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Akaka drops Indian Affairs gavel for last time

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:36 p.m. HST, Nov 30, 2012

WASHINGTON » The goodbyes are beginning for U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, who will retire when the lame-duck session ends after 22 years in the U.S. Senate.

Akaka was the first Native Hawaiian in the U.S. Senate and the second native person to become chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. He has held 43 hearings during his two years as chairman, with his last one on Thursday.

Fellow senators lauded the Hawaii Demo­crat for his work for Indian Country. The hearing focused on preserving native cultures and identities.

Akaka grew emotional before dropping the gavel for the last time. Rather than goodbye, he said, "It is with much aloha that I say to you now, a hui hou, see you again."

Akaka, 88, a former public school teacher and principal, served in the U.S. House from 1976 to 1990, when he was appointed to the Senate following the death of U.S. Sen. Spark Matsu­naga. He won a special election to the Senate in 1990 and was re-elected in 1994, 2000 and 2006.

He sponsored the Native Hawaiian Recognition Bill, also known as the Akaka Bill, to create a process for Native Hawaiians to gain federal recognition as an indigenous people. But proponents have been unable to gain passage of the bill in Congress.

Akaka's website bears a message from the senator that says in part, "I am proud of my accomplishments on behalf of our federal workers, consumers, veterans and all the people of Hawaii. You have always been my first and foremost priority."


Former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado was the first Native American to become chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. An earlier version of this article said Hawaii’s Sen. Daniel Akaka was the first native person to become committee chairman.

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omd111 wrote:
Too long in office and too ineffective.
on November 30,2012 | 04:49AM
allie wrote:
true and all know it though most will not say it pubicly
on November 30,2012 | 06:17AM
allie wrote:
on November 30,2012 | 09:40AM
false wrote:
Incompetence is way better than the damage a turbocharged Hirono/Hanabusa/Inouye can do. As for Gabbard, I bet she will accept big PAC money and be a compromised TOOL before summer.
on November 30,2012 | 05:17PM
Ken_Conklin wrote:
The article says "Akaka was ... the first native person to become chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee." That is false. Ben Nighthorse Campbell served as U.S. Senator from Colorado from 1993 until 2005. He is a chief of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Tribe. He was elected as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican party which enabled him to become Chairman of the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee at a time when the Republicans were the majority. Note that this article was written by Associated Press. AP often makes errors of fact in its published articles. Any particular AP article, like this one, is likely to be republished in hundreds of newspapers affiliated with AP throughout the U.S. and around the world. Will AP send a correction to all its affiliated newspapers, and will they all publish the correction? Of course not. How do we even contact AP to notify them they have made an error? AP is hard to reach, and does not reply or even acknowledge receiving a correction from mere individuals. It's up to the editors of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser to notify AP about the error and to demand that AP send a correction to all its affiliates. Indeed, the editors of this newspaper and its predecessors (Star Bulletin and Advertiser) have published hundreds of articles about the Akaka bill during the past 13 years, so surely the editors of this newspaper should have remembered that Senator Nighthorse Campbell was Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee; yet the editors published the falsehood unthinkingly, merely because it came from AP.
on November 30,2012 | 05:07AM
allie wrote:
true..SA is a lazy rag for the most part.
on November 30,2012 | 06:18AM
Mythman wrote:
Plus he is not a Native Hawaiian, he is a person of Chinese ancestry who has a Hawaiian native ancestor in his family tree. Rice v Cayetano said there is no official category Native Hawaiian - this is part of the confusion spin by the Ali'i trust to keep everybody spinning while they wheel and deal. I think this story originated in the Huff Post and was picked up by AP - Huff Post does hav a corrections function. The AP just repeats whatever press release they are given, Ken.
on November 30,2012 | 05:33AM
8082062424 wrote:
Are you saying that because he 1/4 Chinese he not a native Hawaiian?
on November 30,2012 | 08:49AM
Mythman wrote:
If it would be true, as you say 808, that he is 3/4 Hawaiian then he would be a native Hawaiian according to federal law as established in the 1921 HHCA. However, it's news to me and it would be to the Senator that he is only 1/4 Chinese. I honestly do not know his quantum. Is he qualified to reside on homelands? His name is a Chinese style version of a Hawaiian name.
on November 30,2012 | 04:15PM
8082062424 wrote:
Akaka was born in Honolulu, the son of Annie (née Kahoa) and Kahikina Akaka. His paternal grandfather was born in China, and his other grandparents were of Native Hawaiian descent. i do believe his wife is Chinese
on November 30,2012 | 04:41PM
Mythman wrote:
He tried to clean up the mess Inouye made in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, but failed to accomplish it.
on November 30,2012 | 04:49PM
Mythman wrote:
808: Notice the story uses the term Native not native, which is the custom of this newspaper and of the state of Hawaii and of OHA. It is a term made up so it would seem to incorporate persons with less than fifty percent blood q. It's good to keep in mind that when it comes to this tricky area, what you think you are is ok but might not match up with the law and there is state law and federal law covering all this, and the two are very different, as they exist. Way too complicated to get into here. But your belief is your belief, even if it is not technically legally accurate. OK?
on November 30,2012 | 04:20PM
8082062424 wrote:
cool .
on December 1,2012 | 08:56AM
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