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The Forbes Cave Controversy During and After The NAGPRA Review Committee Meeting of May 9-11, 2003, including official findings of the review committee published August 20, 2003 and Bishop Museum position paper of June 30, 2004


(c) Copyright 2003 - 2004, 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.

This webpage includes materials directly related to the May 2003 meeting of the NAGPRA Review Committee, and the consequences of that meeting, up to December 29, 2004. A continuation webpage is provided for 2005. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagprahawaii2005.html

For the events of 2006, see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagprahawaii2006.html

For this webpage covering May 2003 through December 29, 2004, here is the order of appearance of 22 topics. Full coverage of each topic appears in numerical order following the list. Some topics cover dozens of pages; the total is about 250 pages. Scroll down!

(1) 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.

(2) An article published the following day, May 1, 2003, reported on the results of the Bishop Museum breakfast meeting.

(3) A reminder about where to see the complaint documents filed with the Review Committee by competing claimants.

(4) A fax sent by Hui Malama on April 30 to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, and to the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee (Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Senator Dan Inouye). The fax was a clear attempt by Hui Malama to put political pressure on the NAGPRA Review Committee to stop its investigation. In the fax, Hui Malama claims it was not informed about the upcoming meeting (despite the fact that the meeting and its focus on the Forbes Cave dispute were published in the Federal Register a month beforehand!)

(5) The agenda for the Review Committee meeting (clearly showing the Forbes Cave controversy as the primary focus of the first half of the meeting).

(6) A newspaper report published May 13, 2003 about the results of the NAGPRA Review Committee meting of May 9-11. Committee says Bishop Museum made mistake when it “loaned” artifacts to Hui Malama, and artifacts should be returned. Current (new) museum director agrees, and will take steps to recall the “loan.”

(7) Newspaper editorial May 14, 2003 supporting return of Forbes Cave artifacts to Bishop Museum

(8) Hui Malama refuses to return artifacts. Federal lawsuit is possible.

(9) Two articles published in the Honolulu Advertiser on May 25, 2003 were written by the two primary opponents in the Forbes Cave dispute. Kunani Nihipali is director of Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai’i Nei, which took the Forbes Cave artifacts “loaned” to them by Bishop Museum, and allegedly reburied them in Forbes Cave. La’akea Suganuma represents the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts, an unsuccessful claimant who filed the complaint that prompted the hearing by the NAGPRA Review Committee. Later, in August and September 2004, it became apparent that Hui Malama has asked the NAGPRA Review Committee to reconsider its decision about the Forbes Cave controversy. La’akea Suganuma’s formal letters to the review committee opposing Hui Malama’s request are available.

(10) Letter to editor says Hui Malama ignored advice from Kupuna and misuses the concept of moepu (funerary objects). “It is as if they made decisions for all Hawaiians based on their own beliefs and against the beliefs of this knowledgeable kupuna and teacher. Slowly, all the sacred objects, some the only examples of traditional art and spirituality, are disappearing from museums all over the world. Is this the objective for Hui Malama to not only control but also use only for itself the mana of these sacred objects, which at one time were objects of worship?”

(11) 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

(12) The Honolulu Advertiser, September 24, 2003 reports that the Department of Hawaiian Homelands has denied a request from Bishop Museum, pursuant to the recommendation of the NAGPRA Review Committee, to enter the Kawaihae Cave Complex (Forbes Cave) to retrieve the objects improperly “loaned” to Hui Malama. A news article reports the DHHL refusal, and an editorial bemoans the likelihood of litigation to resolve the dispute.

(13) Apparently in February 2004 there is still a very close relationship between some Bishop Museum staffers and Hui Malama, such that museum staffers continue to try to give museum artifacts to Hui Malama secretly before proper procedures have been followed. On February 10, 2004 the Honolulu Advertiser reported that a new dispute between Hui Malama and Bishop Museum, very similar to the Forbes Cave controversy, resulted in the firing/resignation of Guy Kaulukukui, Bishop Museum's vice president. According to the article, Kaulukukui had approved Bishop Museum turning over some Moloka'i bones and artifacts to Hui Malama, but museum president Bill Brown, citing the Forbes controversy, ordered Kaulukukui to notify Hui Malama that the "repatriation" would be delayed until the museum could obtain further advice regarding its responsibilities under NAGPRA.

(14) The Forbes Cave controversy heated up again at the end of May, 2004. Apparently there were rumors that Bishop Museum might soon take action to retrieve the artifacts from Forbes Cave, as the national NAGPRA review Committee had recommended. A protest by Hui Malama, ‘Ilio’ulaokalani, and other radical groups was held on the great lawn of the Bishop Museum during the Memorial Day holiday. Following are two news reports, plus an opinion essay by cultural leader Pualani Kanahele, plus a letter to editor by Bishop Museum President William Y. Brown; all published during the holiday weekend. Then on Sunday June 13 a group of well-known Hawaiian sovereignty activists published a lengthy opinion piece in the Honolulu Advertiser calling for Bishop Museum to fire President Brown. On Monday June 21 a response was published by DeSoto Brown, Collection manager, Bishop Museum Archives, pointing out that Hui Malama is not the only claimant and there is genuine controversy over whether the Forbes Cave artifacts are actually associated with the bones as funerary objects. On June 29 a letter to editor questioned whether there are actually very many ethnic Hawaiians supporting Bishop Museum in its struggle with Hui Malama, and pointing out that the head of Bishop Museum is a white man. On July 1 a responding letter to editor from a respected ethnic Hawaiian supports the museum’s position and says that although it would be better if the museum’s president were ethnic Hawaiian, he should nevertheless be supported until an ethnic Hawaiian eventually replaces him. Also on July 1, a news report says that Bishop Museum is prepared for a legal contest with Hui Malama for return of the Forbes Cave artifacts; and the article describes a position paper by the museum administration regarding how the museum is a “Native Hawaiian Organization” under the NAGPRA law and is entitled to keep possession of Native Hawaiian artifacts.

(15) Bishop Museum position paper on its role and responsibilities under NAGPRA. This position paper is extremely important. It describes the history of Bishop Museum (established during the Hawaiian Kingdom) and its role as steward for the protection of artifacts given to it for safekeeping by ali’i and their families. The position paper will provide the basis for the museum’s legal strategy in seeking to regain possession of the Forbes Cave artifacts and to retain possession of its enormously valuable collection of other artifacts. The position paper is provided in its entirety on the following webpage:

BISHOP MUSEUM STATEMENT OF JUNE 30, 2004 REGARDING ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER NAGPRA, INCLUDING HISTORICAL AND LEGAL REASONS WHY BISHOP MUSEUM IS A “NATIVE HAWAIIAN ORGANIZATION” ENTITLED TO POSSESS NATIVE HAWAIIAN BONES AND ARTIFACTS. see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagprabishmus063004.html

(16) Followup to Bishop Museum decision to seek recognition by the NAGPRA committee as a “Native Hawaiian organization” eligible to own bones and artifacts. Major conflict between Bishop Museum and Hui Malama. Senator Inouye (author of NAGPRA law in 1990) publicly opposes Biship Museum effort to become a recognized Native Hawaiian organization under NAGPRA. Dept of Interior lawyers say Bishop Museum has the right to be recognized as a Native Hawaiian Organization; but under pressure from Senator Inouye (who provides millions in federal grants to the museum), the museum board is leaning toward withdrawing its request for recognition. Finally, on Thursday October 7, 2004 Bishop Museum’s board of directors decided not to seek status as a Native Hawaiian organization, and published its “final guidance” policy statement. But that was not the end of the story. Bishop Museum can continue to protect and display artifacts owned by Native Hawaiian Organizations. A group headed by Princess Abigail Kawananakoa, heir to the throne, has stepped forward to get itself recognized as a Native Hawaiian Organization for the purpose of claiming ownership of priceless artifacts which can then be given to the museum for safekeeping and public education rather than being buried in a cave,

(17) News reports were published that some artifacts previously repatriated from Bishop Museum to Hui Malama, which had allegedly been “returned” to caves, have shown up for sale on the black market. Federal investigations are underway. These reports became public just as Hui Malama was vigorously pursuing its campaign of opposition to Bishop Museum’s decision to seek status as a Native Hawaiian organization. Is the museum using “dirty tricks” to wage a public relations campaign to discredit its chief opponent, Hui Malama? Or is Hui Malama in fact a bad steward of Hawaiian artifacts, and perhaps guilty of profiteering from the sale of “sacred artifacts” it “liberates” from the museum? Stay tuned! History of the Emerson Collection is included. Kanupa Cave (where Emerson collection came from) found broken into; re-sealed by DLNR. Was the break-in perhaps done recently by Hui Malama to make it look like some previous break-in by unknown grave-robbers was responsibe for theft of valuable artifacts, when Hui Malama itself was actually the thief? Or, was the break-in perhaps done by Bishop Museum to discredit Hui Malama? Or, was the break-in actually done by grave-robbers who then sold the artifacts? Stay tuned!

(18) On September 18, 2004 the national NAGPRA Review Committee held a meeting which considered two Hawai’i related issues: the Forbes Cave controversy and the question whether Bishop Museum should be recognized as a “Native Hawaiian organization” eligible to own artifacts and keep them. The committee heard testimony and announced it will come to Hawai’i to hold hearings on both issues, perhaps as early as Spring 2005. On Tuesday November 2, 2004 the national NAGPRA Review Committee held another meeting by teleconference with Forbes claimants and Bishop Museum officials, and made a decision to come to Hawai’i March (13?) 14-15, 2005 to hold hearings to revisit the issue of the Forbes cave artifacts repatriation.

(19) On Tuesday, November 16, 2004 the Honolulu Advertiser reported that Hui Malama is demanding possession of five artifacts from Forbes Cave that are currently in the possession of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. One of those items is a carved wooden image of a woman, closely resembling a similar image allegedly re-buried in the cave by Hui Malama after an earlier secret deal with Bishop Museum.

(20) A hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will be held at the East-West Center of the University of Hawai’i in Honolulu on Wednesday December 8, 2004 to consider proposed changes to the NAGPRA law, including rules governing which groups can be recognized as “Native Hawaiian organizations.”

(21) On December 1, 2004 the Honolulu newspapers reported that La’akea Suganuma has filed a protest with the Nagpra Review Committee, claiming that Hui Malama engaged in collusion with the former management of Bishop Museum to repatriate and rebury the Forbes Cave artifacts, and that the Committee, with some new members, is now improperly favoring Hui Malama. On December 5, Princess Abigail Kawananakoa, age 78 and wealthy, whose genealogy might entitle her to claim the throne if the monarchy had continued, publicly gave her support to La’akea Suganuma’s efforts to help Bishop Museum keep control of artifacts to preserve them for future education and inspiration. A Star-Bulletin editorial on December 7 urged the participants in these disputes to avoid a court battle.

(22) On Wednesday, December 8, 2004, Senator Inouye held a hearing in Honolulu on behalf of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, to hear testimony regarding proposed changes to the NAGPRA law in view of the Forbes Cave and Bishop Museum controversies. One major issue is rules governing the recognition of groups to be certified as Native Hawaiian organizations. Newspaper articles and editorials are provided.

This webpage with the 22 topics listed above includes materials directly related to the May 2003 meeting of the NAGPRA Review Committee, and the consequences of that meeting, up to December 29, 2004. SCROLL DOWN TO THE TOPIC THAT INTERESTS YOU. BE ADVISED THAT SOME TOPICS OCCUPY DOZENS OF PAGES; THE TOTAL IS ABOUT 250 PAGES LONG. A continuation webpage is provided for 2005. The continuation page begins with the audit report regarding the state burial councils, released on December 30, 2004. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagprahawaii2005.html


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(1)
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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(2)
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/May/01/ln/ln29a.html

Honolulu Advertiser, May 1, 2003
By Robbie Dingeman

Museum says it will review decision on artifacts

The Bishop Museum yesterday told a federal panel it will re-evaluate its decision to turn over Hawaiian artifacts to a Hawaiian organization that said it reburied them.

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 determine whether the matter was handled properly.

The case sparked an emotional debate among Hawaiians and members of the scientific community over the proper treatment of important cultural items. Some say removal from the museum showed respect for the native culture, while others questioned whether it would lead to the artifacts' destruction or sale, and a lost opportunity for education.

William Y. Brown, president and chief executive officer of Bishop Museum, met yesterday with the museum's board in response to a complaint by The Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts. The group is asking the federal agency for a review of the Kawaihae Caves Complex issue, named after the site where the artifacts were found.

The controversy focuses on artifacts taken from a Big Island cave in 1905 and kept at the 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 made claims on the objects. The items include a carved wood figure and two stick 'aumakua.

Under the previous museum director, W. Donald Duckworth, the museum admitted it erred and apologized, then turned the matter over to a divided group of organizations and individuals with cultural claims to the items and described the matter as closed.

In a letter to the committee, Brown said the museum approached the issue in good faith and tried to reach consensus in the past but has a different approach now. "The board of directors and I have concluded that the repatriation process should be readdressed, and we are committed to developing and implementing a process that will secure a just and equitable result," Brown wrote. Brown said the museum intends to work with the organizations and individuals with cultural ties to the artifacts.

L. La'akea Suganuma, representative of the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts, said he is encouraged by the letter but wants to see what the museum means by readdressing the issue. He believes some artifacts should be on display for educational purposes. "I'm hopeful that they fully realize the importance of the matter," Suganuma said. "It's something they should have done in the beginning."

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(3) Here are two of the documents filed in the complaint to the NAGPRA Review Committee by The Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts, followed by the Review Committee announcement that Forbes Cave Is the focus of a national meeting of the NAGPRA Review Committee in St. Paul, Minnesota May 9-11, 2003. Note that the announcement of the meeting, including the fact that it would focus on the Forbes Cave dispute, was published in the federal Register on April 8, a month beforehand. :
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagpra3forbesdocs.html

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(4) A fax sent by Hui Malama on April 30, 2003 to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, and to the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee (Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Senator Dan Inouye). The fax was a clear attempt by Hui Malama to put political pressure on the NAGPRA Review Committee to stop its investigation. In the fax, Hui Malama claims it was not informed about the upcoming meeting (despite the fact that the meeting and its focus on the Forbes Cave dispute were published in the Federal Register a month beforehand!)

Subject : "FORBES CAVE" FUNERARY OBJECTS
Date : Wed, 30 Apr 2003

Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai’i Nei
(Group Caring for the Ancestors of Hawai’i)
Project Ola Na Iwi – Phase III

April 30, 2003

Gale Norton
Secretary
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Norton:

I just read in the Honolulu Advertiser this morning about the following matter. I write to express my concerns about the upcoming meeting of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee scheduled for May 9-11, 2003 in St. Paul, Minnesota. I have learned that one of the agenda items is a dispute over the repatriation of Native American human remains and associated funerary object from Forbes Cave on the Island of Hawai'i by the Bishop Museum. In 2000, the Bishop Museum repatriated these human remains and funerary objects to Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei (Hui Malama). Though we are a necessary party to any consideration of this dispute, the National Park Service failed to contact us. We now understand this matter was also taken up by the Review Committee on May 31, 2002 in Tulsa, Oklahoma and still we were not notified by your department to participate as a necessary party since then.

It would appear that the National Park Service's failure to notify us of this dispute is more than just an oversight. In 1999, Hui Malama filed a claim for human remains and other funerary objects from the same Forbes Cave that are currently under the control of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. We filed that same claim two more times, including a verbal claim directly to Katherine Stephenson and John Robbins while they were in Hawai'i, handing them a revised document outlining our arguments as to why the human remains and funerary objects in the possession of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park were subject to NAGPRA repatriation. To date, the National Park Service has failed to respond to our claim for these iwi kupuna (ancestral bones) and moepu (funerary objects). In fact, at a meeting of the Hawai'i Island Burial Council in 1999, the Superintendent of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park expressed concern that Hui Malama may not be qualified to care for these items as well as the Park has over the years. Taken together, it is clear that the National Park Service is engaged in an organized effort to subvert the intent of Congress by obstructing implementation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The National Park Service ignores claims from legitimate Native Hawaiian organizations while using the Review Committee to punish museums that do comply with the law in good faith. In this instance, the Bishop Museum complied with NAGPRA in good faith.

Three congressional oversight hearings have focused on the issue of conflict of interest in your delegation of responsibilities for implementing NAGPRA to the National Park Service. I understand that Hawai'i Senator Daniel Inouye has personally raised this concern with you. Ensuring fair and impartial implementation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act is part of your trust responsibility to Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations.

I hereby request that you reconsider your delegation of these responsibilities to another entity with the Department of the Interior, such as the Office of Acquisition and Property Management under Assistant Secretary Lynn Scarlett. I also hereby request that you postpone consideration of this dispute by the Review Committee until all necessary parties are notified and can participate as a matter of due process of the law. Moreover, this matter should not proceed until the conflict of interest involving Volcanoes National Park is resolved, as the National Park Service should not be adjudicating disputes in which its actions are at issue.

Ola na iwi,

Kunani Nihipali
Po'o
cc: Daniel Inouye
Ben Nighthorse Campbell
Members of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee

417 H Uluniu Street
Kailua, HI 261-3780
Email: Ke Kiai@hawaii.rr.com

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(5) The following is the agenda for the May 9-11, 2003 meeting of the NAGPRA Review Committee. Note that the Forbes Cave controversy is the primary focus of the first half of the meeting. The agenda was taken from:
http://www.cr.nps.gov/nagpra/review/ST_PAUL_AGENDA.pdf

U.S. Department of the Interior
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee Agenda: May 9-11, 2003

AGENDA
25th Meeting: May 9-11, 2003
St.Paul,MN

Day 1:Friday,May 9,2003

8:30 Chair ’s welcome and call to order Mr.Armand Minthorn
Invocation Mr.Joe Williams
Introduction of Review Committee members Mr.Armand Minthorn
Designated Federal Official ’ s comments Mr.John Robbins
Review of minutes of the Seattle,WA, meeting Mr.Armand Minthorn
Review of agenda Mr.Armand Minthorn

9:30 Dispute – Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts and Bishop Museum. Mr.Armand Minthorn

12:00 Lunch

1:00 Dispute – continued Mr..Armand Minthorn

6:00 Meeting recess Mr.John Robbins

Day 2: Saturday,May 10, 2003

8:00 Chair ’s call to order Mr.Armand Minthorn
Invocation TBA
Review of agenda Mr.Armand Minthorn

8:15 Dispute –continued Mr.Armand Minthorn

10:30 Dispute –concluded

(Break) 11:00 Review Committee Business
1. 1999-2001 Report to the Congress
2. Charter
3. Governance
4. Meeting Protocol
5. Nominations
6. Dispute Procedures,including “affected party ”
7. 2002 Report to the Congress Mr.Armand Minthorn
12:00 Lunch
1:30 Review Committee Business – concluded Mr..Armand Minthorn•U.S. 2:00 National NAGPRA reports
1. NAGPRA Overview
2. Notices
3. NAGPRA Grants
4. Information Management Systems
5. Disputes
(Break)
6. Action List
7. Federal Agency Implementation
8. Outreach and Training
9. Contaminated Collections
10. International Repatriation
11. Culturally Unidentifiable Native American Human Remains
a. Overview
b. Pilot project:Review Committee Inventory of Culturally Unidentifiable Native American Human Remains
12. NAGPRA Chronology
13. NAGPRA Regulations
a. Section 10.7,Disposition of unclaimed human remains,funerary objects,sacred objects,or objects of cultural patrimony
b. Section 10.11,Disposition of culturally unidentifiable human remains
c. Section 10.12,Civil penalties
d. Section 10.13,Future applicability
e. Section 10.15(b),Failure to claim where no repatriation or disposition has occurred (Break)
3:30 Scheduled presentations
1. MIAC/MHS reports on implementation in Minnesota 2. Jean McCoard Open comment 5:00 Meeting recess
6:00-9:00 -- The Minnesota Indian Affairs Council,Minnesota Historical Society,and Upper Sioux Community invite Review Committee members and the public to a reception at the Fort Snelling State Park.Transportation will be available.Refreshments will be provided.•U.S. Department of the Interior Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee

Day 3:Sunday,May 11,2003
8:30 Chair ’s call to order Mr.Armand Minthorn
Invocation
Review of agenda Mr.Armand Minthorn
8:45 Request for a recommendation on the disposition of culturally unidentifiable human remains – South Dakota State Archaeological Research Center
Break Open comment
Chair ’s closing comments Mr.Armand Minthorn
Adjourn (by 12:00)

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(6)
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/May/13/ln/ln03a.html

Honolulu Advertiser, May 13, 2003
By Robbie Dingeman

Bishop Museum artifacts on loan must be returned

A federal review committee has found the Bishop Museum's decision to loan 83 rare Hawaiian artifacts to a Native Hawaiian group was "flawed" and that the items need to be returned.

William Y. Brown, president and chief executive officer of Bishop Museum, attended the hearing in Minnesota last week and said he recommended that the items be returned because of mistakes made by museum staff members in allowing the Native Hawaiian group to take the artifacts, known variously as the Kawaihae Cave complex collection and the Forbes Cave artifacts.

He said the three-year controversy has hurt the museum's reputation for integrity. "Errors were made," Brown said yesterday. "That's wrong and we really need to reset the process at a point before the error was made."

The issue concerns the artifacts taken from a Big Island cave in 1905 and kept at the 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 made claims on the objects. The items include a carved wood figure and two stick 'aumakua.

The artifacts fall under the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which is administered by the National Park Service and provides for return of human remains and other significant cultural items to Native American and Native Hawaiian groups. The Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts had requested the federal review of the case.

Groups claiming connection

Brown and La'akea Suganuma, of the Royal Academy, both said the federal committee said the matter needs to go back to the 13 recognized Hawaiian groups that are claiming a connection to the artifacts. The committee said the items need to be returned by Hui Malama and that the artifacts be made available to all 13 groups while the discussion of their fate continues.

Hui Malama is a group committed to the respectful reburial of human bones and Native Hawaiian cultural objects. The group has said the items taken from the Big Island cave are the equivalent of family treasures and personal items buried with the dead and that they were not meant to be disturbed or displayed. Efforts to reach a representative of the group were unsuccessful yesterday.

Both Suganuma and Brown said they agreed on their description of the errors made and they both noted that the federal committee commended "the good-faith efforts" of both sides. "Now the people involved want to set things right," Suganuma said.

It is not clear what recourse is available to the museum if the items are not returned. Legal action and appeals to federal authorities are a possibility, but would likely take years to resolve.

Proper treatment debated

The case created an emotional debate among Hawaiians and historians over the proper treatment of important cultural items. Some say by loaning the items to Hui Malama the museum showed respect for the Hawaiian culture, while others questioned whether it would lead to the loss, damage or sale of the items, and a lost opportunity for education.

Suganuma said the committee's decision means the museum is still responsible for the artifacts. Hui Malama has said it would refuse to return the items and said they had been returned to the Big Island cave from which they were removed. "They have to officially recall the loan," Suganuma said. "They have to make all of those items available to the recognized claimants so they have to either get them back from Hui Malama or recover them themselves."

Under the previous museum director, W. Donald Duckworth, the museum admitted it erred and apologized, then turned the matter over to a divided group of 13 organizations and individuals with cultural claims to the items. Brown took over as director in October 2001.

Brown expects to send letters within the next two weeks to Hui Malama to begin the recall and to all 13 claimants to reopen the discussion about their disposition. He said the items need to be brought back partly to ensure their safety. "There is a real issue about whether they are there," Brown said. He said he hopes to see the matter resolved in weeks "or a month or a little more, not a year."

[The following photograph accompanied this article. Presumably it is a photograph of one of the Fornes 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.]


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(7)
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/May/14/op/op02a.html

The Honolulu Advertiser, May 14, 2003
EDITORIAL

Return of cave relics a chance to start over

A federal review committee has confirmed what most level-headed folks in this community have felt for three years now: The Bishop Museum erred in lending 83 rare Hawaiian artifacts to a Native Hawaiian group that says it has since re-interred them in Big Island caves.

The review committee met in Minnesota last week to consider application of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act to this case. The act provides for return of human remains and other significant cultural items to Native American and Native Hawaiian groups.

The Kawaihae Cave complex collection and the Forbes Cave artifacts, unique works of rare and haunting beauty, were turned over by the museum in February 2000 to Hui Malama i na Kupuna o Hawai'i Nei. Given that a dozen other Hawaiian groups had claimed the objects, the turnover was a grievous misjudgment.

Another worry is Hui Malama's interpretation of the word "loan." It's not clear that the group intends to return the items to Bishop Museum as the review committee has ordered.

One reason prompt restoration is highly desirable is to ensure the safety of the artifacts. They are said to have been securely returned to burial caves, but that hasn't been verifiable.

Hui Malama contends that the objects were burial items, intended to accompany decedents on their journey in the afterlife. That may be so, but that assertion, as well as the competing claims to the items, is unclear and may never be firmly established.

The museum is the proper repository for the artifacts until their provenance is settled.

During that period, perhaps quite lengthy, it's difficult not to think of the potential for Hawaiian pride as these objects are made widely available for viewing, study and appreciation in the museum.

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(8)
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/May/17/ln/ln09a.html

The Honolulu Advertiser, May 17, 2003

Hawaiian group won't return relics

By Robbie Dingeman

The Native Hawaiian organization that took possession of 83 Hawaiian artifacts from the Bishop Museum three years ago said yesterday that it will not return the relics.

Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei — which means "group caring for the ancestors of Hawai'i" — responded publicly for the first time yesterday in a statement to The Advertiser after a federal committee that reviewed the case recommended last week that the museum take back the items.

The artifacts fall under the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which is administered by the National Park Service and provides for the return of human remains and other significant cultural items to Native American and Native Hawaiian groups.

Hui Malama's Kunani Nihipali said that because the NAGPRA review committee serves as an advisory board, the organization is not bound by its findings. "It cannot order repatriation, nor can it undo one," he said.

A decision on custody of the artifacts could end up before a federal court.

The issue concerns artifacts taken from a Big Island cave in 1905 and kept at the museum until February 2000. Museum officials released the items to Hui Malama, drawing objections from other Hawaiians who claimed cultural ties to the objects. The items include a carved wood figure and two stick 'aumakua. The items are said to be priceless as rare examples of the Hawaiian culture before contact with Western civilization.

Another Native Hawaiian organization, the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts, represented by La'akea Suganuma, had requested the federal review of the case after the group made repeated attempts to get the museum to reclaim the items in 2000 and 2001.

Hui Malama has said that the items have been returned to the cave from which they were taken so they could rest with the ancestors who also were buried there. "The case strikes an extraordinarily sensitive nerve for some who demand that Bishop Museum recall the 'artifacts' it loaned to us despite the fact that this would result in re-disturbance," Nihipali said.

Suganuma rejects that argument. He is among what has been a majority of claiming organizations that voted for recall of the loan. "Many learned kupuna 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," he said.

The federal committee found that the museum's handling of the matter was flawed and recommended that the museum recall the items so that all 13 Native Hawaiian organizations that claimed a connection to the artifacts could determine the next step.

William Y. Brown, president and chief executive officer of Bishop Museum, took over the museum after the loan was made. He was unavailable for comment yesterday. But he has said he agrees that the museum erred and will move to recall the artifacts, even if Hui Malama refuses to cooperate.

Nihipali said his organization believes that repatriation occurred in 2001 when the museum turned over the matter to the 13 organizations.

Suganuma said repatriation could not have taken place because the museum lacked possession or control of the items at the time.

"The museum has to take whatever action is necessary to recover these artifacts themselves," Suganuma said, "which means opening up that cave and finding out what's still in there."

John Robbins, assistant director of cultural resources for the National Park Service in Washington, said the committee acts in an advisory capacity to administer the federal act. But the law also indicates that the committee's findings can be introduced as evidence in federal court if someone makes the case that the act was violated. So taking the matter to the committee is a logical step toward resolution. According to the law, "the United States District Courts have jurisdiction over any action brought that alleges a violation of the act," Robbins said.


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(9) Two articles published in the Honolulu Advertiser on May 25, 2003 were written by the two primary opponents in the Forbes Cave dispute. Kunani Nihipali is director of Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai’i Nei, which took the Forbes Cave artifacts “loaned” to them by Bishop Museum, and allegedly reburied them in Forbes Cave. La’akea Suganuma represents the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts, an unsuccessful claimant who filed the complaint that prompted the hearing by the NAGPRA Review Committee. Later, in August and September 2004, it became apparent that Hui Malama has asked the NAGPRA Review Committee to reconsider its decision about the Forbes Cave controversy. La’akea Suganuma’s formal letters to the review committee opposing Hui Malama’s request are available.

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/May/25/op/op05a.html

Seeking the rightful home for bones, burial items

By Kunani Nihipali
Po'o (director) of Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei

Our position is clear: We restored the contents of the two Honokoa burial caves including iwi kupuna and moepu (ancient bones and burial items). By doing so, we did not impose our views upon the decision of our ancestors to place them together. Instead, we respected their decision and have sought to remind our people about the value of protecting burial sites and their contents, all from the perspective of our responsibility to our ancestors. We have no right to desecrate and disturb burial sites.

Some believe that an end (education) justifies the means (removal and desecration). This view is inconsistent with our duties to our kupuna. A major component of our cultural identity is the exercise of our duties as living descendants to protect the sanctity of the graves of our ancestors who gave the breath of life.

Connection to ali'i

The main piece of evidence that establishes the funerary nature of these items is a sketch plan found in "Old Hawaiian Carvings Found in a Cave on the Island of Hawaii," Memoirs of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Vol. II, No. 2 (1906), by William T. Brigham, museum director. Director Brigham had been in contact with (cave explorer) David Forbes regarding the removal of items from a cave in Hono-koa Gulch. The sketch plan clearly indicates a direct connection between the four ki'i (images) and other items and the iwi (bones, or remains) as depicted in chamber "C." But it was not in the interest of those who took the objects to confirm the funerary nature of these items, given the "severe burial laws" that existed at the time.

We believe that the sketch plan, prepared by Forbes himself, represents evidence of the violation of existing laws in 1905 regarding disinterment and larceny. Yet in his first letter to Bishop Museum's Brigham of Nov. 7, 1905, Forbes references a chamber with a full skeleton in it and states, "[t]here being but one skeleton in this chamber and immediately adjoining it all those curios together with the skulls etc. We are of the opinion that the remains must be of someone more than ordinary in personage."

Significantly, Forbes and associates indicate that the images were located with the iwi. Furthermore, in 1909, Forbes described chamber "C" where the moepu were found in a paper titled "Hidden Treasure Old Cave on the Island of Hawai'i Yields Valuable Museum Pieces," in which he states, "[i]n the recess of this cave, we counted 18 human skulls, with the large bones of legs and arms very carefully wrapped in kapa."

The iwi kupuna Forbes described are identified in the sketch plan and located immediately next to the four ki'i. The two female images are prone, while the other two are standing, and all four are in a position guarding the iwi. This placement is consistent with the function of protecting the chiefs in the current realm and providing for the ali'i in their afterlife. The sketch plan represents irrefutable evidence of the condition of this Honokoa Gulch cave at the time of the removal of the items in 1905.

'The bones live'

In response to the suggestion that the images were temporarily stored in the cave until it was safe to resurface, and not funerary in nature, Brigham writes,

"... on one side of the chamber were the articles ... wrapped carefully in kapa. What connection they have, if any, with the bones in the main cave, or those in the branch chamber I cannot say: perhaps they were simply hidden here as the safest place of deposit known — in the guardianship of the dead. It has been suggested that they form the paraphernalia of a temple and were hidden, as so many of the idols were, at the time of the general destruction of the idols in 1819 in the hope that the storm would blow over and better times ensue, but there is nothing in the collection to support such a view. The two gods or 'aumakua were household deities, the other articles might be the private property of some chief or priest, and two things — the fan and bit of porcelain — are such keepsakes as were commonly deposited with the dead to whom the articles had belonged."

The Forbes/Brigham letters, the 1906 Brigham report and the 1909 Forbes article effectively document that the items are funerary and not merely artifacts. Temporary storage, even in a burial cave if that is possible, would have required that the items be placed in a section of the cave separate from the iwi so as to avoid being considered moepu.

However, from the best evidence available, it is established that the ki'i and other items were found in the possession of the kupuna and that chamber "C" was both sealed and concealed. Furthermore, the personal nature of these items is consistent with their placement with high-ranking ali'i to whom they belong. Based on the above, the only conclusion that can be reached is that the items are moepu, things placed with the dead.

The bond created when the items were placed with the iwi kupuna is perpetual. The items were intended to accompany the kupuna on their post-life journey that includes natural deterioration. It best serves us to follow the teachings of our kupuna rather than conceding to Western views that place monetary value over mana (spiritual essence) and artistic education over respect.

The fact is that the iwi kupuna and moepu were stolen. The names of the thieves are known, and the theft occurred in 1905. Forbes freely admits the taking. This same burial cave was looted again by J. Everett Brumaghim in 1935, and Keith Jones and Kenneth Emory in 1939. Is someone planting the seeds for yet another theft of these funerary possessions, following in the footsteps of Forbes, Wagner and Haenisch?

When will the desecration end?

Our answer is: It ends now.

It is not for us, who live at this time, to decide the fate of these objects. The decision was made long ago when the personal articles were placed in the cave. As Hawaiians of today, our function is simple; it is to see that the initial decision is realized and respected. Let's respect the wise practices of our ancestors as we hope that our progeny will see the wisdom of our decisions and practices. Maintaining the kuleana to care for the iwi and moepu is a profound expression of our cultural identity as Kanaka 'oiwi.

It is hoped that the time has come for all iwi kupuna removed from ancestral burial sites to be kanu pono (properly buried). By reburying the iwi, the ancestral foundation is strengthened, the interdependence between past and present continues, and the land is reinfused with mana necessary to sustain the ancestors, the living and the generations to come.

Ola na iwi, the bones live.

There are several problems with the recent action of the Review Committee for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, for purely procedural reasons. These comments are based on the property law upon which NAGPRA is based. Adherence to the process is essential.

The bare and material facts are as follows: The Bishop Museum enters into NAGPRA consultation with 13 possible claimants and makes a decision that the cultural items from the Kawaihae Cave Complex, which include human remains and funerary objects, are culturally affiliated to all 13 claimants. The requisite notice of inventory completion and intent to repatriate is published in the Federal Register. Thirty days go by, and only one group, the actual party in possession, asserts a desire to hold and retain all of the said cultural items. The items have been on loan to this party, and to facilitate NAGPRA transfer the Bishop Museum requests their return. The party in constructive possession refuses. The Bishop Museum is not asked to resolve a dispute. Repatriation is declared.

More than two years later, the matter is placed on the NAGPRA Review Committee agenda — but by whom? The decision of the review committee is to undo the repatriation and have the items returned to the Bishop Museum, which in turn would conduct consultation with claimants, and the process would begin anew.

The decision of the review committee is flawed as a matter of process and property law, and gives rise to two potentially dangerous precedents. Once a museum makes a decision and it is published, the decision is final. The claimant can then act on the decision. In this case, one claimant has acted and the others have not. As a matter of due process, the 13 had 30 days to pose a dispute to the Bishop Museum. If they did not, the item would go by default to the one who stepped forward. If no claimant stepped forward, the museum would retain the item.

Setting bad precedents

As a matter of property law, the potential interested parties are the 13 claimants. If there is a dispute, it is between those who have possession of the items and the other claimants. This does not include the Bishop Museum. If one of the other 13 claimants thinks it did not waive its rights because those who received the items did something that caused the failure to come forward within 30 days, then they must raise this issue with the successful possessor of the item.

The bad precedents established by the NAGPRA Review Committee are at least two:

1. Museums urged the good-faith provision in the law so that once they followed the process they would be done, and their liability exposure would be over. If there is no finality, then museums' worst fears have been realized. They will not want to move forward without releases from the universe of possible claimants. Even simple repatriations will take years. Generally, property law favors finality. Anything that impedes finality is contrary to the law in general and NAGPRA expressly.

2. The review committee seemed to be concerned because the item(s) in question were on a "loan" to a claimant at the time of the process. This is an illusory issue. For guidance, look no further than some 100 years of museum property law.

Professor Norman Palmer of London wrote an extensive book on museum loans. To condense his thoughts to the point at hand: A loan does not alter ownership rights. And while an item is out on loan, its underlying ownership may shift. During the loan of these objects, the lender (the museum) called the loan, and the holder refused to tender possession. However, the notice to recall the loan of the items listed the holder as one of 13 entitled to repatriation; in museum lingo that is lawful title. After 30 days, no other party came forward, and the possessor took lawful title, as the only one that the museum determined could make such a claim did assert such a claim.

The loan status became moot.

To now raise the issue of the loan as a means to set aside a final decision and return the item to the museum effectively to start over wipes out the concept of finality. It also suggests that repatriation cannot be resolved unless the museum physically possesses the items at the time the decision is made.

Consider what this means to the Bureau of Land Management or other federal agencies that do not have in their physical possession the millions of items for which they are responsible and which are in the custody of repositories all over the country. Such an absurd proposition would come as a surprise to museums that, in the normal course of business, buy, sell, and trade items regardless of whether they are on premise or out on loan. The Bishop Museum cannot go back and undermine the transfer two years later, simply because it no longer owns these cultural items, if it ever did.

Through repatriation, transfer was completed and title passed. The Bishop Museum has no authority, and as one of the legal owners, we object to their involvement, as well as the involvement of the National Park Service. Only the lawful owners can undertake any matters relating to treatment of the Kawaihae iwi kupuna and moepu.

In this instance, the repatriation of human remains and funerary objects removed from two burial caves in Honokoa Gulch by David Forbes, et al., represents more than the application of a federal property and civil rights law. Its primacy is the desecration of iwi kupuna and their moepu and the theft of mana. Forbes' actions amount to a violation of the sanctity of the grave and of human decency — it is extremely uncivilized and barbaric. He was an attorney and a judge, an officer of the court who knew his actions to be unlawful according to the code of law at the time.

The discussion therefore should be refocused from NAGPRA to where it more appropriately belongs: The common law principle of theft, which translates to lack of clear title by David Forbes and subsequently Bishop Museum, which acquired the mea kapu (sacred items) from Forbes.

There is strong indication that museum director Brigham understood that the collection was acquired illicitly. Brigham goes as far as to suggest to Forbes how to cover up the theft: "In the meantime, keep the matter quiet for there are severe laws here concerning burial caves, and I shall not make the matter public, of course, until you say so. If you should wish to keep the collection or part of it, the coming from this place (Bishop Museum) would throw any suspicious persons off the scent" (William Brigham reply to David Forbes, Nov. 11, 1905).

We challenge Bishop Museum's ability to reassert control over the iwi kupuna and moepu from Honokoa based on its lack of clear title under NAGPRA and under the common law principle of theft. The NAGPRA law says: "Nothing in these regulations can be construed to: Limit the application of any State or Federal law pertaining to theft of stolen property."

Secure foundation

For the last three years, periodic security checks have been conducted by members of our organization. The right-of-access agreement we have with the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands provides for us to continue to conduct the security checks.

All is secure. O ke kahua mamua, mahope ke kukulu.
The foundation first, then the building.


In 1905, explorer David Forbes entered a cave at Kawaihae on the Big Island, where he came across human remains and a variety of objects. Above is a photograph of several of the rare objects.

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/May/25/op/op07a.html

Repatriation of Forbes Cave remains was flawed
By La'akea Suganuma

The Bishop Museum recently announced that it had "repatriated" 83 "Forbes Cave" items "loaned" to Hui Malama to 13 claimant individuals or organizations. The position of the museum was that since title now belonged to the claimants, the museum no longer bore any responsibility for the recovery of the items from the Big Island caves where they allegedly had been placed after they were removed from the museum and loaned to Hui Malama.

My attempts to resolve this matter were to no avail. It was at that point that I requested that the Review Committee for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA, look into this matter.

My position before the Review Committee was that proper and legal repatriation never took place; that the Bishop Museum had purposely treated the claimants unfairly; and that the museum had deliberately planned to use this move as an excuse to escape their responsibility for the return of the items.

Just before the hearing and after receiving and reviewing my 315 pages of allegations, reports, articles, documents, etc., that I had submitted in support of my position, the Bishop Museum reconsidered its previous position and decided that there were "errors" made and that my position was valid.

Although the final report of the Review Committee is still being prepared, the following represents what was stated by the committee at the end of the dispute hearing:

1. The repatriation process was flawed and incomplete.
2. The process used was not in compliance with NAGPRA regulations and requirements.
3. The Bishop Museum is responsible for the completion of the repatriation process.

Therefore the Review Committee recommended:

1. That Bishop Museum renew the consultation process with the 13 recognized claimants.
2. That Bishop Museum recall the Feb. 26, 2000, loan of 83 items that it made to Hui Malama.
3. That Bishop Museum treat all 13 claimants fairly and equitably.
4. That Bishop Museum make the 83 items available to all 13 claimants.

The Review Committee further stated that recognition of the good faith efforts of myself (The Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts) and Bill Brown (director of Bishop Museum) to resolve this dispute would be noted.

My purpose in pursuing this was in the interest of fairness to all of the 13 claimants. I have always maintained that this situation was caused by actions taken by the museum.

As far as the "loan" is concerned, that was an agreement made by and between Bishop Museum and Hui Malama and is for those parties to resolve. Meanwhile, the consultation process will continue and the issue of final disposition will be discussed by the claimants on an equal and fair basis.

This is simply a matter of setting things right.

La'akea Suganuma represents the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts.

Later, in August and September 2004, it became apparent that Hui Malama has asked the NAGPRA Review Committee to reconsider its decision about the Forbes Cave controversy. La’akea Suganuma’s formal letters to the review committee opposing Hui Malama’s request are available at
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagpraforbesreconsiderlaakeafall2004.html

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(10)
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/May/30/op/letters.html
Letter to editor from C. Kamuela Harris; Honolulu Advertiser, May 30, 2003

Hui Malama ignored advice from kupuna

Regarding the recent developments surrounding the Forbes Cave artifacts and the Bishop Museum's admission of fault for the loan of these sacred objects to Hui Malama: I would like to thank Laakea Suganuma for his great effort to make this pono. But until these sacred objects are returned, the battle to make this righteous is still being fought.

Hui Malama's excuse that these objects were "intended to accompany descendants on their journey in the afterlife" is far-fetched, to say the least. Hui Malama's refusal to return the collection is not surprising. What is important now is how Bishop Museum reacts.

The assumption made by Hui Malama that repatriation has taken place is incorrect. To have repatriation occur, the museum must have control of the collection first, in order for all the claimants to decide the repatriation process. Hui Malama circumvented this, with the help of Bishop Museum staff, took the artifacts and iwi kupuna, and made the decision on behalf of everyone without consent.

The key issue is the definition of "moepu" ("to place artifacts with the dead") and how Hui Malama used this word to manipulate the museum and the system. The objection to the use of the word moepu originally came from Papa Auwae before he passed. Not only did Hui Malama not listen to this renowned kupuna and teacher of Hui Malama's Ed Kanahele, it continued on this path with other collections as well. It is as if they made decisions for all Hawaiians based on their own beliefs and against the beliefs of this knowledgeable kupuna and teacher.

Slowly, all the sacred objects, some the only examples of traditional art and spirituality, are disappearing from museums all over the world. Is this the objective for Hui Malama to not only control but also use only for itself the mana of these sacred objects, which at one time were objects of worship?

We as Hawaiians cannot sit and do nothing while organizations make these decisions on our behalf. What is to prevent the same thing from repeating again, but instead of from the Bishop Museum, a private collector? When it all comes down to it, Bishop Museum is still responsible. Hui Malama was loaned the collection temporarily. Now who's accountable?

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(11) 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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(12) The Department of Hawaiian Homelands denied a request from Bishop Museum, pursuant to the recommendation of the NAGPRA Review Committee, to enter the Kawaihae Cave Complex (Forbes Cave) to retrieve the objects improperly “loaned” to Hui Malama. A news article reports the DHHL refusal, and an editorial bemoans the likelihood of litigation to resolve the dispute.

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/Sep/24/ln/ln27a.html
The Honolulu Advertiser, September 24, 2003
By Timothy Hurley
Excerpts

PAUKUKALO, Maui — The Hawaiian Homes Commission yesterday denied the Bishop Museum permission to enter burial caves in Kawaihae and retrieve 83 rare Hawaiian artifacts. The question now is: Does that end the matter, or will the objects first taken from the Big Island caves by David Forbes in 1905 continue their journey through the courts?

"It's going to lead to more legal entanglement," said La'akea Suganuma of the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts, one of 13 organizations that claim ownership of the objects. "It's not over yet."

William Brown, president of the Bishop Museum, said the museum's board of directors will review the matter and consider its options in the ongoing attempt to repatriate the artifacts as directed by a federal agency.

Commission members, meeting on Maui, voted 8-1 to deny the museum's request, saying they would rather leave the relics where they are out of respect for their ancestors.

The artifacts, which include a well-known wooden carving of a female figure believed to be worth millions, along with skeletal remains, were removed from the burial caves as far back as 1905. Additional removals continued as late as 1980, according to a Hawaiian Homes Commission staff report.

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act review committee studied the issue in May and concluded that the artifacts have not been properly repatriated. The committee said the museum is responsible for resolving the issue, and it said the 83 items should be made available to "all parties in the consultation."

But Hui Malama board member Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr. told the commission that it was time to get the Bishop Museum out of the Kawaihae dispute. "It's a Hawaiian matter," he said. "We should keep the lawyers and the legal entities out of it. The Ha

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/Sep/24/op/op01a.html
Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, September 24, 2003
EDITORIAL

Burial dispute can't be settled in the dark

With yesterday's rejection by the Hawaiian Homes Commission of the Bishop Museum's request to enter the Big Island's Kawaihae burial caves, the "Forbes Collection" saga is no closer to resolution. The museum wants access to the caves to retrieve 83 artifacts purportedly stashed there years ago by Hui Malama I Na Kupuna 'O Hawai'i Nei. All this would be a lot easier if David Forbes, a judge, businessman and amateur archaeologist, hadn't removed this collection, considered sacred, in 1905 in the first place. But he did. And 95 years later Hui Malama, with the Bishop Museum's blessing, took it upon itself to re-inter the collection, incurring the wrath of several Hawaiian groups who understandably questioned Hui Malama's ability to protect the collection from damage. A federal panel that reviews possible violations of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act has concluded that the artifacts that the Bishop Museum "loaned" to Hui Malama have not been properly repatriated, concurring with the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts, which got the panel involved. In light of that conclusion, the museum might be liable for any damages to the collection. So we can hardly expect museum president William Y. Brown, who inherited this controversy, to take it lying down. He says "neither the museum nor the claimants can be certain that all of the objects were in fact placed in the Kawaihae Caves, nor can we be assured that persons unknown have not removed them." Hui Malama asks us to trust its stewardship of the collection, but it won't trust the Bishop Museum to repatriate the collection. If no one budges, we're looking at a tangle of lawsuits that could ultimately raise the dead.

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(13) Apparently in February 2004 there is still a very close relationship between some Bishop Museum staffers and Hui Malama, such that museum staffers continue to try to give museum artifacts to Hui Malama secretly before proper procedures have been followed. On February 10, 2004 the Honolulu Advertiser reported that a new dispute between Hui Malama and Bishop Museum, very similar to the Forbes Cave controversy, resulted in the firing/resignation of Guy Kaulukukui, Bishop Museum's vice president. According to the article, Kaulukukui had approved Bishop Museum turning over some Moloka'i bones and artifacts to Hui Malama, but museum president Bill Brown, citing the Forbes controversy, ordered Kaulukukui to notify Hui Malama that the "repatriation" would be delayed until the museum could obtain further advice regarding its responsibilities under NAGPRA.

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Feb/10/ln/ln01a.html
The Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Museum executive leaves after dispute over remains

By Vicki Viotti

A dispute between the Bishop Museum's president and a Native Hawaiian group over the reburial of ancient Moloka'i remains and burial objects has led to the departure of the museum's vice president, who had approved the group's claim on those remains.

Guy Kaulukukui, formerly the museum's vice president for cultural studies, was fired late last month, said his attorney, Robert F. Miller. Kaulukukui has deferred comment to his lawyer.

The firing resulted, Miller said, when Bishop Museum President Bill Brown told Kaulukukui to sign letters indicating that transfer of the remains and burial objects to the group would be delayed while a competing claim, and the museum's policies on the matter, are examined. Kaulukukui refused, he said.

This is the latest controversy to flare in the sensitive Native Hawaiian campaign for the reburial — or "repatriation" — of native remains and associated burial objects. It's an area ripe for cultural conflict and in which, even experts admit, clear evidence is sometimes elusive.

The repatriation organization in the Moloka'i case is Hui Malama I Na Kupuna 'O Hawai'i Nei. The group previously was embroiled in a conflict over remains from the Big Island, which members took on loan from the museum collection and buried in Kawaihae Caves almost four years ago, over the protests of other Hawaiian groups.

Brown, through a spokeswoman, confirmed that Kaulukukui has left his post but declined to say whether he resigned or was fired.

"The issues related to repatriation of cultural artifacts and funerary objects are very sensitive, and we take our stewardship role seriously," Brown said in a written statement in response to questions from The Advertiser. "At my direction, a very cautious approach to each claim is taken in order to make sure that a Kawaihae Caves situation never again occurs."

Brown said in his statement that a competing claim on the remains from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs also needs to be considered. Pua Aiu, a policy analyst with the OHA Native Rights, Land and Culture Division, declined comment on the OHA claim.

At issue are what's described as bone fragments and moepu, or funerary objects, part of the museum's inventory from Moloka'i, said Edward Ayau, attorney for Hui Malama. He described the set as including shells, a wood image and a palaoa, or pendant, made from rock oyster shell.

Repatriation is governed by the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

In a written statement, Brown acknowledged that concern over the past conflict spurred him to ask National Park Service officials who supervise NAGPRA requests whether the museum must give the Moloka'i remains to the hui, "if and when all NAGPRA requirements are met."

Ayau pointed to a letter the museum sent the hui in October in which Kaulukukui said the museum's NAGPRA advisory committee recognized the hui's claim on the remains. He also showed a copy of a December letter from the park service to the museum, stating that no NAGPRA exceptions apply to the Moloka'i case and that "the museum must proceed with repatriation of the cultural items."

What's in dispute is whether the hui fulfilled all the rules. In his statement, Brown cited a requirement that a claimant must provide evidence that the museum "doesn't have right of possession," something he said neither the hui nor OHA have done.

Ayau said the hui has followed procedures and has been cleared by Bishop Museum's own committee, adding that the museum is now vulnerable to fines under the federal law. He acknowledged Brown's assertion that OHA has a competing claim but maintained that the hui already has been recognized. "You cannot call a time out in the middle of this while the clock was running," Ayau said. "What he (Brown) is doing is interfering not so much with our rights but our responsibility to care for our ancestors."

Paula Molloy, a spokeswoman for the park service, said that when there are disputes, the parties have a few options. One is to ask the advisory NAGPRA review committee to review the case, she said; its recommendations to the U.S. interior secretary are admissible in court but not legally binding. Another is to file a federal lawsuit to compel the property to be conveyed, she said. Neither the park service nor the interior secretary has the authority to do that, she said. But the interior secretary can assess fines, Molloy said, following the filing of a formal, written allegation of noncompliance with NAGPRA.

Final resolution to such conflicts would require an accord on contentious philosophical and cultural questions, an accord that simply doesn't exist, said Michael Graves, chairman of the anthropology department at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa. Most people support the reburial of remains, he said; the disagreement centers over what to do with burial objects, especially those that are deemed worthy of study. Some say all such objects should be reburied; scientists and some Hawaiians believe exceptions can be made, Graves said.

Another challenge is interpreting scientific evidence, he said. "The problem with Hawaiian burials that we face is because there's not some sort of marker at the surface and because they're sometimes placed in lava tubes or other places where people may have engaged in some other activities," he said. "The identification of what's a Hawaiian burial and what is not can be subject to some dispute. Those cases do need to be examined carefully."

Graves said it helps to put the conflict in a familiar context. "If we were to have to dig up a historic cemetery and then we reburied remains, we would put the coffin back in the ground as well," he said. "We wouldn't suggest that because that coffin was beautiful, it should be kept. I try to place this in the context of how I would feel, how almost anyone might feel about such objects."

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(14) The Forbes Cave controversy heated up again at the end of May, 2004. Apparently there were rumors that Bishop Museum might soon take action to retrieve the artifacts from Forbes Cave, as the national NAGPRA review Committee had recommended. A protest by Hui Malama, ‘Ilio’ulaokalani, and other radical groups was held on the great lawn of the Bishop Museum during the Memorial Day holiday. Following are two news reports, plus an opinion essay by cultural leader Pualani Kanahele, plus a letter to editor by Bishop Museum President William Y. Brown; all published during the holiday weekend. Then on Sunday June 13 a group of well-known Hawaiian sovereignty activists published a lengthy opinion piece in the Honolulu Advertiser calling for Bishop Museum to fire President Brown. On Monday June 21 a response was published by DeSoto Brown, Collection manager, Bishop Museum Archives, pointing out that Hui Malama is not the only claimant and there is genuine controversy over whether the Forbes Cave artifacts are actually associated with the bones as funerary objects. On June 29 a letter to editor questioned whether there are actually very many ethnic Hawaiians supporting Bishop Museum in its struggle with Hui Malama, and pointing out that the head of Bishop Museum is a white man. On July 1 a responding letter to editor from a respected ethnic Hawaiian supports the museum’s position and says that although it would be better if the museum’s president were ethnic Hawaiian, he should nevertheless be supported until an ethnic Hawaiian eventually replaces him. Also on July 1, a news report says that Bishop Museum is prepared for a legal contest with Hui Malama for return of the Forbes Cave artifacts; and the article describes a position paper by the museum administration regarding how the museum is a “Native Hawaiian Organization” under the NAGPRA law and is entitled to keep possession of Native Hawaiian artifacts.

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/May/28/ln/ln21a.html
The Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, May 28, 2004

Anger resurfaces over retrieving artifacts

By Vicki Viotti

Conflict is brewing again over the Bishop Museum's handling of burial artifacts, especially the ongoing push by museum officials and others to retrieve objects that were reburied four years ago in Kawaihae Caves. Native Hawaiian groups, including those that oppose any re-entry to the caves, yesterday announced plans for a 24-hour prayer vigil.

William Brown, museum president and chief executive officer, yesterday said he still has hopes of gaining permission of the Hawaiian Homes Commission to retrieve the 83 rare Hawaiian artifacts from the caves, which are on Hawaiian homestead lands under the commission's control.

Last September, the commission had denied that request, despite a finding by a federal panel that the repatriation process was flawed because the objects were reburied by only one of the 13 claimants. Commission Chairman Micah Kane was unavailable for comment, but spokesman Lloyd Yonenaka said the commission has no plan to grant access unless the knotty dispute is untangled.

Native Hawaiian feelings on the issue are divided. Some groups, upset by any proposal to re-enter Kawaihae, yesterday called for Brown's dismissal as museum chief, accusing his administration of obstructing the repatriation of Hawaiian remains and burial artifacts as directed by federal law. Others, including some with a claim on the Kawaihae artifacts, believe they were shut out of the discussion prematurely. A rival claimant, the Native Hawaiian group Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei, reburied the items without consultation, said La'akea Suganuma, a spokesman for some of the claimants

Suganuma said he and others would like access to the caves, at least to witness their burial. He said he has spoken with Hawaiian Homes officials about the need to confirm the location of the artifacts within the caves. "Nobody knows where they are," Suganuma said. "All we're saying is we want to be treated fairly."

The 24-hour vigil, which will start at noon tomorrow at the museum, was organized by the native rights group '?lio'ulaokalani Coalition in observance of Memorial Day to seek "the expeditious repatriation of all iwi kupuna, ancestral human remains," said Kaho'onei Panoke, coalition vice president. Panoke emphasized the event, which was arranged with permission of the museum, is a peaceful expression.

But some participants voiced anger with Brown's administration of the federal repatriation law, known as NAGPRA, or the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Both Pu'uhonua "Bumpy" Kanahele, who heads the Nation of Hawai'i, and Professor Jon Osorio of the Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, called for Brown's removal as museum chief.

Eddie Ayau, a member of Hui Malama, said the museum has failed to repatriate another of its claims, a set of remains and objects, to a Moloka'i site. The museum has returned another Moloka'i artifact - the sandstone slabs known as Kalaina Wawae - but has retained legal ownership, Ayau said. "This is so, whenever they like, they can take them back," he said.

Brown said repatriation of the remains - two full teeth and a tooth fragment - can be made as soon as a competing claim from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is resolved. Lance Foster, an OHA archaeologist, said the agency no longer is pressing that claim, but Brown said he's waiting for a written cancellation notice.

As for the burial objects, a cowry shell and a small wooden figure, Brown said that under the law the Hui Malama must make the case that the museum lacks "right of possession." Without that legal finding, he said, the museum doesn't have to repatriate them.

Bishop Museum, originally established to house the extensive collection of Hawaiian artifacts and royal family heirlooms of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, has a mission to protect Native Hawaiian artifacts, Brown said. This, he added, is one reason the museum has retained title to the Kalaina Wawae "I see the museum as Pauahi's place for the stewardship of Native Hawaiian culture," he said. "That gives me a perspective that's cautious. Once you give away an item, you will never have the chance to reconsider whether you should have given it away."

Brown and Suganuma both said they are hoping to reopen the Kawaihae issue through consensus, rather than by taking legal action. "The truth will come out, and everything will be resolved eventually," Suganuma said.

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/05/27/news/story4.html#jump
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 27, 2004

Vigil seeks repatriation of remains

Several native Hawaiian groups will hold a 24-hour vigil beginning at noon Saturday seeking the return of ancestral remains and funeral objects from the Bishop Museum. The coalition alleges that the museum improperly has 100 human remains and is attempting to reclaim remains and funerary items reburied at the Big Island's Kawaihae cave under the Native American Graces Protection and Repatriation Act. "This prayer vigil seeks the expeditious repatriation of all iwi kupuna and moe pu held at the Bishop Museum and spiritual protection for the Kawaihae iwi kupuna and moe pu," the 'Ilio'ulaokalani Coalition said in a news release. Other groups participating in the vigil will be Hui Malama i na Kupuna o Hawaii Nei, the University of Hawaii Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies and the Nation of Hawaii. Museum President Bill Brown said in a statement that all remains held by the museum are from Oahu's Mokapu Peninsula and skeletal fragments unearthed in development.

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/May/28/op/op06a.html The Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, May 28, 2004

ISLAND VOICES

We must protect the bones

By Pualani Kanahele

Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele is a kumu with Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei.

Mai ka la hiki a ka la kau (from the sun rising to the sun setting), we 'Oiwi Hawai'i (Native Hawaiians) are reminded of the cyclical nature in which our people have thrived in Hawai'i nei throughout the generations. Although much has changed, much remains the same.

We experience the same sunrise and sunset as our kupuna (ancestors) did, dance to the same beat of the pahu (drum) as they did, plant by the same moon phases and fish by the ebb and flow of the same ocean tides. Through cultural practices, we tap into and release ancestral knowledge passed on to us and maintain long-held traditions and kuleana (responsibilities) that continually breathe meaning into our lives. One of the most profound of these kuleana is the care and protection of iwi kupuna (ancestral bones) and moepu (burial objects).

In recognizing ourselves as 'oiwi (natives), we literally refer to ourselves as "of the bone," exemplifying that our bones and the bones of our kupuna derive from the same source. Likewise, kulaiwi (native land) literally translates as "bone plain," in that our homeland is where our ancestors are buried. 'Olelo no'eau or traditional sayings teach us not to expose the ancestor's bones, "mai kaula'i i na iwi i ka la," and not to remove objects placed with the deceased, "mai lawe wale i na mea i ho'omoepu 'ia." Ingrained within us, these values form a fundamental part of who we are.

The ongoing efforts of Director William Brown of the Bishop Museum to seek to reopen a burial cave at Kawaihae to remove iwi kupuna and moepu of ali'i (chiefs) returned to their original burial place is a digression of our Hawaiian cultural existence because it continues to "kaula'i na iwi" or "expose the bones," further violates our responsibility to protect our kupuna as was originally intended and further oppresses who we are as 'Oiwi Hawai'i by devaluing our practices. We must not allow the Kawaihae iwi kupuna and moepu to be removed from the place where their loved ones laid them to rest.

