Posts Tagged Kana’iolowalu

Why mainland Indian tribes and Hawaii opponents of gambling should oppose state or federal recognition of a “Native Hawaiian” tribe

by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

On January 10, 2014 a letter was sent to more than 150 leaders of Indian tribes on the U.S. mainland. The letter describes how federal recognition of a phony “Native Hawaiian” tribe would have bad consequences for the genuine tribes, and asks them to express opposition to executive action when speaking to officials in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Interior, and White House. Federal recognition of a phony Hawaiian tribe by means of rules changes in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, or a Presidential Executive Order, would be far more dangerous to the genuine tribes than passage of the Akaka bill in Congress, because executive action would simply add the Hawaiian tribe to the list of federally recognized tribes with none of the restrictions in the Akaka bill that would have prohibited the Akaka tribe from having gambling casinos or from grabbing the lions share of entitlements intended for the mainland tribes.  See

Why businesses, labor unions, and community groups in Hawaii should oppose state and/or federal recognition of a phony “Native Hawaiian” tribe. An 11-page letter to Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling, and commentary in Honolulu Star-Advertiser, provide detailed explanations.  See

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Akaka tribe jurisdictional conflicts shown by mainland examples

by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

Congress is on vacation for the month of August. Thus one-third of the 113th Congress (8 of its 24 months) has expired, and the perennial Akaka bill has still not been introduced. What’s going on? If a state-recognized Akaka tribe gets federal recognition, what kinds of jurisdictional conflicts would we see in Hawaii as shown by real conflicts now happening with Indian tribes on the mainland?

OHA is building its newest racial registry, Kana’iolowalu. Embarrassed that after a year only 9300 ethnic Hawaiians had signed up, OHA is now dragging more than 100,000 names onto the list, pulling from previous racial registries such as Kau Inoa, Project Ohana, Kamehameha Schools, etc. OHA is doing this without asking those people for permission. But Census 2010 counted more than 527,000 people claiming to be “Native Hawaiian”, so even if Kana’iolowalu gets 260,000 names (extremely unlikely) it would still be a minority of those eligible by race and a far smaller minority of Hawaii’s people.

In December 2011 I pulled together 13 news reports from the final 13 weeks of that year from various places on the mainland, concerning conflicts between Indian tribes and local communities that would clearly happen in Hawaii if an Akaka tribe gets federal recognition. For each situation I described the facts and cited a link to the full news report. This year I decided that instead of looking at a wide range of topics from a three month period, I would select news reports about a single topic from a single week. So at the end of July I put the following phrase into Google, including the quote marks: “tribal jurisdiction”; and I narrowed the search to the most recent week.

For details see

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The trouble with the Kana’iolowalu racial registry


by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.


Kana’iolowalu is a racial registration process supported by the Hawaii state legislature and using government money. The word as described by its supporters seems benign and friendly: striving together to achieve a goal, like the droplets of water in a stream. But the word has much more violent, warlike undertones. Kamehameha the Great was called “Kana’iaupuni” where that word “na’i” means “conquest” or “conqueror.” “Olowalu” means “to rush or attack in concert” and also “dodging the onslaught of spears.” So “kana’iolowalu” can best be translated as “conquest through swarming” — a method of warfare like the blitzkrieg, whereby attackers surround, rush, and overwhelm an enemy.

The main trouble with Kana’iolowalu is philosophical and moral. The state legislature is creating a list of people who have at least one drop of Hawaiian native blood. Once the list is created, the legislature intends to grant governmental powers to that racial group and then hand over state government money and land to it. Should our government be supporting a process intended to divide the lands and people of Hawaii along racial lines?

There are also many important practical and legal troubles with the actual process currently underway, including the fact that over a hundred thousand names are being dragged onto this racial registry without asking permission. These are the names of individuals previously certified as having Hawaiian native blood by race-based institutions like OHA and Kamehameha Schools, and by the Board of Health which will confirm that they have “Native Hawaiian” on their birth certificates. None of those institutions asked any of these people to affirm support for the political views expressed in the Kana’iolowalu registry. The Kana’iolowalu registry wants to give the impression that it is creating a political entity affirming the “unrelinquished sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people”; but the overwhelming number of names in the registry will have been dragged there without permission and based solely on racial ancestry.

See the detailed essay at

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