the webpage, and the reasons for their denial are described.

Here are two more resources which I did not create, which Chad Blair and anyone else interested in this topic should explore:

U.S. Federally Non-Recognized Tribes: 226 federally non-recognized tribes are listed here. Updated 06/18/08. "Federally Non-Recognized Tribe" is defined as a formally organized entity that has: A. Applied for federal recognition and is not yet approved; or B. Previously recognized and recognition was rescinded; or C. Applied for federal recognition and was rejected.

Also: "State recognized tribes" are Native American Indian Tribes and Heritage Groups that are recognized by individual states for their various internal government purposes. "State recognition" confers limited benefits under federal law and is not the same as federal recognition, which is the federal government's acknowledgment of a tribe as a sovereign nation. However, in some states, state recognition has offered some protection of autonomy for tribes not recognized by the federal government. For example, in Connecticut, state law protects reservations and limited self-government rights for state-recognized tribes. See a heavily footnoted list of state recognized tribes which includes details of each group's quest for recognition.

The Maui News, January 11, 2011

Lingle says, if elected, state will be heard in Washington

By ILIMA LOOMIS - Staff Writer

** Excerpts related to the Akaka bill

WAILUKU - Former Gov. Linda Lingle said Tuesday that she would work with members of both parties if elected to the U.S. Senate, but also said Hawaii would benefit from having a Republican in its congressional delegation.

Lingle said her relationships with Republican leaders would help the state continue to be heard in Washington, no matter which party is in power.

"The majority in the U.S. Senate goes back and forth. Sometimes the Republicans are in the majority, and sometimes the Democrats," she said. "We need to have a foot in both camps. It's not in Hawaii's interest to have a delegation that's all of one party."

The former governor stressed what she called a "definable track record" of bipartisanship, and said she would work across the aisle if elected to the Senate. "I'm comfortable doing that because I've had to, being a Republican in a state that's so heavily Democrat," she said.

In addition to her local record, Lingle pointed to her efforts as governor reaching out to Republicans in Congress to gain their support for the Akaka Bill, which would have provided federal recognition of Native Hawaiians.

"Not everyone in the Republican Party felt the same way, but I was able to get Republicans to actually be co-sponsors," she said. "If I was elected, I would be able to get support, certainly for the Akaka Bill, which without Republican support I don't think has a chance to pass."

She also said she did not expect to have difficulty working with President Barack Obama, even though she campaigned against him in 2008, when she was supporting the Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin. "I think the president is like me, and that is, if it's good for the people, he's for it, and if it's good for the people, I'm for it," she said.

Looking at some of her administration's more controversial actions, which have re-emerged as statewide issues in the past weeks, Lingle said she didn't have second thoughts about her decision to veto a civil unions bill in the final months of her governorship. A subsequent bill allowing civil unions, which was passed by the Legislature in 2011 and signed by Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie, took effect Jan. 1. Lingle said she had told legislators during her administration that she would support civil unions as "something less than marriage," but that when the bill granted couples the same rights as marriage, she judged that it should be sent to voters for a referendum.

Hawaii Reporter, January 13, 2012

Akaka Bill is Dead, Honolulu Rail Could Be Too ...

** Excerpts related to Akaka bill

John Fund, Fox News contributor and award winning writer for the Wall Street Journal, has been in Hawaii this week. In his interview on Hawaii Reporter Television, he offers an interesting analysis about Hawaii politics including the chances of survival for both the Akaka Bill and the Honolulu rail project.

Fund, who has written extensively on the Akaka Bill for the Wall Street Journal, said the federal legislation to recognize native Hawaiians as an Indian Tribe is "dead" because the current U.S. Senate has no plans to pass the legislation as it stands.

Killing the Akaka Bill is a good example of what a handful of citizens can do if they never give up and work together, Fund said, noting every politician in Hawaii except one (Sen. Sam Slom) supported the Akaka Bill, but citizens who were concerned about the intent of the legislation educated the U.S. Senate about the divisiveness it would cause among Hawaii's melting pot of ethnicities.


Jan 20: Malia Hill, of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, published Part 1 of a 2-part brochure describing the Akaka bill and its dangers for Hawaii's economic and social environment. Part 2 was published February 24. The two parts are consolidated for this website at February 24.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, January 22, 2012

Hawaiians' native cause is on a roll
A new state law propels efforts to enlist Hawaiians, here and on the mainland, toward a convention to create a governing entity

By Lee Catterall

After a decade of futility in seeking congressional recognition of a Native Hawaiian government, a forceful effort is under way to obtain sovereignty in the eyes of the state.

The first step, approved by last year's Legislature, is to identify and count indigenous Hawaiians not only in the islands but across the mainland, and it will be no small task, said Clyde W. Namuo, who retired last month after 10 years as chief executive officer of the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs and now holds the same position at the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.

Originally planned to start counting heads next year, the timeline has been accelerated at the urging of some OHA trustees and state legislators, Namuo said.

"I hope we can complete the job in two to four years -- the shorter the better," said former Gov. John Waihee, chairman of the five-member commission, with funding that Namuo estimated will range from $3 million to $5 million.

The commission expects to gather information about at least 500,000 Native Hawaiians, 280,000 who live in Hawaii and 220,000 on the continent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. However, the federal agency cannot provide the specific names or households.

The push for recognition surfaced in 2000, when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the limitation of Native Hawaiians to vote for OHA board trustees because indigenous Hawaiians lacked the sovereignty Congress had given to American Indians and Alaska natives. U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka proposed Hawaiian sovereignty, but it ran into opposition in Congress time and again, especially among Republicans.

Optimism crested several years ago, though, when Hawaii's Republican Gov. Linda Lingle publicly supported the Akaka Bill; newly elected President Barack Obama, Hawaii's native son, entered the White House; and Democrats took control of both the Senate and House in 2009.

However, when changes to the bill were made, the Lingle administration balked. By the time further changes were made to regain the support of Lingle and her attorney general, Mark Bennett, time ran out, and Republicans gained a majority in the House two years ago.

"I know in the past when OHA has lobbied Congress to pass the Akaka Bill, it's been difficult for several reasons," Namuo said. "One is that you really don't have a Native Hawaiian government entity that represented Native Hawaiians, that spoke for Native Hawaiians. So when you went to lobby Congress, you had OHA but OHA is not an entity that was formed by that Native Hawaiian community; it's a government agency."

When an Indian tribe goes to Congress for recognition, it has tribal leaders that represent the tribe.

"That is absent in the Hawaiian community," he said. "That's something that the enrollment will begin -- that process of creating the government entity."

Creating that roll will require an extensive sweep of the country to put together a record of people who are at least 18 years old and can provide evidence that their ancestors resided in Hawaii in 1778, when Capt. James Cook discovered the islands. That could include birth certificates, baptismal records or marriage or death certificates.

Included in the survey will be contact with "kamaaina witnesses," those who will attest that someone is Hawaiian because they know the family and can attest to the person's validity.

Namuo said the Roll Commission, with offices connected to OHA, will ask the state agency for $3 million to $5 million to conduct the search. In some areas, that will require purchasing newspaper, radio and television advertisements urging Native Hawaiians on the mainland to provide information about themselves.

"There are census tracts that tell you roughly in a particular location how many Hawaiians live there," Namuo said.

For example, he said, a large pocket of Native Hawaiians is known to exist in Hayward, Calif., a San Francisco suburb. "That might be an area that might be worth looking at and running a newspaper ad."

However, he said, Texas, for example, may have 8,000 Native Hawaiians out of a population of several million. Taking out ads there would be wasteful, and other methods would be more efficient.

"There is a civic club (of Hawaiians) in Dallas, Texas," he said, "so you're probably better off working with Hawaiian clubs and organizations in those communities to determine where people gather.

"For example, if you go to Torrance, Calif., there'll be an L&L Drive-Inn, and L&L Drive-Inns are a gathering place for not only Native Hawaiians but also people who have lived in Hawaii," Namuo said.

L&L, originally confined to Hawaii, expanded to the mainland in 1999. Now, he said, "They're all over the place."

Some of the information, such as birth certificates, are confidential, but the birth certificate numbers will be noted on the roll form, which will be made public.

"If people believe that someone is not Native Hawaiian and ends up on the roll," Namuo said, "there's a potential challenge."

Last year's legislation is limited to creating the roll, but envisions that it will be followed by delegates being elected for a constitutional convention, the creation of "organic documents" and election of the entity's initial officers, Namuo said.

"Once you have the officers in place," he said, "then you are ready to seek recognition of the state of Hawaii for the Native Hawaiian government entity. That may take several years to do that," joining "various tribes" that have received state recognition.

At that point, all the assets of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs could be transferred to the new entity, including 25 acres of state land at Kakaako that is proposed to be given to OHA. (That $200 million proposal to settle ceded-lands back claims is expected to be debated during this legislative session.) Even then, that would be the subject of negotiations between the state and the new entity, since OHA is a state agency.

If the Kakaako deal is sealed, it could be turned into a "land base," as critics have pointed out that the Native Hawaiian people are without a reservation; for most Native American tribes, reservations are where they reside.

"It could be," Namuo said about the land base concept. "Probably not, though. When people talk about land base, they're more interested in where people live. Kakaako would probably become much more a basis of wealth for the nation."

Some of the native tribes on the continent have gone on to negotiate recognition through a "federal acknowledgement process," not by Congress but by the U.S. interior secretary. However, that rule is restricted to the lower 48 states and Alaska. Congressional action would be needed to include Hawaii, but Republican opposition could surface for the same reason that the Akaka Bill was controversial. Also, that process has taken 10 to 20 years for other entities, Namuo said, because every member would be subject to a genealogical survey, tracing ancestry back to the original roll.

Outside that process, the interior secretary has recognized indigenous groups in "a few instances," he said, but that has been rare.

"The Akaka Bill would be the preferred act," Namuo said.

That bill is still lingering before Congress, but its chances for passage are considered longer than ever in a hyper-partisan Congress, split between a Republican House and a Democratic Senate.

In the meantime, Namuo said the priority is to spread the word that Native Hawaiians register in the roll.

"Everybody should know that it's going on," he said. "If they choose not to participate, that's their choice, but everyone should at least have the opportunity of knowing that it's going on. And then they can choose."

Hawaii Reporter, January 26, 2012

Biggest [Hawaii] Spenders in Washington: Office Of Hawaiian Affairs, Honolulu Rapid Transit

BY JIM DOOLEY – Once again, Hawaii state and county government agencies spent far more money lobbying in Washington D.C. than private companies did, according to 2011 U.S. Senate lobbyist disclosure reports.

As has been the case in recent years, Honolulu's rapid transit agency, HART, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs laid out the biggest bucks to woo political support and budget appropriations from Congress and the executive branch. But OHA's lobbying effort, which ballooned to $680,000 in 2005 and has totaled $3.6 million since 1999, dwindled to $160,000 last year as prospects for Congressional approval of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act have dimmed.

In the last three months of 2011, OHA's lobbying bill from Patton Boggs, its influential representative in Washington, shriveled to just $10,000, according to records filed with the U.S. Senate. The disclosure data can be accessed here:

The two Patton Boggs lobbyists listed as working on the OHA account were Thomas Boggs, a founder of the firm, and Darryl Nirenberg, a former high-level Republican staffer in the Senate.

As many as nine lobbyists were listed as working on the OHA account in earlier years.

The biggest Hawaii-based Washington spender last year was Infraconsult, a private company hired by the City to pursue federal backing of the $5.2 billion Honolulu rapid transit project.

Infraconsult paid $320,000 to Washington lobbyist Williams & Jensen for its work promoting the HART project. The same amount was spent on 2010 lobbying, which is principally handled by Washington insider Denis Dwyer. Dwyer has been lobbying for Hawaii-based clients for decades and at one point in his career was a lobbyist for OHA.

He also was a partner with former Hawaii Gov. John Waihee in a lawfirm that lobbied Congress for Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate.

Since 2008, the City has matched OHA in Washington lobbying fees - $1.210,000 to $1,110,000, according the Senate data.

