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Forbes Cave (Kawaihae Caves) Artifacts Controversy


(c) Copyright 2003, Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved


In February 2000 Bishop Museum handed over 83 priceless artifacts held by the museum for 95 years, to an ethnic Hawaiian organization (Hui Malama) claiming to represent all ethnic Hawaiians. Everyone understood that the clear intent of the Hui Malama organization was to re-bury the artifacts in a cave where they would never be seen again. Other ethnic Hawaiian individuals and groups strongly objected, and wanted to preserve the artifacts in a way to allow future generations to get knowledge and inspiration from them. Three years later, in 2003, those other claimants were successful in complaining to the federal NAGPRA Review Committee and persuading that committee to hold hearings about the way the controversy was handled.

The NAGPRA review Committee in St. Paul, MN May 9-11 was a major event in the Forbes Cave controversy. For people wanting to read about events taking place from the announcement of the meeting through the meeting itself and until the official report was issued, there is a webpage where the agenda of the meeting is available, along with a fax from Hui Malama to the Secretary of Interior and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs trying to exert political pressure to remove Forbes Cave from the agenda. Newspaper articles about the meeting and its aftermath are provided. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagpraforbesafterreview.html

Here are the official findings and recommendations of the NAGPRA National Review Committee from the May 9-11 meeting in St. Paul, MN.; released August 20, 2003:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagpranatlmtngmay2003.html

For readers wanting a review of the entire Forbes Cave controversy, starting with the “loan” of the artifacts to Hui Malama in February 2000, start here.

An article was published by reporter Robbie Dingeman in the Honolulu Advertiser of April 30, 2003, providing an excellent summary of the controversy. This new Dingeman article was published on the same day as Bishop Museum was holding a breakfast meeting of its board of directors to discuss its position, ahead of the Nagpra Review Committee meeting scheduled for St. Paul MN May 9-11. The Dingeman article is copied in its entirety immediately below. Following that are summaries and excerpts of articles published from February to November, 2000 during the period of high publicity that followed the turning over of the Forbes Cave artifacts to Hui Malama.

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/Apr/30/ln/ln01a.html

Honolulu Advertiser, April 30, 2003
By Robbie Dingeman

Panel to rule on move of Hawaiian artifacts

A federal panel will decide next month whether the Bishop Museum made a proper decision when it turned over rare Hawaiian artifacts to a Hawaiian organization that said it reburied them.

Eighty-three artifacts were taken from a Big Island cave in 1905 and kept at the Bishop Museum until February 2000, when museum officials released them to Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei, drawing objections from other Hawaiians who make claims on the priceless objects.

The hearing comes in response to a complaint brought by one of the groups that assert cultural claims on the artifacts, which include a female carved wood figure, two stick 'aumakua and gourds decorated with human teeth.

The items fall under the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which provides for return of human remains and other significant cultural items to Native American and Hawaiian groups. A federal review committee will meet May 9-11 in St. Paul, Minn., to discuss the dispute.

The case caused an uproar among Hawaiians and people in the scientific community over the proper treatment of important cultural items. Some say removal from the museum showed respect for the native culture and sacred items, while others questioned whether it would lead to the artifacts' destruction or sale, and a lost opportunity for education. The museum later admitted its error and apologized, then turned the matter over to a divided group of organizations and individuals with cultural claims to the items.

William Y. Brown, president and chief executive officer of Bishop Museum, said he would meet today with the museum's board. "I'm in the process of discussing the matter with the board and deciding what our position should be," said Brown, who took charge of the museum after the controversy began.

The Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts took the matter to the federal review committee last year, asking for a timely review of the Kawaihae Caves Complex issue, so-called after the site where the artifacts were found. The items are also referred to as the Forbes Cave collection, after David Forbes, a member of the group that removed the items.

L. La'akea Suganuma, representative of the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts, said he was leading the effort to bring the museum's actions to the attention of federal officials. "I think it's important for the preservation of our culture. It's the right thing to do," said Suganuma, who works for the preservation of Hawaiian culture, as did his grandmother, noted scholar and author Mary Kawena Pukui.

Suganuma rejects the argument that it was proper to return the items to their burial cave on the Big Island. In his letter, he wrote: "There are many who believe that some of these one-of-a-kind works of our ancestors must be displayed for educational purposes. Many learned kupuna (elders) claim that these were not funerary items but were hidden for safekeeping at the time when the new Christian religion fostered the destruction of anything to do with the old beliefs."

A representative of Hui Malama could not be reached to comment.

Brown said public discussion of the museum's position might best wait until after the meeting of the federal committee. He said he had hoped to go to St. Paul, but has a schedule conflict with the museum's largest annual fund-raising event. He is sending two senior staff members: registrar Malia Baron and archivist DeSoto Brown. The museum director said he did not know of any further attempts to confirm the location of the artifacts since he took over at the museum. "I am concerned about whether the artifacts are still in the cave complex," he said.

Hui Malama had been in discussion since 1994 with Bishop Museum, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the Hawaii Island Burial Council to determine the fate of the artifacts.

NAGPRA guidelines indicate that the committee can uphold the museum's decision and process, or rule that the claimants have merit in complaining that they violated federal policies.

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SUMMARY OF WHAT IS CONTAINED BELOW HERE ON THIS PAGE

The first two articles below are provided in their entirety because they are good summaries of the Forbes Cave controversy, and they were published in the early stages of the period of high publicity. The remaining articles are presented in chronological order as clickable URLs accompanied by brief summaries or excerpts stressing points that are important to this inquiry. In addition, readers should not miss the three confidential documents whose length necessitated creating a separate page for them at:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagpra3forbesdocs.html

Here is a list of the items on this page in the order they are presented. Bear in mind that fourteen items are listed and briefly described; then those same fourteen items are summarized and/or excerpted at greater length later on. Most of the writing on this webpage is copied directly from the cited newspaper articles and then edited down to shorter length.

(0) Overview by website editor Ken Conklin: Why the Forbes Cave Controversy is important

(1) Star-Bulletin summary of the Forbes Cave controversy, published early in the period of high publicity:
http://starbulletin.com/2000/03/25/news/story1.html

(2) Summary of the Forbes Cave controversy as published in Archaeology Magazine (a professional journal of nationwide circulation):
http://www.archaeology.org/magazine.php?page=online/features/hawaii/index

(3) Honolulu Advertiser, March 29, 2000 by Robbie Dingeman
Conflict between Bishop Museum staffers who favor reburial of artifacts and staffers who favor maintaining museum’s traditional mission of protecting artifacts and making them available to the public. Ethnic Hawaiians on both sides; some fear job loss for disagreeing with Duckworth policy of reburial. Additional issue of whether photographs of bones and artifacts are a desecration and should also be prohibited from public view.
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/2000/Mar/29/localnews3.html

(4) Honolulu Advertiser, March 29, 2000, Opinion essay by Herb Kawainui Kane, a famous artist and cultural historian who is also ethnic Hawaiian. Mr. Kane supports the traditional role of a museum in preserving and displaying artifacts. He says: “Artifacts regarded as cultural patrimony must not be handed over on demand by small groups who claim, without proof, to represent a majority of Hawaiians or a consensus of Hawaiian opinion.” Mr. Kane complains about Hui Malama’s strongarm tactics, cultural interpretations, and the secrecy of the handover of the Forbes Cave artifacts to Hui Malama. “This is the kind of hogwash by which NAGPRA, a noble effort, has been corrupted. Those responsible will incur the rage of future generations of Hawaiians who have been denied access to the treasures of their past.”
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/2000/Mar/29/opinion3.html

(5) Honolulu Star-Bulletin, April 4, 2000 By Burl Burlingame
Bishop Museum “loaned” artifacts appraised in the millions of dollars to Hui Malama, which had falsely told Bishop that other claimants had agreed to the loan to Hui Malama. Two people involved in handling the artifacts died suddenly and mysteriously. One of them was the mentor of Hui Malama head Edward Ayau, who claimed he was carrying out his mentor’s dying wish. Ayau claimed that re-interring the artifacts was the will of the Native Hawaiian people; but most people present at a meeting disagreed and said the artifacts should remain in the museum for safekeeping. A photograph of one of the artifacts is provided. It is one of two female figures found in the cave. Made of wood with human hair, it was used for many years as a marketing image by Bishop Museum.
http://starbulletin.com/2000/04/04/news/story2.html

(6) Opinion piece by Malcolm Naea Chun dealing with the questions: When do Hawaiian artifacts become sacred? Do they retain that sacredness when no longer used for worship? A contemporary wooden carving of a female figure by art students at Wai’anae High School is compared with the Forbes Cave artifacts regarding whether they contain spiritual value or whether they are merely works of art.
http://starbulletin.com/2000/05/05/editorial/viewpoint.html

(7) Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 11, 2000, letter to editor by Timothy Johns, Chairman, State of Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources.
This letter says that another letter writer who demanded that the DLNR should sue Hui Malama misunderstands the complex institutional relationships involved. “As federally recognized claimants, members of the burial council have been meeting with the other three claimants in the federal repatriation process, in an attempt to reach an accord. Our state historic preservation officer has communicated with the federal Department of Interior to slow the repatriation process until an appropriate resolution could be developed. Our department continues to take seriously its legislatively mandated responsibility to protect historic burial sites in Hawaii. To that end, the state attorney general is pursuing investigation and/or prosecution of offenders who we believe may have broken the burial sites provisions of the state's historic preservation laws.”
http://starbulletin.com/2000/05/11/editorial/letters.html

