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August 21, 1999

The Honorable Bruce Babbitt
Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C. Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240

Re: Burial Site Desecration, Koloko Honokohau National Historic

Dear Honorable Secretary Babbitt:

On July 5, 1999, my seventy year old mother, Agnes Harp (photo
enclosed) and several family members went to visit our family
graves located at the aforementioned park. My mother recalls over
thirty graves, some of which are identifiable as particular family
members, including those of her brothers. Many of the graves are
centered around a small wooden structure over one grave, which is
not being preserved. According to Park staff, a white male
attempted to repair the structure and the Park staff ran him off.
He was doing their job! I asked for the individual¹s name and the
Park staff said that he died and it didn¹t matter.

My mother called me on the telephone, crying and deeply disturbed
over this desecration of our family burials. She had taken her
grandchildren to pay respect to and reconnect the family to our
ancestors, only to find the area in disarray. An area nearby
appears to be used as a storage baseyard and there is a large man
made berm of lava rock. The berm makes access to the burials
extremely difficult and now blocks the once direct view from the
Queen Ka¹ahumanu Highway. This may invite further desecration of
the burials, which are now unobserved by traffic. The Park Service
has failed to preserve or even tidy up the burials area, to show
respect to those buried there and their families.

My family members were very upset to observe that many of the
burials appear to have been disturbed and looted. Most of the
burials consist of traditional drystack rock coverings, most of
which had small pebbles and shells, known as ili¹ili covering the
tops. Most of the burials no longer have the ili¹ili covering,
while others have had portions of the ili¹ili removed. Wood which
appears to be coffin fragments and corrugated tin, which was
utilized in the burials are strewn about the area and protruding
from some of the burials. There also appears to be human remains
visible in some of the opened graves.

During a July 15, 1999 meeting between Koloko/Honokohau Park staff
and my family, the Park Service denied any activity in the Park
since they acquired the land in 1990. In searching for information,
I¹ve found many pieces of evidence contrary to their claim. I have
made several attempts to gather information, i.e., Archaeological
Surveys, Park Inventories and Historical information on the area
from the Park Service. The Park Service, particularly Bryan Harry, seems more
than reluctant to release any information. I have serious doubts
whether the provisions of the Native American Graves Protection and
Repatriation (NAGPRA) Act of 1990, relating to the Inadvertant
Discovery of Remains and Notice were and will be followed by the
Park Service.

On July 17, 1999, while walking through an area that has been
graded for a proposed parking lot, adjacent to our family burials,
I discovered what appeared to be Human Remains scattered across and
smeared into the lava rock. Park Ranger, Cynthia Galieto drove near
us to inquire what we were doing and I pointed out the exposed
bones to her. Without bothering to get out of her vehicle, Ranger
Galieto said that under Federal law, they would contact their
Archaeologist and it would be taken care of. I understand that it
took approximately three weeks before the bones were inspected,
which were eventually identified as the remains of more than one
human being. In the Hawaiian culture, it brings great spiritual
harm to the individual and his or her family to leave the bones
exposed to the sun. Delayed actions by the Park Service shows
disrespect towards the remains and the family.

I made several telephone calls to the Koloko/Honokohau Park Office,
attempting to inquire into the status of the remains during the
weeks that followed the discovery. I had no returns to my calls, so
I telephoned Bryan Harry, District Superintendent. I found him to
be patronizing and condescending towards me as a Native Hawaiian.
He said that we were ³lucky² that they were protecting the land
from hotel development. During a second telephone conversation,
Bryan Harry¹s attitude did not improve, but in fact it got much
worse. I told Bryan Harry that I felt he should make an attempt to
contact the lineal descendants of the area, regarding the discovery
of the remains. Bryan Harry¹s reply was ³ I doubt there are any². I
told him that I myself am a descendent. He said ³I doubt that². He
continued the conversation by making threats of taking legal action
against me for documenting the burials and scattered human remains,
saying that he would gather all the evidence together and bring
charges against us.

Bryan Harry also stated that they were working with the Burial
Council. Upon contact with a Burial Council member, Mr. Charles
Young, I found the claim to be false. Mr. Young said that the Park
Service had contacted a couple of Burial Council members and the
contact was limited to informal discussion. According to Mr. Young,
there has been no formal documentation of contact or discussion
with the Burial Council. Stanley Bond, a new Archaeologist with the
Park, referred me to contact Ms. Geraldine Bell, the Burial
Council¹s Vice-Chair. I discovered that Ms. Bell was not only the
Burial Council¹s Vice-Chair, she was also the Superintendent of
Pu¹u Honua Honaunau National Historic Park. This creates a direct
conflict of interest for Ms. Bell, and I asked that she recuse
herself from actions regarding the burials in the Koloko/Honokohau
National Park. This situation is troubling given your agency¹s
involvement in the development and enforcement of NAGPRA.

I believe the proposed visitor orientation center, parking lot,
restrooms and sewer treatment plant to be inappropriate for this
Historical area. Proposed plans do not seem to conform with Section
106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Future planning
should conform to Section 106 including consultation with Native
Hawaiians, particularly the lineal descendants.

I¹m including copies of photographic documentation of the
disturbances and discovery of bones. The photos depict: 1. An
opened grave with Kukui, coconut and bone fragments exposed. 2.
Bones discovered on July 17, 1999, strewn across and smeared into
the lava rock. 3. The wooden structure over the central grave,
that has been allowed to fall into disrepair. 4. Corrugated tin
and coffin timbers lying around the area.

In conclusion, I find the Park Service, particularly Bryan Harry¹s
actions extremely inappropriate. As a Federal Superintendent, he
should be striving to adhere to NAGPRA and work with the
descendants. He should not be displaying the arrogant prejudice he
has made so clear to me. As direct lineal descendants, I feel my
family has standing to pursue legal recourse and while exploring
this option, it is our desire that the National Park Service, at a
minimum, comply with the provisions of NAGPRA and other Federal
laws, drop their wall of defense and truly grasp the understanding
of stewardship of these most sacred lands, lands which hold the
remains of our ancestors.

I respectfully request the Department of the Interior seriously
consider replacing Bryan Harry with a person who is aware of the
historical significance the areas contained within National Park
lands have to Native cultures and religions. I truly feel that it
would be in the best interest of the Department of the Interior and
the lineal descendants to work together, to build and maintain
trusting working relationships.

Respectfully, Isaac D. Harp

Enclosures: Photographic Documentation

cc: The Honorable Senator, Daniel K. Akaka
The Honorable Senator, Daniel K. Inouye
The Honorable Congresswoman, Patsy Mink
The Honorable Congressman, Neil Abercrombie
The Honorable Governor, Benjamin Cayetano
Mr. Bryan Harry, District Superintendent, National Park Service
Mr. Francis Kuailani, Park Superintendent, Kaloko/Honokohau
National Park
Mr. Timothy Johns, Chairman, State of Hawaii, Dept. of Land and
Natural Resources
Mr. Kai Markell, Esq., Director, Burial Sites Program
Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei

Hawaii Burial Councils:
Hawaii Island

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Trustees:
Rowena Akana
Haunani Apoliona
A. Frenchy Desoto
Louis Hao
Clayton Hee
Moses Keale
Hannah Springer
Collette Machado
Mililani Trask

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