OHA spokesman Garrett Kamemoto said today the level of lobbying OHA will commission this year has not been set yet and is tied to the status of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, which is commonly known as the Akaka bill.

The lobbying expenses reported on the U.S. Senate data base don't include extra spending by OHA to maintain an office in Washington.

Kamemoto said those expenses are running around $250,000 annually.


February 24, 2012: Malia Hill, of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, published Part 2 of a 2-part brochure describing the Akaka bill and its dangers for Hawaii's economic and social environment. Part 1 was published January 20. The two parts are consolidated for this website here, at February 24.
In Pursuit, No. 3, January 20, 2012
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.

Economic Considerations

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
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?

Statistically worse

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 (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 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
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If you have any comments or questions about this commentary, please contact us at:
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Ka Wai Ola (OHA monthly newspaper), April 2012, page 34

International law and federal recognition of the Hawaiian nation

by Peter Apo. Vice Chair and Trustee for O'ahu
[Each trustee has the right to a regular monthly column]

Trustee's note: This month, I've asked Makana Risser Chai to summarize an important law review article.

Professor Julian Aguon, formerly of Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law at UH, wrote The Commerce of Recognition on international law and federal recognition. Aguon identified three theories of international law but thinks only one is potentially viable.

The occupation/deoccupation theory, pursued by Keanu Sai, Ph.D., and others, holds that Hawai'i remains an independent country that has been illegally occupied by another country. Aguon identifies five problems with this theory. (1) The invasion and overthrow were not illegal under international law at the time, therefore could not be redressed today. (2) Even if they were illegal, the law of occupation is ill-equipped to provide redress. (3) The case of the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are not analogous to Hawai'i, for five reasons. (4) This theory only applies when the two countries were at war, but the U.S. never was at war with Hawai'i. (5) Assuming they were illegal, Hawai'i must seek redress from the U.N. Security Council, where the U.S. has a veto.

A second theory is the indigenization/indigenous rights theory. The advantage of this theory is that Hawaiians do have rights under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The disadvantage is that the declaration is nonbinding at this time.

Aguon believes the colonization/decolonization theory is the best for Hawai'i. He points out that in 1946 Hawai'i was placed on the United Nations list of colonies slated for decolonization. It was wrongly removed in 1959 because the statehood plebiscite, or vote, failed to comply with international standards: only descendants of the kingdom's citizens should have been allowed to vote.

The professor points out that the advantage of this approach is that there is a well-developed mechanism for putting colonies back on the list and having new plebiscites. The forum is the U.N. General Assembly where the U.S. has only one vote (out of 193). In addition, there is international momentum in this direction as the U.N. announced a Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism in January 2011.

In contrast, Professor Aguon believes there are problems with seeking federal recognition under the Akaka bill or other process. He believes federal recognition is unnecessary, because the case Rice v. Cayetano applies only to voting, not to Hawaiian entitlements. In addition, he points out that because Indians are exempt from the 14th amendment, they also are not protected by it. Courts have denied Indians rights as a result. As he says, "What Congress giveth, it can taketh away."

Aguon also notes that the Apology Resolution passed by Congress in 1993 would be considered an admission by the U.S. under international law. But if Hawaiians go for federal recognition, they could be seen as acquiescing in the U.S. colonization and thus waiving the protections of the Apology Bill and international law.

Professor Aguon concludes, "if and when Känaka Maoli employ this tool called law, U.S. or international, they should take great care to bring to the project their full cultural selves, i.e., their integral indivisible sense of what it means, in the very core of their individual and collective psyches and spirits, to be Känaka Maoli. While one of their eyes can be on the prize of legal redress, the other eye must stay unflinchingly fixed on what most matters – each other, the children, the ancient ones, the bird, moon, sea – as known and loved in a uniquely Känaka Maoli way, which would refuse the sacrilege of flabbily settling for 'the best we can get.'

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, April 6, 2012

John Waihee -- The former governor is leading a state-sanctioned effort to restore Hawaiian sovereignty

By Vicki Viotti

John Waihee thought back to his childhood, when the whole notion of Hawaiian sovereignty wasn't even part of the political conversation.

Now, he said, most people agree on the basic historical facts. And Waihee, the recently appointed chairman of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, said that's evidence of the real progress that supporters of the cause have made.

"How long have I been doing this stuff?" the former governor, at 65, wondered aloud. "It's, like, spooky, you know? Forty years?

"Anyway, in general, back in the 1970s, most people thought, 'I don't mind helping Hawaiians,' but had no knowledge of what happened to Queen Liliuokalani, and the rest of it.

"Now they cannot say it didn't happen," he added. "They weave their own justifications for why it shouldn't matter, but not that it didn't happen."

The aim for the commission is to begin this summer with a campaign of outreach to Native Hawaiians — those who've been involved in previous enrollment efforts as well as those who've been on the sidelines — to sign on with the reorganization of an indigenous political entity.

Waihee considers all the past projects — the Native Hawaiian Convention, United Nations protests and the Ka Lahui Hawaii organization of past decades, as well as ongoing Akaka Bill advocacy — as prologue to the current mission, which he calls the "missing ingredient."

It's a unifying purpose, he said, and in the end was the inducement for him to leave thoughts of armchair retirement behind him.

"A friend of mine, she said, 'What you got to think about is, what's the last great thing our generation can do for the movement? And this is an opportunity to unify everybody.'

"Then I thought about it and said, 'Yeah, that's worth doing.'"

QUESTION: What is the mission of the Roll Commission?

ANSWER: I think that our mission is to lay the foundation for the restoration of Hawaiian self-determination, sovereignty. It is that simple and that clear. And we do that by creating a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians to organize — the purpose of organizing their own government, which is the missing ingredient. In all of our efforts toward recognition, whether it's state recognition, federal recognition or even international recognition, we don't exist in terms of a governing structure. We exist as a people. People know who we are, but we don't exist in terms of having our own voice.

Q: So the roll would represent the population of the sovereign nation? Could it be described as the electorate?

A: Yeah, I think ultimately that's its purpose. It could be described as the electorate. Obviously, it's voluntary.

Q: Just because you're Hawaiian, you don't have to be a part?

A: No. But it's making that option available, to be part of the electorate, to be part of the organizational group for Hawaiian self-governance. Now, Act 195, which is our base legislation, is pretty straightforward. It established a commission of five people; we have the duty of putting together a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians, which the act defines as someone who can trace their ancestry back to 1778 in these islands, and who has some cultural connection to Native Hawaiian people, and who is 18 years old.

Q: So, there is a cultural component?

A: Yeah, and it's not so much what (the act) says as much as, what will be our approach to doing this, when we're taking the approach of having a campaign that will not only target Native Hawaiians but the general public. Our mission is to lay this foundation; our approach is to move the questions around, if you will, and to get people to stand up for the restoration of the unrelinquished sovereignty of Native Hawaiians. Whether they're Hawaiian or not, we want to invite them into that crusade. … That's our cultural connection. Our cultural connection is a belief in, an affinity to the idea of unrelinquished Hawaiian sovereignty.

Q: OK, but you do need to have the Hawaiian blood, right?

A: Yeah. And so the second question is: "What's your ancestry?" … Those people who meet the ancestral qualification obviously will be submitted as the potential electorate for the restorational government. The other individuals who say "I support this" will be also collected as supporters of this.

Q: What would their role be?

A: What their role would be is to be part of the support group for this movement. And then at some point in time, the electorate can then define its membership. What we're trying to do, our model for doing this would be the Ku'e Petitions (opposing U.S. annexation in 1898). … It was very interesting, if you read about that era and how they approached it, is they got everybody involved. And then they — by longhand, by the way — put the people who signed up in different categories to be used for different purposes. … So you had all these people supporting the idea, but when they actually submitted the names to Congress, they knew Congress would only accept people who were males, owning property, who were over 21 years old. So those were the names they gave Congress. But meanwhile they had all of these other people — mostly Native Hawaiians, but also Hawaiian nationals, foreigners living in Hawaii, anybody — and those were put into the particular categories, to say, "These are the foreigners that support us, these are the subjects of non-native blood, these are the women." The most important category in the petition were the women, who were not recognized in the United States as being legitimate voices of political action. This was all pre-suffrage. But nevertheless, the women were some of the strongest supporters of the anti-annexation movement. All of these people were kept as part of the movement. How they would be used strategically was up to the people back then, and what they needed to do. And a similar thing would happen hopefully in our effort, that the electorate putting together the government would also realize that they have these supporters, they have these people, some of whom, for example, might have actually been descendants of the subjects of the kingdom. They should be somehow involved in the movement. Now, how is really a question for the next group of people. I mean, that's the way I look at it.

Q: So, the roll would be created, and it would be up to the people of the nation to decide how everyone is going to be involved?

A: Right. The actual, certified roll will have to meet the qualifications of Act 195. So that's our base. But then, in reality, this whole exercise is really a political question. And one thing I've learned about politics is that it's a game of addition and not subtraction. To the extent that you can get as many people as possible standing with you, those that are Native Hawaiians and those that are not, your political dynamic is that much stronger. So the real question for us, the base question, before even asking if you're Native Hawaiian, is whether or not you support the restoration of the unrelinquished sovereignty of the Hawaiian nation. And if you do, come and join us. And the next question is: "Some of you are going to have to vote for this government; which of you are Native Hawaiian?" Then you get to decide how all of this dynamic fits together. … I don't look at this as a kind of an exercise of developing a census. What we are really doing is developing a political movement.

Q: Is this about recapturing the virtue of sovereignty that may have been diminished in the conflicts over the Akaka Bill and other proposals?

A: I don't think this is about recapturing anything. I think it is about moving forward. The Akaka Bill and all of these other attempts were that. They were: How do you deal with an issue that, at least for Native Hawaiians, had no precedent? It may be that all those other attempts were necessary predecessors to where we are today. What we discovered with the Akaka Bill and the other efforts … is that there was a missing ingredient. There was no governing entity. So it was like putting the cart before the horse.

Q: What do you say to people who argue that Hawaiians voted for statehood and thus relinquished sovereignty?

A: For me, anyway, that makes no sense, … because Hawaiians were never asked the question regarding their sovereignty in relationship with statehood.

Q: It wasn't presented like one of the options?

A: No, it wasn't. It wasn't, "Look, if you choose statehood, you're giving up any relationship to your history or your past or your sovereignty." What the choice was, was to keep the terrible situation that existed here of direct federal management — for all people, including Native Hawaiians — or have a chance to manage our own affairs — for all people, including Native Hawaiians. You would have been hard-pressed not to say, "I want a better situation than existed in the territory." So that was the choice. … The trouble with that false premise is that we get sucked into it. We start then arguing why statehood really was bad, and to that extent we're accepting the claim that it took away our sovereignty. No. statehood was positive; people who premise it as a relinquishment of Hawaiian sovereignty really don't do justice to all the people who worked so hard to improve the situation here in Hawaii that existed under the territory. That's what it was about. It was about the fact that you could get fired when you got injured on the job. It was about the fact that we had two different levels of school system and not equal funding for poor areas of the state. … We wanted those things to happen, and statehood was the way to achieve it. People think that's a cute argument. It's not. It's a trap, and it's nonsense.


International Business Times, US, April 18, 2012

Akaka's Retirement: Native Hawaiians To Lose Advocate In Washington


Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawaii, will retire from the U.S. Senate this year, marking the end of his 35 years in Congress.

Akaka, 87, served 13 years in the House of Representatives before his 22 year-long career in the Senate, where he is the only Native Hawaiian. As a longtime advocate for greater federal recognition of Native Hawaiians, his departure could prove worrisome for indigenous rights in the United States.

Hawaii's natural beauty makes it a legendary travel destination, yet most Americans and many in Washington are unaware of the very real issues that the people of Hawai'i face. Among the most troubling is the widespread disenfranchisement of Native Hawaiians in their own homeland.

Nearly 20 percent of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders in the state live in poverty, according to a 2010 White House report. Indeed, Native Hawaiian families have the lowest mean family income of all major ethnic groups in the state of Hawaii, according to a report published by Kamehameha Schools.

