Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!

NAGPRA Issues in Hawaii, 2011


(c) Copyright 2011, Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved

Coverage of NAGPRA-related topics in Hawaii first came to this website in 2003 when the national NAGPRA review committee decided to devote its national meeting to the Forbes Cave controversy. Forbes cave was the most intensively covered topic from 2003 to 2007. But other topics also came to public attention, including Bishop Museum, the Emerson collection repatriated and reburied at Kanupa Cave, the discovery of ancient bones during a major construction project at Ward Center (O'ahu), construction of a house built above burials at the shorefront at Naue, Ha'ena, Kaua'i; etc.

The Forbes cave controversy up until the NAGPRA Review Committee hearing in St. Paul, Minnesota, May 9-11, 2003 was originally described and documented at:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagpraforbes.html

The conflict among Bishop Museum, Hui Malama, and several competing groups of claimants became so complex and contentious that the controversy was the primary focus of the semiannual national meeting of the NAGPRA Review Committee meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota May 9-11, 2003. A webpage was created to cover that meeting and followup events related to it. But the Forbes Cave controversy became increasingly complex and contentious, leading to public awareness of other related issues. By the end of 2004, the webpage focusing on the NAGPRA Review Committee meeting and its aftermath had become exceedingly large, at more than 250 pages with an index of 22 topics at the top. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagpraforbesafterreview.html

That large webpage became so difficult to use that it was stopped on December 29, 2004; and a new webpage was created to collect news reports for NAGPRA issues in Hawai'i during year 2005. An index for 2005 appears at the beginning, and readers may then scroll down to find the detailed coverage of each topic. For coverage of NAGPRA issues in Hawai'i in 2005 (about 250 pages), see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagprahawaii2005.html

For year 2006 another new webpage was created, following the same general format. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagprahawaii2006.html

For year 2007, another new webpage was created, following the same general format. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/planet/bigfiles40/nagprahawaii2007.html

For year 2008, another new webpage was created, following the same general format. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/planet/big60/nagprahawaii2008.html

For year 2009, another new webpage was created, following the same general format. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/big09a/nagprahawaii2009.html

For year 2010, another new webpage was created, following the same general format. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/big09a/nagprahawaii2010.html

NOW BEGINS 2011


================

LIST OF TOPICS FOR 2011: Full coverage of each topic follows the list; the list is in roughly chronological order, created as events unfold during 2011.

(1) The Honolulu rail project is likely to encounter ancient Hawaiian burials during construction. The construction and associated archeological surveys will be done in phases, starting in the west, but likely burials would be in the final phase, in the east. Should all archeological surveys be done before any construction, to ensure the route could be changed if necessary to avoid burials? And if burials are found, should they be moved or should they stay in place and the route be changed? This was topic #6 in the NAGPRA compilation for year 2010, and is #1 for 2011 because the first NAGPRA-related topic raised in 2011 is this one.

(2) Kawaiaha'o Church construction project. On April 19, 2009 the Honolulu Advertiser reported that a large number of burials were uncovered on the grounds of Kawaiaha'o Church during construction to build a large activity center to replace the recently demolished Likeke Hall. Many of the burials date from the 1820s. Most were Christian burials in caskets, some of which had been buried stacked on top of each other in the 1820s. Some were Caucasian, some Hawaiian. See NAGPRA 2009, item #5. There were no newsworthy items on this topic in 2010. Jan 25, 2011: "The church will resume construction work after two suits are rejected" -- Lengthy article describes general laws and customs regarding difference between Christian burials of natives in caskets in officially designated cemeteries vs. ancient unmarked burials of pagan natives.

(3) The county of Kauai hired a construction company to prepare a sewage leach field in an area known to have ancient burials. Burials and artifacts were uncovered early during the project, and construction work continued despite the discovery and despite protests.

(4) NAGPRA-like issues in other nations, reported in American media. (a) Chanting tribesmen opened a signing ceremony Monday that will see the return of the mummified and tattooed head of a New Zealand Maori after it spent 136 years in a Normandy museum. (b) To determine how common heart disease was in ancient Egypt, scientists performed computer scans on 52 mummies in Cairo and the United States. Among those that still had heart tissue, 44 had chunks of calcium stuck to their arteries — indicating clogging. An Egyptian princess who lived more than 3,500 years ago is the oldest known person to have had clogged arteries, dispelling the myth that heart disease is a product of modern society. (c) The government of Saipan is planning to recycle an entire cemetery, with each grave to be moved to one of two other cemeteries as chosen by the descendants.

(5) In 1931, the Big Island’s Kahua Ranch cofounder and Hawaiian artifact collector Ronald von Holt (1898-1953) led an expedition by sampan into Nualolo Valley on Kaua‘i’s Na Pali Coast for the purpose of discovering ancient burial caves and commandeering their treasures.


================

(1) The Honolulu rail project is likely to encounter ancient Hawaiian burials during construction. The construction and associated archeological surveys will be done in phases, starting in the west, but likely burials would be in the final phase, in the east. Should all archeological surveys be done before any construction, to ensure the route could be changed if necessary to avoid burials? And if burials are found, should they be moved or should they stay in place and the route be changed? This was topic #6 in the NAGPRA compilation for year 2010, and is #1 for 2011 because the first NAGPRA-related topic raised in 2011 is this one.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/20110116_City_plan_accounts_for_problematic_burial_sites.html
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, January 16, 2011

City plan accounts for problematic burial sites
The state grants its blessing for a process to protect graves in the path of the rail project

By Gene Park

The state has approved the city's plan on how it will address archaeological and historical finds, including ancient burials, along the route of the rail project, the interim state land director said yesterday.

William Aila, interim director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, said he signed off on the rail project's "programmatic agreement" last week.

"The programmatic agreement provides us a process to protect historic properties and respectfully address any burials that may be found along the route of Honolulu's rail project," Aila said in an interview.

Aila's signature allows the $5.5 billion transit project to clear another permitting hurdle. The agreement also needs approval of the Federal Transit Administration, the National Park Service, the Navy and the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Aila, who is also interim state historic preservation officer, approved the city's plan to conduct its archaeological survey in phases. The Oahu Island Burial Council last year pushed for surveying the entire route before construction would be allowed to begin.

The Burial Council last year passed a resolution asking the state not sign the agreement in its current form. The group opposes the plan because the project's final construction phase will be through Kakaako, which they said may contain ancient native Hawaiian burials.

"Doing it in phases is likely going to result in a lot of unaccounted-for costs, delays," said Moses Haia, executive director of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., which assisted the Burial Council. "There's no telling what's going to happen — litigation costs, delays in the construction time line because things need to be moved."

Haia said a discovery of burials that late in the project would bolster a push by the city to relocate the remains.

"The city is going to argue that the amount of money they've expended precludes them from making any design alternatives to avoid these burials," Haia said. "But the law wants to give these native Hawaiian burials the dignity they deserve."

Aila said, "There are a number of mitigation measures to ensure that rail does not erase the diverse history of this corridor, including the creation of a preservation council to educate land and building owners around the route on the importance of historic preservation."

The city is waiting for all parties to sign the programmatic agreement. The next step would be for the FTA to issue a Record of Decision, which would allow construction to begin.

The project also requires City Council approval of the city's application for a Special Management Area permit. The council's transportation committee meets Tuesday to vote on the permit.

Also yesterday, the League of Women Voters hosted a public forum to discuss a financial analysis, commissioned by then-Gov. Linda Lingle, that predicted a $1.7 billion funding shortfall for the project.

Much of the discussion centered around residents' unease over the project. One resident said the project was being "rammed down our throat." The forum ended with one of the moderators saying rail opponents should focus on trying to influence the City Council.

Not all were against the idea of some form of rail transit. Scott Wilson, a board member of the American Institute of Architects Honolulu and one of the forum's panelists, stressed his organization's preference for a light-rail system that is partially at ground level.

"The entire 20-mile system could be built within $3 billion. That's well within our pocketbook," Wilson said. "For a world-class tourism destination to build an elevated concrete railway through the length of your city, it just boggles the mind."

-------------------

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/20110202_Lawsuit_claims_rail_endangers_burial_sites.html
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, February 2, 2011

Lawsuit claims rail endangers burial sites
The suit against the city and others seeks to halt the project until an archaeological inventory is done

By Nelson Daranciang

A lawsuit over possible ancient Hawaiian burials along the city's proposed rail transit route could put the brakes on the $5.5 billion project.

The nonprofit, public-interest law firm Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. filed the suit in Circuit Court on Monday on behalf of a native Hawaiian cultural practitioner.

The lawsuit claims the city did not complete — as required by state law — an inventory survey of archaeological sites, including ancient Hawaiian burials, along the rail's designated 20-mile route before starting the project. It seeks to declare as unacceptable the project's environmental impact statement, void all state and county permits, and prevent the city from breaking ground until it completes an archaeological inventory and the historic review process.

The Federal Transit Administration cleared the way for the city to begin construction last month when it gave the project its final environmental approval. The city is seeking $1.5 billion in federal funds to pay for the project and hopes to break ground next month. U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye has said the state could lose the $1.5 billion it hopes to get from the FTA if it does not begin construction soon.

The city says it has yet to receive a summons or copy of the lawsuit. However, Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle said Monday that he is aware of the allegations and that they are not new issues. "We're satisfied that we have followed the law. We're confident we can successfully address these arguments in court," Carlisle said.

The lawsuit also names as defendants Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and its Historic Preservation Division, and the Oahu Island Burial Council.

Abercrombie signed off on the project's EIS as one of his first official acts as governor in December.

The DLNR is responsible for enforcing state laws designed to protect the state's cultural and historic resources, including ancient Hawaiian burial sites.

The lawsuit's plaintiff, Paulette Kaleikini, was the plaintiff in another suit in which the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled last year that native Hawaiians have the right to challenge construction plans that disturb Hawaiian burial sites.

--------------------

http://www.midweek.com/content/columns/justthoughts_article/oh_them_bones_a_cultural_divide/
Midweek (O'ahu weekly newspaper), Wednesday - February 23, 2011

Oh, Them Bones: A Cultural Divide

By Bob Jones

Dead people’s bones versus realistic progress for the living is not something easily settled with rational talk. There’s too much emotional baggage.

I’m Mr. Rational. If government needed to build a new school where Mom’s gravesite is, I’d say, “Well, let’s move Mom.” If government wanted to build a new school where possibly my great-great-grandmother’s bones were, I’d say, “OK, build.”

Are we, then, at an impasse? I don’t think so. Most communities have enacted laws that more or less address that. And if they are fair communities, they assign more weight to the strong needs of the living and somewhat less to the dead so long as the project is of great benefit and not simply Joe Developer looking for a site for a condo or car lot or beachfront house.

We know where the modern graveyards are. We do not know where all the pre- and early-contact remains are buried. We’ve got some pretty good ideas, but there are a lot of surprises such as that huge burial site on Maui that interrupted the Ritz-Carlton Hotel project.

I’m not a just-let-the-bulldozers-proceed guy because I respect others’beliefs even when I don’t share them. But bones are, in the end, just bones. Leftovers of a life. Worth something to those who knew the living. National Geographic‘s September 2010 issue had facial photos of disinterred mummies. Nobody said a peep.

It’s a stretch of rationality to say bones you didn’t know were there have meaning for you. So with that premise, it seems fair and rational for the city to go ahead with rail transit on a phase-by-phase basis, dealing with remains as they come upon them.

Obvious ones should be moved. Knowing there may be others deeper down but not yet discovered should remain an unknown. Might a support column invade a deep burial place? Of course. Sacrilege? I can’t see how, any more than I know if there are remains under the driveway to my house or those rockbed pillars holding up hotels in Waikiki.

People made fun of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for saying “there are known unknowns.” But it’s true. We widely suspect some things we can’t “know” until we meet up with them.

We’ll likely find bones as the train project moves through Kakaako, an old settlement. But maybe not, until we find them. Then we know.

Excavate everywhere in advance? We might as well look willy-nilly in the universe for planets. We don’t. We search sector by sector based on evidence.

The Cayetano and Co. lawsuit to ask total-route excavation in advance is odd. Why has ex-governor Ben signed on to a “hail Mary pass”?

--------------------

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/hawaiinews/20110324__Judge_rejects_suit_challenging_rail_survey.html
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, March 24, 2011
Excerpts related to NAGPRA

Judge rejects suit challenging rail survey

By Nelson Daranciang

A state judge sided with the city yesterday, dismissing a lawsuit that sought to halt the $5.5 billion rail transit project until the city completes a survey of ancient Hawaiian burial sites along the project's entire 20-mile route.

Circuit Judge Gary Won Bae Chang said it is acceptable for the city to conduct the required archaeological inventory surveys in phases, as it progresses to the next construction phase.

Lawyers for the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., which represented plaintiff Paulette Kaleikini, said they will appeal.

Kaleikini claims her ancestors are buried in the Kakaako area, where the rail line's fourth phase will be built, and that the burials could be disturbed. Her lawyers argued that an archaeological survey is like an environmental impact statement and must be completed for the whole project before construction on any portion can begin.

But Chang said state laws governing archaeological and environmental protection are distinct.

While environmental laws prohibit breaking up a project and its EIS into phases, archaeological laws do not, he said.

The judge also pointed out that federal laws governing the protection of archaeological and historical property allow segmenting construction projects and approvals into phases.

The city's victory comes at a time when high-level federal transportation officials visiting Honolulu praised the handling of the project.

The city is seeking $1.5 billion in federal funding, and that commitment is not expected until later this year or early next year.

