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Opposition to federal recognition has changed little in the past decade

HONOLULU, Hawaii—June 3, 2014—A recent poll by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser found that despite the strong state push for the creation of a Native Hawaiian governing entity, the majority of those responding oppose federal recognition of a Hawaiian nation.

The poll, which appeared on the Star-Advertiser website as a daily poll question for June 2, 2014, asked, “What kind of future do you envision for Native Hawaiians?” The most popular answer was “No entitlements at all,” with 41% of the vote, while retaining the status quo received 22% of the vote. Only 31% favored federal recognition, while 6% chose “independence.”

Though admittedly unscientific, the poll’s finding that 63% of respondents oppose the creation of a Native Hawaiian nation is familiar. In fact, it echoes the results of a more rigorous survey released by the Grassroot Institute in 2005 in which it was found that 67% of Hawaii residents opposed the Akaka Bill.

“We are surrounded by evidence that the state’s rush toward creating a Native Hawaiian government lacks the support of Hawaii’s citizens, including many Native Hawaiians,” stated Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. “The Star-Advertiser poll only confirms what we already knew from the anemic number of active sign-ups to the Native Hawaiian Roll: there is an obvious lack of enthusiasm for the nation-building process.”

Dr. Akina continued, “In more than a decade, despite millions of dollars spent pushing for the creation of a Native Hawaiian government, OHA has failed to persuade the people of Hawaii that this is a good thing for our state or for Native Hawaiians. That represents millions of dollars that could have been spent helping the Native Hawaiian community in more effective, less divisive ways. Haven’t they wasted enough time and money on a cause that is only supported by an elite few? OHA and the state must get out of the nation-building business and refocus their efforts on projects that can make a real, tangible difference in the lives of our citizens.”