To visitors from around the world, Hawaii means paradise, but according to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, things are anything but perfect.

State officials say Hawaiians have been robbed of their birthright and that the government in Honolulu owes them millions. The state's new governor agrees.

"It's a matter of honor that we pay what we owe. And it's fair because of course, Hawaii used to be its own nation," said Republican Gov. Linda Lingle (search).

In 1898, the Hawaiian royal family gave its property to the United States on the condition that a permanent portion of the revenue from the land go to help Native Hawaiians. Activists say the natives have continued to be shortchanged out of a slice of the state's billion-dollar tourism industry since the land became a state in 1959.

Opponents to the payback plan call it racist.

"The United States promised all of the people of Hawaii that all of this public land would go to the benefit of all of the inhabitants of Hawaii," said Pat Hanifan, attorney for "Aloha for All (search)," which opposes reparations.

But Lingle said that's not what the agreement stated.

"It was clear that 20 percent of all of the revenue from these lands would go for Native Hawaiian programs, and we need to honor that commitment," she said.

The 2 million acres that would be assessed for payback include Waikiki Beach (search), popular shopping districts, national parkland and colleges. But Native Hawaiians make up less than 10 percent of the population and already enjoy free college education, interest-free loans and free health care.

Islanders of other ethnicities say they should get a share of the wealth.

"We want the public lands and the public money that comes from the public lands to go to the benefit of all members of the public regardless of race. Anything else is racially discriminatory," Hanifan said.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that being "Hawaiian" is a racial category, not entitled to government-guaranteed protections like those who are "American Indian." That caused the state to halt payments for fear they were unconstitutional.

Now though, payments have resumed and the issue of whether they are legal is back in court.