Funding is still subject to congressional approval.

"Everything that has been done here has been done correctly," LaHood said. "We don't do projects unless they're done by the book. … This project is being done by the book, which is the way these elected officials want it done."

------------------

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/hawaiinews/20110327_212_dig_sites_dot_rail_leg.html
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, March 27, 2011

212 dig sites dot rail leg
Old graves are expected to be found in the town section of the transit route

By Gene Park

Archaeological excavation for ancient human remains will occur at more than 200 locations in the downtown and Kakaako corridor of Honolulu’s $5.5 billion rail route.

The city has identified 212 excavation sites within the final and most controversial phase of rail construction.

Areas marked for excavation — some under existing buildings — include the locations for future transit stations, preliminary engi­neering plans show. Much of the digging will also occur near the column foundations for the elevated guideway.

Field work for the archaeological inventory survey in the fourth phase is expected to begin this fall, said Hallett Hammatt, president of Cultural Surveys Hawaii, which will be conducting the surveys for the city.

“On this scale, I would say it’s never been done before in Hawaii,” Hammatt said in a recent public meeting regarding the fourth phase.

The city has acknowledged the high likelihood that native Hawaiian remains, iwi kupuna, will be found along the route. The city’s current plans are to conduct surveys in four phases along the planned route. No remains were found in the first phase, largely in undeveloped agricultural lands, but the fourth phase has the most development.

Construction from Middle Street to Ala Moana Center is expected to begin in 2014.

The archaeological survey will employ several methods. Crews will use ground-penetrating radar to map the subsurface where conditions might indicate a burial, Hammatt said. Crews might also use “historic human remains detection dogs” to sniff out remains. More extensive open excavation will be used if further analysis is necessary.

Hammatt said about 96 percent of the excavation will be for utility relocation. “We did a rough calculation,” Hammatt said. “The other 4 or 5 percent is going to be the stations and the columns.” Hammatt said many of the utility relocations will be shallow, and that the depth may vary depending on the utilities involved.

The fourth, final phase was the central issue in a lawsuit that attempted to halt the rail project until an archaeological inventory survey was completed for the entire 20-mile route. Paulette Kaleikini, represented by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., argued that state law prohibits a project to be divided into phases when it comes to archaeological studies, as with environmental impact statements. However, Circuit Judge Gary Won Bae Chang dismissed the suit, stating that the laws governing archaeological surveys and environmental impact statements are separate. Archaeological laws do not specifically prohibit the phasing of projects, he said. Kaleikini and her attorneys have indicated they will appeal. Many residents against the rail transit project pinned their hopes on that lawsuit.

In response to concerns raised by the community, the city decided to expedite the fourth phase’s survey.

But it is still coming too late, said Kehau Abad, chairwoman of the Oahu Island Burial Council’s rail project task force. “Big decisions like route and technology have already been made,” Abad said. “These studies should have been done as part of the alternatives analysis.” If remains are found or identified during the survey process, a “treatment plan” on how to deal with the remains can be worked out with the descendants within 90 days of the discovery, Abad said. The treatment plan could mean preserving the remains in place, or relocation.

However, there could still be “inadvertent discoveries” of burials during actual construction. At that point, the window of time to decide what to do with the remains is much smaller, according to the agreement between federal and state agencies that outlines the protocol for historic preservation. If a burial is found during construction, the state Historic Preservation Division has only one day to make a determination for a single burial, and two days for multiple burials. The agreement allows for a three-day extension for both cases, “recognizing the extent of the project and the sensitivity of any discoveries.”

That is why Abad is urging city planners to conduct more surveys in certain areas, particularly south of Halekauwila Street in Kakaako. “The council is set up purposefully to allow for cultural descendants to have their appropriate input in the process,” Abad said. “The better the study is up front, the more likely you’ll be able to find as many of the burials you can. If you have a very small sampling of the area, a light-touch investigation, there will be less of the iwi kupuna being treated in this more careful manner.”

In the past, some native Hawaiians have had no objections to iwi kupuna being relocated. When Walmart planned its Keeaumoku complex in 2003, some potential descendants preferred to have remains moved to a quieter, drier area of the parcel. Kaleikini at the time filed a lawsuit to stop the development, but the ultimate ruling favored Walmart.

Hinaleimoana Falemei, vice chairwoman of the Oahu Island Burial Council, said the council does not want to be construed as anti-development. She agrees that the state needs an economic stimulus, but argues that the Burial Council has a responsibility to the native Hawaiian community. She said that if remains are found, the Burial Council will only appear as obstructionist. “It always ends up being about negotiating with the Hawaiians, and the Hawaiians are looking like we’re stopping everything,” Falemei said. “What would happen if we said we’re building rail through the Kaneohe memorial cemetery, and that we’re going to compromise or move the remains there? Do you think the public would receive that?” Falemei said the council is trying to be proactive, and that the city should pay attention to concerns so the project will be less encumbered in the future if there are any necessary changes that need to be made.

City transportation officials have said that if remains are found, the guideway’s columns can be moved to avoid disturbing the graves. Pete Manaut, a Carlsmith Ball LLP attorney who represented the city in the recent Kaleikini case, said the city would also consider changing the alignment, which is why it is conducting the survey as early as this year.

“The potential for iwi displacement is far greater in this project,” Falemei said. “But there’s also the precedent that it sets, saying that native Hawaiian concerns are going to be secondary, that iwi kupuna concerns are secondary.”


==============

(2) Kawaiaha'o Church construction project. On April 19, 2009 the Honolulu Advertiser reported that a large number of burials were uncovered on the grounds of Kawaiaha'o Church during construction to build a large activity center to replace the recently demolished Likeke Hall. Many of the burials date from the 1820s. Most were Christian burials in caskets, some of which had been buried stacked on top of each other in the 1820s. Some were Caucasian, some Hawaiian. See NAGPRA 2009, item #5. There were no newsworthy items on this topic in 2010. Jan 25, 2011: "The church will resume construction work after two suits are rejected" -- Lengthy article describes general laws and customs regarding difference between Christian burials of natives in caskets in officially designated cemeteries vs. ancient unmarked burials of natives.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/business/businessnews/20110125_Kawaiahao_project_advances.html
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, January 25, 2011
Kawaiaha'o project advances
The church will resume construction work after two suits are rejected

By Andrew Gomes

Construction at Kawaiaha'o Church, which stopped two years ago after disturbing 69 sets of human remains, is set to resume.

Hawaii's oldest church has overcome two legal challenges and a permitting issue to allow work to proceed on a $17.5 million multipurpose building.

The Honolulu church known as "the Westminster Abbey of Hawaii" plans to restart construction in the first week of February and hopes to complete the project by the end of next year.

However, not everyone is supportive, and one lawsuit challenging the treatment of disturbed burials is pending.

Resumption of work largely hinged on state officials making a distinction between unmarked Christian burials of native Hawaiians in a cemetery and traditional native Hawaiian burials, typically in secret locations.

Kawaiaha'o officials contended that its burial discoveries were exempt from the state's native Hawaiian burial law because the remains were Christian burials of native Hawaiians in coffins on the grounds of a church cemetery.

The state Department of Health did not exactly side with the church on that issue, but issued a permit in October allowing the church to dig up and rebury any unidentified remains on its property. The approval reversed an earlier decision by the department and was key to construction moving forward.

Health Department officials did not return calls for comment yesterday.

Two lawsuits also sought to block construction but are no longer an impediment. One was filed in 2009 by Abigail Kawananakoa, a relative of Queen Kapiolani, who alleged that trenching work encroached on the family burial plot. That suit was settled in November.

The other suit was filed in 2009 by Hawaiian cultural specialist Dana Naone Hall, whose relatives are buried at Kawaiaha'o's cemetery.

Hall sought a preliminary injunction against resuming construction, but a judge denied the request earlier this month.

Frank Pestana, chairman of Kawaiaha'o's board of trustees, said the church is pleased to resume building much-needed facilities.

"We are looking forward to moving on and seeing the promise of the (multipurpose center) realized," he said.

The two-story project is designed with 30,000 square feet of space for classrooms, conference rooms, a $1 million kitchen, a library, bookstore, church archives and a small museum of church antiquities.

The new building is replacing Likeke Hall, a church office building and a small parking lot.

Likeke Hall, which was torn down last year, was built on a site previously used for burials.

When Likeke Hall was built in 1940, Kawaiaha'o officials disinterred 117 bodies that were first reburied in Moiliili and then relocated to the southwest corner of Kawaiaha'o's cemetery in 1968.

After trenching work for the new building began in January 2009, workers discovered 69 human burials. Work stopped in March of that year. It is estimated that the remains date back sometime prior to the early 1900s. Kawaiaha'o Church was built in 1842.

Church officials said a majority of members who participated in meetings supported its plan to treat any remains disturbed by construction.

The church also emphasized that it followed a process set forth by state agencies with oversight of burials.

The church initially applied for a disinterment permit from the Health Department. But the department said it needed names, dates of death and other information for all those to be disinterred, according to church officials.

Identities of burials under and around the Likeke Hall site were not in any records, so the church instead filed an archaeological monitoring plan approved by the State Historic Preservation Division of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The church did not believe it was subject to the native Hawaiian burial law administered by SHPD because of an exemption provided for cemeteries, but it decided to proceed under SHPD oversight so construction could begin.

"We were sort of caught between a rock and a hard place," said Dawn Chang, a cultural consultant working with the church.

Critics of the church's approach said Kawaiaha'o should be subject to burial law requirements, which would make it more complicated for the church to disinter and relocate remains while making it easier for potential descendants to contest disinterments.

The Rev. Charles Maxwell, chairman of the Maui/Lanai Island Burial Council, previously decried the construction activity as an insult to those buried on the site. He called for Kawaiaha'o to build the multipurpose building elsewhere, given the large number of bones found on the former Likeke site.

Hall, a former chairwoman of the Maui/Lanai burial council, said the exception to the burial law for cemeteries is for known, maintained and actively used cemeteries.

"There's no way (the disturbed remains) are part of an active cemetery," she said. "The church has not been a very good steward of these burials."

A consultant hired by the church told state officials that another 83 bodies might be buried at the construction site based on information from a ground-penetrating radar test.

Under state rules, Kawaiaha'o Church must notify descendants of any disinterred remains. But the identity of the remains is unknown.

Hall objects to the blanket disinterment permit granted to the church, calling it offensive to those who could be related to remains.

But in court, Hall lost a bid to keep construction from resuming.

Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto indicated that Hall was unlikely to succeed on the merits of her lawsuit, so he denied a preliminary injunction that would have held up construction pending the outcome of the case.

At the hearing, Sakamoto rejected the applicability of the state's native Hawaiian burial law on Christian burials and found the Health Department permit acceptable.

"The court has determined that (the burial law) was intended by the Legislature to protect native Hawaiian burials in accordance with traditional native Hawaiian customs, practices and culture," Sakamoto said, according to a transcript of the hearing. "The entire project site, in fact, was a Christian cemetery rather than a native Hawaiian burial site."

Hall disagreed with the judge's decision and will appeal the case to get the burial law clarified to cover Christian and non-Christian burials as well as those in coffins.

"The judge completely ignored the burial law," she said. "I don't believe the judge gave us an impartial hearing."

The church plans to hold a meeting in mid-February with anyone concerned about unmarked burials on church grounds to discuss treatment of present and future burial discoveries.

----------------------

http://honoluluweekly.com/feature/2011/01/cultural-grounds/
Honolulu Weekly, January 26, 2011

Cultural Grounds
Uncertain future for remains at Kawaiha‘o Church

BY JOAN CONROW

KAWAIAHAO CHURCH / Plans to resume construction of a $21 million multipurpose building on the grounds of historic Kawaiahao Church are meeting renewed resistance from those who say the project is circumventing the state burial law.

“We need to stop this now, because if Kawaiahao, a Hawaiian church, the church of the alii, is allowed to get away with it, and condones it, it will set a precedent for every other construction project coming down the line,” says Kamuela Kalai, whose great-great grandfather, a minister ordained at the church, is buried on its grounds.

Drawing the Line

At issue is whether the Oahu Island Burial Council (OIBC) or state agencies have authority to decide what happens to the iwi kupuna–bones of the ancestors–at the project site. Some 69 burials already have been disturbed, and preservationists say it’s highly probable more will be uncovered if construction is allowed to proceed.

The controversy has assumed new urgency since Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto denied a motion for a preliminary injunction to halt the project pending completion of a full Archaeological Inventory Survey (AIS) of the site. That ruling, coupled with issuance of a mass disinterment permit by the Department of Health (DOH), has cleared the way for work to resume.

Burial Council Chairman Kawika McKeague says the dispute speaks to the fundamental question of whether Hawaiians are able to exercise their cultural and spiritual responsibility to care for their iwi kupuna.

“If we can’t evoke that kuleana it leads to us being culturally obsolete, stagnant and, as a people, irrelevant in our homeland,” he says. “That’s where the true hurt is lying. To me, that is the real hewa.”

Hawaiians or Christians?

Kawaiahao Church Board of Trustees Chairman Frank Pestana, in a written response to questions, noted that “OIBC’s responsibility is for Native Hawaiian burials, and while the motion for a preliminary injunction was denied for a variety of reasons, the judge specifically noted that ‘the burials discovered at Kawaiahao Church were in fact Christian burials within a Christian cemetery, rather than traditional native Hawaiian burials. . . . While the discovered burials contained remains that were ethnically Native Hawaiian, they were nonetheless still Christian burials.’”

