OHA Releases a Second Deceptive Poll on Akaka Bill

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On Aug. 22, 2005, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs released another poll of 401 people produced by Ward Research with deceptive questions similar to the Ward survey in July 2003, which helped OHA plan its multi-million dollar campaign (paid for with our tax dollars) to support the Akaka bill.

See the poll here: “OHA Poll file”


Why is it deceptive? Because the OHA questions say the Akaka bill “begins a process for Native Hawaiians to form a governing entity similar to the governing entities indigenous groups now have within every state.” That is misleading. Actually, no one in the U.S. has any right to form a new government simply because he or she has an indigenous ancestor. Yet, that is what the Akaka bill would give to all 400,000 Native Hawaiians living throughout the United States.

There are many millions of people in the U.S who have some discernible degree of Indian ancestry. Census 2000 showed 4.1 million. Some Indian advocates estimate well over 15 million. None of them, simply because of general Indian ancestry, have any right to create a new government. Only those few (less than 2 million according to the BIA) who can show membership in a particular Indian tribe that has existed continuously from historic times to the present as an autonomous quasi sovereign government may be “recognized” and singled out for differential treatment.

The hundreds of Indian groups that have been seeking federal recognition for decades know only too well that ancestry is not enough. The federal government cannot create tribes. It only has power to recognize tribes that exist now and have existed continuously from historic times (since 1900).

Thus, the Akaka bill would radically change the fundamental law of the United States. It would “recognize” two new classes of people in America:

The first, or superior, class would be composed of anyone with an indigenous ancestor. Persons in this class would be a new hereditary elite with superior political power, including the right to form their own new governments outside the reach of the Bill of Rights and other federal and state laws, and superior entitlements, including the right to be singled out for special treatment free of the equal protection clauses of the Constitution.

The inferior class to be “recognized” by the Akaka bill would be composed of descendants of immigrants who arrived later. Their function would be similar to that of the serfs in medieval Europe and the Makaainana under the Kapu system in Hawaii, to serve those in the superior class.

The new OHA poll, like the July 2003 one, fails to disclose that the new Native Hawaiian government contemplated by the Akaka bill would not be subject to all the same laws, regulations and taxes as apply to other citizens. That simple fact was fairly disclosed in the survey taken by ccAdvertising in July 2005 and the over 15,000 persons who answered the question opposed the Akaka bill by a margin of 2 to 1.

If OHA, and the other proponents of the Akaka bill, truly believe a majority of Hawaii’s citizens support the Akaka bill why are they afraid to allow a vote of the people before the bill would go into effect?

”’H. William Burgess is a resident of Honolulu and the founder of Aloha for All, a group that is working to educate the community about the potential problems with the Akaka Bill. He can be reached via email at”’ mailto:hwburgess@hawaii.rr.com

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