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Building a Hawaiian Tribe in the Legislature

Kana'iolowalu status report May 2014

This essay is about what the legislature of the State of Hawaii has been doing during recent years to create a state-recognized tribe out of thin air for ethnic Hawaiians, and where that process stands in May 2014.

Important issues are raised:

Has the Roll Commission for the Kana'iolowalu racial registry followed the requirements in its enabling legislation from 2011?

Was it morally or legally acceptable for the Roll Commission to massively augment its miserable performance by grabbing 87,000 names from previous registries without the permission of those people, creating the impression that they have signed on to two major affirmations not present in the previous rosters for which they actually did register?

Did the Roll Commission take seriously its obligation to verify the political affiliation requirement in the 2011 law, or did it take seriously only the requirement to verify racial ancestry, thereby making the roll nothing more than a list of people with at least one drop of Hawaiian native blood?

Why has the Roll Commission been enrolling children aged 17, 16, or even younger, many of whom were enrolled by a parent or grandparent, even though Act 195 requires minimum age 18?

Will the Hawaiian tribe now being created truly be an autonomous political entity outside the state, as is now being asserted, and therefore not subject to state law regarding open meetings and disclosure of income and expenditures; or will it actually be nothing more than a state government agency?

News reports about a May 5 2014 legislative hearing failed to describe these issues, which are discussed in detail below.

This essay is NOT about the failed Akaka bill in Congress from 2000 through 2012, whereby ethnic Hawaiians would get federal recognition as an Indian tribe; and it is NOT about ongoing discussions inside the Obama administration whereby an ethnic Hawaiian tribe would be federally recognized through bureaucratic procedures or an Executive Order.

Here is a list of the sections in a detailed webpage which analyzes these issues at

(A) The enabling legislation for the Kana'iolowalu process and the Roll Commission

(B) Requirements imposed by Act 195 (2011) on the enrollment process, and how the actual application for registration used by the Roll Commission failed to comply

(C) May 5, 2014 State of Hawaii Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs hearing about the progress of the Roll Commission

(D) Will the Hawaiian tribe really be an autonomous government outside the State of Hawaii, as former Governor and Roll Commission Chairman John Waihe'e insists?

(E) Will the delegates who write a governing document, or the members of the eventual Hawaiian tribe, allow people with no Hawaiian native blood to become members, and if so, with what rights?

(F) Additional information, including three published articles about the May 5 legislative hearing on the Roll Commission