.Front Page


.Student Life

.Science & Environment

.Arts & Entertainment



.People & Places

.Women's Life

.Military Matters





.About Us



By Meryl A.C. Gormand

Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2000 in Rice v. Cayetano that preventing non-Hawaiians from voting for OHA trustees was unconstitutional. In August, the court declared that the race-based admissions policy of the Kamehameha Schools was a violation of federal civil rights laws.

Another case, Arakaki v. Lingle is expected to reach the Supreme Court within two to three years. The plaintiff holds that the trust, agencies, and programs established to benefit Natives Hawaiians are race based, and must be dismantled under the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Hawai‘i State Attorney Mark Bennett said that Hawaiian programs would continue to come under legal attack without the bill, which if passed, would at least prompt the courts to settle the legal questions.

Also supporting the bill is the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), an association that supports the building of a Hawaiian nation, urges Native Hawaiians to form a government, providing natives with registration forms named “Kau Inoa” To Build a Nation. CNHA argues that the creation of a Native Hawaiian governing entity would provide new business opportunities which could facilitate development of trust lands in ways that benefit both private investors and the Native Hawaiian people.

Moreover, CNHA claims that federal recognition of the Hawaiian Nation would protect the economic participation of Native Hawaiians who, at nearly 20 percent of the state’s population, represent an important segment of Hawai‘i’s labor force and consumer base. However, Native Hawaiians also represent the poorest, least-educated, and least-healthy people among the Hawaiian population. CNHA argue that the loss of such programs as OHA or Kamehameha School would lead to the degradation of Native Hawaiian cultural, historical, and linguistic assets.

The main argument of the opponents of the bill, in the U.S. Congress and in Hawai‘i, is that the bill is race based which would violate the U.S. Constitution’s 14th and 15th amendments which declare unlawful any unequal treatment of U.S. citizens due to race. Senator Jon Kyl, R-AZ, called the Akaka Bill the creation of race-based government for Native Hawaiians. Nationally, opponents also argue that the Akaka Bill confuses lines of criminal and civil jurisdiction in Hawai‘i. Some of the proposed amendments to the bill are attempts to resolve these concerns.

Opponents in the Native Hawaiian community range from those who feel that the bill will not allow them to achieve their goal of an independent Hawai‘i to those who object to any special privileges being given in a state where no race is a majority.

The Hui Pu coalition, known for its active opposition to the legislation, argues that the bill is an attempt to legitimize the United States’ overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom. Hui Pu disputes the implication that Hawai‘i needs to be granted total independence from the United States under international law. Hui Pu is backed by the U.N. Working Group on Indigenous Populations (WPGI), which declared in July that “All nations should be afforded the full exercise of self-determination as provided under international law and prevailing human rights standards.”

Other opponents, such as Dennis “Bumpy” Kanehele, Native Hawaiian leader of a pro-independence group, believes that the U.S. government will never give Hawaiians back their lands. He thinks that Hawaiians need to organize themselves to restore their kingdom and take back their lands by themselves. He has stated a belief that the Akaka Bill will not help the natives but will be a tool used by Americans to “exterminate” Hawaiians.

Another Native Hawaiian organization, Na Koa Ikaika, favors a compact of free association in which Native Hawaiians would have their own nation with ties to the United Stated such as the Marshall and Micronesian islands.

Lea Hubbard, a member of Na Koa Ikaika, argues that the Akaka Bill demeans Hawaiians, that it is, as she stated: “disrespectful toward our previous status. We were citizens of a nation, and that’s what we should return to.”


Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Web site designed and maintained by Robin Hansson.

Untitled Document