by Andrew Walden
Last summer's public hearings should have been the end of Obama Administration efforts to force native Hawaiians into a fake Indian tribe. Interior Department officials heard testimony from Hawaiians at meetings statewide and the public testimony was overwhelmingly negative for the Feds.
The impact was felt in the gubernatorial race. The July 25, 2014 Star-Advertiser reported: "(David) Ige said the U.S. Department of the Interior's hearings in Hawaii on sovereignty are premature, since Hawaiians have not yet reached consensus about how to proceed." KHON quoted Ige: "Sovereignty is something that I think cannot be rushed. It’s something that will impact each and every resident in our community.” Ige's opponents Mufi Hanneman and Duke Aiona both agreed.
That's not the way the Feds want you to remember it. According to the DoI news release:
The NPRM comes on the heels of a robust and transparent public comment period as part of an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) process that began last year and included public meetings. More than 5,000 members of the public submitted written responses to the ANPRM, and they overwhelmingly favored creating a pathway for reestablishing a formal government-to-government relationship.
Note the rhetorical sleight of hand: Interior specifies 'written' comments. We all know the 'robust' oral comments were 'transparently' against federal recognition. But a look at the written comments --numbering 2,434 not 5,000--shows many are strongly opposed to federal recognition as well.
Did the DoI learn anything?
“We’ve listened to the feedback we received during the public meetings and in writing and worked to improve the proposal to reflect those comments,” added Jewell.
So how did they improve the proposal?
They eliminated the public meetings.
Instead of 'transparent' public discussion, Interior has set up four call-in teleconferences in which the Feds can tamp down opposition and create the illusion of support. Of these, only two are open to the general public.
The first teleconference is set for 8AM Hawaii time on Monday October 26.