Opinion: Congress can't create Hawaiian 'tribe'
"Under President George Washington, the U.S. government's Indian policy was a facet of foreign policy because tribes were considered foreign nations. The Constitution speaks not of native "peoples" but only of "Indian tribes." Akaka's legislation would create a Native Hawaiian "tribe" as a nation within the nation.

Unlike Indians, however, Native Hawaiians' land was not taken by force. They are not a compact community -- they are woven into the fabric of one of America's most polyglot states. They chose to bring themselves under the Constitution by embracing statehood.

Congress does not create tribes; it recognizes them according to settled criteria: Tribes were nations when the Constitution was written and are geographically separate and culturally distinct communities whose governments have long continuous histories. As the state of Hawaii has said, "The tribal concept simply has no place in the context of Hawaiian history."

Virtually all Democrats and a few inexplicable Republicans support this legislation, which will further inflame the ethnic grievance industry. Imagine the lesson that some descendants of Hispanics who lived in the Southwest before 1848 would learn from it. A Republican president would veto it. A Democratic president would sign it -- Sens. Biden, Clinton, Dodd and Obama support it -- but the Supreme Court would shred this plan for different laws for different races. Still, the legislation is an important symptom of Democrats' constitutional flippancy and itch for social engineering."

Get the Story:
George F. Will: Social Engineers In Paradise (The Washington Post 11/29)
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Roll Call:
On Passage: Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act | On Motion to Recommit with Instructions | On Agreeing to the Resolution | On Ordering the Previous Question

Statement of Administration Policy:
H.R. 505 – Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007 (October 22, 2007)

Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act:
H.R.505 | S.310

Relevant Links:
Office of Hawaiian Affairs - http://www.oha.org
Native Hawaiian Recognition - http://www.nativehawaiians.com

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