ETN received a copy of a letter that was sent by Bert D. (Kawika) Thomas to Gov. Abercrombie last month. The letter reads:
Dear Governor Abercrombie,
My personal congratulations to you on your being elected Governor for the State of Hawaii. I do wish you well – today, and in the years ahead.
For your information, and immediate attention:
“Native Hawaiians have rights to challenge, through administrative hearings, a developer’s plans for the treatment of native Hawaiian burials. Current construction activities in Hawaii will continue to unearth native Hawaiian burials, and there is a process to properly treat these burials with equal protection under the law. The general public has a vital interest in the proper deposition of the bodies of its deceased persons which is in the nature of a sacred trust for the benefit of all.” — Chief Justice Ronald Moon
Governor, if the above is “gospel truth”, then may I ask a question or two? If from the 1960’s, and before 1992 – till today – various records at DLNR, SHPD, OIBC, OHA, State Parks, Hawaiian cultural experts, Hawaiian families, and Haseko (Hawaii) Inc., (the subsidiary of Haseko Japan Corp./Tokyo) “all” indicated, that ancient Hawaiian burial graves and skeletal remains were in the One’ula and Ewa Marina area of Oahu, why didn’t the State act to resolve this critical, sensitive, and legal issue asap?
Protecting exposed and threatened ancient Hawaiian burial sites (maybe 400 in the One’ula area alone), and perpetuating other cultural practices endangered by rapid social and economic change, is a major issue, and demands immediate action by the State. The issuing of permits for any development is government’ s responsibility, and allows Native Hawaiians an opportunity to put on evidence of traditional and customary practices affected by the proposed development. In this case, it has not been done, and today construction and dredging goes on by Haseko (Hawaii) Inc., as though nothing is wrong, and all is OK.
Haseko (Hawaii) Inc. was awarded the Ewa Marina dredge contract in 1994, and after that time, reports and findings of additional ancient Hawaiian burials, and skeletal remains were brought to their attention; to other proper State agencies as well.
In the sinkholes today along the Ewa coastline (East of One’ula Park to Barber’s Point Naval Air Station) lie many ancient Hawaiian burials and skeletal remains of seven (7) ancient Hawaiian alii (chiefs), who once ruled Oahu in the late 1700’s. I am not against progress, and I have promoted Hawaii as a major destination all my life. However, to continue to unearth and disrupt the dead, as though nothing is wrong, is illegal. Period!
Enter Mike K. Lee. He is the second son of Mr. Randy Lee, former COO & GM of the Halekulani Hotel (a person whom you have met). Randy Lee is my first cousin and after you review all the attachments with this email, please note that Randy Lee passed away a number of years ago, and Mike K. Lee is now “kahu or keeper” of family issues.
In November 2002 for example, Mike K. Lee found out that his “Fifth” Great Grandmother – Queen Kaomileika’ahumanu – was buried at the Waipouli cave in the One’ula area. She died on October 31, 1796, but was removed from her burial without approval from the State’s OIBC.
Because Mike K. Lee has legal rights to his “Fifth Great Grandmother”, he is immediately seeking to have all her remains returned to her “original” burial site in the One’ula area.
It is also conceivable, that if bulldozing, construction, and dredging is not stopped immediately by Haseko Hawaii Inc., (or is shrugged-off as unimportant) the seven (7) Hawaiian “Chiefs”, plus many other burials will be destroyed forever. This cannot happen. Even in Hawaii.
I am not familiar with Japanese burial issues, but in America it is very, very sensitive.
In closing, I thank you for your immediate assistance and resolution in this grave matter.
Mahalo and Aloha,
Bert D. (Kawika) Thomas