In response to Director Brown's efforts, a 24-hour vigil will be held beginning at noon tomorrow at Bishop Museum. We will practice our kuleana to the Kawaihae ancestors by praying for their protection and a permanent halt to all efforts to remove them. Participants will remain at the museum throughout the night to also pray for the timely release of all iwi kupuna and moepu held there. Please join us.

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/May/29/op/op10a.html
The Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, May 29, 2004

No one seeks to remove Kawaihae Caves bones

I am writing to clarify issues raised involving artifacts said to have been placed in the Kawaihae Caves. In yesterday's Advertiser, Ms. Pualani Kanahele wrote that the Bishop Museum seeks to remove iwi kupuna (ancestral bones) and moepu (burial objects) from the cave complex.

Bishop Museum, in consultation with Native Hawaiian claimants involved in the matter, seeks to recover only artifacts — not burial remains — that were loaned to Hui Malama in February 2000 and were never returned, despite pointed objections from the other claimants. Seven of the 13 Native Hawaiian claimants involved in this matter seek to verify that the items are in the caves and to recover them so that repatriation may be continued in a manner that respects the rights of all 13 claimants.

The National Park Service NAGPRA Review Committee has recommended that the artifacts be recovered and presented to all the claimants. Bishop Museum concurs with the position of the federal Review Committee and the majority of Native Hawaiian claimants, and desires to implement that position in a cooperative manner. Bishop Museum has no plans to, and does not wish to, remove or recover any iwi kupuna, or ancestral bones, as Ms. Kanahele states in her article.

We are respectful of the plans by Native Hawaiian organizations to honor ancestors this Memorial Day weekend, and the Bishop Museum will do everything it can to help make those plans be successful.

William Y. Brown
President, Bishop Museum

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Jun/13/op/op07a.html
The Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, June 13, 2004

COMMENTARY

Museum leadership must change

By William Aila Jr., Edward Halealoha Ayau, Billy Fields, Pele Hanoa, Kaleikoa Ka'eo, Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa, Pu'uhonua Kanahele, Kahu Charles Maxwell, Jimmy Medeiros Sr., Jon Osorio, Kunani Nihipali and Ho'oipo Kalaena'auao Pa

The authors include cultural leaders, academics and others who are involved in the restoration of the Hawaiian tradition.

In an era when museums worldwide are shedding their colonial pasts by working in partnership with native people, we believe Bishop Museum director William Brown has set the museum back 100 years to a time when native sacred objects were curiosities bartered and sold, and native voices were irrelevant and ignored. In terms of their iwi and moepu, are Hawaiians being treated fairly?

In 1905, when David Forbes broke into a Kawaihae burial cave and took sacred iwi (bones) of ali'i (chiefs) and their moepu (burial objects), then-museum director William Brigham helped conceal the theft, and later acquired many of the bones and burial objects. Brown is following in the footsteps of his predecessor in seeking to rob the same Kawaihae burial cave once more.

In 2000, Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei secured the iwi and moepu back in the Kawaihae burial cave. By 2001, a legal process involving the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was concluded, resulting in the iwi and moepu remaining in the original cave and ending the museum's role in the matter.

Director Brown wants to undo this outcome. He asserts that the objects are not moepu, and therefore the museum is doing nothing morally or culturally wrong in seeking to remove them from the cave. However, the fact that these objects were placed in immediate proximity to the iwi within a single chamber of a multichambered cave leaves us with no doubt that they are moepu, personal belongings of ali'i with whom they were laid to rest, and not sterile "artifacts" devoid of cultural context and function.

This is part of a pattern:

• Refusing to release iwi kupuna and moepu from Moloka'i against the dictates of NAGPRA — even firing the museum vice president of cultural studies (a Hawaiian) for resisting plans to halt this repatriation.

• Attempting to maintain the museum's dubious ownership of mea kapu (sacred objects) seized from 'Iolani Palace by the provisional government shortly after the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom, thwarting efforts by Hawaiians to repatriate the mea kapu permanently to the palace.

• Reversing a previous museum commitment to repatriate the Kalaina Wawae sandstones to Moloka'i pursuant to NAGPRA.

• Forbidding Hawaiian museum staff from conducting cultural protocols they feel are necessary in the work they do.

• Attempting to subvert NAGPRA, which defines a process that allows certain Hawaiian cultural items in museums and federal agencies to be repatriated to Native Hawaiian organizations. Brown plans to qualify the museum as a Native Hawaiian organization under NAGPRA, which would allow it to claim its own items and block their repatriation, and do the same for Hawaiian cultural items in other museums and federal agencies.

Brown has left adrift the museum's Hawaiian and Pacific Studies Department. It has no chairman, no clear direction and only a small full-time staff of three researchers, none of whom is Hawaiian and none of whom has formal training or life experiences to qualify them as Hawaiian cultural experts.

Brown's actions would go unnoticed if he were running a museum in 1905 for a colonial power that cared little about native people. But Brown directs the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, founded to honor Ke Ali'i Pauahi and her Hawaiian heritage, to house the mea kapu of the Kamehameha ruling family, to instill Kamehameha Schools students with greater pride in their culture, and operating in a time of growing Hawaiian nationalism.

If the museum's board of directors wants the museum to have a hostile relationship with the Hawaiian community, they have the right man at the helm. If the board wants the museum to become a vital part of the Hawaiian community, they must rid the museum of Brown immediately.

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Jun/21/op/op03aletters.html
The Honolulu Advertiser, Monday June 21, 2004

Hui Malama isn't sole claimant

Recent publicity has questioned the present administration of Dr. William Brown as director of Bishop Museum, including the commentary published in the June 13 Advertiser ("Museum leadership must change"). While this particular piece raised a variety of points, the central issue of this current debate continues to be the artifacts from the Kawaihae Caves, which were loaned from Bishop Museum under the terms of the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

In light of this ongoing discussion, it's crucial that additional information on this subject is made more generally known.

The artifacts and iwi kupuna (human bones) from Kawaihae that were once held in Bishop Museum were requested for repatriation by multiple claimants, one of which was Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei. It must be emphasized that all of the claimants in this case (originally four in number, and subsequently increased to 13) are of equal stature in this process, both legally and in every other manner. These other claimants are Hawaiian — individuals, families or organizations — just as are the members of Hui Malama.

The various claimants' feelings regarding the artifacts from the Kawaihae Caves differ, and some strongly believe that these objects should not have been placed back in the caves, and that they are not truly moepu (burial objects). As Hawaiians, their opinions must be respected.

And yet, when the artifacts were loaned to Hui Malama in 2000 — not repatriated, or permanently given — the members of this one claimant group immediately returned them to the caves and sealed the entrance. No consensus of the other claimants' desires was ever sought; Hui Malama's actions, in effect, denied that any of the others' wishes would ever be considered.

This organization and its supporters continue to state that they oppose any attempts to undo this act, even though it was not authorized by the terms of the law under which they received the objects.

With justification, then, some of those claimants who disagreed with this situation subsequently filed a complaint with the NAGPRA Review Committee. In 2003, this group (which examines the transactions connected with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act on a national basis) agreed that the Kawaihae Caves repatriation had been flawed and therefore needed to be reopened.

It has been on this basis that Bishop Museum, under Dr. Brown, has pursued the continuation of this case. In doing so, he is acknowledging (as he must) the wishes of the other Hawaiian claimants as well as the ruling of the NAGPRA Review Committee.

This process may go in directions that Hui Malama does not support. This organization is most definitely one of the legitimate participants, but Hui Malama, despite its prominent community position, cannot be the sole determinant of the eventual outcome.

The signers of the previously published article in The Advertiser are strong in their beliefs, and many are known and respected in their fields. But they represent a segment, not the entirety, of the Hawaiian community. Other views exist, and these are of equal sincerity and importance.

There are Hawaiians who believe that Dr. William Brown is acting properly and support his leadership of Bishop Museum.

DeSoto Brown
Collection manager, Bishop Museum Archives

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Jun/29/op/op03aletters.html

The Honolulu Advertiser, June 29 2004. Letter to Editor

Only Hawaiians can decide on cave bones

A collection manager at Bishop Museum Archives, DeSoto Brown, claimed in a letter to the editor, "There are Hawaiians who believe that Dr. William Brown is acting properly and support his leadership of Bishop Museum." Who are these Hawaiians? Why is it that when some people state there are Hawaiians who are supportive of an issue or issues, they usually do not supply names of Hawaiians?

Also, he states, "The signers of the previously published article in The Advertiser are strong in their beliefs, and many are known and respected in their fields. But they represent a segment, not the entirety, of the Hawaiian community. Other views exist, and these are of equal sincerity and importance."

It seems that some people don't understand that Hawaiians have the right to decide what to do with the bones. It's not for Bishop Museum to decide — which, by the way, is directed by a white man. Let the natives decide. Period. It's also the law.

Lana Ululaniokekaihawanawana Robbins
New Port Richey, Fla., and Hilo, Hawai'i

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Jul/01/op/op02aletters.html
Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, July 1, 2004, Letter to the Editor

Other Native Hawaiians back museum director

In her June 29 letter regarding DeSoto Brown's letter in support of Bishop Museum director Bill Brown, Lana Robbins asks for the names of others who support his position. I am one of those Hawaiians, and DeSoto is absolutely correct in saying that there are many other Hawaiians, claimants and non-claimants, who feel that Hui Malama acted without legal authority, and in direct opposition to other claimants, in taking the disputed items and reburying them.

Over and over again, Hui Malama refuses to acknowledge the points of view of others, deigning to think that it is the only group that has any kind of understanding of these matters. Rather than working with the other groups to come up with a consensus that will in the long run serve the Hawaiian community better in many ways, it continues to rake the flames of indignation, causing further division in the Hawaiian community.

Bill Brown, I believe, is stuck between a rock and a hard place. I do not see that he has any other legal option but to pursue the return of the items.

Would I, as a Native Hawaiian, rather have a Hawaiian as the director of the museum? Absolutely, but until that time comes, I think it behooves us to work amicably with him as much as possible so he can really hear, and feel, our viewpoints. And I stress here that there are many viewpoints on this subject, not just that of Hui Malama.

Nanette Napoleon
O'ahu director, The Cemetery Research Project
Former member, Island of O'ahu Burial Council

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Jul/01/ln/ln26a.html
The Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, July 1, 2004

Bishop Museum prepared to contest claims to artifacts

By Vicki Viotti

The Bishop Museum has adopted a more activist role in contesting Native Hawaiian claims on cultural artifacts in its possession by asserting that it, too, qualifies as a "Native Hawaiian organization" under federal law.

In announcing its new policy yesterday, museum director Bill Brown said the move will place the museum on equal footing with other groups that seek to gain custody of cultural items and lays out its intention to defend its possession of most items. Brown emphasized, however, that the museum does not seek to retain human remains and is working to return them to descendents.

The museum's new stance is drawing fire from some in the Hawaiian community who say the policy defeats the intent of federal law enabling the return to native people of cultural treasures held by museums.

The "interim and proposed final guidance" document, which has been approved by the museum board but will be refined after public comment, has been posted online at the museum Web site (the link is found at the bottom of the home page, www.bishopmuseum.org). Comments are being accepted through Sept. 1.

The move, Brown said, will "assure that the museum can be a partner in this discussion" with other groups and will strengthen its protection of Native Hawaiian artifacts for the community. "The question is, 'Why are we doing this?' The answer is the Bishop Museum has been fundamentally reactive in the way we address our responsibility under NAGPRA," he said, referring to the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. "A primary purpose of the Bishop Museum is, without doubt, to serve the interest of Native Hawaiians and I believe it has been so from the beginning."

The reaction from the Hawaiian community was mixed. The most heated response comes from Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei, an organization that oversees perpetual care of Native Hawaiian remains and the museum's chief critic in its handling of several controversial cases involving cultural artifacts. Edward Halealoha Ayau, an attorney and a Hui member, said in a written statement that "the potential for abuse by the Bishop Museum to prevent repatriation is real." "If allowed to stand, this would give Bishop Museum the ability to block any and all repatriations from Bishop Museum simply by disagreeing with other claimants because NAGPRA requires that if there are competing claims for cultural items, a museum may hold on to the items in dispute until there is resolution," Ayau added.

Under the law, a "Native Hawaiian organization" is defined as "any organization which serves and represents the interests of Native Hawaiians, has as primary and stated purpose the provision of services to Native Hawaiians and has expertise in Hawaiian affairs."

The guidance document, signed by Brown, traces the historical connection between the museum and the Hawaiian monarchs, some of whose treasures were left in the museum's care. The document delves into some intricate legal definitions, but the sum is that the museum officials see little in their collection, other than bones, that the law would force them to relinquish. In many cases, Brown said, another claimant would have to prove that the Bishop acquired items illegally to overcome the museum's "right of possession." However, he added, the museum wants to encourage public access to artifacts, while retaining ownership through arrangements similar to the relocation of the sandstone slabs known as Kalaina Wawae to Moloka'i.

Winona Rubin chairs the board of the Hawaiian services agency Alu Like Inc. and recently joined the museum board. Although she declined to comment in detail on the new policy because she was involved in few discussions, Rubin did say that the museum has a "track record" of working with Hawaiian agencies. "Bishop Museum has been considered a member of Hawaiian Service Institutions and Agencies since (that association's) beginning, for 25 years," she said.

Isabella Abbott, a University of Hawai'i botanist who co-chairs the museum's collections committee, said that, viewed from the scientific perspective, cultural artifacts are less prey to damage in the museum's controlled environment. Several insect and fungal species that were introduced after many of the treasures were buried in caves now have turned those sites into a corrosive home for the items, she said. "These things are not safe," she said. "They would have been much safer left in the Bishop Museum."

Policy online

The Bishop Museum's new policy can be viewed online.
http://www.bishopmuseum.org/NAGPRAGuidlines.html

Comments will be accepted in writing through Sept. 1. They should be addressed to: Malia Baron, Registrar, Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817.

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(15) Bishop Museum position paper on its role and responsibilities under NAGPRA. This position paper is extremely important. It describes the history of Bishop Museum (established during the Hawaiian Kingdom) and its role as steward for the protection of artifacts given to it for safekeeping by ali’i and their families. The position paper will provide the basis for the museum’s legal strategy in seeking to regain possession of the Forbes Cave artifacts and to retain possession of its enormously valuable collection of other artifacts. The position paper is provided in its entirety on the following webpage:

BISHOP MUSEUM STATEMENT OF JUNE 30, 2004 REGARDING ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER NAGPRA, INCLUDING HISTORICAL AND LEGAL REASONS WHY BISHOP MUSEUM IS A “NATIVE HAWAIIAN ORGANIZATION” ENTITLED TO POSSESS NATIVE HAWAIIAN BONES AND ARTIFACTS. see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagprabishmus063004.html

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Jul/06/ln/ln07a.html
The Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Complex law at root of artifact policy

By Vicki Viotti

Critics have faulted the Bishop Museum's new stance against giving up much of its collection under a federal "repatriation" law, but it's still unclear what recourse, short of a federal lawsuit, they may have.

Museum officials last week announced the policy by releasing "guidelines" on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and posting them online. The museum plans to adopt the guidelines in their final form after analyzing responses from the public that come in by a Sept. 1 deadline. NAGPRA is a 14-year-old law that sets up a complex process for returning, or "repatriating," human remains and other significant burial and cultural items to the Native American and Hawaiian groups from which they originated. It places more legal force behind the return of artifacts in certain categories than in others. For example, lineal descendants of people who were buried with funerary objects have the strongest claim on those artifacts if they have been kept together ("associated") with the human remains. If they become separated — the artifact is in a museum's collection, for example, while the remains are not — that claim becomes weaker.

In the most controversial aspect of its policy, Bishop Museum has asserted that the museum qualifies under NAGPRA as a "Native Hawaiian organization" that can make a competing claim like any other group. It also contends that, other than human remains that are in the process of being returned to descendants, very few items in its collection qualify as items that the museum must return. For example, said museum director Bill Brown, the Bishop collection includes no items that fit the legal definition of "cultural patrimony" — items of such critical cultural importance that they belong to the population at large — or "sacred objects" as they are defined by the law.

Among the individuals who have responded in writing is Guy Kaulukukui, who was the museum's vice president for cultural studies until he was fired in January over a repatriation dispute. Kaulukukui takes issue with much of the document, including the contention about its status as a Native Hawaiian organization and its exclusion of much of its collection from repatriation. "Bishop Museum's new guideline is a veiled attempt to close the books on NAGPRA repatriations by trying to convince Native Hawaiians that it has completed its obligations to them under the act," he said in a written statement. "In reality, the museum's responsibilities under NAGPRA will increase over time as Native Hawaiians continue to renew traditional religious practices and make claims for the sacred objects that are associated with these activities."

The policy, while open to revision, has been adopted by the museum's board of directors. One board member, Jennifer Goto Sabas, is also chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawai'i, who helped to write NAGPRA. Sabas declined to say how she voted or to comment generally on the policy. And as Inouye's spokeswoman, she said last week that staff are still analyzing the matter and that the senator would have no comment yet.

Hawai'i faces an entirely different circumstance from Native American tribes that make claims under NAGPRA, said Patricia Molloy, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service, the federal office that administers the law. Tribes are far more narrowly defined than are Native Hawaiian organizations, she said, which has left Hawai'i open to conflict. "In terms of determining who can make a claim, Hawai'i is a unique situation," she said. "In Alaska and 48 states, there is a clearly defined universe as to who are appropriate claimants." The NAGPRA review committee, the administrative body set up to untangle disputes, has not determined whether to take up the Bishop case, Molloy said. "The statute is clear that the U.S. federal court is always an option," she said. "But whether there are nonjudicial or administrative options is unclear."


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(16) Followup to Bishop Museum decision to seek recognition by the NAGPRA committee as a “Native Hawaiian organization” eligible to own bones and artifacts. Major conflict between Bishop Museum and Hui Malama. Senator Inouye (author of NAGPRA law in 1990) publicly opposes Biship Museum effort to become a recognized Native Hawaiian organization under NAGPRA. Dept of Interior lawyers say Bishop Museum has the right to be recognized as a Native Hawaiian Organization; but under pressure from Senator Inouye (who provides millions in federal grants to the museum), the museum board is leaning toward withdrawing its request for recognition. Finally, on Thursday October 7, 2004 Bishop Museum’s board of directors decided not to seek status as a Native Hawaiian organization, and published its “final guidance” policy statement. But that was not the end of the story. Bishop Museum can continue to protect and display artifacts owned by Native Hawaiian Organizations. A group headed by Princess Abigail Kawananakoa, heir to the throne, has stepped forward to get itself recognized as a Native Hawaiian Organization for the purpose of claiming ownership of priceless artifacts which can then be given to the museum for safekeeping and public education rather than bring buried in a cave,

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Jul/19/ln/ln26a.html
The Honolulu Advertiser, Monday, July 19, 2004

Bishop Museum's claim will be weighed

A panel that monitors a federal law protecting native burials will consider today whether to hear challenges to the Bishop Museum's qualifications as a "Native Hawaiian organization" under the law. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee will meet in a teleconference, with the Honolulu link set up at the Pacific Island Support Office, 300 Ala Moana Blvd. The conference, which is open to the public, is set for 8 to 11 a.m. Last month museum officials asserted that the Bishop qualifies as a Native Hawaiian organization under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and thus can make claims on cultural objects. Opponents have said that this new policy runs counter to the intent of the law, which is to enable the return of certain items held by museums and various agencies to the native individuals or groups who can present a valid claim. The business of today's conference includes electing a committee chair and setting the agenda for the next meeting, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 18-19 in Washington, D.C. Written statements for the committee's consideration can be addressed to Tim McKeown by e-mail at tim-mckeown@nps.gov. For information call Melia Lane-Kamahale at 541-2693, ext. 729.

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Aug/08/op/op09a.html
The Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 8, 2004

Does museum have valid claim to native antiquities?

On May 27 of this year, the board of trustees of the Bishop Museum formally approved a "guidance" document asserting that the museum is a qualified Native Hawaiian Organization under a federal law governing repatriation of Native American and Hawaiian human remains and other objects.

That law, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA, was enacted in 1990. It allows, among other groups, qualified Native Hawaiian organizations to make claims for the return of objects. By defining itself as such an organization, the museum places itself in the position of being a claimant, equal to others, for Hawaiian objects and antiquities now in its possession.

This decision has created a fair amount of controversy. Some Hawaiian groups, active in the effort to return objects, say it makes no sense for the museum itself to be a claimant. Others argue that there is no better place for many of these objects than the Bishop Museum, which has cared for such objects for decades.

On Sept. 17 and 18, a high-level NAGPRA review committee composed of both scientific and cultural experts will meet in Washington, D.C. Among other items on its agenda is an informational briefing on the Bishop Museum's finding that it is a qualified Native Hawaiian organization. Neither the NAGPRA review committee nor the Department of the Interior will make any judgment on that finding based on the September meeting. Such a judgment would come only when and if there were a dispute between the Bishop Museum and other claiming entities over specific objects. And even in that case, the review committee might simply conclude that while the museum is legitimately a Native Hawaiian organization, its claim to a particular object is less persuasive than another group's.

The excerpts are from the museum's finding that it is a qualified Hawaiian organization, laying out the philosophy and history that go into that decision. Accompanying that is an article by a number of Hawaiian leaders and activists who insist the museum has no right to be a claiming organization.

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• YES
Museum is a steward of Hawaiian culture

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Aug/08/op/op11a.html
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 8, 2004

Excerpts from the Interim and proposed Final Guidance for the Bishop Museum under the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act:

"I remember when I started working at Bishop Museum and the old Hawaiians came and brought their grandchildren. They saw the wooden images, feather capes, kapa and much more. They wept with joy to see that some things remained from the old days, and they thanked the ali'i for having kept them. They had great aloha for Pauahi's legacy."
— Patience Namaka Bacon, museum staff since 1939.

The Bishop Museum opened to the public on June 22, 1891. The museum had been founded in the name of the High Chiefess Pauahi Bishop and included her collections and those of Princess Ruth Ke'elikolani and Queen Emma. Lili'uokalani was queen when the museum opened and was its first official visitor. A reporter attending the event wrote: "Many aged Hawaiians recognized among the large collection of idols which their ancestors reverenced with fear and awe. The god of Kamehameha I, and a god of rain attracted a large share of their attention."

More than a century later, the Bishop Museum remains steward of these treasures. Kuka'ilimoku, Kamehameha's war god, still looks fiercely on those who stand before it, and some tremble. In the last year, when the Pleiades rose and the annual Makahiki festival began, the wooden image of the god Lono was dressed as in days gone by and turned in the museum vestibule as the trade winds filled its kapa sails. This wooden image is the last of its kind: None other remains from the days when the ancestors lived the old ways. The Bishop Museum keeps the old for those who live now and who will live later.

The guidance discussed below addresses responsibilities of the Bishop Museum under a federal law concerning responsibilities for Native Hawaiian cultural items. The guidance document is a legal analysis. The Bishop Museum will honor the law and has prepared this guidance with that objective. However, long before this law, the Bishop Museum was conceived and made real by the ali'i and other people of the Hawaiian kingdom. We remember and honor the vision and love of Bernice Pauahi Bishop. We believe that her dream and our responsibility have always been — and will remain — to be a bridge to the past so that the living will remember whence they came.

Guidance

This document sets forth interim and proposed final guidance of Bishop Museum in respect to key provisions of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, enacted on Nov. 16, 1990.

Over the past three centuries, many Native American human remains and funerary objects have been taken from burial sites and placed in museums or held by federal agencies. NAGPRA provides a mechanism for return of Native American human remains and other cultural objects to Indian tribes (including Alaskan Native villages) and Native Hawaiian organizations.

Since NAGPRA's enactment, Bishop Museum has taken many steps to comply with the act's requirements, including completing repatriations of human burial remains. ... This Guidance addresses in particular Bishop Museum's dual role as a steward of Native Hawaiian culture as well as a museum with repatriation responsibilities defined by the act. This Guidance is prospective only. The museum does not intend to revisit completed repatriations. Furthermore, the museum does not intend to apply this Guidance in its efforts to complete repatriation in the matter of 83 items from the Kawaihae Cave Complex.

Tribes and Native Hawaiian Organizations

NAGPRA defines Indian tribes by reference to Bureau of Indian Affairs policy, which provides for general recognition of the tribe by BIA and requires a petitioner to have continuously existed as an Indian tribe since historic times.

Native Hawaiian organizations (NHOs) are, alternatively, defined by NAGPRA to mean: "any organization which — (A) serves and represents the interests of Native Hawaiians, (B) has as a primary and stated purpose the provision of services to Native Hawaiians, and (C) has expertise in Native Hawaiian affairs, and shall include the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei."

More than one hundred NHOs have been recognized by museums and federal agencies. Two recognized NHOs are agencies of the state of Hawai'i (OHA and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands).

Bishop Museum clearly meets NAGPRA's definition of an NHO, and Bishop Museum here recognizes itself to be a Native Hawaiian organization. The museum's articles of incorporation were amended in 2003 to state that the purposes of the corporation shall include "as a primary purpose providing services to and in general serving and representing the interests of Native Hawaiians ..."

In fact, for over a century, the museum has served this purpose and developed enormous expertise in Native Hawaiian affairs through work to preserve cultural objects and to study and tell the stories of Native Hawaiian culture. The core, original collections were comprised of Native Hawaiian items that the ali'i High Chiefess Pauahi (whose collections included those of Princess Ruth Ke'elikolani) and Queen Emma wished to preserve and exhibit for their people. Pauahi and Emma's collections were augmented in the museum's first decade by the collection of the Hawaiian National Museum (which Bishop Museum replaced).

The museum now cares for over 1,470,000 Hawaiian objects. ... Bishop Museum has the right of possession of unassociated funerary objects in its collection if the museum is the owner under Hawai'i state law.

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• NO
Museum policy further threatens artifacts

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Aug/08/op/op13a.html
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 8, 2004

By Edward Halealoha Ayau

Also signed by Kunani Nihipali, Pualani Kanahele, Kehau Abad, Kekuhi Kanahele-Frias, Huihui Kanahele-Mossman, 'Ahi'ena Kanahele, Kaumakaiwa Keali'ikanaka'ole, Ulumauahi Keali'ikanaka'ole, Kauila Kanahele, Luka Kanahele-Mossman, William Aila Jr., Billy Fields, Pele Hanoa, Keolalani Hanoa, Kaleikoa Ka'eo, Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa, Pu'uhonua Kanahele, Kahu Charles Maxwell, Jimmy Medeiros Sr., Jon Osorio, Konia Freitas, Mehana Hind, and Ho'oipo Kalaena'auao Pa.

An interim guidance policy on the repatriation of Hawaiian cultural items adopted by the Bishop Museum would do serious harm to Hawaiian values and practices if it is allowed to stand. The policy was proposed by museum director William Brown under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA.

If this policy stands, it would:

• Defeat the intent of Congress in enacting NAGPRA, which sought to redress harms to Native people caused when their human remains and other cultural objects were taken from them and put into museums. This policy would deny the human rights goals of NAGPRA and contort it into a shield to block us from caring for our kupuna and their possessions.

• Represent a conflict of interest, in that the Bishop Museum would be able to claim cultural items from its own collections while at the same time hold responsibility for repatriation of such items under NAGPRA. How could Bishop Museum maintain objectivity in reviewing NAGPRA claims when it is one of the claimants?

• Undermine the repatriation of funerary objects not now associated with human remains, because the proposed policy would declare Bishop Museum the lawful owner of all such "unassociated" funerary objects in its collections.

• Obstruct the repatriation of sacred objects that were unlawfully acquired, because the policy inaccurately declares that the museum does not now have any items that meet the NAGPRA definition of sacred object. Especially disturbing about this declaration is that NAGPRA defines as sacred objects those needed by a Hawaiian religious leader to continue or renew traditional religious ceremonies.

• Allow the museum to claim cultural items as a Native Hawaiian organization, and hence counter claims of such bona fide organizations. Since NAGPRA allows a museum to hold on to claimed items until resolution is reached among claimants, the museum as a claimant could forestall repatriation indefinitely by disagreeing with other claimants.

• Allow the museum to prevent the repatriation of all Hawaiian cultural items from museums and federal agencies by filing a claim under NAGPRA and disagreeing with repatriation.

• Undermine the ability of Native Hawaiians to provide proper care of our cultural items through repatriation. Rather than be a mechanism for healing old wounds, the interim guidance would open new ones.

The proposed policy is insulting, paternalistic and colonial, reflecting the mindset of current leadership. There is no need for Bishop Museum to claim cultural items except to undermine Native Hawaiian efforts to do the same.

There is nothing in NAGPRA or its legislative history to indicate that Congress intended for museums to claim cultural items. U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawai'i, has inquired with the Department of Interior about the propriety of the Bishop Museum's self-designation as a Native Hawaiian organization and the legal effect on its obligations to comply with NAGPRA.

Amendments to NAGPRA that would prohibit Bishop Museum from qualifying as claimant are being considered. Concern also has been raised among Native Americans and museum professionals. All of this points to a need for a leadership change. We insist that the museum's board of directors repeal the interim guidance, remove Brown and undertake efforts to identify a qualified Native Hawaiian to serve as the new director of the Bishop Museum.

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Aug/14/ln/ln08a.html
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, August 14, 2004

Inouye against museum claim

By Vicki Viotti

U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, who helped write the federal law enabling Native Hawaiians to claim burial artifacts and other cultural treasures, yesterday opposed the Bishop Museum's efforts to position itself as a competing Native Hawaiian claimant under the law.

Inouye, D-Hawai'i, told The Advertiser yesterday he believes the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) would not allow museums to qualify as "Native Hawaiian organizations" among the groups that can claim burial artifacts.

"It (the museum) is not a Hawaiian organization, it's a museum," Inouye said. "The incorporation of the museum makes it clear that it's not a Native Hawaiian organization ... and I think the law is clear."

Inouye's remarks come amid controversy involving artifacts allegedly put up for sale on the Big Island after they had been "repatriated" to the nonprofit Native Hawaiian organization Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei.

Years of tension between the museum and the hui over handling of artifacts, especially those originally taken from the Big Island's Kawaihae Cave, are part of what spurred the museum to propose a new "guidance" policy asserting itself as a Hawaiian group that could compete with groups such as Hui Malama in claims for objects in its collection.

