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HONOLULU (AP) – The future of land covering nearly a third of the Hawaiian Islands will be at stake Wednesday when the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments about state authority over 1.2 million acres (490,000 hectares) once held by the Hawaiian monarchy.
But lurking in the background are at least two other elements that may help determine how much political and economic power Native Hawaiians will enjoy in coming years.
U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, a Hawaii Democrat, is pressing a measure aimed at creating a governing entity for Native Hawaiians. That body would negotiate with federal and state officials over compensation for the illegal 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.