Recent unearthing of skeletal remains will go before state and city officials

Recent unearthing of skeletal remains will go before state and city officials

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - What to do with recent skeletal discoveries is the question to be discussed by the State Historic Preservation Division and the Oahu Island Burial Council during a meeting Wednesday.

On May 30th, construction workers inadvertently found bones at the American Savings Bank site in Chinatown.

Last year, work was delayed after an Archaeological Inventory Survey, or AIS, discovered other remains were of Native Hawaiian origin.

This time around, construction continues so long as the bones are unbothered.

On June 19th, homeless people digging a hole for a tent found skeletal remains near Kamamalu Park on Queen Emma Street.

There have been numerous discoveries at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe, and on April 22nd, excavation work at the Pacific Beach Hotel uncovered two sets of human bones.

The Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation wanted construction stopped until an AIS was completed.

"The AIS is one of the key components that will help determine how a project will move forward or be realigned or not move forward at all," said Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, former chair of Oahu Island Burial Council.

Wong-Kalu says completing an AIS is proper protocol before beginning any development and with rail work moving into town, the potential for digging up more human remains is very high.

"When any business venture is going to renovate or develop, if they do a complete and thorough job, they stand a better chance of being respected in community and stand a better chance of going beyond their due diligence to find any Iwi Kupuna that may be buried there," said Wong-Kalu.

The Iwi at the four latest sites will remain in place until the SHPD and OIBC decide Wednesday morning what to do with them.

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