However, the state burial law does not distinguish between Christian and traditional Hawaiian burials, and instead speaks only to Native Hawaiian burials older than 50 years.

The project began in September 2007, when Likeke Hall was demolished to make way for the new facility. But when trenching work began in early 2009, iwi were found on the first day, and discoveries continued until church officials halted work in early April 2009. Although 117 iwi were disinterred to build Likeke Hall in 1940, and unmarked pre-Western contact burials are known to be in the area, church officials say they hadn’t expected any substantial discoveries during the new construction.

“At every step of the way, the church worked in consultation with the appropriate agencies to ensure it adhered to proper procedures,” Pestana wrote, and it also made presentations to the OIBC and formed a Na Iwi Committee “composed of members of Kawaiahao congregation and other well-respected cultural resources in the community (including Kai Markell, Nanette Napoleon and Aulii Mitchell) to provide guidance on the culturally appropriate protocols in the event iwi kupuna were discovered during construction.”

The panel is currently inactive because several members have resigned and the church is seeking a new chair.

Warning Signs

McKeague said church officials came to the OIBC prior to trenching and promised to pursue the project “in a pono manner” by forming the advisory Na Iwi Committee. “We knew some of the folks on the committee, and they were staunch supporters of the iwi, so that put our minds at ease. We thought the church was going to proceed in a spirit of lokahi, or harmony.”

Kalai agreed. “I never was that concerned about the project because I thought the church must be doing the right thing. They’re not gonna desecrate graves.”

The State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) determined the 69 burials found during were “inadvertent discoveries,” which gave the agency authority to decide their fate, in consultation with the OIBC.

The state then went on to designate the entire project site as a historic cemetery–“a decision made without us even being invited to the table,” McKeague says. The determination ensured that any additional burials found during construction could be removed under a disinterment permit, which effectively aced the OIBC out of the process.

The OIBC challenged SHPD’s decision, arguing that the site was known to have been used for traditional burials prior to the church being built, which would make the iwi found there “previously known burials,” and, thus, under the Council’s purview.

In August 2009, the Council asked the state Attorney General’s Office to determine if SHPD had failed to adequately inventory historic properties prior to the start of construction, and if an environmental assessment should have been required because the project involved a historic property in a historic district.

The AG’s office didn’t respond until December 2010, when it advised the OIBC it had no jurisdiction or authority pertaining to the iwi kupuna that have been disinterred. McKeague says the opinion again raised the question of who the Attorney General’s office represents when the OIBC and SHPD have differences of opinion. “It would seem they’re serving two masters at once,” he notes.

Separate Lawsuits

The Burial Council wasn’t alone in challenging the process. Abigail Kawananakoa, heiress to the Campbell Estate and a distant relative of Queen Kapiolani, filed suit in 2009, as did Dana Naone Hall, former chair of the Maui Island Burial Council. The women, both descendents of persons buried on the Kawaiahao grounds, wanted the church to conduct a full archeological inventory survey prior to resuming construction.

They also contended the state had improperly allowed the project to circumvent review by the OIBC by failing to require a survey. Hall further argued the state had erred in unilaterally determining the site was a maintained and actively used cemetery. “But clearly it is not, because these are all unmarked and unidentified burials found under a building and asphalt roads,” Hall said.

The two lawsuits were combined, over Hall’s objections, and Kawananakoa went on to reach a confidential settlement of her claim. Hall continued to press her case, but suffered a setback in early January when Judge Sakamoto issued a verbal ruling from the bench that she had no standing to bring the motion for a preliminary injunction. Hall, who is represented by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied without a hearing.

“The decision is so patently wrong,” says Hall, citing a provision in the state’s burial protection law that specifies “any person may maintain an action in the trial court having jurisdiction where the alleged violation occurred or is likely to occur for restraining orders or injunction relief.”

Hall also was designated a cultural descendant of the Kawaiahao burials by the OIBC.

“I wanted justice for the burials,” Hall says, in explaining why she pursued legal action against the church and state officials who took the project out of the jurisdiction of the OIBC. “I wanted protection for them afforded by hard-won legislation. The whole point of the burial law is to provide an orderly process for dealing with burial issues and to avoid controversies of the kind that have sprung up at Walmart, Ward Village and now Kawaiahao.”

Hall plans to appeal, but says Sakamoto has delayed that action by failing to issue his order in writing. “In the meantime, the church has a blanket disinterment permit, so they can go ahead,” she says.

The Fight Continues

Kalai says she is determined the project will not proceed. “It just kills me to think about it. Any time you dig iwi kupuna out of the ground, it’s wrong. They are the foundation of our lahui, our nation. This is a Hawaiian church, and Hawaiians revere their dead. I don’t see anybody digging up missionary graves. It’s not too late for the church to do the right thing.”

McKeague says that even though the state isn’t requiring it, Kawaiahao officials still could conduct the archaeological survey. “The church leadership also needs to look at the bigger picture and assess, is it worth it? Is this building worth this discord?”

Church Kahu Curt Kekuna, in a written response to questions, said Kawaiahao needs to complete the facility “in order to fulfill its mission and believes it is not only well worth it but essential to do so. If the church does not have the facilities and resources to do the work of Ke Akua, it will no longer be a church, only an historic site, a museum. The completion of the multipurpose center is essential for Kawaiahao Church to survive and grow.”

Kekuna says the church “welcomes inquiries” and has been receiving a number of calls about the project. “I am concerned that most of the callers I have spoken with have incomplete or inaccurate information about the project and the care of the iwi.” He says the church plans to hold another kahea ‘ohana–call out to families–in mid-February where people can air their concerns and ask questions.

Meanwhile, the church has notified the state that it plans to resume construction.

-----------------------

http://www.staradvertiser.com/editorials/guesteditorials/20110209_Ruling_on_Kawaiahao_iwi_was_the_right_call.html
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, February 9, 2011

Ruling on Kawaiahao iwi was the right call

By Nanette Naioma Napoleon

After months of legal dispute over the jurisdiction of iwi found on the grounds of the Kawaiahao Church's new multipurpose building site, the court has ruled that the church may proceed with construction because the burials found there are part of an established historic cemetery and therefore do not come under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources' Oahu Island Burial Council -- but instead, are under jurisdiction of the state Department of Health. Under DOH regulations, all disinterment and burials are handled by the issuance of permits, which Kawaiahao Church has qualified for.

As a former member of the Oahu Island Burial Council, a recognized expert on historic cemeteries in Hawaii and a volunteer consultant on the church's Na Iwi Committee, I totally support this ruling and all of the efforts made by the church to plan for the disinterment and relocation of any unmarked burials found during construction.

Before one spade of dirt was dug up, the church recognized the need to proceed with the utmost respect and due diligence. In that regard, it formed the Na Iwi Committee and selected some of its members based upon their expertise with the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and state cemetery and burial laws.

At every step of the planning process, much thought was given to issues that have surfaced in past construction projects around the state.

The committee also held a series of public meetings, which were widely publicized, and attendees were given every opportunity to ask questions and express concerns.

The burial treatment plan that was developed addresses how iwi should be disinterred, cleaned and wrapped; what kind of containers they would be placed in, and where they would be placed, temporarily and in the long term.

To assure the safety and security of the iwi before final reburial, a special secured storage area was built. Several sites on the grounds have been considered for reburial. In addition, old paper cemetery records were consolidated into a digital database and a current map of the cemetery was created to reconcile differences in old maps. All of these records were open for review at the community meetings and continue to be accessible to the public.

In my more than 25 years of cemetery research, I have been to more than 500 cemeteries around the state, and I can say categorically that virtually all historic graveyards established before World War II have unmarked graves that were placed there after the cemetery was established. I have come across hundreds of unmarked graves in cemeteries around the islands that have been physically identified by family members as being historic burials.

For opponents to say that all unmarked graves found in the Kawaiahao construction area were in place before the cemetery was established is misguided. This graveyard has been in use since the 1820s, and as such is the oldest historic cemetery in the state.

I must repeat that the court's ruling is a correct one: that the iwi discovered in the Kawaiahao construction site came from a long-established historic cemetery and therefore should rightly fall under the jurisdiction of DOH, not DLNR and the Oahu Island Burial Council.

I have every confidence that all of the iwi removed from the construction site will be treated with the utmost respect and love, and that they will continue to rest in peace long after they are relocated within the graveyard.

---------------------

http://honoluluweekly.com/letters/2011/02/stop-digging-up-the-iwi/
Honolulu Weekly, February 9, 2011, letter to editor

Stop digging up the ‘iwi

It is with a heavy heart and a determined spirit that I add my voice to others who have asked, who have pleaded and who have insisted that Kawaiahao church cease and desist with the removal of ‘iwi kupuna, or the bones of our ancestors [Culture, Jan. 26: “Cultural Grounds”]. I have personally met with the senior pastor of Kawaiahao Church three times to express my concerns of the unearthing and removal of ‘iwi kupuna.

At the last of these meetings, Kahu Curtis Kekuna made it clear to me that the church will proceed and plans to obtain permits to excavate any ‘iwi kupuna that lie in the path of their construction project. The church has already unearthed 23 separate gravesites and has disturbed 69 separate sets of ‘iwi kupuna to build a $21 million multipurpose building.

Some of these ‘iwi kupuna currently lie in baskets on shelves at the bottom of the church and have been there for more than a year. Empty baskets are in this room waiting to be filled with more bones. When will the horror stop?

I am the lineal descendant of a Kahu who was ordained in Kawaiahao Church, who was married there and who lived, loved and died for this church for 30 years of his life. He was buried on the grounds of Kawaiahao Church in 1884 in the area of the construction site.

It goes against everything I believe in as a grandchild of this kupuna, and as someone who believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ, to allow the desecration of his final resting place. I am very firm in my resolve: The digging up of ‘iwi kupuna ANYWHERE is absolutely wrong, but it is especially wrong for the church of our alii to allow this to happen to members of their church who have passed away and no longer have a voice.

I will be one voice among the many others to speak for my kupuna and all of our kupuna to say “Aole! No!” Our kupuna deserve to rest in peace forever. Please help to stop this horrific act everywhere and insist that Kawaiahao Church stop digging up the bones of our kupuna. Please just stop. Together we can make this right, and we can stop the horror of it all.

Mahalo a nui loa no na hulu kupuna. Ola na ‘iwi.

Kamuela Kapuananialiiokama Kala’i
Kaneohe

----------------------

http://www.staradvertiser.com/business/20110210_Burials_are_kapu_public_tells_church.html
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, February 10, 2011

Burials are 'kapu,' public tells church
Descendants of those buried at Kawaiahao share grief, hurt and ire over construction work

By Andrew Gomes

Expressions of pain, anger and sorrow filled Kawaiaha o Church at a Tuesday evening meeting held to discuss construction of a building on church grounds that unearthed 69 sets of unmarked native Hawaiian burials.

Kawaiaha'o Church officials announced last month that they would resume construction of the $17.5 million multipurpose center after overcoming two lawsuits challenging the project and after obtaining a blanket permit from the state Department of Health to rebury any unidentified remains it unearths.

Tuesday's meeting was set up by church officials to hear concerns about the moving of burials.

The meeting began with an invitation to visit the bundled remains, or iwi, that have been held in a basement under the church bell tower since excavation work for the project was halted two years ago.

What followed in the sanctuary occupied by roughly 100 people was largely an outpouring of grief, and pleas not to resume construction that has a significant likelihood of disturbing more iwi at Hawaii's oldest church and Christian cemetery.

Daryl Kealoha Cardines told church officials that his kupuna, or grandparents, taught him that it was forbidden to disturb iwi.

"I am saddened," he said. "Any iwi -- I was taught from my kupuna -- was kapu. They wouldn't dig up bones to build something new. We need to respect that. Shame, shame on the people who decided to proceed with this."

A view shared by several people who spoke at the meeting was that the church values its mission to spread the word of God and make disciples more than it values the native Hawaiian culture that regards burials as sacrosanct.

The church contends that its inadvertent discoveries are exempt from the state's native Hawaiian burial law, which gives special protections to such burials, because the remains are Christian burials of native Hawaiians mostly in coffins on the grounds of a church cemetery.

A Circuit Court judge in a preliminary injunction hearing in December agreed with the church's position. The state Attorney General's office, according to the church, also has deemed the matter to be outside the purview of the Oahu Island Burial Council, which typically has jurisdiction to recommend whether iwi -- or construction -- should be relocated in such conflicts.

Legal determinations notwithstanding, a clash between Christian religion and Hawaiian culture persists, with the conflict centered largely between the church's mostly native Hawaiian congregation and Hawaiians outside the church with ancestors buried at Kawaiaha'o.

At Tuesday's meeting, which lasted three hours and was moderated by entertainer Kimo Kahoano, a few speakers expressed support for the project. The multipurpose center is designed to provide classrooms, conference rooms, a social hall, a $1 million kitchen, administrative offices, a library, bookstore, space for church archives and a small museum of church antiquities.

Supporters said the church's mission is paramount, and that the facilities are badly needed and could not feasibly be built anywhere else on church property.

But most who spoke at the meeting said it is wrong to disturb their ancestors. Several spoke of the pain they felt when viewing the iwi in the basement, and the hurt they felt in the sanctuary. Others chastised church leaders for their willingness to disturb graves.

"My tutu's bones are not to be disturbed or touched by anyone," said one woman. "They deserve to rest in peace forever and ever."

