Akaka Bill: Letter of Opposition from Former OHA Trustee Clarence Kukauakahi Ching

By , August 6, 2009 10:52 am

Akaka Bill: Letter of Opposition from Former OHA Trustee Clarence Kukauakahi Ching

Stop the Akaka Bill. Photo credit: FreeHawaii.info

Stop the Akaka Bill. Photo credit: FreeHawaii.info

Here is another letter vehemently opposing the Akaka Bill. This time from former OHA Trustee Clarence Kukauakahi Ching who is a retired attorney and who served in the U.S. military:

August 3, 2009

Committee on Indian Affairs
U.S. Senate
838 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

RE – OPPOSITION TO S.1011 – Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009

Dear Senators Dorgan, Barrasso and Members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs,

I thank you for allowing me to submit this testimony in OPPOSITION to S.1011, which seeks to express the policy of the United States regarding the United States relationship with Native Hawaiians and to provide a process of the recognition by the United States of the Native Hawaiian governing entity.

I OPPOSE S.1011: Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009 because –

The entire process of developing this legislation has been done without consultation with the Native Hawaiians, who are most affected by this proposed legislation. From the first “Akaka bill” to present day, there has been a deplorable lack of hearings held in Hawai`i — hearings that would allow average, ordinary, Hawaiian people from each island to present their testimony and concerns regarding the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act.

This bill has been drafted, modified and presented chiefly in Washington D.C., far from Hawai’i. Proponents of the bill only invite testimony from certain groups known to be supportive. These groups have the finances to send people all the way to Washington to participate in these hearings. Ordinary Hawaiians who have taken the intiative to travel all the way to Washington for the hearings, on their own nickel, have not been allowed to testify.

In 2000, only two (2) days of hearings were held on O`ahu Island. And when those hearings were held, a heavy majority of those attending were firmly against the bill. After that, subsequent hearings were cancelled, with the excuse given that Senator Akaka was getting a hip replacement. The hearings were never rescheduled.

For 9 years, Native Hawaiians have requested that the authors of this bill reschedule the promised island wide hearings, so that they and hundreds of other Native Hawaiians who want to testify can be included and their concerns heard.

The current and past bills addressing the United States relationship with Native Hawaiians to provide a process of the recognition by the United States of the Native Hawaiian governing entity were subsequently redrafted and amendments were added with no input or testimony from the Hawaiian people.

I wish to emphasize this fact: absolutely no hearings have ever been held in Hawai`i on the current legislation before the 2009 Congress.

Ordinary Native Hawaiian citizens seek the right to a fair and democratic process that includes hearings on S.1011 throughout all the islands that comprise the state of Hawai`i.

The effort being pursued in the US Congress violates the most fundamental principles of democracy and human rights.

I call for the Congressional Committee to hold hearings on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act in Hawai`i to provide the Hawaiian peoples their right to participate in the process and to seek amendments to the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act.

Therefore, I strongly urge you to OPPOSE S.1011 until Congressional hearings are scheduled and held in Hawai`i on all islands, and in all States on the US continent where a significant population of Native Hawaiians reside, in order to provide the Native Hawaiian peoples their right to a democratic fair, free, and impartial process of self-determination and to empower them with the ability to determine the culturally appropriate mechanism for their own self-governance.

Mahalo nui loa,

Clarence Kukauakahi Ching, OHA Trustee 1986-1990