HAWAIIANS ARE NOT A TRIBE
HAWAIIANS ARE NOT A TRIBE
We, The Undersigned, Demand The US Department Of The Interior Reject The Proposals Being Made By Robin Danner To Treat Hawaiians As American Tribal Indians. We Are Not American Indians And Refuse To Be Treated As Such By The US Department Of Interior Or Anyone In The US Government.
An Open Letter to Secretary of Interior Ms Deb Haaland
Aloha Ms Deb Haaland:
In a recent letter sent to you from Ms Robin Danner, Chairperson of the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations (SCHHA), Ms Danner makes several assertions and presumptions that are not true. Furthermore, she requests unilateral actions by your Department of the Interior that would contravene Congressʻ authority.
Contrary to what Ms Danner states, Hawaiian Homestead associations are not self-governing tribal nations and are not comparable to American Indian tribes. According to the 1921 Hawaiian Homes Act, Hawaiian homesteaders are indigent native Hawaiians with a blood quantum of 50% or more Hawaiian aboriginal blood and who are in need of rehabilitation. This strictly defined and limited program is under the authority the U.S. Congress and administered by the State of Hawaii. It is not and never was intended to be the purview of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Ms Robin Danner, as chairperson of SCHHA, claims to speak on behalf of ten thousand Hawaiian homesteaders, yet, the SCHHA website contradicts Ms. Danner, saying: “As a coalition, as a federation, we do not ‘represent’ our members, they are self-governing associations in their own right.” Even if the SCHHA did represent its members, that would be only a fraction of Hawaiian Homesteaders. And that would be a fraction of the general population of Native Hawaiians... 250,000 who reside in the Hawaiian Islands, and a similar amount in diaspora. It is disengenuous for Ms Danner to claim she speaks for the SCHHA members, not to mention the Hawaiian Homesteaders or the broader Native Hawaiian population.
The vast majority of Hawaiians, including Hawaiian Homesteaders, do NOT support Ms Dannerʻs pursuit of the tribal federal recognition and are particulaly shocked by her audacity to use the U.S. Department of the Interior to hijack Congressʻ authority.
In 2015 the Department of the Interior conducted fifteen ʻlistening sessionsʻ throughout the Hawaiian Islands regarding a proposal to have the DoI unilateraly bestow federal recognition to a Native Hawaiian tribal nation. Hawaiians emphatically and unequivocally rejected that proposal and were adamantly opposed to the Department of Interiorʻs involvement in their affairs.
We, the undersigned, demand that the U.S. Department of the Interior reject the proposals being made by Ms Robin Danner. We are not American Indians and refuse to be treated as such by the DoI or anyone in the U.S. government.
We also demand that members of the U.S. Senate and House come to Hawai`i and hold Congressional hearings (as opposed to DOI hearings) on each island so they may hear from the overwhelming majority of Hawaiians themselves, face to face.