One person at the meeting asked how many more iwi might be unearthed if the building is completed. Church representatives responded that they don't intend to dig up any more iwi but cannot be certain that more will not be disturbed.

Only about 25 percent of ground excavation work for the building has been completed.

Previously, a consultant hired by the church told state officials that another 83 bodies might be buried at the construction site based on information from a ground-penetrating radar test.

The church has no records of burials in the construction area, which for many years was the site of a church building, Likeke Hall, built in 1940 and demolished in 2008.

While building Likeke Hall over part of the church's known cemetery, Kawaiahao officials disinterred 117 bodies. Those remains were initially reburied in Moiliili and then relocated to the southwest corner of Kawaiahao's cemetery in 1968.

The church said it historically was up to families to share information for burials, and not all have shared records.

Hawaiian cultural specialist Dana Naone Hall said Kawaiahao grounds were a burial area before Christian missionaries arrived in Hawaii, and she questions whether some of the disinterred remains are non-Christian burials.

"We just don't have a situation of only coffin burials here," she said.

The church estimates that the remains date to sometime prior to the early 1900s. Kawaiahao Church was built in 1842.

Naone Hall, who has relatives buried at Kawaiahao, filed a lawsuit seeking an archaeological survey before the church proceeded with more construction. But an injunction she sought was rejected in December. Naone Hall said she intends to appeal.

A lawsuit filed by Abigail Kawananakoa, a relative of Queen Kapiolani, who alleged that trenching work encroached on the family burial plot, was settled in November.

Tuesday's meeting was the ninth time the church organized a meeting for anyone to express views on the project. Church leaders have said that most participants at previous meetings have been supportive of the expansion plan.

The first meeting occurred in May 2006. Trenching work that unearthed burials began in January 2009. Work stopped in March of that year. The most recent meeting, before Tuesday's, was held in July 2009.

Kawaiahao officials plan to re-establish a committee comprising members of its congregation to handle any more unearthed burials. A prior committee, which included community and church experts on Hawaiian burials, established cultural and Christian protocols to care for disinterred iwi.

The Rev. Curtis Kekuna also said more meetings will be held, and prayed that stakeholders could find common ground and understanding.

"Let's walk away (from this meeting) knowing that we are committed to listening and helping one another," he said.

--------------------

http://www.staradvertiser.com/business/20110215_Protesters_impede_Kawaiahao_Church_project.html
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, February 15, 2011

Protesters impede Kawaiaha'o Church project
A dispute continues over unmarked burials that have been found at a construction site

By Andrew Gomes

Construction on a $17.5 million multipurpose building at Kawaiaha'o Church resumed briefly yesterday but was halted after a disruption by protesters opposed to disturbing more unmarked burials on the project site.

Excavating ground for the building's foundation using hand tools resumed under an agreement with the State Historic Preservation Division. The church also has approval from the state Department of Health to disinter any remains discovered.

But some native Hawaiians oppose the project.

Construction of the multipurpose center was halted two years ago after the church unearthed 69 sets of human remains while using heavy equipment to make trenches for utility lines.

Church officials said Kawaiaha'o's board of trustees will meet, possibly today, to discuss how to proceed.

New excavation work must be reviewed by the Historic Preservation office before any more intensive construction activity takes place.

Still, some native Hawaiians — including some church members and some who say they have ancestors buried at Kawaiaha'o — feel resumption of any work that disinters iwi, or bones, is wrong. "It's a total disregard for what they said and for the care and compassion of families (who oppose excavation)," said Claire Steele, a church member who previously served on a committee set up by the church to handle any burials disturbed by construction.

Steele and some others who attended a briefing held by the church last week said church leaders promised them they would hold off on work that might disturb iwi until divergent views could be settled. Church officials said they made no such commitment.

Under state approval to proceed with construction, the church is required to consult with descendants of those buried on the property. The church said it has met the consulting requirement by holding public discussions — the most recent of which was last week.

Mitigating differences using the Hawaiian practice of hooponopono has been requested by some, but the Rev. Curtis Kekuna said the church hasn't decided whether to do that.

The church is moving ahead with construction under the notion that Hawaiian culture regarding burials as sacrosanct differs from Christian beliefs. The church said the remains are Christian burials mostly in coffins.

"Their spirit has gone to heaven," Kekuna said of those buried on church grounds. "There's no life in bones."

-------------------------

http://www.staradvertiser.com/business/20110218_Descendants_protest_churchs_moving_of_remains.html
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, February 18, 2011

Descendants protest church's moving of remains
Police respond to the demonstration on the steps of Kawaiaha'o but make no arrests

By Andrew Gomes

Opponents of a Kawaiaha'o Church construction project that might continue disturbing unmarked native Hawaiian graves took a stand yesterday on the steps of Hawaii's oldest Christian sanctuary to protect their ancestors, or kupuna, buried on the grounds.

The peaceful protest began before dawn with a Hawaiian prayer and nearly ended with police arrests.

"We're calling this a protest but we're standing for our kupuna," Halealoha "Eddie" Ayau told the group, which grew to about 50 people.

Kamuela Kala'i, whose great-great-great-grandfather, the Rev. Moses Mathew Kuaea, was ordained at Kawaiaha'o in 1854 and buried somewhere on church grounds after he died in 1884, said it's her responsibility to make sure no one digs him up.

"I have asked, I have pleaded, now I am demanding ... this is where we take the stand," Kala'i said. "I am not going to let anybody touch my tutu."

The gathering prompted the church to tell those assembled that no excavation work would take place for the day but that arrests would be made if demonstrators didn't move off church property.

Members of the group countered that they, as native Hawaiians with ancestors buried on church grounds, had a right to be on the property and protect their departed family members as well as their cultural values that decry disturbing human remains, or iwi.

Protesters prepared to be arrested as police arrived, but church leaders ultimately reversed their position on arrests.

Still, church officials said their intention is to proceed with excavation work for a long-planned $17.5 million multipurpose building and that it believes they believe the concerns of opponents are invalid because the burials and disinterments follow Christian beliefs.

"This is our hale pule" -- our house of prayer, Kawaiaha'o Pastor Curtis Kekuna told the protesters, saying that the group's concerns already have been heard at numerous meetings over the last few years. "When does this end?"

The protesters vowed to keep a watchful eye over the construction site and return if necessary. They said yesterday's event was a small victory in what could be a long battle.

"This will help us to build as we struggle on," said Kalei Baldwin, who traveled from Maui to participate. "Our kupuna are under attack."

After the demonstration, many who gathered at the church attended a meeting of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees and asked that OHA rescind or recover a $1 million grant made to the church for the multipurpose building project.

Emily Kandagawa told trustees she is disturbed that OHA supports a project whose leaders have dismissed the cultural values held by many OHA beneficiaries.

"It's unacceptable," she said.

OHA has been urging the church to work out its differences with project opponents before doing any more excavation work, but the church hasn't agreed to the request.

Opponents said they will ask the Legislature to rescind a $1 million appropriation made for the project.

To some involved, a physical protest appeared to be a last resort. "What's the use of having discussions if you're not going to take the manao (opinion) to heart?" asked Kaanohi Kaleikini. "(The church) agrees we need to talk but in the meantime says we will start digging."

Added Kamuela Kala'i: "If they bring the shovels out, we're going to stop them. It really doesn't have to come to this."

The multipurpose building has been in the works for more than five years. The two-story facility is designed with classrooms, conference rooms, a $1 million kitchen, a library, bookstore, church archives and a small museum of church antiquities.

Likeke Hall, a building dating to 1940, was torn down in 2008 to make way for the new building. But trenching work for utilities begun in January 2009 unearthed 69 sets of unmarked human burials. Work was halted that March, and two lawsuits challenging the proj-ect were filed.

In recent months the church overcame the lawsuits -- settling one and winning an early round in the other -- and announced in January that construction would proceed without an archaeological inventory survey.

The church also obtained a permit from the state Department of Health to disinter any more remains on the site.

Kawaiaha'o officials contend that any inadvertent discoveries are exempt from the state's native Hawaiian burial law, which gives special protections to such burials, because the remains found so far were Christian burials of native Hawaiians mostly in coffins on the grounds of a church cemetery.

State officials, including the attorney general, have accepted this view.

Opponents of the church project also say the church is misrepresenting the role of a committee of cultural experts that advised the church on the project. Some former committee members said they never condoned or approved digging up whole sets of remains.

"This is a fundamental, core cultural issue," said Maui's Baldwin. "We are here making a stand to say no kupuna will be dug up."

-------------------

http://www.staradvertiser.com/editorials/20110320_Kawaiahao_burials_dispute_a_defining_moment_for_Hawaiians.html
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Sunday March 20
Commentary

Kawaiahao burials dispute a defining moment for Hawaiians

by Peter Apo [elected OHA trustee for Oahu in November 2010]

It was bound to happen sooner or later — a collision between two belief systems, one rooted in centuries-old Hawaiian cultural kapu and traditions, and the other, also centuries old, the Christian religion.

For decades, Hawaiian pastors have been able to deftly navigate between the two worlds in a strange accommodation and mutual tolerance of Hawaiian practices and Christian dogma.

With the Christian cross in the one hand and the four major Hawaiian deities of Ku, Kane, Kanaloa and Lono in the other, we've remained relatively and amazingly conflict-free — until now.

No question that Hawaiians by the hundreds of thousands have embraced Christianity, as manifested in the evolution of deep and abiding traditions such as Hawaiian music sung joyfully by congregations of Hawaiians, and Christian blessing ceremonies performed by Hawaiian kahu.

At the same time, Hawaiians have also retrieved and returned to holding reverent traditions cast out by the first missionaries such as hula, the family aumakua, and ceremonial chants acknowledging the Hawaiian pantheon of gods manifesting themselves in nature.

One of these deeply held Hawaiian traditions is the reverence and kapu placed on burials — to hold sacrosanct the dignity of ancestral remains to be left undisturbed in their final resting places.

From this belief sprang a complicated regime of burial laws, supported by federal legislation (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act or NAGPRA) that echo the same principles of public policy.

Disturbing, or worse, attempting to remove and re-bury ancestral remains for any reason, requires navigating a complex and unpredictable public process with the benefit of the doubt going to the lineal descendants of those in the ground.

No one foresaw that Kawaiahao, the church of the alii, the bedrock of Hawaiian spiritual institutions, would opt for the lowest standard of burial disturbances provided by law.

Because the church is on the grounds of a formally designated cemetery, they sought and were granted a state Board of Health ruling that placed them outside the state's native Hawaiian burial laws and federal NAGPRA. They are exempted from meeting the far more rigorous standards of Hawaiian burial law.

Even worse, under the health law they are required — yes, required — to dig up all of the iwi under the new building's footprint. These iwi could number in the hundreds.

Auwe.

This legal shortcut has set up a collision course. No matter that the church has won a legal battle in getting their exemption; it seems that kupuna wisdom would tell them that the best approach they can take is to willingly rise to the highest standard of respect for Hawaiian ancestral burials, which would be to voluntarily comply with national and state policy on the subject.

This would require, at a minimum, preparing a burial plan.

It might also require redesigning the project to minimize burial disturbances.

This course of action would drive up the cost of the project, which is no small matter.

But the church must rise to a higher level of cultural morality in order to preserve more than a hundred years of mutual respect and understanding between the two belief systems.

This is a defining moment in Hawaiian history.

The church has always shown great dignity and respect for Hawaiian culture. Kawaiahao, as the church of the alii, must find a way to turn conflict into opportunity and rise to leadership that brings us together as a people, with honor and dignity.

Meanwhile, put the shovels down and start listening to each other.

-----------------------

http://honoluluweekly.com/letters/2011/03/re-kawaiahao-church/
Honolulu Weekly, March 23, 2011

Re: Kawaiahao Church

Two recent articles by Joan Conrow in the Honolulu Weekly paint a distorted picture of events that have taken place at Kawaiahao Church. In addition to factual errors in both articles, the editorial slant and the prominence given to claims made by those who oppose the church’s new facility do a disservice to the church, its congregation and its mission.

The church’s side of the story is only briefly shoe-horned in near the end of each article. To begin, there is no issue, as the first article claims, about whether the Oahu Island Burial Council or state agencies have authority over any iwi discovered. The circuit court and the attorney general both agreed that the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) is the authority, not the burial council. SHPD sets the conditions under which the project will proceed.

Neither is there any question about the nature of burials. In the recent decision by the Circuit Court, the judge reaffirmed that the burials that have been discovered at Kawaiahao cemetery are consistent with Christian burials and not consistent with ancient pre-contact native Hawaiian burial practices. You wouldn’t realize it from reading Ms. Conrow’s articles, but no marked burials have been disturbed during any excavation.

While some iwi were found while excavating for a column footing in one corner of the building, most were discovered during trenching for a utility line, under a roadway and a parking lot in use for more than 60 years.

The members of Kawaiahao Church want the readers of Honolulu Weekly to know we are saddened by the unintentional discovery of the burials. But we honor them and the others that are buried within our cemetery by continuing the church’s mission in which they believed. Our new facility is critical to that mission. That is why we are building it.

Juliette Galuteria
Honolulu

-------------------

http://www.staradvertiser.com/columnists/nameinthenews/20110325_Curt_Kekuna.html
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, March 25, 2011

Curt Kekuna
The pastor of Kawaiahao Church reminds critics that the history of his congregation is that it is native Hawaiian but also Christian

By Vicki Viotti

These have not been the most peaceful of times in the cemetery of Kawaiahao Church, but the Rev. Curt Kekuna believes his congregation ultimately will prove to be on the right path all the same.

