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Bill designates Kahoolawe as alternative place for iwi

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:18 a.m. HST, Feb 01, 2014

Dug-up bones and unidentified remains of Native Hawaiians may be reburied on an uninhabited island if a proposed law passes.

The state Senate is considering a bill that would designate Kahoolawe as the resting place for unknown or "inadvertently discovered" Native Hawaiian bones when those remains can't be reburied nearby.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which includes the Historic Preservation Division, supports Senate Bill 320. But several Native Hawaiians have voiced opposition, saying that transplanting bones from the island of their burial is culturally inappropriate.

Alan Downer, administrator of the division, told the Hawaiian Affairs Committee on Friday that the law would affect the rare cases of a museum repatriating unidentifiable bones to Hawaii. More commonly, such as when construction projects disturb old graves, remains would be unlikely to leave their home island, he said.

The transfer of bones desecrated by a disinterment would upset the spiritual harmony of Kahoolawe, considered a sacred island, said Davi­anna McGregor, a spokes­woman for Protect Kahoolawe Ohana, a heritage organization for the island.

"You won't want to bring that kind of mana (spiritual energy) to the island," she said. "It's already borne enough abuse."

The group's testimony to the Senate urged amendments that would compel the state to move human remains as little as possible.

"Under no circumstances should the iwi kupuna (ancestors' bones) be taken to another island, especially Kana­loa Kahoolawe," the letter reads.

McGregor said Kahoo­­lawe would be a suitable site for remains returned to Hawaii from abroad, if their island of origin were unknown. The small island off the west coast of Maui is being held in trust by the state for a future Native Hawaiian sovereign entity.

Other critics of the bill tell lawmakers that they don't believe the state is qualified to make decisions about such burials without consultation with Native Hawaiian groups. They also express concern about the difficulty of protecting and maintaining burial sites on Kahoolawe.

Sam Eifling / Associated Press

More From The Star-Advertiser

Iwi reburial bill riles Native Hawaiians

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Kalaheo1 wrote:
Wow! The developers and construction interests really are running the whole show now.
on February 1,2014 | 02:15AM
boshio wrote:
Its not the developers, it is the few "small greedy minds" that are running Hawaii that is the problem. Where is our honorable Governor in this issue.
on February 1,2014 | 06:22AM
luvshawaii wrote:
He's not so honorable.
on February 1,2014 | 07:39AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
It's the rail, my friends. Sure the developer money is behind the rail but it's the fear of what will happen when they start digging in Kaka'ako that powers this.
on February 1,2014 | 08:46AM
thos wrote:

One thing not mentioned in this article: if digging must be done to accomplish re-interment of these bones, this will put those doing the digging at considerable risk.

Having worked as a member of EOD teams frequently sent to “target island” half a century ago - - to sanitize the area where USMC ANGLICO (air and naval gunfire liaison company) units could set up to observe and adjust fire and occasionally to sanitize areas where target rehab teams were destined to go - - it is my guess the unexploded ordnance will be rising to or near the surface for something on the order of the next five centuries. This island absorbed a LOT of naval gunfire projectile and carrier attack aircraft delivered munitions during routine training operations.

Planners would be wise to proceed with caution before tasking bone depository diggers to go to work.

on February 1,2014 | 04:17AM
hanalei395 wrote:
"would be wise to proceed with caution" ......... In the highly improbability that iwi were moved to Kaho`olawe, and then diggers blown up, ... it would be Karma.
on February 1,2014 | 06:00AM
aomohoa wrote:
I agree with you that Karma will get these greedy people involved with this development. It's not about affordable housing even. It's all about greed. They were pretending to be oh so careful when they were checking the areas for the rail. What a joke. Now they will bulldoze up ancestral bones and dumb them like trash. It makes me sick.
on February 1,2014 | 12:32PM
Wazdat wrote:
WTH is wrong with these people. Really so over developing our island and then dumping the bones is worth it.

