Oppose the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009 sign now

We, the undersigned Kānaka Maoli (indigenous Hawaiians) kupuna (elders), kumu (educators), and representatives address this communication to U.S. Congresspersons on behalf of our people and nation, as well as of other Hawaiian Kingdom heirs. At our invitation, a number of our kakoo (supporters) have also added their names to this letter. Our primary purpose for contacting you is to solemnly inform you of our categorical opposition to the proposed legislation now before the U.S. Senate and House that is entitled The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, which is commonly referred to as the "Akaka Bill," and to urge you to vote against it.

This legislation, first introduced in the U.S. Congress in 2000, and now confusingly existing, purposefully we believe, in six versions (S. 381; S. 708; S. 2314, H.R. 862; H.R. 1711, H.R. 2314), proposes that the U.S. Government recognize a "Native Hawaiian Government" that is to be certified by the U.S. Department of the Interior in conformity with U.S. federal law and practice regarding Native American tribal nations.

We reject this Akaka Bill for weighty reasons. To begin with, the historical harm the United States first committed in Hawaii in 1893 brought down, not a "Native Hawaiian Government", but the government of the independent State of Hawaii composed of Kanaka Maoli as well as non-Kanaka Maoli subjects. Consequently, the Kanaka Maoli people and other Hawaiian Kingdom heirs have, since that time, accumulated fundamental political and other claims against the United States under international law that the United States must recognize rather than hope to dispel via the enactment of this Bill.

Indeed, in our view, the passage of this Bill would constitute nothing less than a second illegal denial of our Kanaka Maoli peoples right to self-determination and the Kingdom heirs right to sovereignty. The first outrage, we note, has already been formally admitted by the U.S. Congress in its Apology Resolution of 1993 which, furthermore, pledged to right that original wrong. Not only does the Akaka Bill not follow through on that pledge, it in fact attempts to sabotage the rightful return of our people to our status prior to 1893-98 by imposing on us a colonial U.S. "wardship" that is anchored in the U.S. judicial doctrine of the plenary power of Congress over Native American nations.

Moreover, we submit that Hawaiis Congressional delegation is now trying to ram through the Akaka Bill in the U.S. Congress before the latter can inform itself fully of the vehement and ever-growing opposition to the Bill in Hawaii among Kanaka Maoli, other Kingdom heirs, as well as kakoo. We use the term "ram through" advisedly because, among other things, the delegation has held but ONE 5-day hearing, back in 2000, on the Bill since its inception, and only on the single island of Oahu. Moreover, while the video record of that lone hearing shows overwhelming opposition to the Bill, the delegation reported quite the opposite to Congress.

In 1993, our Hawaii International Peoples Tribunalcomposed of world human rights leaders, including three eminent U.S. law professorsheard evidence on our main islands and found the following U.S. actions to be violations of international law: its intervention in the 1893 overthrow of our independent government; its 1898 annexation and military occupation of our homeland; its conduct of the fraudulent 1959 Hawaii statehood vote; and its ongoing seizure of our national lands with resulting ethnocidal effect on our people. These findings have been widely disseminated and embraced in our homeland.

That same year, the U.S. Apology Resolution (103d Congress Joint Resolution 19, P.L. 103-150, November 28, 1993) was signed by President William Clinton in 1993. The Apology acknowledges the role of U.S. Minister John Stevens and of the U.S. military in the overthrow of our Queen Liliuokalani in 1893 in direct contravention of bilateral treaties then binding on the United States and the Hawaiian Kingdom. The Resolution further recognizes that "the indigenous Hawaiian people never directly relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national lands to the United States, either through their monarchy or through a plebiscite or referendum." Moreover, it pledges the United States to acknowledge the ramifications of the 1893 overthrow so as to identify a basis for reconciliation between the U.S. government and the Kanaka Maoli people. Shamefully, the Akaka Bill moves in a direction opposite to that pledge.

The Bill arrogantly attempts to unilaterally characterize the historical transgressions of the United States against our people and kingdom, and to unilaterally specify their remedy. We insist otherwise. U.S. crimes against our Kanaka Maoli people and other Kingdom heirs from 1893 on require, for their redress, that a mechanism composed of U.S. agents and wholly independent representatives of Kanaka Maoli and Kingdom heirs be bilaterally set up by the United States and us to make findings of fact and conclusions of international law that could serve as a road-map for the resolution of the political and legal issues now outstanding between our two parties.

In the meantime, we respectfully request that you oppose all versions of the Akaka Bill.

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Eddie VazquezBy:
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