Adding to the problem is the fact that the U.S. has not recognized Native Hawaiian rights to self-determination as an indigenous people, as it has with 565 Indian tribes in the 48 contiguous states and the natives of Alaska.

Akaka has long made it his mission to change that, but his time is almost up. Sadly, Native Hawaiians will lose their champion in Washington this year, something that should worry all Americans.

Despite his many congressional successes and widespread support in his home state, Akaka's retirement will be tinged with a sense of failure. After many attempts, the veteran lawmaker's signature piece of legislation has never been put up for vote in the Senate.

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, known as the Akaka Bill, was first introduced by Akaka and co-sponsored by his colleague Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, in 2000. The bill has been submitted in both the House and Senate in various forms since. It has passed three times in the House and cleared the Senate Committee on Indian affairs on seven occasions.

If passed, the bill would recognize Native Hawaiians as a self-governing people, the same recognition that Native Americans and Alaska Natives have long enjoyed. After this is achieved, the bill calls for negotiations between a Native Hawaiian authority and the United States as coequal entities.

"Federal recognition would simply put the state of Hawaii on equal footing with the rest of the country in the treatment of its indigenous peoples. The people of Hawaii have waited far too long for an opportunity to participate in a government-to-government relationship similar to that already extended to this nation's other indigenous people," Akaka says on his website.

The Akaka Bill seeks to further the provisions of U.S. Public Law 103-150, better known as the Apology Resolution, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. In essence, the resolution apologized for the United States' role in the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893. Furthermore, it recognized that the natives never relinquished their inherent claims to sovereignty.

"In the resolution, the United States apologized for its involvement, and acknowledged the ramifications of the overthrow. And it committed to support reconciliation efforts between the United States and the Native Hawaiian people. However, additional congressional action is needed," Akaka stated in his introduction to the latest version of the bill in 2011.

"Opponents have spread misinformation about the bill," he added. "Let me be clear on some things that this bill does not do. My bill will not allow for gaming. It does not allow for Hawaii to secede from the United States. It does not allow for private land to be taken. It does not create a reservation in Hawaii."

Despite these assurances, the Akaka Bill has faced opposition on several fronts since its inception.

The George W. Bush White House, Republicans in the House and the Senate, and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights have opposed the proposed legislation on the grounds that it would create a "race-based" government. The constitutionality of the bill is also questioned by conservative groups like the Cato Institute.

Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican who is now running for Akaka's Senate seat, voiced disapproval of the bill in its 2010 form based on a provision that would accord powers to a future Native Hawaiian government entity prior to negotiation with the U.S. government and the State of Hawaii.

Some Native Hawaiian advocate groups have stated opposition as well, believing the Akaka Bill would hinder the creation of a fully sovereign Hawaiian state that could secede from the U.S.

Criticism aside, a majority of Hawaii residents and Native Hawaiians themselves are in favor of what the Akaka Bill seeks to accomplish. A 2010 poll conducted by the Honolulu Advertiser showed that 66 percent of state residents polled were in favor of Native Hawaiians being "recognized by Congress and the federal government as a distinct group, similar to the special recognition given to American Indians and Alaskan Natives." Native Hawaiians responded 88 percent in favor.

Proponents of the bill include the Obama administration, current Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the entire Hawaii congressional delegation, the Hawaii State Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the American Bar Association and the National Congress of American Indians.

It is unlikely that the bill will be passed before Akaka's retirement, and it is uncertain if it will be reintroduced in his absence next year.

In the event that the Akaka Bill leaves with its author, Native Hawaiian concerns will fall even further by the wayside in Washington politics.

The Maui News, April 28, 2012

Kia'aina aims to apply experience
Former congressional staffer says she knows what it takes to get things done

By ILIMA LOOMIS - Staff Writer (

The 17 years Esther Kia'aina spent working behind the scenes as a congressional staffer may not have made her a household name in Hawaii, but she says it's given her the experience to get things done in Washington.

Kia'aina, who has announced her candidacy as a Democrat for the 2nd Congressional District, said it made sense for her to run for the House of Representatives seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, even though she has never held elected office before. After serving as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, and chief of staff for former U.S. Rep. Robert Underwood of Guam and former U.S. Rep. Ed Case of Hawaii, Kia'aina said she believed Congress would be where she'd be most effective.

"I'm not running just to run," she said in a recent interview with The Maui News. "I believe my experience and what I can do for the people of Hawaii would be best served in D.C."

Kia'aina, 48, grew up on Guam and currently lives in Nanakuli, Oahu, on a Hawaiian homestead property.

Since leaving Washington in 2007, she worked as the land asset manager for Kamehameha Schools, and has served as chief advocate for the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs from 2009 to the present.

She acknowledged it will be a "challenge" to introduce herself to voters after spending most of her career working in the background. But Kia'aina said she hopes voters would see her experience as an asset and be impressed by her accomplishments. Those include helping Akaka shepherd the Native Hawaiian apology resolution through Congress.

She said working as a staffer is an excellent training ground for future service in public office.

"You're able to learn how to maneuver through both chambers of Congress, and then work it out with the administration," she said.

Kia'aina said jobs and the economy would be her campaign's top issues, especially supporting small businesses by looking for ways to improve outreach and services offered by federal agencies like the Small Business Administration.

"I think small business is still the backbone of our economy," she said.

She also said the military would continue to be an important economic driver for Hawaii, and that she would look for ways to encourage defense agencies to partner with local institutions like the University of Hawaii system to hire more residents for civilian jobs.

Kia'aina said another top issue would be Native Hawaiian rights.

"Federal recognition would still be a top priority for me," she said.

Even with its champion leaving office, she said she still has hope for the Akaka Bill to become a reality, but a lot depends on the outcome of the next election.

If President Barack Obama is not elected, that would be a "setback" for the bill's chances, she said.

Within Congress, she said she would work to educate lawmakers about the bill and what it would accomplish. A major challenge for the bill is that because "a few" Republicans have threatened to block it, 60 votes are required for it to pass in the Senate.

"I think I have the experience and the wherewithal" to increase support for the bill, she said.

Apart from the legislation, Kia'aina said she would also work with the U.S. Department of the Interior to advance the process of reconciliation with the Hawaiian people. That could mean appointing a special representative assigned to work with the community in preparation for the establishment of a Native Hawaiian government, she said.

On national issues, Kia'aina said she was especially concerned about attacks on women's reproductive rights, calling herself a "warrioress" who could not ignore the issue.

"I will be at the forefront to fight for women's rights, as well as for our LGBT community," she said, referring to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

While Kia'aina acknowledged that there is a strong public perception of partisan "gridlock" in Congress, she said the reality is that it's just a handful of high-profile issues that get stuck in extreme partisan fights.

Most of the day-to-day work of a lawmaker, including advocating for constituents and pushing local projects and issues through Congress, doesn't get bogged down by party politics, she said.

"There are ways to get it done," she said.

Having the experience and skills to accomplish that is something Kia'aina said she hopes will give her an edge in the increasingly crowded 2nd Congressional District race.

"I think it's not enough in this day and age to simply have name recognition," she said. "I think the people of Hawaii deserve better."


Asian-Pacific Law and Policy Journal, Vol 13, No 2, May 2012, pp. 117-163

We Are Who We Thought We Were: Congress' Authority to Recognize a Native Hawaiian Polity United by Common Descent

by Derek H. Kauanoe and Breann Swann Nuʻuhiwa

Download 47-page article in pdf format at

In an attempt to fulfill the federal government's moral imperative, the United States Congress has spent more than a decade considering several proposed versions of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (colloquially referred to as the "Akaka Bill"), which seeks to restore a small measure of Native Hawaiian self-governing authority by providing a process for [...]

** The newly published article above is a rebuttal to an article published in the same journal two years previously, which opposes the Akaka bill:

Ryan William Nohea Garcia, "Who Is Hawaiian, What Begets Federal Recognition, and How Much Blood Matters." Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2010, pp. 85-162.

The entire article can be downloaded directly from the journal's website -- click here

Here are the abstract and the conclusion as published in the Garcia article.

The Akaka bill proposes to federally recognize a Hawaiian governing entity similar to those of federally recognized Indian tribes. As the Akaka bill will institutionalize a political difference between Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians, who is Hawaiian is a timely, and controversial, issue. Also controversial is whether Congress possesses the authority to federally recognize a Hawaiian governing entity. This article addresses three questions that probe the heart of the controversy surrounding the Akaka bill: who is Hawaiian, what begets federal recognition, and how much blood matters. After analyzing relevant Indian jurisprudence, this article demonstrates that political history, not indegeneity, begets federal recognition. As such, it is the political-historical, not racial, definition of Hawaiian that is legally significant to the Akaka bill. Since, however, the Akaka bill utilizes an ethnic Hawaiian blood eligibility criterion, another important question – and one Justice Breyer raised in Rice v. Cayetano – is how much blood is necessary to distinguish ideological self-identification from legitimate racial identity. To the extent racial preferences may coexist with the equal protection components of the Constitution, this article contends that a preponderance of preferred blood is the logical quantum, but a fifty percent requirement is the most practicable.

Hawaii Journal of Public Policy, Vol 1, No 1, May 2012, pp. 25-27.

E Pluribus -- What?


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
has already identified over 766 grants totaling over $273 million.

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

Elaine Willman*

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[1] "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.[2] 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]

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.[4] 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

Elaine Willman

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[1], 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[2] 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[3] 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 Free Press, Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Lingle to Host Luncheon for Native American Congressman Tom Cole


News Release from

HONOLULU - Former Governor Linda Lingle, candidate for Hawaii's open U.S. Senate seat, will host U.S. Congressman Tom Cole, a small business leader and the only Native American in the U.S. House of Representatives, at a special luncheon at the Ala Moana Hotel on Wednesday, May 23 from 12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

"Congressman Cole has been a strong, clear voice for indigenous people in Washington, D.C. since he began serving the people of Oklahoma 10 years ago. As a Congressman and member of the Chickasaw Nation, Congressman Cole has made providing indigenous people, including native Hawaiians, the means for self-determination, self-governance and self-reliance a legislative priority," said Gov. Linda Lingle.

"Congressman Cole and I share interests beyond federal recognition of native Hawaiians, including the Congressman's commitment to encouraging private sector economic growth. As a former business owner, Congressman Cole knows firsthand the integral role that our small businesses play in the speed and strength of our economic recovery," Gov. Lingle added.

Oklahoma's Fourth District voters first elected Tom Cole to represent them in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002. Since that time Congressman Cole has earned a national reputation as a thoughtful and effective leader. As a former business owner and representative for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Congressman Cole has been a tireless advocate for small businesses. Additionally, as the only Native American (an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation) in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Cole has aggressively worked for federal support of Native American self-governance and economic development, including co-sponsoring House legislation to create a native Hawaiian government.

Congressman Cole is a member of the Committee on Appropriations, where he is the Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, and serves on the Subcommittee on Defense and Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies. He also serves on the Committee on the Budget.

For more information or to secure a ticket to the luncheon, please contact Kari Hofer at, (808) 298-8057.
** Ken Conklin's note: Other sources indicate tickets are $25 per person, or $500 for a table of ten.

Big Island Chronicle, May 15, 2012

Hawaii News — Former Gov. Linda Lingle Will Host U.S. Congressman Tom Cole In Kona Monday

(Media release) — Former Gov. Linda Lingle, candidate for Hawaii's open U.S. Senate seat, will host U.S. Congressman Tom Cole, a small business leader and the only Native American in the U.S. House of Representatives, at a special luncheon at the King Kamehameha Hotel in Kona on Monday May 21 from 11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

"Congressman Cole has been a clear voice for indigenous people in Washington, D.C. since he began serving the people of Oklahoma over 10 years ago. As a Congressman and member of the Chickasaw Nation, Congressman Cole has made providing indigenous people, including Native Hawaiians, the means for self-determination; self-governance and self-reliance a legislative priority," said Gov. Lingle. "Congressman Cole and I share interests beyond federal recognition of Native Hawaiians, including the Congressman's commitment to encouraging private sector economic growth. As a former small business owner, Congressman Cole knows firsthand the hardships that many of our small businesses in the West Hawaii community are facing. His advocacy of small businesses will continue to be an asset to our small business owners during West Hawaii's economic recovery."

Oklahoma's Fourth District voters first elected Tom Cole to represent them in the United States House of Representatives in 2002. Since that time Cole has earned a national reputation as a thoughtful and effective leader. As a former business owner and representative for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Cole has been a tireless advocate for small businesses. Additionally, as the only Native American (enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation) in the House of Representatives, Cole has worked for federal support of Native American self-governance and economic development, including co-sponsoring House legislation to create a Native Hawaiian government.

Cole is a member of the Committee on Appropriations, where he is the Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, and serves on the Subcommittee on Defense and Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies. He also serves on the Committee on the Budget.

For more information or to secure a ticket to the luncheon, please contact Kari Hofer at, (808) 298-8057.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, May 16, 2012, Letter to editor

Akaka Bill will cause poverty

Nicholas Kristof tells a horrible but familiar story of government incompetence and the resulting perpetuation of individual poverty and despair on Indian reservations throughout the U.S. ("Hopelessness and despair on Pine Ridge Reservation," Star-Advertiser, May 12).

Yet most of our political leaders want to put our fellow Hawaii citizens of Native Hawaiian ancestry in grave danger — via the proposed Akaka bill — of falling into that same tribal trap.

It is certain that those leaders will deny that allegation. Our response should be: "Then guarantee that such a fate will not occur."

If there is no such guarantee, then there is no genuine regard for our fellows of native Hawaiian ancestry. The danger is gruesomely, repeatedly, inexcusably real and cannot be dodged if the Akaka Bill becomes law. Support for it will have to be recorded in history as an intended consequence.

Richard O. Rowland
President, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

Hawaii Reporter, May 19, 2012

Hawaii Democrat Party Attacks Rep. Tom Cole, Ignores His Commitment to the People of Hawaii

BY RET. GEN. BOB LEE - In a recent media statement, the Democrat Party of Hawaii blasted Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma for visiting Hawaii to work with Governor Linda Lingle in her campaign for U.S. Senate. Unsurprisingly, this latest swing misses its mark.

Congressman Cole has been an outspoken proponent of the goals shared by the people of Hawaii, including growing our economy, supporting private sector job growth and aggressively working for federal support of native Hawaiian self-determination. As the only Native American (enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation) in the House of Representatives, Rep. Cole cares deeply about the unique needs of the native Hawaiian people and he has advocated tirelessly for the passage of legislation that would benefit our native Hawaiian community.

Despite this well-known fact, the state Democrat Party leadership released statements attacking Congressman Cole; statements which are surely an embarrassment to their own Democrat elected officials who have worked with and know the Congressman as a friend to Hawaii.

Then-Congressman Neil Abercrombie was quoted thanking Congressman Cole for his 'ringing endorsement' of the Akaka Bill.

Even Congresswoman Mazie Hirono once described Congressman Cole as a 'long standing friend of Hawaii and native Hawaiians.'

Other leaders have recognized Cong. Cole on his efforts for Native Hawaiian recognition, including Haunani Apoliona, former OHA Chair, who stated, 'I want to thank Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole...(his work) was significant and very much appreciated.'

And, the media have taken note of Congressman Cole's work, including TIME Magazine who called him 'one of the sharpest minds in the House.'

By now, the people of Hawaii have come to expect Mazie and the state Party to put their partisan politics before the people of Hawaii. They showed this in their attacks on the leader of the Senate's Travel & Tourism Caucus and again by attacking the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which supports small businesses in our state.

And now, Mazie - with an eye only to her own political gain - is again allowing her state party operatives to falsely attack her colleague and someone who she knows well as a friend of Hawaii.

These outrageous statements demonstrate that the Democrat Party and Mazie herself do not understand, or care about what matters most to the people of Hawaii. Through her constant vitriol on elected leaders who work for the benefit of all the people of our state and country, Mazie has proven that we simply can't trust her judgment. Unlike Mazie and her partisan hacks, Gov. Lingle's primary concern is for the people of Hawaii and what is best for their future.

Bob Lee is the campaign manager for the Linda Lingle Senate Committee


** Note from Ken Conklin: Ed Case is a candidate for U.S. Senate in the 2012 Democrat primary election. He is a former member of the State of Hawaii legislature's House of Representatives, and former member of the U.S. Congress for three terms. He resigned from the House to run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in the Democrat primary in 2006 against Dan Akaka on the theory that Akaka and Inouye are both elderly and Hawaii will be left with very little seniority if they both retire (or die) within a short time of each other.
Ed Case campaign for Democrat nomination for U.S. Senate

May 19, 2012


Dear Friend:

The unique responsibility of Hawaii's Senator is to preserve, sustain and advance the interests of the indigenous people and culture of Hawai'i. This is not only right and just for Native Hawaiians, but indispensable to the survival and prosperity of Hawai'i as we all know it. For your Senator, that means providing strong effective leadership in DC that understands and embraces Hawaiian issues and goals and advocates effectively for national solutions.

Ten Principles. In doing so, I will be guided by these ten principles:

(1) Native Hawaiians are indigenous peoples of our country and are entitled to benefits and protections afforded to other indigenous peoples.

(2) Self-determination for Native Hawaiians within our government structures is the best overall means to perpetuate indigenous Hawai'i.

(3) Self-determination must be pursued and coordinated on multiple tracks at the federal, state and community levels.

(4) Self-determination means that Native Hawaiians must lead with our elected officials as supporting partners.

(5) Continued economic empowerment through Native Hawaiian businesses and jobs is key.

(6) Continued Native Hawaiian education, through the ali'i trusts, immersion programs, charter schools and other means, is key.

(7) Native Hawaiians face unique health and wellness challenges which need continued targeting.

(8) Native Hawaiian housing, through the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and otherwise, must be expanded.

(9) Preserving our environment is all about preserving, sustaining and advancing the indigenous people and culture of Hawai'i.

(10) A Senator matters, especially over the next make-or-break generation of great national opportunities and challenges for Native Hawaiians.

Ten Specifics. As examples, and in partnership with the Native Hawaiian community, my agenda will include these ten specifics:

1. Federal recognition. Pursue a relationship between Native Hawaiians and our federal government akin to that long existing for other indigenous peoples of our country.

2. Roll commission. Support the state Native Hawaiian Roll Commission's efforts to advance organization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity.

3. Economic empowerment. Continue and strengthen federal efforts to advance Native Hawaiian businesses through the Small Business Administration, Minority Business Development Agency and others, including Native Hawaiian federal contracting preferences.

4. Native Hawaiian education. Continue and strengthen the Native Hawaiian Education Act and other federal efforts assisting Native Hawaiian-specific education.

5. Native Hawaiian health. Continue and strengthen the Native Hawaiian Health Care Act and other federal efforts targeting Native Hawaiian communities and challenges.

6. Native Hawaiian housing. Strengthen the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, to include maximum flexibility to the state Commission and Department to continue public-private partnerships toward reducing the waiting list.

7. Native Hawaiian language and culture. Continue full access by Native Hawaiian cultural organizations to federal support of efforts to preserve the language and culture, such as the digitization of old Hawaiian newspapers.

8. Native Hawaiian serving organizations. Protect the rights of the ali'i trusts, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and other core Native Hawaiian entities to serve their beneficiaries.

9. Environment and cultural practices. Further the preservation of Hawaii's unique environment and of Native Hawaiian sustenance and cultural practices.

10. Outreach partner. Consider my office a full partner with Native Hawaiians in a crucial generation, committed to staying in touch and to open discussion at all times, and retain staff with full expertise in Native Hawaiian issues and personal commitment to our mutual goals.

With strong effective leadership over the next generation on these and other initiatives, we absolutely can fulfill our mutual responsibility to ensure the preservation, sustenance and advancement of the people and culture of Hawai'i.

Warm aloha,
Ed Case

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Sunday May 20, 2012

Leading Senate candidates commit to Akaka Bill

Case, Hirono and Lingle pledge to pursue federal recognition for Hawaiians

By Derrick DePledge

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka may not achieve federal recognition for Native Hawaiians before he retires next year, leaving his successor to inherit a cause that has been frustrated in the Senate for more than a decade.

Akaka and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye will make a last run at federal recognition — which would treat Hawaiians as indigenous people with the right to self-government — before Akaka's term expires in January.

The Hawaii Democrats will likely look to attach language to a federal spending bill, which would sidestep a stand-alone vote in the Senate, a tactic that failed last year and may have even poorer odds in an election year when political control of the Senate is in the balance.

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and former congressman Ed Case, the Democratic candidates in the primary to replace Akaka, are committed to federal recognition for Native Hawaiians. Former Gov. Linda Lingle, the leading Republican contender, said federal recognition is consistent with the nation's "core values of justice and fairness." But John Carroll, a former state lawmaker and attorney challenging Lingle in the GOP primary, contends it is race-based discrimination.

Federal recognition for Hawaiians, known as the Akaka Bill, has been the dominant public-policy goal for Hawaii in Congress since Akaka introduced the legislation in 2000 to help protect Hawaiian-only programs from legal challenges. Versions of the Akaka Bill have passed the House three times but the legislation has never had an up-or-down vote in the Senate because of Republican opposition.

The strategy behind the Akaka Bill has been in transition as the 87-year-old senator, the first with Hawaiian ancestry, prepares to leave office. Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a state bill into law last year that recognized Hawaiians as an indigenous people and created a process for establishing a roll of Hawaiians eligible to participate in a new government that could oversee land use and cultural issues. The federal government could recognize the Hawaiians eventually identified through the state law.

"The goal is very clear to me," Hirono said by telephone from Washington, D.C. "And that goal is to attain federal recognition for Native Hawaiians as a native, sovereign people with the right to self-governance.

"And this is how we treat Alaska Natives and American Indians."

Hirono said she would be creative as a senator and would work with the Native Hawaiian community and the delegation on a strategy. The congresswoman said she is not discouraged that the Akaka Bill has failed to pass for more than a decade. "There are a lot of public-policy changes that didn't happen overnight," she said.

Hirono said she does not believe additional public hearings or some type of vote on federal recognition is needed in Hawaii, as some of the bill's supporters and critics have suggested.

"There have been a lot of expressions of support for this goal," she said, the last being the state law approved overwhelmingly by the Legislature.

Case, who unsuccessfully challenged Akaka in the primary in 2006, said Native Hawaiians are entitled to the same rights and benefits as other indigenous people. He said he would pursue a three-track strategy: federal recognition from Congress, executive branch action through the White House, and assisting the state's effort to establish a roll of Hawaiians.

"I would pursue it as U.S. senator, both because I believe it's the right thing for Native Hawaiians and Hawaii, and because I would view it as a personal obligation to Senator Akaka to carry forward his effort," he said.

Case, like Lingle, broke with Akaka and the delegation over a version of the bill at a critical moment in 2010 when Democrats held majorities in Congress and Hawaii-born President Barack Obama had pledged to sign it into law. Akaka later agreed to amend the bill to win back Lingle's support, but the bill still stalled in the Senate.

Case stated his position while running for the U.S. House seat eventually won by Colleen Hanabusa. He and Lingle had objected to the version because Hawaiians would have had the inherent power to govern prior to — not after — negotiations with the state and federal governments.

Case wants a new round of discussions on federal recognition in Hawaii. Akaka led often acrimonious hearings in Hawaii in 2000 that were interrupted by protests from Hawaiian sovereignty activists who see federal recognition as a threat to Hawaii ever regaining independence from the United States.

"I believe that great decisions need to be considered publicly. They need to be discussed, and it's been a long time since we've had that discussion in Hawaii," Case said. "I don't believe that anybody should want to oppose that discussion. Yes, it's going to be a difficult discussion. But that's OK. We still need to have it."

Lingle has supported the Akaka Bill despite opposition from within her party. But she was unable as governor to get Senate Republicans to relax procedural roadblocks or persuade the U.S. Department of Justice under President George W. Bush to remain neutral.

Lingle said the next senator should work quickly with the delegation — and Akaka — to examine the reasons why federal recognition has not become law.

