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Federal Recognition
WSJ: Native Hawaiian recognition an ugly act


"The last time we wrote about the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, in July 2005, we called it secessionist, unconstitutional and un-American. And that was being kind.

Our view of the bill -- which, like Freddy Krueger, refuses to die -- hasn't changed. But now that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has promised to bring it to a cloture vote in the coming days, it's worth reminding readers what this ugly drama from the beautiful state is all about.

The Reorganization Act -- better known as the Akaka Bill, after its U.S. Senate sponsor, Democrat Daniel Akaka -- would create a sovereign government, similar to existing Indian tribes, for the roughly 400,000 people who identify themselves as "Native Hawaiians." At a minimum, such recognition would protect dozens of federally funded programs for native Hawaiians that in recent years have come under increasingly successful Constitutional challenges as violations of the 14th and 15th Amendments.

But it would probably do much worse. The Akaka Bill could also lead to discriminatory treatment of non-Native Hawaiians, who already are excluded from private schools run for the exclusive benefit of the Natives. Vast tracts of land (entire islands, perhaps) might also be set aside exclusively for Native use. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a state agency, acknowledges that the Akaka Bill allows for the "complete legal and territorial independence from the United States and the re-establishment of a Hawaiian nation-state." Years, if not decades, of litigation would follow its passage."

Get the Story:
Review & Outlook: The Akaka State? (The Wall Street Journal 6/2)

Civil Rights Commission Report:
The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005 (May 2006)

Civil Rights Commission Transcript:
January 20, 2006 Meeting

Native Hawaiian Recognition Bill:
Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005 (S.147)

Rice v. Cayetano Resources:
Abstract, Audio and More

Rice v. Cayetano Election Rights Decision:
Syllabus | Opinion | Concurrence Dissent (Stevens) | Dissent (Ginsburg)

Senate Republican Policy Paper:
Why Congress Must Reject Race-Based Government for Native Hawaiians (June 2005)

Relevant Links:
US Commission on Civil Rights - http://www.usccr.gov
Native Hawaiian Sovereignty Site - http://www.hawaii-nation.org
Native Hawaiian Federal Recognition Site - http://www.nativehawaiians.com

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