version of federal recognition bill introduced in Congress
Jan. 17, 2007 - 114 years to the day after the illegal overthrow of
the Hawaiian kingdom - Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka introduced The
Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007 (S. 310)
on the floor of the U.S. Senate. The bill would begin a process to form
a Native Hawaiian governing entity that could negotiate with the state
and federal government on behalf of Hawaii's indigenous people, and
would would provide parity in federal policies that empower other indigenous
peoples, American Indians and Alaska Natives, to participate in a government-to-government
relationship with the United States.
new version of the bill incorporates language negotiated with the Bush
administration in 2005, including increased clarification that no governmental
functions or jurisdiction would be transferred from the state or federal
governments without further legislation.
June, after a small number of Senate opponents had long stalled an earlier
version of the bill (S.147) through technical roadblocks, the measure
narrowly failed a procedural vote that
would have forced it to the Senate floor for a final up-or-down tally.
Although senators voted 56-41 in favor of the procedural motion, known
as “cloture,” that total was short of the 60 votes needed
to advance the measure.
he has done in the past, Hawaii's senior senator, Daniel K. Inouye cosponsored
the new version of the recognition bill. A bipartisan group of senators
from across the country also signed on as cosponsors: Sens. Dorgan (D-ND),
Cantwell (D-WA), Coleman (R-MN), Stevens (R-AK), Murkowski R-AK), Smith
(R-OR) and Dodd (D-CT). The bill will now go before the Senate Indian
Affairs Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Dorgan.
statement introducing S.310, Sen. Akaka said: "The legislation
I introduce today seeks to build upon the foundation of reconciliation.
It provides a structured process to bring together the people of Hawaii,
along a path of healing to a Hawaii where its indigenous people are
respected and culture is embraced. Through enactment of this legislation,
we have the opportunity to demonstrate that our country does not just
preach its ideas, but lives according to its founding principles. As
it has for America's other indigenous peoples, I believe the United
States must fulfill its responsibility to Native Hawaiians." .
Inouye said: "We have every confidence that consistent with the
federal policy for more than 35 years, the restoration of the rights
to self-determination and self-governance will enable the Native Hawaiian
people, the direct, lineal descendants of the aboriginal, indigenous
native people of what has become our nation's 50th state, to take their
rightful place in the family of governments that make up our constitutional
system of governance."
with the measure's introduction in the Senate, Hawaii Reps. Neil Abercrombie
and Mazie Hirono introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Congressman Abercrombie said: "This measure gives
the Native Hawaiian community the tools to guide its own destiny and
manage the lands and assets set aside for it by law. Native Hawaiians
fully deserve a seat at the table and a direct voice on issues critical
to their well being and cultural identity."
Congresswoman Hirono said: "I
am very proud to join with Senators Akaka and Inouye and Congressman
Abercrombie in introducing the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization
Act of 2007. Native Hawaiians should have the same rights to self-determination
and self-governance enjoyed by the other indigenous peoples of the United
States. Passage of this landmark legislation is one of my highest priorities."
Republican Governor, Linda Lingle, has also been a strong supporter
of the bill.
new version of the bill makes clear that:
and criminal jurisdiction currently held by the federal and state
governments will remain with the federal and state governments,
unless further legislation is enacted.
bill does not authorize gaming by the Native Hawaiian governing
Department of Defense is exempt from consultation requirements contained
in the bill, however, obligations under existing statues, including
the Native Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), and
the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), remain.
grievances regarding historical wrongs committed against Native
Hawaiians by the United States or by the state of Hawaii are to
be addressed in the negotiations process between the Native Hawaiian
governing entity and federal and state governments, not through
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