Rebuttal to Statement That Dispute Over Burial Sites is Overblown

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A Jan. 18, 2003, Honolulu Star-Bulletin letter to editor stated: “we make too much out of a bunch of old bones and rock, after all that’s exactly what it is.” That may be the case, to that letter writer and is sadly, pathetically typical ethnocentric myopia. Let’s back up a bit and look at the facts: White man came to Hawaii, stole the land and destroyed the monarchy, took it over, called it their own, imposed their own form of government and laws on these people. (Some may counter; “everyone’s better off now,” but the Hawaiian people did not ask for nor did they want this.) This is what white man has been doing for many years; Ask any “American” Indian or “African American.” There will always be your typical “Rice and Conklins and other rebel rousers and kooks” attempting to destroy the last vestiges of dignity and ownership of Hawaiians by whining that the white man’s law shouldn’t and don’t provide for the caretaking and reparations to any degree of the people of the host culture. And they justify their argument with the wholesale, blanket excuse; it’s “racist.” They justify their rants by quoting various examples of their laws they and their people forcibly imposed on Kanaka Maoli. “The American constitution says this’n’that and justifies our destructive pernicious ways. The government we force upon you to live by will also prevent you from living the life you want.” “We will also bring over haole politicians and enact our foreign ways to cover your beautiful land with an overabundance of street/highway signage, buildings, freeways, and slowly but surely make this land another El Lay. We will ban your language and force hula and your various cultural practices underground. We will allow tourists to pursue litigious American ways and everytime someone enters the “wilderness,” which is what most of Hawaii is, we will allow them to sue, at any provocation. We’ve got 70 yellow pages of lawyers, and dadgummit, we’re gonna use ’em!” It may not be right but it sure is legal and that’s one of the most evil things about this scenario. As far as the treatment of bones is concerned; The apathy foreigners have toward their ancestors is not universal. Heiau are sacred to Hawaiians, as are kupuna iwi; bones of ancestors, and the lessons, memory and ways of those that have gone before. The destruction of the religious ways of the indigenous culture is one of the most evil things perpetrated by America. The destruction of this land, just because it is happening slowly and is almost unnoticeable, doesn’t mean it should be accepted. This scenario is doubly poisonous: We now take your land and destroy your culture, then we impose ”our” laws, which guarantee ”we” will always dominate you and your land. ”Allen StJames is a resident of Honolulu and can be reached by email at:”