On the First Akaka Bill Debate-Shoots from the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii – Aug. 23, 2005

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It was, of course, an interesting debate. The most interesting part was the disconnect between what the Akaka Bill actually says and what its supporters say it says.

Near the end of the discussion Kaleikoa Kaeo spokesperson for Hui Pu and NOA (Not of America) made the point that the Newly formed Hawaiian government would be under the rubric of the Dept. of the Interior (in not so many words, unfortunately). Robert Klein, board counsel for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and former state Supreme Court justice directly disputed him on this point. Yet the language of the Akaka Bill is clear:


*(A) APPOINTMENT — Within 180 days of the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary [of the Interior] shall appoint the members of the Commission in accordance with subclause (B). Any vacancy on the Commission shall not affect its powers and shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

*(B) REQUIREMENTS.–The members of the Commission shall be Native Hawaiian, as defined in section 3(8), and shall have expertise in the determination of Native Hawaiian ancestry and lineal descendancy.

Thus the Office of the Secretary of the Interior actually determines who will populate the original 9 member commission that then determines who qualifies to be