To much GREED

on February 1,2014 | 05:06AM
lwandcah wrote:
Unbelievable. Round em up and ship em out. Its a sad sad day when even the bones of the indigenous people can't rest in peace in their own land.
on February 1,2014 | 05:15AM
Mythman wrote:
The way this works is in the beginning the majority population realized that the federal protection of the native Hawaiian is incompatible with their land use. So they used state law to cut off that protection. The idea that a little island is some day going to become the seat of a restored native government is absurd on its face as a reflection of the wrongness of this scheme. The abject poverty of the native is a direct result. It is America's worst indigenous scandal. It is it turns out pursuant to its review in Rice a RACIAL scheme - with the majority population taking the place of Southern Whites. Dan Inouye, CJ Richardson, Myron Thompson the first and Sen Hiram Fong put this together, including encoding it in the state's constitution and laws. It's time to root it out and not keep expressing it to more and more absurd extensions, such as this iwi proposal. But that would upset the entire status quo and for a few natives who are dying out anyway and whose life style doesn't fit the majority population lifestyle, why bother, is the attitude.
on February 1,2014 | 05:17AM
yhls wrote:
Even though it's an AP story, the Star-Advertiser should have included the author(s) of the bill. A blind man can see that the bought and sold politicians in our state have been very busy making backroom deals with the Howard Hughes Corp. and other developers who want no legal challenges to their proposed billion-dollar Kakaako condos. It's a given they will be finding bones at these sites that could stall these projects for years. Their strategy? Pass a new law that says all bones should be sent to Kahoolawe! This has got to be one of the stupidest, self-serving bills that's ever been proposed anywhere.! It's obvious they could care less about our history or any sort of cultural sensitivity. Hopefully, it will backfire on them.
on February 1,2014 | 06:03AM
Bdpapa wrote:
I'm not for more development but the question is if you needed revenue, what would you do?
on February 1,2014 | 06:16AM
boshio wrote:
Kahoolawe should not be used as a "reburied" site which could very well not be Hawaiian's bones. If anything, Kahoolawe should be the site of a prison, or, alternative energy island whose power feeds the entire state. Once it is used for burials, thats it, the island will never be able to better serve the islands.
on February 1,2014 | 06:19AM
aomohoa wrote:
Interesting post.
on February 1,2014 | 12:34PM
Lanikaula wrote:
SB 320 Introduced by 2 Hawaiians: Brickwood Galuteria and Gil Kahele. BOTH have NO CLUE they R being U.S.E.D. "SUCKERS everyday, fifty cents an hour, 4 bucks a day...U.S.E.D. SUCKERS everyday...they make u whistle 4 ure $$$!!
on February 1,2014 | 06:51AM
yhls wrote:
If that's true, Brickwood is a TOTAL SELLOUT! So is the other so-called Hawaiian. What a disgrace. I know people have to make a living. But what a way to make a living. Not only selling out your ancestors, but all of us living here today who have a vital interest and right to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. Selling out to the highest bidder at the public's expense is NOT the way. Vote them all out of office.
on February 1,2014 | 07:19AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Any bill by Brickwood is either reflective of others successfully manipulating him or his inability to fully think about the ramifications of his bill. He is, however, a bit better than a Mizuno...
on February 1,2014 | 07:43AM
islandsun wrote:
Anyone concerned about bones, don't be. All the key Hawaiians already sold out. Your only chance is come election time.
on February 1,2014 | 08:06AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
What we need to do is register all Hawaiians, give them tee shirts and then march as a united group. Oh wait, Kana'iolowalu failed miserably. So maybe just write some strong letters, k?
on February 1,2014 | 08:45AM
LanaUlulani wrote:

Who declared Brickwood Galuteria and Gil Kahele as overseer of MY iwi kupuna.



I want MY iwi kupuna to be buried on Moku o Keawe and Maui respectively. NOT on Kaho'olawe. Both of them need to mind their own damn business and stop stepping on other kupunas' bones. It does not belong to them. Hands OFF!

on February 1,2014 | 02:38PM
seaborn wrote:
Bones, bones, bones! Everyone should be cremated and ashes scattered, just to eliminate the whole bone nonsense. The two most ridiculous wastes of land: Golf courses and graveyards. The person is dead, and not going to reanimate, so what's the purpose of burial?
on February 1,2014 | 06:02PM
iwanaknow wrote:
What about making burial space on Kamehameha School grounds?
on February 1,2014 | 06:06PM
niimi wrote:
Relocate the OHA offices over there.
on February 1,2014 | 07:19PM
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