(8) Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 13, 2000, By Burl Burlingame.
A summary of the very close on-going personal and financial relationships among Bishop Museum staffers, and leaders of Hui Malama who allegedly fooled Museum personnel into “lending” them the Forbes cave artifacts which were then allegedly re-interred in the cave. All are attending (May, 2000) a major weeklong national convention of the American Association of Museums, mostly at the expense of Bishop Museum. Some are former staffers of the powerful Senator Dan Inouye, whose position as chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee allows him to get funding for Hui Malama and Bishop Museum. Names include Bishop Museum Vice President Elizabeth Tatar, Hui Malama head Eddie Ayau; Valerie Free; Miki'ala Ayau (sister of Eddie Ayau), Nanette Purnell, Noelle Kahanu (a Hui Malama member and Ayau's domestic partner and former Inouye staffer); museum director W. Donald Duckworth, Guy Kaulukukui (a friend of Miki'ala Ayau). Although the museum in the past has not generally covered attendees' expenses, it is this year.
http://starbulletin.com/2000/05/13/news/story7.html

(9) Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 8, 2000, by Burl Burlingame.
The National Park Service, which administers the NAGPRA law on behalf of the Department of Interior, sent a strongly worded letter to Bishop Museum director W. Donald Duckworth, demanding that the museum explain the holdup in resolving the dispute over the Forbes Cave artifacts. "As long as the objects are out of your possession, the objects which would be worth millions of dollars on the black market, are subject to a substantial threat of theft. Whether the objects are in a cave, as reported, or elsewhere, they are also threatened by damage by insects, humidity and other natural factors." The Park Service had also received a letter from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs -- another claimant group -- asking that the federal agency to look into the matter. Bishop Museum officials last week scared a new Forbes Cave claimant group into believing it had only 24 hours to supply documentation to support their standing. On May 11, museum collections manager Valerie Free wrote attorney James Mee, a representative of the newly formed claimant group E Nana Pono, acknowledging the group's interest and asking for additional documentation.
http://starbulletin.com/2000/06/08/news/story1.html

(10) Honolulu Star-Bulletin Editorial, June 9, 2000

The issue: The National Park Service has urged the Bishop Museum to act to protect Hawaiian artifacts that were turned over to a private group.
Our view: The museum must make every effort to recover the artifacts.

The letter said the objects, which include many unique pieces, "would be worth millions of dollars on the black market." Hawaiian groups claiming the artifacts protested the turnover to Hui Malama. Twenty-one Bishop Museum employees signed a letter of protest, impressive evidence that a serious blunder had been committed. Duckworth, responding to the park service's letter, said museum officials "have inspected the items' interim storage location and the security arrangements and found that the items are secure from damage as well as theft." He maintained that the transfer was a loan, not an act of repatriation. ... There is also a credibility issue in view of the various statements the museum has made in the past, at one point claiming that the law prevented it from releasing any information about the situation. ... It may be necessary to take legal action, and even then the return of the artifacts is not assured. The letters from the National Park Service underscore the gravity of the situation and the responsibility of the museum to correct the problem.
http://starbulletin.com/2000/06/09/editorial/editorials.html

(11) Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 28, 2000 By Burl Burlingame.
A decision by the Hawai'i Island Burial Council last year that allowed Hui Malama to remove rare Hawaiian artifacts from Bishop Museum may be overturned ... the Burial Council change may have been in violation of the state Sunshine Law. At the November meeting in Hilo, Hui Malama was represented by Ayau and deputy Kunani Nihipali. Ayau said there was "a sense of real urgency" in reuniting the artifacts with the iwi, or ancestral remains already repatriated to the Big Island. "This separation is causing kaumaha (a weighing down with great sadness) that needs to be addressed," said Ayau, who recited his ancestral geneology and described archaeology as "grave robbery." Park Service officials expressed concern for the artifacts' safety should they be returned. The public was then told to leave so that Ayau could discuss his plans for the artifacts in private with council leaders.
http://starbulletin.com/2000/06/28/news/story7.html

(12) Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 4, 2000 By Burl Burlingame
Bishop Museum and the National Park Service are sniping at each other over conduct in the recovery of missing Forbes Cave artifacts. Stung by criticism of the museum, director W. Donald Duckworth testified last week in Washington, D.C., that Park Service scientists are influenced by the "academic biases" of science. And Park Service officials have continued to demand that Bishop Museum retrieve the artifacts before they are stolen or damaged. Bishop Museum continues to receive letters from Park Service officials demanding that the museum recover the artifacts. This is the first time repatriated human remains have been brought up in addition to the "funerary objects," rare Hawaiian artworks whose patrimony is in dispute. [Duckworth] claimed that NPS scientists were "attempting in strong terms to influence decision making between the Museum and the claimants ... they are creating an atmosphere of suspicion and ill will."
http://starbulletin.com/2000/08/04/news/story2.html

(13) Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 20, 2000 By Burl Burlingame
Removal of valuable Hawaiian artifacts from Bishop Museum late in February has been described by the museum as a case of bureaucratic oversight on its part and overzealousness on the part of Hui Malama, the Hawaiian group that misled the museum into handing over the artifacts. But federal financial documents show that Hui Malama planned to remove the artifacts many months in advance, and even targeted the end of February. Because Hui Malama officials refused to explain their actions to the press, the document also gives clues to their motives in hiding the artifacts: "Culturally, when objects are placed with iwi kupuna, the relationship is considered eternally binding. Nothing can interfere with this bond, especially not the curiosity of the living." Such progress reports are required by federal agencies that have funded operational grants to organizations such as Hui Malama, and are public record. "I'm surprised to hear this. This is very interesting," said Mel Kalahiki of the Big Island's Na Papa Kanaka o Pu'uokohola Heiau, one of the newly approved claimant groups, when told of the document. "Now it doesn't make any sense, what (Hui Malama) claimed before," he said. "It looks like they planned to take the cultural objects for a long time, and by themselves. I'm disappointed, because I'd have hoped that the entire Hawaiian community could have been involved in the repatriation." "Bishop Museum has no reaction to any of this, because we had no idea documents like this existed," said museum spokeswoman Ruth Ann Becker. "But we have apologized before for being misled by Hui Malama."
http://starbulletin.com/2000/09/20/news/story11.html

(14) Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 27, 2000 By Burl Burlingame and Leila Fujimori
Claimants for the missing Forbes Cave artifacts last night gave Bishop Museum until Nov. 1 to have the priceless objects returned. "That's Nov. 1, if not much sooner," said Clayton Hee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, one of 11 claimant groups. "It only took Hui Malama seven days to hide the artifacts in the first place, so within the next 34 days is more than reasonable." Of the nine claimants there, all were in agreement except for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. "They didn't disagree, with the decision, though," said Hee. "They elected to remain silent." "Our agreed opinion was that the shroud of secrecy is off, and steps must be taken immediately to ensure the safety of the artifacts," Hee said. "For myself, I have grave reservations that the artifacts are still there and safe. I'd love to be proven wrong. But if they're not there, the onus and the liability for their safety falls on the museum because the artifacts weren't repatriated, they were loaned. "If they're not there, the museum is in big, big trouble. It's the museum's kuleana all the way, and they need to be proactive in recovering these items. The mandate from the claimants is absolutely clear on this," Hee said.
http://starbulletin.com/2000/09/27/news/story4.html

(15) Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 2, 2000 By Mary Adamski and Burl Burlingame
A threatened lawsuit over the failure to return priceless Hawaiian artifacts is "counterproductive," the Bishop Museum's executive director said today. A lawsuit was threatened by Clayton Hee, chairman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, one of 10 groups that claim a right to determine the fate of the "Forbes Cave" artifacts. "We will not accept any more evasiveness from the Bishop Museum," Hee said last night after a four-hour meeting at the museum. "We came thinking the artifacts were going to be there," said OHA trustee Nalani Olds. "Bishop Museum are the keepers of Hawaiian treasures," she said. "How long are we going to allow them to continue? They are not following the federal law." Kunani Nihipali and Eddie Ayau of Hui Malama avoided waiting media as they left amid a group of supporters from Nation of Hawai'i, which has also filed a claim for the items. Nation of Hawai'i leader Bumpy Kanahele answered questions with, "The story should be like the iwi (bones): buried, kept to our people." In a written news release, the museum said that the artifacts had not been returned and that contingency plans are being considered. "The museum has developed a plan for recall of the items," said Laakea Suganuma of the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts. "This process has given us the opportunity to sit down and discuss things as Hawaiians."
http://starbulletin.com/2000/11/02/news/story2.html

(16) Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 29, 2000 By Burl Burlingame
Duckworth leaving in June. In this exclusive interview with the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, the first W. Donald Duckworth has granted since the Forbes Cave story broke last March, the Bishop Museum director talks about that controversy, his years in Hawaii and at the museum and his hopes for the institution's future. *** This very lengthy article has been cut to include only those portions relevant to the issues concerning NAGPRA and the Forbes Cave controversy. See below. ***
http://starbulletin.com/2000/11/29/news/story1a.html

