LT. GOVERNOR AIONA REAFFIRMS STRONG SUPPORT FOR FEDERAL RECOGNITION OF NATIVE HAWAIIANS
HONOLULU – Lt. Governor James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr. today issued the following statement regarding his support with reservations for legislation under consideration by U.S. Congress to recognize a Native Hawaiian governing entity:
“My support for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people is as strong as ever, as is my belief in their right to self-determination.
“Federal recognition of a Native Hawaiian governing entity is a necessary step forward for Hawai‘i to continue the process of reconciliation, and it’s long overdue.
“My experience as a former state judge has taught me to be a fair, objective and dispassionate decision-maker. As Lieutenant Governor, I swore an oath to represent all the people of Hawai‘i, and as a Native Hawaiian, I pay close attention to issues that have a direct impact on the indigenous community and how those issues affect the general public.
“While I share valid objections regarding the sovereign immunity bestowed upon a Native Hawaiian governing entity and the amended definition of a qualified Native Hawaiian constituent, as provided in the 2010 Akaka Bill, I believe the proper balance of state and federal laws can be fully vetted and resolved in a manner that is consistent with the best interests of all of Hawai‘i’s citizens.
“I am hopeful that our Congressional leaders will address these issues in the community before passing the 2010 Akaka Bill, rather than facing anticipated litigation following passage.
“However, I continue to support the long-standing opinion among the citizens of our state that federal recognition of a Native Hawaiian governing entity is pono, and must move forward for Hawai‘i to resolve its differences and reach its full potential.”
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AP: Breaking with Hawaii Gov. Lingle, Aiona backs latest Akaka Bill
"A spokesman says Aiona would support the bill even if it is unaltered." (Compare that statement with second to last paragraph.)
ADV: Aiona backs current Akaka bill
"Lingle's office issued an uncritical statement about Aiona's comment Friday but later retracted it. Aiona was not available to elaborate."
SB: Aiona announces his support for Akaka Bill
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More from LGs Office:
(In response to our query about whether the AP article which now headlines both the Advertiser and Star-Bulletin is a "false" recitation of Aiona's position, we received this from Travis Taylor, Communications director of the Lt Governor's office.)
The statement we released today (3-26-10, posted above) accurately portrayed the Lt. Governor's position on the Akaka Bill.
His preferred course of action would be for Congressional leaders to fully vet and resolve issues - regarding changes made this year to the 2006 version of the Akaka Bill - in the community before passing the latest version of the bill.
However, the Lt. Governor's support for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people and their right to self-determination is something he believes must move forward. If that comes down to the bill passing without further resolution on the outstanding issues, he would accept it and work immediately to address them.
He would support it with reservations. The AP "brief," simplified the Lt. Governor's position, which was laid out in his statement, but I would not go as far as to say its coverage was false; I spoke to the reporter.
The Lt. Governor is planning to release an oped to expand upon his position, and I believe it will tell more about what's in his heart on this important issue.
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