"We know already from history that it is not enough for Hawaii's congressional delegation alone to support the Akaka Bill. Its passage will require bipartisan support from a majority of members of both houses of Congress," she said.

"No version of the Akaka Bill has ever passed both houses of Congress and made it to the desk of any president. This is true even though the Akaka Bill has been under consideration during times when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, and control was divided.

"I believe this was due in part because many members of Congress as well as the broader public did not understand the history of Hawaii and its people, and did not understand the content of the legislation itself. It is clear that Hawaii's next U.S. senator will need to spend time talking with their fellow senators as well as the public about Native Hawaiian federal recognition — both what it means and what it doesn't mean."

Carroll, a conservative Republican, described Akaka as "one of the finest persons I have ever known." But he said the Akaka Bill would divide Hawaii into two sovereign entities.

"Citizenship will be based strictly on proving possession of a single drop of Hawaiian blood," he said. "Such a sovereign entity, as is the case with the current tribal designations, would therefore, like Islamic law, not be subject to criticism, or accountable to any law other than group interest."


** Ken Conklin's note: The following is a comment to the DePledge article, posted online at the bottom of that article, by Keith Rollman, who is John Carroll's campaign director.

Keith_Rollman wrote: John Carroll's complete statement on the Akaka Bill to the Star Advertiser: If the Akaka Bill should become law, Hawaii will be divided into two sovereign entities. Citizenship will be based strictly on proving possession of a single drop of Hawaiian blood. Such a sovereign entity, as is the case with the current tribal designations, would therefore, like Islamic law, not be subject to criticism, or accountable to any law other than group interest. Said tribe would be empowered to rule according to whatever laws this separate sovereign government saw fit to enact. Senator Akaka is one of the finest persons I have ever known. His intentions, as well as those of most proponents of the Bill, are worthy and humane. Nonetheless, any attempt to create a race-based, sovereign nation within the eleven thousand square miles of these islands, quite frankly, will inevitably be dystopian. It defies logic! It is alarming that Republican leadership in this State has not been able realistically to assess the damage to individuals and society at large that this Bill would wreak should it ever become law. If elected to the US Senate, I intend to assure that the portions the Akaka Bill, seeking tribal recognition and sovereignty, will be amended into oblivion. Because of my respect for Dan and Abraham Akaka, I intend to amend that same Bill (continuing to call it the Akaka Bill), with the following general provisions: All current Hawaiian Homestead Lease holders will receive fee simple ownership of the currently held lease. Each qualified person of Fifty Percent Hawaiian Blood Quantum shall be awarded an Hawaiian Homestead parcel in fee. (If land such is that held by the US Government alongside the Waianae Mountain Range and that land is not necessary to National Security interests, that land may be utilized to fulfill this purpose.) The ultimate purpose of this Bill is to insure that all qualified Native Hawaiians shall receive a homestead parcel for their and their families use. If a Homesteader decides to sell that land there will be a covenant that requires that it be sold to a person who has some quantum of Hawaiian Blood.


** Ken Conklin's note: This blog entry by Derrick DePledge was posted on his official newspaper blog (online only) on the same date as his regular article above. Presumably it should be regarded as a footnote to the printed article -- something DePledge wanted to say but didn;t have room for. Or perhaps DePledge put it in his blog after getting a complaint from Senator Akaka's official spokesman, Jesse Broder Van Dyke.
Honolulu Advertiser, May 20, 2012

Derrick DePledge blog

Last try

By ddepledge

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye will make a last run at federal recognition for Native Hawaiians — which would treat Hawaiians as indigenous people with the right to self-government — before Akaka's term expires in January 2013.

The Hawaii Democrats will likely look to attach language to a federal spending bill, which would sidestep a stand-alone vote in the Senate, a tactic that failed last year and may have even poorer odds in an election year when the political control of the Senate is in the balance.

From Jesse Broder Van Dyke, Akaka's spokesman:

"Like Alaska Natives and American Indians, Native Hawaiians were a sovereign people before their homelands became part of the United States, but Native Hawaiians remain the only federally recognized indigenous people without a government-to-government relationship with the U.S.

As chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, Senator Akaka continues to pursue all available options to bring the goals of his bill into law this year, providing parity for Native Hawaiians with the United States' other recognized native peoples."


** Ken Conklin's online comment to the DePledge blog-entry:

"but Native Hawaiians remain the only federally recognized indigenous people without a government-to-government relationship with the U.S."

NO. They are not federally recognized — that's what the Akaka bill is supposed to do — give them federal recognition. To say they are the only federally recognized indigenous people without a government-to-government relationship with the federal government is self-contradictory.

This new form of doublespeak replaces an older version, which went like this:

There are three groups of indigenous people in the U.S.: Native Americans, Native Alaskans, and Native Hawaiians [notice the clever language making Hawaiians sound just like the others], and the only one not yet recognized is Native Hawaiian. But of course that's silly. The U.S. doesn't recognize "Native Americans all lumped together as a single group. The U.S. recognizes over 560 individual tribes, each with its own unique history and government, some of which had wars with other tribes. The U.S. also has failed to recognize about 300 so-called tribes which have asked for recognizion, and has actually considered and rejected a lot of those. There's a process whereby groups applying for federal recognition file an application and must prove they qualify. Ethnic Hawaiians would fall short on many of those criteria. That's why OHA has never applied — they know they would fail. So they keep trying in Congress, to get around the normal process. Let's hope "Native Hawaiians" will be among those rejected.

Hawaii 24/7 KGMB TV and KHNL TV, CBS and NBC local affiliates in Hawaii May 21, 2012

Cole speaks to community, business leaders in Kona

U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) spoke to 60 community and business leaders Monday in Kona as a special guest of former Gov. Linda Lingle, candidate for Hawaii's open U.S. Senate seat.

Cole, the only Native American in the U.S. House of Representatives (and enrolled member of the Chickasaw nation), has earned high praise for his support and co-sponsorship of legislation for federal recognition of native Hawaiians.

Speaking of his experience working with Lingle on passing a House version of the Akaka Bill, he highlighted her commitment to advocate on behalf of native Hawaiians at the federal level.

"I know what she will do for native Hawaiians, and my own tribe is supportive of her because she understands indigenous peoples," Cole said. "She was a two-term governor in a heavily Democrat state. She is exactly what Washington, D.C. needs – a proven problem solver."

Cole also is recognized nationally as a small business leader. As a strong supporter of Lingle's candidacy for U.S. Senate, he stressed to attendees how her long record of bipartisanship would be an asset to ending the partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C.

Lingle was honored to have the support of Cole, and shared his belief in working across party aisles, something she has done with success throughout her entire career in public service to the people of Hawaii.

Unafraid to speak out against her own party if an issue cuts against the best interests of the people of Hawaii, she brought up how having bipartisan representation at the Senate level is ultimately in Hawaii's best interests. Cole has been in Hawaii since Sunday, and will travel to Maui for a luncheon Tuesday, and return Wednesday to Oahu for the final public event of his visit.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, May 24, 2012

GOP congressman blasts colleagues on Akaka Bill
Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, a Chickasaw, is in Hawaii to campaign for Linda Lingle

By Derrick DePledge

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, the only Native American in Congress, said Wednesday that Republican opposition to federal recognition for Native Hawaiians is based on misunderstanding and arrogance.

The Oklahoma Republican, who is campaigning in the islands on behalf of former Gov. Linda Lingle, who is running for the U.S. Senate, said Native Hawaiians have the same constitutional right to self-governance as American Indians.

"I really do believe this is a question of equity and sovereignty," said Cole, a Chickasaw who has been a House co-sponsor of a federal recognition bill backed by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii. "And a question of being consistent with the best traditions in American history. We've always recognized the right of native peoples to govern themselves."

The Akaka Bill has passed the House three times since 2000 but has never advanced in the Senate. Senate Republicans, including those from Cole's home state, have described the bill as race-based discrimination and have used procedural maneuvers to block a vote.

"Hawaii has told us again and again, on a bipartisan basis, this is what we want to do," Cole said. "I'd have to tell you, I think it's incredibly arrogant, whether it's a Republican or a Democrat that opposes tribal sovereignty — in this case sovereignty for Native Hawaiians — when the people of Hawaii have told us we'd like it. Who are we to impose our opinions?"

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and former U.S. Rep. Ed Case are competing in the Democratic primary to replace Akaka, who is retiring. Both Democrats, like Lingle, a Republican, favor the Akaka Bill.

Cole said he believes Lingle would be an effective advocate for the Akaka Bill among Republicans in the Senate.

"Part of it is also not recognizing that this is very consistent with Republican ideals," he said of the GOP opposition. "We believe in self-governance and local governance. What do you think a tribe or a Native American nation is, other than that?"

Chuck Freedman, a spokesman for the Democratic Party of Hawaii, said that while Cole has been a supporter of Native Hawaiian issues, he is "an ultra-right Republican congressman who is against women's right to choose, wants to privatize Social Security and has a poor record on equal rights.

"Linda Lingle's sending a clear message to Hawaii residents that once she gets to D.C., she'll gladly stand with the most partisan Republicans and against President Obama."

Lingle said some of her Democratic rivals appear more interested in criticizing and labeling instead of developing the relationships that could advance the Akaka Bill. She said Cole, a conservative Republican, is known for his advocacy for Native Americans and small businesses.

"He's able to present it in the way that people maybe haven't thought of it before," she said. "And that is that when Native American people — just as we believe Native Hawaiian people — have sovereign rights and have recognition, the economic development that occurs is good for the entire state."

Hawaii Reporter, May 24, 2012

Cole, Lingle, Misinformed on Hawaiian History


It is quite clear that neither U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) nor former Gov. Linda Lingle have any understanding of the history of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The current version of the Akaka Bill, which they support, runs contrary to the provisions of the three Constitutions of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Recognition of the Native Hawaiians is the primary stated purpose of the Bill. The Hawaiian Kingdom was "recognized" by at least 21 sovereign nations by 1840.

If the Akaka Bill should become law, Hawaii would be divided into two sovereign entities. Citizenship would be based strictly on proving possession of a single drop of Hawaiian blood. Such a sovereign entity, as is the case with the current tribal designations, would therefore, like Islamic law, not be subject to criticism, or accountable to any law other than group interest. Said tribe would be empowered to rule according to whatever laws this separate sovereign government saw fit to enact.

A British man of war captain by the name of Paulette took it upon himself to sail into Honolulu Harbor in 1843 to petition King Kamehameha III for redress of a laundry list of real, but mostly imagined & spurious, claims by British residents. When King Kamehameha III refused, Paulette demanded the Hawaiian monarchy & sovereignty be ceded to him (& England). With a multi gun British man of war in the harbor, a defenseless King Kamehameha III capitulated. On Feb 25, 1843 a Deed of Cession was proclaimed, the Hawaiian flag replaced by the Brit Union Jack, & Paulette not only satisfied all of the British citizen demands but started to govern Hawaii in the name of England (make laws, impose taxes etc). See: Shoal of Time: A History of the Hawaiian Islands (Daws, Univ/Hawaii Press 1968) p. 115.

When Paulette's boss, Admiral Thomas, heard of Paulette's unauthorized activities (the British Crown had issued an edict that the sovereignty of all the Pacific Islands was to be recognized by England), he set sail from Chile and arrived in Hawaii on July 26, 1843. Admiral Thomas restored sovereignty and assured King Kamehameha III that Hawaii would henceforth be recognized and protected by England.

By 1850, the Kingdom had a bi-cameral legislature, a tri-level court system and the Hawaii Supreme Court was issuing its decisions in what later became the first volume of the Hawaii Reports. Internationally, Hawaiians were trading vigorously. Conversely, American Indian "tribal" members were still surviving on subsistence hunting and gathering.

The 1840 Constitution of the Kingdom clearly stated that "God hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the earth in unity and blessedness…" a clear statement of equality indicating that any attempt to use race or class to create dissension or advance personal agendas would be not be tolerated.. The language of later written case law reflects this concept of "equality" over and over again, right up to the time of the overthrow in 1893.

Senator Daniel Akaka is one of the finest persons I have ever known. His intentions, as well as those of most proponents of the Bill, are worthy and humane.

