Native Hawaiian recognition stalled in Congress
Monday, September 1, 2003

A bill to recognize a Native Hawaiian government has been pending in Congress since 2000.

The House passed the bill that year but the Senate failed to take it up. Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), the primary sponsor in the House, says the White House "doesn't want the bill on the floor because they're afraid it's going to pass," The Honolulu Advertiser reported.

The Bush administration has not taken a firm position for or against recognition. The Department of Interior suggested changes to the bill that were incorporated by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

The Department of Justice's top lawyer argued against Native Hawaiians in the Rice v. Cayetano Supreme Court case. Solicitor General Ted Olson represented a white rancher who challenged a Native-only election and won.

The victory has led to a string of legal challenges against Native-only programs. A federal judge recently opened admission to the Kamehameha Schools to non-Natives. Another lawsuit challenges social-assistance programs for Natives. Non-Natives can run for Native trustee seats due to another lawsuit.

Get the Story:
Conservatives blamed for stalling Akaka bill (The Honolulu Advertiser 8/29)
Native debate revisits key issue (The Honolulu Advertiser 8/31)
Lawyers to argue validity of Hawaiian programs (The Honolulu Advertiser 9/1)
Hawaiians hope to stir community support (The Honolulu Advertiser 9/1)

Federal Recognition Bills:
S.344 | H.R.665

Relevant Links:
Native Hawaiian Sovereignty Site -
Native Hawaiians, Department of Interior -
Native Hawaiian Federal Recognition Site -

Related Stories:
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Native Hawaiians fight for federal recognition (07/21)
Student denied entry into Hawaiian school sues (06/30)
DOJ objected to Native Hawaiian legislation (06/06)
Native Hawaiians denied party status in suit (04/01)
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