"When the U.S. Congress resumes business later this month, the Akaka bill will be back on the table in the House and the Senate. This controversial proposal, officially named The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, was first introduced by U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, in 2000.
Since then it has gone through numerous revisions to appease conservative opposition, especially during George W. Bush’s presidency. But with the Obama administration in the White House, and Democrats holding the majority in Congress, the bill has a strong chance of passage.
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs passed a newly amended version Dec. 17, 2009, with changes developed by the Department of Justice in conjunction with the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, and the Native Hawaiian Bar Association meant to improve it.
The day before, U.S. Congressman Neil Abercrombie had tried to pass the same heavily amended version of H.R. 2314 in the House Committee on Natural Resources, but last minute letters of opposition from Hawaii’s Republican governor, Linda Lingle, prompted him to set aside the proposed revisions (no surprise that he backed off since he had already announced his plans to resign his seat next month to run for governor himself) and the committee passed the unamended version.
Although the House bill could be amended later to conform to the amended Senate version, the fact remains there are two different versions in the works. What difference does it matter to those who oppose the Akaka Bill and federal recognition for Kanaka Maoli (indigenous Hawaiians)?"
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J. Kēhaulani Kauanui: Understanding both versions of the Akaka bill
(Indian Country Today 1/15)