The NAGPRA review Committee in St. Paul, MN May 9-11 was a major event in the Forbes Cave controversy. For those readers wanting to get an update on current events regarding Forbes cave there is a webpage where the agenda of the meeting is available, along with a fax from Hui Malama to the Secretary of Interior and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs trying to exert political pressure to remove Forbes Cave from the agenda. Newspaper articles about the meeting and its aftermath are provided. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagpraforbesafterreview.html


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OVERVIEW: WHY THE FORBES CAVE CONTROVERSY IS IMPORTANT

The Forbes Cave controversy raises significant questions about NAGPRA in general and about the possibility of accidental or deliberate mismanagement in important Hawai’i institutions. What procedures should be followed when bones or artifacts are claimed by competing groups and individuals? Should lineal descendants have priority, or should priority be given to generic institutions allegedly representing an entire tribe or racial group? What should be the balance between public scrutiny vs. confidentiality or secrecy regarding selection of one claimant over another, and regarding the re-interrment of bones and artifacts? Were there special relationships and favoritism between Bishop Museum, Hui Malama, and influential politicians such as Senator Inouye? Should tax-exempt organizations be required to give a public accounting of their income and expenditures, and of their personnel, agendas, and activities? Did Bishop Museum and Hui Malama conspire to allow Hui Malama to take sole possession of the artifacts permanently, while making it appear that the artifacts were merely loaned out temporarily? Did Hui Malama actually put the “liberated” artifacts back into the cave, taking care to guard against grave robbers? Are the artifacts now in the cave, or have they been sold? Did Hui Malama sell some of the artifacts, or knowingly conspire with grave robbers?

Some or all of these questions are likely to be discussed at an important meeting of the national NAGPRA review committee May 7-9, 2003 in St. Paul, MN. According to a document now being circulated, “The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee was established under NAGPRA ‘to monitor and review the implementation of the inventory and identification process and repatriation activities. Review committee members are appointed by the Secretary of the Interior from nominations by Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, traditional Native American religious leaders, national museum organizations, and scientific organizations. The Review Committee meets twice a year and usually considers only one major "dispute" per meeting. The main dispute is presented by both sides one day of each meeting. Forbes is to be the main issue at this coming meeting.”

A remarkable collection of three documents, coming from unimpeachable sources who must remain confidential, includes the above quote. The three documents are lengthy, and can be seen in full at:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagpra3forbesdocs.html

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(1) *** Here is a summary of the Forbes Cave controversy. It is one of the earliest published articles on this topic. Noted Hawaiian cultural expert Herb Kane is quoted as saying, "These are precious objects, often our only link to our own history." Kane is pessimistic the materials ever will be returned. He says, "I'll probably see the items on 'Antiques Roadshow' next week," ***

http://starbulletin.com/2000/03/25/news/story1.html

Fate of some Bishop Museum artifacts debated The whereabouts of 'Forbes Cave' items are unknown due to a federal law and a 'confidential agreement'

By Burl Burlingame
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Saturday, March 25, 2000

Six years after two ka'ai burial baskets disappeared from the Bishop Museum in 1994, as many as 80 more Hawaiian artifacts may be gone from the museum as a result of a 1990 federal law requiring the return of objects from Native American graves.

At issue are artistic and cultural items discovered in caves in Honokoa Gulch, Kawaihae, in 1905. Commonly called the "Forbes Caves" artifacts, they include wood statuettes, aumakua, carved bowls, ipu, tools, gourd water bottles, feather capes, and even a shard of Asian porcelain and a battered Japanese fan.

The objects were found near the human remains of Hawaiians thought to be chiefs. The artifacts and remains were collected and cataloged by Bishop Museum in 1906, according to the original survey by Bishop Museum Press. The objects were cared for at the museum and studied by scholars.

"These are precious objects, often our only link to our own history," said Big Island historian and artist Herb Kane. "They are tangible evidence that we existed as a culture."

Now it appears the objects have been secretly turned over to a group that filed a claim under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Hui Malama I Na Kupuna o Hawaii Nei was organized by attorneys Eddie Ayau and Noelle Kahanu in the early '90s to facilitate the repatriation of Hawaiian remains. Since then they have become influential in such cases and are hired to re-inter remains in an appropriately Hawaiian manner.

Hui Malama is one of four claimant groups involved in the Forbes Cave items. Although Ruth Ann Becker, Bishop Museum spokeswoman, says the other three groups are secret, other sources say they are the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the Big Island Burial Council.

The Forbes Cave human remains at Bishop Museum were supposedly given to Hui Malama and hidden several years ago at a Hilo home of Hui Malama members. The entire process, said Becker, is a "confidential agreement" in which neither the museum nor Hawaiian groups will confirm what was done.

Hui Malama's interest then turned to the Forbes Cave artifacts as well as the remains. According to several archaeologists and museum staffers, Bishop Museum vice president Elizabeth Tatar removed the artifacts Feb. 26 and gave them to Hui Malama.

Becker would not comment on whether this exchange took place. When asked if a scholar would have trouble studying the artifacts, she said, "Probably."

Claimants gain full control

Museum director W. Donald Duckworth said that once claimants are identified, and once remains and objects are recognized as legitimate items to be returned, stewardship of the items is passed to claimants no matter where the items reside. So it doesn't matter if the items are in or out of Bishop Museum, the museum no longer has custody.

"The official ... guidelines and regulations are very complex and are administered out of Washington," said Duckworth. "We don't really have a choice."

Such secrecy in an institution operated as a public trust is frustrating, Duckworth admitted. "These are extremely delicate, complicated and sensitive cultural and legal issues, and a sign of changing times at every museum in the land.

"I came here to have a museum that was as open to the public as possible, and it is not in our interest to deny the public access to anything. But we don't have that option here. Once the claimants are identified by the law, the claimants -- not us -- have complete control of the process. We will respect their desires and rights. We are in a bond of faith. And we can be sued, and rightly so, if we break that bond."

Hui Malama officials declined comment. Officials from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands officials couldn't be reached.

Archaeologists and museum personnel are reluctant to go on the record in the matter, citing not only Hui Malama's influence but superstitions of bad luck dogging those who are involved.

There have been disagreements among groups and individuals involved in the process, but Becker said the claimants met privately Wednesday and are apparently now acting in unison.

Henry "Papa" Auwae of Kona approached Bishop Museum several months ago claiming that as a direct descendant of the Hawaiians found at Forbes Cave, he felt that kapu had been broken in the handling of the artifacts and that they should remain in safety at the museum. The museum demurred, and continued to work with Hui Malama.

The caves are on Hawaiian homelands, and the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands convened a public hearing on the issue on Feb. 16 in Waimea.

Valerie Free, Bishop Museum cultural resources manager, and Hui Malama's Kahanu informed Hawaiian Homes that the Forbes Cave artifacts would be immediately repatriated. Chairman Raymond Soon wrote Tatar a letter on Feb. 22, instructing the museum to hold off, as other claimants had not been heard from.

"Since there is no secure interim facility to properly store the cultural objects, and additional information to review, we believe the Bishop Museum should take the most prudent and responsible action, which is to hold the cultural objects until you receive updated confirmation," wrote Soon.

Growing scandal in museums

Four days later, on a Saturday, Tatar passed the objects to Hui Malama. According to a Bishop Museum shipping invoice dated Feb. 26, these encompassed 83 items, hand-carried in a wooden crate. Ayau signed for the items.

Darrell Yagodich, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands planning officer, complained to Tatar in a Feb. 29 letter that the Hawaiian Homes had never agreed to such an arrangement. He indicated that Tatar had claimed the transfer was a "loan."

Kane is pessimistic the materials ever will be returned. "I'll probably see the items on 'Antiques Roadshow' next week," he said.

"This is a growing scandal in the museum community. Native American artifacts that were cared for in museums are winding up in people's closets. "How can an organization like Bishop Museum honor their obligation to provide security and expert curatorial care for their materials? As the state museum, there's an obligation to safeguard these artifacts for all of us."

As many as 20 Bishop Museum staffers, concerned over the museum's handling of the Forbes Cave items, signed a letter of protest to Duckworth on Thursday. "We feel we have an ethical obligation as museum professionals and concerned community members to point out that these actions are damaging to the museum's reputation on many levels. It is clear that steps need to be taken to ensure that all such collections issues are resolved in a far different manner in the future," the letter said.

Duckworth replied to the respondents yesterday that the claimants' desire for confidentiality created a situation in which "we cannot release much of the information about the process nor can we respond to statements that are being made by others."

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(2) Summary of the Forbes Cave controversy as published in Archaeology Magazine (a professional journal of nationwide circulation):
http://www.archaeology.org/magazine.php?page=online/features/hawaii/index

ONLINE FEATURES April 27, 2000

SHOWDOWN IN HONOLULU

BY SCOTT WHITNEY

At one time, the Bishop Museum in Honolulu was one of the premier scientific institutions for the study of Polynesian culture and natural history, but its reputation has declined in recent decades, a decline documented in a March HONOLULU magazine feature. As a result of contacts made while researching the story, word of a new problem facing the museum began to leak out, becoming headline fodder for Honolulu's newspapers and television news

So what did the Bishop Museum do--or not do--that has caused all the Honolulu headlines?

