Opponents of Akaka Bill stage protest, accuse senator of ‘back-door’ tactics

This morning approximately forty Hawaiian sovereignty supporters staged a demonstration at the State Capitol in response to reports that Congress might amend the Defense Appropriation Bill to include the controversial Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill (Akaka Bill), thereby expediting its passage.  A press release stated:


A few select individuals headed by the Hawai`i delegation in Washington DC and locally are working to “sneak” the Akaka Bill into the Defense Appropriations bill this coming week.

These individuals have scheduled mark-ups of the Akaka Bill in both the House and Senate Committees for this coming week, which will allow them to “jam” a version of the bill into the Defense Appropriations Bill or similar piece of legislation.

It should come as no surprise that this attempt is spearheaded by none other than Daniel Inouye, who is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

If they are able to do this, the Akaka bill will pass and become law.

Where is the voice of the people in this process? Why are the people not allowed to review bill mark-ups and share their input to those who are elected to serve us? Why is the Akaka Bill being snuck into the Defense Appropriations or any other bill?

Everyone needs to be alerted, so they can voice their concerns and opposition. Please forward this email to your friends and family.

Everyone should be outraged at these individuals who are working overtime to sneak the Akaka Bill into the Defense Appropriations Bill, while the issues such as: war, homelessness, unemployment, health care, and education are unresolved issues.

One would think that these individuals would be spending their efforts towards resolving these crises, rather than forcing the Akaka Bill down our throats. It?s obvious these individuals are doing “business as usual”, behind closed doors and without transparency. What happened to CHANGE?

Whether you live in Hawai`i or not, whether you?re Hawaiian or not, now is the critical time to help, especially if you see your representative?s name and contact info below.

Please, everyone should begin Monday morning contacting as many of the following individuals via phone calls and written testimony as you can to express your outrage.

Tell them you demand a transparent and open process for the Akaka bill as stand alone legislation. Insist that they not bury it by attaching it to any other bill.

Also visit http://StopAkakaBill.com and http://FreeHawaii.Info for the latest updates and information.

The demonstration was sparked by a tip from anonymous Washington D.C. sources that once the markup on the Akaka bill was completed this week, the bill would be amended to the Defense Appropriations Bill to ensure a speedy passage, a familiar trick in Congress.  While it is impossible to know for sure that such an amendment was in the works, the action surely preempted that possibility.

Senator Inouye issued the following statement in response to the accusations:

“I have never suggested that the Akaka Native Hawaiian Recognition Bill be passed and adopted as part of the defense appropriations process. I don’t know where this nonsensical suggestion originated. The Akaka Bill for the past many years has been considered under what we call the regular order. It has had hours upon hours of hearings, many, many revisions and amendments and has gone through the scrutiny of three administrations. We have had hearings in Washington and in Hawaii. It is not a measure that has been shepherded in the dark of the night. It has been fully transparent.”

Pro-Hawaiian independence groups have opposed the Akaka bill because it will ‘settle’ (read ‘extinguish’) sovereignty and land claims while subordinating Native Hawaiians to the Department of the Interior.  Meanwhile, right wing anti-Hawaiian groups such as the Grassroots Institute, Aloha For All and the Heritage Foundation have opposed the Akaka Bill as “race-based” “special rights”.   What gets confusing is that there is a Christian Right element active in the Hawaiian independence movement, some of whom have worked closely with the right wing Anti-Hawaiian groups like the Heritage Foundation.  In fact, the “sneak attack” language of the protest, troubling because of its oblique reference to the Pearl Harbor attack and its tinge of anti-Japanese racism, was consistent with the theme emanating from the right wing think tanks.  And it seems that it was the conservative media here and here that carried the story far and wide on the internet, causing Inouye’s angry response.   However, this episode raises important questions for the Hawaiian independence movement: Do you know who you are in bed with?



Opponents of Akaka Bill stage protest, accuse senator of ‘back-door’ tactics

Posted: Dec 14, 2009 2:04 PM Updated: Dec 14, 2009 4:47 PM

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Opponents of the Akaka Bill staged a protest Monday morning near the Hawaii State Capitol, accusing Senator Daniel Inouye of planning to “jam” the Native Hawaiian recognition bill into a defense spending measure, virtually guaranteeing its passage. Senator Inouye’s office responded quickly, calling the suggestion “nonsensical”.

Ehu Cardwell of the Koani Foundation said in a statement that Inouye was “planning to insert the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009 into the Defense Appropriations Bill or one of several others coming before Congress this week.

“The effort would virtually guarantee passage of the Akaka bill through a “back-door” tactic, thus circumventing any public review or input” Cardwell said.

“I have never suggested that the Akaka Native Hawaiian Recognition Bill be passed and adopted as part of the defense appropriations process. I don’t know where this nonsensical suggestion originated” said Inouye in a statement.

In his statement, Inouye referenced the numerous hearings and proposed amendments that the bill has undergone since it was originally proposed in 2000. He said the proposed law “has gone through the scrutiny of three administrations…it has been fully transparent.”

The Akaka Bill is officially known as the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009. It would establish a process whereby Native Hawaiians would be able to set up a governing entity similar to those of numerous Native American nations on the mainland.

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