Nonetheless, creating a race-based, sovereign nation within the eleven thousand square miles of these islands is illogical and will inevitably be dystopian. It is alarming that these two Republican leaders are not able realistically to assess the damage to individuals and society at large that will result from passage of this bill.

CATO @ Liberty (online CATO Institute blog), May 25, 2012

Hawaii Reporter, May 25, 2012

With All Due Respect, Rep. Cole, My Arguments Against Race-Based Government Are Quite Principled

Posted by Ilya Shapiro

While campaigning for former Hawaii governor Linda Lingle, who is now running for U.S. Senate, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), the only Native American in Congress, said that opposition to the Akaka Bill is "arrogant" meddling in local affairs. (The Akaka Bill, which I've covered extensively, would create a race-based governing entity that would negotiate with the federal and state governments over all sorts of issues—effectively carving out an unconstitutional system of racial spoils.)

As quoted in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser:

"Hawaii has told us again and again, on a bipartisan basis, this is what we want to do," Cole said. "I'd have to tell you, I think it's incredibly arrogant, whether it's a Republican or a Democrat that opposes tribal sovereignty — in this case sovereignty for Native Hawaiians—when the people of Hawaii have told us we'd like it. Who are we to impose our opinions?"

Cole's attack is not only a calumny on those who oppose the Akaka Bill in good faith—including all but six of his House Republicans who voted against it in 2010 after years of deliberation, public vetting, and a 2006 Department of Justice conclusion that the bill was unwise as a policy matter and presented serious constitutional difficulties—but itself displays a dangerous misunderstanding of the issues involved.

It's easy to think of the Akaka Bill as being "merely" another request for self-governance by native peoples as was extended to Aleuts upon Alaskan statehood, but that's simply not what's going on in Hawaii. Hawaiians, "Native" and otherwise, have a different history and political sociology from the tribes that are accommodated in our (dubious and counterproductive) Indian law, which itself is a unique compromise with pre-constitutional reality. Congress can't simply define Hawaiians as an "Indian tribe" because that term has a fixed meaning, limited to preexisting North American tribes that were "dependent nations" at the time of the Founding. Such tribes, to benefit from the protections of Indian law, must have an independent existence and "community" apart from the rest of American society, and their separate government structure must have a continuous history for at least the past century. By these standards, Hawaiians don't qualify.

Moreover, it's false to say that Hawaiians support the Akaka Bill or ethnic/racial preferences more broadly. There has never been a public referendum—Akaka Bill supporters resist such a move—but a November 2009 Zogby poll revealed that 51% of Hawaiians oppose the bill, 60% opposed if you remove the undecideds. In addition, 76% would oppose tax increases to pay for the Akaka nation-tribe (which would be inevitable), only 7% favor separate laws and regulations for a new native government, and only 28% say the bill is fair with respect to racial discrimination. Perhaps most importantly, 58% would want a chance to vote before the Akaka Bill could become law, with only 28% saying that would be unnecessary.

Finally, and quite apart from the policy and political considerations, the Akaka Bill has serious constitutional defects. As mentioned above, the Constitution's anamolous Indian law exception was created by the document itself and Congress still retains a great amount of oversight. Once the Constitution was ratified, no government organized under it could create another government that can exempt itself from the Bill of Rights. Even setting these structural issues aside, the Akaka Bill is facially disallowed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments' explicit proscription against any state action that treats people differently based on their race or ethnicity. The Supreme Court has found Native Hawaiians to be an ethnic group, so Congress cannot pass a law giving them rights denied other Americans.

I respect Rep. Cole's right to hold a different view of the Akaka Bill's merits than mine, in which case he could have said something like, "Some folks have principled objections to this. I think they're wrong. I think they misread the Constitution and don't appreciate Hawaii's unique history. We need to show them why they should come over to our side, and Linda Lingle can help me do that." Instead, he accuses us critics of arrogance, ignorance, and willfully thwarting Hawaiians' dreams of self-determination.

With all due respect, Rep. Cole (and Gov. Lingle to the extent she associates herself with his remarks), if you want to pass the Akaka Bill, you need to do a better job of answering some very valid concerns rather than engaging in base demagoguery. And these concerns aren't limited to parochial issues relevant only to Hawaiians. So long as Hawaii remains part of the United States, all Americans have a stake in the future of the state and how it treats its citizens.

Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, May 27, 2012, letter to editor

Native Hawaiians deserve sovereignty

Why is it so hard for America to allow the Akaka Bill to pass and allow the Native Hawaiian people to be self-governing as they were before the overthrow?

I'm not Hawaiian nor am I a mainlander but I do know what July 4, 1776, stands for.

The Hawaiian people want their sovereignty just as much as the American colonialists wanted their independence from Great Britain, but they want to achieve it in a peaceful manner.

Ron Garcia
Ewa Beach

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, The Great Index to Fun, Friday June 1, 2012, p.3

A story about the fight for Hawaiian sovereignty, "Kamau A'e" returns 15 years later to test the strength of the movement's spirit

Playwright Alani Apio's drama "Kamau A'e" premiered in 1997, when the Hawaiian sovereignty movement was in its heyday. Now, 15 years later, he wants to see whether that spirit still resonates — or even exists.

"Sovereignty back then was high on people's minds," he said. "We were doing marches, we were lobbying for federal recognition, and then a few years later the Akaka Bill came out, the rights suit followed. There was a lot of attention paid not only to Hawaiian sovereignty, but Hawaii rights."

While certain land rights have been secured, federal recognition has not, and Apio said native rights "will continue to be threatened."

"I would like to know what other people think about that," he said. Apio noted that all of the candidates for Hawaii's congressional delegation have vowed to pursue some form of the Akaka Bill, "and yet if you listen to what's happening in the public, we as kanaka are involved in different things, and that fight for sovereignty at the grass-roots level has largely slackened. … I find it odd that there isn't a drumbeat."

"Kamau A'e" ("To Carry Forward") focuses on Michael Kawaipono Mahekona and his family. The recently released prison inmate joins a group of activists on a mission to reclaim Hawaiian land, but the group splinters and tests Michael's beliefs. Interspersed with this larger issue are interactions with a "pretty haole girl" and tourists staying at a hotel built on land formerly owned by the family.

"Apio deftly weaves a tapestry of conflicting viewpoints on sovereignty and what defines Hawaiian-ness in contemporary Hawaii," wrote the Star-Advertiser's John Berger in his original review of the play.

Apio said he finds himself conflicted over the current state of affairs, having attained success as a playwright and activist. "I was given a great education at Kamehameha Schools and then further at University of Hawaii-Manoa, so I've got the tools now … to be successful in society. So it's a point to ponder: 'Where am I in my journey as the kanaka?'"

Where: Kumu Kahua Theatre, 46 Merchant St.
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays through July 1
Cost: $5-$20
Info: 536-4441 or


Lingle Senate Campaign 2012 news release

June 30, 2012



HONOLULU -Former Governor Linda Lingle applauded the United States Supreme Court's decision Friday to reject a federal constitutional challenge to county property tax exemptions provided to lessees of Hawaiian Homelands and to the constitutionality of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act itself. The Maui tax exemption was one of those challenged and was adopted while Governor Lingle was Maui's Mayor. The lawsuit was vigorously and successfully defended by Governor Lingle's administration, resulting in the rejection of the lawsuit in State Tax court and the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Governor Lingle stated:

"I congratulate the state Attorney General's office on bringing to a successful conclusion this meritless lawsuit attacking benefits provided to native Hawaiians. I continue to believe in the constitutionality of the programs providing these benefits, which my Administration successfully defended for eight years. Even with this success, I fear these lawsuits will continue. If elected to the United States Senate, I will work alongside Senator Inouye to try to pass the Akaka Bill, which would provide recognition to a Native Hawaiian Governing Entity, and, hopefully, end these lawsuits forever."

Ka Wai Ola [monthly newspaper of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs]
July, 2012
Page 24

Federal recognition for Hawaiians

by Peter Apo
Vice Chair
Trustee, O'ahu

[Monthly editorial by this individual trustee]

This is the first of two parts.

It's been 114 years since the flag of the Hawaiian Kingdom was lowered at 'Iolani Palace. In the Hawaiian struggle to restore our cultural dignity, honor, wealth, relevance, health and wholeness, we have become a divided people. We have spent most of our time looking backward at our painful and tragic past and seeking justice from a democratic system of government for which we've had little tolerance and less akamai. And we have spent too little time looking forward and working toward a common vision of a Hawaiian future.

There are more than a few Hawaiian voices that do not acknowledge the benefits of federal recognition, and who advocate a complete separation from the State of Hawai'i and the United States. These Hawaiian nationals adamantly reject that they are subject to these governments and insist that OHA, as a creature of the state, works against "the people" by seeking federal recognition and therefore is complicit in denying a full measure of justice for Hawaiians.

Whatever your opinion of Hawaiian nationals, they do have a point that seeking federal recognition is an illogical appeal to a state and national government that perpetuated the very political and cultural genocide from which we seek recovery in the first place.

So what do they propose? Some call on the United Nations to declare the overthrow of 1893 illegal and demand that the U.S. cease and desist from exercising their sovereign jurisdiction over Hawai'i, return our lands and set us free as an independent nation in some restorative rejuvenation of the kingdom model. Sound crazy? Maybe, but it is a mistake to dismiss them or to be offended by their passion, zeal and activism no matter how vociferous.

While some poke fun at these separatist ideas, I find some truth in their claim that federal recognition cannot possibly come close to any truly meaningful measure of sovereignty and will most likely result in a brokered redefinition of our relationship with the federal government, one in which our ambition for political sovereignty will yield a condition of being under house arrest but free to rearrange the furniture. An example of this is the red flag provision of the Akaka bill that would prohibit Hawaiians from establishing casinos. Whatever your opinion is of casinos, the point is that our sovereignty is diminished by such a prohibition. I'm convinced that there will be more "you can't do this – you can't do that" realities of federal recognition.

But while I respect many aspects of the case for separatism, I am a die-hard pessimist about their United Nations strategy yielding even a modicum of success. It is naive to think that the United Nations – a global body politic that allows the massacres occurring in the Middle East, the massive genocidal operations of fanatic militarists of the African continent, the destruction of the rain forests, the tolerance of starving children by the millions – will be inclined to tell the most powerful nation in the world that they are bad guys if they don't "free" the Hawaiians and walk away from the country's strategically most important geographic possession that is the very foundation of the nation's forward thrust into the Pacific-Asian theater that includes China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Korea and the rest of the world. To hope for a U.N. fix is a fantasy. I wish it were not so, but it is. Stay tuned.


Honolulu Star-Advertiser, July 13, 2012

Gay marriage dominates Democrats' House debate
The four candidates tout varied levels of experience in trying to win over voters

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

** Excerpts related to Akaka bill

The four major candidates in the Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District exchanged barbs during a feisty 90-minute debate Thursday night that touched on issues from their views on same-sex marriage to their ranges of political experience.

At the end of the debate, all of them said they thought they were able to convince rural Oahu and neighbor island voters that they should be chosen on primary election day, Aug. 11.


Esther Kia‘aina, a veteran congressional aide and Office of Hawaiian Affairs political advocate, said her years in the halls of Capitol Hill makes her most able to hit the ground running in Washington.


The incumbent, Mazie Hirono, is giving up her House post to run for the U.S. Senate seat Daniel Akaka is relinquishing.


Under the format, the candidates were able to ask each other questions.

Kia‘aina was asked why she wasn't able to help push through the Akaka Bill, creating a pathway toward federal recognition of Native Hawaiians, despite being an aide to Sen. Akaka and former U.S. Rep. Ed Case.

She responded that a majority of senators supported the Akaka Bill but that in recent years it has been mired in antiquated parliamentary procedures. She said she helped push through legislation fighting brown tree snakes and also the Apology Resolution, recognizing the U.S. role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.