Museum director Bill Brown said in a written statement yesterday that the museum was still "receiving and considering comments on the proposed guidance. "We welcome and appreciate the senator's comments, recognize his leadership on this issue and believe his views deserve great weight," Brown said.

Inouye said he had asked the U.S. Department of the Interior, the federal agency overseeing NAGPRA, to comment on the museum's proposed position, but had not yet received a reply. A spokeswoman for Inouye's staff said it was hoped a response would be received by Labor Day, the museum's deadline for comments.

Reports in the past week about the Department of Interior's investigation into burial artifacts allegedly offered for sale also concern Inouye, who involved Hui Malama in crafting the law and has personal ties with the group. Edward Ayau, one of the group's leaders, is a former Inouye aide. "All I know is what I have seen in the media," the senator said. "But I've had staff inquire into the facts to find out what happened. I'm concerned because I have been involved in this."

Interior's Office of the Inspector General is continuing its investigation into the handling of Native Hawaiian artifacts, but cannot disclose details, said David W. Brown, special agent in charge. Two agents are in Honolulu full-time, Brown said.

A collector who asked to remain anonymous because of the ongoing federal probe said he had spotted items at a Kona district shop, including three wooden bowls, a gourd and kapa wrappings. Federal agents are investigating whether those items had been conveyed to Hui Malama for reburial at Kanupa Cave in Kohala.

The collector said the items were marked as coming from the J.S. Emerson collection, acquired after the turn of the century by Bishop and Peabody Essex museums in Salem, Mass.

Hui Malama has denied involvement in the public circulation of burial artifacts. Ayau told The Advertiser he's uncertain how such items came to the shop, but added that not all of the Emerson collection was repatriated to Hawaiians; some pieces have circulated among private owners. He also said the items transferred to Hui Malama's custody claimed under federal law were returned from the two museums in four lots, between September 1997 and last November. All the items, including human remains and burial artifacts, were reburied at Kanupa last November, Ayau said. He declined to answer questions about where the items were stored between September 1997 and November 2003.

Federal agents have been posted at Kanupa Cave and have made efforts to enter Kawaihae, where an expedition led by David Forbes a century ago collected burial artifacts and conveyed them to the Bishop Museum. In 2000, the museum "loaned" them to Hui Malama members, who reburied the artifacts in Kawaihae.

Museum officials and competing claimants said reburial was unauthorized under the law, but the state Hawaiian Homes Commission — the Kawaihae Cave landlord — denied a museum request to reopen the cave almost a year ago.

In June, the commission denied a similar request from Interior. Agents of the Office of Inspector General had sought to transfer the artifacts from Kawaihae to a secure National Park Service facility on the Big Island, according to a June 8 letter signed by Commission Chairman Micah Kane.

The commission denied the museum access because "its intention is to protect and preserve the iwi kupuna (remains), not to disturb their burial sites," Kane wrote. "You have not presented any new information which would lead the commission to reconsider its position."

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/08/15/editorial/letters.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Letter to editor, Sunday, August 15, 2004

Museum persecutes Hui Malama members

Museums across the country have typically resisted repatriation of 'iwi kupuna (ancestral remains) and moe pu (associated funerary goods) mandated by the federal Native American Graves Protection Act ("Artifacts' sale investigated," Aug. 11).

J.S. Emerson was a grave robber who desecrated Hawaiian burial sites and sold artifacts to Bishop Museum for a handsome profit. Because of his acts and the acts of others like him, the Hawaiian people have inherited a heavy burden, and Hui Malama has been at the forefront of helping us to make things right, restore pono.

Now some of the repatriated moe pu have found their way onto a black market. If true, every Hawaiian should be concerned, but an important subtext is Bishop Museum's vicious federal persecution of Hui Malama members. Into the fray steps museum spokesperson DeSoto Brown, who opportunistically and self-servingly avows that protection from black market profiteers is one reason to retain collections in museums, a racist white practice which no longer has a place in enlightened society.

To add insult to injury, the museum seeks official status as a Native Hawaiian organization eligible to undertake repatriation under NAGPRA, with status equal to Hui Malama, a complete perversion and undermining of NAGPRA's intent. Knowing the conviction and commitment of Hui Malama's principals, I would stake my life on their innocence.

Mahealani Kamauu
Executive director
Native Hawaiian Legal Corp.

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Aug/29/op/op07a.html
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 29, 2004

COMMENTARY

Bishop Museum could be strong cultural partner

By A. Van Horn Diamond

The Honolulu Advertiser recently ran an article in which the Bishop Museum was described as putting out a new policy on repatriation of Hawaiian cultural items which, the authors contended, would produce serious "harm to Hawaiian practices and values."

Twenty-three individuals plus the article's primary author, Edward Ayau, were identified as supporting that particular stance. The Advertiser also printed portions of the museum's interim policy.

Sometimes little facts can enlighten. For example, the term "interim" and the fact that comments on the interim guidance policy are welcomed by the Bishop Museum clearly says nothing written heretofore is in concrete — as yet!

Although I readily admit I've talked with many about the policy, these comments are my own mana'o (thoughts or beliefs). Most importantly, I do not explicitly or implicitly speak for the Hawaiian community or any of its many parts.

However, my remarks do reflect an awareness regarding the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the Bishop Museum, Hui Malama, Forbes Cave and Mokapu (the burial site).

First, I expect to review and evaluate the interim policy based on the experiences of the Van Horn Diamond Ohana, a NAGPRA-recognized claimant to Mokapu na iwi kupuna (ancestral bones from Mokapu) and the Forbes Cave items.

I see advantages to the Bishop Museum being both a Native Hawaiian organization and a museum:

• Provided we are all vigorous participants in the development of the museum/Native Hawaiian organization, this entity can indeed be responsive to our Hawaiian civilization, its development and needs.

• In this proposed policy, our Hawaiian civilization may be given greater clarity as to the past and the future.

• No federal or state law governs the repatriation of Hawaiian remains and artifacts from international sources. We can now have a Native Hawaiian organization, a duly accredited and recognized museum, able to facilitate the return of items and ancestral remains back to Hawai'i.

• I happen to see the museum trying to reach out to the entire Hawaiian community so as to be responsive to the whole.

Next, the Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum will need to demonstrate it is indeed a bona-fide Native Hawaiian organization pursuant to NAGPRA. Given its connections to the ali'i legacy, its history of stewardship and its efforts to open itself to the entire Hawaiian community, the prospect may be positive.

Hui Malama has petitioned the NAGPRA Review Committee to review the Bishop Museum NAGPRA guidance policy and its 2003 position that the Forbes Cave repatriation was not completed.

The kuleana (jurisdiction) is not exclusively that of Hui Malama. It never was. It is the kuleana of families who stepped forward and were denied the opportunity to malama (care for) the items.

The authors have called for the removal of Bishop Museum director William Brown and his replacement by a Hawaiian. Within the Hawaiian community, many are observing and evaluating the interplay between those who clearly dislike Brown and those who like what's been happening.

I don't only listen to the words. I note the behavior in relation to the words. Thus far, Brown has been consistent. He is open and candid. But he's no pushover. He'll plant when approach and behavior presumes that their way is the only way.

Recently on Olelo television, sovereignty was said to be based on the mana (power) of the iwi kupuna (ancestral bones). But doesn't sovereignty start with the individual and his family? If so, the mana is for the family; hence, the kuleana to care for their iwi kupuna is priority for the family. Only then can each family convey its sovereignty to the whole.

Above all, the 24 authors speak for themselves and others — as do I. But none of us represents the thinking of the Hawaiian community, or more precisely, of all the Hawaiian people.

Finally, if the fear is that the Bishop Museum will pre-empt repatriation to Native Hawaiian claimants duly recognized, then it is incumbent on the fearful to work with all claimants. Absent disagreement, the museum would be hard pressed to prove it needed to do the pre-emption.

Looking at the whole for a moment, it seems to be an advantage to have a Native Hawaiian organization that happens to be a museum. It also seems to be an advantage to have a museum that happens to be a Native Hawaiian organization.

Doesn't it?

Considering the resources such an entity provides for the advancement of the Hawaiian civilization past, present and future, shouldn't we be supportive? If, on the other hand, the notion is opposed, what happens to those who follow us? How will they learn?

Will our descendants inherit the wind?

Besides, what do we fear?

A. Van Horn Diamond is chairman of the O'ahu Burial Council.

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/09/01/news/story6.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Group opposes museum plan
Hui Malama does not want Bishop Museum defined as a native Hawaiian organization

By Sally Apgar

A group of native Hawaiians stood on the front lawn of Bishop Museum yesterday and reiterated their call for the resignation of the museum's director. The group opposes the museum board's proposed "interim guidance policy," announced earlier this summer in which the museum defined itself as a native Hawaiian organization under the terms of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990. NAGPRA was enacted to provide procedures for museums to return ancestral bones and four classes of objects to Native Americans and Hawaiians. "This is extremely colonial and paternal," said Edward Ayau, describing the proposed policy. Ayau is a spokesman for Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei, founded in 1988 to care for ancestral remains, sacred objects and burial sites.

Federal authorities are investigating the alleged black market sale of items that Bishop Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts repatriated to Hui Malama for reburial in two Big Island caves. Hui Malama acknowledged last week that repatriated items were taken from one of the caves.

Ayau said NAGPRA was "human rights legislation" designed to right wrongs of the past in which human remains were displayed in museums. He said NAGPRA never intended for museums, which have acquired human remains of ancestors from burial caves, to stand as a native Hawaiian organization. Ayau said the intent of NAGPRA was "to heal historic wounds, and this (interim policy) opens them."

Participating in yesterday's news conference were about 20 native Hawaiians, including kupuna and former Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Frenchy DeSoto, members of Hui Malama, and Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa, a professor with the University of Hawaii's Center for Hawaiian Studies.

DeSoto called the museum's policy "an outrage. We want freedom of religion and there is no freedom of religion for us."

In addition to calling for Museum Director William Brown's resignation because of the policy, the group presented a petition with several hundred signatures protesting it. Brown declined to comment. A museum official present at the news conference also declined to comment.

Since announcing the museum board's proposed policy, the museum has been taking public comments and is expected to make a final decision in September. NAGPRA's National Review Committee is also expected to review the legality of the precedent-setting policy in its Sept. 17-18 meeting in Washington, D.C. (The guidance policy is on the museum Web site at www.bishopmuseum.org/NAGPRAGuidlines.html.)

In the past, Brown has said that the museum's founding mission fits within NAGPRA's legal definition of a native Hawaiian organization.

The museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop as a memorial to his wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last of the Kamehameha line of ruling chiefs. The museum's core collection included items owned by Pauahi, Princess Ruth Keelikolani, Queen Emma and Queen Liliuokalani. The museum was charged with being a steward of the collections for future generations.

Based on its founding mission, Brown has argued that the museum is a native Hawaiian organization under NAGPRA because it "serves and represents the interests of native Hawaiians" and "has expertise in native Hawaiian affairs." In 2003, the museum also amended its bylaws to cover another criteria of NAGPRA that such an organization has as a "stated purpose the provision of services to native Hawaiians."

But Ayau said yesterday that if the museum proclaims itself a native Hawaiian organization "it causes an inherent conflict of interest. How can they be both a claimant and a museum?"

The museum has said that it would be on an equal footing with other native Hawaiian organizations. A federal judge has ruled that consensus among native Hawaiian organizations must be reached on the disposition of artifacts. The museum has said it would be one voice in that consensus.

But Ayau and others claim the museum has an unfair advantage: If an object now held in the museum is disputed, it remains with the museum. Ayau says they could dispute any item and it would remain at the museum. The only recourse is to take it to federal court. Ayau said that with this proposed policy, "The museum is saying that native Hawaiians are not competent to take care of their ancestors and their moepu (objects buried with human remains)."

Several native Hawaiians also attacked the notion of what the museum calls burial objects. Vicky Holt Takamine, a kumu hula and a Hawaiian cultural activist, said: "What if I want to be buried with my red shoes? In 100 or 150 years from now, does some archaeologist say they are not burial items" and can therefore be in a museum?

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On October 3, 2004 the Star-Bulletin published a report that attorneys for the Department of Interior believe Bishop Museum is entitled to be recognized as a Native Hawaiian Organization under the current wording of the NAGPRA law. However, since Senator Inouye opposes such recognition, and since he is responsible for millions of dollars in federal grants to Bishop; therefore the Bishop Museum board of directors is likely to back away from seeking such recognition.

http://starbulletin.com/2004/10/03/news/story1.html
The HonoluluStar-Bulletin, Sunday, October 3, 2004

Museum rethinks artifact proposal
Bishop Museum can declare itself a native group, but might not do it, after all

By Sally Apgar

The Bishop Museum's proposal to declare itself a native Hawaiian organization is legal under federal laws governing the repatriation of artifacts and sacred objects, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior.

But despite the department's opinion, rendered in a recent letter to U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, sources involved with the issue say the majority of museum board members are reconsidering the proposal and will likely vote against it. The proposal has attracted an emotional storm of criticism from some in the native Hawaiian community who object to the museum's claim on items they consider sacred.

The museum board is expected to hold a special meeting, perhaps as early as this week, to decide whether to proceed with the proposal.

Inouye helped write the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act as a human-rights policy to help native Americans and Hawaiians repatriate the bones of ancestors and other sacred objects from museums.

The Hawaii Democrat, who is opposed to the museum's proposal, asked the Interior Department to weigh in on several legal questions. And the department does not appear to agree with Inouye's opposition.

Sources also said that Inouye, who controls the flow of millions in federal dollars to the museum, has let the board know of his displeasure, which may influence their votes. Inouye is vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, which recently announced that it would travel to Hawaii to hold hearings on the museum's precedent-setting proposal.

Jennifer Goto Sabas, Inouye's chief of staff in Honolulu and a member of the museum board, said no date has been set for the Senate committee hearing, but that Inouye might hold it before the end of the year. Sabas said Inouye "wants to hear from all parties and use the hearing as a discussion opportunity to clarify or amend the NAGPRA act and its definitions." Sabas said Inouye "has never believed a museum is a native Hawaiian organization. The primary purpose of a native Hawaiian organization is to advocate and serve native Hawaiians." She said that the museum's mission goes beyond native Hawaiians and "serves the broader community." Sabas said that if the museum designated itself a native Hawaiian organization, "it would truly create a conflict of interest. How can the museum be both claimant and repository?"

Museum Director Bill Brown declined to comment.

IN JULY, the museum, which has repatriated more than 2,500 items, from bones and carved idols to Queen Liliuokalani's satin slippers, to native Hawaiian organizations under NAGPRA, touched off an emotionally charged debate when its board of directors proposed the museum be designated a native Hawaiian organization under NAGPRA.

The museum has said it wants to be on an equal footing with about 130 recognized native Hawaiian organizations and act as a potential claimant for sacred and funerary objects in its collection. The board said that it may try to prevent some objects from leaving the museum, but that it would not retain human remains.

The Museum claims that it is a native Hawaiian organization by virtue of how it was founded. In 1889, Charles Reed Bishop founded the museum as a memorial to his wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last of the Kamehameha line of ruling chiefs. The museum's core collection included items owned by Pauahi, Princess Ruth Keelikolani, Queen Emma and Queen Liliuokalani. The museum was charged with being a steward of the collections for future generations.

Based on its founding mission, the museum has said it is a native Hawaiian organization under NAGPRA because it "serves and represents the interests of native Hawaiians" and "has expertise in native Hawaiian Affairs." In 2003, the museum also amended its bylaws to cover another criteria of NAGPRA, that such an organization has as a "stated purpose the provision of services to native Hawaiians."

Critics have argued that the designation would defeat the intent of NAGPRA to right wrongs of the past in which native American and Hawaiian remains and artifacts were taken by museums for public display. They also say it would create a conflict of interest because the museum cannot act both as claimant and arbiter of who gets the item. NAGPRA calls for irresolvable disputes among competing claimants to be resolved by the national review committee or the courts.

Critics have also argued that the museum is an institution, not a group of native Hawaiian people. The museum countered that previously recognized native Hawaiian organizations include government agencies such as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in addition to families and various cultural groups.

EARLIER THIS MONTH, the museum and its opponents testified in Washington, D.C., for several hours during a heated hearing before the NAGPRA Review Committee. The committee found that any ruling on its part would be "premature," since the museum has been taking comments since July on its proposed policy so its board can make a final decision at its October meeting.

In the Interior's August legal opinion letter to Inouye, Craig Manson, assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, said issues raised by the museum's proposal may be "best addressed by a court of competent jurisdiction," or the NAGPRA Review Committee. Manson continued: "The department does not consider 'museum' and 'native Hawaiian organization' to be mutually exclusive categories." "While the idea that the museum would consider itself a native Hawaiian organization is new, it is not without parallel," he wrote. Manson said tribal museums that have displayed items "culturally affiliated" with another tribe have repatriated them. For example, in 1995, the Navajo Nation repatriated a mask to the Oneida Tribe in Wisconsin.

Under NAGPRA, "cultural affiliation" means that a group can prove a historical link to an earlier group on the basis of "geographical, kinship, biological, archaeological, anthropological, linguistic, folkloric, oral tradition, historical or other relevant information."

In its guidance proposal, the Bishop Museum says it has a cultural affiliation with Native Hawaiian ancestors because the museum was founded by Charles Reed Bishop on behalf of alii in 1889. Bishop's wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Princess Ruth Keelikolani and Queen Emma gave items from their own collections for a museum that would "be a place for continuing stewardship of Hawaiian cultural heritage."

Manson said in his letter that the Bishop Museum could request the repatriation of items from another museum if it can prove cultural affiliation. If other native Hawaiian organizations laid claim to the same items, the museum, just like the other organizations, would only get the item if it could prove the closest affiliation.

Under NAGPRA, there is a hierarchy of affiliation to determine which competing claimant has the closest tie and therefore the right to an item. A claimant showing the closest "lineal descendant" has precedent over anyone claiming the broadly defined "cultural affiliation." Lineal descent is based on a proven family tie either to a specific descendant or in some cases to a geographical area during a particular time.

Guidance policy
www.bishopmuseum.org/NAGPRAGuidlines.html

Bishop Museum
www.bishopmuseum.org

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Oct/05/ln/ln03p.html

Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Native burials law to undergo revisions

By Vicki Viotti

Work is set to begin in Washington, D.C., on changing the native burials law to make it tougher to qualify as a "Native Hawaiian organization" that can claim burial objects and other cultural artifacts. The legal rewrite by staffers of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which is due to get under way after Congress adjourns Friday for the election recess, is aimed at preventing any future conflicts like the one spawned by the Bishop Museum.

The museum board of directors in July adopted a policy, called an "interim guidance." The policy includes, among other positions, an assertion that the museum meets the current definition under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

The museum put out the call for comments on this policy and in the last few weeks, officials have been looking over the responses. The issue of native burials in general, and who should have title to cultural artifacts in particular, has been stormy in the last several years. Not surprisingly, the reaction to the Bishop Museum policy included a hail of protest by some Native Hawaiian groups.

The museum's board is to meet Thursday to review the comments and consider what changes to make to the policy. Members of the board reached yesterday declined to discuss their positions on the issue. Two of the members, Haunani Apoliona and Winona Rubin, have been recused from discussing or voting on the guidance because both are employed by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, an agency that often files NAGPRA claims.

But what the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs does may make the issue moot, said Patricia Zell, chief counsel for the committee and a key member of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye's staff. Inouye, D-Hawai'i, is vice chairman of the committee, one of the architects of NAGPRA and one of those opposed to the idea of the museum as a "Native Hawaiian organization."

The committee staff hopes to do some of the groundwork on changes to the law first and to schedule a hearing for November before the lame-duck congressional session reconvenes, Zell said. "There would likely be a hearing, probably following discussions with interested parties in the Native Hawaiian community, in an effort to better address, and possibly to amend, the definition of 'Native Hawaiian organization,' to draw that definition more narrowly," Zell said.

When NAGPRA was passed in 1990, the definition was kept broad to allow more Native Hawaiian groups to make claims on artifacts and burial remains, Zell said. Two organizations were listed in the law as examples — OHA and Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei. "They were cited as examples so as to make the definition more precise," she added. "In all likelihood, that objective was not achieved."

The Bishop Museum's assertion of itself as a "Native Hawaiian organization" brought representatives of Hawaiian groups to Washington Sept. 18 at a meeting of a NAGPRA review committee. Over several hours, emotional testimony was aired — and Hawaiian curses were exchanged — concerning both the museum policy and the reburial of objects at Kawaihae Cave in 2000.

But the committee made no decisions that day, opting instead to hold hearings in Hawai'i, said Rosita Worl, review committee chairwoman. The committee first will take more testimony from Hawai'i at a teleconference to be scheduled as early as November, Worl said, and then will travel to Hawai'i for a face-to-face hearing early next year. She acknowledged that the Bishop Museum policy may be changed by that time. However, the committee still will want to hear testimony on the Kawaihae repatriation, she said.

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/10/06/editorial/editorials.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Editorials [ OUR OPINION ]

Compromise should protect museum and Hawaiian sanctity

THE ISSUE

The Bishop Museum board is reconsidering whether to seek eligibility to claim possession of native Hawaiian remains and artifacts.

AN unseemly battle between the Bishop Museum and a group devoted to repatriating Hawaiian bones and other sacred objects cries out for a truce. The museum, confronted with awesome political artillery, appears prepared to raise the white flag, but the spoils at stake are immense. Common sense should prevent historically and culturally important artifacts from erosion in caves that are the repository for repatriation.

The 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA, was aimed at returning human remains held in museums to the care of their Native American or Hawaiian descendants. Faced with a wholesale seizure of its inventory, Bishop Museum proposed that it be designated a native Hawaiian organization eligible to maintain possession of sacred and funerary objects.

The strategy seemed to be the only way to preserve the museum's precious collection of artifacts, and the museum's Hawaiian roots drew sympathy within the Interior Department. Craig Manson, assistant interior secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, said in a letter to Senator Inouye that his department "does not consider 'museum' and 'native Hawaiian organization' to be mutually exclusive categories."

However, designating any museum as an indigenous organization would seem to make a mockery of NAGPRA. It also would backfire on Bishop Museum, which receives millions of dollars from the federal government, thanks to Inouye, who authored NAGPRA and is vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

A group called Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei leads the way in seeking repatriation of bones and artifacts, and it is led by lawyer Edward Halealoha Ayau, former staff counsel to Inouye. Jennifer Goto Sabas, Inouye's chief of staff, is a member of the museum board.

When NAGPRA was under consideration in the Senate, Inouye said eloquently that human remains in American museums were those of Indians, "never the bones of white soldiers or the first European soldiers that came to this continent." That is true, and Bishop Museum officials contesting claims by native Hawaiian groups are trying to protect artifacts, not bones.

Among the items that Bishop Museum wants to keep and preserve are a kii, a fragile, 8-inch stick figure with a human face carved from a dark wood and a 5 inch long hook-shaped pendant carved from creamy white rock oyster. Such pendants, usually suspended from a thick necklace made of braided human hair, were spiritually imbued signs of high status, and were passed down from generation to generation.

Hui Malama maintains that those items were intended for burial with the deceased and should be placed in burial caves. Museum officials want to protect them from deterioration from the elements. Display of such items enhances education about Hawaiians' cultural heritage.

Resolution is needed to protect Bishop Museum's role conveying information about the culture and history of Hawaii and its native people while recognizing the sanctity of Hawaiian rituals. Senator Inouye is in a position to find that common ground.

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** A good illustration of the dispute between Bishop Museum and Hui Malama. Who should have possession of artifacts owned by the museum for a very long time, when the artifacts may have originally been obtained from explorers or people who inadvertently stumbled across them or who may have been grave-robbers? Should one organization be presumed to speak on behalf of all ethnic Hawaiians merely because leaders of that organization had the good fortune to work on the staff of Senator Inouye at the time he wrote the NAGPRA law? **

http://starbulletin.com/2004/10/04/news/story4.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Monday, October 4, 2004

Group contests Bishop Museum’s right to artifacts
Hui Malama cites a national act to protect native burial grounds

By Sally Apgar

In 1937, young Emma Turnbull was walking down a windy stretch of Moomomi beach on Molokai when she discovered bones and artifacts uncovered in what are believed today to be ancient burial sands.

Turnbull picked up a hook-shaped pendant, about 5 inches long, carved from creamy white rock oyster. Among native Hawaiians such pendants, sometimes carved from whale bones or even walrus tusks and usually suspended from a thick necklace made of braided human hair, were signs of high status imbued with the mana, or spiritual power, of its owners. Like a treasured family Bible, they were handed down from generation to generation to be worn proudly.

In 1985 an elderly Turnbull, who had moved to the mainland, sent the pendant as a donation to the Bishop Museum along with a letter that described where she found it. "I believe that this item should be put in a museum in Hawaii, where it can be understood and appreciated, therefore, I am sending it to you," she wrote.

Turnbull's pendant is among the items at the center of a potentially precedent-setting fight between the Bishop Museum and Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei, a native Hawaiian organization founded in 1989 that has been aggressively and sometimes controversially at the forefront of repatriating and reburying ancestral remains, sacred objects and burial items from museums around the world.

Hui Malama, which claims the pendant and says it was a burial object intended to accompany an ancestor, is challenging the museum's "right of possession" under a federal repatriation act known as the 1990 Native Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Hui Malama says that Turnbull was a grave robber when she picked up the pendant on the beach and had no authority to give or sell it to someone else. "If you accept or buy something stolen from someone, it still belongs to the original owner. Your only recourse is with the person who sold it to you," said Edward Halealoha Ayau, a spokesman for Hui Malama, adding, "The museum does not have a clear title."

With the same argument, Ayau is also challenging the museum's ownership of a cowrie shell found in the same sands and a kii, an 8-inch stick figure with a human face carved from a dark wood that almost crumbles to the touch. The kii, according to museum records, was purchased by the museum from Dr. C.M. Hyde, who bought it from a native Hawaiian on Molokai who had allegedly found it wrapped in burial kapa with awa (kava leaves) and the bones of a red fish (red has been associated with burials).

Ayau said he believes this is only the beginning of a process of challenging the museum's ownership rights to items in its collection. Museum officials say the museum owns these items and others similarly given or donated to it.

They are fighting to establish ownership at a time when they are still considering an interim guidance policy that they announced in July to immediate criticism. Under the guidance policy, the museum proposes to designate itself as a native Hawaiian organization under NAGPRA, which was enacted to provide procedures for museums to return ancestral bones and four classes of sacred and burial objects to native Americans and Hawaiians. As a native Hawaiian organization, the museum could compete with other claimants for retention of items in its collection.

The museum's board is expected to meet as early as this week to make a final decision. Sources involved in board discussions say the board is now leaning heavily toward voting against the designation in part because of the controversy the proposal has caused.

The museum's interim guidance also seeks to clarify the issue of "right of possession," which is at the heart of conflict with Hui Malama over the Molokai items. The guidance says that if the museum is found to have legal ownership of the items in its collection under Hawaii state law, then it has "right of possession" under federal NAGPRA law.

Museum Director Bill Brown declined to comment on the issue. He confirmed that the museum has sought the advice of outside legal counsel on the issue of ownership and right of possession.

In the past, officials have said the items should remain in the museum to protect them from deterioration. Other native Hawaiian groups have also said that Hui Malama incorrectly claims to be the only group knowledgeable about burial rights, when such protocols historically varied throughout the islands. Also, items repatriated to Hui Malama were allegedly stolen from a Big Island cave, raising questions about security at caves where items are reburied.

Still, Ayau said that many items claimed by Bishop Museum were stolen from burial caves or sold to collectors by people who did not rightfully own them. He said "with the guidance policy, the museum is trying to make this blanket statement that it owns everything in its collection. The guidance policy is an end run designed to stop repatriation. But each item came by different ways to the museum, and each item must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis."

Ayau has also asked NAGPRA to investigate whether the Bishop Museum should be penalized for not having turned over the items within the NAGPRA-mandated 90-day period of announcing in the Federal Register that they were to be repatriated.

Museum registrar Malia Baron said that the museum received permission from the park service, which oversees NAGPRA, to suspend negotiations over the repatriation until it had resolved the issue of its interim guidance policy and possible designation as a native Hawaiian organization.

Ayau said such a suspension is not right. "A timeout is not allowed under NAGPRA. This is not a basketball game," he said.

Hui Malama's claim was also complicated because OHA submitted a completing claim to the items that it has since withdrawn. Other native Hawaiian organizations are also expected to stake claims that need to be reviewed.

La'akea Suganuma of the Royal Academy of Traditional Arts said Friday that his group intends to submit a claim to the items.

Hui Malama told the museum last week that if it does not hand over the items by today, it would contact the NAGPRA review committee. "I understand Hui Malama's frustration and desire to move forward with the repatriation," said Baron, "but this is an important issue that requires thoughtfulness on both sides."

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/10/08/news/story4.html

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Friday, October 8, 2004

Museum votes against ‘native’ status
The Bishop board bows to concerns over potential conflicts

By Sally Apgar

Bishop Museum's board of directors bowed to political pressure yesterday and voted unanimously against a proposal to be designated as a native Hawaiian organization under federal laws governing the repatriation of artifacts from museums. Museum Director Bill Brown said after the vote, "The museum acknowledges concerns over potential conflict in (being a claimant and) judging claims on objects in its collection, and has determined not to recognize itself" as a native Hawaiian organization.

Although the board relented on the designation, it stood firm on other provisions included in its "guidance policy" that would allow the museum to fight to retain items in its collection that might be claimed by other native Hawaiian organizations. The board has never sought to retain human remains.

Isabella Abbott, one of the seven native Hawaiians on the museum's nine-member collection committee, said the museum will "bend over backwards" to repatriate items under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. However, Abbott said that when it comes to items not covered by NAGPRA's definitions, "we will defend those to the death."

NAGPRA was written as human rights policy aimed at righting the wrongs of the past and providing a procedure for American Indians and native Hawaiians to reclaim human remains and other funerary or sacred objects from museum display cases.

On June 30 the museum trigged an emotional debate among some native Hawaiians when it announced its "interim guidance policy," in which it proposed proclaiming itself a native Hawaiian organization under NAGPRA. Some native Hawaiians called for Brown's resignation.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, who wrote NAGPRA and serves as vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, also opposed the museum's proposed policy. Inouye's committee is expected to travel to Hawaii in November to hold hearings on the museum's proposal with the aim of clarifying or even rewriting NAGPRA.

