Ola Na Iwi: The Bones Live
By Hale Mawae
In caring for my ancestors, I know that it is within the bones of our people, na o‘iwi o Ko Hawai‘i Pae ‘Aina, that our ancestors live. Ku‘u ewe, ku‘u piko, ku‘u iwi, ku‘u koko. My umbilical cord, my navel, my bones, my blood. All the elements of our body that constitute us as kanaka maoli. All cherished pieces of ourselves that connect us to that iwi. Ola na iwi. The bones live.
Here within the iwi is the life of our people. Our deep spiritual resonance and connection to that source with our iwi. That which is most sacred. Our kupuna, who we serve and protect in the highest and at all cost.
That is our kuleana. The bones must live. They must be cherished and held dearly as our brothers and sisters; because as the ‘olelo no‘eau states clearly, they have life, they gave life. the bones live. Generations upon generations, surviving on ‘aina which thrived and was forever giving.
Our kupuna never imagined that our ‘aina would become such a distant place from their descendants. Their lives, which paved the way for us to stumble upon this bare Earth to seal the survival of a hundred generations to follow in our place. E ola mau e na poki‘i! The ohi‘a lehua tree falls and another bud rises in its place. A resurrection of life. Na o‘iwi o Hawai‘i!
That is our kuleana.
To live. To breathe. Ha. To give life.
Our kupuna never wished that our struggle would be so great in this corrupted time and place we struggle amongst today. Yet, we must carry on in defending these offensive and culturally insensitive tirades that come from all angles of the illegitimate, illegal, and fabricated state of Hawai‘i.
A state being manipulated by the occupying U.S. Nation and military; their accompanying, co-conspirator corporations; incorporated third and fourth parties; and those few individuals who still refuse to believe the god, honest truth.
That Ko Hawai‘i Pae ‘Aina is still an independent and lawful nation, with an enacted and lawful constitution set forth by Kauikeaouli: Kamehameha III. The truth continuing to be shadowed in blatant secrecy as the illegally acting state government has refused to recognize the error of their ways.
“Others say its because Lingle awarded high-level government jobs to "pro-growth”
people who lacked proper experience. This in reference to the fact that Peter Young, who resigned as the head of the DLNR concerning statements he made to state officials before his term was renewed, came from the real estate industry. In addition, Melanie Chinen apparently had no experience in historic preservation before Lingle tapped her to head
Chinen says she’s tired of having to defend herself. There are times when she has considered resigning from the job, she says. “Many nights, I have left this office, crying, thinking I cannot do this anymore. I am tired, I am burnt out,” she says. “My children don’t want me to be here. It hurts my whole family.”
Trying to evoke sympathy and apologetic legal explanations just doesn’t cut it. I don’t think it really gets to the root of the problem. A‘ole pono! It doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. Sympathy doesn’t make up for buying and selling property that no one, but the remaining survivors of kanaka maoli have a clear title to. Creating fraudulent documents of title and land guarantee so we can go on digging up more iwi, throwing heiau rocks into a rock crusher, and desecrating more beloved ‘aina in the dishonorable act of “fast tracking” development projects.
How does sympathy make up for thousands of iwi kupuna being removed from those same illegal land purchases for military, commercial, and private real estate expansion?
‘A‘ole Pono! It doesn’t!
“That is absolutely untrue,” Melanie Chinen says in commenting on a Hawaiian activist who proclaimed that thousands upon thousands of iwi remained to be buried in the illegitimate State.
“It’s more like a few hundred.” She says in a homely statement to Honolulu magazine, which preceded her resignation in late November 2007.
A few hundred? Can we see some numbers on that please? A few hundred can be quite a lot of bones when you base it on a loose base count on the broad definition of “a few?”
What is your definition of a few hundred? Are we talking like 200 hundred plus equals a few hundred here? Or are we talking like 500 plus equals a few hundred?
Chinen who has since resigned from her position as SHPD administrator has been caught up with legal scandals implicating her work ethic as having “fast tracked” projects on preservation of precious Hawaiian cultural archaeological sites.
