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County request for Native Hawaiian redress to be hand delivered to Capital

West Hawaii Today
February 28, 1996


HILO - A county resolution requesting the federal government grant more privileges to Native Hawaiians and fulfill obligations of the 1920 Hawaiian Homes Commission Act will be hand delivered next week to Capital Hill.

The policy statement, which seeks all rights afforded Native Americans, will be presented by Hilo Councilman Elroy Osorio. A Native Hawaiian, Osorio is scheduled to meet with aides to Bob Dole, Senate majority leader, and Newt Gingrich; House speaker.

The five-page resolution, passed unanimously by the county council, outlines the state's failure to implement the Act and uphold the rights of Native Hawaiians. Cited are recent reports commissioned by the federal government which recommended Congress adopt legislation granting sovereign status to Native Hawaiians and establishing a federal trust.

"We are encouraged by the response we have gotten from the Congressional leadership. Hopefully, this will start the process of recon ciliation and action that Native Hawaiians have been waiting much too long for," Osorio said in a written statement.

Osorio will be part of a four-person council delegation that will attend the National Association of Counties' annual conference Friday through next Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

Taxpayers will be billed $8,600 to send Osorio, Council members Jim Rath of North Kona, Takashi Domingo of Hamakua and Al Smith of Puna along with one staff member, said Connie Kiriu, county legislative auditor. The cost includes conference registration ($1,525), per-diem expenses for hotel rooms and meals ($5,005) and air fare (2,064). Domingo's air fare was excluded because it will be paid by the NACO organization as one of its officials, while unused airline credits also were applied to the cost, Kiriu added.

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