IT'S UP TO HAWAIIANS TO DECIDE ON ARTIFACTS
Hawaiians, though they supposedly bore a "far more sophisticated and
comprehensive worldview" than the early missionaries, are less aware
these days, it seems. Forgive us for not being "global" enough in our
scope when we, along with other aboriginal peoples, especially in North
America, oppose having the remains of our ancestors desecrated by the
museums of the enlightened.
Perhaps we who possess a living culture, having always found it
difficult to accept the atrocities of 20th-century relic hunters,
should now let the "globe" decide on what pieces of that living culture
continue on into the future?
Please do not speak for our ancestors when it comes to "listening" to
cultural objects that "provide eloquent testimony" while turning your
back on the people who represent that living culture. Maybe some of us
in this living culture are not quite ready for your museum or your spin
on Hawai'i nei. This is the real issue, not whether Hawaiians can unite
or agree on everything.
WHERE WERE OTHERS WHEN BATTLE JOINED?
From 1995 to 2000, we worked closely with Edward Ayau and Hui Malama in
the identification of the ancient Chamori remains, stored in shoeboxes
at the Bishop Museum. The Hornbostel Collection of 311 sets of human
remains and thousands of artifacts were taken from our Islands between
1919 and 1921 under the guise of research.
In January 2000 and with the assistance of Mr. Ayau and Hui Malama, we
were successful in securing and repatriating those remains back to Guam
Mr. Ayau and Hui Malama have been the forefront heroes in the Hawaiian
iwi issue. They have championed the cause of the Hawaiian ancestors
from the get-go.
Where were these other claimants when Hui Malama was fighting for the
inclusion and recognition of Native Hawaiians in the Native American
Graves Protection and Repatriation Act? Where were these claimants when
Hui Malama was fighting to secure the repatriation of Hawaiian remains
and sacred artifacts from the Museum of Natural History in Chicago? And
many more significant repatriation efforts.
Similarly as with our ancient Chamori belief system, the greatest
Hawaiian taboo of all is the disturbance of the sacred resting place of
our dead. Remain steadfast, Mr. Ayau. Your cause is a sacred religious
President, Bring Our Ancestors Home Foundation
Original article URL: http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2006/Jan/11/op/FP601110321.html/?print=on