BY FRANK SCOTT – After failing for 11 years to get the ill conceived Akaka Bill approved by Congress, the State of Hawaii has passed its own ethnic restrictive bill for a separate indigenous government (Act 195). The Honolulu Star-Advertiser describes the act as an important move toward reconciliation and federal recognition. This calls for an objective review of events relating to these issues and a determination of the purpose and justification for reconciliation and the need for creating a separate indigenous government to obtain recognition and support for indigenous programs.
In effect, reconciliation with respect to Act 195 relates to the inappropriate and misleading Apology Resolution of 1993 which accuses the United States of significant involvement in the 1893 overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani. This is in spite of the fact that the 1894 Morgan Report of the US Senate refutes all reports claiming US involvement in the overthrow, including the biased and questionable Blount Report ordered by President Cleveland, which he later in effect de-emphasized in favor of the Morgan Report.
Act 195 is a nebulous document that fails to address crucial issues, such as how two different government entities (State of Hawaii and the Native Hawaiian Government to be created by Act 195) would share the planning and cost of infrastructure, police, fire departments, education, etc.
The concept of an ethnic oriented indigenous government seems particularly untenable under the existing social structure where the native Hawaiian population is completely integrated and extensively intermarried with other ethnic groups.
There is in general no separate living environment of Hawaiians separate from the population at large, except for some tendency of separate ethnic groups in Hawaii as elsewhere to gather together. With the indigenous Hawaiian population an integral part of society in general, the expressed concept that native Hawaiians could function as a tribe similar to Native American Indians and Native Alaskans is obviously unrealistic.
Furthermore, in the creation of the Hawaiian constitution by King Kamehameha in 1840, people of all ethnic groups were equally subjects of the Kingdom and ethnicity was not an issue in that respect.
In seeking a less questionable alternative to serve the Hawaiian community than a separate governing entity, expansion of the activities of programs such as The Hawaiian Homes Commission At of 1920 would seem to offer a more realistic approach to Native Hawaiian issues.
In fact, a proposal for modification of the Hawaiian Homes Act is proposed in Section 3 of Act 195. Appreciation of the importance and contributions and needs of Native Hawaiians to Hawaii and to society in general could well be hampered rather than enhanced by the dividing effect of a separate government within a government competing against the state. It seems too great a risk to take.
Frank Scott is a resident of Kailua, Hawaii