It’s always dumbfounding to me how the pro-Akaka Bill crowd is always trying to place a clumsy thumb on the scale of public opinion.Â If you didn’t know where to look, you’d think that Hawaii was largely in favor of the bill (rather than sharply divided over it).Â Moreover, you’d be convinced that every single Native Hawaiian in the state was clamoring for its passage.Â That’s certainly how it must look sometimes to the Washington beltway crowd.Â (Who, let’s face it, have a long history of swinging back and forth between romanticizing the Aloha state and then totally disregarding it.)Â The good news (and I do have some) is that there are groups out there (including groups of Native Hawaiians) who are opposed to the Akaka Bill and are working to let Washington know that there are more voices out here than those of the vote-counting politicians and OHA.Â Not long ago, I posted a link to an online petition demanding public hearings on the Akaka Bill in Hawaii.Â Well here, in its entirety, is the letter sent from Leon Siu (head of the Keoni Foundation, a coalition of Native Hawaiian groups) to every U.S. Senator, citing that very petition in a request that Senators vote against the Bill.Â Enjoy:
HAWAIIANS DEMAND AKAKA BILL HEARINGS IN HAWAI`I
Petition Shows Broad Anti-Akaka Bill Sentiment
We are contacting you to make you aware of broad opposition to S.1011, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009, otherwise known as the Akaka bill, throughout Hawai`i and to ask for your vote AGAINST this bill.
Regardless of what Hawai`i Senators Akaka and Inouye have told your office, the people of Hawai`i, including Native Hawaiians, do not support the Akaka bill and are demanding public hearings be held in Hawai`i before any vote occurs in Congress.
Over the years, poll after poll has shown the citizens of Hawai`i, both native and non-native to be overwhelmingly opposed to this bill.
Moreover an online anti-Akaka bill petition has garnered hundreds of signers from all political points of view, both of natives and non-natives.
â€œWe, the people of Hawai`i, declare our opposition to the 2010 version of the Akaka bill, and strongly object to being excluded from this legislative process,â€ stated Leon Siu representing the Koani Foundation, part of a coalition of Native Hawaiian groups.
â€œWe have long been told that open, public debates in matters that affect the citizenry are part of the US democratic process. But it has not been so with the Akaka bill.â€
â€œWe, the people of Hawai`i, insist the US Senate Indian Affairs Committee hold public hearings on S.1011 in Hawai`i as soon as possible. We demand to be heard.â€
The only time public hearings were held in Hawai`i on the bill was ten years ago.
At that hearing, people turned out in record numbers to oppose the legislation.
Since then, the only hearings held on the Akaka bill were in Washington, DC in the dead of winter, 5,000 miles from Hawai`i, and no opposing testimony from Hawaiians or anyone else was allowed.
For more information, contact Leon Siu at (808) 488-4669.