On Saturday February 26, a day when most staff were not in, museum collections vice president Betty Tatar signed paperwork that allowed for the "loan" of 83 ancient Hawaiian artifacts worth millions of dollars to a Native Hawaiian organization. The objects were taken in 1905 by district judge David Forbes from the lava-formed chambers of a cave in Honokoa Gulch in the Kawaihae district of the island of Hawai'i--referred to locally as "the Big Island." The artifacts have been held by the Bishop Museum since their purchase in 1907. Among them is a female ki'i (statue), some uniquely carved bowls inlaid with human teeth, a god image carved on the top of a wooden staff and a unique game board used for playing a traditional Hawaiian game called konane.

According to the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), federal legislation requires, among other things, that human remains and burial goods held in American museums be returned to the care of their Native American or Hawaiian descendants.

The museum handed over the artifacts to Eddie Ayau, one of the leaders of Hui Mälama I Nä Kupuna O Hawai'i (which could be translated as, "group for the care of Hawaii's ancestors). Hui Mälama has been active in the repatriation of Native Hawaiian remains and burial goods since 1988. However, the museum had also recognized three other Native Hawaiian groups as legitimate claimants to the Forbes Cave artifacts.

Ayau returned the artifacts to the cave where they were and sealed the cave's entrance with masonry and rebar.

Because the female figure is ornamented with human hair and some of the bowls are inlaid with human teeth, Hui Mälama has claimed that they are grave goods associated with human remains. Other Native Hawaiians disagree; they believe that the artifacts should be classified in NAGPRA terms as "objects of cultural patrimony," which would mean that they are inalienable and that they must be preserved in perpetuity for all Native Hawaiians. They believe the items were hidden in the cave complex in response to the 1819 demise of the old Hawaiian religious system, which was declared null by the regent Ka'ahumanu. As a result, traditional temples and religious items were destroyed by Ka'ahumanu and, a few years later, by newly Christianized native Hawaiians.

Sam Ka'ai, a Native Hawaiian artist from Maui, had a chance to view the female figure during a time when the museum was working closely with local artists and sculptors who were seeking inspiration from the art works of ancient Hawaiians. Ka'ai sees the Forbes artifacts as charged with mana, sacred power that can adhere to certain people, places or objects, according to ancient Polynesian beliefs.

"These are the last things left to us," he says, "before the missionary world view engulfed us. Most Hawaiians believe that the human remains belong at rest, but these artifacts are our only aka--our only connection to our past. From the point of view of the artist, the female figure has really strong, balanced lines that give off a powerful "mother" kind of feeling. In traditional Hawaiian sculpture, the male images were very stylized, and only the female images were personalized. With her teeth, eyes and hair, she is really a photo of one of our ancestors. She is some mother's mother's mother. Her image gave off great simplicity and great joy. Seeing her brought tears to my eyes. She is one of the many faces of God and seeing her changed me forever."

Herb Kawainui Kane, a Big Island Native Hawaiian artist and historian said of the same image: "I don't want to get into one of these pseudo-spiritual descriptions that Hui Mälama has been so guilty of, but I will say that the ki'i was a work of art that was very powerful. The image radiated power and it definitely had an immense presence. Perhaps those are just the feelings I brought to it. But that's why I think hiding it away is a great loss to all Hawaiians."

There are other problems with what Ayau and the Bishop did. To begin with, Hui Mälama is only one of four claimants recognized by the museum under NAGPRA guidelines. Furthermore, the hand-over to Ayau was done without the permission of the three other legitimate claimants, which are: the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), which administers Native Hawaiian programs from the incomes of former Hawaiian monarchy lands; the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), which provides home ownership for Native Hawaiians, and the Big Island Burial Council--all of which were furious that the "loan" had been made.

By calling the transaction a loan instead of a repatriation, the museum and Hui Mälama circumvented the federal guidelines for repatriation. Ayau has shown photos to other claimants of the Honokoa Gulch cave's sealed entrance, where the 83 items now reside--subject to decay and exposed to theft. The artifacts have been, in fact--if not in law--repatriated

The museum claims that the loan is not illegal, which is true, and that such loans are common museum procedure, which is debatable. Hawaii's chief archaeologist for the National Park Service, Rob Hommon, says that "it would be very unusual for any reputable museum to loan out objects that it knew were headed toward repatriation."

While museum director Donald Duckworth has insisted to the press that this is not a repatriation, the museum published a notice of intent to repatriate in the Federal Register on April 5. This notice starts a 30-day waiting period for complaints to be made or for additional claimants to come forward

Sara L. Collins, an archaeologist with the state of Hawai'i said that this notice process was "lightening fast," in terms of how the National Park Service usually processes notices. Tim McKeown, coordinator of NAGPRA oversight activities for the National Park Service, says that "it's true we have a backlog of about 240 notices awaiting publication. But if there's a claimant who is requesting repatriation, and if the museum or agency asks us to expedite the matter, we will." Did the Bishop make such a request? "Yes," McKeown says, "the museum wanted this expedited."

Since publication in the Federal Register both the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, on behalf of the Big Island Burial Council, have written to NAGPRA officials and the Secretary of the Interior asking for the repatriation process to be stopped until the claimants can come to a consensus.

Finally, the museum's critics point out, the loan was undertaken without following the museum's own internal loan policy, which requires that the director and the board sign off on any loan of high monetary value or important community interest. Tatar signed the paperwork as the museum's registrar, which she was not. Neither Duckworth nor any board members signed for the "loan."

Shortly after news of the loan spread among museum employees, 21 of them signed a protest letter addressed to museum director Donald Duckworth and board president Bert A. Kobayashi. This letter was leaked to the press as well, and the employees who signed--at great risk to their continued employment--told ARCHAEOLOGY that they felt they had a professional and ethical duty to speak up about the administration's action.

In February 1999 the museum fired its registrar, Janet Ness, who staff say would never have agreed to such an arrangement. Currently the museum has assigned its librarian, Duane Wenzel to act as registrar, but he had no role in this transaction. Ness, who now works in the curator's office at Honolulu's 'Iolani Palace, was driving in her car when she heard the first radio report of the loan.

The museum's paperwork on this transaction contained the following note: "These items are being loaned pending completion of NAGPRA repatriation per request of claimants Hui Mälama and Department of Hawaiian Home Lands." But DHHL wrote to Tatar four days before she released the items, asking her not to make any loan until a safe interim storage facility could be found.

Eddie Ayau of Hui Mälama is an intense young Hawaiian lawyer with a fervent conviction in the rightness of his own actions. "We did this for our kupuna [ancestors]," he says. "We did this to set things right." Asked why it had to be done so quickly, he responded that the process has been dragging on since 1994. He hints at his impatience with the other Hawaiian claimants.

We asked how easy it would be for thieves to find the artifacts.

"Have you ever been in Honokoa Gulch?" Ayau asked rhetorically, "Well, I can tell you that you will never find that cave."

Indeed. Neither could he. A contract archaeologist who had surveyed the area for DHHL had to show Hui Mälama where the cave was.

All of the claimants are worried about security. Is there a guard posted at the cave's entry? Helicopter patrols have been suggested, but the museum refuses to answer any questions about its security measures, except to say that there are some. For all the museum's citations of NAGPRA rules as reasons for their actions, they have never mentioned Section 8 f, which concerns the national review committee formed to settle NAGPRA disputes. The rule says that the Secretary of the Interior "shall ensure that the review committee...and all members of the committee have reasonable access to Native American cultural items under review and to associated scientific and historical documents."

What will the Bishop do if they are asked to produce the items for a claimant or for the national review committee?

In a stormy press conference on April 18, museum director Duckworth refused to answer this question. After reading a prepared apology statement, saying the museum had made a mistake in loaning the materials, he also announced that a new claimant has come forth. Melvin Kalahiki, whose claim as an individual lineal descendant was denied by the museum, is now filing as Na Papa Kanaka O Pu'ukohola Heiau, a corporate Native Hawaiian organization, like Hui Mälama. The organization's name roughly translates as the "Founding Native People of Kohola Hill Temple." The museum has not yet announced a decision about this new claimant.

The history of the Bishop Museum-Hui Mälama relationship goes back at least to 1994, when Hui Mälama sued the museum in federal court over the repatriation of human remains which had been removed from the Mokapu sand dunes on the Marine Corps base at Kane'ohe, in windward O'ahu. Hui Mälama claimed that NAGPRA was not subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) law and wanted all museum records of Mokapu remains destroyed. The court found against them, saying Congress intended NAGPRA to be governed by FOIA. In that case, Hui Mälama portrayed itself as the only legitimate spokesperson for the remains, even though there were 14 other claimants. Judge David Ezra found against Hui Mälama in this matter, too. In his July 1995 summary judgment decision, Ezra wrote: "nowhere does Hawaiian law acknowledge Hui Mälama as the sole guardian for all Native Hawaiian human remains. ...To allow Hui Mälama to unilaterally litigate the issue of inventory disclosure would deny equal weight to the rights and potentially divergent interests of the other Native Hawaiian groups involved."