The museum wanted the designation so that it could be on an equal footing with about 130 other native Hawaiian organizations in claiming items in its own collection.

Under NAGPRA there is a hierarchy that gives priority to claimants who can prove family ties to a particular item when resolving a dispute among competing claimants. After lineal ties, there are various levels of cultural ties. The museum has said it would have to submit to the same criteria in a competing claim.

But critics argue that designating a museum a native Hawaiian organization defeats the intent of NAGPRA. They also said it posed a severe conflict of interest because the museum would be both claimant and the arbiter of who would win possession of an item.

"The interim guidance policy was a gross waste of everyone's time," said Eddie Halealoha Ayau, a critic of the museum's policy and spokesman for Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei, a native Hawaiian organization founded in 1989 in part to repatriate ancestral remains and other sacred objects. "The museum should have discussed the matter with the community first and then developed its policy. Instead, it promulgated the policy first and then acknowledged there was a conflict of interest," he said.


La'akea Suganuma of the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts, which has challenged Hui Malama as a claimant in the past, said: "The museum's reluctance to pursue native Hawaiian status is understood. But I don't think it precludes them from doing everything possible to protect its collection." The debate comes as federal investigators and the state attorney general's office are conducting parallel investigations into the alleged black-market trafficking of items repatriated to native Hawaiian organizations from Bishop Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum.

The museum's policy also seeks to clarify its ownership or "right of possession" of various items on a case-by-case basis. The museum has retained outside counsel to determine whether it owns specific items under state law. If ownership of an item is proved under state law, then the museum will claim it has "right of possession" under NAGPRA.

"Why are they talking about state law? It's cute and interesting, but repatriation is governed by federal law," said Ayau. Ayau and others contend that many items in the collection were stolen from graves and then sold or donated to the museum and therefore do not rightfully belong to the museum.

Another area of contention covered in the proposal is "sacred objects," which NAGPRA defines as objects necessary for the practice of native Hawaiian religion. The museum contends it does not have such objects in its collection, based on its understanding that items for rituals can be newly made.

Richard Paglinawan, another native Hawaiian on the museum collection committee, cited a sacred staff with a bald Lono. In reviving an ancient ritual, he said his group studied the staff and was able to create its own staff and that other groups have created their own.

"We don't need the original in our practice, but we do need access to the original to study and make our own," said Paglinawan. "The original is a one-of-a-kind. I want my grandson and future generations to be able to come back and see it. It should not be owned by just one" religious group.

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Oct/08/ln/ln26p.html
Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, October 8, 2004

Bishop Museum ends 'Native' claims

By Vicki Viotti

The Bishop Museum board of directors has given up its plan to claim cultural artifacts as a "Native Hawaiian organization" under a federal native-burials law, but yesterday reaffirmed its intent to hold claims made by others to a stricter standard.

The change in policy came yesterday in a unanimous vote by 17 of the museum's 31 directors on a "final guidance" document, now posted on the museum Web site. It's sure to signal more strenuous battles over burial objects and other artifacts in the museum collection, including three items from Moloka'i that a Hawaiian burials group wants returned, or "repatriated."

The museum, which was not founded by a Native Hawaiian, has served as a repository for Hawaiian treasures bequeathed by the ali'i class and others. In July the museum sparked a hot debate after releasing a draft policy, or "guidance," laying out how it would proceed in claims of artifacts under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

The debate centered on the museum's assertion in the draft policy that it qualifies as a "Native Hawaiian organization" able to claim artifacts under NAGPRA. This drew emotional resistance from some Native Hawaiian groups, as well as pointed opposition from U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, one of the law's chief architects.

In the end, community opposition to such recognition for Bishop Museum and concerns over potential conflicts in judging claims and making claims on objects in its collection led to the board's decision, according to the final guidance document.

William Brown, museum president and chief executive officer, acknowledged that Inouye's opposition also factored into the decision. The museum has used federal grant money for various projects through the years — the current list includes $400,000 for a new "magnet school" project. "We are aware of Sen. Inouye's perspective," Brown said. "We have great respect for his leadership in NAGPRA, and his views on the law matter greatly."

Jennifer Goto-Sabas, an Inouye spokeswoman, had served as a board member until the end of September and, although she wasn't involved in the final decision, she was part of the debate over the draft policy. Goto-Sabas disputed any suggestion that the senator would withhold funds based on the policy conflict. "The institution is near and dear to the senator," Goto-Sabas said. "Just because there is a disagreement, that would have nothing to do with his funding or emotional support for the museum."

Among other key points in the final policy:

• The museum will consider on a case-by-case basis whether a Native Hawaiian organization's "cultural affiliation" to an object qualifies it as a claimant and sets out certain rules for evaluating that affiliation. Any claimant who demonstrates lineal descent from a buried person, for example, has top priority.

• The museum asserts that none of the objects in its collection fall in the categories of "sacred objects" or "objects of cultural patrimony." In the case of sacred objects, NAGPRA defines these as items required for the practice of sacred rites, said Brown.

But in Hawaiian tradition, he said, such objects are often made anew for each ritual, so that no particular sacred status rests on a specific example that's in the museum collection.

As an example, board member Richard Paglinawan cited a carved staff used in rituals dedicated to the god Lono. Paglinawan, a cultural practitioner, made a replica of the example in the museum collection for a seasonal observance known as makahiki, something he wouldn't have been able to do if the museum did not keep the item for all to see.

• The museum asserts that it has "right of possession" over objects that it owns under state law.

Right of possession strengthens the museum's case in disputes over certain cultural items and is a key element in the dispute over three items that are, according to one claimant, burial objects from Moloka'i. That claimant, the nonprofit organization Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei, seeks the return of a ki'i (image), a cowrie shell and a niho palaoa (pendant).

Member Edward Halealoha Ayau said the group has filed a complaint with the NAGPRA review committee over the museum's failure to complete repatriation of the image and the shell (claims on the pendant have not yet been made) and is seeking civil fines against the museum.

Civil penalties officer Ann Hitchcock, of the National Park Service, confirmed that the case is being investigated. Brown said the museum has assurances from park service officials that it has proceeded correctly so far.

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http://www.bishopmuseum.org/Final_NAGPRA_Guidelines.html

Bishop Museum

FINAL GUIDANCE

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act

October 7, 2004

http://www.bishopmuseum.org/Final_NAGPRA_Guidelines.html

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One way Bishop Museum could keep possession of artifacts is by getting the museum recognized as a Native Hawaiian Organization. But that concept has now been withdrawn. Another way the museum could keep artifacts is by serving as custodian for artifacts owned by other Native Hawaiian Organizations who choose to keep their artifacts in the museum for safekeeping.

On November 21, 2004 the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported that the theft of the ka'ai ten years ago has continued to disturb Princess Abigail Kawananakoa, to the point where she is stepping forward to establish a "Native Hawaiian Organization" under the NAGPRA law. By being a NHO, her group will be able to oppose Hui Malama in seeking ownership of artifacts currently held by Bishop Museum, with a view to keeping those artifacts in the museum rather than burying them in a cave. Thus, although Bishop Museum was pressured into withdrawing its own application to be a NHO, the establishment of a NHO by Kawananakoa gives hope that Bishop Museum will be able to keep possession of valuable artifacts just as though the museum itself were a recognized NHO.

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/11/21/news/story2.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 21, 2004

Campbell heir ups stakes for artifacts
Her organization earns status as a "native Hawaiian" group

By Sally Apgar

Abigail Kawananakoa, a descendant of the royal line of Kalakaua, has been haunted by the mysterious theft in 1994 from the Bishop Museum of the Ka'ai, two burial caskets that held the 400-year-old bones of two important chiefs from the Big Island, according to people close to her. By 2002, Kawananakoa was so pained by the thefts that she and a close adviser, Edith McKinzie, a kumu hula and noted Hawaiian genealogy scholar, visited the secret, climate-controlled room in the Bishop Museum from which the sennit caskets had been stolen. They wanted to see that other Hawaiian treasures stored there were safe. The Ka'ai have never been found.

Some say Kawananakoa, a wealthy Campbell Estate heiress, would pay anything for the return of the Ka'ai or other precious Hawaiian artifacts that may have slipped away onto the antiquities black market.

Now, Kawananakoa, 78, is emerging from her private world of philanthropic works and California quarter-horse farm to enter what has become a very public fight over the reclamation of Hawaiian artifacts among competing native Hawaiian groups. In her first formal step onto the battlefield, she gained recognition this week of her newly formed group, Na Lei Alii Kawananakoa, as a "native Hawaiian organization" under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Congress created NAGPRA as civil-rights legislation, aimed at righting wrongs of the past by creating a process for Native Americans and native Hawaiians to repatriate human remains and sacred items from museums.

A Bishop Museum official, who asked not to be named, confirmed Friday that the board of directors voted unanimously at its Thursday meeting to recognize Kawananakoa's group as a native Hawaiian organization. The official also confirmed the board found her organization eligible to join the fray with several claimants already competing under NAGPRA rules for three sacred items in the museum's collection that were found on Molokai.

The three items, believed by some native Hawaiians to hold strong spiritual powers, are: a 5-inch, hook-shaped pendant carved from a rock oyster; a "kii," which is an 8-inch stick figure with a human face; and a cowry shell. Those items are already at the center of a possibly precedent-setting legal dispute between Bishop Museum and Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei, one of two native Hawaiian groups listed under NAGPRA law as native Hawaiian organizations. All three items were found in burial sands and later sold or donated to the Bishop Museum.

Edward Halealoha Ayau, a spokesman for Hui Malama, claims the donors were grave robbers and is challenging the museum's "right of possession" under NAGPRA. Ayau contends that the museum has no ownership rights of stolen goods. If Hui Malama prevails on this legal point, it could trigger battles over hundreds of items in museums across the country. Hui Malama recently filed a dispute with NAGPRA, citing the museum's slow reaction in repatriating the Molokai items. The museum says it is studying the legal issues involved and that if it can establish ownership under state law, then it can claim possession under NAGPRA.

Another outspoken claimant in the Molokai dispute is La'akea Suganuma, who represents the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts. Suganuma has long warred with Hui Malama over various items, including the controversial repatriation of 83 objects from the Kawaihae caves or Forbes cave on the Big Island that were once part of the Bishop Museum's collection. In February 2000, the museum loaned the items to Hui Malama for one year. The items were never returned. Ayau has repeatedly said his organization never meant to return them, the museum staff knew that and that the repatriation is final. Suganuma is among 12 other claimants who have asked for a review of the repatriation. Ayau says any questions among the remaining claimants should be settled in court.

Although Kawananakoa has not made a claim for the Kawaihae cave items, Suganuma and other claimants agree she has the war chest to pay for a court fight. Suganuma and Ayau are also at odds over the repatriation of five items from Kawaihae cave that reside in the collection of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Ayau said his group has made three written claims for the items since November 1999 that have been ignored by the park service. This week, he filed a dispute with NAGPRA over the park's response. Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando could not be reached for comment.

The five disputed items are: a 27-inch-high carved wooden statue of a woman; a konane game board with legs made of unusual carved wooden figures; a cutting tool that incorporates a human collar bone and shark's tooth; a gourd with a shell stopper; and a button. Suganuma is also filing a claim for the items.

Founded in 1989, Hui Malama at one time was the only group to step forward to take care of the bones and artifacts. It aggressively spearheaded repatriation from museums and, in the process, raised cultural consciousness and pride in the past. But in recent years, particularly since the Kawaihae caves dispute, Hui Malama has aroused controversy and some resentment from native Hawaiians who feel it has overstepped its bounds.

"Just who does Hui Malama think it is?" said Suganuma, who feels the NAGPRA review committee has made repatriation decisions biased toward Hui Malama. The NAGPRA review committee "has absolutely disregarded the law and always done what Hui Malama wants them to," Suganuma said in a recent letter to the committee. "We're taking off the gloves. The NAGPRA committee just hasn't shown any respect for the law or other claimants."

Ayau yesterday questioned Kawananakoa's motivations. "Where have they been all of these years while we have been fighting for repatriation?" he said. He noted part of the definition of "native Hawaiian organization" is to provide continuing services to native Hawaiians.

James Wright, an attorney for Kawananakoa, said that for more than 30 years she has funded preservation and research relating to Hawaiian culture. That funding includes translations of old Hawaiian-language newspapers for people to use in establishing their genealogies. According to incorporation papers, Kawananakoa's group includes McKinzie, who authored the two-volume "Hawaiian Genealogies," considered among the most authoritative texts on the subject. A third member is Rubellite Kawena Johnson, a professor emeritus at the University of Hawaii who is a renowned scholar of Hawaiian culture, language and history. Johnson has unsuccessfully challenged Hui Malama over past repatriations, including a spear rest that once resided in a Providence, R.I., museum. Johnson said yesterday, "I have no morbid interest in claiming other people's bones, nor in assuming power to force people to do this or that with ancestral bones."

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(17) News reports were published that some artifacts previously repatriated from Bishop Museum to Hui Malama, which had allegedly been “returned” to caves, have shown up for sale on the black market. Federal investigations are underway. These reports became public just as Hui Malama was vigorously pursuing its campaign of opposition to Bishop Museum’s decision to seek status as a Native Hawaiian organization. Is the museum using “dirty tricks” to wage a public relations campaign to discredit its chief opponent, Hui Malama? Or is Hui Malama in fact a bad steward of Hawaiian artifacts, and perhaps guilty of profiteering from the sale of “sacred artifacts” it “liberates” from the museum? Stay tuned! History of the Emerson Collection is included. Kanupa Cave (where Emerson collection came from) found broken into; re-sealed by DLNR. Was the break-in perhaps done recently by Hui Malama to make it look like some previous break-in by unknown grave-robbers was responsibe for theft of valuable artifacts, when Hui Malama itself was actually the thief? Or, was the break-in perhaps done by Bishop Museum to discredit Hui Malama? Or, was the break-in actually done by grave-robbers who then sold the artifacts? Stay tuned!

http://starbulletin.com/2004/08/11/news/story1.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Artifacts’ sale investigated
Federal agents say that several items returned to a Hawaiian group were offered to collectors

By Sally Apgar

Federal agents are investigating the alleged black market trafficking of valuable Hawaiian artifacts that Bishop Museum had turned over to a native Hawaiian group, according to several sources close to the ongoing probe. Federal investigators said the artifacts, which include several water gourds, at least one priceless hand-carved bowl and pieces of burial kapa from the well-known J.S. Emerson collection, were secretly offered for sale within the past few weeks to private collectors and at least one antique dealer on the Big Island. Federal agents with the U.S. Department of the Interior declined to identify suspects to the Star-Bulletin.

Over the past seven years, the allegedly stolen artifacts had been repatriated, or legally transfered, to Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei. Hui Malama is a native Hawaiian organization founded in 1989 for the purpose of repatriating human remains and other artifacts and reburying them in burial caves in accordance with ancient ancestors.

The objects from the Bishop Museum had been sold to the museum in the late 1880s by Emerson and repatriated to Hui Malama in 1997. The investigation also includes possible items linked to the Peabody Museum in Salem, Mass., that were sold by Emerson in 1907, and repatriated to Hui Malama, with the help of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, in 2003.

Edward Halealoha Ayau, spokesman for Hui Malama, did not return telephone calls yesterday for comment. In the past, Ayau has said that items repatriated from the museum were sealed and hidden in burial caves.

The sale of such artifacts is illegal under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which was established so that native Americans and Hawaiians could have a procedure for recovering human remains and sacred objects on display in museums. "We are conducting an investigation into the trafficking of Hawaiian artifacts," confirmed Michael Kingsley, an assistant special agent in charge of the regional office in Sacramento, Calif., for the Interior Department, the federal agency that oversees NAGPRA. Kingsley would not name suspects or describe the extent of the black market trafficking. "We are conducting an investigation, and we're going to the end of where this investigation takes us," he said.

Bishop Museum Director Bill Brown said yesterday, "This is a critical moment to remember the great significance of Hawaiian cultural heritage and to reflect on what stewardship that heritage genuinely requires."

DeSoto Brown, a Hawaiian, scholar and collection manager of the museum's archives, was more blunt: "This is why we have museums: to preserve, safeguard, and keep valuable artifacts. Additionally, when artifacts are in museums, others can see them and have access to appropriate levels and learn. "It's unrealistic to say that it's in the cave where the ancient Hawaiians wanted and that therefore we've done right and it's all finished," DeSoto Brown added. "The items in cave are subject to natural deterioration, which I know is what Hui Malama said should be their fate. But people can get into those caves and take things and they are not safe. This case brings this point into the open; the caves are not safe."

The investigation into black market trafficking comes at a time of bitter debate at the museum over who should be in charge of such remains and artifacts.

In 1990, NAGPRA was passed so that human remains and artifacts that had shown up for centuries in museums' display cases would be handed back to native American tribes and native Hawaiians.

DeSoto Brown, who is not related to the museum's director, said that even 50 years ago native Hawaiians did not openly question Bishop Museum's right to having human remains and sacred objects in its collection for safekeeping and study. The museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop as a memorial to his wife, Princess Pauahi Bishop, the last of the Kamehameha line of ruling chiefs. The princess and other alii wanted the museum to safeguard items so that future generations could know their heritage. The museum's core collections included items owned by Pauahi, Princess Ruth Keelikolani, Queen Emma and Queen Liliuokalani.

DeSoto Brown said there's been such a re-emergence of pride among Hawaiians that the staff felt shame, not pride, in having preserved bones, artifacts and history. "Acting in atonement," the staff repatriated many items over the last 14 years, he said.

But in 2004, museum Director Bill Brown said he determined that the museum had its own place in deciding what items would stay in the museum for the study of future generations and what would be hidden in burial caves. In a controversial decision last month, the museum's board announced an "interim guidance policy" that said it was a native Hawaiian organization, owing to its founding mission, just like Hui Malama or any other Native Hawaiian organization.

Hui Malama has fought the museum's policy as an act of "institutionalized racism" that says Hawaiians cannot take care of their own ancestors. Hui Malama has said that making the museum a native Hawaiian organization defeats the intent of NAGPRA and lays open many opportunities for abuse by the museum.

Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei huimalama.tripod.com
Bishop Museum www.bishopmuseum.org

U.S. Interior Dept. -NAGPRA www.cr.nps.gov/nagpra

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/08/11/news/story2.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Collector meticulously catalogued hundreds of artifacts

By Sally Apgar

Joseph Swift Emerson, the son of missionaries, first visited Kanupa Cave, a burial cave on the Big Island for lesser chiefs, in 1858. Emerson, who meticulously recorded his discoveries, wrote of the cave: "Probably a thousand bodies had been deposited and no white man had entered it until a year or two before my visit. With many of the bodies there was placed some object specially prized by the former owner."

Emerson, who was a young man at the time of his Kanupa Cave visit, would go on to collect and catalog hundreds of Hawaiian artifacts, which he would sell to Bishop Museum and elsewhere. He recorded in his notebooks that he gathered 42 items from Kanupa Cave, including kapa, water gourds, hand-carved wooden bowls and a wooden spear more than 6 feet long. Most of what he found in Kanupa was sold to the Bishop Museum in the 1880s and to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., in 1907.

Over the past seven years, some items that Emerson found in Kanupa cave and sold to the two museums have been handed over to Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei, a native Hawaiian organization founded in 1989 to repatriate human remains and artifacts from museums and rebury them in ancestral caves.

Now federal agents are investigating how artifacts that Hui Malama has said it reburied in caves allegedly have shown up for sale on the black market.

In the late 1880s, Charles Reed Bishop worked to establish a museum in memorial to his wife, Princess Pauahi Bishop, the last of the royal line of King Kamehameha I. He had the support of other alii, such as Queen Emma and Queen Liliuokalani, who wanted to leave their collections to a museum so that future generations could learn about their heritage.

Emerson sold two collections to Bishop for his museum. In 1886, Emerson sold Bishop 607 artifacts that came from Hawaii as well as Micronesia and Melanesia for $3,000. In 1889, he sold Bishop another 558 artifacts from Hawaii and "other islands of the Pacific," for $4,000. The Emerson Collection at the Bishop Museum is renowned among historians for its scope, which includes items used by high chiefs and commoners. Perhaps even more useful to historians is Emerson's painstaking record keeping.

Fluent in Hawaiian, Emerson interviewed native Hawaiians to learn how objects were made, their history, and how they were used. He also wrote scholarly articles on subjects ranging from secret Hawaiian rites and lesser Hawaiian gods to string games played by children. When he died at the age of 86 in 1930, Emerson's obituary said: "He was the author of various papers on Hawaiian history and lore ... So thorough was his knowledge of native lore that he came to be known as the 'White Kuhuna.'"

In his notebooks, Emerson wrote that gathering "first hand from older Hawaiians regarding their folklore and curios has brought me much in contact with a most interesting people now fast passing away."

In her book, "Material Culture: The J.S. Emerson Collection of Hawaiian Artifacts," Catherine Summers wrote that the detailed catalogs accompanying the artifacts that Emerson sold to the Bishop Museum and others "are a new source of ... views into traditional Hawaiian industries and craft, cooking, agriculture, fishing, health, entertainment and warfare - all imbedded in native Hawaiians' recollections of their own histories and legends." "The Emerson Collection was obtained from people from many walks of life and gives a broader perspective of Hawaiian material culture than any other collection," she wrote.

Emerson was born July 13, 1843, in Lahainaluna, Maui, the sixth son of Rev. Johns and Ursula Emerson. The family was stationed in Waialua on Oahu for most of Emerson's childhood, when he learned to speak Hawaiian. At age 11, he was sent to board at Punahou School. After graduating in 1862, Emerson taught school for several years on Oahu, Maui and Kauai before working plantations on the Big Island. In 1869, he left Hawaii to study civil engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated in 1874. By 1877, Emerson was back in Hawaii, where he was employed by the Hawaiian government as a surveyor on the Big Island. According to Summers, it was during his years on the Big Island that he began extensively collecting artifacts and stories from native Hawaiians. Summers noted that it was clear in Emerson's notebooks that he did not always agree with what he was told and that "what Emerson was told was not always true."

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Aug/12/ln/ln08a.html
Honoilulu Advertiser, Thursday, August 12, 2004

Report of artifact sale leads to search

By Vicki Viotti and Mike Gordon

Law enforcement officials have searched at least two Big Island addresses in a federal investigation into allegations that ancient Hawaiian burial artifacts were put up for sale in the past month, Big Island police said. Bishop Museum officials yesterday confirmed that the federal Office of the Inspector General of the Department of the Interior was investigating it as a criminal case. The museum was approached by investigators for help identifying artifacts being offered for sale. The artifacts are believed to be among those that were thought returned to a burial cave in Kohala, a museum official said. The Department of the Interior did not return phone calls seeking comment. No human remains were being offered for sale; it was not immediately known how many burial artifacts were offered or if any were sold.

The investigation is the latest flashpoint in an ongoing debate over stewardship of funerary objects and other cherished Native Hawaiian cultural artifacts, and whether they are best kept in museums or returned to Native Hawaiian custodial groups. The principal combatants are the museum and Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei, the group that received custody of the Kohala artifacts under federal law in 1997.

Edward Ayau, the group's attorney, did not return calls for comment. But board member Charles Maxwell said reports that items in Hui Malama's custody had been offered for sale are untrue. "I've been involved since 1990. This is very insulting," Maxwell said.

Federal agents, backed by Big Island police, searched a business and a home Tuesday in the Captain Cook area, said Capt. Robert Hickcox of the Kona patrol division. Hickcox would not identify the targets. The artifacts had been in the possession of the Bishop Museum until they were turned over in 1997 to Hui Malama, an organization that oversees perpetual care of Native Hawaiian remains. The group has been the chief critic of Bishop Museum's handling of several cases involving cultural artifacts. Repatriation of burial items to Native Hawaiian groups is authorized under the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

Bill Brown, director of the Bishop Museum, confirmed that federal agents were conducting a criminal investigation. In general, he said, the museum "strongly condemns any effort to sell or trade historic Hawaiian artifacts on the black market. "This is a critical moment to remember the great significance of Hawaiian cultural heritage, and to reflect on what stewardship of that heritage genuinely requires," Brown added. DeSoto Brown, collections manager for the Bishop Museum archives and not related to the museum director, said he realized which artifacts were allegedly being offered for sale when investigators presented a list of numbered items catalogued in a specific collection and asked for photos to help identify them. When the artifacts in question were returned to Hui Malama, they had a specific destination, he said. "They were specifically to be placed back in a cave called Kanupa Cave on the Big Island." DeSoto Brown said he learned about the investigation two weeks ago, though it might have begun much earlier. He said a friend on the Big Island called him recently to tell him the artifacts were being sold by an antique dealer. "Material was, in fact, for sale and in a store on the Big Island," DeSoto Brown said. "I don't know if it was under a counter or openly displayed." How the remains came to the dealer appears to be at the core of the investigation. DeSoto Brown said he is not sure how many people can find Kanupa Cave, although its location is not a secret. "We don't know if the objects got put back in the cave and then got removed — and if removed, how they were removed," he said. "Or did they get in other people's hands before they were placed in the cave?"

Lance Foster is director of native rights, land and culture at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, one of the competing claimants for the Kanupa artifacts. Foster said yesterday that OHA had heard no evidence of wrongdoing but was waiting for more details before commenting in detail. Foster said, however, that he had witnessed the reburial of artifacts at Kanupa Cave in November. The cave opening is a vertical crevice that was collapsed after the reburial, making re-entry very difficult.

DeSoto Brown said the idea that artifacts are better off left in a cave is problematic. "The problem is that even if that is done, what happens after that cannot be controlled," he said. "The question is what is less disturbing: Is it more disturbing to have things in a cave, to have them potentially removed and sold, or the alternative, to keep them in a situation like a museum?" He prefers the latter. "And I think for a great number of years many Hawaiians felt the same way," he said.

Hui Malama's Maxwell took issue with the contention that a museum is a safer place for artifacts, pointing to the February 1994 disappearance of the ka'ai, two sacred baskets that hold the bones of ali'i, when they were in museum custody. Guy Kaulukukui, a who formerly handled repatriations at the museum, said the Kanupa items came from the collections at the Bishop Museum as well as the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. Before the museums acquired them, the cultural items were collected by J.S. Emerson, around the turn of the century, according to notices archived on the NAGPRA Web site. The Peabody repatriations included a wooden bowl and wooden spear repatriated in 2001, and various bowls and other items repatriated in 2003. The notices indicate that in 1889, Bishop Museum bought 30 items from Emerson as part of its original collection. These included pieces or fragments of burial kapa cloth, a stick, an amulet, cordage, gourd water bottles, coconut cups and wooden bowls. In 1904, the museum received additional kapa fragments from Emerson. Kaulukukui said he had heard only unsubstantiated rumors about artifacts being sold. "If there is specific evidence, then I think it's important for people to come forward," he said. "But there are rumors, malicious rumors being spread to malign Hui Malama.... I don't know of any reason not to trust that they have carried out the work that they have said they did."

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/08/12/news/story4.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 12, 2004

Collector says he was offered artifacts for sale
An antiques store that was later searched secretly showed items

By Sally Apgar

A collector of Hawaiian artifacts said yesterday that he was secretly shown three rare hand-carved bowls, some burial kapa and a gourd container in a Big Island antique store several weeks ago. "They wanted a lot of money," said the collector, who spoke to the Star-Bulletin on the condition of anonymity. The collector has helped agents with the U.S. Department of the Interior who are investigating how valuable Hawaiian artifacts turned up on the black market after being repatriated to a native Hawaiian organization that was to place the items in sacred burial caves.

On Tuesday, Interior agents with search warrants scoured the Kona antiques store and the home of the store's owner. "We executed search warrants on the Big Island, and the investigation is continuing," said Marc Tinsley, a special agent with the Interior Department in Sacramento, Calif. Several sources close to the investigation said the agents seized several artifacts from the J.S. Emerson collection that were being offered for sale illegally. A second collector, who was asked to appraise the items, was paid for his expertise in pieces of burial kapa, sources told the Star-Bulletin. The first collector said he immediately recognized the items he was shown at the Kona antiques store as pieces that belonged to the Emerson collection. Some items still had their museum identification numbers. "I saw them and reported them," said the collector.

In 1858, Joseph Emerson found the pieces in Kanupa Cave, a burial cave for lesser chiefs on the Big Island. In the late 1880s, he sold some pieces to the Bishop Museum. He sold others in 1907 to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. According to the Federal Register and sources close to the investigation, the items from the Bishop Museum were repatriated in 1997 to Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei ("group caring for the ancestors of Hawaii"). The other items were repatriated in 2003 from the Peabody to Hui Malama, according to the Federal Register.

Hui Malama is a native Hawaiian organization founded in 1989 for the purpose of repatriating human remains and other artifacts and re-entering them in burial caves in accordance with the wishes of ancestors. Under the 1990 Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act, it is illegal to sell or traffic repatriated artifacts. Sources close to the investigation have identified several suspects, but no arrests have been made. Edward Halealoha Ayau, a spokesman for Hui Malama, did not return numerous telephone calls from the Star-Bulletin this week. The collector said: "I want to know how those objects got out of the cave, if they ever were there in the first place. And then I want to know how they got to the antique dealer." The Bishop Museum released a statement yesterday that said: "The Bishop Museum strongly condemns any effort to sell or trade historic Hawaiian artifacts on the black market. Such actions not only violate federal law, they violate the trust of native Hawaiians and all people who appreciate and understand the importance of the proper handling and disposition of these cultural treasures."

Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei, huimalama.tripod.com
Bishop Museum, www.bishopmuseum.org
U.S. Interior Dept. -NAGPRA www.cr.nps.gov/nagpra

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/08/12/news/story5.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Thursday, August 12, 2004

Group has history of protecting graves
Hui Malama's strict stance on burial traditions has caused some controversy

By Sally Apgar

In 1988, a small group of Hawaiian activists banded together to fight the construction of the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Maui and the desecration of an ancestral burial ground. After a 24-hour vigil at the state Capitol, then-Gov. John Waihee approved a settlement that moved the resort hotel back from the shoreline and the burial ground. The remains of about 1,100 ancestors were returned to their burial grounds. Today, the group, which claims about 100 members, is known as Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii ("group caring for the ancestors of Hawaii"). From idealistic beginnings and strong political ties to Sen. Daniel Inouye, Hui Malama has grown controversial over the years as it spearheaded the repatriation (legal return of possessions) and the physical disposition of human remains and other artifacts from museums around the world to burial caves. "Hui Malama grew out of the tragedy and gross exhumation of 1,100 ancestors and was born out of the enlightenment that came with that pain," Edward Halealoha Ayau, a spokesman for Hui Malama, said last week in an interview. "If someone had removed 1,100 bones from Punchbowl (National Cemetery), it would've been a crime, but to build a hotel on an ancient burial ground was not." Ayau said the grave desecrations at Honokahua during construction of the Ritz Carlton "made it blatantly clear that we were not empowered to be responsible for our ancestors (and their bones) legally." Ayau said they also realized "Hawaiians had lost touch with our practices of caring for our ancestors."

