Akaka is not Aloha

Posted on January 5, 2012


The new version of the 2005 bill introduced to congress this year by Senator Akaka would give indigenous Hawaiians similar rights to Native American tribes choosing to live on reservations in the United States. Part of the bill refers to the people or essentially a separate state as the kingdom of Hawaii. The bills main purpose is to preserve the Hawaiian culture and restore their loses by giving them status as Hawaiian people and autonomy as an independent “Hawaiian Kingdom” residing in the 50th state.

This bill has received starch opposition in the house including a letter from several US representatives asking for the bill to be killed since it violates the constitution, ruins competitive equity, and historical commitments. The constitution states that there can be no separate sovereign race-based government which applies not only to the future Hawaiian Kingdom but also to the hundreds of federally recognized Native American Reservations. Many of these Reservations and Native American Coalitions are in support of the Akaka bill to prevent constitutional questions about their own reservations. A very important distinction comes from the second of the posed questions from the congressmen, how will competitive equity be affected? Native Americans are not subject to certain constraints of the 14th and 15th amendments while they are on reservations and territories since non Native Americans aren’t typically living and working on the reservation, but Hawaiians will continue to live among non-natives meaning the non-natives constitutional rights will be violated. The Akaka bill is unconstitutional since the constitutional rights of non-natives are infringed upon.

Despite the eminent failure of Representative Akaka’s bill I believe that we do owe all Hawaiians the right to be recognized as a people and help preserve their cultures. Contrary to the opposing Representative’s third complaint I believe that historical commitments should not be honored in the face of the waning Aloha culture. Hawaiian’s have historically conceded the right to be acknowledged as a people for better benefits and statehood in the 50’s, but this is no excuse for ignoring their existence. Work with the Kamehameha School, a school for native Hawaiians where non-natives are also welcome, as well as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs should continue indefinitely as reparations for native losses.

Posted in: American News