Reasonably Ascertainable Reality

Thoughts and musings on current events and other random occurrences.

Location: South Jersey, United States

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Interesting new bill

As much as I hate to do it, I'll link to Michelle Malkin this morning because she is following a uniquely interesting bill that isn't getting much press at this time.
Native Hawaiians have proposed a bill that would give them self-governance, similar to Indian tribes.

The bill would allow native Hawaiians - defined, in part, as anyone
with indigenous ancestors living in the islands before the kingdom fell - to
elect a governing body that would negotiate with the federal government over
land and other natural resources and assets. There is a lot of money and
property at stake, including nearly two million acres of "ceded lands," once
owned by the monarchy; hundreds of thousands of acres set aside long ago for
Hawaiian homesteaders; and hundreds of millions of dollars in entitlement

While I can't understand how Native Hawaiians must feel about the overthrow of their ancestors , I feel that this bill is a slippery slope. Who will be the next ethnic group to claim the right of 'self-governance? While Native Americans retain these rights, many were negotiated and settled during and immediately after their 'defeat'. What would the repurcussions be if we began to go back into history and examined 'conquered peoples'? Would African Americans be able to claim that they are a distinct and separate peoples, not indigenous, but 'stolen' from their indigenous lands and sharing a common ancestry, therefore being worthy of self-governance?

Scarier still is the feelings of young native Hawaiians:

As he sees it, Hawaii's cultural renaissance has exposed the unhealed
wound in the native psyche. He has witnessed it in young people, more radical
than their elders, as they adopt a tone of uncharacteristic hostility and
resentment in sovereignty marches. He has noted a wariness that is at odds with
the conciliatory mood struck in 1993, when President Bill Clinton signed a
resolution apologizing for the kingdom's overthrow.

While Native Hawaiian's history and current status have many similarities with Native Americans, I wonder if self-governance is really the best way for them to achieve exactly what they are looking for. That being said, a conquered people of distinct heritage longing for their own governance, rather than the government of their conquerers, has a long history throughout the world, trending towards self-governance. Those in places like Ireland still seek this. European countries have been leaving their colonies to self-rule over the past century.

American history doesn't contain much 'conquering', but when it applies, should we allow the self-governance that we so rightly fought for over 200 years ago? I'm starting to think if we stay true to our ideals, we must. Could the 50th star come off the flag? Should it?



Blogger Dave Justus said...

Every nation, and every people, is built upon bloodshed.

I believe strongly that the best way to move away from this history is not to try and right old wrongs but rather to work with a new paradigm, one that judges people as individuals instead of part of a tribe, and grants basic rights to all.

This doesn't mean we should forget our history, or abandon our individual culteral heritages, but political rights should move from being based upon groups and tribes to individuals.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Katinula said...

I agree. But its a tricky area when we already have given self-governance to Native American tribes. Granted, like I said, that right was given a long time ago and ostensibly part of their 'surrender', but still, how do we give to one and deny another. Especially when our 'conquering' was so limited that to 'withdraw', for lack of a better term, wouldn't have, say the impact withdrawing from Ireland would have on our nation. Or maybe it would?
I also believe in the AMERICAN individual, but then again, I'm not a conquered person (at least not on this continent).
Tricky question though.

11:16 AM  

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