Monday, July 30, 2001

Natalie Gowin, left, and Julie Gunter from
Long Beach, Calif., read and signed petitions about
the native Hawaiian recognition bill explained to
them by Na Koa Ikaika activist Lela Hubbard, right,
yesterday at Duke's Canoe Club in Waikiki.
Na Koa Ikaika also passed out lei to visitors.

Group petitions
for bill hearings

Na Koa Ikaika wants further
discussions on federal
recognition of native Hawaiians

By Rosemarie Bernardo

Lela Hubbard of Na Koa Ikaika urged customers at Duke's Canoe Club in Waikiki to sign a petition to hold more hearings on the so-called Akaka bill.

"It (the bill) makes us less than Native Americans," Hubbard told passersby. "It undermines our rights as native people."

After a celebration yesterday at Thomas Square acknowledging Kanaka Maoli Restoration Day, activist Hubbard along with five volunteers boarded a Waikiki Trolley and made a few stops along Kalakaua Avenue.

Volunteers collected signatures and passed out lei as part of "Save Hawaiians and Aloha," an effort to gain support from residents and visitors to hold more hearings here to give native Hawaiians another chance to voice their opinions on the bill.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs passed the Akaka bill, S. 746, last Tuesday. The measure now faces consideration by the full U.S. Senate. A companion bill is moving through the House.

Hubbard said parts of the Akaka bill, which would provide federal recognition of a native Hawaiian governing entity, need to be clarified or expunged.

Section 8 of the bill "needs to be shredded," she said.

"That's the worst and most dangerous clause in the bill," Hubbard said, adding that the clause extinguishes the aboriginal land title for native Hawaiians.

Part of Section 8 states: "Upon the federal recognition of the native Hawaiian governing entity by the United States, the United States is authorized to negotiate and enter into an agreement with the state of Hawaii and the native Hawaiian governing entity regarding the transfer of lands, resources and assets dedicated to native Hawaiian use to the native Hawaiian governing entity. Nothing in this act is intended to serve as the settlement of any claims against the United States."

Hubbard said, "The United States does not have legal title to the ceded lands, which they gave to the state of Hawaii as part of the compact."

Karen Murray, who helped Hubbard collect signatures, said, "Anybody who looks at it (the bill) will understand that it's another shibai."

Natalie Gowin, a visitor from Long Beach, Calif., said she signed the petition to make sure the bill receives adequate support.

"Once the bill passes, it's so difficult to amend," said Gowin. "I want to make sure if the bill is passed, it's something that has more support."

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