Wide support seen
for Akaka bill

Both Hawaiians and
non-Hawaiians are in favor,
according to a poll from OHA

A bill granting federal recognition to native Hawaiians has broad support from Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian residents, according to a poll from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

OHA logo The results also show residents do not understand the process of building a Hawaiian government, OHA trustees said.

"It's clear that people don't quite understand the relationship between building a Hawaiian governing entity and federal recognition," said OHA trustee Clyde Namuo. "That's an area where we will need to concentrate more effort locally in educating people."

The poll showed 86 percent of Hawaiians and 78 percent of non-Hawaiians agreed with the Akaka bill that Hawaiians be given federal recognition as an indigenous people, similar to American Indians.

However, fewer agreed that a Hawaiian nation or government should be formed: 72 percent of Hawaiians and 53 percent of non-Hawaiians.

The release of the results yesterday and President Bush's arrival on Oahu today is no coincidence.

Although OHA had planned to publicly release the information eventually, the data had been provided to the Governor's Office upon request.

Gov. Linda Lingle had been preparing for her meeting today with Bush to explain the Akaka bill's importance.

OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona said Bush's visit is a good opportunity "to have the president here to experience Hawaii and Hawaiians and to understand that there's nothing to fear about federal recognition for Hawaiians."

Ward Research conducted two statewide telephone surveys in July, one among 303 native Hawaiian residents, the other of 301 non-Hawaiian residents. The results have a margin of error of 5.6 percentage points.

OHA did not provide all responses to poll questions, saying they contain internal and proprietary information.

Those surveyed were also asked whether Kamehameha Schools should admit non-Hawaiian students, with 13 percent of Hawaiians and 39 percent of non-Hawaiians saying the school should admit non-Hawaiians.

Namuo said the number of non-Hawaiians was higher than he would have thought.

The survey was taken at about the time a lawsuit challenged Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiians-only policy, and prior to a separate suit filed in August by the mother of a Kauai boy, Brayden Mohica-Cummings.

Other results showed 70 percent of Hawaiians and 51 percent of non-Hawaiians believe Hawaiians are entitled to special government support. The majority, 93 percent of Hawaiians and 82 percent of non-Hawaiians, support the continuance of federally funded programs for Hawaiians.

The survey also reported that 85 percent of Hawaiians and 75 percent of non-Hawaiians believe OHA and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands are legal, despite court challenges arguing that they are illegally race-based.


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