Rep. Neil Abercrombie has sent a letter to his fellow members of Congress urging them to follow “hundreds of years of federal Indian law” and support the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, a.k.a. the Akaka bill.
Congressmen can do one or the other, but not both. Congress does not have constitutional authority to confer sovereign status on racial or ethnic groups that do not have a long and continuous history of separate self-governance. Moreover, tribal status is generally (though not necessarily) associated with cultural cohesiveness, geographic contiguousness and autonomous community. Evidence of none of these factors has been adduced in support of the Akaka bill.