Rice v. Cayetano : America's evolving legal debate over race, and the consequences of applying "color-blind" constitutionalism to law affecting indigenous peoples

Stader, Paul Gerard
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2013]
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This work will focus on the legal case that brought the issue to Hawaiʻi, Rice v. Cayetano, and examine the effects of applying "color-blind" jurisprudence to law that affects indigenous people. A brief history of the case prior to it reaching the Supreme Court, and background regarding the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) will help to place the case in context and clarify the problematic nature of OHA representing the sovereign interests of the Hawaiian people. In 1978 the State of Hawaiʻi created OHA in an amendment to the State Constitution approved by a majority of the citizens of Hawaiʻi. The intention of the State was that OHA would serve several purposes, including that of carrying out the duties of the trust relationship between Hawaiians and the Government of the United States, compensating for past wrongs to the ancestors of Hawaiians, and helping to preserve the unique culture that had existed in Hawaiʻi prior to Captain Cook's arrival in 1778. The goal of this work is to better understand the effects of applying "color-blind" constitutionalism to Native law by examining its impact on Hawaiians, and thereby see the possible consequences of applying "color-blind" ideology to Tribal law on the continent. If we can better understand the con-sequences of "color-blind" jurisprudence on Hawaiians and Native Americans, then we would have another perspective through which to view the effects of its application to affirmative action programs nationwide amid the continuing debate over race in America. The method used in order to gain this understanding entails utilizing an array of historic sources, both primary and secondary, to help show the role the law played in shaping Hawaiian history, and overlay the Rice family geneology as a case study of white privilege that can be interrogated through CRT. Important legal decisions relevant to the discussion of "color-blind" constitutionalism, Tribal law, and legislation affecting Hawaiians will also be referenced to illustrate the impact and influence of the law on different groups in society. The combination of historic sources, CRT, and law serves well to properly interrogate the Rice decision which encompasses unresolved issues and conflicts from the past that continue to affect the present, and will continue to affect the future, not only for Hawaiians, but for Native Americans on the continent as well.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
Native Hawaiians
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). American Studies.
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