Native Hawaiians fight for federal recognition
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MONDAY, JULY 21, 2003

Native Hawaiians and their bipartisan allies say they face a difficult fight to secure federal recognition of Hawaii's first people.

Gov. Linda Lingle (R) is a backer of Native Hawaiian sovereignty. But she tells The Washington Post that Department of Justice lawyers are generally against it.

DOJ Solicitor General Ted Olson, who handles Supreme Court litigation for the Bush administration, represented a white rancher who challenged a Native Hawaiian election. The Supreme Court in 2000 struck down the election as unconstitutional.

In the Senate, Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) are co-sponsoring a bill to recognize the government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians. Akaka says DOJ lawyers are concerned about "race."

In the House, the main sponsor is Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), who secured passage in September 2000 of a prior version of the bill.

Get the Story:
Native Hawaiians Reclaim Heritage (The Washington Post 7/20)

Get the Bills:
S.344 | H.R.665

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

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