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Losing Their Aloha

Sorry I've been M.I.A. I drove up to West Virginny yesterday to visit a friend who has been nice enough to put me up over the holiday weekend. Just after we got back from clay shootin' (yee haw!) this afternoon, I got the cranky wireless to work for me (ok, so I'm sure it was user error, but nonetheless). The weather and the mountains are be-a-utiful here.

Moving along, my co-worker Tim at Townhall reminded me in his column this week about the worst bill you've probably never heard of, which is likely to come up for a vote in late July-- the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005.

This is a nasty little piece of legislation that may pass the Senate because no one knows enough about how nasty it is to bother stopping it. And, it goes a little something like this:

[Hawaiian Sen. Daniel] Akaka wants to extend the government's policy of self-governance and self-determination to Native Hawaiians. He, and fellow Hawaiian Senator Inouye intend to do this by creating a race-based and racially separate government for Native Hawaiians. Under S. 147 Native Hawaiians would be under the federal Indian law system and would be designated as a "tribe." This new race-based government would have jurisdiction over 20 percent of Hawaii's citizens as well as 400,000 citizens nationwide.

Tim did an update on the bill in his column from this week. Looks like Sen. Inouye has succeeded in using his appropriations power to lure five Republican co-sponsors onto the bill:


Akaka and fellow Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye have successfully acquired five Republican cosponsors: Gordon Smith (R-Oregon), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). Moreover, Senate insiders predict that if a vote were held on the bill today, it would pass with overwhelming margins.

Is it just me or does Lindsey keep popping up in all the wrong places lately? Anyway, I was in Hawaii on vacation in April and visited with the conservative think tank down there-- the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. The qualification one must meet to be part of the new Hawaiian nation, according to the Akaka Bill, is that one must have Native Hawaiian ancestry that goes back to 1778--the year the first European, Capt. Cook, came to the islands.

But the president of the think tank, Dick Rowland, pointed out that Native Hawaiians were far from united before Europeans came to the islands. In fact, the different islands fought each other until 1810, when Kamehameha I conquered the major islands and brought them under one rule (here's Kamehameha's army conquering Oahu. I stood on this cliff; beautiful view). That was more than 30 years after Europeans started arriving on the islands. Since that time, though there is occasional friction, Native Hawaiians and all the other ethnic groups on the islands have been united by Kamehameha and later by statehood. Why, Rowland asks, would Akaka want to take Hawaii back to pre-1778 times, demolishing the unity Hawaiians of all colors have earned over the past 200 years?

I'm guessing it has a lot to do with federal handouts. Just thought y'all might want to hear about it, even though I know everyone's plates are full of many other things. I'm far from an expert on Hawaiian history and culture, but from what I've heard, this seems like an idea that is destined to bring a lot of strife to Hawaii. I would think a Democrat like Akaka would treasure the fact that the citizens of his state have been brought together for years by something other than their skin color. Why start separating them now?

Mary Katharine blogs at the Townhall C-Log, and was pretty handy with the shotgun today, if you don't mind her saying so.


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Comments (16)

Is this not some sort of go... (Below threshold)
arb:

Is this not some sort of government discrimination against the *rest* of the Hawaiian citizens and others? How can this happen?

Thank you for pointing out ... (Below threshold)
Napali:

Thank you for pointing out that you have no understanding of Hawaiian history or culture. The fact that the islands were not united under one rule until 1810 has nothing to do with the fact that Native Hawaiians are indigenous to Hawaii. Further the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act does nothing more than recognize that single fact and establish a formal relationship between the U.S. federal government and the Native Hawaiian people. Passage of this bill will not create separation among the people of Hawaii. What federal recognition will do for the state of Hawaii is allow its native peoples to begin to address for themselves all of the social ills that have fallen on Native Hawaiians as a direct result of Western contact and the eventual overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. In doing so, Native Hawaiians will become better, more productive citizens of the state, thereby creating a better Hawaii for all of the residents of Hawaii.

'Native Hawaiians' are indi... (Below threshold)

'Native Hawaiians' are indigenous?

and here all this time I was under the impression they were Polynesians that had migrated there in the first century AD

Sounds like the Hawaiians w... (Below threshold)

Sounds like the Hawaiians want to have legalized gambling and not have to go the route of doing it the Nevada way. With this bill, I would bet (pun intended) that they will open native gambling houses to suck even more cash from the tourists.

I have been following this ... (Below threshold)

I have been following this bill closely for a long time on my blog here:

http://www.hawaiiankingdom.info/C608676235/index.html

I am not a supporter of the bill, and a lot of Hawaiians are actually opposed to it as well, but for somewhat different reasons.

I'm sure your readers probably won't agree with some of my opinions, but for whoever wants to get some background and perspectives on the bill, I have an extensive amount of information about it and related issues.

