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February 2006

From the Editor...


Rochelle delaCruz

I’ve been paying attention to the Hui Mālama story for quite a while and for several reasons. To begin with, the moepū were found in caves on the island I come from and at Kawaihae, a place where I still go to swim, near Pu`ukoholā, the luakini heiau built by Kamehameha the First. Newspaper reports have made references to the “Forbes” Caves, but I would rather not honor thieves and instead, call it the Kawaihae Caves . Also, in 1989 when I went on faculty exchange to Hawaii Community College in Hilo , I met the co-founder of Hui Mālama I Na Kūpuna O Hawai`i Nei the late Edward Kanahele, and was impressed by his commitment to the revival of the Hawaiian language and culture. So I’ve been following the work of Hui Mālama. And finally, because I’m interested in these cross-cultural intersections, I perk up when I read for example, about objections to calling the moepū artifacts because that sounds too “anthropolo-gy.” Let’s just say I like wallowing in these puzzles and can spend endless hours mulling them over. I also enjoyed a letter to the editor in a Honolulu daily from a writer who says, “It’s not only Hawaiians who had funerary objects; there are haole funerary objects, as well. Let’s dig ‘em all up…Valuable anthropological data can be gathered…Once the cultural objects… are removed and corpses measured…the remains could be stored in trailers and warehouses until all questions are answered.” Mahalo Mr. Nordahl, for putting the shoe on the other foot.

This story is far from over and already the naysayers are projecting the failure of ho`oponopono. But I think it’s worth trying - what’s to lose? The courts aren’t able to solve it, and perhaps there is a dawning recognition that the American system simply does not always work for people on islands way out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean . ~RdC

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