In March 29 interview with Tatar and Duckworth, we asked about what seems to be an exclusive relationship with Hui Mälama. After the Mokapu lawsuit settlement, Ayau worked for the museum for six months. Although he no longer works at the Bishop, his sister, Mikiala, does. And the museum has just re-hired Ayau's domestic partner, Noelle Kahanu, under a new $750,000 "China Trade Grant," a three-museum project that examines nineteenth-century trade among native peoples. Sen. Daniel Inouye is responsible for the grant. Both Kahanu and Ayau once worked for Inouye, and the suspicion is that the museum keeps close to them so as to also keep close to Inouye's money pipeline.

When this issue was brought up at our March 29 interview, Duckworth was brief with his reply: "This is more small-town stuff. If people can prove some wrong-doing, let them come forward, otherwise, we are committed to hiring professionals in their fields."

We asked a similar question of Betty Tatar at the museum's April 18 news conference, where Duckworth had just made a formal apology for the museum's "mistake." She refused to see any problem in the relationship and said the National Park Service had encouraged them to work closely with Native Hawaiian organizations. When we pointed out that "working with" does not mean putting them on the payroll, Tatar simply took another reporter's question.

The Honokoa Gulch controversy has been a PR disaster for the museum and comes on the heels of mounting criticism for the 15-year management record of Duckworth and his executive team. Staff morale is at an all-time low and Duckworth made it clear at his press conference that staff who speak out to the media will be dealt with severely. "We are an organization of rules," he told reporters, "and our staff know those rules. The museum must speak with one voice." One of the 21 staff members who signed the letter of protest has already been fired and at least one other has been disciplined and given a final, pre-termination warning.

Continue to check our website for developments in the case of the Forbes Cave artifacts.
* See also the Bishop Museum, HONOLULU Magazine, Hui Mälama I Nä Kupuna O Hawai'i, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

SCOTT WHITNEY is assistant editor for HONOLULU magazine. He lives and writes in Honolulu, Hawai'i.

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** Also published later in Archeology Magazine is this press release from Bishop Museum. The timing suggests Bishop Museum may have made its policy decision and issued this press release because of the publicity generated by the article in Archaeology Magazine. **

Press Release
Bishop Museum
A Hawai'i Nonprofit Corporation
May 15, 2000

Bishop Museum Moves to Recall Kawaihae Caves Loan

At its regularly scheduled meeting on April 27, the Bishop Museum board of directors unanimously authorized the Museum's administration to call for return of the Kawaihae Caves items loaned out on February 26, 2000.

Bishop Museum officials have sent a letter to all four currently recognized claimants, requesting that they state their positions in writing by July 1, 2000. On July 1, unless there is consensus by the claimants that the items should remain where they are, the Museum will require the return of the items. (The four claimants are Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei, Hawaiian Homes Commission and Hawaii Island Burial Council.)

The Museum had loaned the items to Hui Malama, in response to the four claimants' opinions that temporarily placing them on their island of origin would help repatriation discussions. Museum officials believed that all agreed to a temporary location Hui Malama had found. The officials were informed shortly after the loan was made that this was not the case.

From the start, Bishop Museum's administration, staff and board have tried to do what's right as we go through this very complex situation," said Pat Duarte, Bishop Museum chief operating officer.

"We appreciate the many concerns that have been expressed about these items," Duarte said. "At the same time we also respect the claimants' opinions, and so are asking for their input on recalling the loan. As new claimants are recognized, we'll ask for their position, in order to give consideration to all voices. We do this in the spirit of lokahi, but recognize that, in the end, the Museum has responsibility for the safety of the items with which we are entrusted. We intend to meet that responsibility fully."

The Museum has requested additional information from other potential claimants, in order to determine whether their claims meet NAGPRA requirements. Officials expect to formally recognize appropriate claims within 30 days, after which they will request the new claimants' position on the loan recall as well.

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(3) http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/2000/Mar/29/localnews3.html

The Honolulu Advertiser, March 29, 2000
by Robbie Dingeman

Artifact policy dispute widens; Public restricted from photos

The dispute over rare Hawaiian artifacts released by the Bishop Museum to one organization last month while others have also staked a claim on the same collection is raising other issues within the museum.

Some employees point with alarm to a policy begun in October 1998 to remove from public view photographs of human remains and associated objects. DeSoto Brown, collection manager of the museum archives, said employees are concerned about the policy because it prevents people from seeing the artifacts in question or even viewing them in photographs. “For us to be prevented from ever providing a photo of those objects ever again is a scary thought,” he said. “It’s kind of a totalitarian regime-type crackdown.”

But museum director W. Donald Duckworth said the decision to limit access to photos of human remains is based on a respect for cultural values and traditions of Native Hawaiians. He said the photo policy was changed “in response to requests by Native Hawaiian individuals and organizations to protect ancestral remains from further desecration by restricting public access to photographs of these remains and burial site locations.”

Other employees of the museum said they are upset about the policy but declined to talk publicly because they fear they could lose their jobs. Duckworth said the issue was discussed thoroughly with staff and with the Oahu Island Burial Council, which supported continuing access to people seeking information about their families. He cited a museum policy clause that allows exceptions to the photo restriction policy.

Brown, who is part-Hawaiian, said questions are continuing after the museum released rare Hawaiian artifacts, known as the Forbes Cave collection, to the nonprofit organization Hui Malama I Na Kupuna ‘O Hawaii. People familiar with the arrangement say the items have been placed in a cave on the Big Island.

Other organizations that have filed claims on the Forbes collection are the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawaii Island Burial Council and the Hawaiian Homes Commission.

The Forbes Cave collection included a carved wooden figure of a female, two wooden bowls with human teeth, a human-hair wig, a deteriorated fragment of a feather cape and a stick image aumakua.

Brown said the photo policy was explained at a meeting in October 1998. He said Hui Malama officials working at the museum said they wanted to restrict access to information about burials and the particular goal was to not allow people to find out where burials were. But the policy goes beyond that. “We were also to not allow people to have any access to photos of human remains,” Brown said. “It goes against what I think we’re supposed to be doing — that is, preserving things so people have access to them.”

Hawaiians involved in cultural issues involving human remains praise the work of Hui Malama in working toward reburying human remains over the last decade. But some are concerned the organization’s influence is at the expense of other Hawaiian organizations and without appropriate consensus.

Public relations specialist Ruth Ann Becker, who has been hired by Bishop Museum as a spokeswoman, said the museum is working hard to be culturally aware and responsive on the sensitive and emotional issues of ancestral remains. She said she is limited by what she can discuss because of confidentiality associated with the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The act, which became law in 1990, makes no mention of a confidentiality requirement.

Becker said the museum is referring to the act’s rules and regulations published in 1995. They say “the museum ... may take such steps as are considered necessary pursuant to otherwise applicable law, to ensure that information of a particularly sensitive nature is not made available to the general public.”

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(4) http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/2000/Mar/29/opinion3.html

The Honolulu Advertiser, March 29, 2000, Island Voices (opinion essay)

Don’t let them have Hawaiian treasures

By Herb Kawainui Kane
Graphics Artist and Cultural Historian

I am dismayed that Bishop Museum has permitted the removal of artifacts without the review process under the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

Human remains should be returned; unless a particular family can prove ownership, artifacts of cultural value to all Hawaiians (which the act defines as cultural patrimony) are best kept in a museum that offers security as well as access for study by Hawaiians today and in the future.

Under NAGPRA, the burden of proof is on the applicant. Artifacts regarded as cultural patrimony must not be handed over on demand by small groups who claim, without proof, to represent a majority of Hawaiians or a consensus of Hawaiian opinion.

The Bishop Museum may request that any demand for repatriation be brought before a NAGPRA review board. Within Indian tribal groups, for whom the act was primarily intended, consensus on matters of repatriation of an object has often been reached, and such consensus, accompanied by expert testimony, is accepted as proof. There is no reason why the same criteria should not apply to Hawaiians; without it, cultural treasures of all Hawaiians will continue to be appropriated by a few.

Can the Hui Malama and others guarantee curatorial standards of security? Put a cultural treasure in a cave, permanently seal the opening, and it is lost to generations of Hawaiians. Or, don’t seal the cave and risk having the contents damaged by rats or showing up on “Antiques Roadshow” the next week.

Much was said about confidentiality. Yet I was able to see a full transcript of the 1997 NAGPRA hearing in the case of the Providence Museum image. In the absence of evidence, an emotional appeal was made, calculated to arouse sympathy from the American Indian majority on the review panel, and included highly inventive metaphysical statements.

This is the kind of hogwash by which NAGPRA, a noble effort, has been corrupted. Those responsible will incur the rage of future generations of Hawaiians who have been denied access to the treasures of their past.

