News, updates, finds, and stories from staff and community members at KAHEA.
Showing blog entries tagged as: cultural rights

News, updates, finds, stories, and tidbits from staff and community members at KAHEA. Got something to share? Email us at:

The Going Rate

The Going Rate

Posted by Miwa at Mar 14, 2009 05:25 PM |

Yale pays $12M to use Mauna Kea telescopes

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R.I.P. SB 502

3 down, 1 to go! Thanks to the public’s vigilant support and participation SB 502 is officially dead!!  Yay!

SB 502 was one of four bills proposing to transfer management of one of the Pacific’s most unique and sacred summits, Mauna Kea, over to its primary developer–the University of Hawaii.  The University has facilitated forty years of bulldozing for unlimited telescope development on the summit, which has destroyed ecologically unique habitat and desecrated sacred cultural sites.

Just one more bill remains: HB 1741.  With your help, we can stop it.  Express your opposition to this and the whole suite of bad Mauna Kea bills for which UH is lobbyingby submitting your online testimony.  Support Hawaii’s legislators in seeking accountable, transparent, fair and representative management of Mauna Kea’s sacred summit by submitting your testimony:

playing games with graves

Posted by kahea at Aug 04, 2008 06:58 PM |

From Evan:

Playing Games With Graves: This is what we appears to be happening at every turn here in Hawai`i. Burials are sacred and honoring our Kupuna is our responsibility. By honoring the past, we are connecting to those that have come before, acted as stewards and literally given their life to the land. Yet, the recent events at Naue Point on Kauai have brought our attention, once again, to the fact that some people just don’t get it.

On Kauai, the community members have stood tall in the face of eroding burial laws and corrupt processes for what they know is right. They need to be commended and this story needs telling. The community on Kauai is not alone although it may feel that way sometimes. The ongoing debacle at the Ward Villages construction site is yet another reminder of all that is inept about historic preservation these days.

Detours in the current legal framework allow for developers to take the easy way out with incomplete and ineffective archaeological reports that open the door to the permitting process. The difference between a “previously identified” and an “inadvertently discovered” burial can save developers loads of money, while also being the key that opens the door to development. Regardless of their trickery, it is an abomination of the spirit of the current burial law.

As one colleague recently questioned, “Previously identified by who? Everyone knows there are burials all over the beach in Hawai`i, especially on Kauai and Oahu.” Unfortunately everyone but the decision makers have gotten the message. Disarray at the State Historic Preservation Division and a City and County level permitting processes that, on Oahu has ignored an 18 year old resolution calling for detailed oversight of historical remains, continue to pave the way for gross unfairness in the handling of our most dearly departed. The process that results often resembles little more than a rubber stamp.

The situation on Kauai has brought many of these inequities to the surface and we need to take greater notice in all that is not working. After the developer was forced to preserve the burials in place by the island burial council; a scheme to build on top of the burials somehow got approved. As a result of the ongoing protests, the police stepped in to use criminal desecration statutes but the county prosecutor was unwilling to go along. OHA even took notice and asked SHPD to file a cease and desist order, which has not yet occurred. And now, Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, along with OHA, is stepping up to take legal action. The question that remains: Why is it that we have to bring our Kupuna out of the ground and into court time and time again?

Perhaps it is the the loopholes in the burial laws that keep this mockery ongoing. Less than whole archaeological reports and a general mistrust for the entire historic preservation process are surely among the culprits as well. Making change in the current atmosphere will not be easy. One way to persevere through these challenges is to recognize that we are not isolated communities dealing with these issues, but a people connected by a common purpose. A purpose to keep sacred all that has come before and cherish all that is sacred for those yet to come. This we can do. This we must do. One step at a time, together.

mahalo pumehana.

So, the day is done.

What an inspiring 24 hours! The view from the trolley was amazing, as we went from rally to rally on Oahu’s south shore and met and saw dedicated individuals–many out in the rain–waving signs, calling to cars and passers-by.


Hawaii’s Beach Access Day (Groundhog Day!) happened because individuals and organizations islands-wide stepped up and stepped out to make a statement about the problems they face, and their hopes for a better Hawaii–one with open, free and public beach access. We tried to keep up with the list of supporting groups flying around in various emails, but at this point… we have officially lost count! We believe there were well over 20 groups and over 300 individuals out waving signs today. Awesome!

This was an incredibly, er, organic event day–something that happened because so many people put their talents and energy into this effort in different parts of the islands. Many of them have been working on access issues for years.

Closing thought: We’d like to share these words sent from Rich, at Beach Access Hawaii:

Then I stopped and listened to “Rock Me on the Water” by Jackson Browne…

Oh people, look around you
The signs are everywhere
You’ve left it for somebody other than you
To be the one to care…

That was me. But getting involved with this cause has shown me there are people who care. One guy — Ricky Bermudez — who doesn’t even get these emails because he doesn’t own a computer, has single-handedly collected almost 300 petition signatures, and has been posting G-Day flyers in shop windows and handing them out. Two people have contributed $100 each, and others have made generous donations as well.

Their heartfelt notes though, meant more to me than the money. I wish you could read them, because you’d understand how much this means to some people.

Stay inspired, stay active, stay engaged, and stay informed! On the momentum of this islands-wide rally day, things… are beginning to happen. What happens next is in the hands of all of us. When ordinary people unite voices, when communities get organized and get together, there is no limit to what can be accomplished!

A few places to start (resources and groups working on access issues):

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