by Andrew Walden
US Attorney General Eric Holder and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar have written to Senate leaders to “express the Administration’s strong support for … S 3945 .” S3945 is the latest version of the Akaka Bill.
Bizarrely they write: “we urge the Senate to pass the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2010 and send it to the president for his signature.” But S3945 is a version of the Akaka Bill different from the “instant tribal jurisdiction” version forced through the US House by Rep Neil Abercrombie on his last day in Congress. Because of this, S3945 cannot simply be passed by the Senate and sent to the President.
S3945 would have to be pulled out of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee where it has not even had a hearing, passed over Republican objections in the Senate, then sent to Conference Committee where the substantial differences between S3945 and Abercrombie’s HR2314 “instant tribal jurisdiction” version of the Akaka Bill would have to be worked out, then the modified version coming out of Conference would have to be approved by the full House and the full Senate before it could be sent to Obama for a signature.
Holder and Salazar claim: “Of the Nation’s three major indigenous groups, Native Hawaiians – unlike American Indians and Alaska Natives – are the only one that currently lacks a government-to-government relationship with the United States.” This is false. Alaskan Native Corporations are not governments, they are corporations.
In fact Akaka’s news release follows with a rhetorical sleight of hand. Quoting the Holder-Salazar letter it then adds: “Once the Native Hawaiian government is created and its leaders elected, the United States would officially recognize the new governing entity and work with it on a government-to-government basis, just as the United States works with federally recognized Indian tribes in other States.”
As with almost everything the Akaka Gang puts out, falsehoods are deployed to steer Hawaiians towards the unsuccessful Indian Reservation model and away from the more successful Alaskan model. This has been the case ever since ex-Governor John Waihee in 1995 proposed transferring Bishop Estate HQ to the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation, Hawaii’s corrupt political operators have dreamed of their own tribal jurisdiction to protect them from prosecution as they loot the Hawaiian patrimony. Towards that end, the Akaka Bill was first introduced in 2000—just six months after the ouster of the Broken Trustees of Bishop Estate.
It is likely this letter is just a feel-good reward for Inouye and Akaka’s support of the Obama Tax Compromise which is being rejected by ultra-leftist House Democrats including Rep. Mazie Hirono.
Akaka’s news release and an image of the Holder-Salazar letter are posted below.
SA: Obama cabinet officials urge passing of Akaka Bill
PBS: Fallout continues for Alaska native corporations
SCOTUS: ALASKA v. NATIVE VILLAGE OF VENETIE TRIBAL GOVERNMENT
News Release from Sen. Akaka's office
Dec 9, 2010 Washington, D.C. – United States Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar sent letters to Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell this week urging the Senate to pass the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act and send it to the President for his signature.
The letter notes that “Of the Nation’s three major indigenous groups, Native Hawaiians – unlike American Indians and Alaska Natives – are the only one that currently lacks a government-to-government relationship with the United States. The bill provides Native Hawaiian a means by which to exercise the inherent rights to local self-government, self-determination, and economic self-sufficiency that other Native Americans enjoy.”
“Once the Native Hawaiian government is created and its leaders elected, the United States would officially recognize the new governing entity and work with it on a government-to-government basis, just as the United States works with federally recognized Indian tribes in other States.”
Senator Daniel K. Akaka, the bill’s sponsor, said: “We have worked at length with the Departments of Justice and Interior on the specifics of this legislation, and I thank Attorney General Holder and Secretary Salazar for voicing their continued support. Their letters to the Senate leaders confirms that this bill remains an Obama Administration priority. As the letter notes, Native Hawaiians are the only major indigenous group that lacks a government-to-government relationship with the United States. The people of Hawaii have waited for far too long. A path towards federal recognition is long overdue.”
Senator Daniel K. Inouye said: “I am pleased that Secretary Salazar and Attorney General Holder are in strong support of the Native Hawaiian Government Reauthorization Act. The Native Hawaiian community has patiently waited for federal recognition. With the Obama White House we have a long awaited opportunity to provide for a meaningful process of self-determination for Native Hawaiians. We have debated this bill, in Hawaii and the halls of Congress, for the last decade. The Native Hawaiians have awaited this recognition since their land was seized and their monarchy overthrown by the United States in the spring of 1893. I look forward to its historic passage.”
The letter also notes bipartisan support for the legislation. “Since 1999, Senator Akaka, Senator Inouye, and other members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation have worked tirelessly with the last three Administrations… to greatly improve the bill, which how now received bipartisan support from the House of Representatives, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Hawaii’s Governor and Attorney General.”
A scanned copy of the letter is available here: LINK