October 30, 2008

Are Hawaiians "Native Americans"?

Correspondent Genevieve asks:[W]ould you consider Native Hawai'ians as "Native Americans"? From what I've read and heard, the US government doesn't see or treat them as such, and there has been controversy between continental US Native groups and Hawai'ian Native groups over whether or not they should receive this label (and the benefits--free tuition to schools, healthcare--associated with it).Answer:  When I refer to "Native Americans," it usually means American Indians and Alaska Natives. It rarely includes Canadian Aboriginals or Latin American Indians and almost never includes Native Hawaiians.

When I refer to "Natives," that's a little more ambiguous. I'd say that includes American Indians, Alaska Natives, Canadian Aboriginals, Latin American Indians, and sometimes Native Hawaiians. It depends on the context.

As correspondent Melvin notes:Native Hawai'ians do not share the special trust relationship that all federally recognized U.S. tribes have that involve treaties -and it is these treaties that provide for the so-called "FREE" benefits (and I am so sick of hearing that these services are free!) that were made between the various tribes and the U.S. government in exchange for land.Right. So even if we grant Native Hawaiians a limited form of sovereignty, it won't be accompanied by any so-called government benefits. They'll have the right to rule themselves and that's it.

For more on the subject, see Attacking Indians Via Hawaii.

2 comments:

Melvin Martin said...

Re: Native Hawaiians & Native Americans

In 1974, the Native American Programs Act was amended to include Native Hawaiians. This amendment allowed Native Hawaiians to become eligible for some, but not all, federal assistance programs originally intended for Native Americans. Title 45 CFR Part 1336.62 defines a Native Hawaiian as "an individual any of whose ancestors were natives of the area which consists of the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778."

There is also a continuous controversy as to whether or not Native Hawaiians should be considered as similar to Native Americans in relation to the U.S federal government.

P.S. - Upon further research on the subject of federal recognition for Native Hawaiians, there are some extremely complex "Constitutionality" issues involved that warrant a more serious discussion than the mere fairness question as to the awarding of "Indian-type" federal benefits to Native Hawaiians. MM

dmarks said...

I wonder if Hawaiians are included at the NMAI (museum)? Probably not. I get the impression that they use the strictest definition of Native American.