I fear that Judge David Ezra's decision regarding opening graves just does not go far enough. It is not only Hawaiians who had funerary objects; there are haole funerary objects, as well. Let's dig 'em all up.
Imagine the cultural research that would ensue should haole graves in Hawai'i be exhumed and examined. Jewelry items cast light on haole culture - little crosses on chains, and beads that reportedly had magical powers to propel the souls to a "heaven" in the sky. Rings on fingers often indicate the marital status. Precious stones set in rings, bracelets and necklaces should not be buried in darkness forever. The clothing would expose fashion trends of the past.
The caskets themselves provide valuable information. Crude wooden ones indicate how little the offspring of the deceased cared. We could marvel at the "spare no expense" caskets bought by guilt-ridden families of wealth. These objects lend important cultural insight and should be in a museum for our children's children to see.
Valuable anthropological data can be gathered by measuring the skulls and other bones of the occupants, perhaps even providing information as to the migration patterns of haole ancestors.
Modern forensic skills could be used to autopsy the departed and compare the information with the death certificates to ascertain their veracity. Talk about cold cases.
Of course, all due respect must be given the descendants of the dead haole. They could form organizations to lobby the government, anthropologists and others involved in the exhumation process. Once the cultural objects, clothing and shoes are removed and the corpses measured and properly autopsied, the remains could be stored in trailers and warehouses until all questions are answered.
Original article URL: http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2005/Dec/22/op/FP512220313.html/?print=on