by Andrew Walden
Dozens of protesters gathered this morning on one day's notice in downtown Honolulu to denounce what they termed an "Akaka Bill Sneak Attack"--purported efforts to insert the Akaka Bill into unrelated "must pass" legislation.
In a statement released today Senator Dan Inouye (D-HI) denied the protesters specific claim that he had planned to attach the Akaka Bill to a Defense Appropriations measure and called the Akaka Bill process "fully transparent".
Inouye did not address the more general claim that the Akaka Bill might be amended into an unrelated bill other than Defense Appropriations, but that didn't stop sovereignty activists from claiming victory.
Sovereignty activist Leon Siu responded: “Our sources in Washington say otherwise.... We thank Senator Inouye for his statement and accept his word the Akaka bill will not be attached to any other legislation. Maybe now the senator will actually hold open congressional hearings on the bill in Hawai`i in 2010 and find out what people really think about this legislation. I can tell you this – it will be an eye-opener.”
On Wednesday December 16 Abercrombie's House Natural Resources subcommittee will vote on HR 2314, the "Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009" better known as the Akaka Bill. The committee will meet at 10AM EST (5AM HST) in room 1324 Longworth.
The following day at 2:15PM EST (9:15AM HST) the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, meeting in Dirksen room 628, is scheduled to vote on the companion bill--S1011. The vote had been originally scheduled for December 9 but has been rescheduled to the 17th.
"Transparency" apparently does not include news releases announcing the Akaka Bill hearings from any of Hawaii's four Congressional delegates nor does it include articles or broadcasts by Hawaii media.
RELATED: Akaka Bill to be voted by House and Senate Committees, Sovereignty activists protest Akaka Bill "Sneak Attack" -- Bill could be inserted into "must pass" legislation
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StopAkakaBill.com: SUCCESS! AKAKA BILL PROTEST STOPS SNEAK ATTACK!
Sovereignty activists working under the umbrella of StopAkakaBill.com claimed success and responded to Inouye:
“Our sources in Washington say otherwise,” remarked Leon Siu, one of the protest coordinators. “Besides, if he wasn’t planning to do it, why did he need to deny it?” asks Siu. “I think we hit a nerve. As Shakespeare put it: ’Methinks thou doth protest too much...”
Over one hundred protestors gathered at the corner of Beretania and Punchbowl streets this morning holding signs and drawing public attention to Inouye’s well-established track record of using the “back-door” approach to getting legislation passed in Washington, DC. The Akaka bill would benefit a select few while disenfranchising the majority of Hawai`i’s citizens.
“We thank Senator Inouye for his statement and accept his word the Akaka bill will not be attached to any other legislation,” remarked Siu. “Maybe now the senator will actually hold open congressional hearings on the bill in Hawai`i in 2010 and find out what people really think about this legislation. I can tell you this – it will be an eye-opener.”
The Akaka bill, formally known as the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act of 2009 would reclassify native Hawaiians as Native Americans.
Federal recognition has been a disaster historically for native peoples in the US who, under the grossly incompetent administration of the US Department of Interior, end up reclassified as wards of the federal government.
Inouye: SENATOR INOUYE’S STATEMENT ABOUT THE PROCESS FOR CONSIDERING THE AKAKA BILL
SENATOR INOUYE’S STATEMENT ABOUT THE PROCESS FOR CONSIDERING THE AKAKA BILL
December 14, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON – Senator Daniel K. Inouye issued the following statement about the current process for consideration of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009, also known as the Akaka Bill. The bill is scheduled for a markup in the House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Thursday.
“I have never suggested that the Akaka Native Hawaiian Recognition Bill be passed and adopted as part of the defense appropriations process. I don’t know where this nonsensical suggestion originated. The Akaka Bill for the past many years has been considered under what we call the regular order. It has had hours upon hours of hearings, many, many revisions and amendments and has gone through the scrutiny of three administrations. We have had hearings in Washington and in Hawaii. It is not a measure that has been shepherded in the dark of the night. It has been fully transparent,” said Senator Inouye.