Also, FYI, the bill has a clause in it that specifically says: "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize the Native Hawaiian governing entity to conduct gaming activities under the authority of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act"

Thanks, everyone, for the i... (Below threshold)

Thanks, everyone, for the in-depth comments. As I said, I'm no expert on this issue, but dividing people up by race after they've been brought together by other factors for years just seems counterproductive and sad. I'm gonna keep reading about it. Have a great 4th!

I have a very large website... (Below threshold)

I have a very large website on the topic of Hawaiian sovereignty, at
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty

A large subpage is devoted to S.147, the Hawaiian Government Reorganization Bill (Akaka bill), at
http://tinyurl.com/ypops

A sub-sub page provides a 5-paragraph summary of what's wrong with this bill, along with extensive documentation of all the main points. See
http://tinyurl.com/5jp5r

The U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee published a 13-page report ripping the bill to shreds. See:
http://rpc.senate.gov/_files/Jun2205NatHawSD.pdf

Interesting that you visited the "Pali overlook" where Kamehameha won his last major battle to unify all of Hawai'i under his dictatorship. That battle was the topic of a recent editorial cartoon about the Akaka bill, which prompted me to create a webpage about it, where you'll find the famous painting of the battle, and also a newspaper ad featuring the statue of Kamehameha. See:
http://tinyurl.com/bszgr

And many thanks to Mary Katharine for visiting the Grassroot Institute and for taking such an interest in the affairs of Hawai'i. This "Akaka" bill is dangerous to all America, and needs to be defeated. I hope everyone will phone/fax both of your Senators right away to demand they vote against S.147

Looks to me like some peopl... (Below threshold)
Hugh McCarthy:

Looks to me like some people are just laying the groundwork to set up casinos a la the many prosperous mainland "tribes." Note the backers and Alaska senators too!

Separate (tribal government... (Below threshold)
BR:

Separate (tribal government) but equal? Like the old "apartheid" system in South Africa. I'm amazed that any Native Hawaiians would want this, much less the 400,000 on the mainland. Do they even have a say in this? Why would anyone want to disenfranchise themselves? Sounds like someone is selling them infected blankets under the guise of help.

As far as I'm aware, the Native American Indians are not currently prospering under their system on the reservations, except perhaps a few connected to casinos.

I see two Alaskan politicians are in on it too - what's next, an Eskimo Tribal Government? A Zulu Tribal Government for Oprah and other Zulu descendants in America?

This is too unbelievable. It's not April Fool's day, is it?

They've failed earlier to m... (Below threshold)
-S-:

They've failed earlier to manage a label of "Native American" on the Hawaiians and at this point, there is something like under three percent among those who claim to be Hawaiian who actually are Hawaiian, and what this movement is about is (1.) the Queen's wealth, which everyone with interests in being Hawaiian wants to lay claim to and (2.) no taxation and (3.) no taxation for gambling.

Sorry, but having lived there, this is a very rough theme in the place.

There are only a few thousand, at best, people in Hawaii who are Hawaiians and even those are of mixed genetics/racial types today.

I hope this legislation fails to pass. I would vote against it if I was still voting in Hawaii.

And, the biggest problem is... (Below threshold)
-S-:

And, the biggest problem is that Hawaiians and Samoans fought each other and for centuries, to the death (in Hawaii and elsewhere).

King Kamehameha was Samoan. That's a big issue for Hawaiians, since King Kamehameha represented a mortal enemy race being named royal in "their" islands.

The problem is that Polynesia is a mixed-racial continent. A place of many racial types all inhabiting areas of the South Pacific. And, the people who came to be called "Hawaiians" were a small band of people from one population, and the Hawaiian Islands were also populated by Samoans (mainly) in the first round of habitation, and thus, they continued fighting and fighting they've been doing for a long time.

But, both those races represent a very, very small number of humans in the population today (because most people there -- something nearing seventy percent -- are an "island mix" of Polynesians...along with Chinese and Filipino). The Japanese have remained somewhat isolated unto their own race (still interbred, however), and same with Caucasians, but generally, the people you meet and see today in Hawaii are all mixed up Polynesian/Chinese/Filipino with some added Caucasian and Hawaiian/Samoan.

And, the biggest problem is... (Below threshold)
-S-:

And, the biggest problem is that Hawaiians and Samoans fought each other and for centuries, to the death (in Hawaii and elsewhere).

King Kamehameha was Samoan. That's a big issue for Hawaiians, since King Kamehameha represented a mortal enemy race being named royal in "their" islands.

The problem is that Polynesia is a mixed-racial continent. A place of many racial types all inhabiting areas of the South Pacific. And, the people who came to be called "Hawaiians" were a small band of people from one population, and the Hawaiian Islands were also populated by Samoans (mainly) in the first round of habitation, and thus, they continued fighting and fighting they've been doing for a long time.