The name of the process for creating a membership roll is "Kana'iolowalu". It has a website at
A description of the registration process is at
A registration form is at
The form includes the following three Declarations, to which the registrant affixes his signature:
Declaration One. I affirm the unrelinquished sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people, and my intent to participate in the process of self-governance.
Declaration Two. I have a significant cultural, social or civic connection to the Native Hawaiian community.
Declaration Three. I am a Native Hawaiian: a lineal descendant of the people who lived and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian islands prior to 1778, or a person who is eligible for the programs of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, or a direct lineal descendant of that person.

For information about the bill SB1520/Act195 which created this racial registry, see

** Ken Conklin posted the following comment online to several of the newspaper or TV station website news reports (although some of the comments had to be shortened to comply with length restrictions):

So, the minority among the ethnic Hawaiians who are racists can sign up for the racial registry to become members of the Act 195 state-recognized Akaka tribe. The majority of ethnic Hawaiians will not sign up for it, but the tribe will be created anyway and will speak for all ethnic Hawaiians even though most of them do not like it. And then there's a petition where those who lack a drop of the magic blood but want to be enablers and supporters of racism can sign the petition. Shame on both groups.

There's nothing wrong with people joining a private club -- even a club based on ethnicity. Nothing wrong with the See Dai Doo, the Japanese Cultural Center, etc. But the race-based Akaka tribe is being created with State of Hawaii government money, will demand land and money from the government, and seeks to become a "nation" exercising governmental powers. OHA, the new Act 195 state recognized tribe, and any future federally recognized Akaka tribe are government-created agencies and therefore must all comply with the 15th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. See

Note also the arrogant brazenness of the racial registry's name: Kana'iolowalu. It means conquest by swarming. It's a blatant attempt to take over the government and defeat all who believe in unity and equality. Stand up and fight back!


KHON2 TV, July 20, 2012

First names added to Native Hawaiian registry

Reported by: Jai Cunningham

Native Hawaiians are being asked to put their names on a registry created by state law.

Appropriately enough the first two names to be signed in the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission registry were the names of Senators Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye.

"And for the next twelve months you will have an opportunity to sign up to become enrolled in a list, a certified list, what is commonly referred to as the base roll," said Clyde Numu'o of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.

But you don't have to be Native Hawaiian to sign; non-Hawaiians are also encouraged to sign a petition in support of Native Hawaiians to restore self-governance to the Hawaiian Nation.

"Hawaiians are not only on a quest for justice, they are also afraid. They are are afraid that when they look at the last few years that what we have left may be threatened," said former governor, John Waihe'e.

Governor Waihe'e feels it's important for everyone to be counted.

"Now is the time to stand and be counted, unrelinquished, undeterred, united," Waihe'e said.

The registry was established by Act 195 which was signed into law by Governor Neil Abercrombie. He marked this day with a proclamation.

Governor Neil Abercrombie said that the "petition for any person to sign as a show of support for the Kana'iolowalu registry and the efforts for the Hawaiian people to restore self-governance."


KITV4 TV, July 20, 2012

Native Hawaiian registry kicks off at Washington Place

HONOLULU - Music, emotion and the spirit of aloha filled Washington Place on Friday as members of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission began a yearlong effort to register native Hawaiians toward the creation of a future sovereign government.

Known as Kana'iolowalu, the program hopes to register 200,000 or more native Hawaiians before a self-imposed deadline of July 19, 2013.

Former two-term Hawaii Gov. John Waihee is the commissioner at-large and chairman of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.

Waihee said native Hawaiians have become somewhat fearful of the future after decisions that peeled back native Hawaiian rights.

He pointed to a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed non-Hawaiians to vote in Office of Hawaiian Affairs' elections, a 2008 decision by the Hawaii Supreme Court that said former Hawaiian monarch lands, known as ceded lands, can be sold once all claims are settled, and continuing challenges to Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiians-only policy as clear examples of native Hawaiian rights under attack.

"They are afraid when they look at the last few years to see what little we have left, maybe threatened," said Waihee. "We don't know what it'll be like 30 or 40 years from now when the state government can sell lands that are part of our heritage any time it desires."

The effort to register native Hawaiians onto an official roll is being funded by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which has encumbered close to $4 million in funds, according to OHA chairwoman Colette Machado.

"We provide support for staffing, as well as the office operation and the fiscal oversight for all of the employees," said Machado, who said OHA has already registered 60,000 native Hawaiians

The media campaign for Kana'iolowalu is not limited to Hawaii, but rather, will go nationwide. A website has been created,, allowing Hawaiians to register online.

A native Hawaiian is defined as someone who lived and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778, or a person who is eligible for the programs of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920, or, a direct lineal descendant of that person.

** Continuation of KITV report

Hawaii Sen. Dan Akaka, champion of the Akaka Bill, issued a video statement to those gathered at Washington Place. The bill, which would create the mechanism for a native Hawaiian government, has been stalled in Congress for the past several years.

"This is an effort that has been needed all these years, and that is to bring governance back to the native Hawaiian people," Akaka said of the push to register native Hawaiians. "They can come together as native Hawaiian people to express their self-determination and now self-governance."

Gov. Neil Abercrombie became emotional when he spoke of his determination to make Hawaiian sovereignty a reality.

"Never from the day I was blessed to arrive on the shores of Hawaii did it occur to me that it would be my charge in life to be a catalyst in this transformation," the governor said, as tears filled his eyes. "I'm filled with resolve to do my best, with every fiber of my being to be worthy of that charge."

Waihee added that non-Hawaiians who remain skeptical or fearful of native Hawaiian sovereignty should look to the spirit of aloha for guidance.

"We cannot do this alone," said Waihee. "This task was given to you as well as to us, because without your support, there is no way that we can see self-governance returned to the Hawaiian people."

Abercrombie signed a proclamation at the end of the ceremony proclaiming July 20, 2012 through July 19, 2013 as the year of Kana'iolowalu.


Hawaii News Now (KGMB and KHNL TV), July 20, 2012

Native Hawaiians sign roll call, form governing body

By Jim Mendoza

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At Washington Place, the sounding of conch shells preceded a plea from the chairman of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.

"For all of us who aloha Hawaii, now is the time to stand and be counted," John Waihee said.

Last year Gov. Neil. Abercrombie created the five-member commission to oversee the registering of Hawaiians who want to participate in organizing a governing entity.

"For us, the goal is not just getting a number. The goal is engaging our community in making sure that our community moves along with us as we work towards self-governance," commission member Naalehu Anthony said.

In a taped message, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka told the audience "this is an effort that has been needed all these years."

Akaka, the key proponent of federal recognition for native Hawaiians, was the first to join the roll.

The commission has a year to gather signatures. In 2013 they'll turn them over to the governor.

"Never from the day I was blessed to arrive on the shores of Hawaii did it occur to me that it would be my charge in life to be a catalyst in this transformation," Abercrombie said.

Non-Hawaiians can also participate by signing a petition affirming they agree with native Hawaiian sovereignty.

"We need your help," Waihee said. "We cannot do this alone. This task was given to you as well as to us."

Opponents of the roll commission's effort say it will divide Hawaiians and ensnare Hawaii in the U.S. system.

"I would invite all groups to come and walaau and to talk story with us to understand what perspective we have and where we're coming from because it is meant to be the most inclusive thing as possible," Anthony said.

The project has been named Kanaiolowalu, the sound of coming together.


Honolulu Star-Advertiser, July 21, 2012

State launches Native Hawaiian registry
The yearlong effort seeks people eligible to help work toward self-governance

By Rosemarie Bernardo

Kana‘iolowalu, a campaign of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission to create a registry of Native Hawaiians who will be eligible to participate in the development of a governing entity, kicked off Friday with a ceremony at Washington Place.

More than 100 people attended the launch. Attendees included lawmakers, Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees and members of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I and ‘Ahahui Ka‘ahumanu.

Enrollment began Friday and will remain open until July 19. A petition is also available for non-Hawaiians who want to support self-governance for Hawaiians.

Print and television ads are expected to begin soon to inform the public of locations where registration forms will be available. The commission's goal is to register 200,000 Native Hawaiians in the state and abroad. There is no blood quantum requirement.

Registration can be done online at The self-governance petition open to non-Hawaiians is also available on the website.

Former Gov. John Waihee, chairman of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, spoke at the ceremony, where he honored Queen Liliuokaani.

"This is the home of Queen Liliuokalani, and it was (due to) her action and our kupuna's steadfast refusal to yield the sovereignty of the Hawaiian people that we today can refer to ourselves as their beneficiaries," said Waihee.

He called on non-Hawaiians for their support.

"We need your help. We cannot do this alone," Wai hee said. "This task was given to you as well as to us, because without your support, there is no way that we can see self-governance returned to the Hawaiian people."

Attendees stood and applauded as Waihee called for the community to unite to work toward the goal of self-recognition for Hawaiians. "The message is simple, really simple, and it is this: For all of us who aloha Hawaii, now is the time to stand and being counted, unrelinquished, undeterred, united."

Gov. Neil Abercrombie choked up as he addressed the crowd.

"Never from the day I was blessed to arrive on the shores of Hawaii did it occur to me that it would be my charge in life to be a catalyst in this transformation. I'm filled with resolve to do my best with every fiber of my being to be worthy of that charge," Abercrombie said.

In July 2011, Abercrombie signed Act 195, which would work toward establishing a Hawaiian governing entity. The legislation also created the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, comprised of members appointed by the governor to develop and oversee the process of enrolling Hawaiians in the registry.

U.S. Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Ino uye did not attend the ceremony, but addressed attendees via a prerecorded video.

The registry was an effort that was needed all these years, Akaka said. "This is something that will make a huge difference."

Akaka, who is of Hawaiian and Chinese descent, was among the first to register online. Both Akaka and Inouye also signed the petition in support of self-governance for Hawaiians.

Colette Machado, chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, said the registry is what the organization has been waiting for. OHA encouraged those who signed up for Kau Inoa to be part of the Kana‘iolowalu registry as the next step toward self-recognition.

Kau Inoa was initiated as a registry of Native Hawaiians on Jan. 17, 2004, the anniversary of the 1893 overthrow of the kingdom of Hawaii. OHA hosts the registry website.

"It's been unfortunate that over the last 12 years, there's been challenges to question the Native Hawaiian indigenous people, the kanaka maoli. And we want fair treatment or equal treatment like the Native Americans and Alaskan Natives, to be recognized by the federal government," Machado said. "This is just the first step."


Kana'iolowalu is a yearlong campaign of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission to create a base roll -- a registry of Native Hawaiians who will be eligible to participate in the formation of a sovereign government. Registration opened Friday and will remain open until July 19.

Anyone of Native Hawaiian descent age 18 and older is eligible. Registrants must show a copy of their birth certificate to show lineal descent. There is no residency requirement and no blood quantum requirement.

People can register online at A petition also is available on the website for both Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians to sign to support self-governance for Hawaiians.

Native Hawaiians sign roll call, form governing body


The Garden Island (Kaua'i), July 21, 2012

State launches yearlong Native Hawaiian effort

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii lawmakers and supporters of a push to recognize Native Hawaiians as a sovereign people are launching a yearlong effort to recruit people to take part in its governance.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie joined former Gov. John Waihee and others Friday at a ceremony in Honolulu to begin creating a base roll of native Hawaiians.

"For all of us who aloha Hawaii, now is the time to stand and be counted," said Waihee, Hawaii's first Native Hawaiian governor and chairman of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.

The roll is a step toward Native Hawaiians forming their own government, similar to many American Indian tribes across the United States. The state of Hawaii officially recognizes Native Hawaiians as the only indigenous people of Hawaii, but the federal government does not. Federal legislation for Hawaiian recognition hasn't passed despite more than a decade of efforts by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii.

"This is something that will make a huge difference," Akaka said in a video message to those attending the ceremony held in a large lanai at Washington Place. Across the street from the state Capitol, Washington Place is the former home of the last monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen Liliuokalani.

A separate group of Hawaiian nationals are protesting the push, saying the state doesn't have lawful authority to make way for a separate Native Hawaiian government and the process is excluding non-Native Hawaiians and Hawaiian nationals.

Waihee said the effort will help ease tension between Native Hawaiians and other Hawaii residents.

An emotional Abercrombie said the effort has become part of his calling to live in and serve Hawaii.

