By John S. Carroll
Senator Akaka is one of the most kind and compassionate men I have ever known. He has served Hawaii well in the US House and Senate. This letter is written with respect for all he and Senator Inouye have done, not only for Native Hawaiians, but also for all the people of Hawaii.
To withhold my comments out of respect for these gentlemen would violate my pursuit of justice for Native Hawaiians. (I have children, grandchildren and eight great grandchildren, each of whom is Native Hawaiian.)
Senator Inouye just recently abandoned his plan to piggy-back the Akaka Bill to an Interior Department spending bill in an attempt to get over the procedural hurdle which has blocked its passage for the past eleven years.
This bill should have never been contemplated in the first place.
The Bill seeks RECOGNITION OF NATIVE HAWAIIANS. Given the history of Hawaii, to suggest that Hawaiians need recognition is absurd. It is ironic, indeed, that these Senators are seeking something that the “Native Hawaiians” achieved as early as 1840 when the first Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom was issued by King Kamehameha the Third. It clearly declares “God hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the earth in unity and blessedness.” The Hawaiian Kingdom was recognized internationally by the execution of more than twenty treaties and by international tribunals in dealing with the British attempt to colonize Hawaii.
Creating a race based, sovereign nation within the eleven thousand square miles of these islands, quite frankly, is ludicrous! Republican leadership, under Chairman Kaauwai in this State has finally gotten a resolution against passage of the Akaka Bill, a resolution Mrs. Lingle stifled while Governor and titular head of the Party.
The Kingdom had a bi-cameral legislature, Houses of Commons and Alii, both Houses dominated by “Native Hawaiians”. The Kingdom not only assimilated persons of all races, but actively promoted bringing them to Hawaii, giving them citizenship or denizenship and integrating them into the racial fabric of this land.
No Indian tribe that I know of has ever received recognition at this level. To compare “Native Hawaiians” to Maoris, Cherokee, Arapahoe, Aleut nations borders on absurdity.
Everyone interested in Native Hawaiian history with respect to “racial issues” should read the dicta in Rex v. Booth, and see what justices appointed by the Alii had to say about the intrinsic equality of man. This was written prior to the end of the US Civil War.
However well intended, the Akaka Bill seeks to reinstate the concept of division by race that our constitution and decades of the civil rights movement have sought to erase. By drawing false parallels to Native Americans the bill distorts the true and unique history of Hawaii’s people. Further, the tactical expediency of attaching this bill to an expenditure bill so as to avoid open and honest debate would have honored neither Hawaiians nor other citizens of this state and country.
Note: John Carroll believes that all Hawaiians who qualify for homestead lands should be awarded those properties in fee. The system of term leases “administrated” by a governmental bureaucracy is inefficient, prone to fraud and ultimately unfair to individual Hawaiians. Ruby Johnson advises Mr. Carroll on Hawaiian cultural and legal matters.