2006-05-10 Akaka Fact Check
(Speech text taken from Akaka's website.)
Back to Correcting Akaka
|Point: Speaking about his own grandchildren, who speak Hawaiian and take pride in their culture and have studied Hawaiian history, including the overthrow of the monarchy: "It is THIS generation that is growing impatient with the lack of progress in efforts to resolve longstanding issues. It is THIS generation that does not understand why we have not resolved these matters.|
|Counterpoint: But indeed, we HAVE resolved these matters. The overthrow of the monarchy in 1893, the annexation of Hawai'i in 1898, and the Statehood vote of 1959 (94% voting yes), clearly resolved these matters. Some diehards on the losing side keep agitating for a new "settlement." The main reason why Senator Akaka's grandchildren fail to understand that we have resolved these issues is because of the highly biased "education" (actually propaganda) they are receiving in Hawai'i's substandard schools with their highly politicized history lessons.|
|Point: "There are those who have tried to say that my bill will divide the people of Hawai'i. As I have explained, my bill goes a long way to unite the people of Hawai'i ... The misguided efforts of my colleagues who seek to delay the Senate's consideration of this bill, however, may have a divisive effect on my state."|
|Counterpoint: The whole purpose of this bill is to divide Hawai'i's people along racial lines by creating a government exclusively for people of one race. The bill then authorizes the new racial government to negotiate with what's left of the State of Hawai'i for land, money, and regulatory powers. That's a recipe for conflict. That's divisiveness. Those Senators who block this bill are performing a great service to protect the unity of Hawai'i's people under a single government guaranteeing the equal protection of the laws; protecting the integrity of the U.S. Constitution; and protecting all America from a precedent for further balkanization.|
|Point: Senator Akaka's speech focused on the need for a structured process for ethnic Hawaiians to settle long-standing grievances stemming from the overthrow of the monarchy, and strongly hinting that the growing impatience of today's young people could result in violence if the issues are not settled (in a manner that satisfies them).|
|Counterpoint: Citing restlessness and hinting at possible violence unless concessions are made is a threat. It is thinly-veiled extortion. Threatening violence is itself an act of violence. Appeasement of a bully merely encourages the bully to become more aggressive, as Neville Chamberlain learned when he gave Hitler the green light to grab a piece of Czechoslovakia, and stepped off the airplane waving a document and gleefully shouting "Peace in our time."|
Akaka's remarks with corrections
Mr. President, I rise today to talk about an issue of significant importance to the people of Hawaii, S. 147, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005. While opponents of this legislation have sought to characterize this issue as a native versus non-native issue, I am here to tell you that there is nothing further from the truth. This bill is important to all of the people of Hawaii.
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Comment: Although Akaka is correct in stating that this is not a native versus non-native issue, he fails to address the fact that both natives and non-natives are against the racial separatism proposed by S.147.
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Why? It is significant because it provides a process, a structured process, for the people of Hawaii to finally address longstanding issues resulting from a dark period in Hawaii’s history, the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The people of Hawaii are multicultural and we celebrate our diversity. At the same time, we all share a common respect and desire to preserve the culture and tradition of Hawaii’s indigenous peoples, Native Hawaiians.
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Correction: The overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii has already been addressed. Although the initial Blount Report saw it as illegal U.S. intervention, further investigation by Congress revealed in the Morgan Report that in fact it was a domestic issue brought about by the Queen's attempt to abrogate the kingdom constitution and take away voting rights from Americans and Europeans. There was an attempted rebellion in 1895, after which, the Queen formally abdicated. The Republic of Hawaii survived independently until 1898, dissolving after negotiating and implementing annexation with the United States. In 1900 the Organic Act gave full voting rights to both native and non-native citizens of Hawaii, and for 30 years native Hawaiians dominated the Territorial Legislature. This legislature, despite their agony over the overthrow, and the initial resistance to annexation, took up the power of the people and fought for decades to gain statehood, which was finally achieved in 1959 by a 94% popular vote.
We have had a structured process, and we have come to a conclusion. This conclusion is that we, the people of Hawaii, are all American, and all equal.
Despite this perceived harmony, there are issues stemming from the overthrow that we have not been able to address due to apprehension over the emotions that arise when these matters are discussed. There has been no structured process. Instead, there has been fear as to what the discussion would entail, causing people to avoid the issues. Such behavior has led to high levels of anger and frustration as well as misunderstandings between Native Hawaiians and non-Native Hawaiians.
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Comment: These issues are due to the false history that has been perpetuated by ethnic separatists for the past 30 years. They have made an art out of avoiding discussion of the facts. See Thurston Twigg-Smith's book, Hawaiian Sovereignty:Do the facts matter? for more details on the historical lies promulgated by the ethnic separatists in Hawaii.
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As a young child, I was discouraged from speaking Hawaiian because I was told that it would not allow me to succeed in the Western world. My parents lived through the overthrow and endured the aftermath as a time when all things Hawaiian, including language, which they both spoke fluently, hula, custom, and tradition, were viewed as negative. I, therefore, was discouraged from speaking the language and practicing Hawaiian customs and traditions. I was the youngest of eight children. I remember as a young child sneaking to listen to my parents so that I could maintain my ability to understand the Hawaiian language. My experience mirrors that of my generation of Hawaiians.
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Correction: Akaka's experience is not unique to his generation - the debate over language had been raging in Hawaii since the 1800s. Helena G. Allen, in her book, "The Betrayal of Liliuokalani", writes on page 111 in the context of discussing Lot Kamehameha V and the early 1860s:
"Verbal battles were raging throughout the islands of whether Hawaii should be bilingual or only English speaking. There was no thought that the language, official or otherwise, should be Hawaiian. With the loss of a language, as [Lorenzo] Lyons pointed out, comes the destruction of cultural connotations and denotations. It was, however, becoming fairly obvious that a non-English speaking person could have no important government post. The country people began to cry to have English taught in their schools, 'Or,' they said, 'we will be nothing.'"
To insinuate that somehow the Hawaiian Revolution of 1893 or the annexation of Hawaii in 1898 was the start or cause of reduced language proficiency in Hawaiian is disingenuous. Hawaiian parents have strongly encouraged English language learning for generations, and although we may be disappointed that they did not emphasize bilingual education, we cannot blame others for their choices.
While my generation learned to accept what was ingrained into us by our parents, my children have had the advantage of growing up during the Hawaiian renaissance, a period of revival for Hawaiian language, custom, and tradition. Benefiting from this revival are my grandchildren who can speak Hawaiian and know so much more about our history.
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Comment: The Hawaiian renaissance has been of great benefit to all the people of Hawaii, including those who immigrated here before 1778. The recovery of the language, customs, and traditions has been the work of all races, including prominent non-natives such as Ben Finney and Mau Piailug, who helped bring back celestial navigation to the islands after hundreds of years of absence.
However, during this same period, ethnic separatists, those who cloak their spite for other races in a seemingly benign pride in their own, have worked diligently to re-write history, and assert victim status for native Hawaiians. For more information on the history these ethnic separatists don't want to be public, see The Rest of the Rest of the Story.
It is this generation, however, that is growing impatient with the lack of progress in efforts to resolve longstanding issues. It is this generation that does not understand why we have not resolved these matters. It is for this generation that I have written this bill to ensure that we have a way to address these emotional issues.
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Comment: As mentioned before, these issues have been addressed - the efforts of ethnic separatists to re-raise this issues again is the problem, and the source of the emotional distress regarding Hawaii. What is needed is a more thorough education in schools regarding Hawaiian history, from grade school through university - one that does not stop reading history books on December 18, 1893. This generation does not understand these matters because they have been poorly educated on the historical record, and have been fooled into believing that native Hawaiians are inherently victims.
It may be a surprise to many to realize that although Akaka is our first native Hawaiian senator, he is not nearly the first native Hawaiian to represent Hawaii in the Congress. Our first delegate to Congress upon becoming a territory of the United States was Robert Wilcox, hero of the native Hawaiian people, and someone who participated in the 1895 rebellion against the Republic of Hawaii. Upon annexation, he was a shining example of democracy in action, and of resolution to face the future. Our second delegate to Congress was Prince Kuhio. They both faced the emotional issues surrounding the Hawaiian Revolution by participating as equals in the democratic process, and to turn the clock back and undo their embrace of equal rights is a desecration of history.
Mr. President, there are those who have tried to say that my bill will divide the people of Hawaii. As I have just explained, my bill goes a long way to unite the people of Hawaii by providing a structured process to deal with issues that have plagued us since 1893. The misguided efforts of my colleagues who seek to delay the Senate’s consideration of this bill, however, may have a divisive effect on my state.
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Comment: The passage of the Akaka bill would have a pointedly divisive effect on both the State of Hawaii, and the United States as a whole. By buying into the theory that people of certain races must be treated differently, we sacrifice both the commitment to racial equality advocated for by the Kingdom of Hawaii in its very first constitution of 1839, and the hard-won civil rights gained in the United States during the 20th century.
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This bill is also important to the people of Hawaii because it affirms the dealings of Congress with Native Hawaiians since Hawaii's annexation in 1898. Congress has always treated Native Hawaiians as Hawaii's indigenous peoples, and therefore, as indigenous peoples of the United States. Federal policies towards Native Hawaiians have largely mirrored those pertaining to American Indian and Alaska Natives.
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Correction: During the woefully limited debate on PL103-150 (the "Apology" resolution), Senator Inouye made clear that there is no consensus on whether or not "Native Hawaiian" is equivalent to "Native American":
"As to the matter of the status of Native Hawaiians, as my colleague from Washington knows, from the time of statehood we have been in this debate. Are Native Hawaiians Native Americans? This resolution has nothing to do with that."--Senator Inouye
One can safely assert, after looking at the history of the multi-racial Kingdom of Hawaii, and its bumpy road to annexation with the United States started by King Kamehameha III 50 years before the overthrow, that in fact, Native Hawaiians are nothing like Native Americans.
Congress has enacted over 160 statutes to address the conditions of Native Hawaiians including the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act, the Native Hawaiian Education Act, and the Native Hawaiian Home Ownership Act. The programs that have been established are administered by federal agencies such as the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor. As you can imagine, these programs go a long way to benefit Native Hawaiians, but they also serve as an important source of employment and income for many, many people in Hawaii, including many non-Native Hawaiians. There are many Hawaii residents whose livelihoods depend on the continuation of these programs and services.
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Comment: Many of these race-based programs are being challenged in the courts as unconstitutional. Cases include Rice v. Cayetano, which found racial restrictions on voting for OHA trustees to be unconstitutional, and Arakaki v. State, which invalidated the racial restriction on running for or serving as OHA trustee. The second Arakaki v. Lingle case, “Arakaki II” which challenges the validity of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, was dismissed by the Hawaii District Court but reinstated by the 9th Circuit to the extent that it challenges the appropriation of tax moneys to OHA. Both Governor Lingle and the 14 Plaintifffs have petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari (i.e., to review the decisions of the lower courts).
To try to protect existing race-based programs, through similar legislation of questionable constitutionality creating a racial government out of thin air, is politics at its worst.
This, colleagues, is why this bill is important to the people of Hawaii. I ask all of you to respect our efforts by voting to bring this bill to the floor for consideration and for a vote.
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Comment: The issue should be put before the voters of Hawaii first and foremost. Their voices have not been heard, and sufficient debate has not been had regarding the merits of the fictional history used to support the Akaka bill.
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