August 29th, 2004


Hawaiian artifacts

I am not sure how other people view their artifacts but this article explains how many Hawaiians feel about it:

Remains traditionally sacred

Those seeking to understand why Hawaiian burials evoke such a deeply emotional response, said Charlie Maxwell, need only consider this: The word for burial — kanu — is the same as the word that means "to plant." The ancestors are put in the earth in a specific place to convey their mana, or spiritual power, to their descendants.

"You give forth of your essence. You go back to the earth," said Maxwell, a member of a group whose mission is the care of ancestral remains. "Part of the essence is still in the bones, and where it's buried, it's sanctified."

This sanctity is violated, Native Hawaiians believe, when remains and artifacts are removed from the sacred caves, whether by grave robbers or archaeologists. So outrage erupted over reports of looting the Kanupa burial cave and trafficking of funerary objects on the Big Island.

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Cross-posted to hawaiilokahi, to abouthawaii, and to nativeamerican