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
"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
"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,"
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
"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."