Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, issued a statement on his Web site today to clarify statements he made on National Public Radio this week.
In his radio interview, seen here, “Native Hawaiians Seek Self-governing Body” the Senator agreed with the NPR commentator that the Akaka Bill, now pending a vote in the U.S. Senate, could lead to Hawaii becoming an independent nation.
The NPR interview went as follows:
“NPR’s MARTIN KASTE: Democratic Senator Dan Akaka, himself a native, wants Congress to let Hawaiians re-establish their national identity. He says his bill would give them a kind of legal parity with tribal governments on the mainland, but he says this sovereignty could eventually go further, perhaps even leading to outright independence.
“Sen. AKAKA: That could be. As far as what’s going to happen at the other end, I’m leaving it up to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“KASTE: The native Hawaiian bill leaves many important details unresolved. Once established, the new governing entity is supposed to negotiate with the U.S. to settle major issues such as legal jurisdiction and land ownership. It even puts off defining who would qualify as a citizen of the native nation.”
Sen. Akaka’s formal statement published below does not deny the possibility that Hawaii could succeed or become an independent nation if the Akaka Bill is passed, but he says he is not a supporter of the idea.
”Here is his full statement:”
”’Sen. Daniel K. Akaka announced today today the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, S. 147, addresses the legal and political relationship between Native Hawaiians and the United States within federal law. Senator Akaka is not a proponent of independence or secession of the State of Hawaii as was indicated in a broadcast by the National Public Radio on August 16, 2005.”’
”’Sen. Akaka said, “S. 147 has nothing to do with independence or secession of the State of Hawaii from the United States. I support addressing the legal and political relationship between Native Hawaiians and the United States within federal law. I do not support independence or secession of the State of Hawaii from the United States.””’
”’S. 147 authorizes a process for the reorganization of the Native Hawaiian governing entity for the purposes of a federally recognized government-to-government relationship with the United States. Senator Akaka said, “My bill is criticized because it provides a process for the reorganization of the Native Hawaiian governing entity and the resolution of longstanding issues.”’
”’Opponents of the bill seek to predetermine the outcome of this process, whereas I believe the people of Hawaii need to have the flexibility to address the longstanding issues resulting from the overthrow. After the Native Hawaiian governing entity is recognized, these issues will be negotiated between the entity and the Federal and State governments.”’
”’This is an inclusive and democratic process that cannot be predetermined by those who seek to influence the outcome of the process before it’s even started.””’
”’When asked by NPR about the outcomes of the process authorized in S. 147, Senator Akaka stated that the outcome will be determined by future generations of the people of Hawaii – including his children and grandchildren.”’