Akaka Bill Hearing: Video and Written Testimony by Invited Witnesses in the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources on June 11, 2009

Hawaii Reporter, June 12, 2009

Akaka Bill Hearing: Video and Written Testimony by Invited Witnesses in the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources on June 11, 2009

By Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

On Thursday June 11, 2009 the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing on the Akaka bill H.R.2314. The hearing ran from 10:00 AM to 12:10 (D.C. time), when a recess was called so that Representatives could go to the House floor to vote. The committee resumed questioning of witnesses at 12:45 and then adjourned at 1:33 PM.

The committee's homepage is

The committee's webpage devoted to the hearing on the Akaka bill, including the witness list, links to the written testimony submitted previously by each witness, and a link to the video of the entire hearing, is at

Direct links to the video and all six written testimonies are provided below.

The only testimony accompanied by an additional attachment was from Michael Yaki. He was a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights when it held a hearing in 2006 on the Akaka bill and voted to strongly oppose its passage, saying "The Commission recommends against passage of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, or any other legislation that would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."

Mr. Yaki was one of two Commissioners who wrote a minority report in 2006 favoring the Akaka bill and excoriating the majority members. Mr. Yaki's attachment to today's testimony is his dissent from that report. Mr. Yaki demanded very strenuously at the time that a lengthy list of findings of fact by the Commission should be deleted. The majority of members tried to placate him by deleting the "findings" from the final report; whereupon Mr. Yaki nevertheless voted against the report and then filed his minority dissent. The absence of findings from the final report has been repeatedly mentioned, including in today's testimony, as a reason why the report's conclusion opposing the Akaka bill should be ignored (because it is not supported by findings of fact). For that reason, here is a link to the uncensored report, including the findings of fact on pages 16-18 which were deleted to placate Mr. Yaki.

The only witness at today's hearing who is opposed to the Akaka bill was Professor Gail Heriot, who is also a current member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights alongside Mr. Yaki. As the sole witness opposing the bill, she was severely cross-examined by members of the committee who favor the bill.

For those who prefer direct links to the video of the hearing and the written testimonies by today's six witnesses, here they are:

The video of the hearing is at

The witnesses in the order they were called, and the written testimony previously submitted by each witness, are as follows:

The Honorable Mazie K. Hirono
U.S. Congresswoman,
Hawaii 2nd District

The Honorable Micah Kane
Department of Hawaiian Homelands
Kapolei, HI

The Honorable Haunani Apoliona
Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Honolulu, HI

Ms. Gail Heriot
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
San Diego, CA

Mr. Michael Yaki(attachment)
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
San Diego, CA
Main testimony
Attachment to testimony

Mr. H. Christopher Bartolomucci
Hogan & Hartson
Washington, DC

The committee gave the witnesses 10 days to submit additional information and/or to respond to questions from committee members, before the record is closed.

* Dr. Conklin's book "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State" is in the library or can be viewed and ordered at


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(c) Copyright 2009 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved