Thursday, July 13, 2006

Thoughts On the Akaka Bill

Bird Dog, over at Maggie's Farm, recently wrote me to ask what I thought about both the Akaka Bill and the very negative article written about the bill by Peter Brown at Real Clear Politics. With my permission my response was posted at Maggie's Farm. I thought I might as well post it here, too!

Aside from the sheer ignorance of the writer of the actual "culture" and "ethos" of Hawaii Mr. Brown simply fails to mention that, unlike the segregated academies of the Dixie-South, the Kamehameha Schools was educating Hawaiian students in this manner (as interpreted in Princess Pauahi Bishop's will and endorsed by her husband after her death) back when Hawaii was an independent nation. There is a strong sense of justice in Hawaii that appears to have been completely lost to Mr. Brown. Here in Hawaii we respect the people who were once the sole inhabitants of this land and whose ancestors ruled and governed Hawaii as an independent nation (one of the few in the world during the 19th century) until a coup-d'etat overthrew the monarchy and established a republic that later became a territory of the United States and then, in 1959, our 50th state.

The Hawaiian people have, with little complaint (except for a few hateful individuals) been granted over 100 legal exemptions to state laws by the Hawaii legislature over the years (including access to certain private properties for gathering herbs, etc., etc.) There are few who begrudge the admissions policies of the Kamehameha Schools (although there are many who desire that the Pauahi Biship Estate be better and more fairly administered to meet the many needs of the many poor and needy children of Hawaiian ancestry inthe state.)

This is one reason why the Akaka Bill was supported by many in the Hawaiian & Hawaii communities (not a majority, but still a sizable number--I opposed the bill but only because it is so loosely written that the full implications of the bill would not be known until years after its passage). By granting "native Hawaiians" indiginous legal status (as Native American tribal groups have) these exemption laws and the admission policies of the Kamehameha Schools could remain intact AS APPROVED BY THE STATE LEGISLATURE AND ENDORSED BY THE PEOPLE OF HAWAII rather than having these cultural "rights" thrown out by a bunch of legal bozos in San Francisco (who have nearly 2/3 of their decisions overruled anyway).

I am not pro-sovereignty for the Hawaiian people but I do desire (as virtually every resident in Hawaii does also) to extend to them certain rights and priviliges appropriate to their heritage, culture and traditions.

While the current interpretation of US Constitutional law may, in fact, negate those legal priviliges now enjoyed by the Hawaiian people (as distinct from the "people of Hawaii") it is nonetheless the clear consensus in this state that, in this case at least, Dickens was right when he wrote that, "The law's an ass."

Aloha -