McCain resists recognition for indigenous Hawaiians
 Jan 8, 2005

HONOLULU - The new chairman of U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee says he will oppose legislation that would allow Native Hawaiians to seek federal recognition similar to that granted American Indian tribes.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., succeeded Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., who had supported federal recognition but now has retired.
"When Hawaii became a state there was an implicit agreement at that time that Native Hawaiians would not receive the same status as Native Americans," McCain told Stephens Media Group's Washington bureau.
He said he would prefer to increase funding for existing Native Hawaiian programs.
"I would be much more supportive if there was an increase in the budget which would reflect the needs of Native Hawaiians than take it from the federally recognized tribes," McCain said.
Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, said he was surprised by McCain's remarks, and he said he plans to talk to him.
Akaka said he still intends to reintroduce his bill to establish an office in the Interior Department to address Native Hawaiian issues. In effect, the federal government would recognize Hawaiians as a native population, as they already do American Indians and Native Alaskans.
Akaka said last summer that he and Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, have worked for five years to enact the recognition bill.
Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona, who is in Washington this week with OHA Administrator Clyde Namuo, said McCain isn't informed about Hawaiian history.
"I don't know why he would separate Hawaiians from other indigenous groups," Apoliona said. "We are prepared to walk through the history and brief him or his staff on our perspective."