Sen. Daniel Akaka presides over his last Indian Affairs hearing

Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) chaired what was likely his last Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday.

Akaka took over the committee at the start of the 112th Congress in 2011. He was the first Native Hawaiian in the post.

"It has been a great honor for me to serve with you as vice chairman on this committee," said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming). "You have been a great friend and a great teacher to so many of us who have had the great pleasure of working with and serving with you. You have led by example in carrying out our bipartisan tradition."

Akaka's major achievements in the 112th Congress include passage of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which became permanent through the Affordable Care Act, the Tribal Law and Order Act and the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act (HEARTH) Act. His committee also passed several bills benefiting individual tribes across the nation.

" I think you have made this committee what it is for the last two years, and I want to thank you for bringing up important issues that impact Indian Country up and down the line," said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana).

Akaka, who served in World War II, began his Capitol Hill career in 1976. His last day in office will be January 2, 2013.

"Your dedication to American Indians, to Native peoples, is inspiring," said Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota).

Get the Story:
Akaka drops Indian Affairs gavel for last time (AP 11/30)
Feds lose a friend as Akaka leaves Senate (The Washington Post 11/30)
Native Americans testify on need to preserve identity in face of popular culture (Cronkite News 11/29)

Committee Notice:
Reclaiming Our Image and Identity for the Next Seven Generations (November 29, 2012)

Related Stories:
Chris Wondolowski, Kiowa, up for Major League Soccer award (11/28)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets hearing on November 29 (11/21)

Join the Conversation