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by Meryl A.C. Gormand


The bill, also known as the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, seeks to achieve for Native Hawaiians the same federal recognition and right to self-governance and self-determination that most Native American tribes possess. In other words, S.147 would establish a process for the organization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity. If the bill passed, it would establish an equal government-to-government relationship between a Hawaiian Nation and the United States of America. This relationship, which existed when Hawai‘i was a kingdom, ceased when the last monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen Lili‘uokalani, was illegally removed from power in 1893. The overthrow of the Queen was conducted by a group of men of mostly American or European descent who were backed by U.S. naval forces. The purpose of the bill then, is to restore Hawaiian sovereignty.

The bill has been a controversial subject in both Hawai‘i and Washington for two main reasons. First, the bill would single out a Hawaiian Nation among the multicultural people who live in the Hawaiian Islands, which could produce racial conflict. Secondly, the bill would give more power to the Hawaiian people over their islands, which could reinforce a desire for independence from the United States of America.




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