Unites States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

About the Committee 

About the Chairman


U.S. Senator Daniel Kahikina Akaka is America’s first Senator of Native Hawaiian ancestry, and the only Chinese American member of the United States Senate.

Like many of his generation, Senator Akaka’s youth was interrupted by World War II. Upon graduation from high school, he served as a civilian worker then in active duty in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1943 to 1947.

Following the war, Senator Akaka returned to school enrolling in the University of Hawaii. A strong believer in the power of education, he made it his career, as a teacher and principal in the State of Hawaii Department of Education.

First elected to the U.S. House in 1976, Congressman Akaka was appointed to the Senate when Senator Spark Matsunaga passed away, subsequently winning election to the office in 1990, and re-election in 1994, 2000, and 2006.

Senator Akaka is Chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia.

Senator Akaka also serves on the Armed Services, Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and Veterans’ Affairs Committees.

Raised in a deeply religious family, Senator Akaka is a member of the historic Kawaiaha`o Church where he served as choir director for 17 years. He and his wife Millie are the parents of four sons and a daughter who have blessed them with 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Personal Information

Date of Birth: September 11, 1924, Honolulu, Hawaii

Family: Wife: Mary Mildred Chong

Daughter: Mrs. Millannie K.A. Mattson

Sons: Daniel K., Jr.; Gerard K.; Alan L.; and Nicholas K.

14 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren

Religion: Congregationalist (Kawaiaha`o Church)

Education: The Kamehameha School for Boys, 1942; University of Hawaii – Bachelor of Education, 1952; Professional Certificate – Secondary Education, 1953; Professional Certificate – School Administration, 1961; Master of Education, 1966

Military Service

World War II – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (including service on Saipan and Tinian), 1945-47

Professional Experience

Welder, Hawaiian Electric Company, 1942; Welder-mechanic, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1943-47; First Mate, schooner Morning Star, 1948; Teacher, 1953-60; Vice Principal, 1960-63; Principal, 1963-68; Chief Program Planner, Department of Education, 1969-71; Director, Hawaii Office of Economic Opportunity, 1971-74; Special Assistant for Human Resources, Office of the Governor, 1975-76; Director, Progressive Neighborhoods Program, 1975-76; U.S. House of Representatives, 1976-1990; U.S. Senate, 1990-present