The late U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) is seen delivering the Congressional response to the State of Indian Nations in January 2012. Photo: National Congress of American Indians

Daniel Akaka, former chairman of Senate Committee of Indian Affairs, walks on

Former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), who was the first person of Native Hawaiian ancestry to lead the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, passed away on Friday. He was 93.

Akaka was known as a champion for tribal self-determination. He fought to extend the same policy to Hawaii's first inhabitants though he was unsuccessful in securing passage of a federal recognition bill prior to his retirement in 2013.

"In Congress, Senator Akaka’s care, empathy, and collegiality served as an example for us all," Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) said in a post on Twitter on Friday. "It’s an honor to sit at his desk in the Senate chamber, and we continue his work to improve the lives of veterans and the Native Hawaiian community.

Akaka served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs during the 112th Congress. Legislative achievements included passage of the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act (HEARTH) Act, which has become one of the more popular self-determination programs.

During the prior session of Congress, Akaka played a role in securing passage of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act which became permanent through the Affordable Care Act, as well as the Tribal Law and Order Act.

"Senator’s passionate advocacy on behalf of Hawaii, Native Hawaiians, his students, veterans, and his contributions to our community and humanity cannot be easily measured," Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) said in a post on Twitter. "He gave his heart to Hawaii."

Read More on the Story:
Former Sen. Daniel Akaka dies at age 93 (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser April 6, 2018)
Former Sen. Akaka Dies at Age 93 (Big Island Now April 6, 2018)
Former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka Dead At 93 (Honolulu Civil Beat April 6, 2018)
Former US Senator Daniel Akaka Dies (Maui Now April 6, 2018)
Hawaii reacts to news of death of Daniel Akaka (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser April 6, 2018)
Hawaii leaders remember life and legacy of former Sen. Akaka (HNN April 6, 2018)
Former Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii dies at 93 (The Hill April 6, 2018)
Daniel Akaka, Long-Serving Hawaii Senator, Dead at 93 (Roll Call April 6, 2018)
Former Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka dies at age 93 (Fox News April 6, 2018)

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