Opinion | Politics

Opinion: Native Hawaiian recognition bill resurfaces in Senate

"Congress is approaching its annual 5-week August recess (returning September 10). With election distractions and little time left in the 112th Congress, the Akaka bill probably cannot come to the floor for an up-or-down vote.

But the bill is far from dead. It might get added as a rider in some other bill. It might be included in a bill or an executive order simultaneously granting federal recognition to a group of so-called tribes whose applications have been bogged down in the Bureau of Indian Affairs for many years. Confusion and haste at the end of the "taxmageddon" lame duck session could be used as camouflage to sneak the bill through, perhaps "by reference" as a single sentence deep inside the omnibus appropriations bill. Committee chairman Dan Inouye nearly succeeded with precisely that maneuver 12 years ago.

On July 12, 2012 the Senate Indian Affairs Committee (Dan Akaka, chairman; Dan Inouye, member) held a hearing on procedures for federal recognition. The hearing did not discuss the Akaka bill, but was well-orchestrated to lay the groundwork to pass it. The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, at 25 CFR 83.7, lists seven mandatory criteria which a group of Indians must meet in order to get federal recognition that they are a tribe."

Get the Story:
Kenneth R. Conklin: Akaka Bill Through the Backdoor in Fall 2012? (The Hawaii Reporter 7/18)

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