"Mahalo for welcoming all of us who are Hawaiian in our hearts," Abercrombie said.

Abercrombie proclaimed the next year to be dedicated to the effort in Hawaii. The commission will collect names through July 2013 and submit them to the governor's office late next year.

A state analysis of 2010 U.S. Census data shows 290,000 Hawaii residents identify as either fully or partially Native Hawaiian. Native Hawaiians represent the state's fourth-largest race, both among those who identify themselves as of a single race or multiracial. Hawaii has more whites, Filipinos and Japanese. The number of people who identified only as Native Hawaiian stayed the same in 2000 and 2010 at just over 80,000. That represents less than 6 percent of Hawaii's total population of nearly 1.4 million.


The Maui News, July 21, 2012

Native Hawaiian recruiting effort launched
Roll meant as step toward formation of government

By OSKAR GARCIA , The Associated Press

HONOLULU - Hawaii lawmakers and supporters of a push to recognize Native Hawaiians as a sovereign people are launching a yearlong effort to recruit people to take part in its governance.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie joined former Gov. John Waihee and others Friday at a ceremony in Honolulu to begin creating a base roll of native Hawaiians.

"For all of us who aloha Hawaii, now is the time to stand and be counted," said Waihee, Hawaii's first Native Hawaiian governor and chairman of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.

The roll is a step toward Native Hawaiians forming their own government, similar to many American Indian tribes across the United States. The state officially recognizes Native Hawaiians as the only indigenous people of Hawaii, but the federal government does not. Federal legislation for Hawaiian recognition hasn't passed despite more than a decade of efforts by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii.

"This is something that will make a huge difference," Akaka said in a video message to those attending the ceremony held in a large lanai at Washington Place. Across the street from the state Capitol, Washington Place is the former home of the last monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen Liliuokalani.

A separate group of Hawaiian nationals are protesting the push, saying the state doesn't have lawful authority to make way for a separate Native Hawaiian government and the process is excluding non-Native Hawaiians and Hawaiian nationals.

Waihee said the effort will help ease tension between Native Hawaiians and other Hawaii residents.

An emotional Abercrombie said the effort has become part of his calling to live in and serve Hawaii.

"Mahalo for welcoming all of us who are Hawaiian in our hearts," Abercrombie said.

Abercrombie proclaimed the next year to be dedicated to the effort in Hawaii. The commission will collect names through July 2013 and submit them to the governor's office late next year.

A state analysis of 2010 U.S. Census data shows that 290,000 Hawaii residents identify as either fully or partially Native Hawaiian. Native Hawaiians represent the state's fourth-largest race, both among those who identify themselves as of a single race or multiracial. Hawaii has more Caucasians, Filipinos and Japanese.

The number of people who identified only as Native Hawaiian stayed the same in 2000 and 2010 at just over 80,000. That represents less than 6 percent of Hawaii's total population of nearly 1.4 million.

Honolulu Weekly, July 25, 2012, COVER STORY

Sovereignty Calling
In a year-long process launched July 20, the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission is seeking registrants


After spending 40 years in the trenches of the sovereignty movement, Native Hawaiian Roll Commissioner Mahealani Wendt says she fully understands why some Hawaiians are suspicious of the panel's efforts to identify who should be involved in forming a self-governing entity.

"I don't blame Hawaiians for being distrustful of me or any other Hawaiian who presumes to undertake these efforts," says Wendt, former executive director of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp.

"One has only to familiarize oneself with the methodical alienation of Hawaiians from their homeland, using the Western legal system, to understand why they have no trust in Western institutions and its sympathizers," Wendt says. Still, she adds, "I believe we should seize the means at hand to restore our nation, and it begins by identifying who will participate in the process."

The Commission officially launched that process–a year-long effort aimed at creating a roll of native Hawaiians eligible to participate in activities that could lead to the formation of a self-governing entity–in a ceremony conducted jointly at Washington Place and in Washington, D.C., last Friday, July 20. Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka participated by video, while Gov. Neil Abercrombie officiated at the local event.

Hopes and doubts

The prominent endorsement by state and federal officials, coupled with the fact that the Commission and its work was authorized by the state Legislature and funded by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), has some Hawaiians wondering whether the process is geared toward achieving federal recognition, as opposed to independence.

"I have great respect for everyone working to make things better, even if we have major strategic differences between us," says community activist Laulani Teale, who has been following the Commission's work since its inception last year. "It is not wrong to pursue different courses of action in gaining sovereignty. However, there is very real danger in this particular course of action, because the U.S. may use it to try to sell us short. We have a very solid international case for full independence, the groundwork for which was laid by our Queen [Liliuokalani] and our many kupuna. We cannot let fear, economic dependence and addiction to ‘stuff' steer us away from their wise course of loving resistance. There are some very good people on the Roll Commission, and I hope they represent the opposition to the Roll fairly, with as much aloha, strength and passion as our Queen would have."

Unbroken sovereignty

Commissioner Naalehu Anthony, who "grew up on a picket line" as the child of activist parents, says the panel is basing its work on a premise shared by many Hawaiian nationals–that Hawaiians never relinquished their inherent sovereignty. It stems from the fact that Liliuokalani refused to give up her throne during America's illegal overthrow of the monarchy in 1893.

"I think we're all on a similar path," says Anthony, founder of Paliku Documentary Films. "It's just a question of how we get there."

The Commission has named its effort Kanaiolowalu, which means "the thunderous sound and din heard when many gather."

Roles and the Roll

In an attempt to broaden the discussion, the Commission will also be reaching out to non-Hawaiians through a petition that Anthony likened to the Kue petitions that were drafted in overwhelming opposition to America's 1897 annexation of Hawaii.

Those willing to affirm the inherent sovereignty of Native Hawaiians may sign the Kana`iolowalu petition. However, to qualify for the roll, individuals must be over age 18 and able to prove they are related to the aboriginal peoples who inhabited the Islands prior to 1778. They also must demonstrate a significant cultural, social or civic connection to the Native Hawaiian community.

"Those signatures have never seen sought before," says Soulee Stroud, president of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs (AOHCC). "To me, it's very inclusive of all citizens."

Though some Hawaiian nationals have dismissed the roll process as a tool of the state, Anthony is encouraging them to participate. "It's not our job to make a government," he says, noting that the Commission will dissolve once the roll is published. "Independence, federal recognition, state recognition–all of these things are up for discussion. But we've got to know who is in the pool [in order] to have a discussion." However, the press release distributed by Abercrombie's office says the process "will eventually lead to federal recognition of Native Hawaiians." OHA officials on hand for the launch also seemed to think that federal recognition was the goal, and that it was attainable.


Poka Laenui, chairperson of Aha Hawaii ‘Oiwi, the Native Hawaiian Convention, says that the discussion began in the mid-1990s, when the state and OHA gave Hawaiians a voice in how to address the "illegalities instigated" by the illegal overthrow.

"Extensive consultations were carried out within Hawaiian communities throughout Hawaii and across America," Laenui wrote in an email. "After hearing those voices through the Native Hawaiian Vote, a clear direction was given–have the Hawaiian people elect representatives to meet in a council or convention to propose a form of Hawaiian governance to the Hawaiian people. Elections across Hawaii and the world were held, almost 90 native Hawaiians were elected, and the convention was formed. It produced two tentative proposals–a Hawaiian nation within the United States of America (integration), and an independent Hawaiian nation-state. The first would be limited to native Hawaiians, the second would be an inclusive nation-state of all ancestries."

However, Laenui wrote, both the state legislature and OHA refused to further fund the work of AHO. "Now, the legislature and OHA have tossed to the Hawaiians the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, designed to integrate the Hawaiians as a ‘nation' within U.S. superior jurisdiction. This commission violates the dual principles of self-determination and pono. It violates long-established principles of international law, of self-imposed mandates of the United States found in the U.N. Charter and its international bill of human rights, as well as the recently approved U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."

Other groups, such as Alu Like and the Civic Clubs are supporting the Roll Commission. Stroud says AOHCC, which also endorses federal recognition through the Akaka Bill, voted to support the effort at its convention last October, in part because it recognizes "Native Hawaiians as indigenous to the Islands."

He says some Native American groups were able to gain federal recognition after first getting state recognition. "Whether that will be the case here has yet to be determined."

Stroud feels positive about the Roll Commission because it speaks to "unrelinquished sovereignty and a commitment to unification in restoring the Hawaiian nation." That mission sets it apart from earlier enrollment efforts, such as the Hawaiian Registry and Kau Inoa, he says.

OHA's investment

Anthony dismissed speculation that the Roll is geared toward creating a process that will [enable] OHA to assume control of any self-governing entity. "I don't think that's the case at all," he says.

Wendt similarly downplayed OHA's involement. "I also understand and believe that a colonizing state has an obligation to support decolonization," she says. "On those premises, my efforts in the past have been consistent: I am not averse to using state or federal resources to assist in the process of decolonization, especially when those resources derive from Native Hawaiian national assets."

Those resources–some $3.4 million–will be used to fund a campaign employing traditional and social media to reach out to Hawaiians. Stroud says AOHCC will use its network to reach "the large population of Hawaiians who live outside the state."

Ka Wai Ola [OHA monthly newspaper], August 2012, page 28

In the shadow of the Native American Indian experience

by Peter Apo, OHA Vice Chair and Trustee for Maui

This is the second of two parts addressing federal recognition for Hawaiians.

In July I explored the two most discussed options to restoring some form of Hawaiian sovereignty.

First, we said that the more likely scenario was the federal government recognizing a Hawaiian self-governing entity similar to the Native American Indian models. The alternative would be United Nations intervention declaring the Hawaiian nation as never having been dissolved, as Queen Lili‘uokalani never relinquished her throne, and then persuading the United States to restore Hawai‘i's sovereign status as it was at the time of the overthrow of the queen in 1893. This second, less likely option, has an interesting irony in that the citizenry of the Hawaiian nation at the time of the overthrow was a multicultural nation and was not based on Hawaiian ethnicity. This would fly in the face of the current expectation that a restored Hawaiian nation would be predicated on an ethnic Hawaiian blood-quantum requirement to qualify as a citizen.

At this writing, I will dismiss the United Nations option and pursue the complications of pursuing a restored nation through the federal government, by seeking federal approval to restore a model of sovereignty based on decades of judicial and congressional histories of the Native American Indian and Native Alaskan quest for recognition of conditioned sovereignty. With the rapidly diminishing likelihood of successfully navigating the Akaka bill through the U.S. Congress, OHA is exploring alternative approaches to federal recognition successfully pursued by Native American tribes in the past.

But this path is strewn with challenges. First, we are prodded to form the nation first.

To that end, the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission was founded and has launched its work. Headed by former Gov. John Waihe‘e, the commission's objective is to enroll Native Hawaiians who want to have a say in the shaping and restoration of nationhood. The commission is also seeking to enlist non-Hawaiian allies and friends to support its work. It is critically important for all Hawaiians, including and especially Hawaiian nationals, to be involved in this process. Otherwise we will not have a truly inclusive Hawaiian nation. You can see more at their website,

So with the roll commission proceeding and financed by OHA, we have taken the first leap toward what I describe as a citizen recruitment process entitling registrants to a voice in shaping the nation. This is no small challenge. Second, following the citizen registration and based on the American Indian experience, a number of conditions of nationhood would probably be required by the federal government that will not sit well with Hawaiians. First, blood quantum alone will not be enough to qualify as a citizen. Unlike the Hawaiian Homestead Act, where blood quantum alone qualifies one as a beneficiary of entitlements of the act, the Indian tribal judicial experience insists that one must meet some culturally redeeming criteria beyond blood quantum. Third, another probable condition is that one must reside in the geopolitical boundaries of the nation. This would disenfranchise the thousands of Hawaiians on the mainland and elsewhere who have shown a vital interest in having a voice in the shaping of a nation. In closing this perhaps awkward attempt to articulate this complicated new strategy toward federal recognition, let's just say that with the roll commission under way and OHA committed to federal recognition, the train has left the station. I would encourage all to hop aboard for what will surely be a wild ride.


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(c) Copyright 2012 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved