Monday, August 20, 2007
Legislature supports Akaka Bill
The Hawaii Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold a hearing today at the State Capitol Auditorium starting at 1 p.m. Here is testimony scheduled to be provided from State Rep. Marcus Oshiro:
My name is Marcus Oshiro. I am a Japanese-American citizen, sansei, and my ancestors came from Okinawa, Japan. I am also a member of the Hawaii State Legislature, a body of 76 individuals elected by the people of the state of Hawaii. I am writing to express my support for S. 310/H.R. 505, The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007, introduced by the Members of the Hawai’i Congressional Delegation, and to ask that you support passage of S. 310/H.R. 505.
The Hawaii State Legislature has passed resolutions supporting Native Hawaiians and their right to form a representative government every year for the past several years. Passage of these resolutions was unanimous in the State House of the Representatives.
Our support has crossed party lines and is widespread among our constituencies. Every credible public opinion poll since 2003 has consistently shown an overwhelming majority of residents in Hawaii support federal recognition for Native Hawaiians as a process of reconciliation.
It is also the right thing to do.
S. 310/H.R. 505 or the “Akaka Bill” provides that process, and the Hawaii State Legislature remains committed to support the efforts of Native Hawaiians to achieve self-determination. More than 560 American Indian and Alaska Native groups are recognized, and the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act extends the special legal and political relationship to Native Hawaiians. This legislation is consistent with the U.S. Constitution, more than 150 Federal measures enacted since 1910, and the Hawai‘i State Constitution.
For these reasons, I ask that you honor the wishes of the people of Hawaii, as expressed through their elected representatives, by supporting the Akaka Bill and the efforts of Native Hawaiians to seek federal recognition and protect the culture and resources that are critical to all of our social, economic, cultural, and spiritual well-being.
Thank you for the opportunity to share these comments.