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(5) http://starbulletin.com/2000/04/04/news/story2.html

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Tuesday, April 4, 2000
Summary and excerpts from a lengthy multi-part article by Burl Burlingame

Bishop Museum “loaned” artifacts worth millions of dollars to Hui Malama "in good faith, with the understanding that the items would be placed in a secure interim facility on Hawaii island." Bishop Museum said Hui Malama said it had consent of other claimants for the “loan,” but that was false. Edward Ayau, the Hui Malama representative who signed for the artifacts when they were removed from Bishop Museum on Feb. 26, indicated to museum staff that the items have been secretly reburied on the Big Island. Discovered nearly a century ago near Kawaihae on the Big Island's Kohala Coast, the artifacts include carved-wood statuettes, aumakua, carved bowls, ipu, tools, gourd water bottles and feather capes. The items were housed in the Bishop Museum since 1906. Other claimants included the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the Big Island Burial Council. The decision to remove Hawaiian cultural artifacts last month from Bishop Museum may have been pushed by an unexpected death earlier on the Big Island. Edward Kanahele of Hilo, a driving force in the move to repatriate the artifacts, collapsed Feb. 16 at a public hearing sponsored by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in Waimea on the fate of the "Forbes Caves" artifacts. Kanahele, a founder of the repatriation group Hui Malama, died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. Edward Ayau, the Hui Malama representative who signed for the artifacts 10 days later when Bishop Museum secretly "loaned" them to Hui Malama, has since defended his actions as carrying out Kanahele's dying wish. At a Bishop Museum staff meeting last week, an emotional Ayau referred to Kanahele as his "kumu," or mentor, and said that taking and secretly reburying the artifacts was "pono" -- for the greater good, according to those who attended the meeting. Those present at the Waimea meeting Feb. 16 said Kanahele and Big Island Hawaiian health kupuna Henry "Papa" Auwae disagreed over what should be done with the artifacts. Kanahele favored repatriation and reburial. Auwae argued that the safest place for the artifacts was in the museum. Mel Kalahiki, a volunteer worker at a Big Island heiau who attended the meeting, said the majority of the audience favored Auwae's view. "People felt that since the caves were robbed a couple of times already, treasure hunters would come for them again," said Kalahiki. Auwae and Kanahele each gave a genealogical analysis claiming direct descent from those ancient Hawaiians buried in Forbes Cave. Auwae cautioned that "you have to be careful" with Hawaiian religious beliefs, illustrating his point with the observation that Kanahele's brother-in-law had been killed in a head-on collision an hour after making chants at a Big Island heiau that some considered inappropriate. Suddenly, Kanahele began gasping for breath and died while being taken away in an ambulance. Department of Hawaiian Home Lands planning officer Darrell Yagodich was at the meeting and said: "It was like Ed had made his last statement, and that was it." "His wife said it was his heart, but I don't know," Kalahiki said. "My thing is that the objects represent more than just one person, or just one organization. They symbolize all of my people. You have to be careful when you mess with that."

To help readers of this website appreciate the kind of objects that came out of Forbes cave, some of which have been (allegedly) re-buried there, here are four photographs of three of those carved wooden images.

First, below are two pictures of an image of one of two female figures found in the "Forbes Cave." Made of wood with human hair, it was used for many years as a marketing image by Bishop Museum; for example, in a Bishop Museum brochure in 1984. The photo on the left shows that brochure; the photo on the right was published in a Honolulu Advertiser article on August 29, 2004, and shows the same figure in its entirety without Bishop Museum advertising. Photo on the right has URL:
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/dailypix/2004/Aug/29/ln09a_b.jpg


A second carved image of a female figure was also found in Forbes Cave, and ended up in the collection of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The photograph of that second image, below, shows that is is very similar to the first figure. An article in the Honolulu Advertiser on Tuesday November 16, 2004 included the following information and description:
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Nov/16/ln/ln15p.html

“A burials organization is applying pressure on the National Park Service to transfer five cultural items in the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park collection to Native Hawaiian ownership. The items were part of the collection the group reburied at Kawaihae Cave four years ago. An official with the park said yesterday that the service intends to "repatriate" items as required by federal native burials law and is preparing a written plan. The burials organization, Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei, is planning to open a dispute proceeding under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, in which a committee would review the case, said hui member Edward Halealoha Ayau. Ayau listed the items, all part of the original group that the David Forbes expedition collected from a burial cave more than a century ago [including a] 27-inch tall wooden female figure, decorated with shell inlay eyes and human hair. Its companion piece, a very similar figure, is one of 83 Forbes objects that Hui Malama reburied in the cave four years ago after a very controversial loan arrangement with Bishop Museum. The photograph below has URL:
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/dailypix/2004/Nov/16/localnews15_b.jpg


Here is a photograph of one of the Forbes Cave artifacts which probably is not believed to contain a living spirit, but was claimed by Hui Malama as being an unassociated funerary object. The object was found along with the other artifacts in Forbes Cave, where bones were also buried. It is unknown whether this object was the property of one of the persons whose bones were there, or whether it is a religious object, or whether it was simply placed in the cave for safekeeping during a period of social upheaval around 1819 or 1820 after King Liholiho Kamehameha II had abolished the old religion and ordered the destruction of heiau and artifacts.
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/dailypix/2003/May/13/ln03a_b.jpg


Finally, here is a photo showing many of the Forbes Cave artifacts gathered together.


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(6) http://starbulletin.com/2000/05/05/editorial/viewpoint.html

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, View Point, Friday, May 5, 2000
Summary of opinion piece by Malcolm Naea Chun

When do Hawaiian artifacts become sacred? A carved wooden image of a female, made by art students and erected in front of Waianae High School, was criticized by some residents of the area as being lewd, and criticized by other residents as being a sacred or religious object. But students claimed it is merely a work of art. The writer of this newspaper opinion piece suggests that artifacts such as the Wai’anae tiki or the Forbes Cave artifacts become sacred when they are treated as such and become invested with spiritual power through prayer and reverence. Artifacts can lose their spiritual power when they are no longer treated that way, and then they become merely objects of art. The deaths associated with the handling of the Forbes Cave artifacts suggests they may have kept their spiritual power, or may have been re-invested with it. However, modern romanticized versions of ancient culture may not be accurate.

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(7) http://starbulletin.com/2000/05/11/editorial/letters.html

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 11, 2000, letter to editor by Timothy Johns, Chairman, State of Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources. This letter says that another letter writer who demanded that the DLNR should sue Hui Malama misunderstands the complex institutional relationships involved. “As federally recognized claimants, members of the burial council have been meeting with the other three claimants in the federal repatriation process, in an attempt to reach an accord. Our state historic preservation officer has communicated with the federal Department of Interior to slow the repatriation process until an appropriate resolution could be developed. Our department continues to take seriously its legislatively mandated responsibility to protect historic burial sites in Hawaii. To that end, the state attorney general is pursuing investigation and/or prosecution of offenders who we believe may have broken the burial sites provisions of the state's historic preservation laws.”

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(8) http://starbulletin.com/2000/05/13/news/story7.html

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 13, 2000
By Burl Burlingame

Continuing a close relationship with an organization that Bishop Museum executives admit duped them, several staff members with ties to Hui Malama are representing the museum at a national conference. The weeklong American Association of Museums convention is the nation's primary showcase for museum professionals, and includes seminars and workshops as well as networking possibilities. This article explores relationships among people attending the convention including Bishop Museum Vice President Elizabeth Tatar (who gave the Forbes Cave artifacts to); Hui Malama head Eddie Ayau; Valerie Free (manager of Cultural Resources and Collections Care, the museum's contact for the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, who works directly for Tatar and has been present at every public hearing regarding the missing artifacts); Miki'ala Ayau (collections technician and sister of Eddie Ayau, whose complaints about newsletter photographs helped lead to disciplining of museum public-relations specialist Nanette Purnell, who was later fired. Ironically, Ayau is a panelist for the convention seminar "Handle With Care: Sacred Objects and Museum Methods."); Noelle Kahanu (former collections employee and newly secured as manager of the museum's New Trade Winds Project web site, an initiative sponsored by Sen. Dan Inouye. Kahanu is also a Hui Malama member and Ayau's domestic partner, and both are former Inouye staffers); Museum director W. Donald Duckworth, a member of American Association of Museums' ethics committee; education department Chairman Guy Kaulukukui, a friend of Miki'ala Ayau's. Although the museum in the past has not generally covered attendees' expenses, it is this year. Ayau, however, is receiving a stipend from the convention because she is a panelist.

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(9) http://starbulletin.com/2000/06/08/news/story1.html

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 8, 2000, by Burl Burlingame

The National Park Service, which administers the NAGPRA law on behalf of the Department of Interior, sent a strongly worded letter to Bishop Museum director W. Donald Duckworth, demanding that the museum explain the holdup in resolving the dispute over the Forbes Cave artifacts. Katherine Stevenson, cultural resources association director for the Park Service, sent a pair of letters to Duckworth on April 7 and 13, saying she hoped the museum "will take every possible step to recover and take back into direct care" the missing artifacts. In this week's letter, Stevenson restated the Park Service's concern about the safety of the objects and urged the museum to reclaim them. "As long as the objects are out of your possession, the objects which would be worth millions of dollars on the black market, are subject to a substantial threat of theft. Whether the objects are in a cave, as reported, or elsewhere, they are also threatened by damage by insects, humidity and other natural factors." The Park Service had also received a letter from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs -- another claimant group -- asking that the federal agency to look into the matter. This week's letter to the museum says that press coverage of the affair since had revealed that the objects were no longer in the museum and other claimant groups were not in agreement, and the OHA letter reinforced that impression. ... "Finally," Duckworth added, "let me also assure you that members of the Museum's administration, including our Collections Manager, have inspected the items' interim storage location, and the security arrangements, and found that the items are secure from damage as well as theft."

