History of Hawaii|
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 16:05:56 -1000 (HST)
From: Hawaii Nation Info <email@example.com>
Subject: Hawaiians get census category
Hawaiians get census category. The next census will list native Hawaiians alone, apart from Asians
By Pat Omandam, in Honolulu Star-Bulletin
29 October 1997
Native Hawaiians will have their own category in the next U.S. Census,
according to the federal Office of Management and Budget, which sets race
and ethnicity standards for all federal activities.
U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka announced today the office will revise its
20-year-old race and ethnicity standards to include native Hawaiians as one
of five categories for data collection used for federal civil rights
compliance, statistical reporting and general program and grant
The changes also mean Hawaiians will be removed from the Asian/Pacific
Islander category and given a separate category of "Native Hawaiian or
other Pacific Islander" when the 2000 U.S. Census is conducted. The five
race categories in the census will now be American Indian/Alaskan Native,
Asian, White, Black/African American, and Native Hawaiians or Pacific
"On the face of it, it appears much better than the position that we've
been in, which is to be subsumed under a category including other people,
whom we did not consider to be native or indigenous," said Haunani-Kay
Trask, one of several Hawaiians who lobbied to reclassify native Hawaiians
at the federal level.
"If, in fact, it proves to be what I think it is, then we should all be
very happy with Akaka's office because he's been on record for years saying
that we are not Asians, that we should be in a native category," Trask said.
The Office of Management Budget noted that Hawaiians presented compelling
arguments that the standards must reflect data accurately describing
Hawaiians' social and economic situation.
It said native Hawaiians will no longer be overwhelmed by data collected
for the much-larger Asia category, where native Hawaiian representation
comprised just 3 percent.
Federal agencies will begin using the new race and ethnicity standards
Akaka, who with Hawaii's congressional delegation worked to revise the
standards, spearheaded opposition to a federal task force recommendation in
July that native Hawaiians remain in the Asian and Pacific Islander
A month later, a Hawaiian working group of public and private agencies, the
Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the state compiled data and vigorously
fought to justify this revision.
The change is an important step toward improving the federal government's
relationship with Hawaiians, Akaka said.
More important, the inclusion in the revised guidelines should heighten the
federal government's sensitivity to and consideration of the political
status and rights of native Hawaiians, he said. "Native Hawaiians have a
unique historical and political relationship with the United States."
"For the first time in 20 years, all federal forms in the country will
recognize this, and all Americans will finally know who we are as a people."
But one member of the working group sees the changes as a disadvantage.
Former state Human Services Director Winona Rubin fears the Hawaiian
population of 200,000 may be left out since it will be a small category.
She said the logical step would have been to classify them with American
Indians to better reflect the country's native and indigenous peoples.
Hawai`i - Independent f Sovereign
"The cause of Hawaii and independence is larger and dearer than
the life of any man connected with it. Love of country is deep-
seated in the breast of every Hawaiian, whatever his station."
- Queen Lili`uokalani