Civil rights advisers float sovereignty action plan

The report proposes federal reconciliation with Hawaiian people

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Monday, June 25, 2001

By Treena Shapiro

Hawaiians hoping for federal recognition will deliver a report simultaneously in Washington, D.C., and Honolulu tomorrow recommending nine ways Congress and the president can reconcile with the native Hawaiian people.

The report will address such issues as native Hawaiian self-determination, the relationship between Hawaiians and the federal government, federal and state funding for programs benefiting Hawaiians and better management of such programs that already exist.

"The recommendations include federal recognition, up until even helping the Hawaiian people regain their sovereign entity," said Kahu Charles Maxwell, who left for Washington from Maui yesterday to participate in the presentation.

The report, developed by the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, is titled "Reconciliation at a Crossroads: The Implications of the Apology Resolution and Rice v. Cayetano for Federal and State Programs."

It will be released in Honolulu at the State Archives on the grounds of Iolani Palace at 10 a.m., coinciding with a release at the U.S. Capitol at 4 p.m. EST.

Maxwell, 64, said that more than 30 years of fighting for Hawaiian rights have left him disgusted and frustrated. Hawaiians have not fared well under the U.S. government, he said. In spite of a diminishing population, "We make up a disproportionate number of social ills in Hawaii. We're the highest in prison, on welfare, the worst educated nationwide, the poorest of health nationwide, the most on drugs," he said.

Meanwhile, he said, Hawaiians have been insulted by the Supreme Court's Rice v. Cayetano decision, which struck down Hawaiian-only elections for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, as well as a pending lawsuit by Patrick Barrett contesting the constitutionality of publicly funded programs benefiting native Hawaiians.

"We have people like (Patrick) Barrett and Freddy Rice who have attacked and are attacking the only entitlements that are serving our people and taking care of our needs," he said.

Where was the Supreme Court when the United States violated the Constitution in annexing Hawaii? he asked.

But while other Hawaiians are losing patience, Maxwell said he will continue to try to work within the system to gain federal recognition.

However, he said, "I'm going to Washington with a heavy heart."

The presentation will be broadcast live on the Internet at

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin

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