”’Editor’s Note: This is the actual transcript from the 1993 U.S. Senate Floor debate on the Apology Resolution that was passed based on U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye’s word that the apology would not give rights, privileges, reparations, land or money communally that are unavailable to non-Hawaiian citizens. He is speaking with Slade Gorton, former U.S. Senator from Washington. In 2005, the 1993 Apology is being used as a basis for passage of the Akaka Bill to make up for the “wrong” against Native Hawaiians, despite Inouye’s pledge that it would not be used that way. As a follow up, see the oped on this subject by Sens. Hank Brown and Slade Gorton at “U.S. Senators Betrayed by Sponsors of Akaka Bill””’
”’SLADE GORTON:”’: But this Senator will be happy to yield his own time to either Senator from Hawaii if they will tell us what their operative intention is. What are the appropriate consequences of passing this resolution? Are they any form of special status under which persons of Native Hawaiian descent will be given rights or privileges or reparations or land or money communally that are unavailable to other citizens of Hawaii?
”’Mr. INOUYE.”’ If the Senator will yield?
”’Mr. GORTON.”’ I will be delighted to do so..
”’Mr. INOUYE.”’ As I tried to convince my colleagues, this is a simple resolution of apology, to recognize the facts as they were 100 years ago. As to the matter of the status of Native Hawaiians, as my colleague from Washington knows, from the time of statehood we have been in this debate. Are Native Hawaiians Native Americans? This resolution has nothing to do with that. This resolution does not touch upon the Hawaiian homelands. I can assure my colleague of that.
It is a simple apology.
”’Mr. GORTON.”’ Mr. President, this Senator wants to sincerely thank the senior Senator from Hawaii for that answer and accepts it as such. This Senator believes the Senator from Hawaii has said this resolution is unrelated to — it neither advances nor detracts from — any kind of special treatment for Native Hawaiians.
In fact, if this Senator believed that this resolution could not be used in that fashion there would have been no such debate here. The Senator does not disagree with the history and would have been happy to restate it. This Senator feels, unfortunately, that the consequences of the portions of this resolution after the whereas clauses do in fact provide a basis — perhaps even a legal basis — for some kind of demand for special treatment or for the return of lands. It is for that reason, for that reason which this Senator believes to be very divisive within our society, that the Senator regretfully opposes the resolution, and at this point, Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
”’To see a related story, go to:”’ “U.S. Senators Betrayed by Sponsors of Akaka Bill”