By: Andrew Rice, 202-296-2300
September 9, 2003
Source: National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium Press Release
Washington, D.C.–The National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium announces its support for legislation sponsored by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), granting federal recognition of Native Hawaiians.
Senate Bill 344, known as the “Akaka Bill,” would give federal recognition to Native Hawaiians as an indigenous group, qualifying them for health and welfare initiatives currently focused on Native American and Native Alaskan groups. This legislation also establishes a process for the formation of a sovereign entity representing Native Hawaiian interests in a government-to-government relationship with the United States.
“Passage of the Akaka Bill is vital to the preservation of the Hawaiian people and their culture and would continue the reconciliation process between the U.S. Government and the Native Hawaiian people, as authorized in the 1993 Apology Bill,” said Karen K. Narasaki, President and Executive Director of NAPALC
“This legislation extends the federal policy of self-determination and self-governance to Native Hawaiians. It authorizes a process of reorganization of a Native Hawaiian government for the purposes of a federally recognized government-to-government relationship with the United States,” said Sen. Akaka. “This measure establishes parity in federal policies toward American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. I commend NAPALC for joining the impressive coalition of organizations supporting this important legislation.”