Thursday, July 10, 2008


DEM BONZ: In a yet another somewhat stunning development in the case of the desecration of kanaka maoli burials at Ha`ena point the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Tuesday requested that the attorney general’s office send a cease and desist order to halt all construction there.

The letter questions not only the legitimacy of the state burial council’s administrative rules under state constitution and statues but details how the State Archeologist Nancy McMahon and the developer’s attorney’s Walton Hong lied to both the Kaua`i Planning Commission and the Burial Council.

The highly legally notated letter, available only in a pdf file for now, first cites HRS 6E-13 and 6E-13(b) allowing the attorney general or any citizen to file suit “for the protection of an historic site or burial site and public trust therein or improper demolition alteration or transfer of property or burial site”

Then it cites 10(4)4 and 10 1(b) which essentially requires state agencies to assist OHA saying “(i)t shall be the duty and responsibility of all state departments ... to actively work toward (OHA’s) goals”.

But the heart of the request is based on Article Vii Section 7 of the State Constitution which says the state “shall protect all rights customarily and traditionally exercised for substance cultural and religious purposes”.

Then citing HRS 6E and Chapter 13-300 of Hawaii Administrative rules which regulate the Burial Council it quotes McMahon and Hong misrepresenting the law to the two citizen panels.

At the heart of the claim is the state’s contention that the burial councils, as they have been told, have no right to have any say over burials other than to say either remove them or let them sit where they are.

OHA goes on to show that this is not true when the actual laws and rules are read, claiming that the burial council also has the right to say “no- you’ can’t build there” or other appropriate actions.

It questions the legitimacy of the process and says because the process was abused that the current decision allowing Joe Brescia to build a house on top of the numerous burials, both discovered and undiscovered at the north shore parcel at Naue in Ha`ena must be revisited and the decision of the burial council be considered void and illegitimate.

The letter includes many other specific details of and objections to the way the Burial Council, under the State Historic Preservation Department (SHPD) has violated the constitution and state laws and presents the transcripts of the misrepresentation by SHPD head McMahon, and Brescia’s attorney Hong before both the Kaua`i Planning Commission and the Burial Council.

What’s most surprising is that it took so long for OHA to start going through this process. But the confluence of events brought to light by Ka`iulani Edens Huff, Nani Rogers Louise Marston and a host of others over the last month or so has perhaps spurred them to action

And perhaps the very adamancy of the right wing wacko property rights crowd in supporting Brescia’s “right to desecrate” because he “followed all the rules” was just the thing needed to spur action by OHA,

OHA outrages their own community with regularity in its state-lap-dog habit of fighting against its own beneficiaries on so many occasions that it has become a joke to most kanaka in light of its mission.

And the fact that Chief Darryl Perry on Kaua`i brought up the state law against desecration- even though it is written separately from the laws protecting the traditional cultural and religious rights of the descendent of pre-western contact islanders- might have been contributory enough to finally provoke the ever conservative OHA to finally stand up for the rights of the people they represent.

It is an election year- for OHA too- and this story has been getting statewide media attention of late and has gotten to the point where not just many but most, in the Kaua`i community agree that something is wrong as typified by a letter in today’s local paper .

The one problem may be that the person who OHA is requesting/demanding write the cease and desist letter is allegedly the most corrupt of the hacks in the Linda Lingle administration Attorney General Mark Bennett who is responsible for the Superferry debacle and various other gubernatorial sleazy ploys, using blatantly unethical if not illegal secrecy ploys to cover-up alleged crimes by administration personnel.

How he answers the letter will be most interesting but it is apparent that asking him to do it is only OHA’s first move and that if he refuses, OHA makes it most clear that they will proceed on their own.

We leave you with the words of Nani Rogers on the current situation written this week when the corrupt pols in the AG’s and the local Kaua`i Prosecutor Craig Decosta’s office refused to back up Police Chief Perry ’s assertion that Bescia’s and Hong’s actions were desacratory.

I pray all is maita`i with you and your loved ones. Auwe! Auwe! Auwe! Kaua`i na po`e are crying over the unbelievable disrespect and denial of State and County agencies. For their disrespect of sacred burials and their denial of the truth and cultural and natural laws that protect graveyards from desecration. It is a criminal act, in anybody's law book, to desecrate burials; the Naue burials date back to the 13th century and are of great significance to our na po`e that are lineal descendants ofna iwi at Naue and to all na po`e and supporters that have been camping near by to protect them from harm for the last three months. It has been a long and hard battle but we will go on, we will continue to be there and to stand up to any challenges they may throw at us.

We urge na kanaka to come to Naue and be eye witnesses to the desecration so you can go home and tell your ohana and children. They need to learn our ways.

Ka`iu, myself, and others will be at Naue this afternoon to camp overnight again. We made a vow to protect our na po`e buried there, we must keep our promise to do all we can to do so.

To Mr. Joseph Brescia, who says he owns the `aina, to Mr. Walton Hong, his lawyer, to Mr. Galante, the contractor, to Pua Aiu, SHPD Director, to the Police Dept., the Attorney General and to Governor Lingle, et al, we say, BEWARE! get ready for the grave (pardon the pun) spiritual consequences your actions will cause. Remember that you will have brought it all upon yourselves, nobody else is to be blamed but you for anything that may happen to you and your family. Can you see that?

We pray that our na Akua, na Aumakua and na Tupuna continue to surround and protect us at Naue. We pray that our na po`e; men, women and children; buried there may continue to rest in peace. Mahalo!


Mauibrad said...

Wow, good report, Andy. OHA's letter and expected action is welcome news. Wonder when the rest of the media reports on this. Aloha, Brad

Anonymous said...

They better get their fingers out.

I doesn't take all that long to pour a foundation, then the whole thing becomes moot in a hurry as there will be no more earth moving and therefore no more "desecration".

Joan Conrow said...

These houses aren't built on foundations, but pillars, as they're in the tsunami zone.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the burial councils don't have the power to say “no- you’ can’t build there.” The powers of the councils are spelled out in §6E-43.5, and those powers are essentially to determine whether burial sites should be preserved in place or relocated, and to make recommendations regarding appropriate management, treatment, and protection of native Hawaiian burial sites.

Anonymous said...

Charley, that has not been the practice on this island. The burial council rejected the propsed treatment plan for a badly-needed roadway in 2004, and the project is stalled to this day.

Whether the Hawai'i Island burial council is overstepping its bounds or the Kaua'i one is taking too restrictive a view, I don't know, but the "no" on Ali'i Parkway hasn't been challenged.

Anonymous said...

If not clear from the context, "this island" in the last comment refers to Hawai'i.