Caring for Ancestors


Photo: Keoni Alvarez speaks at Iwi Kupuna Conference

A second conference on Iwi Kupuna issues was convened in July at the University of Hawai‘i Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies.

Manu Ka‘iama served as the moderator.

Kamuela Kala‘i spoke about the ongoing problem at Kawaiha‘o Church, where disinterred iwi kupuna have been in the basement of the historic church for over ten years. The descendants and the church will be proposing a burial treatment to the Oahu Island Burial Council.

Descendents of kupuna buried at Kawaiaha‘o are planning a series of peaceful demonstrations to call attention to the ongoing desecration.

Terri Keko‘olani spoke about her efforts to reinter thousands of kupuna unearthed by the American military at their bases located at Mokapu and Līhu‘e.

Keoni Alvarez shared an inspirational story about buying his family’s ancestral lands on the Big Island in order to preserve his family’s iwi.

“Everyone has kuleana; we all have to step up to the plate,” Kala‘i said.