Democratic Platform Adopts Native Hawaiian Recognition

Richard Borreca, Star-Bulletin (Honolulu), August 2008

The Democratic Party votes on a national platform every 4 years and now Native Hawaiians are included.

The wording is a bit different from the plank adopted in 2000, but the emphasis on some form of native Hawaiian recognition by the federal government runs on the same track.

This year, Democrats said: “We support the efforts for self-determination and sovereignty of native Hawaiians, consistent with principles enumerated in the Apology Resolution and the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act.”

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Although the native Hawaiian portion of the national party is only a few lines in a 75-page document, Hawaii delegates are cheering the inclusion.

“It lays out the connection very well,” said state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, a delegate to the convention. “It refers to the apology resolution, which is an apology for an illegal overthrow, so it is a major recognition. It tells us all that it was Democrats who took this step for the state of Hawaii.

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If he becomes president, Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill if it passes Congress.

In a statement released in January, Obama said he supports federal recognition for native Hawaiians because they are an important part of the local culture.

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