The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approved legislation yesterday that would “create a process for Hawaiians to form their own governing entity and negotiate with federal and state governments on land use and cultural issues,” according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (S. 675) was introduced by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), who chairs the Indian Affairs Committee.
The bill would create a process for Hawaiians to form their own governing entity and negotiate with federal and state governments on land use and cultural issues. The federal recognition would be similar to that of American Indians and Alaska natives.
If native Hawaiians were recognized, the negotiation process would be established. The bill does not include provisions to allow for gambling, nor does it set forth a process by which Hawaii may secede from the United States, Akaka said. It also does not allow for private land to be taken or for the creation of a reservation in Hawaii, he added.
Akaka, who has “announced plans to retire when his term expires next year, introduced the bill in 1999 and has said he hopes to have it pass before he leaves office.”