by Andrew Walden
In a September 7 email to supporters, Colleen Hanabusa falsely identified Dan Akaka as. "first person of Native Hawaiian ancestry to serve in the House." Later that day, Richard Rapoza, Director of Communications for the Hanabusa campaign sheepishly admitted: "In our email we said that Senator Akaka was the first person of Native Hawaiian ancestry to serve in the U.S House of Representatives. That honor actually belongs to Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana'ole, known in Hawai'i as Prince Kuhio, who served as Hawai'i's elected delegate to Congress from 1903 until 1922."
But even after being corrected by her own campaign, Hanabusa still has it wrong. The first native Hawaiian Congressional Representative was Robert Wilcox of the Home Rule Party who served as Hawaii's Territorial Representative from November 6, 1900 – March 3, 1903. Wilcox was followed in office by the second native Hawaiian Representative, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana'ole (R) who served from 1903 until his death January 7, 1922.
In addition to Prince Kuhio and Robert Wilcox, there were three other native Hawaiian delegates:
- William Paul Jarrett (D) Territorial Delegate to Congress 1923 – 1927
- Victor Stewart Kaleoaloha Houston (R) Delegate to Congress 1927-33
- Samuel Wilder King (R) Territorial Delegate to Congress 1935 – 1943
So Dan Akaka was sixth, not first. But in fairness we should point out that Dan Akaka was first to declare that Hawaiians are really an Indian Tribe.
Samuel Wilder King would become the first native Hawaiian Governor of the Territory of Hawaii from 1953-57.
Here is the error from the correction from the Hanabusa campaign and the original error.
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Getting Our History Right
From Hanabusa for Hawaii 9-7-11
Earlier today, we sent out an email inviting you to join us in wishing a Happy Birthday to Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka. We hope you've seen it, and that you'll join us in celebrating the dedication and service of Hawai'i's U.S. Senators.
However, we have learned that we made a historical claim in the email that isn't accurate, and we want to set the record straight.
In our email we said that Senator Akaka was the first person of Native Hawaiian ancestry to serve in the U.S House of Representatives. That honor actually belongs to Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana'ole, known in Hawai'i as Prince Kuhio, who served as Hawai'i's elected delegate to Congress from 1903 until 1922. Dan Akaka is the first Native Hawaiian to serve in the U.S. Senate.
We apologize for the error.
We respect Hawai'i's history, and the last thing we want to do is spread information that isn't entirely accurate. But we also see this as a reminder that it is too easy to focus on what is happening today, and forget the lessons of our past. So as we celebrate the birthdays of two of Hawai'i's favorite sons in the U.S. Senate, let's also remember the service, a century ago, of Prince Kuhio, who was a member of both the royal House of Kalakaua, and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Director of Communications
Hanabusa for Hawai'i
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Hau'oli la Hanau Dan and Danny
From Hanabusa for Hawaii 9-7-11
This week, we celebrate the birthdays of Dan and Danny, two of Hawai'i's proudest sons.
Born just days apart in the same year, Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka have dedicated their lives to improving ours. As young men, they served during World War Two, and would take divergent paths as they continued their service to Hawai'i: Inouye as a young political leader, and Akaka as an educator. Through the decades to this day, they have never stopped their service, and Hawai'i is better for it.
Tell them how proud Hawai'i is of its native sons. Join us in wishing Senators Inouye and Akaka Hau'oli la Hanau: sign their online birthday card now.
Daniel Ken Inouye was born in Honolulu on September 7, 1924. The son of Japanese-American immigrants, Dan has lived an all-American life. Serving in the military during World War Two, he earned the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and United States Medal of Honor. Going to college on the G.I. Bill, Dan earned a law degree. He continued his proud tradition of service in the Hawai'i legislature, then as the state of Hawai'i's first member of Congress (as well as America's first Japanese-American Congressman), as a U.S. Senator, and now, as the President Pro-Tempore of the U.S. Senate.
Born just days later on September 11, 1924, Daniel Kahikina Akaka was raised in a deeply religious family and learned the importance of ohana at an early age. After graduating high school, he served four years in the Army Corps of Engineers before attending college on the G.I. Bill. It was there that Danny began studying to become an educator, and went on to serve as a high school educator for 16 years before turning his focus on government. He ran for Congress in 1976 and won, becoming the first person of Native Hawaiian ancestry to serve in the House. In 1990, after the death of Senator Spark Matsunaga, Danny again rose to the challenge at hand, and became a member of the U.S. Senate.
In countless ways, Dan Inouye and Danny Akaka have made Hawai'i a better place to live and call home. I'm proud to call them "Senator," and prouder still to be able to call them "friend."
Share your pride in Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel K. Akaka. Join me in wishing them a happy birthday. Sign our online birthday card now.
Mahalo for your service, Senators Inouye and Akaka.