These serious allegations she faces carries over across all illegitimate state and county SHPD offices, including the persons as named in civil lawsuit Ashley Chinen, Robert A Masuda, Bob Awana(who shortly thereafter resigned from his position under Lingle’s administration), Peter Young(also resigned), Laura Theilen(still in office), Nancy McMahon(still in office), Melissa Kirkendall(still in office), and another twenty-something John Does.
Concerned sites, which included implications on their work with SHPD for development projects for Wal-Mart(illegal), the army’s Pohakuloa bombing site(illegal), Kawaihae Harbor concerning expansion for the Superferry harbor improvements(we could spend a field day with this one; also illegal) and the Stryker brigade(illegal), and even the Turtle Bay development on the North shore of O‘ahu(yup, folks you guessed it ILLEGAL).
All major development issues that have caused major controversy through out the “state” as the iwi kupuna continue to be unearthed with no solidified plans for reinterrment.
Every single iwi kupuna that has been dug up falling under serious illegal practices not only within lawful jurisdiction of Ko Hawai‘i Pae ‘Aina as clear title cases stand, but breaking state laws and violations within its own illegitimate state processes for burial treatment if inadvertent discoveries. That’s what most lawyer’s like to call a double whammy.
Nevertheless, “a time-consuming process.”
Our kupuna who have been buried in culturally distinct resting places, which have major cultural and spiritual ties that go far deeper than the realms of Western spirituality, philosophy, and archaeology can even begin to comprehend and explain with a 12 page archaeology report. Are we so culturally insensitive that you have to ask an archaeologist for mana‘o concerning a culture that has a beating heart, standing strong, and breathing right in front of your face?
To ignore. That, which is ignored. Not made aware. Neglected. A misogynistic mirage created by an illusionistic portion of Western society that has depraved us of our ability to walk upon our ‘aina freely.
Those same unfortunate iwi being forced into dry wooden boxes. Tagged, broken, and fragmented. Covered in dust and dirt. Torn from their cool cavern chamber or pebbled sand dune.
Being stored in an air-conditioned Matson container, while illegally acting officials on a trumped up “burial council” sit and twiddle-dee their thumbs. While archaeologists and state officials make decisions based upon political motives for development projects and money. Cases as large as containers being stacked to the sealing with little wooden boxes made out of ticky-tacky for our iwi kupuna.
Serious and dire decisions that are then made under the table by scheming land developers. Protected by their lawyers who act on a basis of law that has no legal standing in a fabricated state, but more importantly hold no legal standing on fabricated land documents that can be easily challenged with genealogical land title awards.
The few sell out Kanaka Maoli cultural icons, who sit on a table and pawn political motives coming on high from SHPD. A council taking direction under duress from an archaeologist who doesn’t even have credentials to be making decisions on such matters concerning very important cultural sites. And let’s not forget about the land developers who get more excited about a million-dollar-turn-around shoreline property building permit dropping into their pants from SHPD and DLNR, than the excitement their desperate housewife can get out of them in the bedroom.
The same kind of archaeologist, where, in the case of Naue, have dished out potentially “fast tracked” orders of an archaeological dig utilizing a backhoe that not only “disturbs” the remains, but destroys 8 whole sets in the process.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! The backhoe chugs out a huff of smoke as it lurks across the soft sand leaving behind foot deep trenches as it tears its head into the sand to make the first “inadvertent” mistake of its life. The backhoe strikes the skull of a child leaving it broken and shattered in the sand.
“Keep digging.” They follow their “fast tracked” orders.
But, the general public usually doesn’t have privy to this kind of information. The general public doesn’t even get the common courtesy to know what’s being discussed on the table at levels of DLNR, SHPD, or the measly burial council.
The public doesn’t even get a public posting at their county offices what time the meeting starts and where the meeting is actually located. The exclusivity of their meetings makes you think you might have to R.S.V.P. to get in through the door. Thank goodness for the reliable coconut wireless for meeting times and places, or half the decisions they let come through the door would go flying right back out the window.
