Letter to the Editor
Honolulu Advertiser
Thursday, January 12, 2006

I am an inmate in the Federal Detention Center — #95548-022. At a status conference with Judge Ezra and Judge Chang on Jan. 5, the court announced that it was encouraging the parties to the Na Lei Ali'i lawsuit to pursue traditional Hawaiian forms of dispute resolution, including ho'oponopono.

I believe this latest development in the case is the most promising and important because it seeks to return the dispute to where it rightfully belongs: in the Hawaiian cultural realm and not in the courts.

I think it is incumbent upon the parties to take this latest development seriously. I applaud the efforts of the judges to seek a cultural-based resolution to a cultural dilemma.

Having said this, as long as I am ordered to disclose how we conducted the Kawaihae reburial, I am compelled to decline, respectfully. To disclose such information would violate the general commitment to malama i na iwi, the specific commitment to malama, the Kawaihae kupuna, and the teachings of my kumu.

Put another way, we of Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei are incapable of consciously betraying the sanctity of the grave. I/we can't do it, all due respect to the court.

Finally, although I am the only Hui Malama member incarcerated, the decision to forgo personal freedom if it came to that was a hui decision. All members of Hui Malama made the same commitment that I did. In that sense, I am not alone.

The fact that Pualani Kanahele, Charles Maxwell, Konia Freitas and William Aila all held fast to our conviction not to be a party to the intentional disturbance of ancestral graves provides me with the continual strength to persevere. I am proud of all of us and honored to be in this position.

Nanette Napoleon is correct: I am not a hero. But I am hard-headed, as we all should be. Whenever faced with the need to be 'onipa'a regarding fundamental values, I practice from wa kahiko. Ola na iwi — the bones live.

Edward H. Ayau
Executive director, Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei

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