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Native Hawaiian leader Charles Maxwell dies at Maui Memorial

By Gary T. Kubota

LAST UPDATED: 04:05 a.m. HST, Mar 16, 2012

A Native Hawaiian leader who played a key role in preventing the continued exhumation of hundreds of Native Hawaiian burials at Honokahua, Maui, died Thursday afternoon.

Charles Maxwell of Pukalani, Maui, died at Maui Memorial Medical Center after a prolonged illness. He was 74.

Maxwell was a police officer for 15 years, working the beat on Maui and Molokai before retiring, and working as a Hawaiian cultural expert with his wife Nina to operate the Pukalani Hula Halau.

He was a leader of a group called Aboriginal Lands Of Hawaiian Ancestry, a group in the early 1970s that supported sovereignty for Native Hawaiians.

He also was among Hawaiians who supported the Native Hawaiian occupation of Kahoolawe in the mid-1970s, claiming religious rights to visit the island and opposing the military bombing and manuevers on the island.

The protest eventually led to the return and partial cleanup of Kahoolawe.

Maxwell was a member of the Hawaii advisory group to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, when he criticized the “desecration” and opposed the exhumation of native Hawaiian burials at Honokahua to develop the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua.

About 900 skeletal remains were exhumed before the work stopped.

Eventually, the resort agreed to stop the digging and relocated the hotel further mauka to stop the digging.

“Daddy was a fighter. He wasn’t afraid of speaking what he felt and saying what was right,” said his daughter Sheri Maxwell.

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mokebla wrote:
Mahalo Charles for making things pono, he's a champion of our kapuna's.
on March 16,2012 | 04:42AM
manakuke wrote:
A great kupuna moves on.
on March 16,2012 | 06:20AM
allie wrote:
He worked within the system and was grateful to be an American with civil rights and liberties way beyond what most countries provide for! May he rest in peace. His life was very useful
on March 16,2012 | 10:04AM
Kapakahi wrote:

"Worked within the system"?

Sorry, but the occupations of Kaho`olawe by Uncle Charlie and activists inspired by his leadership was NOT "working within the system." It was refusing to work within the system. It was disrupting "the system" and refusing to allow it to continue on its way. Uncle Charlie knew, and said at the time, that it was necessary to go outside of the system in order to have an effect.

There is nothing right about "working within the system" when the system is designed to serve interests other than those of the people. It is OFTEN more "pono" to OPPOSE the system and force IT to adapt to us rather than for us to adapt to it.

on March 16,2012 | 11:08AM
Kapakahi wrote:

Here, in his own words, is Uncle Charlie on the beginnings of the struggle to stop the bombing of Kaho`olawe:


I offer this as an opportunity to listen again to the wisdom the man had to share in the hope we can all become more "pono" and brave in our activities.

Aloha, Uncle Charlie. And thank you.

on March 16,2012 | 11:12AM
Eradication wrote:
Do not waste your ha on this person. "Alice" is a troll from way back. Uncle Charlie was a great person who fought with his wisdom instead of his ihe. In fact, his ihe was his wisdom and tenacity. Aloha Uncle Charlie. So sad that we are losing our great Kupuna.
on March 16,2012 | 12:18PM
kahu808 wrote:
Hit the nail on the head. She or it can change names but still hauna.
on March 16,2012 | 03:21PM
allie wrote:
I was praising him hon. learn to read
on March 16,2012 | 03:32PM
Eradication wrote:
You have no credibility. Your history speaks for itself....TROLL.
on March 16,2012 | 05:11PM
allie wrote:
Good points. But he worked within a larger system of moral respect for life and the land. He used American liberties and ideals to support his work. In many countries, he would have neevr been heard of again.
on March 16,2012 | 03:32PM
coloradowarrior wrote:
mahalo nui loa kupuna maxwell. aloha o'e.
on March 16,2012 | 06:32AM
Ken_Conklin wrote:
The Al Sharpton of Hawaii.
on March 16,2012 | 06:43AM
smooshpappy wrote:
No class, Ken, even for you!
on March 16,2012 | 07:26AM
Notawannabe wrote:
Conklin...the Rush Limbaugh of nowhere.
on March 16,2012 | 07:45AM
LanaUlulani wrote:
Actually Ken Conklin is not like Rush Limbaugh.

Limbaugh doesn't single out and target Hawaiians based on their national origin. However Conklin does. Ken Conklin is like Ken Conklin. Very rude. NO CLASS.
on March 16,2012 | 08:23AM
alohakims wrote:
Ken Conklin, you have chosen to spend your life targeting, attacking, and demeaning a single and tiny population in the world. Perhaps someday your ideological haze will lift just enough for you to be able to perceive your cruelty. But this is not the space or time to argue politics or personalities, is it? Let us honor this life.
on March 16,2012 | 10:35AM
Notawannabe wrote:
While you are the Rush Limbaugh of nowhere.
on March 16,2012 | 07:44AM
mamacita808 wrote:
Wow, really Ken? Have some class. You have your own thoughts and agenda, which you are certainly entitled to, but geez. His family is grieving, and you still feel the need to push your politics. Sometimes, mo' bettah foa keep da waha closed.
on March 16,2012 | 08:55AM
Eradication wrote:
Not possible for this "carpet bagger".
on March 16,2012 | 12:20PM
Eradication wrote:
"O ka makapo wale no ka mea hapapa i ka pouli." - Kawena Pukui, "Olelo no eau" Translation: Only the blind gropes in the darkness.
on March 16,2012 | 12:32PM
eknu wrote:
a obit for the future Ken Conklin racist drops dead ......priceless
on March 17,2012 | 10:38PM
Notawannabe wrote:
Rest in peace.
on March 16,2012 | 07:44AM
LanaUlulani wrote:
How sad. My thoughts and prayers go out to his 'ohana... especially to his mo'opuna.
on March 16,2012 | 08:15AM
TitaNui wrote:
Uncle Charlie inspired several generations to do what is pono. Mahalo no for your influence in my life.
on March 16,2012 | 08:23AM
Kapakahi wrote:

Charles Maxwell was a GIANT leader in the movement for Hawaiian rights. He inspired two generations of activists, He will be missed, but he lives on through the work of those he counseled and taught.

Aloha, Uncle Charlie!

on March 16,2012 | 10:56AM
HDoug wrote:
I just want to express my love and respect to Charles. I'm glad to see so many who will continue in the path.
on March 16,2012 | 10:25PM
HiloBoy67 wrote:
I worked with Uncle Charlie, sometimes closely. He was feisty but kind; outspoken but charming; resolved but reasonable. Much of the causes he espoused were at the forefront of the Hawaiian movement. He didn't shy from controversy, once giving a goat dung lei to a public official connected with the Navy during the struggle over control of Kaho`olawe. He sang Japanese songs in karaoke sessions and entertained with a troupe that toured Japan, but was also a kahu and revered kupuna with deep convictions about preserving Hawaiian culture. He will leave a great hole in the midst of kupuna who speak their mind with grace, conviction, and honesty.
on March 18,2012 | 06:40PM
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