6 Sep 2004

Support for legislation to give more rights to Hawaii's indigenous people

7:23 am on 6 September 2004

There's support in Hawaii for a law which aims to giving more rights to indigenous people.

A candidate for the mayor of Honolulu, Duke Bainum, says he supports a congressional bill on the issue.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports the bill would give the same legal recognition to the indigenous people of Hawaiian archipelago as the federal government gives to American Indians and native Alaskans.

Mr Bainum says the bill will protect indigenous Hawaiians' ability to receive federal dollars for native Hawaiian programmes.

But opponents of the bill say it will classify only people who can trace their ancestry to before the Kingdom of Hawaii was established in 1810.

They say it will damage the right to land title of people who are descended from subjects of the kingdom of Hawaii.