Posts Tagged Akaka bill

Why mainland Indian tribes and Hawaii opponents of gambling should oppose state or federal recognition of a “Native Hawaiian” tribe

by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

On January 10, 2014 a letter was sent to more than 150 leaders of Indian tribes on the U.S. mainland. The letter describes how federal recognition of a phony “Native Hawaiian” tribe would have bad consequences for the genuine tribes, and asks them to express opposition to executive action when speaking to officials in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Interior, and White House. Federal recognition of a phony Hawaiian tribe by means of rules changes in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, or a Presidential Executive Order, would be far more dangerous to the genuine tribes than passage of the Akaka bill in Congress, because executive action would simply add the Hawaiian tribe to the list of federally recognized tribes with none of the restrictions in the Akaka bill that would have prohibited the Akaka tribe from having gambling casinos or from grabbing the lions share of entitlements intended for the mainland tribes.  See  http://tinyurl.com/ltjf5qy

Why businesses, labor unions, and community groups in Hawaii should oppose state and/or federal recognition of a phony “Native Hawaiian” tribe. An 11-page letter to Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling, and commentary in Honolulu Star-Advertiser, provide detailed explanations.  See  http://tinyurl.com/mfozw6v

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“I have a dream” — for Hawaii, 50 years later

by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

On August 28, 1963 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln memorial.[1] It was undoubtedly the most powerful civil rights speech of the 20th Century. How sad it is to see Dr. King’s dream for race relations in America mocked by the nightmare developing in Hawaii.[2]

I certainly cannot begin to match Dr. King’s eloquence. But on the 50th anniversary of his greatest speech, I offer my own dream for Hawaii’s future as a tribute to Dr. King and a ho’okupu (offering) to my hanai (adopted) homeland.

My dream is summarized in a single paragraph. Each element of the dream has a footnote providing detailed explanations and references. Readers might be surprised that I find it necessary to say these things. That’s why the footnotes are very important, even if lengthy and emotionally difficult.

My dream for Hawaii

I have a dream that someday all Hawaii’s people will embrace the concept that we are all equal in the eyes of God,[3] and we are all fully imbued with the Aloha Spirit.[4] I have a dream that all Hawaii’s people will embrace the fact that we are Americans.[5] I have a dream that all Hawaii’s people will embrace the fact that we have a right to be treated equally under the law by our federal and state governments; and will therefore put aside and repudiate racial entitlement programs.[6] I have a dream that all Hawaii’s people will put aside and repudiate efforts to create a race-based government and to divide the lands and people of Hawaii along racial lines.[7] I have a dream that someday Caucasian boys and girls who are born and raised in Hawaii will be treated as locals, keiki o ka ‘aina, kama’aina; and that malihini and kama’aina Caucasians will no longer be subjected to racial epithets and racial hate crimes.[8]

See the complete essay, including detailed footnotes and references, at
http://tinyurl.com/n72ukh5

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Rebuttal to maiden speech by Senator Schatz pleading for federal recognition for a phony Akaka tribe

June 11 is Kamehameha Day, a state holiday in Hawaii. U.S. Senator Brian Schatz chose that day to give his maiden speech asking for federal recognition for a phony Akaka tribe.

A webpage provides a point-by-point rebuttal to 23 misleading or false statements in the speech, including citations to references that back up the rebuttal. See http://tinyurl.com/m3azruz

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Let’s use the budget crisis to kill racial entitlement programs.

Our government’s fiscal crisis offers a rare opportunity to make deep budget cuts while also eliminating harmful social programs. As Rahm Emanuel famously said: “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid.”[1] Racial entitlements have wasted billions of dollars. But what’s worse is that they have established powerful bureaucracies devoted to racial separatism, tearing apart our society and even threatening to rip the 50th star off the flag.

A new webpage discusses Hawaii’s plethora of racial entitlement programs, and provides links to other webpages where hundreds of them are listed and described. The final paragraph asks people to contact members of Congress asking them to abolish the racial entitlement programs as part of the massive budget cutting that must be done to save America from bankruptcy.

Ten years ago on September 11, 2001 some very brave and patriotic passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 stormed the cockpit to fight back against terrorists who had hijacked their airplane as a weapon to destroy the Capitol or White House. Today Hawaii citizens, state legislators, and all 535 members of Congress should fight back against those who have hijacked government money as a weapon to push for racial separatism. In the words of heroic passenger Todd Beamer when rallying his fellow passengers to attack the cockpit: “Are you guys ready? Okay. Let’s roll!” Send this essay to House and Senate Republicans, members of the Democrat “Blue Dog” caucus, and all members of the special super-committee of 12 responsible for making deep budget cuts. Tell them there are detailed lists of Hawaii’s racial entitlement programs linked through footnotes in the extended essay at
http://tinyurl.com/3vyecvf

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HCR107 — A secessionist resolution in the Hawaii legislature that is both ridiculous and dangerous.

