Monday, January 28, 2008

Obama Supports Akaka Bill

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has indicated that he would sign the Akaka Bill recognizing Native Hawaiians if elected president. In a statement released Jan. 22 he said that he supports federal recognition for Native Hawaiians because they are an important part of the local culture. The bill would fulfill the promise of ''liberty, justice and freedom'' for Native Hawaiians and ensure they are not left out of the state's progress:

''The process set forth in this important legislation empowers Native Hawaiians to explore and address the long-standing issues resulting from the overthrow of the kingdom of Hawaii,'' he said.

The legislation, known as the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, would give Native Hawaiians the right to form a governing entity similar to those of American Indians that could negotiate with state and federal governments over control of natural resources, lands and assets.

The legislation is often referred to as the Akaka Bill after its author, Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii.

The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives last year and awaits a vote in the Senate. President Bush has threatened to veto the bill, saying it would divide Americans along lines of race and ethnicity.

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