A Primer on the Akaka Bill

As you go through the many grants in our database, the obvious question (aside from “How much money????” and “Do any of these really help people?”) that comes to mind is how these programs for Native Hawaiians fit in with the Akaka Bill.  Or it should be.  Unfortunately, the Akaka Bill is one of those things that people tend to react to emotionally even when they don’t know much about it.  The people of Hawaii are generous.  They want to help Native Hawaiians.  They’re told that the Akaka Bill will do so.  But what they’ve only begun to find out is the true implications of the bill . . . that it’s not good for Hawaii. Or Hawaiians, Native or otherwise.

At the American Spectator, Peter Hannaford has a good article on the implications of Akaka—how it creates a race-based government inside the state and a truly unequal situation for the residents of Hawaii.  (He also points out how passage of Akaka plays into the strategy of the sovereignty movement.)  And he makes the important point that Congress cannot create an Indian tribe, which it would be doing by passing the Akaka bill.  After all, the sovereign nation of Hawaii was not composed only of Hawaiians, but of a wide variety of races and ethnicities who had come to the Islands for a variety of reasons.  Hawaii was a melting pot before melting pots were cool.  In that sense, Akaka is a violation of the spirit of the Islands.  (And, as this site demonstrates, helping a group via government action is a tricky thing to accomplish effectively.)

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