For my family and friends ™ (haolegirl) wrote,
For my family and friends ™

I love it when people fight for their rights.

Before I leave for the beach... I love it when people fight for their rights. In this case it's Hawaiians who are fighting for their rights and I LOVE it. Fortunately, Hui Malama is fighting for their rights and I FULLY support them. That is... they get my FULL support and I admire them for trying to protect the iwi, oiwi, and everything that relates to the iwi and to the oiwi. I give them credit for standing differently. That is... I give them credit for KU E or standing differently or FIGHTING BACK because they have the right to protect the iwi, oiwi, and everything that relates to the iwi and to the oiwi. So yes... I support them 100%.

Also in my opinion Bishop Museum is one of the BIGGEST looters of Hawaiian culture that also profits off of our ancestors' and off of our ancestors' bones which is not right. (Note in their 2004 Annual Report seen here on page 20 of 23 pages that they made about $36,397,000 unaudited off of our kupuna and no... I do not care what other people say about that because it's still wrong and also disrespectful to profit off of some of my kupuna. Period. End of story.) Anyway here is an interesting (and recent) story:

This sacred bowl, made with human teeth and ivory, was used by chiefs to hold waste food so it could not be used for sorcerers' evil spells.

A boar tusk bracelet found at Forbes Cave.

Native Hawaiians refuse to dig up artifacts reburied for their ancestors

A group of native Hawaiians who buried museum artifacts in a religious ceremony to return the items to their ancestors are fighting a court order to dig up the pieces and bring them back to the museum.

"This is exactly what the First Amendment is all about, but neither the Ninth Circuit nor the district court appears to be concerned about that," said Alan Murakami, attorney for Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei, the group that reburied some 83 artifacts in a Big Island cave where they originally were discovered 100 years ago.

U.S. District Judge David Ezra is expected to decide today whether to punish Hui Malama's leadership with fines and jail time if they do not comply with his order, which was recently upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

But Hui Malama says the judge is forcing them to make a decision between following the law and following their religious beliefs.

Edward Halealoha Ayau, executive director of Hui Malama, filed a declaration with the court this week, characterizing the order as "stealing from the dead, an action that threatens severe spiritual consequences for anyone involved."

The group has also refused to reveal the location of the buried items.

Attorney Murakami told that his clients are not only "unwilling" to excavate their ancestor's burial property they are also "unable" to undertake what is now considered a dangerous endeavor.

When they reburied the objects, Hui Malama claims, they fortified the cave with concrete and metal to protect the items from future theft.

"The entire cave could collapse because it would require jackhammers to remove the concrete," Murakami said.

But an opposing native Hawaiian group accuses Hui Malama of bluffing about why they won't retrieve the items or disclose the burial location.

"I have suspected from the very beginning that they are not in there," La'akea Suganuma, president of The Royal Academy of Traditional Arts, told

Suganuma said his beliefs are based on rumors that only some of the items were buried.

"They've changed their story so many times," he said. "All along it's been one cave, two days ago they said, 'Well, we put them in two caves.'"

Survived the ages

The fragile collection of artifacts includes a wig made of human hair, a bowl embedded with human teeth, and carved gods that Hui Malama believes were meant to accompany the dead for eternity.

The pieces originally were housed at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu, as part of the museum's Forbes collection, named after David Forbes, the explorer who discovered the items in the same caves in 1905 and sold them to the museum.

The Bishop museum turned the objects over to Hui Malama five years ago as part of a federal act requiring certain Native American, Hawaiian and Alaskan artifacts be returned to the descendants or organizations to which they belong.

Hui Malama has legal standing under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) to care for and protect na iwi kupuna, or "ancestral remains" and has repatriated and reinterred artifacts returned from more than two dozen museums, including the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and the Field Museum in Chicago.

Since the items were reburied, some 14 native Hawaiian groups have been recognized by NAGPRA as claimants to the artifacts.

Two of those claimants, Royal Academy president Suganuma and Abigail Kawananakoa, an heiress and royal Hawaiian, sued Hui Malama in August, accusing them of violating NAGPRA guidelines and hijacking the repatriation process.

"This is not a cultural issue," Suganuma contends. "Hui Malama made it a cultural issue so they can play on people's emotions. This is an issue of fairness: so that all have equal say and equal rights."

Judge Ezra sided with Suganuma and the princess in September, and the 9th Circuit upheld the ruling early last week, citing Ezra's decision that "the interests of justice and the public would be best served by bringing the items back to a secure location at the Bishop Museum."

Hui Malama's attorney Murakami told that if Ezra refuses to reconsider his ruling, they will ask the judge to allow for someone else — namely, Suganuma and his royal co-plaintiff — to do the excavation.

"They're under a lot of stress," Murakami said of his clients. "This is putting them really between a rock and a hard place."

Rev. Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell, president of the board of directors of Hui Malama did not return calls for comment, but told in September that he would defy any court order requiring him to dig up the collection.

"It was there for 300 or 400 years before Mr. Forbes stole it. It's supposed to deteriorate in the burial tomb. That's what it does," Maxwell said. "It was not meant for us. For us, we feel it's very bad luck to even touch those items."

Suganuma disagrees. He believes Forbes stumbled upon the items in 1905 because the ancestors had a new purpose for the buried artifacts.

"I know what the ancestors want. From a Hawaiian point of view, if you think like the older folks, nothing is revealed unless there is a purpose for it," Suganuma said. "They want the future generations to understand what they did, the things they created and how they were used. They want [the items] to be seen; otherwise nobody would have found them."

Seen at

Tags: bernice pauahi bishop museum, bishop museum, civil rights of hawaiians, forbes cave, freedom of religion, hawaiian, hawaiians, hawaiians fighting for their rights, hui malama, hui malama i na kupuna o hawaii nei, religious freedom of hawaiians

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