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Federal Recognition
Appeals court leaves Hawaiian recognition to Congress


A federal appeals court last week ruled that recognition of Native Hawaiians belongs to Congress.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Interior Department has a "rational basis" to exclude Native Hawaiians from the recognition regulations followed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The court said the question was a "political" one to be decided by Congress.

The decision was raised on Monday as the 9th Circuit heard arguments in another case. A group of non-Natives is challenging state programs that benefit Native Hawaiians.

Native Hawaiians said the decision shows that the court should not declare the programs unconstitutional while the recognition issue is pending before Congress. Opponents said the court can rule without waiting.

The Native Hawaiian recognition bill has been pending in Congress for the past four years. The Bush administration has expressed doubts about Native Hawaiian programs.

Get the Story:
Hawaiian advocates cite ruling (The Honolulu Advertiser 11/2)
Court hears arguments in Hawaiian agency case (AP 11/2)

Get the Decision:
KAHAWAIOLAA v. NORTON (October 27, 2004) Relevant Links:
Native Hawaiian Sovereignty Site - http://www.hawaii-nation.org
Native Hawaiians, Department of Interior - http://www.doi.gov/nativehawaiians
Native Hawaiian Federal Recognition Site - http://www.nativehawaiians.com

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