Ayau, who was a young law student at the time, said that during the fight over Honokahua, he came to know two kumu, Edward and Pualani Kanahele, "who changed my life." The Kanaheles also became the spiritual foundation and conscience of Hui Malama. "I listened to them talk about the responsibility we had to our ancestors. They enlightened us and made us aware of the high level of commitment required to our ancestors. And they trained us in the right (burial) protocols," said Ayau. Hui Malama's Web site explains the relationship between the living and ancestors as "one of interdependence: As the living, we have a kuleana (responsibility) to care for our kupuna (ancestors). In turn, our ancestors respond by protecting us on the spiritual side. Hence, one side cannot completely exist without the other." Edward Kanahele, who died in 2000 at 57, was a professor of history and social sciences at Hilo Community College. His wife, Pualani, a master chanter, comes from a long line of kumu hula including her mother, Edith Kanakaole, the legendary kumu hula, Hawaiian scholar and chanter whose name graces the stadium on the Big Island where the Merrie Monarch Festival is held each year. Pualani and her sister, Nalani, are kumu of a hula halau, Halau O Kekuhi, that their mother founded in 1953. The sisters both work to perpetuate some of the oldest Hawaiian cultural traditions including mele oli and mele hula, which are complex forms of an ancient art combining dance, music and literature. Pualani Kanahele did not return numerous telephone calls to her home, the Edith Kanakaole Foundation and to her daughter, Kekui, who is a chanter and teaches at Hilo Community College.

When asked where the Kanaheles learned about burial protocols, Ayau did not answer.

Some native Hawaiian groups have taken issue with Hui Malama's absolute certitude about burial traditions. Some older kupuna in particular caution that there is no one way to bury, rebury or care for ancestors and that traditions varied from island to island, family to family and even between generations. DeSoto Brown, who is also the collection manager for the Bishop Museum's archives, referred to Hui Malama's burial protocols as "very dictatorial in nature." Brown said: "In hula we not only accept, but we celebrate various styles from different halau. Yet in this situation, they say it's the Hui Malama way or no way. If a single kumu hula were to proclaim his or her way as the only true teaching or source or interpretation of hula, no one would accept it. We acknowledge there are many sources."

Hawaiian activist Van Horn Diamond agreed, saying: "Hui Malama came about when there was a void, an absence of families coming forward to assume responsibility for the internment of iwi kupuna (ancestral bones). But time has elapsed, and Hui Malama should assume a different posture. They should take a step back and give support to families and not assume they can pre-empt or override them." In 1990, when federal legislation was written so that human remains and burial items on display in museums could be repatriated to American Indians and Hawaiians, Hui Malama was considered one of the only groups with the needed expertise.

Sen. Daniel Inouye chaired the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that wrote the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Ayau and another founding member of Hui Malama, Noelle M.K.Y. Kahanu, both worked on Inouye's legal staff during that time. Lurline McGregor, another former Inouye staffer who worked on NAGPRA, said forums were held in Hawaii to discuss the bill. "At the time, Hui Malama was the single organization that was dealing with remains, so their name was specifically written into the bill (along with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs) as a native Hawaiian entity," McGregor said.

Hui Malama's biggest controversy with other native Hawaiians has been over the reburial of 83 items stolen in 1905 by David Forbes from the Kawaihae, or Forbes, Cave on the Big Island and sold to the Bishop Museum. Initially, there were four native Hawaiian groups with claims on the items. In February 2000, two museum employees, Betty Tatar, then vice president of museum collections, and Valerie Free had the items crated. They handed the crate over to Hui Malama with an invoice that listed each item and classified them as a one-year "loan." Ayau said he and others reburied the items in Kawaihae Cave. During the next year, nine other native Hawaiian groups emerged as claimants to the artifacts. Some asked for the artifacts' return so they could agree on what should be done with them. The museum asked for the return of the "loan."

"We never intended to give them back," said Ayau. "We reburied them." Ayau also said that some of the museum staff knew that the items would not be returned.

Museum Director Bill Brown, who was hired after the loan, has said the loan was "a mistake." He has also said that the museum violated its own procedures and NAGPRA guidelines when it made the loan.

In May 2003 the NAGPRA Review Committee agreed. The committee found that the museum erred and should reclaim the artifacts for the 13 claimants so they could work out an agreement on their fate. Hui Malama has refused to return the items.

Some of the claimants and the museum have argued that if Hui Malama is not willing to return the artifacts, it should at least offer some proof that the items are in the cave. Ayau said: "All people need to know is that they are back and secured, and we have permission from the landowner (the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands) to conduct periodic security checks. All the evidence anyone will ever get (that the items are in the cave) is our word."

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Aug/13/ln/ln10a.html
Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, August 13, 2004

Mishandling of artifacts denied

By Vicki Viotti

The leader of the Hawaiian group given custody of a century-old set of burial artifacts yesterday said the group properly reburied the items, and is upset at implications that it mishandled the artifacts. Kunani Nihipali, the po'o (head) of Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei, issued the group's first detailed response to reports that some of the artifacts had surfaced at a Kona district shop offering them for sale. In the written statement, Nihipali countered what he described as efforts to "slander" through implications that the organization had not reburied the artifacts in their original resting place, Kanupa Cave in Kohala. "All iwi kupuna (ancestral human remains) and moepu (funerary objects) from Kanupa Cave that were repatriated to us from the Peabody Essex Museum and the Bishop Museum were ceremonially returned to their place of origin," Nihipali said. "We support federal efforts to investigate any such sale of Hawaiian cultural items." He said members of the organization visited the Kanupa burial site on Wednesday but were turned away by a federal official who said agents were investigating a theft. The group has conducted its own security inspections of the site, he said.

The first indication that some items had been stolen came in mid-June, when a Big Island collector noticed several of the funerary objects displayed for sale at a Kona district shop and then reported it to Bishop Museum. The collector spoke to The Advertiser yesterday on condition of anonymity because a criminal investigation into the attempted sale of the artifacts is still under way. He said the items were recognizable because they were labeled as part of the collection of J.S. Emerson, who had retrieved burial items from Kanupa Cave at around the outset of the 20th century. The items at the shop included three wooden bowls, a gourd and kapa fabric, he said.

The Bishop Museum had custody of some of the Emerson collection until 1997, when under a federal law its officials had conveyed its items to Hui Malama for reburial in Kanupa Cave. Museum director Bill Brown confirmed yesterday that the museum passed the collector's report onto federal authorities. "This matter was brought to our attention by an individual who reported it to a member of our staff," Brown said in a written statement. "The museum provided the information, without comment, to the Department of the Interior and has been assisting the Interior Department's requests for help in identifying the artifacts." The collector said that when he visited the shop in mid-June, one of the bowls was priced at around $20,000. He said he warned the shop owner that he would report the finding, adding that he then relayed the information to the museum through a fellow collector.

Repatriation of burial items to Native Hawaiian groups is authorized under the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. According to NAGPRA notices, some of the Emerson items came from the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. The notices indicate that in 1889, Bishop Museum bought 30 items from Emerson as part of its original collection. These included pieces of burial kapa fabric, a stick, an amulet, cordage, gourd water bottles, coconut cups and wooden bowls. In 1904, the museum received additional kapa fragments from Emerson.

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Aug/13/op/op01a.html
Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, August 13, 2004

EDITORIAL

Potential sale of artifacts troubling

Reports that objects once held by the Bishop Museum and then "repatriated" to a Native Hawaiian group are being circulated for sale are deeply disturbing. It must be underscored that, for the moment, all we have are reports and allegations of such proposed sales. The federal government is investigating. Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei, the group that received the artifacts in 1997 for reburial in a Big Island cave, says it is appalled to hear some of the items might have been up for sale. It says it supports federal efforts to investigate. These objects were originally taken from the caves more than a century ago and then later sold to the Bishop Museum and others. If the effort to sell them, or even any part of them, is true, then it is a direct insult to the intent of the federal law that led to their repatriation in the first place. The law is designed to restore dignity and proper cultural practice for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians over burial items and related artifacts that were taken for museums and private collections over the years. If this incident turns out to be true, it should generate a fresh round of introspection by both the museum and Hawaiian groups that make claim on items for repatriation. What honor does it do to these objects if they are taken from the museum's care only to become trinkets to be bought and sold by wealthy collectors?

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/08/13/editorial/editorials.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Friday, August 13, 2004
[ EDITORIAL: OUR OPINION ]

Wide probe needed to protect artifacts

THE ISSUE
Federal agents from the Interior Department are investigating alleged black market trafficking of valuable Hawaiian artifacts.

FEDERAL investigation of alleged black market trafficking of valuable Hawaiian artifacts that were supposed to have been kept in a Big Island cave raises questions about an organization that has taken the lead in repatriating such artifacts. The government should be unrelenting in finding how the items passed into private hands, prosecuting the thieves to the fullest extent and turning its probe to other possible wayward movements of Hawaiian artifacts.

Artifacts that were taken from the cave in the mid-1800s by Joseph Swift Emerson, a missionary's son, and sold to the Bishop Museum were repatriated in 1997 to Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei. The group, which was formed in 1989 for the purpose of such repatriation, was supposed to have put the artifacts in the same burial cave in accordance with ancient protocol.

That activity preceded the 1999 enactment of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which was intended to protect burial remains and sacred objects by returning them to Native American and Hawaiian groups. In response to that law, Bishop Museum secretly "loaned" to Hui Malama 83 artifacts that were taken in 1905 from another Big Island cave by amateur archeologist David Forbes and sold to Bishop Museum two years later.

Hui Malama is headed by lawyer Edward Halealoha Ayau, who once worked at the museum and was former staff counsel to Sen. Daniel Inouye, ranking Democrat on the Senate committee that drafted the NAGPRA legislation. Ayau signed for the 83 Forbes artifacts in February 2000 and said they would be returned to a Big Island burial cave.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs and other Hawaiian organizations protested being neglected in consideration for the loan. The controversy colored museum director Donald Duckworth's resignation months afterward. Bill Brown, a former Interior Department official who became the museum's director the following year, said the loan was a "mistake" in violation of NAGPRA guidelines.

In response to a complaint by the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts, a National Park Service review committee concluded in May that transfer of the Forbes artifacts to Hui Malama was "flawed" and called for their return to the museum. The question is whether the museum will be allowed to keep them or must repatriate them using the current list of 13 qualifying Hawaiian organizations. Hui Malama has refused to return the artifacts.

Asked about concerns by museum officials and others about whether all 83 of the Forbes artifacts remain in the cave, Ayau told the Star-Bulletin's Sally Apgar, "All the evidence anyone will ever get is our word." The federal investigation, although pertaining only to the Emerson artifacts, indicates that is not enough.

The museum now maintains that it should be regarded as a Hawaiian organization, giving it equal footing with Hui Malama and other such groups to maintain possession of Hawaiian artifacts. The museum's deep Hawaiian roots -- founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop as a memorial to his wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop -- warrant such recognition.

Bishop Museum has repatriated more than 2,500 items to Hui Malama and other Hawaiian organizations in the past 14 years. The museum has no intention to keep human remains, but some objects properly belong in a museum, protected against deterioration and theft.

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Aug/21/ln/ln19a.html
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, August 21, 2004

Access to burial cave sought

By Vicki Viotti

One of the groups with a claim on rare Hawaiian artifacts now sealed in the Big Island's Kawaihae cave complex has filed a formal request to enter the caves and see if the items are there, citing concerns about recent reports of other artifacts being offered for sale. But a policy barring access to the cave is unlikely to be changed until the federal probe into the artifact sale yields more information, said the head of the state Hawaiian Homes Commission, which controls the land where the caves are located.

A letter was sent Monday to commission chairman Micah Kane by La'akea Suganuma, representing claimants who complain that the Kawaihae artifacts were reinterred four years ago without their claims being fully heard under a federal repatriation law. The letter seeks permission to enter the caves to "confirm the presence of and determine the condition of the cultural items formerly in the possession of the Bishop Museum," according to the letter, which Suganuma signed as "authorized representative" of the majority of the 11 groups submitting competing claims on the objects taken from the Kawaihae cave complex in 1905.

Bishop Museum sparked the controversy in February by handing over 83 artifacts from the caves to Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei, a nonprofit group established to care for burial remains and artifacts. Leaders of Hui Malama later said the items had been reburied. The claimant group is best known for its work to rebury more than 1,000 ancient remains repatriated from the museum.

The Kawaihae items include a famous carved wooden female figure; two stick aumakua, or family gods; and two gourds decorated with human teeth. Recent reports from collectors that items repatriated to the group for reburial in nearby Kanupa Cave were being offered for sale have prompted a federal probe, but agents have not said who is being targeted. Hui Malama has denied any involvement in selling artifacts.

Kane said Thursday that the commission was awaiting the findings of the probe before considering a reversal of its position. "It's purely to protect the sanctity of the cave," he said. "It's not to take the side of any claimant."

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/08/26/news/story2.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Thursday, August 26, 2004

A SACRED BIG ISLAND BURIAL CAVE LIES OPEN AND EXPOSED

** photo caption: Kanupa Cave in Kohala on the Big Island showed signs of disturbance Saturday during a visit by the Star-Bulletin.
photo:
http://starbulletin.com/2004/08/26/news/art2a.jpg

Place of unrest
Artifacts found on the black market hail from this disturbed crypt

By Sally Apgar

Less than a five-minute walk from a main road in Kohala lies a Big Island cave in which a native Hawaiian group said they reburied sacred burial artifacts and human remains last November to honor their ancestors. After the bones and artifacts were placed inside the lower levels of the winding lava-tube cave, large boulders were piled over the entrance to secure it from grave robbers, according to witnesses present for the nighttime reburial.

But a recent visit to the entrance of the cave revealed it is wide open. The large boulders that once reportedly choked and hid the entrance, which roughly measures 3 by 4 feet, are now piled around the vertical hole in the ground.

A rancher, who leases the land and escorted a reporter to Kanupa Cave on condition of anonymity, said the entrance was completely covered last fall so that "it blended into the desert landscape" of lava rock and keawe. "I don't know when the cave was reopened," said the rancher, who had not visited it again until recently.

The Star-Bulletin did not enter the cave to check for the presence of objects because it is considered sacred by many Hawaiians.

For the past few weeks, federal agents with the U.S. Department of the Interior have been investigating how artifacts that were said to be reburied in the cave after being repatriated to several native Hawaiian organizations from the Bishop Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., have shown up on the black market for sale. No suspects have been arrested or charged in the ongoing federal investigation, which is being conducted in cooperation with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The sale of such objects is illegal under state and federal laws, including the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which was established so that American Indians and Hawaiians could have a procedure for recovering human remains and sacred objects on display in museums.

The investigation comes at a time of bitter debate at the Bishop Museum over who should be the steward of artifacts.

Earlier this summer, the Bishop Museum board announced an "interim guidance policy" under which it would be identified as a native Hawaiian organization on equal footing with other native Hawaiian organizations in laying claim to artifacts. Advocates for the museum argue that its founding mission makes it a native Hawaiian organization. The Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop as a memorial to his wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last of the Kamehameha line of ruling chiefs. The princess and several other alii wanted the museum to safeguard items from their own collections so that future generations could know their heritage.

Critics of the museum's proposed policy say the museum has no right to be classified a native Hawaiian organization and that the items should be returned to caves to honor ancestors and therefore strengthen Hawaiian people.

Advocates for the museum's policy are holding up the Kanupa cave incident as evidence that museums provide better security and climate controls to preserve items for study by future generations. The precedent-setting interim policy, which is still under review by the board, is expected to be discussed in September at the next meeting of the NAGPRA review committee.

During the last several weeks, a secondhand dealer with a consignment store in Captain Cook has offered private collectors items for sale, including three hand-carved wooden bowls, a gourd container, burial kapa and a prized necklace, or palaoa, according to the accounts of several collectors that were obtained on condition of anonymity. One collector, who is cooperating with federal investigators, said the dealer wanted $20,000 for one of the bowls he held in his hands. "There was nothing special about the bowl, except that I recognized it as a repatriated item and didn't want anything to do with it," said the collector. Two collectors said the dealer was acting as a front, or "fence," for others. They said the dealer told them that he obtained the items from "a local Hawaiian guy who said he found them in a cave."

A third collector said he was offered a palaoa -- a hook-shaped ornament hanging on a necklace of braided human hair -- for $40,000. Palaoa were often prized symbols of high status that were handed down from generation to generation. The chain of human hair is believed to hold the mana, or spiritual power, of the owner or owners, making the necklace more valuable to heirs and collectors.

According to three collectors and sources close to the investigation, the items offered for sale were from the well-known J.S. Emerson collection. In 1858, Joseph Emerson, a son of missionaries who spoke fluent Hawaiian and took meticulous notes about the history of items he obtained, found the pieces in Kanupa cave, a burial cave for lesser chiefs. Kanupa was part of a network of lava-tube caves used for burials that fed into larger caves used as hiding places for people and precious objects. In the late 1880s, Emerson sold some of the items to the Bishop Museum, and others he sold in 1907 to the Peabody Essex.

According to the Federal Register and the collectors, the items from the Bishop Museum, which still had their identification stickers, were repatriated to three native Hawaiian organizations in 1997: Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei ("group caring for ancestors of Hawaii"), OHA and the Hawaii Island Burial Council. The items from the Peabody Essex, which also had identification stickers, were repatriated to Hui Malama, OHA and Ka Lahui Hawaii in the spring of 2003, according to the Federal Register.

"It surprises me that the cave was open," said Geraldine Bell, of the Hawaii Island Burial Council. "I thought that when the items were repatriated, there would have been care to conceal them." Van Horn Diamond, one of the 13 claimants to the nearby Forbes cave, was critical of cave security at Kanupa and of Hui Malama, which, he said, takes over repatriations and reburials from other groups. "The security appears to be shibai," said Diamond. "The efforts Hui Malama took were insufficient, and the cave is readily accessible."

Eddie Halealoha Ayau, a spokesman for Hui Malama, declined to comment for this report. Hui Malama hired a private investigator, Goodenow and Associates, which dispatched an investigator to enter and study the cave last week.

Diamond said the lack of security at Kanupa only increases his concerns about security of artifacts in Forbes cave. Diamond and other claimants are at odds with Hui Malama over the reburial of 83 items stolen in 1905 by David Forbes from the Kawaihae or Forbes cave and sold to the Bishop Museum.

One weekend in February 2000, when there were still only four claimants to the collection, two museum employees, Betty Tatar, the head of collections, and Valerie Free had the items crated. They handed over the crate to Ayau and Hui Malama along with an invoice that listed each item and described them as a one-year loan.

Ayau has previously told the Star-Bulletin that the items were reburied in the Forbes cave and that "we never intended to give them back." During the next year, the number of claimants grew to 13, and the museum requested the return of the "loan." Hui Malama refused. In May 2003 the NAGPRA review committee found that the museum had erred in handing over the items to Hui Malama. The committee instructed the museum to reclaim the artifacts for the 13 claimants so they could work out an agreement. Hui Malama has refused to return the artifacts.

Diamond and other claimants have asked to see the items to verify they are in the cave. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has denied them and the Star-Bulletin permission to go to the Forbes cave, which is on their land. Ayau said recently, "All the evidence anyone will ever get (that the items are in the caves) is our word." Diamond said angrily: "Hui Malama was supposed to be checking so that Kanupa cave wasn't ravaged. If they can't take care of it, can't secure it, they should let someone else." Diamond said: "We can't take Hui Malama on its word. The ravaging of Kanupa cave raises great concerns about the security of Forbes. We have never had the opportunity to inspect the items in Forbes cave. Hui Malama's integrity is at stake, and its credibility is in question."

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Aug/26/ln/ln24a.html
The Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, August 26, 2004

Hui Malama reports break-in at cave holding burial objects

By Vicki Viotti

Leaders of a Native Hawaiian burials group said last night that it has found evidence of a break-in at the Big Island cave from which burial objects reportedly went missing and were offered for sale. Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei sought access to Kanupa Cave after news reports that the federal Department of the Interior was investigating offers to sell funeral objects on the island of Hawai'i, Kunani Nihipali, the group's po'o, or leader, said in a written statement. The group is a nonprofit organization established for the care of ancient iwi kupuna (remains) and moepu (burial objects). "Whoever desecrated Kanupa Cave violated Hawaiian kapu (sacred law) regarding the sanctity of a burial site and state laws regarding historic burial sites and must be apprehended," said Edward Halealoha Ayau of Hui Malama. "Though the thieves who committed this crime are not yet known to us, they are well-known to the robbed kupuna who will seek their own justice."

Federal agents involved in the investigation and Office of Hawaiian Affairs officials were unavailable for comment last night.

According to the statement, federal agents turned away group members at the Kohala property where the cave is located on Aug. 11, but the hui then hired its own investigator.

On Friday, the group got permission to enter the cave from the lessee of the property, which the hui would not identify. However, a source who asked not to be named because of the ongoing investigation said the lessee is Ponoholo Ranch. "We discovered that our worst fears had come true — Kanupa Cave was broken into," Nihipali said in the statement. "Apparently over the course of at least several days, highly motivated thieves worked their way through multiple protective measures that we put in place to secure the iwi kupuna and moepu in Kanupa."

Hui Malama is one of four organizations given title to the burial objects of Kanupa almost a century after they had been removed by the J.S. Emerson expedition and later transferred to collections at the Bishop Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. Under a federal repatriation law, title to the Bishop objects went to Hui Malama, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Hawai'i Island Burial Council; the Peabody Essex collection went to the hui, OHA and the Hawaiian sovereignty organization Ka Lahui Hawai'i. The transfer of burial objects was made in four lots between 1997 and 2003, with the final repatriation from Peabody Essex occurring last November. Hui Malama transferred all the objects to the Big Island and reburied them in November.

Three of the groups sharing custody of the objects issued statements supporting the investigation. In the statement the groups also said the thieves may have learned about the objects after published reports of the repatriation last year that listed the items. Lehua Kinilau, who heads Ka Lahui, called on state and county officials to conduct their own investigation. "We stand by to assist federal, state and county investigators in this matter," added Geri Bell, who chairs the burial council. "When the investigations are completed and responsible parties are apprehended, fined and prosecuted, we expect the confiscated moepu to be returned to us for proper reburial."

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Aug/27/ln/ln25a.html
The Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, August 27, 2004

Security guards posted at cave

By Vicki Viotti

The state has sent guards to the site of a Kohala burial cave that has been broken into and sealed the cave entry as part of its efforts to secure the area, Hawai'i's top land official said yesterday.

Welders were on site to bar the opening yesterday and the security guards also were sent yesterday, said Peter Young, chairman of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, who wouldn't give any additional information on the extent of security measures.

The move is the latest development since it was reported that Hawaiian burial objects from Kanupa Cave have been trafficked for sale on the Big Island. The added security came a day after an announcement by Native Hawaiian organizations that they had found evidence of a break-in at the cave.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources, which owns the property where Kanupa Cave is located, also has asked the state attorney general to "look into this matter and consider what steps we'll be taking independent of the federal investigation," Young said. State Deputy Attorney General Christopher Young emphasized, however, that the state's role is to offer assistance to federal authorities, not to open its own probe. The attorney general's office has "been in contact with the feds," he said, but he would not specify what information the state is providing. Federal laws protecting burials impose a harsher penalty for desecration, he said, with a "far greater chance of jail time." "We are satisfied with how they are proceeding with the investigation," said Deputy Attorney General Young. "It's not a case where nobody's doing anything. A governmental entity has taken charge, and there is no reason for multiple agencies to investigate."

Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei, a nonprofit group formed for the protection and care of burial sites, announced on Wednesday that its private investigator had found evidence of the burglary. Last November, the group reburied objects at Kanupa after the hui and three other Hawaiian organizations had followed provisions of a federal "repatriation" law to regain title to the objects. "They (federal agents) haven't contacted us or updated us on the investigation," said Eddie Halealoha Ayau, a member of the hui. "We're in the dark, and that's why we had to bring in our own investigator."

Federal agents involved in the investigation declined comment yesterday.

Lance Foster, native rights director for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and a witness to the reburial, said OHA is still waiting for facts of the investigation to come out before commenting fully on the break-in. In November, he said, he watched Hui Malama crew members pry boulders from within the Kanupa opening to collapse the cave and then pile on more boulders to obscure the opening and make the area appear indistinguishable from the arid surroundings at Kanupa.

The state land surrounding Kanupa is leased to Ponoholo Ranch. Pono Von Holt, ranch manager, said he gave the private investigator access to the property. He added, however, that federal agents who had been guarding the area previously had not sought permission, perhaps because the land is publicly owned. Although Hui Malama handled the reburial, it is only one of four organizations given title to the burial objects of Kanupa almost a century after they had been removed by the J.S. Emerson expedition and later transferred to collections at the Bishop Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass.

Under a federal repatriation law, title to the Bishop objects went jointly to Hui Malama, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Hawai'i Island Burial Council; the Peabody Essex collection went to the hui, OHA and the Hawaiian sovereignty organization Ka Lahui Hawai'i.

Bishop Museum officials declined to comment on the break-in. But John Grimes, a deputy director at Peabody Essex, said the break-in indicates "an utter disrespect on the part of unscrupulous individuals for the sanctity of human remains and objects." He also conveyed "our condolences to Hui Malama and other Native Hawaiian organizations that have worked to rectify the abuses of the past."

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/08/27/news/story3.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Friday, August 27, 2004

State secures entrance to Big Island burial cave
The move will restrict access as investigators look at how artifacts were put up for sale

By Sally Apgar

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources announced yesterday that it has secured access to Kanupa Cave, a sacred burial site that allegedly was illegally opened on the Big Island. Department officials declined to describe the security measures.

For the last few weeks, agents with the U.S. Department of the Interior have been investigating how artifacts that were allegedly reburied in the cave last November were put up for sale. The items, believed to have come from the Bishop Museum and Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., had been repatriated to several native Hawaiian organizations. No suspects have been charged or arrested.

In a written statement yesterday, Department of Land and Natural Resources Director Peter Young said, "We have secured the entrance to Kanupa Cave and will restrict all access in order to prevent further desecration or contamination of evidence." Young said the state is working to secure the cave, which is located on state-owned land, in cooperation with federal investigators and the rancher who leases the land.

Late last week, Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei, one of the lead organizations in the repatriation of human remains and artifacts, hired private investigator Terry Pennington of Goodenow & Associates to visit Kanupa Cave. In a statement yesterday, Hui Malama said the investigator "discovered that our worst fears had come true -- Kanupa Cave was broken into. Apparently over the course of at least several days, highly motivated thieves worked their way through multiple protective measures that we put in place to secure" the items reburied in the cave. The statement also said, "Whoever desecrated Kanupa Cave violated Hawaiian kapu (sacred law) regarding the sanctity of a burial site and state laws regarding historic burial sites and must be apprehended." Hui Malama asked the DLNR this week to investigate the opening of Kanupa cave and was told that the state agency was already cooperating in the federal investigation.

Several members of Hui Malama said yesterday that it is the responsibility of the DLNR to investigate the alleged grave robbery and to secure the cave. Charles Maxwell, a Hui Malama senior board member, criticized state and federal officials for failing to adequately protect burial caves on all Hawaiian islands. "If this was the Arlington cemetery, there would be an outcry," he said, adding, "but because we Hawaiian ... nobody does nothing. It's pathetic. It's frustrating that the State of Hawaii does not protect our cultural sites."

But other native Hawaiians argue that Hui Malama took the responsibility of reburying the bones and artifacts and thus assumed the responsibility of securing the cave. "These people are the self-appointed guardians or kahu of the caves. They cannot be absolved, by tradition, of their responsibility to guard the caves," said La'akea Suganuma, a representative of the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts, a group that has been at odds with Hui Malama over the reburial of 83 items stolen by David Forbes from a cave in Kawaihae in 1905 and purchased by the Bishop Museum.

Suganuma said, "In the old days, if something happened to a cave, the perpetrator was taken to task, but so was the kahu that was sworn to protect the cave." He added: "Hui Malama took the responsibility and failed. They might escape the laws of man but not the laws of tradition and the spiritual world." Security at the caves has long been an issue. In 1989, when archaeologist Hallett Hammatt surveyed the Kanupa and Forbes caves for the state, he found the caves "had been heavily visited and desecrated. There were candles on shelves and litter and bottles left behind."

In a 1999 letter to the Native Hawaiian Historic Preservation Council, Bobby Camara, a cave resource specialist with the National Park Service, wrote, "Because of the large amounts of money that these items could bring on the black market ... certain unscrupulous dealers, collectors and thieves would consider gates, constructed sealing walls or other security measures a challenge, not a barrier."

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/08/29/editorial/editorials.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Sunday, August 29, 2004, EDITORIAL

Provide secure shelter for Hawaiian artifacts

THE ISSUE
A sacred burial site where Hawaiian artifacts had been stolen has been blocked by state officials after it was shown to be accessible.

STATE officials have secured the entrance to a Big Island cave where Hawaiian artifacts are believed to have been stolen and later offered for sale on the black market. The action, taken after the Star-Bulletin's Sally Apgar visited the site and found the entrance wide open, tarnishes the credibility of a Hawaiian group that had accepted responsibility and given assurance of artifacts' security in caves. Artifacts that are properly suited for a museum should be transferred back for protection against theft and deterioration.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources says it has secured access to the Kanupa Cave in the Kohala area. The department is cooperating with a U.S. Department of Interior investigation into how the artifacts turned up being offered for sale, in violation of state and federal law.