Bishop Museum officials last week scared a new Forbes Cave claimant group into believing it had only 24 hours to supply documentation to support their standing. On May 11, museum collections manager -- and Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act representative -- Valerie Free wrote attorney James Mee, a representative of the newly formed claimant group E Nana Pono, acknowledging the group's interest and asking for additional documentation. Free wrote: "Please explain how your organization: (a) serves and represents the interests of native Hawaiians: (b) has a primary and stated purpose the provision of services to Native Hawaiian, and (c) has expertise in Native Hawaiian affairs," plus data on membership numbers and proof of "knowledge and experience in burial matters." No deadline was specified. Mee wrote Free back a few days later, asking for clarification and wondering if other new and existing claimant groups were required to provide similar information. On Thursday, Free left a voice mail message for Mee asking for more information as specified in her earlier letter, stating: "I want to let you know that tomorrow is the deadline, tomorrow, that's June 2nd, is the deadline for a response on that letter because we will be making determinations on most appropriate claimants at that point."

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(10) http://starbulletin.com/2000/06/09/editorial/editorials.html

Honolulu Star-Bulletin Editorial, June 9, 2000
Burying the Past

The issue: The National Park Service has urged the Bishop Museum to act to protect Hawaiian artifacts that were turned over to a private group.

Our view: The museum must make every effort to recover the artifacts.

THE dispute over the rare Hawaiian artifacts removed from the Bishop Museum has assumed a new dimension with the intervention of the National Park Service, which has urged the museum to act to ensure that the artifacts are "preserved and protected against all threats." The letter said the objects, which include many unique pieces, "would be worth millions of dollars on the black market." The artifacts were turned over to a Hawaiian organization, Hui Malama, last Feb. 26, an action that the museum subsequently admitted was a mistake based on false representations by the group. Other Hawaiian groups claiming the artifacts protested the turnover to Hui Malama. Twenty-one Bishop Museum employees signed a letter of protest, impressive evidence that a serious blunder had been committed. Duckworth, responding to the park service's letter, said museum officials "have inspected the items' interim storage location and the security arrangements and found that the items are secure from damage as well as theft." He maintained that the transfer was a loan, not an act of repatriation. Certainly it's to be hoped that the artifacts are safe, but it's difficult to take Duckworth's assurances at face value without a full description of the circumstances. The artifacts evidently have been hidden somewhere in the hills of Kawaihae. There is also a credibility issue in view of the various statements the museum has made in the past, at one point claiming that the law prevented it from releasing any information about the situation. ... It may be necessary to take legal action, and even then the return of the artifacts is not assured. The letters from the National Park Service underscore the gravity of the situation and the responsibility of the museum to correct the problem.

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(11) http://starbulletin.com/2000/06/28/news/story7.html

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 28, 2000 By Burl Burlingame

A decision by the Hawai'i Island Burial Council last year that allowed Hui Malama to remove rare Hawaiian artifacts from Bishop Museum may be overturned. The minutes of the Nov. 18 regular meeting show that the agenda was altered to include a pitch by Hui Malama to have the Forbes Cave items classified as "funerary objects," making them eligible for repatriation under federal guidelines, and giving Hui Malama a reason to take the items. Kai Markell of the state Historic Preservation Division said the Burial Council change may have been in violation of the state Sunshine Law. "We're having this reviewed by the attorney general to determine if this was a legal or illegal action," said Markell. "The law states that agendas can only be changed for nonsubstantive items, and I think a vote can't be taken. That wasn't the case here." In February, Edward Ayau of Hui Malama -- citing an agreement with other claimants on disposition of the artifacts -- received the artifacts as a "loan." Since then, other claimants Hawai'i Island Burial Council, Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Department of Hawaii Home Lands have revealed they were not privy to the loan, and the artifacts have vanished. At the November meeting in Hilo, Hui Malama was represented by Ayau and deputy Kunani Nihipali. Ayau said there was "a sense of real urgency" in reuniting the artifacts with the iwi, or ancestral remains already repatriated to the Big Island. "This separation is causing kaumaha (a weighing down with great sadness) that needs to be addressed," said Ayau, who recited his ancestral geneology and described archaeology as "grave robbery." Ulu Garmon, sister of Hui Malama co-founder Pua Kanahele, then read an opinion by Kanahele about such objects, and Park Service officials expressed concern for the artifacts' safety should they be returned. The public was then told to leave so that Ayau could discuss his plans for the artifacts in private with council leaders. Bishop Museum's board of directors has demanded that Hui Malama retrieve the artifacts after this weekend unless all claimants agree to keep them where they are.

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(12) http://starbulletin.com/2000/08/04/news/story2.html

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 4, 2000
By Burl Burlingame

Bishop Museum and the National Park Service are sniping at each other over conduct in the recovery of missing Forbes Cave artifacts. Stung by criticism of the museum, director W. Donald Duckworth testified last week in Washington, D.C., that Park Service scientists are influenced by the "academic biases" of science. And Park Service officials have continued to demand that Bishop Museum retrieve the artifacts before they are stolen or damaged. Before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on July 25, Duckworth said: "Bishop Museum's experiences with the NPS have raised concerns regarding the appropriateness of continuing to administer NAGPRA at the Archaeology and Ethnology Program at the NPS." At least 12 additional claimant groups have sprung up because of the furor in the Hawaiian and archaeological communities over the missing artifacts, worth millions of dollars to antiquities collectors. The museum has since put off possible return of the artifacts until late September. Bishop Museum continues to receive letters from Park Service officials demanding that the museum recover the artifacts. The latest, dated July 19 from associate director Katherine Stevenson, states that "the National Park Service's immediate concern in the Kawaihae Cave Complex matter is first and foremost that Bishop Museum shall reestablish and maintain direct physical possession as well as control of human remains and funerary objects subject to NAGPRA until disposition can be determined properly." This is the first time repatriated human remains have been brought up in addition to the "funerary objects," rare Hawaiian artworks whose patrimony is in dispute. [Duckworth] claimed that NPS scientists were "attempting in strong terms to influence decision making between the Museum and the claimants ... they are creating an atmosphere of suspicion and ill will."

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(13) http://starbulletin.com/2000/09/20/news/story11.html

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 20, 2000 By Burl Burlingame

Removal of valuable Hawaiian artifacts from Bishop Museum late in February has been described by the museum as a case of bureaucratic oversight on its part and overzealousness on the part of Hui Malama, the Hawaiian group that misled the museum into handing over the artifacts. But federal financial documents show that Hui Malama planned to remove the artifacts many months in advance, and even targeted the end of February.

In a financial progress report to the Department of Health and Human Services through Sept. 29, 1999, Hui Malama po'o (president) Kunani Nihipali discussed the group's accomplishments of the previous year, noting that Forbes Cave iwi kupuna -- mummified remains -- had been repatriated to Hui Malama for reinterment in Kawaihae Cave on the Big Island. The report added that the Forbes Cave moe pu -- funerary objects -- had been retained at Bishop Museum due to balking by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (which it misidentifies as the Hawaiian Homes Commission).

"The consultation process continues in this case as of the time of this writing," continues the document signed by Nihipali. "However, Hui Malama is confident that by February, 2000, the moe pu will be repatriated to Hawaii island for reunification with the iwi kupuna they belong to."

Because Hui Malama officials refused to explain their actions to the press, the document also gives clues to their motives in hiding the artifacts: "Culturally, when objects are placed with iwi kupuna, the relationship is considered eternally binding. Nothing can interfere with this bond, especially not the curiosity of the living."

Such progress reports are required by federal agencies that have funded operational grants to organizations such as Hui Malama, and are public record.

"I'm surprised to hear this. This is very interesting," said Mel Kalahiki of the Big Island's Na Papa Kanaka o Pu'uokohola Heiau, one of the newly approved claimant groups, when told of the document.

"Now it doesn't make any sense, what (Hui Malama) claimed before," he said. "It looks like they planned to take the cultural objects for a long time, and by themselves. I'm disappointed, because I'd have hoped that the entire Hawaiian community could have been involved in the repatriation."

"Bishop Museum has no reaction to any of this, because we had no idea documents like this existed," said museum spokeswoman Ruth Ann Becker. "But we have apologized before for being misled by Hui Malama."

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(14) http://starbulletin.com/2000/09/27/news/story4.html

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 27, 2000
By Burl Burlingame and Leila Fujimori

Claimants for the missing Forbes Cave artifacts last night gave Bishop Museum until Nov. 1 to have the priceless objects returned. "That's Nov. 1, if not much sooner," said Clayton Hee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, one of 11 claimant groups. "It only took Hui Malama seven days to hide the artifacts in the first place, so within the next 34 days is more than reasonable."

Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei removed the objects from the museum last February to hide them in caves on the Kawaihae Coast of the Big Island. Hui Malama representatives did not attend last night's meeting at Bishop Museum, nor did the Nation of Hawai'i claimant group. Of the nine claimants there, all were in agreement except for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. "They didn't disagree, with the decision, though," said Hee. "They elected to remain silent."

However Ray Soon, Hawaiian Homes Commission chairman, said that to avoid possible damage, the fragile artifacts should not be constantly moved. "Our feeling is they are safer in place," Soon said. "We believe in the integrity of Hui Malama." Soon said the group should decide on the long-term disposition of the artifacts, rather than focus on the recall, which he said the majority of claimants were.