But, both those races represent a very, very small number of humans in the population today (because most people there -- something nearing seventy percent -- are an "island mix" of Polynesians...along with Chinese and Filipino). The Japanese have remained somewhat isolated unto their own race (still interbred, however), and same with Caucasians, but generally, the people you meet and see today in Hawaii are all mixed up Polynesian/Chinese/Filipino with some added Caucasian and Hawaiian/Samoan.


Even the infamous/famous luau, that most tourists anticipate and expect to partake of on visits there, the luau is not Hawaiian in tradition and practice, but is from another area of Polynesia as to custom.

Problem is that it's become an anticipated aspect to what is expected to be "Hawaiian" and so the tourist trade has made it so. But it isn't an aspect of actual Hawaiians, but of other Polynesian cultures who also inhabit the Hawaiian Islands.

Such that, what is "Hawaiian" today is rarely by "blood quantity," and even the blood quantity argument is a racial concept.

Other problem is, that blood mix issue, that racial issue, is what is argued today by some as to their assumption that they deserve free things, like lands and incomes and educations, based upon a cultural assumption that they are to be provided with these things and that everyone else (all the "Other") are guests on "their" land.

It's a racial problem in Hawaii that is very intensely offensive. Because, the basis is complex: lands and incomes were provided at a time AS AN EMERGENCY AID ASSISTANCE to needy persons of certain races and some of them came to expect those helps as permanent provisions. They were never intended to be permanent provisions but temporary helps for people who had no other options.

And, as to the educational thing, the Queen (King Kamehameha's daughter) bestowed her financial legacy upon "the children of Hawaii" (her will, her words) and what was argued later was that she "meant" to write "childeren of Hawaiians" (based upon blood quantity)...while she wrote "children of Hawaii" and most people take that to mean children of Hawaii, not a racial type but a residential type, a birth type...born there, raised there, living there, to benefit from the schools that are funded by her financial legacy.

So, the argument continues based upon racial types while there hardly even exists any "Hawaiian" in any general "blood quantity" today (most have interbred).

This legislation is, yes, a racially motivated process. I think it's a sad statement.

Reading other comments now.... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Reading other comments now...the push for to make certain people "indigenous" is a purely American racist thing and by those you'd think would be more enlightened about what is racist and what racism is. I write "purely American" because it's only our U.S. that bestows these labels on certain racial types.

However, Hawaii and the Eskimo are very different than the Native Americans in the U.S. -- Hawaii and the Alaska/Canadian Arctic area were inhabited far more recently (some even after Northern Europeans were in North America and yet we aren't claiming "indiginous" claims, despite the fact that Nordics were coming and going for a while by the time the Hawaiians sailed to the Islands, and more...story is lengthy).

Anyway, the whole "indigenous" thing is not accurat where the populations in Hawaii are concerned, given their recent migration there from Polynesia. And they were not one isolated racial type to begin with in that original migration, so it's foolish to suggest that they've "always been there" because they haven't.

On the other hand, neither have Native Americans, but they were here at least far earlier than the Hawaiians were in the Islands, and the Eskimo in what is now Alaska. I'd think that the Eskimo had a better chance of being labelled "Native," however, but the entire arguement is really foolish given our current understanding of how people came to inhabit the whole world.

I mean, I could claim "Native American" given that my ancestors grew grapes in North America on the Atlantic North Coast a long, long time ago, and that there is DNA evidece of Northern Europeans in every single "Native American" race in all of North America, with the exception of the Hopi.

Hi -S-, thanks for your inp... (Below threshold)
BR:

Hi -S-, thanks for your input from your Hawaiian experience.

I'd feel a bit uneasy to characterize the problem as "purely American." Offhand, I can think of quite a few examples elsewhere in the world where the claim of "we were here first" has brought much worse than a labelling problem: war, genocide, misery - Palestine/Israel, Sudan, Rwanda and every other African tribal (racial to them) conflict of past centuries, South Africa (where Chaka Zulu's domino effect pushed other black tribes further and further south until they clashed with white settlers moving north 200 years ago - neither were there first, only the Bushmen/Hottentots had that claim, but all one ever heard in the press was "the blacks were there first"). Germany's well-known racial slaughter had the same theme - Aryans "were here first"; therefore, Jews and Eastern European gypsies verboten. And of course, true "Aryan" is actually Indo-Iranian. What an insane mess. (Rodney King was right - can't we all just get along.)

Anyway, compared to the bloodshed elsewhere, I'd say America today stands way above the rest in its racial tolerance, in fact bends over backwards to accommodate everyone. It's unfortunate that some minorities insist on labelling and isolating themselves.

One word: CASINOS!... (Below threshold)
mojo:

One word: CASINOS!

Akaka Bill Scientific Surve... (Below threshold)

Akaka Bill Scientific Survey Report July 5, 2005 -- 67% OPPOSED out of 1696 who responded when 10,000 were called -- 45% feel strongly enough to hold it against politicians who support this bill

http://tinyurl.com/cwxgg




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