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HART asked to leave burials in place along rail route

By Kevin Dayton

LAST UPDATED: 7:17 p.m. HST, Oct 10, 2012

Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners urged the head of the Honolulu rail authority today to find a way to leave burials and other human remains in place when they are discovered along the rail route.

The discussion at the Oahu Island Burial Council was supposed to focus on the discovery of a single human bone on Sept. 12 beneath the sidewalk at Cooke and Halekauwila streets, but Hawaiians used the opportunity to air their concerns about the impact the rail project is having on ancient remains.

Daniel Grabauskas, executive director of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, listened to more than a half dozen Hawaiians discuss their family and emotional connections to kupuna or elders who were buried in Kakaako and surrounding areas.

“I’m going to be very clear about this,” said Kamuela Kala‘i told the burial council. “Iwis in the ground, leave them alone, period.”

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