Native Americans must continue to stand side-by-side on the front lines with Native Hawaiians to help pass the Senate version of The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (Akaka Bill). The Native Hawaiians have been fellow sojourners in our indigenous struggles. Their history is not unique to our own. A three fold cord is not easily broken. Native Hawaiians, Native Alaskans and Lower '48 Natives together are a force to be reckoned with if we stay united now and after this bill is passed.
Even though Native Alaskans and Native Americans are indigenous relatives - there are always internal and external forces that try to keep indigenous groups weakened and separated.
An internal example of seperation is a well respected national association that has a policy that doesn't allow indigenously owned Alaska Native corporations to participate on their board. Alaska Natives handle this oversight with grace and dignity, but it needs to change. Opening up their board to the Northern Natives will greatly strengthen the organization.
An external example of forces trying to divide indigenous people was special interest groups portraying the Native 8(a) program as an Alaska Native Corporation (ANC) only loophole. Alaska Natives corporations did not have the ability to have casino's so many, like Chugach Alaska Corporation, participated in the Native 8(a) Program earlier than most tribes. ANCs had to find a way to make money or they would lose their indigenous land. Fortunately many tribes now successfully participate in the 8(a) program and have united with the Native Alaskans to bring the public information to preserve the program.
The main point is that it is important to support our indigenous friends and relatives even if they are not on the continental United States. Thinking Global is thinking strong.
Standing with the Hawaiians, helping them when they need it, embracing them as indigenous relatives, asking them for help when we need it, will exponentially increase our strength and healing. Our indigenous diversity is an asset that must be cultivated.
I have had the great priviledge to live next door to a friend who happens to be Native Hawaiian. I can tell you that we are kindred spirits. Similiarly, on a mass scale, there is no doubt - that the borders of Indian Country will also be enlarged when WE continue to open their hearts to our Native Hawaiian relatives by continued support.
Contact your senator and tell them to support the Akaka Bill.