A white moon, waning toward a wedge, was still bright enough to light our way as Koko, Pa`ele and I followed our shadows mauka this morning. Scorpion slithered his way toward twinkling Venus and cobweb clouds drifted across the entire sparkling scene, eventually burying Waialeale in a deep pile of swirling gray.
I’ve got a story in Honolulu Weekly this weekly about the way burials are being handled at historic Kawaiahao Church on Oahu, and how the situation is yet another chapter in the growing trend toward usurping the power of Island Burial Councils. I previously wrote about how that played out with Joe Brescia’s house at Naue and in regard to the Honolulu rail project.
Just for the heck of it, you might want to check out how the Star-Advertiser handled the story, which inexplicably ran in the business section. Their article was prompted by a press release from the church, which was prompted by my investigations into the issue. It’s a good example of how so much of what the supposedly objective, impartial mainstream media “reports” is spun by public relations efforts.
But fortunately we still have a few independent sources of news.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to cover everything in the article, like how former Gov. Linda Lingle, even as she was restricting funds elsewhere, signed off on a $1 million grant in aid for the church. The church was required to spend the money by June 30, 2010, but in August, after the funds had lapsed, asked for an extension, which was recommended by the State Historic Preservation Division — the same agency that approved the questionable treatment of the iwi. SHPD claimed the multipurpose room that the church wants to build will help the agency’s own mission by preserving archival records, even though those very same records were unable to identify the 69 iwi that have been dug up.
I also didn’t have room to report how Kamuela Kala`i viewed the iwi, which were wrapped in muslin and stored in baskets on shelves in the basement of the church:
To say it felt eerie to view the kupuna in lauhala baskets stacked on shelves is to put it lightly. It felt tremendously sad to see them in this state and even more troubling to see empty lauhala baskets right on the opposite side of the room - waiting to be filled with more iwi.