FROM THE ARCHIVE
Opinion: Oppose Native Hawaiian recognition bill
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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2003

"On February 25, the Indian Affairs Committee of the United States Senate will hear Senate Bill S.344; "A bill expressing the policy of the United States regarding the United States relationship with Native Hawaiians and to provide a process for the recognition by the United States of the Native Hawaiian governing entity, and for other purposes."

In our view, S.344 is not a native Hawaiian bill and we urge Indian nation chiefs, tribal councils, attorneys general and legal departments to take notice that S.344 is a potential threat to Indian sovereignty as it would confer unprecedented new rights on the states. I urge you analyze S.344 and not accept the current public relations spin and other misrepresentations of it.

What new right that would be given to a state is a threat to sovereignty? Over many decades, the government of the State of Hawaii has received from the federal treasury the vast revenues that should have been going to us to fund native Hawaiian reservations. However, the ability of the state to continue to do so was jeopardized in 2000 when the U.S. Supreme court (Rice v. Cayetano) found the state’s historic role unconstitutional. This of course places in question the state’s continued ability to collect the hundreds of millions of dollars annually from the federal treasury in our name in order to pay its own overhead and to dole out to us. S.344 would have Congress sanction the State of Hawaii’s questionable role. Should this bill pass, there is no reason to think your own cash-hungry state could not begin siphoning off the federal revenues other indigenous Americans receive as part of the historical bargain we all made with the United States as this country was formed by moving us off of our lands."

Get the Story:
Maui Loa: U.S. Senate Bill S.344 could jeopardize all indigenous peoples’ rights (Indian Country Today 2/21)

Get the Bill:
S.344, the Native Hawaiian recognition bill.

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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