The pastor of the historic Hawaiian church has been dealing with the ongoing legal battles over a plan to build a new multipurpose center on the spot where Likeke Hall, now demolished, was built in 1940.

To say it's been a rocky road would be an understatement. Construction on the $17.5 million project started in January 2009 but was halted when human remains, finally tallied at 69 sets, were unearthed.

Two lawsuits were filed that summer over the resulting disinterments, both alleging the project ran afoul of Hawaiian burial review processes; one, by Abigail Kawananakoa, Campbell Estate heiress and descendent of Queen Kapiolani, has been settled, and Kekuna declined to discuss that.

But the second, by Hawaiian practitioner Dana Naone Hall, is proceeding to trial, and occasional protests staged outside the sanctuary have kept the church in the headlines, and not in the way Kekuna would have liked. He said the church position in all this has not correctly reached the community; the following excerpts came from a meeting he and church representatives held with the Star-Advertiser editorial board.

Among other points, Kekuna asserted that remains have been treated respectfully, that the church has held multiple meetings with descendents and is discussing ways it may reduce excavation, and that further fundraising is likely needed to overcome the added costs of court and delays.

But he's anything but apologetic about pursuing a project he believes the kupuna buried at Kawaiahao would have endorsed as Christian goals.

"It's all about what they wanted to do 190 years ago until even today," he said. "And that's what we're doing: honoring God, loving one another and making disciples. Holomua … that's what we're going towards."

QUESTION: What is the history of this project?

ANSWER: Back in 1940, we built Likeke Hall, and that was a fellowship hall. And prior to that, in 1929, we completed an admin building. And what we’re doing now is kind of following that footstep, because what we’re doing is we also see the tremendous need we have today. The old building, bless her heart, is dilapidated and wasn’t quite fitting our needs. We found the need to have a Sunday school building as well as a fellowship hall, as well as all the offices together, and that’s what we’re doing today. … We’re strategically placed. So what we want to do is to use that position to be a minister to the community at large.

Q: Would you say the committee contacting burial descendants did its job properly?

A: I wasn’t part of that committee, so I don’t know the discussions that went into who were we going to be contacting, and so forth. … There was a committee that was set up to deal with if we found any iwi. They’re called the Na Iwi Committee. ... And the clearest thing we could do is this: No one knows who they were; unmarked, we don’t have any idea who they are. So the smartest thing to do is, OK, maybe families work, in terms of cemeteries, by proximity. You go to most cemeteries, you see several names are the same. So what they did is they contacted the nearest ones that they knew of, nearest in proximity to where the iwi were found. …

Q: Was the incompleteness of burial recordkeeping part of the problem?

A: That is the issue. But please know that this whole cemetery, record-keeping, burial-ground thing is pretty much a science in the last 40 or 50 years, but it wasn’t back then. ... But secondly, I think what’s important to remember is it’s a Herculean task to contact people (when) you don’t know who’s there. Because nobody knows who they are, so who do you contact? … But the other task, too, I want you to understand, is … when people were buried there, the kuleana (responsibility) was given to the ohana (family), not just to the church. The ohana had to keep records, and they’re supposed to supply the church with all those records. Well, the way things go, some did, most didn’t. So we don’t have any complete records.

Q: Who are the people who are protesting outside the church?

A: They are folks who are opposed and … it’s a moving target because it depends on who you talk to, of what they want to accomplish. Those that have been there as of late, if I hear them correctly ... they just want to have nothing, that the iwi kupuna stay in their place, and nothing is done to them, and don’t build anything.

Q: Are they speaking as native Hawaiians or as Christians, members of the church?

A: Well, first of all, they’re not members of the church because I know all the members of my church … and then secondly, when you say, “Are they speaking as Christians?” — that may be another issue — I can’t answer that; only they can answer that.

Q: How do you respond to those who say just by the very nature of your Hawaiianness, that you should treat these as native Hawaiian rather than Christian burials?

A: I would have to go back to our deeded conveyance by King Kamehameha III. … It’s stated in his deed that what we are to do here is the Christian practice. … So in a sense it has already been dictated. You cannot separate: OK, this is a church, but aside of the Christian practice we have to follow the Hawaiian practices. … It’s a difficult thing when we start to get into the Hawaiian culture to try and be sensitive and listen to the feelings that Hawaiians have, because that’s an important part of our culture. We’re feeling people … so I can understand why the comment would be made: “Well, what about the Hawaiian side?” And my response to that is, I’m following what King Kamehameha III said. I’m doing what the congregation has been doing for190 years. To lay aside the Christian aspect of this whole controversy would be really to negate what we’ve been doing for 190 years. So I can’t go there.

Q: Do you acknowledge a divide between Hawaiian culture and Christianity?

A: I think this is important: Queen Kaahumanu accepted the Christian faith. So did Keopuolani. So did Hewahewa. So did Kalani-moku, and everyone on down the line in our history. Now, let me ask you a question: Are they Hawaiian or not? Absolutely. Just because we’re Christian doesn’t make us not Hawaiian. But that’s the tone of what I’m getting from those folks. “How can you do this? You’re Hawaiian!” Whoa. Time out. Are you telling me my queen wasn’t, then? She accepted Christianity. So I just want to make sure we have a full picture. Because what I’m finding is, there are folks defining who we are, according to their own definition. And I don’t buy it. I’m not buying into it. So when I answer your question, I’m trying to be very careful how I answer your question, because I cannot remove the Christian aspect of who we are. Hold it: I’m a pastor — did you know that? (Laughs.)

Q: Are there iwi reburied at Kawaiahao that were relocated from the Queen Street area?

A: There’s talk about where they came from. Maybe at a previous time the cemetery may have gone out that far but when they widened the streets from paths, eminent domain, the city just grabbed that. Or, sometimes maybe people just buried them outside the walls of the cemetery, just to get close.

Q: Did this controversy cause a rift within your own congregation?

A: Let me answer this in two parts.
When we started this building, there were a minority of folks who were asking hard questions about the project. They weren’t quite along with the project. Therefore, the vote that happened twice, these folks were definitely voting against it. For what reasons, I don’t know — all of them are individual reasons, but together they banded together. And when I say “they” … let’s say 10. And that’s been pretty consistent throughout the project. They always told me they’re not against the project, they’re against the building that we have ... the design, the cost, whatever it is.
Subsequently, though, you are asking about this controversy and what it’s done. It has galvanized the church. It’s brought people closer together. In fact, in a sense, I don’t want to go through this again, but there are more people coming to church now … and do you know who they are? They’re Hawaiians. They’re coming to the church now. And that’s been kinda fun to see.

Q: Do you feel any conflict yourself?

A: I hear this a lot. I have not thrown away my Hawaiian culture. All I know is, I’m a pastor, and I’m a Hawaiian, and I don’t think they’re incongruent with one another. And I believe, even today, even as our queen didn’t think it was incongruent back then, 190 years ago, I don’t believe it is, either. … But, if anything is hewa (wrong, offensive), it’s when you come to the church, and you start to make these pronouncements about the church, when you’re not even a member of the church. They don’t know what we’ve done, what we’ve gone through. Yet at the same time, they purport to speak for the church. And that’s hewa. Big time.

Q: Part of the issue is that this church is a prominent representative of Hawaiians. Do you have the sense they’re trying to put a responsibility on you that you don’t want?

A: Oh, no. Bring it on. Don’t even give the impression I’m trying to move away from this. This is my responsibility. And Kawaiahao has accepted that responsibility. We need to be those folks who represent what’s true, even in the Hawaiian culture. … Don’t divorce me from my culture, or my history. That’s what they represent, that’s what the church represented, back in the day. It was a Christian Hawaiian church, back in the day. It still is today. ... These folks, “visitors” who are coming to us and trying to redefine, they’re telling me I’m desecrating the iwi?
Let me make this real clear. Those folks (iwi kupuna) who are there are our kuleana. …They’re not lineal descendants; how can they prove that, when nobody knows who that (iwi kupuna) is? … This is our aina, given to us. That makes it our kuleana, not yours just because you say so. Secondly: Desecration? Where’s the desecration? If that’s my iwi kupuna, I can guarantee what they’ll say to me. …That’s my iwi kupuna because they understood: Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, but our spirits are in heaven.

--------------------

http://www.staradvertiser.com/business/20110503_kawaiahao_restarts_construction_project.html
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, May 3, 2011

Kawaiaha'o restarts construction project
Despite changes to lessen disturbance of graves, opponents still object to the building

By Andrew Gomes

Kawaiaha‘o Church resumed construction on a multipurpose building yesterday after making changes that include reducing the amount of ground excavation that could disturb unmarked graves.

Still, opposition to the project remains from some native Hawaiians with ancestors buried in the area, and protest demonstrations are expected.

Kawaiaha‘o Kahu Curt Kekuna said in a statement that discussions with opponents through the last few months led to significant design changes, though differences remain.

"Over the past three months, the church has genuinely tried to reach a resolution and to bridge differences, going so far as to implement changes to its plans, at considerable added expense to the church," Kekuna said. "Unfortunately, at this time we have been unable to resolve all of our differences, and we will be resuming excavation activities as permitted under state regulations and (a) court decision."

Construction of the $17.5 million multipurpose center for the Hono lulu church known as "the Westminster Abbey of Hawaii" was halted two years ago after the church unearthed 69 sets of human remains while using heavy equipment mostly to dig utility line trenches.

Work was scheduled to resume in February after the church received approval from the state Department of Health to disinter any remains discovered, and a Circuit Court judge refused to block construction. But protests on the day work resumed in early February prompted the church to hold off.

The church began digging test trenches yesterday using hand shovels to sample the presence of any human remains. The test trenching is a requirement of the state Historic Preservation Division, which must be notified of any discoveries of bones, or iwi.

The potential for discoveries has been significantly reduced, church officials say, because of a redesigned foundation for the building that is 21⁄2 feet deep instead of six to eight feet under the previous design. Subterranean space for an emergency generator and air-conditioning equipment also was eliminated.

The church said meetings with project opponents will continue. However, some are adamant that no iwi be disturbed because native Hawaiian cultural traditions regard burials as sacrosanct.

"If they bring the shovels out, we're going to stop them," vowed Kamu ela Kalai in February.

Kawaiaha‘o officials are asking that any demonstrations be conducted safely and respectfully off church property. The church has stationed several private security guards at property entrances.

Officials of Hawaii's oldest church and Christian cemetery contend that burials on the site should fall under the church's domain and be relocated to allow Kawaiaha‘o to improve its property.

A state law gives special protections to native Hawaiian burials that in some cases lead to iwi being left in place, but there is an exemption if burials are in known, maintained and actively used cemeteries. The law allows those remains to be moved.

Opponents of the Kawaiaha‘o expansion said the project site isn't part of an actively used cemetery.

The project site was formerly occupied by Likeke Hall, a church office building and a small parking lot.

A state judge agreed with the church that any inadvertent iwi discoveries are exempt from the state's native Hawaiian burial law, in part because the remains found so far were Christian burials of native Hawaiians mostly in coffins on church grounds. The Department of Health concurred and issued a blanket disinterment permit.

The multipurpose building has been in the works for more than five years.

The two-story facility is designed with classrooms, conference rooms, a $1 million kitchen, a library, bookstore, church archives and a small museum of church antiquities.

---------------------

http://www.oha.org/kwo/2011/09/KWO1109.pdf
Ka Wai Ola [monthly OHA newspaper], September, 2011, page 20

A personal story of Kawaiaha‘o

-----------

Editor’s note: The following account was written by Gabriel Man. Puakea Nogelemier wrote the introduction. Man is a writer, filmmaker and a documentarian of Hawaiian culture; Nogelmeier is a University of Hawai‘i Professor of Hawaiian language and serves as a community resource. They provide this account on behalf of Jen Gonsalves, describing her experience regarding iwi that have been dug up at Kawaiaha‘o Church in preparation for constructing a multipurpose building. This is the first of a two-part kükäkükä. The views expressed in this community forum are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

By Gabriel Man and Puakea Nogelmeier

I’m never quite sure how to react to people who deal with ‘uhane. I don’t see spirits myself, but there have been a mix of folks in my past and present who really do. Some have impressed me with their calm acceptance and integration of this extra sense, and those few keep me wondering if my five senses are not quite a full package.

Talking with Jen was like that. A local mom of two pre-teens, she balances work, home and family. Perfectly good-natured about life, not needing to be special, she was tasked with an important message about Kawaiaha‘o Church. Not a member of Kawaiaha‘o’s congregation, she sees herself as a bridge, not a source; a messenger, not a doer. She shared her story with us, talking for about an hour, explaining what happened in the course of a few days.

-----------

I have not been connected with my Hawaiian roots until recently, even though I’m from Pauoa Valley. When I was 5 we moved to the mainland, so I grew up half in San Francisco and half with my Chinese grandma in Honolulu. My grandpa was the Hawaiian one, but he passed away when my father was very young. So every summer and Christmas holiday I’d live with my grandma here in Pauoa, until my sophomore year in high school when I moved back here to stay.

It was around that time that I started to see and hear things. I tended to just blow it off and pretend they weren’t there, but as I got older it happened more and more. I’ve always had a struggle with this gift of so-called second sight. I never asked to be able to communicate with ‘uhane, or spirits, but at some point I realized it wasn’t going away, so I accepted it as part of my life and began to actively nurture it. I don’t tell many people about it, and some of my closest friends don’t even know. It’s not that I am ashamed or fearful about what they would say, it’s just that I know that some people aren’t ready to hear about it. We all know that there are people who are uncomfortable talking about spiritual or so-called extrasensory matters, and I don’t feel it is necessarily my job to change them.