Objects obtained earlier this month through federal search warrants of a Kona antique store and the store owner's home had been repatriated by the Bishop Museum in 1997 and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., in 2003 to Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei ("group caring for the ancestors of Hawaii"), which placed them in the Kanupa Cave. Hui Malama has denied others access to that and other caves where it had placed other artifacts to prove they remain there. Spokesman Eddie Halealoha Ayau has said, "All the evidence anyone will ever get is our word."

Hui Malama now says it hired an investigator and "discovered that our worst fears had come true -- Kanupa Cave was broken into" by thieves who "worked their way through multiple protective measures that we put in place" to secure the artifacts.

The theft probably did not come as a surprise to Bobby Camara, a cave resource specialist with the National Park Service. In a 1999 letter to the Native Hawaiian Historic Preservation Council, Camara wrote that "certain unscrupulous dealers, collectors and thieves would consider gates, constructed sealing walls or other security measures a challenge, not a barrier."

Incredibly, Charles Maxwell, a Hui Malama senior board member, blamed state and federal officials for failing to protect burial caves from thieves. Other native Hawaiians point out that Hui Malama had taken responsibility for the caves' security. "These people are the self-appointed guardians or kahu of the caves," said La'akea Suganuma of the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts.

Discovery of the breach of the caves and the theft comes at a time when the Bishop Museum is maintaining that it should be regarded as a Hawaiian organization with footing equal to Hui Malama and other groups to maintain possession of Hawaiian artifacts. Bones properly belong in repatriation in caves, but other artifacts such as bowls and ornaments that face deterioration and theft from caves would be better secured and preserved in a museum with climate control.

The museum's proposal will be considered next month by a review committee established by the 1999 Native American Graves Protection Repatriation Act. In addition to bringing common sense to the security and preservation of these artifacts, approval of the proposal would show that NAGPRA is not an instrument of Hui Malama.

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/08/29/editorial/special.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Sunday, August 29, 2004

** The URL above leads to two essays written by Edward Halealoha Ayau and Kunani Nihipali; one of those essays is the same one published previously in the Honolulu Advertiser (August 8, 2004 opposing federal recognition of Bishop Museum as a Native Hawaiian organization; see topic #16 above) that was also signed by several other co-authors. Following is the new essay written in response to the "discovery" of "thefts" from Kanupa Cave. **

Items stolen from cave must be retrieved, reburied

By Edward Halealoha Ayau and Kunani Nihipali

During the past two weeks, Native Hawaiians have been distressed by media reports that Kanupa Cave may have been disturbed. The cave contained iwi kupuna (ancestral bones) and moepu (burial objects) repatriated from the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum to four Hawaii organizations in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The four groups are Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei, Ka Lahui Hawai'i, the Hawai'i Island Burial Council and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Hui Malama initiated these repatriation efforts and reburied the kupuna and moepu in Kanupa.

Upon the first such media report Aug. 11 in the Star-Bulletin, Hui Malama members immediately went to Kanupa Cave to conduct a security check. However, federal agents from the Office of the Inspector General who were investigating the matter turned them away. The OIG has still not briefed any of the four aforementioned organizations about the investigation, although via NAGPRA the four organizations are the legal co-owners of the items central to the investigation.

Hui Malama last week hired its own private investigator to determine whether the cave was disturbed. After acquiring authorization to access Kanupa Cave, we discovered that our worst fears had come true -- Kanupa Cave had been broken into. Apparently highly motivated thieves worked their way through multiple protective measures that we put in place at the entrance and throughout the cave to secure the iwi kupuna and moepu in Kanupa. While Hui Malama has reburied the iwi of more than 2,500 kupuna (ancestors) at close to 100 separate reburial sites throughout the islands, this is the single instance of such a burial being disturbed.

The looting at Kanupa Cave is no different than the original theft of these same items by J.S. Emerson and the robbing of sacred iwi kupuna and moepu from the Kawaihae caves by David Forbes, William Wagner and Kenneth Emory in the early 1900s. The same greed and callous disregard for Hawaiians and Hawaiian cultural values that led Emerson and others to loot Hawaiian burial caves is shockingly still with us today. Whoever desecrated Kanupa Cave violated Hawaiian kapu (sacred law) regarding the sanctity of a burial site and state laws regarding historic burial sites and must be apprehended. Though we do not yet know the thieves who committed this crime, they are well known to the robbed kupuna who will seek their own justice.

Under the laws of the living, those who disturbed Kanupa violated separate federal and state statutes. The ongoing federal investigation involves a violation for trafficking illegally acquired burial objects. Hui Malama and Ka Lahui Hawai'i have formally communicated to the OIG their desire to assist with that effort and their request to be briefed on the status of the investigation. We call upon the Office of the Inspector General to work with us as the co-owners of these cultural items under federal law and to fully investigate the trafficking of these cultural items.

Hui Malama has also repeatedly asked state officials at the Department of Land and Natural Resources to begin their investigation into the disturbance of Kanupa Cave, a violation of HRS section 6E-11, a statute aimed at protecting historic sites, including burials.

A primary reason for our requests for a DLNR investigation was so that the cave could be resealed. We did not resecure Kanupa Cave because it is a crime scene, and we did not want to be accused of tampering with it, and because the DLNR has not initiated its investigation. However, as of last Thursday, the state has taken measures to secure the cave.

At the county level, we urge the Hawaii County Prosecutors Office to investigate the criminal aspects of the Kanupa Cave disturbance as provided by HRS section 6E-11 and section 711-1107(b) and fully prosecute all responsible parties.

Federal investigators have not yet contacted the four Native Hawaiian organizations. The state and county of Hawaii have yet to launch their own investigations into this matter, though leaders of the four organizations are hopeful that this will change as officials are brought up to speed on this case. We stand by to assist federal, state and county investigators.

When the investigations are completed and responsible parties are apprehended, fined and prosecuted, we expect the confiscated moepu to be returned to the four organizations for proper reburial. We are thankful that the state took action to protect Kanupa Cave from further intrusion and wish it had acted to prevent Star-Bulletin reporter Sally Apgar from photographing Kanupa Cave and publishing it on the front page of the Star-Bulletin. This act was extremely distasteful and offensive. In the future, permission from Natives Hawaiians should be acquired before publishing photos of wahi kupuna (ancestral places).

The leaders of the four Native Hawaiian organizations strongly urge all persons who have knowledge of the Kanupa Cave disturbance to contact the federal Office of the Inspector General, the state Attorney General's Office and the Hawaii County Prosecutor's Office. We must all stand together in support of the kupuna (ancestors) and their sacred burial places.

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On September 4, 2004 the Honolulu Star-Bulletin published a letter from a self-styled “reverend” who loves to demagogue issues that grab public attention. His letter claims it was insulting to ethnic Hawaiians when the newspaper published a photo of the opening of Kanupa cave from which aretifacts had been stolen. However, the photo was a close-up shot of the grate over the opening, which did not disclose any information about the location of the cave and did not show any bones or artifacts. So that the public can judge the demagoguery of this man, here is the photo to which he objects.
http://starbulletin.com/2004/08/26/news/art2a.jpg


http://starbulletin.com/2004/09/04/editorial/letters.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 4, 2004, letter to editor

Newspaper insulted Hawaiians by printing photos of cave opening

[Star-Bulletin editor’s note] Editor's note: The Star-Bulletin reporter who photographed the entrance to the Kanupa Cave did not go inside. She was accompanied by a rancher who leases the property.

The Star-Bulletin's Aug. 26 and 27 issues that showed pictures of the broken entrance into Kanupa Cave in Kohala was sensationalized journalism. I have received numerous calls from Hawaiians who were very angry at the Star-Bulletin for showing the picture of the cave, and because the state of Hawaii and Hilo police did nothing to stop people going into the cave after it was broken into to disturb once again the iwi (bones) of the kupuna.

It is amazing how this newspaper can go to great lengths to sell more newspapers without regard for the sacredness and protection of the remains in the cave.

If this incident happened in Arlington Cemetery, there would be national investigations by all the agencies in the nation, but because it is Hawaiian, it tells us that we are second-class citizens and our culture doesn't matter. [note from Ken Conklin: graves at Arlington Cemetery are frequently photographed, filmed, and shown in newspapers and on television on Veterans Day and Memorial Day]

In 1858, Joseph Emerson, a son of a missionary, found the pieces in Kanupa Cave, a burial cave for lesser Hawaiian chiefs. Emerson later sold the items to the Bishop Museum. Emerson was a plain thief and Bishop Museum received stolen items. Now Bishop Museum wants to be recognized as a Hawaiian organization. That's like letting the thief be in charge of the stolen treasure, and the chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Haunani Apoliona, who sits on the museum board, thinks it's a good idea. Auwe!

When will this newspaper realize that it is in Hawaii and not the mainland, and when will it respect our culture? Only time will tell, and in the meantime we continue to be abused. The bottom line is those are the results of being occupied by a government that can only see white, their way is the right way. Hopefully, history will prove them wrong.

Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr.
Senior board member
Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei
Chairman
Maui/Lanai Islands Burial Council

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Oct/27/ln/ln13p.html
Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Artifacts probe nearly complete

By Vicki Viotti

A federal investigator yesterday said the probe of alleged trafficking of Hawaiian burial objects is nearly finished, more than four months after artifacts from a South Kohala cave were reportedly found for sale in a Big Island shop.

"I would say our investigation is substantially complete," said David Brown, western region special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Interior Office of the Inspector General. "We are in the final stages of putting the paperwork together." However, Brown said he could not predict when any potential arrests would be made or charges filed, decisions that rest in the hands of federal prosecutors. "That's the tricky part," he said. "We're not in control of that." Elliott Enoki, first assistant U.S. attorney for the Hawai'i district, said he could not comment on whether his office is taking on the case.

State and federal officials said the most recent actions on Friday included an interior inspection of Kanupa Cave in Kohala, where evidence of a break-in had been reported in August. Investigators that day also checked the entry to another burial cave, known alternatively as Kawaihae or Forbes Cave, but a state official said there was no sign of a break-in.

The federal investigation, led by the Office of the Inspector General, began when a collector reported to the Bishop Museum in June that burial items were being offered for sale in a Kona district shop. The collector, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still active, said the objects — including three wooden bowls, a gourd and kapa — were recognizable by their labels as coming from the Emerson collection.

According to federal records, this collection comprised funerary objects taken almost a century ago from Kanupa Cave, some of them going to Bishop and some to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. Following a federal law, title to the burial objects was returned to four claimant groups: the Bishop items went to the nonprofit Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Hawai'i Island Burial Council; the Peabody collection went to the hui, OHA and the Hawaiian sovereignty organization Ka Lahui Hawai'i. The legal ownership transfer was made in four lots of burial objects between 1997 and 2003. Reburial last November was handled by Hui Malama, which accompanied investigators on the Kanupa inspection last week.

Donald Wong, the attorney general's chief investigator, said he and three federal agents entered Kanupa Cave. Hui Malama was the only one of the four claimants joining the inspection, although Wong said the option was extended to all claimants. The risk of entering the cave, with its unstable structure, may have deterred some, he added. Neither Wong nor Dean Tsukada, the Interior Department's resident agent in charge, would comment on their findings, although Tsukada also confirmed the inspections were made.

Hui Malama member Edward Halealoha Ayau, who entered Kanupa Cave with the agents, said his group provided federal authorities with the list of items reburied last November, and the inspection showed that some had been removed. Some of the missing objects have been recovered in the course of the investigation, Ayau said. "We gave them all the database, and not everything is there" in Kanupa, he said. "They have to figure out what may still be missing."

Ayau said the hui learned two weeks ago that the agents planned to enter both Kanupa, located on state-owned ranch land, and Kawaihae, which is on land owned by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The department had denied earlier requests for access to Kawaihae but agreed last week to allow the sealed entryway to be inspected, said Micah Kane, department director. "We as a department wanted to validate that it wasn't breached, and there was no breach of the cave," Kane said. "The federal agents know it now," Ayau said. "They can see (Kawaihae) cave is secure."

Ayau on Thursday discussed the inspection plans with the Hawai'i Island Burial Council, which is involved in decisions to preserve or move Big Island native burials more than 50 years old. Geri Bell, chairwoman of the council, said she and others are anxiously awaiting the results of the probe. "I'm almost dreading to find out what happened," Bell said. "There's a security issue involved, and it would become a bigger problem. One cave has been robbed and certainly there are more in Hawai'i."

=================

(18) On September 18, 2004 the national NAGPRA Review Committee held a meeting which considered two Hawai’i related issues: the Forbes Cave controversy and the question whether Bishop Museum should be recognized as a “Native Hawaiian organization” eligible to own artifacts and keep them. The committee heard testimony and announced it will come to Hawai’i to hold hearings on both issues, perhaps as early as Spring 2005. On Tuesday November 2, 2004 the national NAGPRA Review Committee held another meeting by teleconference with Forbes claimants and Bishop Museum officials, and made a decision to come to Hawai’i March (13?) 14-15, 2005 to hold hearings to revisit the issue of the Forbes cave artifacts repatriation.

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/09/19/news/story13.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Sunday, September 19, 2004

Panels to review artifacts case

A federal committee also defers ruling on Bishop Museum's Hawaiian status

By Sally Apgar

A federal review committee and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs plan to travel to Hawaii in the next few months to hold separate hearings to help resolve two explosive issues involving the repatriation of sacred objects from the Bishop Museum to native Hawaiian groups.

The Review Committee for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act voted yesterday in Washington, D.C., to defer any ruling on the potentially precedent-setting issue of whether the Bishop Museum can be recognized as a native Hawaiian organization under NAGPRA's legal definitions.

NAGPRA Committee Chairwoman Rosalita Worl said to museum representatives at the conclusion of the meeting, "You might fit the legal definition under NAGPRA, but you don't meet the intent of NAGPRA" to undo the wrongs to native Americans in the past.

In a separate hearing yesterday, the committee also decided to re-examine its 2003 advisory decision that the museum should recall its controversial loan of 83 items for repatriation to the Kawaihae, or Forbes, cave on the Big Island because the procedure was "flawed" and 13 claimants to the items had not been properly heard before the committee.

The committee plans to come to Hawaii, possibly as early as this spring, to hold meetings on the issue.

NAGPRA is a federal law passed in 1990 as human-rights policy to help native Americans and Hawaiians repatriate the bones of ancestors and other sacred objects from the display shelves of museums. The intent of the law is to right what native groups feel are past wrongs when sacred objects and bones are displayed, objectified and therefore desecrated in museums.

The Star-Bulletin monitored both hearings, which ran more than six hours, by a telephone link.

After hearing testimony on the Bishop Museum's designation as a native Hawaiian organization, the committee found that any ruling on its part would be "premature" since the museum has been taking comments since July on its proposed policy and since its board is still expecting to create a final policy at its October meeting.

The committee also noted that the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, of which U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye is vice chairman, recently decided that it would travel to Hawaii over the next few months to hold hearings on the issue. Inouye has said publicly that the museum should not be recognized as a native Hawaiian organization.

Sources said the Senate committee hearing pegged for Honolulu was pushed by Inouye, who also has overseen federal funding to the museum. The meeting could force the ultimate decision made by the museum's 38-member board of directors, which includes 10 native Hawaiians.

Bill Brown, president and CEO of the museum, who answered questions at the hearings yesterday for almost an hour, declined to comment on either issue.

The hearing on Kawaihae cave became so explosive at one point that Kunani Nihipali, executive director of Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei, a native Hawaiian organization, blasted Brown for his "unprofessionalism" and said he held "a racist attitude that is a throwback to the dark ages when white was right."

If native Hawaiian status is granted, the museum hopes it would be on equal footing with other native Hawaiian organizations in claiming objects in its collection. Critics have said that would be a conflict of interest because the museum would be both claimant and arbiter, undermining the intent of NAGPRA to right the wrongs of the past. Brown has argued that the museum is a Hawaiian organization because it was founded by Charles Reed Bishop in 1889 on behalf of his alii wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, and other alii. They gave him personal treasures and sacred objects so they could be preserved and displayed for the education of future generations of native Hawaiians.

At the second hearing, which was even more emotionally charged, the NAGPRA review committee backed off from making a decision on the fate of 83 items that Hui Malama has said it obtained from the museum and resealed in Kawaihae cave. The committee said it wanted to hold hearings in Hawaii "as soon as possible" on what it previously had condemned as a "flawed" repatriation of the Kawaihae cave items.

One weekend in February 2000, two museum employees crated the 83 objects and handed the crate to Hui Malama with an invoice that said the items were on a one-year "loan." Eddie Ayau, a spokesman for Hui Malama, has repeatedly said the items were reburied in the cave to honor the intent of ancestors and that the group never intended to return the "loan" because it was a permanent repatriation. Ayau yesterday also cited the history of the grave's robbings from 1906 when David Forbes first found it through the 1930s. He said of reopening the cave: "Let's stop the history of looting."

In 2003, the review committee ruled the Bishop Museum's repatriation of the objects from the cave was a "flawed" process and recommended that the items be returned to the museum so that 13 claimants could decide among themselves what to do.

To date, Hui Malama's Ayau has refused to return the items and has argued that the museum effectively repatriated the items through the loan and therefore legally has relinquished any role in demanding their return or arbitrating among claimants. He told the committee yesterday that the issue is an "internal" matter to be decided among native Hawaiians.

Ayau also testified that NAGPRA has no legal authority on the issue of reopening the cave and further noted that it was "an advisory opinion and not legally binding." Ayau said that as a result of the committee's "advisory" findings and recommendations, the debate on Kawaihae cave had escalated, dividing native groups and damaging Hui Malama's credibility. He said federal agents had come to his house in March saying they wanted to reopen the cave.

As part of the committee's decision yesterday, any federal probe of what is in the cave has been suspended. The hearing comes while federal agents are investigating the alleged black-market trafficking of items that were repatriated to Hui Malama and three other native Hawaiian groups. Hui Malama critics told the committee that alleged theft from Kanupa cave on the Big Island puts doubt on the security at Kawaihae cave.

La'akea Sugunuma, of the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts, has fought Hui Malama for years in part because he feels the group tries to be the absolute arbiter of what are diverse burial customs that should be handled by different groups or families. Sugunuma told the committee that their 2003 findings and recommendations were well-founded. Sugunuma said he represents the "majority of the 13 claimants" who want the items returned from the cave. He said there were no procedural problems with the committee's findings and that all claimants knew about the meeting. "Whoever disagrees with Hui Malama is ridiculed," he said.

One review committee member said of the Kawaihae repatriation: "We have been told untruths have been said. I don't want to be in the position of determining who told the truth. ... We need a new hearing."

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Sep/19/ln/ln05a.html
Honolulu Advertiser, Posted on: Sunday, September 19, 2004

Bishop Museum proposal opposed

By Vicki Viotti

WASHINGTON — Hawaiians, testifying in person and by telephone link yesterday, spoke mostly in opposition to the Bishop Museum being considered a Native Hawaiian organization able to claim burial objects and other sacred items under a federal burials protection law.

Bishop Museum gained some support from people such as Van Horn Diamond, a burials claimant who outlined the museum's historical link to the Hawaiian monarchy in person while wearing a red and yellow cape of his royal civic society, Hale O Na Ali'i O Hawai'i. But most testimony weighed heavily against the museum's proposed policy asserting its Native Hawaiian status.

The museum "cannot establish a cultural affiliation" with items in its collection, Kehau Abad, an archaeologist, told members of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation review committee. "It's not a Native Hawaiian organization, it's an institution," Abad said by telephone link. "It may serve Native Hawaiian interests, but that's different from being an organization that can speak for Native Hawaiians."

The repatriation review committee meets periodically to help resolve disputes under the federal act of the same name, better known as NAGPRA. A number of Native American burial issues were considered at this meeting, and the inclusion of the Hawai'i cases speaks to their high-profile nature.

A second dispute

Yesterday's meeting in a downtown hotel, brightened by touches of traditional costume and begun with a chant by Hawaiian studies professor Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa, touched on two battle fronts of the conflict over native burials in Hawai'i.

In addition to the museum's status, the committee is considering what to do about 83 items reburied at Kawaihae four years ago, a dispute involving in particular one group, Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei. The hui is a nonprofit organization that works to protect burials and to rebury remains and funerary objects that have been disturbed, whether they have been dug up by collectors or in the process of development.

The committee took no action on either issue yesterday. A NAGPRA officer, Tim McKeown, said the committee would wait to hear the results of a Senate hearing on the Bishop Museum policy and would schedule another hearing in Hawai'i on the Kawaihae case.

Hui member Halealoha Ayau spoke on both issues. The museum's policy, he said, "creates an inherent conflict of interest ... it's not only deciding on repatriation, it also places itself on the other side of the table."

'Revisionist history'

Not all the testimony came from Hawai'i. Greg Johnson, a specialist in Native American religious traditions from Pennsylvania, told the panel that the policy represented a "revisionist history" of Native Hawaiian cultural identity.

Bishop Museum director William Brown attended the meeting but declined comment on the testimony.

Under NAGPRA, repatriation means transferring title over bones, funerary objects and other cultural items to a Native Hawaiian organization or individual. The Kawaihae cave conflict centers on the museum's contention that the competing 13 claimants had not settled various disagreements when, in April 2001, the museum repatriated the items to them in joint ownership.

In written testimony, Guy Kaulukukui, the museum's former NAGPRA official, pointed to a statement claimants issued in August 2001 that ended their negotiations, concluding that they "cannot reach unanimous agreement" on all issues.

Hui Malama has argued that the museum had already passed the deadline for making the transfer when the museum loaned them to the group, which then reburied them in the cave in February 2000.

Bishop Museum has said that interrupted the legal process and prevented the airing of all claims equitably.

Pros and cons

The museum transferred title without retrieving the objects from the cave, which, hui member Halealoha Ayau said, it can do under the law. Since then, the museum and a group of seven claimants have sought to reopen Kawaihae cave to check on the objects.

In May 2003, the NAGPRA review committee found that the transfer was done prematurely, a finding that the museum and a group of seven of the claimants have used to seek reopening of the cave.

Yesterday, Ayau argued that the finding should be rescinded. His main points:

• The committee had no legal authority to make its recommendations because it had not consulted with all the claimants first.
• The museum repatriated the objects to Hui Malama and has no standing to be involved now.
• The law provides no way to reopen a completed repatriation case.

La'akea Suganuma, spokesman for the seven claimants in the Kawaihae case, argued instead that the committee fulfilled its requirements and should let its earlier decision stand.

--------------------

http://starbulletin.com/2004/11/03/news/story11.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 3, 2004

Federal panel to revisit artifacts dispute
A member of the committee criticizes the Bishop Museum's repatriation as a "sham"

By Sally Apgar

A federal review committee will rehear testimony in Hawaii and possibly reconsider its 2003 ruling that Bishop Museum's "loan" of sacred objects from its collection was a "flawed" repatriation under federal laws.

Yesterday, the committee that oversees the Native American Graves and Protection Act held a telephone conference from Washington, D.C., so that museum representatives and native Hawaiian groups in Honolulu could discuss the dispute involving 13 groups who claim family or cultural ties to the artifacts.

The artifacts were taken from Kawaihae cave, a burial cave on the Big Island, in 1905 by David Forbes and sold to the Bishop Museum.

The NAGPRA committee plans to meet March 14-15 and possibly March 13 in Hawaii to discuss the disputed repatriation. The committee is still debating whether the hearings will be held on the Big Island, the site of the cave, or Oahu, where the majority of claimants live.

Finding the repatriation flawed, the committee directed the museum in 2003 to reclaim the artifacts, which had been reburied in the Big Island cave, so that all 13 claimants can come to agreement about their disposition.

Yesterday, Guy Kaulukukui, the museum's NAGPRA official at the time of the loan, told the review committee: "The repatriation was not flawed. We followed the law faithfully.''

But NAGPRA review committee member Vincas Steponaitis said he was bothered by the museum's repatriation. "It looks like the Bishop Museum repatriated the items to one of the 13 claimants and basically gave the other 12 claimants an IOU. I don't think you can repatriate an IOU," said Steponaitis, director of the Research Laboratories of Archaeology at the University of South Carolina, who was not a member of the committee in 2003. Steponaitis called the museum's repatriation "a sham." He said that giving the artifacts to a group who reburied them in a cave beyond the physical reach or inspection of the other claimants "pre-empted a good-faith process in which all the claimants had a say."

On Feb. 26, 2000, two museum employees handed a crate with 83 artifacts to Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei on a one-year loan. After the loan, nine more claimants emerged. When the museum asked for a return of the artifacts, Hui Malama refused. Edward Halealoha Ayau, a spokesman for Hui Malama, has repeatedly said the artifacts were reburied and that the cave was secured.

Ayau has also repeatedly said Hui Malama never intended to return the items and that museum staff knew that from the beginning. Yesterday, Ayau, the only claimant to address the committee, said the repatriation was final and that therefore neither the review committee nor the museum had any jurisdiction. Ayau said the issue should be decided "in a court of competent jurisdiction."

Hui Malama's critics, including some of the claimants, have said the loan was a secret deal struck between some museum staffers and Hui Malama to repatriate the artifacts solely to Hui Malama.

In making his argument to the committee yesterday that the repatriation was proper, Kaulukukui, the former museum official, quoted an August 2001 letter from La'akea Suganuma, a spokesman of the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts, one of the 13 claimants. The letter said the claimants "cannot reach unanimous agreement." Kaulukukui said that indicated they did not want the items reclaimed from the cave.

Former museum President Donald Duckworth, who spoke to the committee by telephone, said of the claimants, "Ultimately they told us they didn't want to attempt recovery."

Suganuma, who was present but not on the agenda to speak at yesterday's meeting, said the letter did not mean the claimants did not want recovery of the items from the cave. He said the letter only meant they could not agree on final disposition. He said Kaulukukui and Duckworth knew that. Garrick Bailey, another committee member, said there might be a difference between what Suganuma and the other claimants "formally agreed to and what they thought they agreed to."

================

(19) On Tuesday, November 16, 2004 the Honolulu Advertiser reported that Hui Malama is demanding possession of five artifacts from Forbes Cave that are currently in the possession of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. One of those items is a carved wooden image of a woman, closely resembling a similar image allegedly re-buried in the cave by Hui Malama after an earlier secret deal with Bishop Museum.

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Nov/16/ln/ln15p.html
The Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Burials hui pushing for transfer of artifacts

By Vicki Viotti

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:
• 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.
• A cutting tool that incorporates a shark tooth and human bones.
• A rock oyster pendant.
• A konane game board.
• A gourd.

Cindy Orlando, superintendent of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, said her office has been preparing a notice of repatriation to publish even without the nudge from the hui. "The park's position is we don't need to have a special request to follow the spirit and intent of the law," she said. "Nobody has to trigger that through a dispute or appeal."

Ayau said the Forbes documents show the objects' position in the cave, near the burial remains, as evidence that they are funerary objects that should be repatriated.

Orlando declined to comment on the specifics of the dispute until she sees a written letter, which Ayau said is still under review by hui leaders.

Both the committee and the target of the dispute are housed within the park service, the agency that supervises both the NAGPRA law and the Big Island volcanoes park.

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** Photos below, taken from two different Honolulu Advertiser articles, are assembled by Ken Conklin **

The female image “repatriated” by Bishop Museum and allegedly reburied at Forbes Cave is shown on the left below; and the similar female image being demanded by Hui Malama from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is shown on the right.



==============

(20) A hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will be held at the East-West Center of the University of Hawai’i in Honolulu on Wednesday December 8, 2004 to consider proposed changes to the NAGPRA law, including rules governing which groups can be recognized as “Native Hawaiian organizations.”

http://starbulletin.com/2004/11/24/news/story9.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Wednesday, November 24, 2004

‘Native group’ rule draws Senate focus
Critics say the current federal definition of such groups is vague

By Sally Apgar

The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a hearing in Honolulu next month to discuss proposed changes to the federal law governing the repatriation of native Hawaiian artifacts and human remains from museums. A statement issued yesterday by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said the Dec. 8 hearing will be open to the public. The discussion will focus on changes to the definition of "native Hawaiian organization" under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Inouye, who helped write NAGPRA, said he wants "to ensure that the definition is crafted to include those who should be eligible to assert claims (for human remains and artifacts) under the authority" of NAGPRA. There are about 135 native Hawaiian organizations recognized under NAGPRA. They range from families and cultural groups to one government agency, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. NAGPRA specifically identifies OHA and Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei, a group formed in 1989 to repatriate and rebury ancestral bones and artifacts. Edward Halealoha Ayau, a spokesman for the group, served on Inouye's staff and helped write NAGPRA. The scope and clarity of the definition of "native Hawaiian organization" is key because it determines whether a group can be recognized as eligible to make a claim.

NAGPRA officials were in Honolulu earlier this month to give a training session to explain various terms as they are defined and operate under the law. Some participants criticized various aspects of the law as vague, including the definition of "native Hawaiian organization." Under NAGPRA, a native Hawaiian organization is "any organization which serves and represents the interests of native Hawaiians; has as a primary and stated purpose the provision of services to native Hawaiians; and has expertise in native Hawaiian affairs."

Recognizing that many more may wish to testify than time will allow during the hearing, the committee is inviting written testimony. Written testimony may be submitted until Jan. 4 and will be included in the final record made of the Dec. 8 hearing.

PUBLIC MEETING
When: Dec. 8, 8:30 a.m.
Where: Jefferson Hall, Imin Conference Center, at the East-West Center, 1777 East-West Road

==============

(21) On December 1, 2004 the Honolulu newspapers reported that La’akea Suganuma has filed a protest with the Nagpra Review Committee, claiming that Hui Malama engaged in collusion with the former management of Bishop Museum to repatriate and rebury the Forbes Cave artifacts, and that the Committee, with some new members, is now improperly favoring Hui Malama. On December 5, Princess Abigail Kawananakoa, age 78 and wealthy, whose genealogy might entitle her to claim the throne if the monarchy had continued, publicly gave her support to La’akea Suganuma’s efforts to help Bishop Museum keep control of artifacts to preserve them for future education and inspiration. A Star-Bulletin editorial on December 7 urged the participants in these disputes to avoid a court battle.

