Sealed affidavit re sealed caves; Shallow victory; Competing claims

Advertiser reports that "A masonry contractor yesterday filed a sealed affidavit in federal court that details how he sealed shut a cave in Kawaihae believed to house priceless cultural objects placed there by Hui Malama I Na Kupuna 'O Hawai'i Nei."

What I find a bit puzzling is that Ezra is jailing Ayau for not disclosing the location of the artifacts, and meanwhile:
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Ginoza said yesterday that the investigative division of that state office is providing security for the caves, which are on lands owned by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. She declined to provide specifics.

As recently as two weeks ago, DHHL Director Micah Kane said members of his staff were in charge of security at the site.

I realize Ezra wants the "precise" location of each artifact, but the location of the caves is certainly not a mystery to the state.

In the Advertiser letters, Niniau Kawaihae Simmons says: "A new definition of 'Eddie would go' was coined Tuesday in Judge Ezra's courtroom." (And on another subject, Eric Po'ohina calls for the restoration of loko and lo'i, and says "If another attack on the continental U.S.A. shuts down the airports and the shipping to Hawai'i, where do you think Hawaiians will obtain their food? Hawaiians can still survive and will survive even if the U.S.A. is long gone. The U.S.A. will ultimately become just another chapter in Hawaiian mythology.")

In the Star-Bulletin, Nanette Naioma Napoleon, a supporter of the other claimants, has a commentary saying the jailing of Ayau was a "shallow" victory, and that "I agree with the Hui that it is a very sad day when we Hawaiians must air our differences in a western court of law," but blames Hui Malama's "bullying and disregard for the rights of other Hawaiians" for that outcome, and goes on to explain what she sees as HM's "hypocrisy." She then says:
TO THE members of Hui Malama, Eddie Ayau has now become a martyr of heroic proportions. I hope that the rest of the Hawaiian community will not be swayed by this and will take the time to listen carefully to other points of view, of which there are many. Hui Malama is not, I repeat, is not the one and only "true" voice in this debate, supported by all of our ancestors, our 'aumakua, our gods, and the majority of the Hawaiian community, as it so fervently declares.

Also, in a blog post yesterday, Doug White considers the "competing claims" aspect of NAGPRA and speculates on whether the Akaka bill might put into motion a process that could resolve the uncertainty resulting from the fact that "there is no (single) clearly-defined legal entity that legally supersedes the various entities that represent (or purport to represent) Native Hawaiians."

And Bob Morris comments at the Politics in the Zeros blog:
Other native groups may or may not agree with Hui Malama, and may also claim ownership of the artifacts. However, the artifacts no doubt were stolen from the native culture, Hui Malama does have a valid point there. This court battle demonstrates in a microcosm the ongoing clashes and interplay between native Hawaiians, the current legal system, religion, and the Anglo culture at large.

Ayau has taken a strong, principled stand, and has shown he's willing to go to jail for his beliefs. Out of such struggle, movements grow and are strengthened.

Update: Ian Lind has this:
If you're interested in more information about the controversy over Hui Malama and the missing Hawaiian artifacts, you can listen to the 9th Circuit Court's oral arguments in Hui Malama's unsuccessful appeal of the permanent injunction issued by Judge David Ezra. Go to the court's web site, click on the "Audio Files" button at the upper left, and enter the case number (05-16721). It is a large file, over 6 MB, so you probably don't want to try this with a dial-up Internet connection.

Update 2: AP article is on CNN and also in the Taipei Times.

Posted: Thu - December 29, 2005 at 11:17 AM    
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Published On: Jan 01, 2006 10:47 AM
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