Alexander: Don’t Establish Race-Based Government for Native Hawaiians

Opposes Senate Passage of Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act

Posted on December 15, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement upon passage of S. 1101, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, through the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. The legislation would establish a new governing entity for individuals of native Hawaiian descent.

“I’m disappointed that the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs has approved the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009, which is opposed by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights because the bill would ‘discriminate on the basis of race.’ This ill-advised legislation would create a new, sovereign government within our borders based solely upon race. But America is supposed to be ‘One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all’—not ‘Many nations, divided by race, with special privileges for some.’ I hope the full Senate will once again defeat this proposal.”

On August 28, 2009, in a letter to members of Congress, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights expressed opposition to S. 1101, which it noted is “substantially similar” to legislation rejected by the Senate on June 8, 2006. In its letter, the Commission quoted its 2006 report opposing the bill because it “would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege.”