Fast forward to 2009. By then, I was married with two kids, both of whom were attending the Kawaiaha‘o Church School. My son had been enrolled since 2003, my daughter since 2005. Well, right around the time they were digging the iwi (bones) out of the ground to make way for construction, I pulled my kids out of the school and enrolled them elsewhere, for reasons beyond what was going on with the iwi. I did however continue to attend an ‘ölelo Hawai‘i class for mäkua that is offered there one night a week.

On Sept. 17, 2009, several months after the iwi were excavated, I am at this class when something unexpected happens.

We are out in the fire lane between Pünana Leo and Kawaiaha‘o Church School, I am facing the playground behind Pünana Leo, and I see this old Hawaiian man, an ‘uhane, in dark vest and slacks and a blousy white shirt like folks used to wear back in the day, standing barefoot on the playground. I’ve seen this man twice before in the church, mostly leaning on the upstairs balcony, checking people out. Before this night I had tried to talk to him, but he had never given me the time of day. So this time, I’m sitting in class and there he is again, so I try talking to him again in my head. And this time, he responds.

He turns around, looks at me, waves his arms in front of him indicating the ground and says, “Mälama.”

I say back to him, “Oh, you mean the iwi?”

“ ‘Ae,” he responds.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” I tell him. “I feel bad about that too, but I can’t do anything about it. I’m just a parent here.”

My friend who was with me at the class notices I’m not paying attention and asks what’s going on. As I’m sharing with her what I’m seeing, all of a sudden I just start crying, uncontrollably. The sadness is too much. My friend asks if I’m OK. I say “No!” and I run inside and go upstairs to try and gain composure in private. From the upstairs window I can see the ‘uhane, and he’s looking up at me. At that point I started to pray. So I’m praying to God to break the connection and have the man leave me alone, because what I realized is that the man was making me feel what he felt.

Gradually, I gain my composure. The rest of the class comes inside, sits on the floor, and I join them. By now it is dark out and the class is about to end.

I look behind me and the man is there at the door, telling me to come outside. I tell him no, I already interrupted class once for him and am not going to do it again, so he’ll have to wait. He becomes very insistent, and since I won’t come, he makes me cry uncontrollably again. So now, as I am disrupting class for the second time, I have no choice but to leave.

I get up, I walk outside and follow him down the walkway to the back of the stairs that overlook the cemetery and the construction site. The man waves his arms in front of him indicating the entire area and says once again, “Mälama.”

I’m having this conversation in my head with him. I can see his thoughts and I can feel his feelings, and his message to me is, “You have to put the iwi back.”

“Yes, I know,” I tell him. “But you’re talking to the wrong person. I have no power or authority to make that decision.” Then I ask him, hypothetically, “If they were to put the iwi back, can they build their building?” And he replies, “Yes. But on top the ground, no digging.”

More in feeling than in words, he lets me know that he doesn’t care what my problem is, that the situation is a mess, and I just need to make it right.

So I ask him, “Are you one of the iwi that have been disturbed?”

And he replies: “No, I’m not even buried here. I take care of this place.”

Up to that point, I had never sought to contact any ‘uhane; they had always just appeared to me, unbidden. But shortly after that episode at the church, myself and three members of the O‘ahu Island Burial Council returned with just that intention: to take up the conversation again with “Uncle George” – the name I chose for the spirit since he wouldn’t tell me his actual name – and ask him what should be done to solve the problem of the iwi. He had instructed me briefly that first night that the iwi should be returned to the ground and a building constructed that required no digging, but besides exhorting me “ ‘Eleu, ‘eleu,” – to get to it and look lively – that was it. We needed more to go on.

In the days in between, I had nightly dreams of Kawaiaha‘o Church and Lunalilo’s tomb and Pauoa cemetery, which is a block from my house. On the eve of the big night, I awoke to the voice that I assumed to be Uncle George’s saying: “In order to have a peaceful solution to this problem, you must first have forgiveness. The mindset has to change from a modern, legal and logistical one to a spiritual one.”

The Burial Council folks were excited that a guiding voice had emerged, and I shared their excitement. But I also saw the great challenge that would lie ahead no matter what, because as we all know, forgiveness and a disavowal of our “modern, legal and logistical” mindset is a thing more easily said than done.

In addition to this last message, Uncle George advised that when I go to Kawaiaha‘o with my folks, I should bring ho‘okupu of ‘uala, ‘ölena and pa‘akai.

When we got to the plaza that Monday in September at around 5:30, with the ho‘okupu gathered and bundled in ti leaf, it was completely overcast, no breeze, very hot and sticky. It felt like it was going to storm. One of us led a prayer on the steps of the church, and while this was happening I briefly saw Uncle George standing over by the bookstore.

After that, the group of us went over to the walled off construction site. One of us who was so inclined tore away one of the nailed down wood panels and we went inside the excavation area. Right in the middle of the dirt there, we joined hands in prayer once again. Our eloquent companion’s oli went on for several minutes. Beautiful and heartfelt, the prayer was a request for guidance and forgiveness in this time of indecision and crisis. During the oli, Uncle George appeared again, this time on the stairs leading down from the sanctuary of the church. He had his head lowered and was wailing and crying into his hands. Toward the end of the oli, he stood up and went off toward Lunalilo’s tomb, saying, “When you pau, meet me over there.” He also kept repeating the words, “What they say and what they do are two different things,” and I knew the “they” meant the Church.

After the oli was completed, I told the others what was up. And as we were making our way toward the tomb, he did it to me again. I break down wailing and sobbing just as I saw him doing on the stairs. I had a hard time breathing and could not compose myself. I prayed to God for help, and I asked Uncle George to please stop, telling him, “I am here to help, and I cannot help you when I’m like this, crying my eyes out.” So he did. He let me go, and I gradually came to myself again.

----------------

http://www.staradvertiser.com/newspremium/20111023_Remains_disinterred_at_church_set_ablaze.html?id=132400178
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, October 23, 2011

Remains disinterred at church set ablaze

By Gary T. Kubota

Remains exhumed during archaeological work at Kawaiaha'o Church were intentionally set on fire earlier this month, police say. The incident has been classified as "abuse of a corpse," police spokesman Caroline Sluyter said Friday.

The fire was discovered on the morning of Oct. 10 at a dig at the church's historic cemetery. The archaeological work is being done ahead of construction of a foundation for a multipurpose center.

In an emailed statement, church officials said the remains in the grave had been covered with a paper cushion and plywood. "Nothing of this nature has occurred during the more than three years the project site has been in existence," church officials said.

The Rev. Curt Kekuna of Kawaiaha'o Church said the congregation and clergy were saddened by the harm and also worried that the fire could have destroyed the church. "The fact that the malicious fire affected the remains of presumably one of our church's earlier members has caused a great deal of pain for all of us at Kawaiahao," Kekuna said.

Kawaiaha'o Church, built in 1842, was frequently a place of worship by Hawaiian royalty.

In January, Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto denied a preliminary injunction against native Hawaiians who wanted the church to provide an archaeological inventory before developing the multipurpose center.

Church officials said they have increased security and repaired a construction fence damaged in the incident. The church said the vandalism was discovered by the archaeological contractor, Cultural Resources Hawaii.

-----------------

http://www.staradvertiser.com/editorialspremium/letterspremium/20111030_Letters_to_the_Editor.html?id=132844743
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, October 30, 2011
Letter to editor

Kawaiahao to blame for iwi desecration

How is it that iwi kupuna, human remains, were left exposed and unprotected by Cultural Surveys Hawaii at Kawaiahao Church to be desecrated and burned ("Remains disinterred at church set ablaze," Star-Advertiser, Oct. 23)? Kawaiahao Church perpetrates its own desecration by paying CSH to dig up human remains because these iwi kupuna are in the way of a building they plan to construct on a wing and a prayer.

Kawaiahao Church disregards its sacred kuleana and responsibility to malama and protect the iwi kupuna who lay in the shadow of their church. This is a desecration of the highest order. Excavations continue at Kawaiahao with no regard for the families who have come forward time and time again to plead and insist that this horrible act cease and desist.

This desecration falls squarely on the shoulders of those who condone it. Let it be. The kupuna will have the last word. And when they do, heaven help us all.

Kapuananialiiokama Kala'i
Kaneohe

-----------------

http://www.staradvertiser.com/businesspremium/20111125_Lawsuit_again_stops_Kawaiahao_work.html?id=134481458
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, November 25, 2011

Lawsuit again stops Kawaiaha'o work
A hearing set for today will deal with the complaint about human burials

By Andrew Gomes

Kawaiaha'o Church has stopped construction again on a controversial multipurpose building -- this time because of a complaint that the church is disregarding a state requirement to remove human burials found on the construction site.

Paulette Kaleikini filed a lawsuit last week against the church and state officials, alleging that the historic Honolulu church was moving ahead with compacting the ground and pouring a concrete foundation without fulfilling an agreement to disinter and relocate burials to another part of the church's cemetery.

Circuit Court Judge Edwin Nacino granted a temporary restraining order, halting construction, and has scheduled a hearing on the issue for today.

It is the second time that work has been stopped since construction initially began in early 2009 on the $17.5 million multipurpose building. The facility is intended to help the 159-year-old church, referred to as "the Westminster Abbey of Hawaii," broaden its mission and membership.

It is also the third time the church has been sued over the project that has incensed native Hawaiians who insist their cultural beliefs in iwi kupuna, or ancestral bones, should be respected.

Kaleikini, who is recognized as having ancestors buried on Kawaiaha'o grounds, called the church barbaric for refusing to accommodate Hawaiian families who don't want their ancestors desecrated.

"They call Kawaiaha'o a church, but actually it's a corporation doing business under the name of Christ," she said. "They're just a bunch of hooligans rampaging through the cemetery digging up ancestral bones like it's Halloween."

"If the bones were their ancestors, it would be their business," Kaleikini said. "But these are not their ancestors. I am a state recognized lineal descendant of kupuna buried in the project site area and my ohana does mind that they are desecrating the remains of our kupuna."

Church spokesman John Williamson said church officials were not prepared to comment publicly, but would respond to the lawsuit in court.

Kaleikini's suit claims that the church agreed to look for and remove any burials on the project site under conditions imposed by the State Historic Preservation Division of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The suit claims the church is now moving forward with construction without removing the burials underneath.

Though Kaleikini seeks to prevent construction of the new building because burials have not been removed, she also is against removing burials.

Kaleikini, also known as Ka'anohi Kaleikini, contends in her lawsuit that three members of her family -- David Kanuha, Esther Holstein and Mary Kamaka -- are buried at the building site.

"Building the multipurpose center on top of graves violates ... the disinterment permit" the state gave the church, allowing it to move forward with construction, the suit said.

Kaleikini's suit said there are at least seven known burials on the site, and that church archaeologists have identified 52 pit features that could be burials.

The building site is next to Kawaiaha'o's main church building on land formerly occupied by a parking lot, offices and Likeke Hall. The church built Likeke Hall in 1940 on part of its cemetery, and disintered 117 burials during construction. Likeke was demolished in 2008.

The state Department of Health issued a disinterment permit in October 2010 to allow construction of the building to proceed after a two-year suspension triggered when 69 burials were unearthed while utility line trenches were dug. Certain conditions were attached to the permit.

After construction was cleared to resume, the church announced in January it would proceed with hand excavation. Native Hawaiians opposed to disturbing iwi protested on church grounds, but the church vowed to continue with its building while also trying to work out differences with opponents.

A key condition of the disinterment permit required the church to excavate the entire site 4 feet deep to insure no human burials remained on the site. This was a DLNR condition.

In July, the church notified DLNR in a letter that it had reached a "uniform" agreement with interested parties to limit excavation to 15 percent of the site, essentially the area for foundation footings.

The church said in its letter that it didn't regard the change as substantive, and suggested it was "clarifying" the disinterment permit that called for total site excavation.

Kaleikini's suit claims the church, by not excavating the entire site, violated conditions of the permit and construction should be halted.

DLNR and the Health Department, two agencies mentioned in the lawsuit, would not comment because the litigation is pending.

Kaleikini's lawsuit follows two others filed in connection with the building.

Hawaiian cultural specialist Dana Naone Hall, whose relatives are buried at Kawaiaha'o, filed a lawsuit in 2009 contending the state's burial law protecting Native Hawaiian burials was being violated, but a judge in a preliminary opinion said Hall was unlikely to win the case and refused to inhibit construction. The judge ruled the law did not apply because of an exemption for cemeteries, given that the Kawaiaha'o burials were of a Christian nature as evidenced by coffins.

Another suit was filed in 2009 by Abigail Kawananakoa, a relative of Queen Kapiolani, who alleged that trenching work encroached on the family burial plot.

That suit was settled a year ago. The terms were not disclosed.

---------------------

http://www.kitv.com/news/29883700/detail.html
KITV 4, November 29, 2011

Lawsuit To Stop Kawaiahao Church Construction Goes Before Judge
Paulette Kaleikini Claims Family Members' Graves Being Disrupted By Construction

Jill Kuramoto KITV 4 News Reporter

HONOLULU -- The protection and preservation of native Hawaiian burial practices were at the center of Tuesday's hearing in circuit court. Paulette Kaleikini was suing Kawaiahao church and state officials, claiming the church was moving forward with construction on a $17.5 million dollar multipurpose center, without following a state agreement to relocate the graves to another part of the church's cemetery.

