When the U.S. Congress resumes business later this month, the Akaka bill will be back on the table in the House and the Senate. This controversial proposal, officially named The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, was first introduced by U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, in 2000.

Since then it has gone through numerous revisions to appease conservative opposition, especially during George W. Bush’s presidency. But with the Obama administration in the White House, and Democrats holding the majority in Congress, the bill has a strong chance of passage.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs passed a newly amended version Dec. 17, 2009, with changes developed by the Department of Justice in conjunction with the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, and the Native Hawaiian Bar Association meant to improve it.

See the full story here: http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/opinion/columnists/81699482.html

(Indian Country Today, Friday January 15, 2010)

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