House Concurrent Resolution 107 (HCR107) in the Hawaii legislature would establish “a joint legislative investigating committee to investigate the status of two executive agreements entered into in 1893 between United States President Grover Cleveland and Queen Liliuokalani of the Hawaiian Kingdom, called the Liliuokalani assignment and the agreement of restoration.”

The investigating committee would be empowered to “Issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of the witnesses and subpoenas duces tecum requiring the production of books, documents, records, papers, or other evidence in any matter pending before the joint investigating
committee; … Administer oaths and affirmations to witnesses at hearings of the joint investigating committee; Report or certify instances of contempt as
provided in section 21—14, Hawaii Revised Statutes …”

This resolution is both ridiculous and dangerous. My own testimony explains why, and is on a webpage at
http://tinyurl.com/4t5pecj

The purpose of such an investigation is not merely to do academic research on an obscure historical question from 118 years ago. The purposes are to claim that the U.S. had an obligation to restore Liliuokalani to the throne; and to claim that the obligation of the President of the United States continues to this day to restore the Kingdom of Hawaii to its former status as an independent nation.

Three of the many harms that would result by passing HCR107 are briefly identified here and discussed in detail in the testimony.

1. A resolution such as HCR107 brings ridicule and disrespect upon those who support it, and upon the legislature as a whole — as shown by recalling what happened in connection with another Hawaiian sovereignty resolution passed in 2007. Many current members of the legislature, including members of this committee, participated in that debacle. The 2007 resolution established a permanent annual Hawaiian Restoration Day holiday for April 30. Reverend Kaleo Patterson knowingly used a fake Grover Cleveland proclamation from 1894, cited it as fact, and used it as the basis for a media blitz in 2006 in Hawaii and on the mainland calling for a national day of prayer for restoration of Native Hawaiians and repentance for the overthrow of the monarchy. He repeated his local and mainland propaganda campaign in 2007 and pushed a resolution HCR82 through the Hawaii legislature citing the joke proclamation as real and “proclaiming April 30 of every year as Hawaiian Restoration Day.” A 4-page flyer pokes fun at the legislature for passing that ridiculous resolution despite testimony proving the Cleveland proclamation was a joke.
http://tinyurl.com/2tj5jl

2. Such a resolution as HCR107 provides a platform whereby certain perpetrators of historical malpractice bring fame and fortune to themselves while spreading false information far and wide, using the legislature as an accomplice. Keanu Sai is the man behind this resolution. He is now revving up his third big scam based on twisted historical allegations which the resolution describes as fact. His convoluted lawsuit against U.S. government officials including President Obama, based on the allegations in HCR107, was dismissed on summary judgment in the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on March 9.

3. HCR107 contains numerous false or misleading statements, some of which are refuted in my testimony. For example: There was no “executive agreement” between President Grover Cleveland and ex-queen Liliuokalani. One reason is that Liliuokalani was overthrown by the Hawaiian revolution on January 17, 1893 and no longer held executive authority after that, but Grover Cleveland was not installed as President until March. Also, President Cleveland had no power or authority to put Liliuokalani back on the throne, which is what Keanu Sai’s theory says is the core of the “executive agreement.”

For my entire testimony, see
http://tinyurl.com/4t5pecj

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Office of Hawaiian Affairs: Rant vs. Reason on Race (A Debate)

On January 24, 2011 Hawaii Reporter published an analysis and full text of an e-mail dialog between OHA Trustee Rowena Akana and Grassroot Institute member Jere Krischel regarding the Akaka bill. The dialog began  with Akana’s published diatribe in the OHA monthly newspaper (circulation 60,000) in which Akana accused Krischel of being a racist. Krischel then engaged in an e-mail dialog with Akana for several rounds, clearly and patiently explaining what’s wrong with the Akaka bill and defending his right to say it without being called a racist. He demanded an apology but never got one.

See “Office of Hawaiian Affairs: Rant vs. Reason on Race (A Debate)” at

http://www.hawaiireporter.com/office-of-hawaiian-affairs-rant-vs-reason-on-race-a-debate

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The Akaka Industry

Conventional wisdom says that (despite the boasts of our newest Governor) with the new Republican Congress in place, the Akaka Bill is effectively dead for the time being.  The theory is that the Bill never had much support among Republicans in Congress, and no Democrats will be willing to expend large amounts of political capital in order to push for it.  How true this is remains to be seen, but there are some groups in Hawaii who have way too much invested in the Akaka Bill to let a mere detail like political deep-freeze derail their efforts to promote it.

Like (brace yourselves for the surprise) OHA.

