From The Heritage Foundation on the Akaka bill (previously blogged here):
The United States Senate has scheduled a vote on a motion to proceed on the "Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act" (S.147), a bill to authorize the creation of a race-based government for native Hawaiians living throughout the United States, for the week of June 5, 2006.
Beaucoup links at THF. Call your senator and make your opinions known! Race-based citizenship in the United States is going in the wrong direction.
This bill has been turning up since 1999, and it's scheduled to be brought up before the Senate after Memorial Day. It's the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005 (S. 147 and H.R. 309), known as the Akaka bill. The bill has received little attention outside of Hawaii (where it is highly controversial), but if passed, it could have enormous, largely negative consequences for the entire country. According to the bill, a Native Hawaiian would be defined as someone who has direct lineal descent from an indigenous, native person who resided on the Hawaiian islands before 1893. The Act would set up a roll of these descendants, who would then form a Native Hawaiian Interim Governing Council. From an April 2005 Honolulu Advertiser article:
"The elected council would hammer out the framework of a new government, including its structure, the criteria for citizenship, the proposed powers of the government, civil rights of citizens and other "organic governing documents."
Q: How would recognition finally happen?
A: Officials of the new government would be elected by a majority of Native Hawaiian voters on the roll; the federal government would then recognize this government as a political entity that would represent Hawaiians in settlement negotiations.
Q: What would be settled in negotiations?
A: The agreement would settle what lands, natural resources and other assets the Hawaiian government would own. It also would determine which government would have jurisdiction in civil and criminal disputes and what powers would be delegated to the Native Hawaiian government. Amendments to state and federal laws needed to bring this all about would be submitted to the appropriate lawmakers.
As Michelle Malkin penned last year, ""If the Akaka bill becomes law, you can bet that every other aggreived racial and ethnic group will be running to claim tribal-like "sovereignty" and cash in on their manufactured status as separate foreign governments."
Does the United States need a new government within a government that limits voting on strictly racial grounds? I think not. Will this bill contribute to national unity or to greater divisions between people based on race? Hawaii already has plenty of racial/ethnic conflicts simmering beneath the surface. An organization opposed to the bill has more information here.