Some Native Hawaiian members in the gallery were brought to tears when Office of Hawaiian Affairs compliance manager Kai Markell was called to testify as to the importance of respecting the ancestral remains of Native Hawaiian families.

"The iwi (bones) is what houses the mana, or spiritual power of that individual; it also houses the communication, the conduit, to communicate with that spirit through their iwi, and any type of harm or desecration that comes to that iwi, there's consequences," said Markell.

The church said its agreement with the state is the remains would be rededicated once construction is completed.

But Kaleikini claims the remains of her relatives buried at Kawaiahao are being disturbed and may already be desecrated by the construction project. The church denied the accusation.

"The church is acting in accordance with the permit that had been granted to them by the way of the Department of Health," said Michael Lorusso, attorney for Kawaiahao church.

This is the third lawsuit over the multipurpose building and the second time construction was ordered to stop since work began in 2009. Lawyers for the church said the twisting of facts and rehashing of issues already litigated must stop.

-------

** Online comment by Ken Conklin:

Quoting from the article: "The iwi (bones) is what houses the mana, or spiritual power of that individual; it also houses the communication, the conduit, to communicate with that spirit through their iwi, and any type of harm or desecration that comes to that iwi, there's consequences," said Markell.

Most ethnic Hawaiians today do not believe that, as proved by the fact that many of them get cremated with scattering of ashes. For example, remember the public funerals of Rell Sunn, Israel Kamakawiwoole, and Don Ho. Was burning their bones a desecration? Was scattering their ashes a desecration? Please see a detailed analysis "Hawaiian Bones -- The 3 Rs -- Rites For the Dead, Rights Of the Living, and Respect for All" at http://tinyurl.com/253nj6

---------------------

http://www.staradvertiser.com/businesspremium/20111130_Kawaiahao_construction_stays_offlimits_for_now.html?url=134734538
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, November 30, 2011

Kawaiaha'o construction stays off-limits for now

By Andrew Gomes

A temporary restraining order preventing construction of a multipurpose building at Kawaiaha'o Church will remain in effect at least through Friday as a state judge considers arguments made Tuesday in a lawsuit seeking to stop the controversial project.

The lawsuit, filed two weeks ago by Paulette Kaleikini, alleges that the church is violating a state permit that requires removal of all human burials on the construction site next to the historic Honolulu church's main building.

Kaleikini said three members of her family were buried on the project site when it was used as a cemetery, and no records indicate those remains were previously relocated.

Circuit Court Judge Edwin Nacino previously granted a temporary restraining order until he could hear the case. Kaleikini is seeking a preliminary injunction against further construction.

Church officials on Tuesday said no construction is occurring on top of burials and that careful excavation of the project site will ensure all burials are removed prior to construction of the building in compliance with a state Department of Health permit to disinter graves.

"The church is in compliance with the Department of Health permit," Michael Lorusso, an attorney representing the church, told the judge.

However, David Kimo Frankel, an attorney with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. representing Kaleikini, also raised an issue as to whether state law conflicts with the church's intention to decertify the project site as a cemetery only after the planned building is completed.

The Department of Health, along with the State Historic Preservation Division of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, included decertification after construction as part of conditions for the disinterment permit issued in October 2010.

But Frankel said decertification needs to occur before construction under state law and the decertification process administered by the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, which regulates cemeteries.

Nacino indicated he might issue a ruling on the case by Friday. "The court has to do its homework on this matter," he said.

Nacino said the temporary restraining order will remain in effect at least through Friday.

It is the second time that construction has been stopped since early 2009, when work began on the $17.5 million building. The facility is intended to help the 159-year-old church, referred to as "the Westminster Abbey of Hawaii," broaden its mission and membership.

An initial halt that lasted nearly two years occurred after the church unearthed 69 burials in the process of digging utility line trenches.

Another attempt to prevent construction failed. In that case, Hawaiian cultural specialist Dana Naone Hall filed a lawsuit in 2009 contending the state's burial law protecting Native Hawaiian burials was being violated, but a judge said the law didn't apply because of an exemption for cemeteries, given that the Kawaiaha'o burials were of a Christian nature as evidenced by coffins.

------------------

http://www.staradvertiser.com/editorialspremium/saeditorialspremium/20111202_Dont_build_on_cemetery_prematurely.html?id=134889533
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, December 2, 2011
EDITORIAL

Any project that involves the disinterment of Hawaiian remains is never going to be a simple matter, even if, as in the case of Kawaiaha'o Church, the more straightforward laws governing a Western cemetery would be predominant. Moving the burials of any Hawaiian, regardless of religious tradition, brings additional cultural sensitivities to bear.

However, the proposal to build a multipurpose center on part of Kawaiaha'o's cemetery property, well-intentioned as it may have been, has been mishandled, with enough blame to go around among the church's development team and the state agencies that have been overseeing things.

Today in state Circuit Court, Judge Edwin Nacino is due to resume the hearing of a lawsuit seeking an injunction barring further construction on the site.

The suit was brought by Paulette Kaleikini, who objects to the project, asserting her standing as having family members buried on the construction site. The complaint alleges that the church is violating a state permit that requires removal of all human burials before the center is built.

It's a complicated case, but Nacino is expected to focus on whether state law -- prescribing how the property's dedication to cemetery use is to be decertified -- has been violated. Kaleikini makes the stronger case on at least that point, given the clear legal language on cemetery dedications.

The law, Hawaii Revised Statute 441.15, states that "property dedicated to cemetery purposes shall be held and used exclusively for cemetery purposes unless and until the dedication is removed from all or any part of it." How can the property be seen as being used exclusively for burial purposes if construction already has begun, before all the steps to removal have been taken?

Removal of the dedication, under the law, is to be carried out through a court order and decree to be filed with the state Bureau of Conveyances or Land Court. Subsections 15 and 16 dictate that a hearing must be held, with advance notice, and that the cemetery authority must prove to the court that remains have been disinterred from the site or that it never was used for burials.

Given that reading of the law, it's difficult to see how the Department of Health and the State Historic Preservation Division of the Department of Land and Natural Resources could have issued the disinterment permit to Kawaiaha'o Church in October 2010 and included decertification after, rather than before, construction among the permit conditions.

There's evidence of some interagency discord on this issue. Alvin Onaka, the DOH state registrar, sent a letter dated April 26, 2011, months after the permit issuance, to Frank Pestana, chairman of the church board of trustees.

Onaka acknowledged that his agency doesn't make the final call on decertification -- that falls to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs -- but added that "it is DOH's understanding that decertification must occur prior to the building of the new building."

Regardless of Nacino's ruling, the pursuit of Kawaiaha'o's project is all but certain to involve further litigation, and that's an unfortunate waste of resources all around. But nothing would have been wasted had this project simply followed the correct process, seeing that the cemetery be correctly decertified in full view of affected families and the general public.

Despite all the past and future upheaval at Kawaiaha'o, there is a public interest served in ensuring that the process is upheld, and such a court ruling is critical here.

---------------------

http://www.staradvertiser.com/newspremium/20111203_State_judge_suspends_Kawaiahao_project.html?id=134956168
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, December 3, 2011

State judge suspends Kawaiaha'o project
All burials must be moved before work is allowed to resume on a new building

By Andrew Gomes

A state judge has ordered Kawaiaha'o Church to refrain from any more construction on a multipurpose building until it obtains certification that the project site formerly used as a cemetery is clear of graves.

The ruling, issued by Circuit Judge Edwin Nacino on Friday, is another setback for the controversial project, which endured a nearly two-year delay after initial discoveries of human remains were made in early 2009.

Leaders of Hawaii's oldest church thought they had the go-ahead to resume construction earlier this year after obtaining a permit to disinter graves.

But Paulette Kaleikini, who is related to three people who were buried at the project site, filed a lawsuit last month contending that the church was violating the permit by advancing construction before burials were removed.

Judge Nacino issued a temporary restraining order against construction Nov. 18 until he could hear arguments from both sides. Now the church cannot do any construction work until all burials are removed and the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs decertifies the site as a cemetery.

The church said it intended to remove all burials but argued that it could obtain cemetery decertification after the building was complete. The project does not encroach on Kawaiaha'o's marked cemetery, and the unmarked burials date back about 100 years.

David Kimo Frankel, an attorney with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. representing Kaleikini, criticized the church for the way it has handled the $17.5 million project intended to help the 159-year-old Honolulu church broaden its mission and membership.

"Long before Kawaiaha'o Church began the multipurpose project, it knew that dozens of burials lay in its path," he said. "The church nevertheless plowed forward, looking for loopholes in the law and overlooking the wishes of descendants."

Officials of the church referred to as "the Westminster Abbey of Hawaii" say they have tried to work with descendants to reach an acceptable solution that allows construction, and that they believed they were properly proceeding.

After Nacino's ruling, Kawaiaha'o Kahu Curt Kekuna said, "We will comply with the court's decision and continue to work with the appropriate state agencies."

The church had no estimate as to how much of a delay the new process will cause.

Decertifying a cemetery involves clearing all human remains from the site, then advertising and holding a public hearing. The church is required to excavate at least four feet in search of remains.

Contractors on the project suspect there are five burials on the site next to the church's main building, but there could be more.

Two years ago 69 burials were unearthed when the church began digging utility line trenches for the building.

After the discovery was made public, two lawsuits were filed against the church.

In one case, Hawaiian cultural specialist Dana Naone Hall alleged that a state law protecting Native Hawaiian burials was being violated, but a judge said the law didn't apply because of an exemption for cemeteries, given that the Kawaiaha'o burials were of a Christian nature as evidenced by coffins.

The other lawsuit was filed by Abigail Kawananakoa, a relative of Queen Kapiolani, who alleged that trenching work encroached on the family burial plot. That case was settled under undisclosed terms.


===================

(3) The county of Kauai hired a construction company to prepare a sewage leach field in an area known to have ancient burials. Burials and artifacts were uncovered early during the project, and construction work continued despite the discovery and despite protests.

http://thegardenisland.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_9f932f46-723a-11e0-a92e-001cc4c03286.html
The Garden Island, April 29, 2011

PROTESTERS EDENS, ALALEM ARRESTED FOR OBSTRUCTING A GOVERNMENT OPERATION
Work continues after bones, artifacts unearthed

by Léo Azambuja

WAILUA — Law enforcement officers arrested two protesters Thursday morning for obstructing a contractor hired by the state government to dig a leach field in Kaumuali‘i Park, next to Wailua River, in an area were human skeletons and old Hawaiian artifacts were reportedly unearthed.

“Again, another septic system/leach field on another Hawaiian graveyard,” said Ka‘iulani Edens, who got arrested along with James Alalem. “What are we, the toilet? We kanakas are the toilet. Our sacred sites are toilets.”

Edens said that in August, the state of Hawai‘i started to dig to create a leach field for a septic system in the area, but her and others were able to shut the work down because of the lack of an Environmental Assessment. “They came around the back door and called an emergency Burial Council meeting without notifying any of the lineal and cultural descendants or the community at all,” Edens said.

On Monday contractors started conducting “what it’s called cultural testing, except they were digging with a backhoe, which is really not that groovy if you’re looking for a skull,” she said.

Edens said Waldeen Palmeira tried to stop the work Monday. Edens went to the site on Tuesday and advised Milton Ching — from the Kaua‘i branch of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources — that the digging continue with a shovel.

“Sure enough, they found skeletal remains,” Edens said.

Contracted archaeologist Jim Powell, of Scientific Cultural Surveys, also found artifacts associated with ancient Hawaiian burials, she said.

“These guys are all over the place,” Edens said of Powell’s company, which also surveyed Joe Brescia’s property in Naue, on Kaua‘i’s North Shore. “They are dirty and they are everywhere bones are desecrated.”

Title 13, Chapter 300 of the Hawai‘i Administrative Rules states that it is “unlawful for any person to remove from the jurisdiction of the state, any human skeletal remains over 50 years old, or any associated burial goods, without prior written authorization” from DLNR.

Under HAR, a written request to DLNR should include specific reasons for removal; a description of lineal relationship, if any, between the person requesting removal and the remains; and a written consent of any known lineal descendants.

If DLNR grants a request for removal, the written notification becomes the permit required under section 6E-12 of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes. DLNR spokeswoman Deborah Ward said DLNR Parks Administrator Dan Quinn was unavailable for comment due to attending a Legislature hearing. She said she would try to get a signature today allowing the release of a fact sheet showing a description of the project and what they are doing to comply with the rules.

The fine for a violation is no more than $10,000, according to HAR. But the rules also state that for purposes of calculating a fine, each part of a human skeleton or associated burial goods constitutes “a distinct and separate offense for which the offender may be punished.”

“They didn’t have a permit on site,” Edens said. “I asked to see their permit, the police asked to see their permit, the DLNR asked to see their permit, there was no permit.”

She said she was told the permit would be emailed to her later.

“You and I know if you’re pouring a slab on your backyard and the building inspector comes and you don’t have a permit you are shut down,” Edens said. Instead, Edens and Alalem were arrested and the work continued.

“Some of the officers were crying, they didn’t want to arrest us,” she said. County spokeswoman said Alalem and Edens were arrested by DLNR officers for obstructing with government operations.

“Assisting DLNR with the transport of their arrestees and booking was the extent of our involvement,” said Blane, adding that further details should be obtained from DLNR.

