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Daniel Akaka Retiring: Hawaii Senator Chairs Final Senate Committee Hearing

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WASHINGTON — The goodbyes are beginning for Sen. Daniel Akaka (uh-KAH'-kuh), who will retire when the lame-duck session ends after 22 years in the U.S. Senate.

Akaka was the first Native Hawaiian in the Senate and the first Native person to chair the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. He has held 43 hearings over two years as chairman, with his last one on Thursday.

Fellow senators lauded the Hawaii Democrat for his work for Indian Country. The hearing focused on preserving Native cultures and identities.

Akaka grew emotional before dropping the gavel for the last time. Rather than goodbye, he said: "It is with much aloha that I say to you now, `A hui hou (ah hoo-EE' HOH'-oo),' see you again." Aloha is a Hawaiian greeting that also means love and care.

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