The public has limited online access, as it is the privy of the council to post minutes as they find it necessary. No camera’s or public television access are required for recording their minutes. Absolutely no physical access to previous minutes, burial treatment plans, or archaeological findings that are said to be stored in boxes on someone’s floor somewhere amid the rest of their piles of rubbish. As the office of DLNR at the state building has stated that they don’t have room to house such documents. If they don’t have room for documents, no wonder bones end up in cold metal storage containers, and artifacts end up on private collector’s shelves.
You might be asking yourself the question, how is any of this due process in any way legal?
Well, the reality of it is. It’s not legal. That’s the truth. Completely and totally illegal.
So, after spending the last couple of months patiently digging away at internet blogs, online articles, legal, and state documents. After losing many nights of sleep staring at a computer screen, compiling information that always seemed to point me in the right direction to help save our iwi kupuna, but never really gave me a straight answer to how all of this was being allowed to happen. After sitting through ridiculous meeting after meeting to try and make sense of their retarded illegal process.
I finally came to the conclusion as I was beginning to plant hala trees under the shade of the false kamani trees at our camp at Naue, that the truth is like the wind when you are sailing on a canoe. Sometimes its hard to hear, but when you really listen and keep your ears open, the faintest sound can be heard. Sometimes it’s just a whisper. But that’s when you find it. And Once you find it, then you catch it.
Then you follow its direction until your sail is caught and you’re being carried off over the horizon until you reach that new land. With the great hope and kuleana of cultivating that new land and sailing back for your other loved ones.
That is the truth.
I’ve come to the solid realization that we as the people of Ko Hawai ‘I Pae ‘Aina must fulfill our inherent duty to care for the iwi of Naue, and our ‘aina at all cost. Also truth.
I’ve sat on the point at Naue for many nights and often wondered what my ancestor’s saw when they stared from the sea, to the mountains, to the night sky above. What did they see past the point of Makana as it was enraptured in the blazing setting sun. What images would they invoke from within them as their thoughts gazed into the future? What ho‘ailona would they read as the wind and clouds shifted before them? The ocean currents changing with the season as warmer waters flow from the south. Our ever dignified kohola migrating into the cold Northern distance.
What did they see?
Naue’s true character stands prominent with many hula, mele, oli, and mo‘olelo that have survived in the face of a thousand indigenous extinctions since the time the Western foreigner’s arrived, and decided not to leave. Oral traditions that have kept the true character of our sacred places alive. Places that have been historically captured with kanaka maoli’s superb poetic language, creative thought, and dignified expression.
Na Hala o Naue. The many hala trees of Naue. Naue, which was told to me by a kupuna that it is like the swaying of the ocean, when you look far out to see and watch it go back and forth like the hips of a graceful hula dancer. “How the Hala trees would once bend and sway to the rhythm of the wind and rise of the tides.” She says to me with the biggest smile upon her face. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine I can hear the sound of the wind in their broad green leaves.
As her smile fades, I open my eyes and look around at the million dollar homes being crowded on to the beach and the image is gone. I begin to comprehend, and not “wonder” what happened to Na Hala o Naue and the Hala trees so famed at this particular wahi pana. This special, sacred place.
There is no place for them in a world full of multi-million dollar, pimped out vacation rental homes with 5 bedrooms and 4 baths. All built to perfection with their ocean front view, and well groomed landscaping. A place in a world full of greedy land squabblers and lawyers all trying to strike a deal and make some fast illegal cash.
Or do they have a place?
The hope that this same tragedy of illegal acts and misappropriated property that has cost so many families, iwi, and hala trees of Naue their final resting place, will hopefully be turned into the future home for some kanaka maoli descendant of an ancestor was wronged of that same place.
Now you see the absolute truth that has been allowed to happen, yet you also see the hope for those people who have kuleana and their future ahead of them. The tempest rises.
Where is it that we finally draw the line? My line’s in the sand, and I’m ready. Or at least my tent is set up so you’ll know where to find me down at Naue when you feel the time is right. The truth is here, and even if it’s only a whisper in the wind today, the sail is caught, and it turns toward a new horizon tomorrow. Ola na iwi! The bones live!