“While they were trying to decide what to do with us, I mentioned that under Geneva Convention Four I’m now a political prisoner and I wanted a military attorney,” she said. “We were released on our own recognizance within 10 minutes. Didn’t even have to post bail.”

Edens said she wanted to reassure that her actions had nothing to do with whether she believes Hawai‘i is a sovereign nation.

“This is a case of government breaking government rules,” she said. But Edens also said that she has no illusions about what is happening. “I know the state of Hawai‘i is interested in covering up our bones, so they can erase our past and recreate our future,” she said. “They want their Disneyland, coconut-bra version of us.”

To her, the most heartbreaking moment of Thursday morning was when the arresting officer, a “big Hawaiian” who had been her classmate, started to cry and begged her to not have to arrest her, Edens said.

“I just held his hand and said ‘you are going to do what you need to do, and I’m going to do what I need to do, and we are going to do it together, because we know what’s right and this is part of it,’” she said.

Edens said she feels sorry for the people who are trying to work within the framework of the government. The officers who arrested her were raised as “proud Americans” and would never imagine they would have to arrest their classmate sitting on their grandparents’ graves.

“The real victims in all of this … are not those of us who are standing up and being sovereign saying ‘here’s the truth, you might not like it but it’s the truth,’” Edens said. “It’s those that a long time ago cast their law with the state of Hawai‘i and now they can’t get out. My mother is one of them.”

• Léo Azambuja, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or lazambuja@ thegardenisland.com.


============

(4) NAGPRA-like issues in other nations, reported in American media. (a) Chanting tribesmen opened a signing ceremony Monday that will see the return of the mummified and tattooed head of a New Zealand Maori after it spent 136 years in a Normandy museum. (b) To determine how common heart disease was in ancient Egypt, scientists performed computer scans on 52 mummies in Cairo and the United States. Among those that still had heart tissue, 44 had chunks of calcium stuck to their arteries — indicating clogging. An Egyptian princess who lived more than 3,500 years ago is the oldest known person to have had clogged arteries, dispelling the myth that heart disease is a product of modern society.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/20110511_Maori_head_returns_to_New_Zealand_after_136_years.html
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, May 10, 2011 breaking news posted at 2:08 AM.

Maori head returns to New Zealand after 136 years

By Cecile Brisson
Associated Press

ROUEN, France >> Chanting tribesmen opened a signing ceremony Monday that will see the return of the mummified and tattooed head of a New Zealand Maori after it spent 136 years in a Normandy museum.

An elaborate ceremony is being held at Rouen City Hall during handover of the head to New Zealand diplomats, the first to be returned from of a total of 16 in France that were once displayed as exotic curiosities

“It’s truly a solemn and symbolic day,” New Zealand ambassador Rosmary Banks said. “We are very happy at the return” of the tattooed head after so many years in Rouen, Banks said.

For years, New Zealand has sought the return of Maori heads kept in collections abroad, many of which were obtained by Westerners in exchange for weapons and other goods.

Dozens of museums worldwide, though not all, have agreed to return them. Maori, the island nation’s indigenous people, believe their ancestors’ remains should be respected in their home area without being disturbed.

Michelle Hippolite, a Maori spiritual leader and co-director of the museum in Wellington that will take possession of the head, welcomed the return. She said that the other 15, now at museum all around France, will be returned in 2012.

Hippolite said that “though it may appear” that Rouen’s museum is losing part of its collection, it is gaining “an ongoing relationship with a modern people, a people of its time who are tenacious, a people of its time who are courageous.”

The Rouen Museum tried once before, in 2007, to return the head but was stopped at the last minute by the Culture Ministry of France. France considers human remains conserved in museums to be part of its cultural or scientific heritage. A law was passed last year allowing the return of the heads.

French Sen. Catherine Morin-Desailly authored the bill to return the heads. Scientists at Wellington’s Te Papa museum will attempt to identify the head’s tribe, after which it will be returned to the tribe for burial.

Some Maori heads, with intricate tattoos, were traditionally kept as trophies from tribal warfare. But once Westerners began offering prized goods in exchange for them, men were in danger of being killed simply for their tattoos, French museum officials have said.

Little is known about how the Rouen Museum acquired a Maori head in 1875, offered by a Parisian named Drouet.

“It’s an enigma,” said museum director Sebastien Minchin, adding that neither Drouet’s full name nor profession is known.

Until 1996, when the museum was closed for a decade, the head was displayed with the prehistoric collection.

“As was done at the time, they compared the ’savage’ from the other side of the world with our local cavemen,” Minchin said in a telephone interview.

When Minchin became director in 2006 and discovered the head, he decided to store it because exposing it “could pose problems” for both the Maoris and the public.

Minchin said that the problem goes beyond legal issues in France. He said he was criticized for opening “Pandora’s box” when he first tried to return the head.

“There is a fear of emptying our museums,” he said. “There is a fear of restitution demands for other human remains, and notably Egyptian mummies.”

France passed a special law before the 2002 return to South Africa of the skeleton and bottled organs of Saartjie Baartman, a 19th century African woman exhibited in Paris and London, sometimes in a cage, sometimes dressed in feathers, under the pejorative nickname, “the Hottentot Venus.”

** See Item 7(a) from NAGPRA Hawaii 2009 which reports similar but different details about what appears to be the same story (apparently there was a political glitch 2 years ago).

-------------------

http://thegardenisland.com/news/world/article_3deb9ea9-3220-5ecd-9741-691ef057ee26.html
The Garden Island [Kaua'i], May 17, 2011

Egyptian princess was first to have heart disease

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — An Egyptian princess who lived more than 3,500 years ago is the oldest known person to have had clogged arteries, dispelling the myth that heart disease is a product of modern society, a new study says.

To determine how common heart disease was in ancient Egypt, scientists performed computer scans on 52 mummies in Cairo and the United States. Among those that still had heart tissue, 44 had chunks of calcium stuck to their arteries — indicating clogging.

"Atherosclerosis clearly existed more than 3,000 years ago," said Adel Allam, a cardiology professor at Al Azhar University in Cairo, who led the study with Gregory Thomas, director of nuclear cardiology education at the University of California in Irvine. "We cannot blame this disease on modern civilization." The research was presented Tuesday at a conference on heart imaging in Amsterdam.

Allam and colleagues found the Egyptian princess Ahmose-Meryet-Amon, who lived in Thebes (now Luxor) between 1540 and 1550 B.C., had calcium deposits in two main coronary arteries, making her the oldest mummy found with heart disease. The princess' father and brother were both pharaohs. The mummy had pierced ears and a large incision in her left side made by embalmers to remove her internal organs.

Allam doubted she would have received much treatment beyond maybe taking special herbs or honey. "If she were my patient today, she would get open heart surgery," he said. He added the princess' clogged arteries looked remarkably similar to heart disease in contemporary Egyptians. The 43 younger mummies with calcium deposits showed a range of heart and artery problems.

Experts say that during the princess' lifetime, beef, pork, mutton, antelope, duck and other meats were readily available in the royal courts. Egyptians didn't eat much fish but ate many different kinds of fruits and vegetables. Salt was also likely used to preserve their food.

Joep Perk, a professor of health sciences at Linnaeus University in Sweden and a spokesman for the European Society of Cardiology, said the heart disease discovered in the mummies was probably due to the rich diet and lack of exercise among the Egyptian elite. He was not linked to the mummy research.

"The pharaohs and other royalty probably had more fat in their diet than the average Egyptian," he said. "The sculptures and hieroglyphs may show people who were very thin and beautiful, but the reality may have been different." He added there may have been other factors, like the stress of holding onto power and genetic factors that could have made the Egyptian ruling class more susceptible to heart disease.

He said Egyptian royals were more likely to be killed by heart problems after surviving other infections that would have killed poorer Egyptians. "They simply had the good luck to live long enough to develop heart disease."

-----------------

http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2011/September/09-29-13.htm
University of Hawaii, East-West Center, Pacific Islands Report, September 29, 2011

CNMI SEEKS RELOCATION OF SAIPAN CEMETERY
Government to ask families to move graves

By Gemma Q. Casas

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Business Journal, Sept. 25, 2011) – The Northern Mariana Islands government will soon ask the families of those buried at the Wireless Hill Public Cemetery to relocate the remains of their loved ones either to the yet-to-open Marpi Public Cemetery or to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Veterans Cemetery in the same village, - if qualified.

Public Lands Secretary Oscar M. Babauta told the Journal the Fitial administration is preparing a program that will ensure the smooth relocation of remains buried at Wireless Hill located in Capital Hill.

The 70,000-square-meter Marpi cemetery costing close to US$3 million was established through Public Law 11-117.

Enacted in 2000, P.L. 11-117 was envisioned "to provide an ecologically suitable and aesthetically fitting final resting place for the dead" and will feature interment, crypts and a crematorium.

Babauta said the new Marpi cemetery can provide more than 50,000 crypts and would adequately meet the need for more burial sites on the island, which in the last decade had seen an average of 103 deaths per year.

"Right now, at our current mortality rate, we need a new cemetery," he said.

Wireless Hill was closed for public burial several years ago leaving families to bury their loved ones either at the Chalan Kanoa or Tanapag public cemeteries, both of which have reached their full capacities.

The government began construction work for the Marpi cemetery last year. However, the project was suspended as a result of the lawsuit filed by the nonprofit group Friends of Marpi with the NMI Superior Court, protesting the erection of hundreds of power poles in the area.

The plaintiffs were concerned the power pole project might be a preliminary task toward the possible commercialization of Marpi.

The Wireless Hill cemetery site is a government property.

There were rumors that the site will be developed into a resort, but Babauta denied this.

"No plans for it yet," he said.

The Department of Lands and Natural Resources is the leading agency to maintain the new Marpi cemetery once it is in operation.

Marianas Business Journal
Copyright © 2011 Glimpses of Guam Inc.


============

(5) In 1931, the Big Island’s Kahua Ranch cofounder and Hawaiian artifact collector Ronald von Holt (1898-1953) led an expedition by sampan into Nualolo Valley on Kaua‘i’s Na Pali Coast for the purpose of discovering ancient burial caves and commandeering their treasures.

http://thegardenisland.com/news/local/article_f73341f2-9e2a-11e0-b866-001cc4c002e0.html
The Garden Island (Kaua'i)
Island History for Friday, June 24, 2011

Hank Soboleski – Special to The Garden Island

In 1931, the Big Island’s Kahua Ranch cofounder and Hawaiian artifact collector Ronald von Holt (1898-1953) led an expedition by sampan into Nualolo Valley on Kaua‘i’s Na Pali Coast for the purpose of discovering ancient burial caves and commandeering their treasures.

With him were fellow Kahua Ranch cofounder Atherton Richards and others, but when a burial cave was located that contained an idol, many spears, calabashes and stone implements of great value, only von Holt and Richards entered.

Later, it was rumored that both men had been cursed for entering the cave. Richards, on the one hand, always scoffed at the idea of being cursed, despite being stricken for 20 years from a progressive condition of palsy before dying of a heart attack at age 79 in 1974.

On the other had, von Holt was convinced he was cursed. From the time of the Nualolo expedition, which occurred when he was 33, until his unexpected death after a brief illness at age 55, he was the victim of many mishaps, including the crippling accident that brought about the illness that caused his death.

However, the worst effect of the Nualolo curse von Holt experienced was not one of his many accidents, but was, instead, the torment he suffered at being unable to discover the site of a “disappearing cave” on the slopes of Kahua Ranch that was said by von Holt’s Hawaiian paniolos to change its location and which was thought to contain great treasure.

Regardless, von Holt, whose mother, Ida, was a daughter of Kaua‘i konohiki Valdemar Knudsen (1820-1898), continued to enter other burial caves and remove artifacts for many years after Nualolo. At the time of his death, his Kahua Ranch Hawaiiana collection was, outside of Bishop Museum’s, one of the largest.


===============================
===============================

Send comments or questions to:
Ken_Conklin@yahoo.com

LINKS

The Forbes cave controversy up until the NAGPRA Review Committee hearing in St. Paul, Minnesota, May 9-11, 2003 was originally described and documented at:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagpraforbes.html

The conflict among Bishop Museum, Hui Malama, and several competing groups of claimants became so complex and contentious that the controversy was the primary focus of the semiannual national meeting of the NAGPRA Review Committee meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota May 9-11, 2003. A webpage was created to cover that meeting and followup events related to it. But the Forbes Cave controversy became increasingly complex and contentious, leading to public awareness of other related issues. By the end of 2004, the webpage focusing on the NAGPRA Review Committee meeting and its aftermath had become exceedingly large, at more than 250 pages with an index of 22 topics at the top. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagpraforbesafterreview.html

This present webpage covers only the year 2011.

For coverage of events in 2005 (about 250 pages), see:

http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagprahawaii2005.html

For year 2006 (about 150 pages), see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagprahawaii2006.html

For year 2007, another new webpage was created, following the same general format. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/planet/bigfiles40/nagprahawaii2007.html

For year 2008, another new webpage was created, following the same general format. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/planet/big60/nagprahawaii2008.html

For year 2009, another new webpage was created, following the same general format. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/big09a/nagprahawaii2009.html

For year 2010, another new webpage was created, following the same general format. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/big09a/nagprahawaii2010.html

GO BACK TO: NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) as applied to Hawai'i -- Mokapu, Honokahua, Bishop Museum Ka'ai; Providence Museum Spear Rest; Forbes Cave Artifacts; the Hui Malama organization

OR

GO BACK TO OTHER TOPICS ON THIS WEBSITE