Native Hawaiian Tribal Rights Bill Spurs Row-Gov. Lingle not alerted to changes

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The next time President Obama vacations in his native Hawaii, there could be something new on the island: an Indian tribe.

Two weeks ago, House and Senate committees approved the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act, which would create a separate government for Native Hawaiians. The legislation, better known as the Akaka bill after its sponsor, Democratic Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, originally stated that the new government’s authority would be decided in negotiations with state and federal authorities.


At the last minute, however, Hawaii Democrats, working with the Justice and Interior departments, amended the bill to establish the Native Hawaiian governing entity as a sovereign Indian tribe.

The move ignited a furor in Honolulu. Gov. Linda Lingle and Attorney General Mark Bennett, who found out about the changes just hours before the Dec. 16 House vote, promptly reversed their support for the bill, saying the revisions could endanger Hawaii’s economic and legal standing. Both officials are Republicans.

See the full report in the Washington Times here: