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Opinion by Jontue Martin

 
I was raised in Hawai‘i, in the Hawaiian culture, in the Hawaiian ways, but because I am only 25 percent Hawaiian, and not 50 percent or more, I do not qualify to receive Hawaiian homelands. But aren’t I still Hawaiian? Shouldn’t I be able to receive the benefits of having Hawaiian blood and not be pushed aside because I don’t have enough? Why should only certain Hawaiians benefit?

If the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, also known as the Akaka Bill, is enacted by Congress, I know that my children and their children will be able to benefit in ways that will help them to keep up with white society.

On July 5, the Grassroot Institute of Hawai‘i released the initial report of a sample scientific survey of Hawai‘i’s people done by an out-of-state professional survey company. Only 33 percent of the people that answered the survey supported the Akaka Bill. This is not surprising, since, today, the Hawaiian people are a minority in their own homeland. We are a dying race. Although our blood will not disappear suddenly, the amount of blood that a Hawaiian person has will be reduced as time passes and Hawaiians intermarry.

The Akaka Bill would benefit all parts of the Hawaiian community and would unite Hawaiians where today we are divided. If passed, it would allow Hawaiians to form a government by which they could make more choices that affect them in a positive way. It would also create equality between Hawaiians of different blood quanta.

Even people of little Hawaiian blood could stand up as Hawaiians. The Hawaiian Kingdom could be reborn and become powerful in ways only imagined. Our last reigning monarch, Queen Lili‘uokalani, commanded, “Onipa‘a!” which means, “stand firm”; if we stand firm in our beliefs and for our people, we will achieve greatness.

Note: For those who do not know what the Akaka Bill proposes , here is Senator Akaka’s explanation: “The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act does three things. It establishes the Office of Native Hawaiian Relations in the Department of the Interior to serve as a liaison between Native Hawaiians and the United States. It establishes the Native Hawaiians Interagency Coordinating Group to be composed of federal officials from agencies which administer Native Hawaiian programs. Both of these provisions are intended to increase coordination between Native Hawaiians and the federal government. And third, the bill provides a process of reorganization of the Native Hawaiian governing entity. I am very proud of the fact that while the bill provides structure to the process, it also provides the Native Hawaiian community with the flexibility to truly reorganize its governing entity.”
 
 

 

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