Two articles report a complaint made by La'akea Suganuma to the Nagpra Review Committee, complaining that the Committee is biased in favor of Hui Malama. Mr. Suganuma's complaint specifically accuses Bishop Museum (under its former management) of having engaged in collusion with Hui Malama in the "repatriation" of the Forbes Cave artifacts. Note that the first article by Sally Apgar in the Star-Bulletin forthrightly and directly reports what is happening. The second report, by Vicki Viotti of the Advertiser, downplays and makes nearly invisible the seriousness of the charge against Hui Malama. That's because Vicky Viotti has been behaving like an "embedded journalist" working in close association with the radical activists who favor independence, racial entitlement programs, racial supremacy, Kamehameha's admissions policy, and Hui Malama. Viotti uses her access to the radicals to give publicity to their views, and she fails to provide "fair and balanced" coverage, probably for fear of losing her friendships and her access privileges. Hui Malama has also benefitted from the close association of its leaders with Senator Inouye's staffers over the years; and Inouye has recently used his power over federal grants for Bishop Museum to pressure the museum into dropping its intention to become a recognized Native Hawaiian organization eligible to claim ownership of artifacts and thereby to resist Hui Malama's claims for "repatriation" and reburial.

http://starbulletin.com/2004/12/01/news/story8.html
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Bishop Museum faces allegations of deception
One of 13 claimants to Hawaiian artifacts says Hui Malama was in on the plot as well

By Sally Apgar

The battle among some native Hawaiians groups over sacred artifacts reburied in a Big Island burial cave is growing more heated and more public.

In the latest turn of the dispute, Laakea Suganuma, one of 13 claimants for the artifacts, has accused the Bishop Museum of being in "collusion" with another claimant, Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei, when it made a "one-year loan" of the Kawaihae cave items in February 2000, according to documents.

"It is clearly evident that the museum never intended to get them back from Hui Malama and was not going to pursue Hui Malama legally." -- Laakea Suganuma, One of 13 claimants to native Hawaiian artifacts reburied in a Big Island burial cave

Suganuma's accusation is contained in documents and written testimony he sent Nov. 27 to the federal review committee in Washington, D.C., that oversees the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the federal law intended to help native Hawaiians and Native Americans recover human remains and certain sacred artifacts from museums.

Suganuma wrote the NAGPRA review committee that "there was collusion" between Guy Kaulukukui, the former head of collections, and "Hui Malama and that Kaulukukui, with malice and aforethought, purposely deceived (the other 12) claimants."

Kaulukukui could not be reached for comment. The Bishop Museum, which is under a different administration since the loan was made, declined comment.

In the same documents, Suganuma also accused the review committee, which was intended by Congress to act as a neutral body in deciding such disputes, of being biased in favor of Hui Malama.

The one-year loan was made on a quiet Saturday when several museum staff members crated the 83 artifacts from Kawaihae or Forbes cave and handed them over to Hui Malama, an organization founded in 1989 to repatriate human remains and native Hawaiian artifacts from museums. Copies of the inventory list accompanying the crate indicate it was a "one-year loan." A year later, the museum asked for the return of the artifacts. Hui Malama, which had reburied them in the Big Island cave, refused. Several months later, the museum declared the repatriation completed under NAGPRA, despite the objections of several claimants, including Suganuma.

Suganuma teaches lua, a form of martial arts, and represents The Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts. Suganuma and several claimants want the items recovered from the cave so their fate can be decided. Last week, Suganuma wrote the review committee: "It is clearly evident that the museum never intended to get them back from Hui Malama and was not going to pursue Hui Malama legally." He added: "The museum's claim that repatriation was completed was a deceitful, cheap trick, designed to relieve itself of the obligation of the promised recovery and insuring Hui Malama's continual sole possession and control of the objects."

In a written statement, Edward Halealoha Ayau, a spokesman for Hui Malama, responded yesterday that Suganuma's testimony amounted to "unsubstantiated accusations, falsehoods, and offensive remarks and lacks citation of legal authority, requisite analysis of legal and factual issues and credible form of evidence." Ayau said: "Hui Malama does not have 'sole possession' or any possession for that matter of the objects, as the iwi kupuna (ancestral bones) and moepu (burial objects) are back where they belong."

In May 2003, the review committee heard testimony on the case and determined that it was a "flawed" repatriation under NAGPRA and that the museum needed to retrieve the artifacts.

Last month, the review committee, whose members have changed since 2003, found there were "procedural errors" in making the 2003 recommendation. The review committee then announced it would come to Hawaii in March to rehear testimony and possibly reconsider its ruling.

But Suganuma feels the 2003 recommendation should stand and is concerned the current review committee is biased in favor of Hui Malama, according to his documents. Suganuma notes that Rosita Worl, who wrote the lone dissenting opinion in 2003, is now head of the committee. He wrote that Worl, "a long-standing friend and supporter of Hui Malama has already stated on the record that repatriation had taken place."

Suganuma wrote that "Hui Malama's unhappiness with the (review committee's 2003) decision (to recall the items) has prompted it, with the cooperation of certain members of the committee, to fabricate a reason for" a rehearing. He wrote the new hearing "has been orchestrated by the chair and other members of the committee to circumvent the law to the benefit of one claimant, thereby denying the rights of the majority."

Ayau wrote that Suganuma has provided no proof. Ayau has repeatedly said that repatriation is complete and that therefore neither the review committee or the museum have any jurisdiction. Ayau has said the 13 claimants are now owners and that if there is a dispute they cannot settle they must go to court.

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Dec/01/ln/ln10p.html

The Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Burials panel accused of bias

By Vicki Viotti

A spokesman for groups battling over the reburial of Hawaiian artifacts at Kawaihae Cave has charged that a federal panel is ducking its responsibility to settle disputes by favoring one of 13 claimants involved in the case.

La'akea Suganuma, representing seven of the claimant groups, on Monday mailed and faxed a letter to the national office that oversees the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), accusing the review committee and its chair of attempting "to circumvent the law to the benefit of one claim-ant."

That claimant, he wrote, is Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei, the native burials protection group that in 2000 took 83 contested artifacts on loan from the Bishop Museum and later announced that the objects had been reburied in the Big Island cave.

Neither Tim McKeown, the federal NAGPRA officer to whom the letter was addressed, nor Rosita Worl, committee chair, could be reached for comment. However, hui member Edward Halealoha Ayau defended the committee in his e-mail response, calling the accusation "inflammatory" and without proof.

Suganuma is president of the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts, one of the seven groups arguing that the ownership of the objects was never legally "repatriated," or transferred, and should be retrieved from the cave.

The controversy over Kawaihae, also known as Forbes Cave, is at the center of what may be a heavy agenda of local burial disputes that the review committee is expected to take up when it meets in Hawai'i in March. And the wrangling over details, a hallmark of this debate, indicates how contentious the native burials issue has become.

The 14-year-old NAGPRA law governs conflicts over native burials. In Hawai'i there's little fighting over custody of iwi kupuna, or ancestral bones, which museums and institutions readily have returned to native groups; but ownership of cultural objects found in burial caves and grounds has generated heated debate.

Suganuma takes issue especially with the way the committee has handled the Kawaihae dispute. The panel decided in May 2003 that the repatriation was flawed and that the museum should recall the loaned objects. Since then Suganuma and museum officials have asked to enter the cave, which is on land owned by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands; department officials have denied access to the cave.

Then in September, the committee decided to set aside its 2003 finding until the issue could be reheard in Hawai'i. This week Suganuma wrote in his letter that there is no legal basis for reconsidering the finding, rejecting an argument by Hui Malama that a procedural error had been committed.

A committee that can reverse itself, Suganuma told The Advertiser, "threatens the integrity of the whole damned system."

Ayau said in a written response that the committee made its 2003 decision in St. Paul, Minn., at a meeting attended by museum officials and Suganuma, who represented only one of the 13 groups. "The committee recommended actions that involved Hui Malama and the other 11 claimant-owners, none of whom were party to the dispute in St. Paul," Ayau wrote. "That is clear procedural error."

The hui was among the first Hawaiian organizations to make federal burials claims in the early years of the law, but more groups since have entered the fray. For example, Campbell Estate heiress Abigail Kawananakoa founded Na Lei Ali'i Kawanana-koa to claim three objects from a burial site on Moloka'i now in the Bishop Museum collection.

The museum has accepted Kawananakoa's group, as well as Hui Malama and Suganuma's academy, as a Native Hawaiian organization eligible to make competing claims. Interest in the issue expanded over the summer when objects that were repatriated from the museum collection turned up for sale in a Big Island shop. A federal investigation was conducted, but no charges have yet been handed down.

The Kawaihae case remains, however, as the thorniest problem, complicated by a change in museum leaders, who are challenging more artifact claims than their predecessors. There's the inherent conflict between the museum and native groups — a conflict NAGPRA attempts to untangle — as well as increasing strain within the Native Hawaiian community itself.

In his response, Ayau underscored that many of the claimants, including Suganuma's group, entered the Kawaihae debate very late in the process. "Their continual assertion that their legal 'rights' were denied does not explain their own lack of kuleana and commitment to these iwi kupuna and their funerary possessions from the outset," he wrote.

By contrast, Suganuma wrote in his letter to the NAGPRA committee that it had committed "a travesty" by failing to enforce its earlier order. "Rest assured that this injustice establishes a permanent blemish that will be long remembered," he added.

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/12/05/news/story3.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 5, 2004

Kawananakoa supports preservation of artifacts
The Campbell heiress and alii descendant promises a fight over reburied objects

By Sally Apgar

Sides are being taken in the increasingly bitter dispute among native Hawaiians over control of sacred artifacts, once held in the collection of the Bishop Museum, that were reinterred in a Big Island burial cave in 2002.

Yesterday, Abigail Kawananakoa, 78, a Campbell Estate heiress who traces her lineage back to King Kalakaua, threw her support and wealth behind Laakea Suganuma in his long-standing fight with Hui Malama I Na Kupuna 'O Hawai'i Nei, the organization that reburied the artifacts in Kawaihae Cave, or Forbes Cave. "I'm in this for whatever has to be done to make this pono, to make it all right," Kawananakoa said in an interview yesterday. "It is my duty. I will do it with my money and it's a certainty I will do it with my lineage and my koko, or blood, and blood never lies."

Observers believe Kawananakoa's entry into the dispute is key, because she has the wealth and tenacity to finance a fight, even a lengthy one that could wind up in court. To date, Suganuma and other claimants have had only a small war chest compared with the resources of Hui Malama, which includes among its supporters the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp.

Edward Halealoha Ayau, a spokesman and founding member of Hui Malama, has repeatedly said repatriation of the items from Kawaihae Cave was completed when the artifacts were reburied. He has said that the 13 native Hawaiian claimants are now 13 owners, and if there is a dispute, it must be taken to court.

Yesterday Ayau said Kawananakoa "reeks of someone who does not live with Hawaiian tradition." Ayau said ancestors chose to be buried with the items from Kawaihae Cave, "and who is she to second-guess the decision of our ancestors to reserve heavy-duty cultural objects for themselves, to keep the kii (carved wooden images or idols) to themselves? How can she second-guess our ancestors hundreds of years later?"

Kawananakoa said that sacred artifacts should not be placed in caves to rot, but protected in climate-controlled museums for the benefit of future generations to learn about their heritage. She noted that the last alii had visited Europe and seen how history was preserved in museums. She noted that Bishop Museum was founded by Charles Reed Bishop, the husband of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, in her name to safeguard her treasures and those of other alii.

Kawananakoa said she first wants to address the dispute over the 83 artifacts from Kawaihae Cave, and then focus on the unsolved 1994 theft of the kaai, two woven sennet baskets containing the bones of two chiefs, from the Bishop Museum.

While the kaai theft was never solved, critics have called it "an inside job" that involved museum staffers. The repatriation of the Kawaihae Cave items has also been criticized as an inside job conducted with the help of museum staff sympathetic to Hui Malama.

Hui Malama was founded in 1989 to repatriate and rebury human remains and native Hawaiian artifacts from museums. Hui Malama and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs were the only two organizations to be listed specifically as native Hawaiian organizations in the 1991 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The act, passed with the backing of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, was aimed at righting the wrongs of the past by setting up procedures for Native Americans and Hawaiians to reclaim items from museums.

Ayau worked for Inouye while the bill was written, and later worked for the Bishop Museum as items were inventoried for repatriation in accordance with NAGPRA.

At the heart of the dispute between Suganuma and Hui Malama are 83 artifacts, including several sacred kii taken from Kawaihae Cave in 1905 by David Forbes, a Big Island judge and historian. The items were later sold to the Bishop Museum.

Ayau has often called Forbes and others "grave robbers." He has also long argued that since many of items in the Bishop Museum's collection were acquired in a similar manner, the museum does not really own them under "right of possession" as defined by federal repatriation law.

Yesterday Kawananakoa defended Forbes and others as "men of honor whose work preserved Hawaiian culture from being lost."

In February 2000, several museum staffers crated the Kawaihae items and handed them over to Hui Malama with an inventory that described the transaction as a "one-year loan." Later, when the museum demanded the return of the items, Ayau and Hui Malama refused. They said they had reburied them in Kawaihae Cave to honor the wishes of ancestors. A few months later, the museum declared the repatriation final.

"It's horrifying to know that the 83 items were just packed up in secret, behind closed doors, and just handed over," said Kawananakoa.

Suganuma, who teaches and practices lua, a form of Hawaiian martial arts, is one of the 13 Kawaihae claimants and leader of a group that wants the artifacts recovered so that their fate can be decided.

In May 2003, the NAGPRA review committee held a hearing on Kawaihae Cave and concluded it was a "flawed" repatriation and that the items should be retrieved. Recently the review committee, which has different members now than in 2003, said it would hold hearings in Honolulu in March to reconsider the ruling.

Suganuma said yesterday: "We have a few organizations and a few individuals owning the treasures of our ancestors. That's a problem, and it's contrary to tradition." He said, "It's time the charlatans were exposed. They present themselves as keepers of the culture. It's a travesty. The Hawaiian people are being robbed, and in some circles they are applauding the robbers."

There is some dispute among native Hawaiians and scholars about what items were actually intended to be buried with ancestors and which items were hidden in the cave later simply to prevent their destruction by missionaries.

Ayau said yesterday, "Why is she (Kawananakoa) getting involved now" in the Kawaihae debate. "She is the same woman who sat on our throne," said Ayau, referring to a controversial incident in 1998 in which Kawananakoa sat on the throne at Iolani Palace for a Life Magazine photo shoot. Kawananakoa said she sat lightly on the throne at the photographer's direction, hoping that the photo spread would bring attention to the Hawaiian monarchy and promote the palace restoration in which she had been involved since 1971. Kawananakoa has retreated noticeably from prominent public view since the incident.

However, the kaai is a personal issue with Kawananakoa, who says they belong to her because "the kaai passed from Queen Kapiolani to Prince Kuhio and now to me through the Kaumualii line, not through the Kamehameha or Kalakaua lines." Kawananakoa said, "I'm here now and will not budge until right has been done. And if the NAGPRA review committee will not do what is right, I will take it to the courts."

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/12/07/editorial/editorials.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, EDITORIAL, Tuesday, December 7, 2004
[ OUR OPINION ]

Hawaiians should avoid court battle concerning artifacts

THE ISSUE
Hawaiians are divided about whether many sacred artifacts should be reburied or be preserved by Bishop Museum.

A dispute over control of sacred Hawaiian artifacts appears to be headed for court unless a compromise can be reached. Such escalation of the conflict would lead to even greater acrimony over the controversy within the Hawaiian community and should be avoided. Senator Inouye and others in a position to mediate the issue should step forward.

Abigail Kawananakoa, 78, a Campbell Estate heiress who traces her ancestry to King Kalakaua, has the cultural and financial wherewithal to wage such a battle against Hui Malama I Na Kupuna 'O Hawai'i Nei and threatens to do so. Edward Halealoha Ayau, a Hui Malama spokesman, vows to defend the recent reburial of numerous artifacts, saying that Kawananakoa "reeks of someone who does not live with Hawaiian tradition."

The dispute stems from the application of the 1991 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA, which provides for the return of human remains from museums to the care of their Native American or Hawaiian descendants. Inouye authored the law when Ayau, a lawyer, was on his staff.

The law's consequences included transfer of 83 Hawaiian artifacts from Bishop Museum to Hui Malama in 2000 so they could be reburied in Kawaihae Cave, also known as Forbes Cave, on the Big Island. An inventory described the transfer as a one-year loan, but Hui Malama refused to return them to the museum.

A NAGPRA review committee held a hearing and decided in May 2003 that the repatriation of the artifacts was "flawed." The committee, which now has different members, plans hearings in March to reconsider the ruling.

Compromise will not come easily. Ayau says he is protecting the intent of Hawaiian ancestors that their artifacts be buried alongside them. Kawananakoa maintains that the last alii had seen in Europe how history was preserved in museums. She says Charles Reed Bishop had founded the museum in the name of his wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, for that purpose.

The NAGPRA committee also will be asked to settle a dispute between the museum and Hui Malama over claims to three sandstones that bear barefoot prints and prints that appear to have been made by square-toed boots. The prints are said to have been made a young Molokai woman named Kuuna several hundred years ago to illustrate the later arrival of foreigners. Legend has it that Kuuna was stoned to death because of her frightening prophesy.

Hui Malama is challenging the museum's ownership of the sand stones, which are on public display on a bluff above Molokai's Moomomi Bay. Such an artifact should remain on display under the museum's stewardship.

===============

(22) On Wednesday, December 8, 2004, Senator Inouye held a hearing in Honolulu on behalf of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, to hear testimony regarding proposed changes to the NAGPRA law in view of the Forbes Cave and Bishop Museum controversies. One major issue is rules governing the recognition of groups to be certified as Native Hawaiian organizations. Newspaper articles and editorials are provided.

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Dec/09/ln/ln44p.html
Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, December 9, 2004

Native burials law is criticized

By Vicki Viotti

Some Hawaiians yesterday called for the federal native burials law to be changed, giving families more influence than other groups in how remains and funerary objects are treated. But U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, who called the hearing held at the East-West Center, later said nobody should expect amendments to emerge very soon, adding that even the long-stalled Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill is more likely to clear its congressional hurdles first.

The law — the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA — has been the catalyst for clashes among various sectors of the Hawaiian community for years, the conflicts escalating as an increasing number of informal family groups became involved in making claims. Yesterday's hearing placed a spotlight on that conflict, and several of the nine invited speakers took the opportunity to lay their grievances bare.

One was La'akea Suganuma, spokesman for a group of claimants who in 2000 stepped forward in protest. At issue was the reburial of 83 artifacts, first unearthed a century earlier, in a cave at Honokoa Gulch at Kawaihae. Although NAGPRA was enacted with "good intent" and has worked well with Native American and Native Alaskan tribes, problems have arisen in Hawai'i, Suganuma said. "Because we are not tribal, nor do we have a government, actual and legal ownership has been transferred to a few, without regard for the Hawaiian people as a whole," he said.

He cited one group, "whose spokesman was involved in the development of NAGPRA," that has "arbitrarily imposed their beliefs on everyone else, while getting paid for their services and receiving substantial sums in the forms of grants and reimbursements from the government." Suganuma was referring to Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei, a burials nonprofit whose own spokesman, Edward Halealoha Ayau, had testified earlier and then left the hearing.

The hui reburied objects at Kawaihae and Kanupa caves. A break-in discovered last summer at Kanupa, and the black-market sale of some of its objects, is evidence of the "tragic consequences" of the hui's action, Suganuma said. He also asked Inouye to inquire about the federal investigation into the matter, adding that the results of the probe "seem to have been quietly shelved."

The hearing's general focus, however, remained on what qualifies as a "Native Hawaiian organization" that can file a claim. Ayau's testimony included proposed language that would require such groups to demonstrate expertise in cultural practices relating to burials and have mostly Native Hawaiians on their governing boards.

After the hearing, Ayau said the law makes the same allowance for all native groups: The only family members allowed to claim are direct lineal descendants, he said, and U.S. Department of Interior officials had insisted on that restriction when the law was passed 14 years ago. He also shrugged off critics' complaints about the hui's performance and said the group would welcome involvement from anyone "committed to this." "Stop complaining and do the work," he said. "We need the help."

To submit testimony

The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will accept written testimony on NAGPRA through Jan. 4. E-mail comments to: testimony@indian.senate.gov.

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/12/09/news/index.html
Thursday, December 9, 2004

Hawaiians call law too broad
Inouye invites Senate testimony on dealing with sacred objects

By Sally Apgar

Native Hawaiians testified yesterday that the 1990 federal law designed to help them reclaim sacred items from museums is flawed, shows favoritism and needs to be changed.

"This law has worked for native American and native Alaskan tribes, but it has not worked well in Hawaii," said La'akea Suganuma, president of the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts. Suganuma was one of eight people who recommended changes to the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act yesterday in a hearing in Honolulu before U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye.

Changes to definitions in the law are critical in determining who will have the right to reclaim and control burial and sacred objects now held in museums.

Inouye serves as vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs until the new session begins in January. Inouye also drafted and introduced NAGPRA. He held the meeting on behalf of the committee. Inouye invited the public yesterday to submit written testimony on the issue by Jan. 4. The committee will use the testimony in making suggested revisions.

Several people who testified yesterday said the law works for American Indians who have recognized tribes with governing bodies that are authorized to make decisions on behalf of the entire tribe. Tribal governments can make decisions about how sacred or funerary objects should be treated and even have established tribal museums to house treasures owned by the community.

But to date, native Hawaiians have no such governing body, nor do they have a native Hawaiian museum. In the absence of tribes, the law's authors came up with "native Hawaiian organization," which many said yesterday is too broadly defined and does not give proper weight to families in the context of Hawaiian culture and in taking care of ancestral remains and items.

"Hawaiian burial practices have always been based on the family and decided by the family," said Cy Harris, who testified that the law needs to be rewritten to strengthen the role of families. He and others said that under NAGPRA, families need to get recognition as a native Hawaiian organization before making a claim. Harris said the "inadequacy" of NAGPRA definitions has put "decisions into the hands of Hawaiian organizations such as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Hui Malama (I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei, a group that reburies human remains and sacred items) instead of the native Hawaiian families that should rightfully decide these matters."

NAGPRA defines "native Hawaiian organization" as "any organization which serves and represents the interests of native Hawaiians; has a primary and stated purpose the provision of services to native Hawaiians; and has expertise in native Hawaiian affairs."

A representative from OHA testified that state law gives better emphasis "on the individual and family claimants, rather than the native Hawaiian organization, in recognition of" the importance of the family in burial matters.

Van Horn Diamond, head of another native Hawaiian family group, testified that under NAGPRA, families, nonprofit organizations, cultural groups and royal societies all "get lumped together as native Hawaiian organizations" so that repatriations "are made globally" to the organizations as a group rather than to the claimant who has the closest tie, which is often a family.

Edward Halealoha Ayau, a spokesman for Hui Malama, testified that he was formerly a member of Inouye's staff and helped write NAGPRA and the definition of "native Hawaiian organization." Ayau said at the time of NAGPRA's drafting, the definition was intentionally made broad to be flexible and inclusive. "We think it now has to be made narrower," he said. Ayau recommended that the law should be amended to require that the leadership of any native Hawaiian organization be composed mostly of native Hawaiians.

Current law does not make any ethnic or blood specifications. Some NAGPRA staff members say this was intended so that no anti-discrimination challenges could be raised to slow or defeat passage of the bill. "It's a complicated legal issue that requires study," said Inouye of Ayau's suggestion and others.

Several people who testified slammed Hui Malama for getting too much power and control over items and their fate. "This group has arbitrarily imposed their beliefs on everyone else while getting paid for their services," said Suganuma, a longtime critic of Hui Malama.

Ayau said: "We haven't acquired anything. It's all been reburied." He said items that have not been reburied are owned jointly by several groups and are on loan to Bishop Museum. "This isn't about power or authority; it's about kuleana (responsibility)."

Harris, with the Kekumano Ohana, another native Hawaiian family group, said "some groups push their protocols and burial practices with total disregard for family opinions or decision capabilities, have their own agenda based on federal grant money."

Hui Malama, founded a year before the passage of NAGPRA, was one of only two organizations identified as a native Hawaiian organization in the bill when it passed.

Suganuma said Hui Malama "was formed for the express purpose of taking advantage of its (NAGPRA's) provisions and has dominated NAGPRA-related activities without regard for the wishes and beliefs of all others, including those with familial ties, which is contrary to our traditions." Suganuma said under Hui Malama's favored status, "ownership has been transferred to a few, who can do whatever they want to, even selling it."

Photo captions:

Edward Ayau, spokesman for Hui Malama, addressed a federal hearing at the East-West Center yesterday to discuss proposed changes to the federal law governing the repatriation of native Hawaiian artifacts and human remains from museums. Next to him is Ronald Mun, Office of Hawaiian Affairs deputy administrator.

La'akea Suganuma: Recommends changes to the federal 1990 native graves protection act

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/12/09/editorial/commentary.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Thursday, December 9, 2004
Gathering Place [op-ed essay]

Herb Kawainui Kane

Cave artifacts wrongly deemed ‘sacred’

Regarding the Dec. 5 Star-Bulletin story "Kawananakoa supports preservation of artifacts": In the common view, it seems that all Hawaiian caves are assumed to be "burial" caves, and any objects found in caves were put there as "funerary objects."

This idea, perhaps inspired by the findings of ancient Egyptian royalty lying amidst the splendor of their finest possessions, has gripped the public imagination, but is wrongly applied to cave burials of the bones of Hawaiian chiefs. Their bones were interred without anything that might identify them to a thief, who could do great injury to the spirit of the deceased by carving the bones into fishhooks or inserting the teeth into an enemy chief's spittoon.

Before modern locked storage, caves were simply the safest places for storage of precious goods.

Artifacts discovered in caves have been falsely identified as "funerary" by Hawaiians seeking repatriation of those objects in testimony before the review board of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) -- testimony the board has accepted without questioning. The fact is, Hawaiians did not inter the dead with their precious objects.

So said William Brigham, friend of King Kalakaua and an early director of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. About the objects found in Forbes Cave, he wrote; "At the time of the destruction of the idols, after the kapu was broken, many carved figures ... were doubtless hidden by the devout priests from the mob violence that generally accompanies such changes; witness the terrible destruction ... in 'civilized' countries during the reformation. But more important was the custom of depositing in some cache the especial property of a departed chief. Not by any means with his remains to which they might serve for identification, a thing to be most carefully avoided." (Page 10, Bishop Museum Memoirs, Vol.II, No.2, 1906)

No doubt Brigham was informed by Kalakaua, who was fascinated by the lore of caves and collected treasures found in them. Some of the objects in a photograph taken of a large collection of antiquities spread out through one of the larger rooms of Iolani Palace are said to have come from caves (His Majesty would certainly disagree with the ridiculous argument made by some today that certain museum artifacts should not be photographed because they are "sacred"). Kalakaua was informed by the Hale Naua, a society he founded of elderly experts in the old culture still alive in his time. Brigham states that Kalakaua urged him to explore caves.

In their effort to qualify a carved wooden figure for repatriation from a Providence, R.I., museum, Hui Malama and Office of Hawaiian Affairs representatives claimed it was a rack for spears on a chief's war canoe (it's actually a fishing pole rack for a fishing canoe). They also claimed it as a funerary object taken from a "burial cave"; and that it is a "sacred" object needed for religious purpose today (never mind that the Hawaiian religion was tossed out by Kamehameha II on advice from Ka'ahumanu and high priest Hewahewa before missionaries arrived). Such invented nonsense moved the Review Board to recommend repatriation.

Herb Kawainui Kane is an artist and historian specializing in ancient Hawaiian maritime history. He lives on the Kona Coast of the Big Island.

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http://starbulletin.com/2004/12/12/editorial/editorials.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Sunday, December 12, 2004

Editorials
[ OUR OPINION ]

Interim changes of artifact law might be needed

THE ISSUE

Many Hawaiians are proposing changes in the federal law allowing sacred items to be reclaimed from museums.

Federal law aimed at allowing indigenous Americans to reclaim sacred items from museums has worked well on the mainland but has caused a rift among Hawaiians, who lack a governing body similar to Indian tribes that have acted under the law. That might change soon, with congressional approval of Hawaiian recognition proposed by Senator Akaka. Any changes now in the artifact law to accommodate Hawaiians should be regarded as temporary while the Akaka bill is pending.

In a hearing before Senator Inouye, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, several people said tribal governments on the mainland decide how sacred or funerary items should be treated. Some have even established museums to house artifacts owned by the tribe.

Hawaiians have no such governing body; the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is "an arm of the state" lacking the authority exercised by Indian tribes. The Akaka bill would create such a governing body, elected by native Hawaiians, with such authority.

A review committee created by the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA, has recognized OHA and Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei as native Hawaiian organizations eligible to repatriate sacred artifacts. Bishop Museum proposed in June that it apply for such eligibility but later chose not to pursue the status.

Disagreements remain about decisions to repatriate certain items, centering around Bishop Museum's attempt to regain artifacts that were loaned for one year, and then kept, by Hui Malama. The NAGPRA committee is scheduled to conduct hearings on the dispute in March.

Hawaiians also are divided about the very premise that their ancestors intended for sacred items to be buried in caves alongside their remains. In a column on this page, Hawaiian historian Herb Kawainui Kane maintained on Thursday that the bones of Hawaiian chiefs "were interred without anything that might identify them to a thief ... Caves were simply the safest places for storage of precious goods." Hawaiians "did not inter the dead with their precious objects," he asserted.

The Akaka bill has been pending in Congress for years, but Akaka and Inouye brokered a deal two months ago with Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., its chief opponent, and Senate leaders to bring the bill to a Senate vote by Aug. 7. Inouye had attached the bill to a measure supported by Kyl that had jeopardized its passage.

Those pledges are likely to lead to the Akaka bill's enactment, but that doesn't mean proposed changes to NAGPRA should be shelved. Opponents of the bill are expected to challenge its constitutionality in court, and years might pass before the issue could be resolved by the Supreme Court.


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This webpage covered the period May 2003 through December 29, 2004. A continuation webpage is provided for 2005, beginning with the December 30, 2004 report of the state audit of the burial councils program. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagprahawaii2005.html

For the events of 2006, see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/nagprahawaii2006.html

OR YOU MAY ALSO

GO BACK TO: NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) as applied to Hawai'i -- Mokapu, Honokahua, Bishop Museum Ka'ai; Providence Museum Spear Rest; Forbes Cave Artifacts; the Hui Malama organization

OR

GO BACK TO OTHER TOPICS ON THIS WEBSITE

Email: ken_conklin@yahoo.com