The Akaka Bill was not included in a $1 trillion-plus spending bill, despite the efforts of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye. However, Ino-uye vows to continue pursuing other avenues toward gaining federal recognition for Native Hawaiians.
The loosely worded provision would have recognized Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people of the United States, allowing them to begin a process of self-determination and recognition at the federal level similar to state legislation adopted earlier this year.
In a statement released Friday, Inouye said “I will work with the other members of the Hawaii delegation to plan our next move.” Inouye said the provision was a point of bargaining until the very end.
So why was the Akaka Bill shut out of the massive spending bill? Well, “Unfortunately, it was opposed by members of the House, who wanted a variety of devastating anti-environmental riders which, if the Senate accepted, would have set back our nation’s air and water protections for many years to come,” he said.
So, as the Akaka Bill continues to get denied, we have to look at the glass as half full. The new spending bill still contains more than $500 million for military construction around the state, as well as funding for community services, primary health care services and facilities, and Native Hawaiian education.
“Nobody got everything they wanted, which is probably an indication that this is a fair bill,” Hanabusa said in a statement. “I would have liked to see Native Hawaiian recognition stay in the bill to the end, but we are going to keep working on that until we get it through.”
Inouye says he will continue to shop the bill to the Senate, so one day maybe it will pass through.