In a rather irregular move, OHA Trustee Haunani Apoliona called for OHA to continue its efforts to enroll Native Hawaiians for a possible Native Hawaiian government as called for by the now-defunct Akaka Bill. The reasons given by Apoliona and OHA CEO Clyde Namuo are fairly predictable–and they take care to note that they are looking to enroll Hawaiians living outside of Hawaii.  The reason for this effort is fairly obvious–OHA clearly believes that it will be easier to pass the Bill in the future if there is an established roll of “qualified” Native Hawaiians to be recognized by such a bill.  So a future version of the Akaka Bill will simply be able to reference the OHA-headed group as the Native Hawaiian government without the accompanying concerns about who should be included and how registration should proceed.  In addition, OHA clearly has a lot invested in being the preeminent Native Hawaiian organization in any Native Hawaiian government.  Sovereignty groups and other Native Hawaiian organizations that question OHA’s actions and motives can be absorbed and disarmed by OHA preemptive organization, thereby shutting down or minimizing any Native Hawaiian opposition to a future Akaka Bill.

There is, after all, a great deal of money and political power at stake.  It would be asking too much to think that OHA could just let that go.

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Thank You, National Review

The omnibus spending spending bill died last week for lack of support. Senator Inouye had inserted into it a mandate for a study to figure out how to make a federally recognized Indian tribe out of persons who have native Hawaiian blood.

Commenting on that insert, National Review online editorialized: “ That’s a reference to the notorious Akaka Bill, an odious piece of segregationist legislation that would establish a race-based government on the Hawaiian archipelago”. That is a great description. Thank you National Review. It now appears that the proposed Bill is road kill. Now if we could only get some prudent management of the grant activity revealed on this website. That’s the mission, please help.

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Omnibus Luau

I don’t know why we should be surprised that Senator Inouye is so accomplished at adding pork to the federal budget.  After all, if there’s one thing we love out here, it’s a luau.  But even the most liberal spender might blanch at the provision that Inouye just attempted to slip into the notorious Omnibus Spending Bill:

NATIVE HAWAIIAN RECOGNITION STUDY AUTHORIZATION
SEC. 125. The Secretary of the Interior shall, with funds appropriated for fiscal year 2011, and in coordination with the State of Hawaii and those offices designated under the Hawaii State Constitution as representative of the Native Hawaiian community, including the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and the Attorney General of the United States, examine and make recommendations to Congress no later than September 30, 2011, on developing a mechanism for the reorganization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity and recognition by the United States of the Native Hawaiian governing entity as an Indian tribe within the meaning of Articles I and II of the Constitution.

Allow me to cut through the legislation-ese:  This provision grants an unspecified amount of money for a study (made in cooperation with OHA and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands) on implementing the Akaka Bill constitutionally.  If it weren’t for the fact that it’s a blatant pork project, one would be tempted to say something like, “Hey, since you’ve been pushing for this for years, don’t you think it would have been good to address this earlier?”  However, given the nature of politics and the truer meaning of this project, perhaps the best response would be, “Hey, you sure have a lot of nerve funneling money to the two biggest supporters of this legislation to produce a ‘study’ that will support it.”

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Akaka’s Civil Rights Problem

So much of the argument for the Akaka Bill is couched in Civil Rights terms–we are given to understand that to oppose it is to somehow oppose the rights and privileges of Native Hawaiians.  In fact, one of the most pernicious historical fallacies surrounding the former Kingdom of Hawaii as it relates to the argument for the Akaka Bill ca be found in the way that Akaka supporters blithely ignore the multi-ethnic make-up of the Hawaiian government at the same time as they push for the wholesale creation of a race-based “reorganization.”  In light of this sensitive question, it might be interesting to examine where some of the nation’s experts on matters of civil rights stand on the Bill.

Would you be surprised to hear that they oppose it?  It’s true.  On Dec. 7, 2010, the United States Commission on Civil Rights delivered a letter to key Congressional leaders reiterating their opposition to the Akaka Bill. If you’re interested, you can read the letter in full here.  (And the earlier, more detailed letter it references can be seen here.)  Without equivocation, the USCCR expresses its opposition that any attempt made to attach the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act to a spending bill this session.  In addition, the letter states that the changes that have been made or proposed to the Act are insufficient to overcome the constitutional concerns that have been raised, and reiterates the Commission’s opposition to the Bill.

What is the source of the Commission’s opposition?   The reasons given should be familiar to most of those who have made a careful study of the legislation and its possible consequences: that Congress lacks that constitutional authority to thus “reorganize” ethnic groups into dependent sovereign nations without a strong history of self governance; that doing so will set a dangerous precedent; that it should not be used as an attempt to shore up race-based benefits threatened by recent court decisions; and that it is contradictory to the history of the Hawaiian government.

Above all, the opinion of the Commission makes it clear that the questions of race that surround the Akaka Bill are far more complex than Akaka’s supporters would like to admit.  It’s as though, in their efforts to help one ethnic group, the pro-Akaka lobby has deliberately ignored the fundamental principles of civil rights.

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