Representing Bishop Museum was executive Betty Tatar -- who surrendered the objects to Hui Malama in February -- and newly hired collections manager Guy Kaulukukui, formerly the museum's director of education. Kaulukukui said the museum is working closely with claimants to establish the repatriation process. "We're all going to be working carefully and cautiously," Kaulukukui said.

"Our agreed opinion was that the shroud of secrecy is off, and steps must be taken immediately to ensure the safety of the artifacts," Hee said. "For myself, I have grave reservations that the artifacts are still there and safe. I'd love to be proven wrong. But if they're not there, the onus and the liability for their safety falls on the museum because the artifacts weren't repatriated, they were loaned. "If they're not there, the museum is in big, big trouble. It's the museum's kuleana all the way, and they need to be proactive in recovering these items. The mandate from the claimants is absolutely clear on this," Hee said.

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(15) http://starbulletin.com/2000/11/02/news/story2.html

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 2, 2000
By Mary Adamski and Burl Burlingame

A threatened lawsuit over the failure to return priceless Hawaiian artifacts is "counterproductive," the Bishop Museum's executive director said today. A lawsuit was threatened by Clayton Hee, chairman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, one of 10 groups that claim a right to determine the fate of the "Forbes Cave" artifacts. "We will not accept any more evasiveness from the Bishop Museum," Hee said last night after a four-hour meeting at the museum. Yesterday was supposed to be the deadline for Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei to return 83 items that were taken from a Big Island cave in 1905. The items, loaned to the organization in February by museum vice president Elizabeth Tatar, include a famous carved wooden female figure, two stick aumakua (family gods) and two gourds decorated with human teeth.

"We came thinking the artifacts were going to be there," said OHA trustee Nalani Olds. "Bishop Museum are the keepers of Hawaiian treasures," she said. "How long are we going to allow them to continue? They are not following the federal law"

Kunani Nihipali and Eddie Ayau of Hui Malama were present at the beginning of the meeting when the graves protection act was discussed. But, said Van Horn Diamond, whose family is among the claimants, they left before Bishop Museum officials announced that the artifacts had not been returned. The Hui Malama members avoided waiting media as they left amid a group of supporters from Nation of Hawai'i, which has also filed a claim for the items. Nation of Hawai'i leader Bumpy Kanahele answered questions with, "The story should be like the iwi (bones): buried, kept to our people."

In a written news release, the museum said that the artifacts had not been returned and that contingency plans are being considered. The museum said it would not release details of the plans to ensure security and the safety of a team involved in the removal. "OHA and all the claimant organizations have been well informed throughout the process, through every step of the way on this issue," museum executive director Donald Duckworth said today. "We are as mindful of the importance of security as they are, and appropriate measures are being taken as we speak. To bring up the threat of legal action at this point is counterproductive."

"I'm kind of impatient, but the process has to take its course," said Mel Kalahiki of Na Papa Kanaka O Pu'uokohola Heiau, a Big Island claimant. "We're looking at something of substance by the next meeting." Kalahiki said he suggested that the human remains be left in the Big Island cave where Hui Malama has reburied them. "But they should bring out the cultural objects for final disposition. Security is what everyone is concerned about."

"The museum has developed a plan for recall of the items," said Laakea Suganuma of the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts. "This process has given us the opportunity to sit down and discuss things as Hawaiians."

Olds said that if the museum handles this controversy effectively, it is "the rare opportunity to right a lot of wrongs. Because of the ka'ai (the February 1994 disappearance of two sacred baskets that hold the bones of alii), the protocol they don't follow ... If they could work to bring this to a positive ending, they could regain the trust and good will they have lost."

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(16) http://starbulletin.com/2000/11/29/news/story1a.html

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 29, 2000 By Burl Burlingame

Duckworth leaving in June

In this exclusive interview with the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, the first W. Donald Duckworth has granted since the Forbes Cave story broke last March, the Bishop Museum director talks about that controversy, his years in Hawaii and at the museum and his hopes for the institution's future. My feeling is that the Hawaiian community is pretty much split 50-50 on this issue. The rest of the community, at least those who paid attention, feel that a wrong was done that has to be righted, in the best kind of Western Judeo-Christian ethics.

There's a whole set of issues surrounding this very, very complex law -- plus even more complex cultural imperatives -- that (the Native American Graves Preservation and Repatriations Act) is attempting to address. No one really paid attention to the law until it began to include something that they had passion about. Frankly, not too many people get upset with the idea of reinterring human remains, except for physical anthropologists who saw their research material being lost.

But when you get to the artifacts, it's too bad that the other claimants and the museum were misled, but those things happen when passions run high. The bottom line is, most of the materials at Bishop Museum are secured; they aren't subject to NAGPRA. But the Forbes Cave-Kawaihae items were, because we didn't have clear title.

Q: Stolen property? A: Except for Hui Malama, no one seems to want to talk about that aspect too much. There's no substantive evidence that has been presented to us that those materials weren't placed in the caves without intent to be left there. To people of that culture, that means that returning them is not the evil that those of us in the Western world see it as. These are not easy issues to answer! They are issues that are hugely emotional. They are stressful. And they are complex. We'd rather not be dealing in stolen property. We're the first ones to run out and yell foul when sites get looted today, right? I consider the (original) Forbes Cave episode not one of the bright spots in Bishop Museum's history. It's a litmus of collecting practices of that time period, but even back then, it was an illegal act.

Just because you're a physical anthropologist who wants a research subject doesn't mean you can dig up graves. It was the tenor of the times, we all know that, but for those whose ancestors were dug up, it shouldn't be surprising that they don't consider the noble purposes of science to be all that great.

Walter Echohawk, a Pawnee lawyer from Colorado, pointed out that if an Indian dug up a white man's grave, they'd put him in jail; if a white man dug up an Indian's grave, they give him a PhD. Back where I come from, if someone were looting the graveyard, the response would be straight-forward; you'd go to the mantle and get the gun! It's no accident that most of the graves disturbed by Western scientists are not Western graves. Sure, it's controversial, and sure, we're going to make mistakes as we wrestle our way through these things, but the only thing that would be worse would be to do nothing.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin

Q: Where are the ka'ai? A: I don't know any more than what I read in the newspaper, so you tell me. I heard they're in Waipio Valley. We stopped getting information from the police when Kekau (Abigail) Kawananakoa claimed them for herself. As you engage the public, as you provide access, there are risks involved. In the past, the museum treated the public as potential interlopers, the only good thing about that is you had minimum-risk security. When you become open to the public, you heighten risks. Not everyone in the public are good people.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin

A lot of museums at the that time were having similar kinds of problems. It wasn't uncommon. There's a great tendency to collect like crazy and then figure out to do with stuff after you've got it. There were extraordinary collections in Bishop Hall and the termites were running wild in there. Even though they had no money to preserve their collection, it didn't keep the curators from adding to the collections. The museum came very close to not being accredited the first time around. Governance was only part of it. Just after I started in the mid-'80s we almost didn't get accredited again because the conditions of the collections hadn't improved enough.

Bishop Museum has a really odd, ivory-tower history. Somehow -- without discernable resources! -- they were able to assemble those absolutely mammoth collections. It still blows my mind that a museum that was not a part of government was still able to build those huge collections when they never had any reasonable expectation of being able to afford it! But they did.

Today, as a private organization, we have an extraordinary collection. When you consider the collections in other museums across the country and around the world, all of them are either completely government or substantially subsidized by government. But here we stumbled along under the idea that our primary purpose was to gather collections and study them and that all we had to do.

Q: You were hired to shake things up? A: I was hired to do two things: to create an organization where not much of one existed and also to open Bishop Museum up to the public. The board even then realized that they could not continue to be non-public and still expect the public to support them.

We realized that when the economy goes bad, even when tourism goes away, state funding goes away just as easily. Without dependable government money, there's no insulation from the realities of the marketplace. The accreditation team was particularly impressed with the sophisticated level of our budgeting and management. Well, that's what occupied us.

Q: What's changing in the museum business? A: This is my 40th year in the museum business. Museums have probably changed more in the last 20-25 years than they have in the preceding 200! They are traditional Western cultural temples and pretty much viewed as the source of quiet contemplative work, and the people there assemble and study the collections and publish scholarly works. That isn't the case any more. Most museums like Bishop Museum were -- and still are -- a function of government. But costs went up and there were other demands on public monies, like entitlements, even at a place like the Smithsonian that gets something like $480 million from Congress every year still has to go out and raise money.

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The NAGPRA review Committee in St. Paul, MN May 9-11 was a major event in the Forbes Cave controversy. For those readers wanting to get an update on current events regarding Forbes cave there is a webpage where the agenda of the meeting is available, along with a fax from Hui Malama to the Secretary of Interior and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs trying to exert political pressure to remove Forbes Cave from the agenda. Newspaper articles about the meeting and its aftermath are provided. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagpraforbesafterreview.html

Here are the official findings and recommendations of the NAGPRA National Review Committee from the May 9-11 meeting in St. Paul, MN.; released August 20, 2003:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagpranatlmtngmay2003.html


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Email: ken_conklin@yahoo.com